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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 14

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verse 1


(Proverbs 14)

Women Wise and Foolish

Verse 1 acknowledges the importance of the wise woman in establishing the right kind of home. In contrast is the destructive influence of the foolish woman, Vs 1;Proverbs 12:4; Proverbs 31:10-31.

Verse 2

Reverence Or Contempt

Verse 2 declares that true reverence for the LORD is demonstrated by obedience to Him; but he who is willfully disobedient shows contempt for the LORD, Proverbs 19:1; Proverbs 28:6; John 14:15.

Verse 3

Use of the Tongue

Verse 3 contrasts the impact of speech practices of the foolish and the wise. The foolish are not mentally deficient but arrogant, rebellious, despisers of the LORD. Their speech is said to be a rod (sprig) of pride, because it proceeds from an evil nature which, if not changed by Divine power, leads to destruction, Proverbs 10:14; Proverbs 13:3; Proverbs 18:7. The wise guided by the power and counsel of wisdom, are delivered from the ills of evil speaking and use their power of speech to honor the LORD and do His bidding, Proverbs 2:10-12; Proverbs 12:6; Proverbs 19:1; Psalms 145:20-21.

Verse 4

Clean But Unproductive

Verse 4 suggests tat to have no oxen at work may result in a clean crib, but will not provide grain. It is better to have oxen at work producing grain, although such will require clean-up work. Honest labor is God’s plan for man, Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; Ephesians 4:28. This principle should be applied wherever the need for honorable productivity is being sacrificed for sake of show or ease.

Verse 5

Witness True and False

Verse 5-See comment on 6:12-19 and 12:17.)

Verse 6

Wisdom Gained or Scorned

Verse 6 explains that the scorner fails to find wisdom because he seeks with scorn for the LORD (Matthew 13:15; 1 Corinthians 1:28; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8) rather than with the submissive reverence (Fear of the LORD), which is the beginning of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10. Wisdom comes easy to those who seek from the true source, Proverbs 1:20-23; Proverbs 17:24.

Verses 6-27

Benefits of Right Relationship With the Lord

Verses 26 and 27 refer to benefits bestowed upon those who fear (have a right attitude toward) the LORD (see comment on Proverbs 1:7 a). These benefits are a sense of Divine watchcare that provides physical safety in the stresses of life and assures eternal security beyond this life. Such confidence is seen in the experiences of Abraham, Hebrews 11:17-19; Hebrew children, Daniel 3:17-27; Paul, 2 Timothy 4:6-8. These assurances are a fountain of life, a source of spiritual enrichment that protect from the traps that ensnare those without a right relationship with the LORD. See comment on Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 16:22.

Verse 7

Depart From Fools

Verse 7 is an admonition to not waste time with a foolish person when it is evident that his pronouncements are devoid of truth, Proverbs 9:7-8; Matthew 7:6.

Verse 8

Honesty and Deceit

Verse 8 declares that the wise man will seek to understand and follow the RIGHT course in the choices and decisions he makes; but the folly of fools will be revealed in their oft repeated efforts to deceive, Vs. 18; Vs. 24;Proverbs 15:21; Proverbs 19:25; Proverbs 28:5; Proverbs 12:5; Proverbs 12:17; Proverbs 12:20; Proverbs 14:25; Proverbs 26:24.

Verse 9

Fools Mock Sin

Verse 9 contrasts the slight regard fools have for sin and its evil consequences with the concern of the righteous for exemplary conduct which assures the favor of God and men, Proverbs 12:2; Proverbs 15:8; Proverbs 11:27; Proverbs 14:35. (The mockery in this verse may include attempts to compensate for willful sin with sacrifice, or outward religious or benevolent gesture.)

Verse 10

Unsharable Experiences

Verse 10 emphasizes the solitary nature of the human spirit. There is an aspect of sorrow and joy that cannot be shared by other human beings, be they ever so considerate. It is a comfort, however, to know that the LORD above understand and is willing to help in every situation experienced by His own, Daniel 3:23-27; Psalms 23; Acts 27:20-25; Matthew 6:8; Matthew 6:32-33.

