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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Proverbs 13

Verses 1-25

7. Fruits of wise living ch. 13

Verse 3

This caution applies to inappropriate transparency as well as verbose communication. Both can bring ruin to the speaker.

Verse 4

The "soul" stands for the whole person (cf. Matthew 16:24-27; Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9; Luke 9:56; Romans 13:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; James 1:21; James 5:20).

"The slothful wishes and dreams of prosperity and abundance . . . but his desire remains unsatisfied, since the object is not gained but only lost by doing nothing; the industrious gain, and that richly, what the slothful wishes for, but in vain." [Note: Franz Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on the Proverbs of Solomon, 1:272.]

". . . fatness, originally the sign of animal and vegetable health and vigor, is used as general symbol of prosperity." [Note: Toy, p. 262.]

Verse 8

The idea in this contrast is that a rich man may lose his money by having to buy himself out of trouble. A poor man is not the target of robbers and kidnappers because he has little money. The more money a person has the more financial obligations become his, but a poor man is free of these distractions. Another view is that the poor man cannot buy himself out of trouble since his means are limited. [Note: McKane, p. 458.]

Verse 11

Wealth obtained by fraud would be money gotten by not working for it. This kind of income dwindles, in that: though it is "easy come," it is also "easy go."

"This is a warning against wild speculation." [Note: Ross, p. 977.]

Verse 19

Even though it is pleasant to hope for something better and then see it happen, a fool will not do so because he would rather continue practicing evil. Fools characteristically do not hope for higher things. They only want to continue in evil.

"In spite of the sweetness of good desires accomplished, fools will not forsake evil to attain it." [Note: T. T. Perowne, The Proverbs, p. 103.]

Verse 24

"’Spare the rod and spoil the child.’ This common maxim (a one-size-fits-all approach to child discipline) is often wrongly attributed to the Bible. (This maxim comes from a poem written by Samuel Butler in 1664.) In reality the book of Proverbs, when taken as a whole, encourages its readers to use multiple levels of discipline ranging from pointing out improper behavior to the use of corporal punishment." [Note: Paul D. Wegner, "Discipline in the Book of Proverbs: ’To Spank or Not To Spank?’" Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48:4 (December 2005):715-32. See also Waltke, The Book . . ., p. 574.]

"The proverb simply commends bodily chastisement as a means of training; details are left to the judgment of parents . . ." [Note: Toy, p. 278.]

Verse 25

This proverb illustrates the difference between a proverb and a promise. It expresses a condition that is generally true in this life-all other things being equal. However, God never promised that He would keep every righteous person from starving to death (cf. Matthew 6:33; Leviticus 26). David’s statement that he had never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread (Psalms 37:25) was a personal testimony, not a guarantee that God will always provide all the physical needs of all the righteous.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 13". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/proverbs-13.html. 2012.