Proverbs 17

Contrast the Upright and the Wicked

1 1Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it Than a house full of feasting with strife.
2 A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, And will share in the inheritance among brothers.
3 The 2refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But 3the LORD tests hearts.
4 An 4evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
5 He who mocks the 5poor taunts his Maker; He who 6rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.
6 7Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the 8glory of sons is their fathers.
7 9Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, Much * less are 10lying lips to a prince.
8 A 11bribe is a charm * in the sight of its owner; Wherever * * he turns, he prospers.
9 He who 12conceals a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter 13separates intimate friends.
10 A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding Than a hundred blows into a fool.
11 A rebellious man seeks only evil, So a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12 Let a 14man meet a 15bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly.
13 He who 16returns evil for good, 17Evil will not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water, So 18abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.
15 He who 19justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both * of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
16 Why * is there a price in the hand of a fool to 20buy wisdom, When he has no sense?
17 A 21friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man lacking in sense 22pledges * And becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor.
19 He who 23loves transgression loves strife; He who 24raises his door seeks destruction.
20 He who has a crooked mind 25finds no good, And he who is 26perverted in his language falls into evil.
21 He who 27sires a fool does so to his sorrow, And the father of a fool has no joy.
22 A 28joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit 29dries up the bones.
23 A wicked man receives a 30bribe from the bosom To 31pervert the ways of justice.
24 Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, But the 32eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
25 A 33foolish son is a grief to his father And 34bitterness to her who bore him.
26 It is also not good to 35fine the righteous, Nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.
27 He who 36restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a 37cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool, when he 38keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

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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.

Cross References 38

  • 1. Proverbs 15:17
  • 2. Proverbs 27:21
  • 3. 1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalms 26:2; Proverbs 15:11; Jeremiah 17:10; Malachi 3:3
  • 4. Proverbs 14:15
  • 5. Proverbs 14:31
  • 6. Job 31:29; Proverbs 24:17; Obadiah 12
  • 7. Genesis 48:11; Proverbs 13:22
  • 8. Exodus 20:12; Malachi 1:6
  • 9. Proverbs 24:7
  • 10. Psalms 31:18; Proverbs 12:22
  • 11. Proverbs 21:14; Isaiah 1:23; Amos 5:12
  • 12. Proverbs 10:12; James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8
  • 13. Proverbs 16:28
  • 14. Proverbs 29:9
  • 15. 2 Samuel 17:8; Hosea 13:8
  • 16. Psalms 35:12; Psalms 109:5; Jeremiah 18:20
  • 17. 2 Samuel 12:10; 1 Kings 21:22; Proverbs 13:21
  • 18. Proverbs 20:3; Proverbs 25:8; 1 Thessalonians 4:11
  • 19. Exodus 23:7; Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 24:24; Isaiah 5:23
  • 20. Proverbs 23:23
  • 21. Ruth 1:16; Proverbs 18:24
  • 22. Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 22:26
  • 23. Proverbs 29:22
  • 24. Proverbs 16:18; Proverbs 29:23
  • 25. Proverbs 24:20
  • 26. James 3:8
  • 27. Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 17:25; Proverbs 19:13
  • 28. Proverbs 15:13
  • 29. Psalms 22:15
  • 30. Proverbs 17:8
  • 31. Exodus 23:8; Micah 3:11; Micah 7:3
  • 32. Ecclesiastes 2:14
  • 33. Proverbs 19:13
  • 34. Proverbs 10:1
  • 35. Proverbs 17:15; Proverbs 18:5
  • 36. Proverbs 10:19; James 1:19
  • 37. Proverbs 14:29
  • 38. Job 13:5

Footnotes 10

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