Proverbs 20

1 Wine is a lecherous thing, and drunkenness is full of noise; whoever delighteth in these, shall not be wise.
2 As the roaring of a lion, so and the dread of a king (and so the king's wrath); he that stirreth him to ire, sinneth against his (own) soul.
3 It is honour to a man that separateth himself from strivings; but fond men be meddled with despisings. (It is honourable for someone to separate himself from strife, or from arguments; but the foolish shall mix, or mingle, themselves in with arguments.)
4 A slow man would not ear for cold; therefore he shall beg in summer, and men shall not give to him. (A lazy person will not plow when it is cold; then at harvest time he shall beg, but others shall not give him anything.)
5 As deep water, so counsel is in the heart of a man; but a wise man shall draw it out. (Advice in a person's heart can be like deep water/can be as deep as the water; but a wise person shall draw it out.)
6 Many men be called merciful; but who shall find a faithful man? (Many people be called, or be thought to be, merciful; but who shall truly find a faithful person?)
7 Forsooth a just man that goeth in his simpleness, shall leave blessed sons after him. (For a righteous person who goeth in his honesty, or in his integrity, shall leave blessed sons and daughters after him.)
8 A king that sitteth in the seat of doom, destroyeth all evil by his looking. (A king who sitteth on the seat of judgement, knoweth evil when he seeth it.)
9 Who may say, Mine heart is clean; I am clean of sin?
10 A weight, greater in buying, and a weight, less(er) in selling, a measure and a measure, ever either is abominable at God (these be abominable to God).
11 A child is understood by his studies (Even a child is known by his deeds), if his works be rightful and clean.
12 An ear hearing, and an eye seeing [The hearing ear, and the seeing eye], God made ever either (God made them both).
13 Do not thou love sleep, lest neediness oppress thee; open thine eyes, and be thou [ful]filled with loaves.
14 Each buyer saith, It is evil, it is evil; and when he hath gone away, then he shall have glory (but after he hath gone away, then he shall boast about it).
15 Gold, and the multitude of gems, and a precious vessel, be the lips of knowing (be the value of words of knowledge, or of wise words).
16 Take thou away the cloth of him that was (a) borrow of another man; and for strangers take thou away a wed from him. (Take thou the cloak of him who pledged for another person; and take thou a pledge from him for strangers.)
17 The bread of a leasing, that is, gotten by a leasing, is sweet to a man (Bread gotten by a lie, tasteth sweet to a person); and afterward his mouth shall be filled with reckoning [but afterward his mouth shall be filled with little pebble stones].
18 Thoughts be made strong by counsels; and battles shall be treated by governances. (Plans be made into successes by good advice; and battles be won by careful planning.)
19 Be thou not meddled with him that showeth privates, and goeth guilefully, and alargeth his lips. (Be thou not mixed in, or mingled, with him who telleth secrets, and goeth deceitfully, and flappeth his lips.)
20 The light of him that curseth his father and mother, shall be quenched in the midst of darknesses.
21 Heritage to which men hasteth (to get) in the beginning, shall want blessing in the last time. (An inheritance which someone hasteneth to get early, shall lack blessing in the end.)
22 Say thou not, I shall yield evil for evil; abide thou the Lord, and he shall deliver thee. (Say thou not, I shall give back evil for evil; wait thou for the Lord, and he shall save thee/and he shall rescue thee.)
23 Abomination with God is weight and weight; a guileful balance is not good. (An abomination with God is different weights; a deceitful scale is not good.)
24 The steps of man be (ad)dressed of the Lord; who forsooth of men may understand his way? (The steps of a person be directed by the Lord; for who can understand his own way?)
25 (A) Falling of man is to make (an) avow to (the) saints, and (then) afterward to withdraw the vows.
26 A wise king scattereth wicked men; and boweth a bow of victory, that is, a stone bow, over them.
27 The lantern of the Lord is the spirit of man, that seeketh out all the privates of the womb. (The spirit of people is the lantern of the Lord, and it seeketh out all our innermost secrets.)
28 Mercy and truth keep a king; and his throne is made strong by meekness. (Fairness and faithfulness, or loyalty, keep a king safe and secure; and his throne is made strong by humility, or by righteousness.)
29 The full out joying of young men is the strength of them; and the dignity of eld men is hoariness. (The rejoicing, or the glory, of young men is their strength; and the dignity of old men is their white, or gray, hair.)
30 The wanness of (a) wound shall wipe away evils, and (so do) wounds in the privier things of the womb. (Sometimes a deep, blue wound shall set someone straight, and sometimes so do wounds in the secret, or the innermost, places of the heart.)

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.

Proverbs 20 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.