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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 10

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verse 1


(Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16)

A. Contrasting Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 15:33

child conduct

(Proverbs 10:1))

Verse 1 declares that right conduct by a child brings gladness to father and mother, but foolish or evil actions by son or daughter cause sorrow and pain to parents. Many Scriptures confirm this teaching, Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 17:21; Proverbs 17:25; Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 28:7; Genesis 47:12; Genesis 48:2; Genesis 26:34-35; Genesis 27:42-46.

Verses 2-3

Righteousness Vs Wickedness

(Proverbs 10:2-3)

Verses 2-3 affirm that treasures obtained by wickedness will eventually be unprofitable, 2 Kings 5:20-27; Psalms 49:6-8; Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 11:28; Luke 12:20; Ecclesiastes 5:10; 1 Timothy 6:9; Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 16:26. However, righteousness, right standing with God, provides security in life and delivers from death. Whatever may be their material possessions, the righteous are rich in the things that count in this life, and in the life beyond, Vs. 20-22; Proverbs 11:4; Proverbs 13:21; Proverbs 14:32: Romans 6:23. (See also comment on Proverbs 11:19.)

Verses 4-5

Diligence and Laziness

(Proverbs 10:4-5)

Verses 4-5 reveal the consequences of diligence and laziness. God has ordered that man should labor for his food and physical necessities, Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; He that labors diligently in season will prosper, Proverbs 13:4. The lazy and slack-handed will become poor and bring shame to the family, Proverbs 6:6-11; Proverbs 17:2; Proverbs 19:15; Proverbs 19:26; Proverbs 24:30-34; Proverbs 30:25; Genesis 26:12-13.

Verses 6-7

The Just and the Wicked

(Proverbs 10:5-7)

Verses 6 and 7 declare blessings for the just (upright). These blessings are from the LORD (Vs. 22) and may, to some extent, have been asked for by grateful neighbors (compare Proverbs 11:26; Job 29:12-13). Even the memory of these just ones is treasured, Vs. 7; Proverbs 22:1; Psalms 112:6.
Verses 6 and 7 also present the wicked in sad contrast. In life, violence or evil is reflected in their face and speech. Their shame will live on after they are gone (Psalms 9:16), as is seen in the remembrance of the names of Cain, Balaam, Jezebel, Herod, Judas, etc. Judges 1:11; 2 Kings 10:30-36; Acts 12:21-23; Matthew 27:3-5; Matthew 12:35-36.

Verses 8-9

Wise and Foolish

(Proverbs 10:8-9)

Verse 8 declares that the wise will obey commandments and submit to proper authority, as did Abraham (Genesis 22:1-10) and the widow (1 Kings 17:13-16). The talkative know-it-all will talk big but not yield to divine authority. In the end he comes to ruin. Psalms 78:8; Psalms 78:37; 1 Samuel 15:23.

Verse 9 declares that he who walks uprightly (Isaiah 2:5; Micah 6:8; 2 Corinthians 5:7), walks surely. Like he who follows the good Shepherd, he has nothing to fear, Psalms 23:4. But he who perverteth his ways in ungodly pursuits cannot hide forever. He will be found out, 1 Timothy 5:25; Matthew 10:26; Luke 12:2.

Verses 10-14

Speech and Influence

(Proverbs 10:10-14)

Verse 10a declares that even a gesture can cause sorrow. Verse 10b is a duplicate of the latter part of verse 8. The LXX renders this part, "a frank rebuke will make for peace."

Verse 11 declares that the mouth or speech of the righteous is a well of life (spiritual life derived from the LORD, Psalms 36:7-9) and manifested in the conduct of the righteous, Psalms 37:30; John 8:12. In contrast is the malice and mischief manifested in the speech of the wicked, Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 16:22; Matthew 12:35.

Verse 12 contrasts the tendency of hatred to provoke strife with the conciliating influence of love, Genesis 21:9-11; Genesis 27:41-42; Acts 13:50; Genesis 40:15; Genesis 45:5-8; Philemon 1:9-18; James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:7.

Verse 13 declares that wisdom is found in the words of one who has understanding, Proverbs 2:2; Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 4:7; Proverbs 16:2. The LORD has promised to instruct and guide those who seek understanding (Psalms 32:8), but there is a rod for those who ignore His offer, Vs. 13b; Proverbs 26:3; Psalms 32:9; Matthew 12:35.

Verse 14a emphasizes that it is wise to store up knowledge of truth and understanding to meet legitimate needs as they arise, Proverbs 15:2; Proverbs 15:28; 1 Peter 3:15.

Verse 14b contrasts the tendency of the foolish who lay not up knowledge, yet are quick to speak unadvisedly on every subject, to the detriment of self and others, Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 15:2; Proverbs 18:6-7; Psalms 50:19-20; Psalms 52:2-4.

Verse 15

Poverty and Wealth

(Proverbs 10:15)

Verse 15 contrasts wealth, regarded by the rich as their strength, with the ills to which poverty exposes the poor (see Proverbs 14:20; Proverbs 19:7; Proverbs 22:7). Job said if he regarded riches as his hope, it was an iniquity for which he would be punished, Job 31:24; Job 31:18. David warned of God’s judgment on the man who made not God his strength, but trusted in his riches, Psalms 52:5-7. Paul also urged Timothy to charge the rich to trust the living God rather than uncertain riches, 1 Timothy 6:17. The lesson here is that one should face the reality of the disadvantages of poverty with trust in the LORD. This, however, is not an excuse for laziness, Proverbs 6:6-11, nor despair, Psalms 37:25.)

