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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 11

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Shall we turn now in Proverbs to the eleventh chapter.

Now we have come in the Proverbs to individual little sayings of wisdom. Each one is separate and complete in itself and unrelated to the next. So that there is very little to comment on, because each of them become a complete little thought and finish within the verse itself. So it is extremely difficult as far as exposition is concerned, because it says it all. And the wisdom is to be gleaned just from really the brevity of the statement itself. And we are in the section in which we are dealing with that type of Hebrew poetry that is in contrast. And in these particular proverbs, there is a contrast between the righteous and the evil. And so you'll find them contrasted all the way through in these little nuggets of truth.

A false balance is an abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight ( Proverbs 11:1 ).

Now before the age of computers and scales like we have and all now, they used to do all of their merchandising with balanced scales. And they had little weights, and the weights would be set on the one side of the balance and then you'd put the grapes on until the scales balanced out. But these clever fellows would oftentimes have two sets of weights: one that they would buy with, and the other that they would sell with. And this was known as a false balance. And, of course, it's an abomination to the Lord. God wants us to deal fairly. God wants us to deal honestly. If you're in any kind of a business, God wants you to be upstanding in your business and to deal fairly and honestly with people. "A false weight is an abomination to the Lord." So it's talking about these diverse weights that people would often use.

I read that years ago in England when they still used the balanced scales that a baker sued a farmer over the pound of butter that he was buying. And he said that when he first started buying butter from the farmer, it was a full pound. But gradually the farmer was selling him less and less, until now he was only giving him about three quarters of a pound of butter and still charging him for the full pound. And so he sued him in court. The farmer in his own defense said to the judge, "Sir, I only have a balanced scale to measure the butter." And he said, "I always put the baker's pound loaf of bread on the other side of the scale and that's how I know when he has his pound of butter."

There is a tendency of charlatans to jimmy the gallonage measures on the gas pumps and things of this nature. God hates this kind of chicanery, and it's an abomination to God. God wants you to be fair, upright, honest in all of your dealings. He doesn't want you to be dishonest and shrewd and trying to take people. "The just weight in His delight." God delights in honesty in business.

When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom ( Proverbs 11:2 ).

Now as you go through the proverbs he has so much to say about pride. And it is a very fascinating study just to run your concordance through Proverbs and find out how many things he has to say about pride. Certainly it is something that God disdains. And it is true the man who is proud is blind. The man who is proud has never seen God. There's no way that a person can really come into a real relationship with God and still be proud. Isaiah said, "In the year the king Uzziah died then I saw the Lord high and lifted up, sitting upon the throne, His glory filled the temple. Then said I, 'Woe is me! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell amongst a people of unclean lips'" ( Isaiah 6:1 , Isaiah 6:5 ).

In seeing God, he sees the truth about himself. And so the man who is proud has never seen the truth about himself, which means he has never really seen God. And so there is much said about pride. How God hates pride. How God hates a haughty attitude, a haughty spirit, thinking that I am better than somebody else. Thinking that I'm too good to give him the time of day. Thinking, "Well, I'm too busy to be bothered by his needs." That I'm somehow elevated or above him. God hates that kind of an attitude. The lowly, that is the attitude that is esteemed of God. And so with the proud comes shame. God will bring him to shame.

In the next, after our lesson, the sixteenth I think, we get into more things on pride and all, cometh before a fall and so forth. But lowly and the proud and the humble are contrasted many times.

The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them ( Proverbs 11:3 ).

And so the contrast: the one, a man of integrity being guided; the man of perversity being destroyed.

Riches profit not in the day of wrath ( Proverbs 11:4 ):

Or in the coming day of God's judgment. Riches are going to be no profit to a person. How can you buy God off? "What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" ( Matthew 16:26 ) You see. In the day of wrath riches will have no value at all. When God's day of judgment comes, the riches that you have gained will be of absolutely no value to you at all.

but righteousness will deliver a man from death ( Proverbs 11:4 ).

The day of God's wrath, riches of no value. In fact, we are told in Revelation that they'll be selling a measure of wheat for a day's wage. A pint of wheat, work all day, for a pint of wheat. The day of God's wrath.

The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness ( Proverbs 11:5 ).

So contrasting between righteousness and wicked.

The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but the transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness ( Proverbs 11:6 ).

You'll be caught in your own guile, in your own deceit.

When a wicked man dies, his expectation [or his hope] perishes: and the hope of the unjust men perish ( Proverbs 11:7 ).

So the death of the wicked, hope is all gone. As long as there's life, there's hope. When he dies, there is no hope.

Jesus said to Martha, when she said, "Lord, if You'd only been here, my brother would not have died." He said, "Your brother's going to live again." She said, "Oh yes, Lord, I know in the last day, the great resurrection." Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life. He that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. He who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" ( John 11:21 , John 11:23-26 )

I like that. Jesus is so direct with people. He makes this incredibly radical statement. So radical that it rivals anything I've ever read or heard of any man stating in Israel. A man saying, "If you live and believe in Me, you'll never die." Then He says, "Do you believe this?" So immediately He puts you on one or the other side of the fence. Yes, I believe. No, I don't believe. Oh, but it's much more than that. You either have hope or you have no hope.

Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, they have absolutely no hope. "When a wicked man dies, his expectation shall perish, and the hope of unjust men perishes." It's the end of it. No hope for them. But those who believe in Christ, "Thank God," Peter said, "for a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" ( 1 Peter 1:3 ).

The righteous is delivered out of trouble, [contrast] the wicked cometh to his just desserts ( Proverbs 11:8 ).

Now God delivers the righteous man; the wicked man falls in the pit.

A hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor ( Proverbs 11:9 ):

Oh, the tongue, what it can do as far as destruction. How many people have been destroyed by gossip--many times untrue. "The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor." Contrasting:

but through knowledge shall the just be delivered. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting ( Proverbs 11:9-10 ).

So the contrast again, the righteous and the wicked. When it goes well with the righteous, the city is rejoicing. When the wicked dies, the city rejoices. When the righteous man is blessed and things are going well with him, everybody rejoices. When the wicked man gets wiped out, everybody rejoices.

By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. He that is void of wisdom despises his neighbor: but a man of understanding makes peace. A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit will conceal the matter ( Proverbs 11:11-13 ).

Talebearer will go out and tell everything he knows of evil, of the wrongdoing. But the person of a faithful spirit will cover it; he'll conceal the matter.

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety ( Proverbs 11:14 ).

I've often said also, "In the multitude of counselors there is confusion." There are people who shop counselors. They'll come up and they say, "I was talking with Pastor Romaine, and I talked to Chuck Mattier, and I talked to Jerry Westburg, and I wanted to talk to you about this." Well, you know that they're really not looking for counsel. It's that the other three guys haven't agreed with them yet, and they're looking and hoping someone's going to agree with them somewhere along the line. They're looking for confirmation rather than real counseling, real guidance. And people just shop around until they can find someone who'll say, "Oh well, that's fine. Go ahead and do it. Yes, that's wonderful." They're really not wanting to be guided. They're only wanting affirmation that what they're doing is all right to do, is the right thing to do. And so in the multitude of counselors, quite often there is confusion. The more you go to, the more different things you hear. And you get to you don't know what to do.

He that is surety for a stranger will smart for it ( Proverbs 11:15 ):

If you say, "Oh yeah, he's all right," and you don't know the guy, hey, you're going to get bit. You're going to smart for it.

and he that hateth suretyship is sure ( Proverbs 11:15 ).

Interesting play on words. If you hate suretyship, that is, putting up your word for somebody else, if you hate doing that, then you're going to be safe. But if you put it up for a stranger, you're going to get hurt.

A gracious woman retains her honor: and strong men retain riches ( Proverbs 11:16 ).

"A gracious woman retains her honor." Beautiful.

The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubles his own flesh. The wicked works a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward. As righteousness tendeth to life; and he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death ( Proverbs 11:17-19 ).

So righteousness and life contrasted with evil and death.

They that are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight ( Proverbs 11:20 ).

What a contrast.

Though hand join in hand ( Proverbs 11:21 ),

That is, for strength and defense.

the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered ( Proverbs 11:21 ).

This next one is an interesting picturesque.

As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion ( Proverbs 11:22 ).

A beautiful woman that has no discretion, has no sense. The ornament of gold, it's beautiful, but it's out of place in a swine's snout. A fair woman, beautiful, but she's out of place if she doesn't have discretion, if she's not discreet.

The desire of the righteous is only good ( Proverbs 11:23 ):

Righteous and wicked again.

but the expectation of the wicked is wrath ( Proverbs 11:23 ).

Now here we have an interesting spiritual law in the twenty-fourth proverb here.

There is that which scatters, and yet it increases; and there is that is that which holds more than is necessary, but it tends towards poverty ( Proverbs 11:24 ).

There is a spiritual law, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; measured out, pressed down, running over, shall men give unto your bosom" ( Luke 6:38 ). "He that soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; he that soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully" ( 2 Corinthians 9:6 ). And "whatever measure you mete it out, it's going to be measured back to you again" ( Mark 4:24 ). Spiritual law. Here it is said in just a little different way, but the same spiritual truth. "There are those who scatter, and yet they increase." You increase by giving. "There are those who withhold more than is necessary, but it tends towards poverty."

The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered himself. He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it. He that diligently seeks good procureth favor: but he that seeks mischief, it will come to him. He that trusts in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch. He that troubles his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise ( Proverbs 11:25-30 ).

They that are wise, let's see, they that win souls are wise and shall shine as the stars forever and ever. In Daniel, he that winneth souls is wise and "shall shine as the stars forever and ever" ( Daniel 12:3 ). How God wants us to be winning souls for Jesus Christ. "He that winneth souls is wise." A very wise occupation to give yourself to, winning others to Jesus Christ. "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; he that winneth souls is wise."

Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more than the wicked and the sinner ( Proverbs 11:31 ).

Continuing the contrast between righteousness and wickedness on through the twelfth chapter of the Proverbs. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 11". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-11.html. 2014.
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