Verse 11

Verse 11- (See comment on 10:2-3.)

Verse 12

Fatal Self Delusion

Verse 12 and its exact repetition at Proverbs 16:25 reveals the fatal delusion of accepting as right what seem right to man. This appeals to man’s conceit and permits his indulgence in whatever suits his sinful nature; but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 3:5 specifically admonishes to trust not one’s own understanding but rather trust in the LORD. Jeremiah 10:23 emphasizes that man is not capable of directing his own way. Man may insist on going his own way but his actions are under the scrutiny of the LORD `and the consequences are fatal. See Proverbs 5:21-23; Psalms 9:16-17.

Verse 13

Joy and Sorrow

Verse 13 suggests that in this life joys will not eliminate sorrows, Job 14:1; Ecclesiastes 2:1-2; 2 Corinthians 6:10. (For the child of God the day comes when all sorrow shall end, Revelation 21:4.)

Verse 14

Satisfaction True and False

Verse 14 contrasts the ways that satisfy the backslider and the upright. The backslider, misguided and with darkened understanding, has a false sense of satisfaction pursuing his own ways; but the upright man, walking according to Divine instructions has the satisfying testimony of his conscience that he is pleasing God, Psalms 36:4; Isaiah 65:2; Deuteronomy 32:5; Isaiah 3:10-11; 2 Corinthians 1:12. (Compare testimonies of King Saul and the Apostle Paul, 1 Samuel 26:21; 2 Timothy 4:7.)

Verse 15

Simple or Prudent

Verse 15 declares that the simple (immature, easily led) are prone to accept hearsay without question; but the prudent take time for thought and verification as the Scriptures admonish, Proverbs 17:4; Proverbs 22:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1.

Verse 16

Wisdom Or Conceit

Verse 16 declares that the wise depart from, do not dally with evil; but the conceited and over-confident foolishly expose themselves, Proverbs 3:7; Proverbs 22:3; Proverbs 27:12; Psalms 34:14; Romans 12:16.

Verse 17

Quick Tempered or Deliberate

Verse 17 describes two kinds of evil: the action of the quick tempered who acts impetuously according to his emotions; and the carefully designed evil plans of the wicked man. God says to control temper is better than the mighty or to subdue a city (Proverbs 16:32); He says the heart that devises evil is among the things HE hates (Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 6:18; Proverbs 14:29; Proverbs 19:11; Proverbs 3:29; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 24:8).

Verse 18

Life’s Accumulations

Verse 18 sums up the accumulations of life in a word. The Simple having yielded to the way of folly instead of heeding the oft repeated calls of Wisdom comes to the end with nothing but folly and its grievous consequences, Proverbs 1:30-32; Proverbs 14:24. In contrast are the wise who have laid up a crown of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, Proverbs 4:5-7; Proverbs 14:24; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27; 2 Timothy 4:5.

Verse 19

Right Will Triumph

Verse 19 affirms that the wicked will respectfully acknowledge righteousness. Only occasionally and reluctantly is this seen now, but the LORD is worthy and all will one day honor Him, Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:9-11. The Scriptures also assure that redeemed men will one day reign with Him, 2 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10.

Verses 20-21

Regard For the Poor

Verses 20 and 21, considered in the light of references listed below, contrast the regard of God and man for the poor. It is often true that friends and neighbors of the poor are the fair weather kind who renege when a need arises (Proverbs 19:4; Proverbs 19:7). To respect the rich and disregard or despise the poor is a lack of wisdom (Proverbs 11:12); a sin (James 2:9); and a reproach to God (Proverbs 17:5). To have compassion for the poor and help them is as lending to the LORD and assures His blessing, Proverbs 19:17; Psalms 41:1. Jesus commended the example of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:29-37.

