Proverbs 3

1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct [a] your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies, And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand, In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who retain her.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens;
20 By His knowledge the depths were broken up, And clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, let them not depart from your eyes-- Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul And grace to your neck.
23 Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it," When you have it with you.
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor, For he dwells by you for safety's sake.
30 Do not strive with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the oppressor, And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, But His secret counsel is with the upright.
33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home of the just.
34 Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise shall inherit glory, But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

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Proverbs 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

Exhortations to obedience and faith. (1-6) To piety, and to improve afflictions. (7-12) To gain wisdom. (13-20) Guidance of Wisdom. (21-26) The wicked and the upright. (27-35)

Verses 1-6 In the way of believing obedience to God's commandments health and peace may commonly be enjoyed; and though our days may not be long upon earth, we shall live for ever in heaven. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; God's mercy in promising, and his truth in performing: live up to them, keep up thine interest in them, and take the comfort of them. We must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, believing he is able and wise to do what is best. Those who know themselves, find their own understandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, will fail. Do not design any thing but what is lawful, and beg God to direct thee in every case, though it may seem quite plain. In all our ways that prove pleasant, in which we gain our point, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge him with submission. It is promised, He shall direct thy paths; so that thy way shall be safe and good, and happy at last.

Verses 7-12 There is not a greater enemy to the fear of the Lord in the heart, than self-conceit of our own wisdom. The prudence and sobriety which religion teaches, tend not only to the health of the soul, but to the health of the body. Worldly wealth is but poor substance, yet, such as it is, we must honour God with it; and those that do good with what they have, shall have more to do more good with. Should the Lord visit us with trials and sickness, let us not forget that the exhortation speaks to us as to children, for our good. We must not faint under an affliction, be it ever so heavy and long, not be driven to despair, or use wrong means for relief. The father corrects the son whom he loves, because he loves him, and desires that he may be wise and good. Afflictions are so far from doing God's children any hurt, that, by the grace of God, they promote their holiness.

Verses 13-20 No precious jewels or earthly treasures are worthy to be compared with true wisdom, whether the concerns of time or eternity be considered. We must make wisdom our business; we must venture all in it, and be willing to part with all for it. This Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, sought and obtained by faith and prayer. Were it not for unbelief, remaining sinfulness, and carelessness, we should find all our ways pleasantness, and our paths peace, for his are so; but we too often step aside from them, to our own hurt and grief. Christ is that Wisdom, by whom the worlds were made, and still are in being; happy are those to whom he is made of God wisdom. He has wherewithal to make good all his promises.

Verses 21-26 Let us not suffer Christ's words to depart from us, but keep sound wisdom and discretion; then shall we walk safely in his ways. The natural life, and all that belongs to it, shall be under the protection of God's providence; the spiritual life, and all its interests, under the protection of his grace, so that we shall be kept from falling into sin or trouble.

Verses 27-35 Our business is to observe the precepts of Christ, and to copy his example; to do justice, to love mercy, and to beware of covetousness; to be ready for every good work, avoiding needless strife, and bearing evils, if possible, rather than seeking redress by law. It will be found there is little got by striving. Let us not envy prosperous oppressors; far be it from the disciples of Christ to choose any of their ways. These truths may be despised by the covetous and luxurious, but everlasting contempt will be the portion of such scorners, while Divine favour is shown to the humble believer.

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or make smooth or straight
  • [b]. Literally navel, figurative of the body
  • [c]. Literally drink or refreshment

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS 3

In this chapter, Wisdom, or Christ, delivers out some fresh lessons and instructions to his children; as not to forget his doctrine, but heartily attend to his precepts and ordinances, seeing these are the means of lengthening out their days, and of enjoying peace, Pr 3:1,2; as well as had the promise of the mercy and truth of God, and the continuance of them, annexed to them; and therefore are exhorted to keep close to them, and show the greatest value and affection for them, which was the way to find favour with, and to be taken notice of by, God and man, Pr 3:3,4; and then he proceeds to exhort them to a hearty trust in the Lord, without dependence on themselves; and to seek direction from him in every step they took, which they might expect to have, Pr 3:5,6; to humility and the fear of God, and fleeing from evil, which they would find would much contribute to their health, Pr 3:7,8; to liberality in supporting the worship of God, and the interest of religion, which would turn to account and profit to them, Pr 3:9,10; to patience in bearing the chastisement of the Lord, as coming from a loving father, Pr 3:11,12; then follows a commendation of wisdom, and the happiness of the man possessed of it is declared, Pr 3:13; from the profit, preciousness, pleasure, and usefulness of it, Pr 3:14-18; and from its concern in the works of creation and providence, Pr 3:19,20; and from that comfort, honour, safety, and security, which come by the doctrines and instructions of Wisdom, and a steady regard to them, Pr 3:21-26; and the chapter is concluded with exhortations to beneficence, charity, concord, and peace with neighbours, Pr 3:27-30; and to shun the ways of wicked men, urged from the different state and condition of wicked men and fools, and of the just, the lowly, and wise, Pr 3:31-35.

Proverbs 3 Commentaries