Proverbs 15



Proverbs of Solomon, Continued (15:1–33)

1–33 Verse 1: A gentle answer turns away wrath. This well-known proverb provides the simplest and most practical means of avoiding conflict in the home, in the church, and in society. The tongue has the power to produce great good and also great evil (see verse 4), and the wise person learns to use it for good (James 1:19–20; 3:2–6). A “gentle answer” comes from a gentle heart—a kind and humble heart; first make the heart right, and the tongue can be made right too (see Proverbs 16:23; Matthew 12:34–37).

Verse 3: See Psalms 11:4; 139:1–10; Proverbs 5:21.

Verse 4: Here we are given another example of the power of the tongue to produce both good and evil (see verse 1); in this proverb, we see that the tongue can be an agent of either healing or harm to the spirit, the soul (see Proverbs 12:18).

Verse 8: No formal act of worship—such as animal sacrifice—will be pleasing to God if the worshiper’s heart is wrong.

Verse 10: See Proverbs 5:23.

Verse 11: Even Death and Destruction—that is, the GRAVE, the abode of the dead (Job 26:6)—can be seen by God; therefore, we can be sure He sees the hearts of the living! (Hebrews 4:13).

Verse 15: In this proverb, the oppressed are those who are discouraged and downcast in their spirits; they are depressed in attitude. More than anything else, our attitude determines whether life is wretched or whether it is like a feast. With God’s help, we can change our attitude; we can pray for a cheerful heart.

Verses 16–17: These two proverbs teach us that spiritual blessings and loving relationships are far more valuable than great wealth or a fattened calf (a luxurious banquet)—especially when the “wealth” and the “calf” are accompanied by turmoil (anxiety) and hatred.

Verse 18: See verse 1.

Verse 19: The sluggard complains that his way is blocked by thorns (obstacles), yet that is only because he is too lazy to remove them.

Verse 20: See Proverbs 10:1.

Verse 22: The proud (foolish) person thinks he doesn’t need anyone’s advice; as a result, his plans fail.

Verse 24: The path of life leads upward for the wise; it is the path to eternal life. The wise person sets his mind on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2); his citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

Verse 25: God opposes the proud man (Proverbs 3:34; 1 Peter 5:5), but He protects the poor and needy—the widow. He will not permit the proud to steal her land, to change her boundaries.48

Verse 27: This proverb describes the danger of loving money (see 1 Timothy 6:10). Perhaps the most dramatic example of a greedy man bringing trouble on his family is that of Achan in the time of Joshua (see Joshua 7:20–26).

Verse 29: The Lord is far from the wicked; He will not listen to the prayers of those who consciously harbor sin in their hearts (see Psalm 66:18). But the Lord will listen to the prayers of the righteous—those who confess their sins and who hunger and thirst for His righteousness (Matthew 5:6; 6:33).

Verse 33: The fear of the LORD teaches us wisdom (see Proverbs 1:7; 9:10). Wisdom is shown by deeds done in humility (James 3:13). And humility leads to honor; humility is prerequisite to receiving honor (see Matthew 23:12; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).