Proverbs of Solomon, Continued (18:1–24)
Verse 14: See Proverbs 15:15; 17:22.
Verse 16: A gift opens the way for the giver. The “gift” referred to here is not necessarily a bribe. A bribe is given to pervert justice and gain an unfair advantage (see Proverbs 17:8); a gift is given to show kindness and appreciation.58 Showing kindness and appreciation through a gift “opens the way” for the giver; it creates goodwill and improves relationships.
Verse 17: This proverb teaches us to listen to “both sides” before coming to a conclusion.
Verse 18: In some situations, “casting lots” is an appropriate way to settle disputes (see Mark 15:24). All parties must agree to abide by the outcome. Since God determines the outcome, it is never left to “chance” (see Proverbs 16:33).
Verse 20: See Proverbs 12:14.
Verse 21: The tongue has the power of life and death. The tongue of a wise person guards his life; the tongue of a fool leads to ruin (Proverbs 13:3). Our speech reveals whether we are wise or foolish, whether we are destined for life or death. Those who love it—that is, those who love the tongue and what it speaks—will eat the fruit of their words (Matthew 12:37).
Verse 22: Finding a godly wife is surely a favor from the Lord; the same is true of finding a godly husband! (see Proverbs 19:14). Old Testament writers usually wrote from the man’s perspective; modern readers need to understand that in spiritual terms, God looks on men and women equally. There is neither . . . male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).
Verse 23: This proverb gives us a general picture of the poor and the rich in society. The poor have no choice but to plead for mercy; the rich, on the other hand, usually answer harshly, unsympathetically.
Verse 24: It is better to have one friend who is reliable than many companions who are not. Let us choose our friends wisely!