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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Proverbs 29

Verses 1-27

V. COLLECTION 5: SOLOMON’S MAXIMS EXPRESSING WISDOM CHS. 25-29

We return now to consider more proverbs of Solomon (cf. Proverbs 1:1 to Proverbs 22:16). Chapters 25-26 contain proverbs that are mainly comparisons. The key words in these chapters are "like . . . so." Chapter 27 is a mixture of comparative and antithetical proverbs. Chapters 28-29 contain maxims that are mainly contrasts marked by the word "but." In all these chapters there are mostly couplets but also some longer proverbs. I counted 66 proverbs in the group of analogies (Proverbs 25:1 to Proverbs 27:22) and 54 in the group of contrasts (chs. 28-29). This gives us 120 proverbs in this major section of the book if we exclude the discourse on prudence in Proverbs 27:23-27.

"The proverbs in these chapters differ in that there are more multiple line sayings and more similes; chapters 28-29 are similar to chapters 10-16, but chapters 25-27 differ in having few references to God." [Note: Ross, p. 1078.]

I shall again (in chs. 25-29, as in Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16) comment only on those verses that seem to me to need clarification.

Verses 1-27

D. Instructive Contrasts chs. 28-29

Most of the proverbs in this section are couplets, and most of them set forth a truth by means of a contrast.

Verse 11

"Always" is a poor translation. The idea is that fools customarily vent their feelings ("let it all hang out"), whereas wise individuals control themselves.

Verse 13

The poor man is the oppressed, and the oppressor is the rich. They are opposites in this regard. Both owe God their sight and really all the common blessings He bestows on everyone. Giving light to their eyes may mean giving them life (cf. Job 33:30; Psalms 13:3). [Note: Ross, p. 1114.]

Verse 16

We must take the divine perspective here as in all the proverbs. Some individual cases may not fit the principle, but generally the principle holds true. The righteous will prevail, and the wicked will fail, eventually.

Verse 18

The AV translation has resulted in misunderstanding of this proverb. The "vision" (Heb. hazon) does not refer to some dream of success a person may have but to a prophetic vision that was a revelation from God (cf. 1 Samuel 3:1). The Hebrew verb translated "perish" (AV; para) does not mean "die in their sins" (e.g., because someone did not see the "vision" of the importance of evangelism). It means "cast off restraint." Without the guidance of divine revelation people abandon themselves to their own sinful ways. God’s Word restrains human wickedness, and those who keep it are happy. Thus "a nation’s well-being depends on obedience to divine revelation." [Note: Ibid., p. 1116.] There must be knowledge of divine revelation through preaching for there to be obedience to it. [Note: Cf. Alden, p. 202.]

Verse 21

On the surface, this verse sounds as if it is a wise thing to pamper one’s slave. However, the point is that pampering, as opposed to disciplining, makes slaves disrespectful. A slave is not a son. To bring this parable over into modern life, an employee should not normally receive the same privileges as a son. If he does, the relationship essential to the effective operation of the business will suffer.

Verse 24

The bad thing about being a thief’s partner, is that when the thief gets caught, and the authorities haul his partner into court, the accomplice finds himself in a "no win" situation. If he defends his partner, he shares his guilt, but if he says nothing (or pleads the fifth amendment), his accusers assume he shares his guilt. Many a businessman has discovered this to his sorrow.

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 29". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/proverbs-29.html. 2012.