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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 22

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-28

Chapter 22

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold ( Proverbs 22:1 ).

The good name, so important, so valuable. Good reputation, so important. "Rather to be chosen than great riches. Loving favor rather than silver and gold."

The rich and the poor meet together ( Proverbs 22:2 ):

Where? In the eyes of the Lord.

for the LORD is the maker of them all ( Proverbs 22:2 ).

You know, God can't be impressed with your bank account. We all meet together when we stand before God. The rich and the poor, we're all alike. We meet together. There's a common ground. Whenever we stand before the Lord, we're meeting on common grounds. Except, as I understand the scripture, the poor man has maybe a few advantages. "How hard it is for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven" ( Mark 10:24 ). That is, how hard it is for those who trust in riches. The danger of riches is always that tendency and temptation to trust in your riches. I've learned that I can buy my way out of problems with my money. I learn that I can use money to influence people or to control people. And I'm used to, then, the manipulation of people because of my financial prowess. Poor person doesn't have any of those problems. When you stand before the Lord, the rich and the poor meet together.

The prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished ( Proverbs 22:3 ).

The prudent man. Now we see the evil that is going to result from a life of sin, and we hide our self in the provisions that God has made through Jesus Christ. We hide from that day of judgment. But the simple, they're going to pass right on into it and will be punished.

By humility and the fear of the LORD [or reverence of the Lord] are riches, honor, and life ( Proverbs 22:4 ).

Now, "He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor." Here, "By humility and the reverence of the Lord are riches, honor and life."

Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse: and he who keeps his soul shall be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it ( Proverbs 22:5-6 ).

This particular passage of scripture has been the center of great controversy. There are many people who, with an aching heart, looking at their children who are rebelling from the things of the Lord, and their hearts filled with wonderment as to how the child could turn so far from God. But yet, God has declared, "Train up a child." Of course, it does involve that responsibility of training the child. The Hebrew word is one that we translate kanakais, it's a systematic form of training.

But what did you train your child to be? What was your primary purpose for your child? What was your goal for your children? What did you want for them above everything else? You say, "Well, I wanted them to be successful. I wanted them to be happy. I wanted them to have a successful career. I wanted them to have a good education." Well, they are purely pagan goals and ideals for your children. They're totally un-Christian. The primary goal that we should have for each of our children is that they walk with the Lord. That they learn to know God and serve God and walk with Him.

And that is not undervaluing education. I think that it's great. I think a person should avail himself the opportunity of every educational advantage he can receive. But that should never be our goal. Our goal should be that our children will walk with the Lord. And I'd rather have them walking with the Lord and be an ignoramus and work in some very menial work than I would to have them have their Ph.D.'s and be agnostic or atheistic or blasphemous against God.

Not all of our children graduated from college. I have to confess a disappointment that they did not take full advantage of all of the natural God-given intellectual capacities that they had in going to college. And yet, we've learned to commit this completely into the hands of the Lord. The fact that they went to college or graduated from college or not doesn't really make any difference to me. I'm thankful they're walking with Him. That's what's important. It could be that in college their minds could have been twisted. It could have been that their values could have been destroyed. The true values. I would much rather that they be walking with the Lord than to have their Ph.D.'s.

"Train up a child." What is the goal that you have? That's important. If you're training a child to be successful, he may be successful. But he also may be a successful infidel. "Train up your child in the way he should go, when he's old, he will not depart from it."

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor ( Proverbs 22:7-9 ).

God's mark upon generosity. "He that has a bountiful eye shall be blessed when he will give to the poor."

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease ( Proverbs 22:10 ).

It's amazing what one scorner can do in bringing strife and contention. So, cast out the scorner. Here at Calvary Chapel, actually, we have requested many scorners not to come back. That's usually Romaine's job, and he does it quite effectively. But it's valuable. You know, it's a healthy body that can purge its system of the poisons. And when a body is no longer strong enough to purge itself of its poisons, that body is going to die.

In the New Testament it says to get rid of the leaven for, "a little leaven will leaven the whole lump" ( Galatians 5:9 ). So cast out that leaven. Same thing here. Cast out the scorner and you can get rid of so many problems. The contentions and all will cease.

He that loves pureness of heart, for the grace of lips the king shall be his friend. The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor. The slothful man says, There is a lion outside, I'll be slain in the streets ( Proverbs 22:11-13 ).

Any excuse to keep from going to work. And, again, as Benjamin Franklin said, "The man who is good at making excuses is seldom good for anything else."

The mouth of a strange woman is a deep pit: and he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall in it ( Proverbs 22:14 ).

Verse Proverbs 22:15 . Again, as far as the correction of our children.

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it from him ( Proverbs 22:15 ).

Solomon, no doubt, observed his father David's mistake. David was an extremely poor disciplinarian. And as a result of his being a poor disciplinarian, his sons rebelled against him. It is spoken of one of David's sons that he never once punished him or did anything to antagonize him. He just left him alone. And that son grew up to hate David and rebelled against David. Of course, Absalom also rebelled against his father. David was just a poor disciplinarian.

So many times we have the false concept. "Well, I don't want, you know, I don't want to break this bond between my child and I. I won't punish him. I'll just let him go." And that laxity, lack of discipline. "The foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of instruction will drive it far from him." A child left to himself will bring reproach to his parents.

He that oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich, shall surely come to want ( Proverbs 22:16 ).

Now at this point, the whole thing of the Proverbs begin to change a bit. We've had proverbs for a long period that more or less are isolated singly and stand alone. Sometimes you have a couplet, two of them together. But now the whole procedure of the Proverbs change, and we now have longer proverbs. That is, they take two, three, four verses in the proverbs that we now follow. You'll notice this definite change, and rather than just little four-liners, they now expand on a particular thought.

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I may make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? ( Proverbs 22:17-21 )

So that whole paragraph now is the one idea of just hearken to the instruction that I'm going to give to you. Keep it. And basically the instruction is to teach you to trust in the Lord.

The next two verses form one thought.

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them ( Proverbs 22:22-23 ).

Again, God taking up the cause of the poor person. Twenty-four and twenty-five make up one thought.

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest you learn his ways, and get a snare in your soul ( Proverbs 22:24-25 ).

Twenty-six and twenty-seven are together.

Be not thou one of them that strikes hands, or of them that are surety for debts. For if you have nothing to pay, why should they take away your bed from under thee? ( Proverbs 22:26-27 )

How many people who have you known signed as a surety have been stung. So it's a warning against signing as a surety for someone else. Co-signing on this loan for me, friend, be careful.

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set ( Proverbs 22:28 ).

Now this, of course, came as a law in the book of Deuteronomy where they were prohibited from removing the landmarks. The landmarks have been established by God. Property ownership and the limits of that property ownership. "Remove not the landmark." I think of it in a spiritual sense. The landmark is the guidelines, and in a spiritual sense, unfortunately, we are living in the day when many men have sought to remove the spiritual type of landmarks or the foundational truths of the Word of God. And what confusion has ensued when men start playing around with the foundational truths of Christianity. Questioning the authority of the Word of God. Questioning the deity of Jesus Christ. And men starting to remove these landmarks. Confusion results.

You see a man that is diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men ( Proverbs 22:29 ).

Or in the Hebrew, obscure men. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 22". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-22.html. 2014.
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