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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Proverbs 15

Verses 1-33

A. Marks of Wise Living chs. 10-15

Solomon advocated choosing things that benefit and things that have true and lasting value. He pictured wise living in a variety of contexts. He urged making wise investments, valuing righteousness, and avoiding trouble. He also pointed out the fruits of wise living and concluded this section of the book with further advice for wise living.

Verses 1-33

8. Further advice for wise living chs. 14-15

These proverbs are more difficult to group together under a general heading because there are fewer common ideas that tie them together.

Verse 2

The contrast here is not between the quantity of words that the wise and the fool utter. It is the fact that the wise man considers what he says before he says it, but the fool does not. Consequently what the wise says is "acceptable" (lit. "good") and what the fool says is "folly" (unwise). This proverb deals with responsible speech.

"When you summarize what Proverbs teaches about human speech, you end up with four important propositions: (1) speech is an awesome gift from God; (2) speech can be used to do good; (3) speech can be used to do evil; and, (4) only God can help us use speech to do good." [Note: Wiersbe, p. 111.]

Verse 20

The full thought behind this verse seems to be, "The wise son honors and gladdens his father, the foolish laughs at and saddens his mother." [Note: Toy, p. 311.] It may imply that the fool is callous toward his mother. [Note: Kidner, p. 116.]

Verse 22

A person who makes his or her plans without asking for advice or comments from other people shows that he or she is excessively self-confident. However, someone who consults others and asks for their advice shows that he realizes he may be overlooking some factors and is not entirely self-confident (cf. Proverbs 11:14).

Verse 24

Everyone goes to Sheol (the grave) eventually (except believers who experience translation at the Rapture and do not die). However, the wise avoid Sheol as long as they can by being wise. Living wisely tends to prolong life.

"We may at least say that the language [of this proverb] anticipates what later Scripture will clearly teach about the ultimate destination of the way of life." [Note: Ross, p. 999.]

Verse 30

Happy people and good news both have a heartwarming effect. Good news also uplifts people. Healthy bones (lit. fat bones) represented health and prosperity to the Jews (cf. Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 25:25; Genesis 45:27-28; Isaiah 52:7-8).

Verse 33

The fear of Yahweh is not just the foundation of a wise life (Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10). It is also the whole path of wisdom. To fear the Lord amounts to being wise in one sense, though it is the foundation for wisdom in another (Proverbs 1:7).

Though Proverbs 15:33 b presents a universal truth, the humility in the context (Proverbs 15:33 a) is the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the willingness to humble oneself before God and to let His Word guide us.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 15". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/proverbs-15.html. 2012.