Proverbs 17

1 Better a dry crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife.[a]
2 A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son and share an inheritance among brothers.
3 A crucible is for silver and a smelter for gold, but the Lord is a tester of hearts.[b]
4 A wicked person listens to malicious talk;[c] a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
5 The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker,[d] and one who rejoices over disaster will not go unpunished.[e]
6 Grandchildren are the crown of the elderly, and the pride of sons is their fathers.
7 Excessive speech is not appropriate on a fool's lips; how much worse are lies for a ruler.
8 A bribe seems like a magic stone to its owner; wherever he turns, he succeeds.[f]
9 Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.[g]
10 A rebuke cuts into a perceptive person more than a hundred lashes into a fool.
11 An evil man seeks only rebellion; a cruel messenger[h] will be sent against him.
12 Better for a man to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his foolishness.
13 If anyone returns evil for good, evil will never depart from his house.
14 To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.[i]
15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the just- both are detestable to the Lord.[j]
16 Why does a fool have money in his hand with no intention of buying wisdom?[k]
17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.[l]
18 One without sense enters an agreement[m] and puts up security for his friend.[n]
19 One who loves to offend loves strife; one who builds a high threshold invites injury.[o]
20 One with a twisted mind will not succeed, and one with deceitful speech will fall into ruin.[p]
21 A man fathers a fool to his own sorrow; the father of a fool has no joy.[q]
22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.[r]
23 A wicked man secretly takes a bribe to subvert the course of justice.[s]
24 Wisdom is the focus of the perceptive, but a fool's eyes roam to the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son is grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him.[t]
26 It is certainly not good to fine an innocent person, or to beat a noble for his honesty.[u] [v]
27 The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head[w] is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning, when he seals his lips.[x]

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Proverbs 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

Verse 1 These words recommend family love and peace, as needful for the comfort of human life. Verse 2 . The wise servant is more deserving, and more likely to appear one of the family, than a profligate son. Verse 3 . God tries the heart by affliction. He thus has often shown the sin remaining in the heart of the believer. Verse 4 . Flatterers, especially false teachers, are welcome to those that live in sin. Verse 5 . Those that laugh at poverty, treat God's providence and precepts with contempt. Verse 6 . It is an honour to children to have wise and godly parents continued to them, even after they are grown up and settled in the world. Verse 7 . A fool, in Solomon's Proverbs, signifies a wicked man, whom excellent speech does not become, because his conversation contradicts it. Verse 8 . Those who set their hearts upon money, will do any thing for it. What influence should the gifts of God have on our hearts! Verse 9 . The way to preserve peace is to make the best of every thing; not to notice what has been said or done against ourselves. Verse 10 . A gentle reproof will enter, not only into the head, but into the heart of a wise man. Verse 11 . Satan, and the messengers of Satan, shall be let loose upon an evil man. Verse 12 . Let us watch over our own passions, and avoid the company of furious men. Verse 13 . To render evil for good is devilish. He that does so, brings a curse upon his family. Verse 14 . What danger there is in the beginning of strife! Resist its earliest display; and leave it off, if it were possible, before you begin. Verse 15 . It is an offence to God to acquit the guilty, or to condemn those who are not guilty. Verse 16 . Man's neglect of God's favour and his own interest is very absurd. Verse 17 . No change of outward circumstances should abate our affection for our friends or relatives. But no friend, except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. In Him this text did receive, and still receives its most glorious fulfilment. Verse 18 . Let not any wrong their families. Yet Christ's becoming Surety for men, was a glorious display of Divine wisdom; for he was able to discharge the bond. Verse 19 . If we would keep a clear conscience and a quiet mind, we must shun all excitements to anger. And a man who affects a style of living above his means, goes the way to ruin. Verse 20 . There is nothing got by ill designs. And many have paid dear for an unbridled tongue. Verse 21 . This speaks very plainly what many wise and good men feel very strongly, how grievous it is to have a foolish, wicked child. Verse 22 . It is great mercy that God gives us leave to be cheerful, and cause to be cheerful, if by his grace he gives us hearts to be cheerful. Verse 23 . The wicked are ready to part with their money, though loved, that they may not suffer for their crimes. Verse 24 . The prudent man keeps the word of God continually in view. But the foolish man cannot fix his thoughts, nor pursue any purpose with steadiness. Verse 25 . Wicked children despise the authority of their father, and the tenderness of their mother. Verse 26 . It is very wrong to find fault ( proverbs 17:27-28 ) wise man, by the good temper of his mind, and by the good government of his tongue. He is careful when he does speak, to speak to the purpose. God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound there; therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment as men may be.

Footnotes 24

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of some buildings of Solomon for himself, 1Ki 7:1-12; and of other things for the use of the temple; of two pillars of brass, 1Ki 7:13-22; of the molten sea, 1Ki 7:23-26; and of ten bases, and ten layers on them, 1Ki 7:27-39; with other utensils and ornaments, 1Ki 7:40-51.

Proverbs 17 Commentaries

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