Proverbs 20

1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
2 The dread anger of a king is like the growling of a lion; anyone who provokes him to anger forfeits life itself.
3 It is honorable to refrain from strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
4 The lazy person does not plow in season; harvest comes, and there is nothing to be found.
5 The purposes in the human mind are like deep water, but the intelligent will draw them out.
6 Many proclaim themselves loyal, but who can find one worthy of trust?
7 The righteous walk in integrity— happy are the children who follow them!
8 A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes.
9 Who can say, "I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin"?
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
11 Even children make themselves known by their acts, by whether what they do is pure and right.
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye— the Lord has made them both.
13 Do not love sleep, or else you will come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14 "Bad, bad," says the buyer, then goes away and boasts.
15 There is gold, and abundance of costly stones; but the lips informed by knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 Take the garment of one who has given surety for a stranger; seize the pledge given as surety for foreigners.
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet, but afterward the mouth will be full of gravel.
18 Plans are established by taking advice; wage war by following wise guidance.
19 A gossip reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a babbler.
20 If you curse father or mother, your lamp will go out in utter darkness.
21 An estate quickly acquired in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.
22 Do not say, "I will repay evil"; wait for the Lord, and he will help you.
23 Differing weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good.
24 All our steps are ordered by the Lord; how then can we understand our own ways?
25 It is a snare for one to say rashly, "It is holy," and begin to reflect only after making a vow.
26 A wise king winnows the wicked, and drives the wheel over them.
27 The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord, searching every inmost part.
28 Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king, and his throne is upheld by righteousness.
29 The glory of youths is their strength, but the beauty of the aged is their gray hair.
30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil; beatings make clean the innermost parts.

Proverbs 20 Commentary

Chapter 20

Verse 1 It seems hard to believe that men of the greatest abilities, as well as the ignorant, should render themselves fools and madmen, merely for the taste or excitement produced by strong liquors. Verse 2 . How formidable kings are to those who provoke them! how much more foolish then is it to provoke the King of kings! Verse 3 . To engage in quarrels is the greatest folly that can be. Yield, and even give up just demands, for peace' sake. Verse 4 . He who labours and endures hardship in his seed-time for eternity, will be properly diligent as to his earthly business. Verse 5 . Though many capable of giving wise counsel are silent, yet something may be drawn from them, which will reward those who obtain it. Verse 6 . It is hard to find those that have done, and will do more good than they speak, or care to hear spoken of. Verse 7 . A good man is not liable to uneasiness in contriving what he shall do, or in reflecting on what he has done, as those who walk in deceit. And his family fare better for his sake. Verse 8 . If great men are good men, they may do much good, and prevent very much evil. Verse 9 . Some can say, Through grace, we are cleaner than we have been; but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. Verse 10 . See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten. Verse 11 . Parents should observe their children, that they may manage them accordingly. Verse 12 . All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him. Verse 13 . Those that indulge themselves, may expect to want necessaries, which should have been gotten by honest labour. Verse 14 . Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie. Verse 15 . He that prefers true knowledge to riches, follows the ways of religion and happiness. If we really believed this truth, the word of God would be valued as it deserves, and the world would lose its tempting influence. Verse 16 . Those ruin themselves who entangle themselves in rash suretiship. Also those who are in league with abandoned women. Place no confidence in either. Verse 17 . Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection. Verse 18 . Especially we need advice in spiritual warfare. The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point. Verse 19 . Those dearly buy their own praise, who put confidence in a man because he speaks fairly. Verse 20 . An undutiful child will become very miserable. Never let him expect any peace or comfort. Verse 21 . An estate suddenly raised, is often as suddenly ruined. Verse 22 . Wait on the Lord, attend his pleasure, and he will protect thee. Verse 23 . A bargain made by fraud will prove a losing bargain in the end. Verse 24 . How can we form plans, and conduct business, independently of the Lord? Verse 25 . The evasions men often use with their own consciences show how false and deceitful man is. Verse 26 . Justice should crush the wicked, and separate them from the virtuous. Verse 27 . The rational soul and conscience are as a lamp within us, which should be used in examining our dispositions and motives with the revealed will of God. Verse 28 . Mercy and truth are the glories of God's throne. Verse 29 . Both young and old have their advantages; and let neither despise or envy the other. Verse 30 . Severe rebukes sometimes do a great deal of good. But such is the corruption of nature, that men are loth to be rebuked for their sins. If God uses severe afflictions, to purify our hearts and fit us for his service, we have cause to be very thankful.

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Proverbs 20 Commentaries