Verses 16-17

Life and Influence

(Proverbs 10:16-17)

Verse 16 teaches that character, not poverty or wealth, governs the quality of one’s life. The righteous use their assets to promote spiritual life. The wicked use their fruit or increase to indulge more and more in sin, Proverbs 8:35-36; Proverbs 9:6; Proverbs 19:23; Proverbs 14:34.

Verse 17 contrasts the blessings of those in the way of life who hold fast to instruction with the stubbornness of those who refuse reproof, erring themselves and also causing others to err, Proverbs 1:8-9; Proverbs 4:1; Proverbs 4:10; Proverbs 4:13; Proverbs 4:20-22; Proverbs 1:23-28; Matthew 23:13; Luke 11:52.

Verse 18


(Proverbs 10:18)

Verse 18 reveals and reproves two evils of the hater. To hide hatred in the heart one must lie. To spread slander marks one as a fool. Both are condemned in Psalms 15:3; Psalms 101:5; Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20.

Verses 19-21

Words About Words

(Proverbs 10:19-21)

Verse 19 bids the wise to use words sparingly because in the multitude of words there is no lack of sin, Ecclesiastes 5:2-3; James 3:2.

Verse 20 contrasts the tongue, the instrument of the mind, with the heart or mind itself and reveals that one’s words are an index to his own worth. The words of the just are of great value, as choice silver. The words of the wicked are of little worth, as a filing or scraping of worthless metal. 1 Samuel 1:13; Matthew 12:34-35; Luke 6:45.

Verse 21 declares that wise words of the righteous nourish and guide many. Through the true witness of the gospel many find eternal life, Acts 4:1-4. Through the teaching of the truth many are strengthened. 2 Chronicles 30:22; Galatians 6:6; 2 Timothy 2:2. The fool who likes his folly and cares not for the truth dies for the lack of wisdom, Proverbs 1:20-22; Proverbs 1:24-27; Luke 12:16-21.

Verse 22

Riches Bestowed By the Lord

(Proverbs 10:22)

Verse 22 declares with emphasis that the blessing of the LORD maketh rich. This is demonstrated in the blessing of Abraham, Genesis 24:36; Isaac, Genesis 25:11; Genesis 26:12-13; Solomon, 1 Kings 3:13; Job 42:10. This is not a blanket promise that all shall be made rich, neither does it imply that labor is not necessary. God has promised the righteous would not beg bread (Psalms 37:25), subject to His decree that honest labor be performed (Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). God blesses with riches according to His wisdom and purpose. And when He does so bless He adds no sorrow such as befall those who acquire wealth by evil and dishonest means, Proverbs 11:28; James 5:1-6; Psalms 52:1-7; Mark 10:24; Luke 12:20-21.

Verse 23

Delight Justified Or Foolish

(Proverbs 10:23)

Verse 23 affirms that the fool finds pleasure in evil conduct; but a man of understanding hath wisdom and delights in upright conduct, Proverbs 14:9; Proverbs 15:21; Philippians 4:8-9.

Verses 24-25

Future Destiny

(Proverbs 10:24-25)

Verse 24 declares that what the wicked seek to ignore, yet shrink from with dread, ’is ultimately inescapable. They shall face the condemning judgment of God, Job 15:20-21; Job 21:30; Psalms 11:6; Proverbs 11:5; Proverbs 16:4; Proverbs 21:12. Fulfillment of the desire of the righteous to see God is just as certain, but for them it will be the beginning of eternal and inexpressible glory, Proverbs 3:34; Luke 17:24; Colossians 3:4; 1 Peter 5:10; 1 John 3:2.

Verse 25 emphasizes the suddenness of the calamity that will come upon the wicked in contrast with the enduring security of the righteous, Proverbs 1:27; Proverbs 6:15; Proverbs 24:22; Proverbs 29:1.

Verse 26

The Sluggard

(Proverbs 10:26)

Verse 26 suggests that as smoke irritates the eyes and vinegar hurts the teeth, so will the sluggard be a pain to the employer, Proverbs 6:6-11; Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 18:9; Proverbs 26:16.

Verses 27-30

Future Destiny

(Proverbs 10:27-30)

Verse 27 contrasts the longevity the LORD grants to those who fear Him with the shortened life of the wicked, Proverbs 3:2; Proverbs 3:16; Proverbs 9:11; Proverbs 11:19; Job 15:32-33; Job 22:15-16; Psalms 55:23; Ecclesiastes 7:17; Proverbs 1:7 on fear of the LORD.

Verse 28 assures that the righteous shall find the joy they desire, but the hopes of the wicked shall fail, Proverbs 11:7; Job 8:13-14; Job 11:20.

Verse 29 declares that what is a stronghold to the righteous is destruction to the wicked. AV and RV render the stronghold as "The Way of the LORD." RSV has it "The LORD is a stronghold." Compare Job 17:9; Psalms 28:7-8; Isaiah 40:31; Zechariah 10:12; Philippians 4:13; Proverbs 21:15; Proverbs 29:1; Psalms 1:6; John 14:6.

Verse 30 repeats the divine law respecting occupancy of the earth; the righteous shall, the wicked shall not. Psalms 37:9; Psalms 37:11; Matthew 5:5; Revelation 21:1-4; Revelation 21:8.

Verses 31-32

Use of the Tongue

(Proverbs 10:31-32)

Verse 31 declares that the just bring forth wisdom in their speech (buds of wisdom that expand), but the flow of perversity from wicked tongues shall be stopped, Proverbs 2:12-15; Proverbs 6:14; Proverbs 8:13; Proverbs 16:28; Proverbs 16:30; Proverbs 17:20.

Verse 32 declares that the righteous know and speak what is acceptable, but the wicked speak that which is perverse and distorted, Proverbs 6:23; Proverbs 8:13; Matthew 12:35-37; James 3:6-8.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 10". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/proverbs-10.html. 1985.
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