Proverbs 3

Wisdom Bestows Well-Being

1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name 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 submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.[a]
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
9 Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.[b]
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.
19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.
21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason— when they have done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.
32 For the LORD detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor, but fools get only shame.

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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.

Cross References 56

  • 1. S Proverbs 1:8
  • 2. S Psalms 44:17; Proverbs 4:5
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 11:21; Proverbs 4:10
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 5:16; S Deuteronomy 30:15,16; S 1 Kings 3:13,14; Pr 9:6,10-11
  • 5. S Psalms 85:10
  • 6. S Exodus 13:9; S Deuteronomy 6:6; Proverbs 6:21; Proverbs 7:3; S 2 Corinthians 3:3
  • 7. S 1 Samuel 2:26; Luke 2:52
  • 8. S Psalms 4:5; Psalms 37:3,5
  • 9. S Job 33:11; S Isaiah 30:11; 1 Chronicles 28:9
  • 10. Psalms 5:8; Proverbs 16:3; Isaiah 40:3; Jeremiah 42:3; Isaiah 45:13
  • 11. Proverbs 26:5,12; Isaiah 5:21; Romans 12:16
  • 12. Psalms 111:10
  • 13. S Exodus 20:20; S Deuteronomy 4:6; S Job 1:1; Proverbs 16:6
  • 14. S Psalms 38:3; Proverbs 4:22
  • 15. Job 21:24
  • 16. S Exodus 22:29; Exodus 23:19; Deuteronomy 26:1-15
  • 17. Deuteronomy 28:8; Psalms 144:13
  • 18. S Job 22:21; Joel 2:24; Malachi 3:10-12
  • 19. Proverbs 1:8-9
  • 20. S Job 5:17
  • 21. Proverbs 13:24; Revelation 3:19
  • 22. S Deuteronomy 8:5; S Job 5:17; Hebrews 12:5-6*
  • 23. S Job 28:15; Proverbs 8:19; Proverbs 16:16
  • 24. S Job 28:18
  • 25. S Job 28:17-19; Proverbs 8:11
  • 26. S Genesis 15:15
  • 27. S 1 Kings 3:13,14; Proverbs 8:18
  • 28. Proverbs 16:7; Matthew 11:28-30
  • 29. S Genesis 2:9; S Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 11:30; S Revelation 2:7
  • 30. S Proverbs 2:12; Proverbs 4:3-9,8; Proverbs 8:17-21
  • 31. S Genesis 1:31; Psalms 136:5-9
  • 32. S Job 28:25-27; Psalms 104:24
  • 33. Proverbs 8:27-29
  • 34. Proverbs 1:8-9; Proverbs 6:20
  • 35. Proverbs 4:20-22
  • 36. S Deuteronomy 30:20; Proverbs 4:13
  • 37. S Proverbs 1:8-9
  • 38. S Proverbs 1:33
  • 39. S Psalms 37:24; S Psalms 119:11; Proverbs 4:12
  • 40. S Leviticus 26:6; Psalms 3:5
  • 41. Psalms 91:5; Psalms 112:8
  • 42. S Job 11:18; Jeremiah 31:26
  • 43. S 2 Kings 18:5; S Job 4:6
  • 44. S 1 Samuel 2:9
  • 45. S Job 5:19
  • 46. Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:15; Luke 10:25-37
  • 47. Zechariah 8:17
  • 48. S Psalms 37:1; Proverbs 24:1-2
  • 49. S Psalms 101:4; Proverbs 11:20
  • 50. S Job 29:4; Psalms 25:14
  • 51. Deuteronomy 11:28; S Job 5:3; Malachi 2:2
  • 52. Zechariah 5:4
  • 53. Psalms 1:3; Psalms 37:22; Proverbs 14:11
  • 54. S 2 Kings 19:21
  • 55. S Psalms 40:4
  • 56. S Psalms 18:25-27; S Matthew 23:12; James 4:6*; 1 Peter 5:5*

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "will direct your paths"
  • [b]. Hebrew; Septuagint "loves, / and he chastens everyone he accepts as his child"

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