Verse 22

Condemned or Commended

Verse 22 declares that they who plan evil go astray from right and 12:2 states that the LORD condemns such, Proverbs 3:29; Psalms 36:1-4; Micah 2:1. The second line commends those who devise good with assurance that the loving-kindness (mercy) and unvarying truth of the LORD undergirds them, Proverbs 3:3-6; Psalms 136:1-26.

Verse 23

Work or Want

Verse 23 suggests that honest labor brings profit; but all talk and no labor tendeth only to poverty, Proverbs 13:11; Proverbs 21:6.

Verse 24

True Gain or Loss

Verse 24 suggests that the crown or reward of the wise is the true riches of wisdom; but the accomplishment of fools is the hopelessness that attends folly, Proverbs 3:35; Proverbs 8:11; Proverbs 8:18-19; Proverbs 16:16; Daniel 12:2-3; Psalms 5:5; Matthew 7:26; Luke 12:20.

Verse 25

Truth or Falsehood

Verse 25 is construed by some as applying only to the impact of truth and lies in court testimony. However, the principle may be applied to the impact of truth and lies on the eternal destiny of man. The truth rightly presented sets men free from the error that destroys not only life but souls. Deceitful witnesses who distort and suppress truth lead men to eternal destruction, Proverbs 12:22; Psalms 43:3-4; Psalms 119:142; John 8:32; John 14:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:10;2 Timothy 3:7-9.

Verse 28

Worthy Leadership

Verse 28 declares that the worth of a leader is measured by the multitude of his followers; the leader without followers has a meaningless title. Solomon sought wisdom from God and influenced many, 1 Kings 3:8-12; 1 Kings 4:34. The New Testament admonition for worthwhile leadership is found in Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12.

Verse 29

Self Control or Impetuousness

Verse 29 declared that he that is slow to act in anger manifests great understanding; but he that is hasty in decisions and actions publicizes his folly, Proverbs 15:18; James 1:19 (See further comments on Proverbs 14:17).

Verse 30

Attitude and Health.

Verse 30 declares that a peaceful heart or mind promotes physical well being; but envy is destructive to health, Proverbs 15:13; Proverbs 17:22; Job


Verse 31

God’s Concern For Poor

Verse 31 emphasizes God’s concern for the poor and needy. God is the creator of all, including the poor, (Job 31:15-16) and God is reproached by any who oppresses the poor, Proverbs 14:31; Proverbs 17:5. He that honors God has mercy on (shows kindness to) the needy, Proverbs 14:31; 1 John 3:17-18.

Verse 32

A Glimpse of Life’s End

Verse 32 presents a glimpse of life’s end. The wicked is driven away (separation without hope is implied, Proverbs 11:7); but the righteous has hope in his death, Job 13:15; Psalms 23:4; Psalms 23:6; Psalms 31:5; 2 Corinthians 1:9; 2 Timothy 4:18. (Luke 16:22-31 explains the continuing hopelessness of the wicked after death.)

Verse 33

Discretion Or Folly

Verse 33 reveals that a wise person does not flaunt or make a show of his wisdom; but a fool will use every opportunity to display his ignorance, Proverbs 12:23; Proverbs 12:16; Proverbs 29:11.

Verse 34

A Nation’s Exaltation Or Disgrace

Verse 34 declares God’s evaluation of nations and people. Righteousness exalts but sin is a reproach or disgrace to any people, Proverbs 14:11; Proverbs 16:12. By this standard God has exalted or permitted decline of nations. Examples of Divine exaltation are seen in Deuteronomy 4:5-6; Joshua 1:8; Joshua 10:41-41; Joshua 23:14. Examples or warnings of judgment because of sin are seen in Leviticus 18:1-3; Exodus 17:14-16; Amos 1:3; Amos 1:6; Amos 1:9; Amos 1:11; Amos 1:13. (These principles also apply to groups or individuals - righteousness exalts, sin disgraces and destroys.

Verse 35

Wisdom Or Folly

Verse 35 declares that a servant, person or employee, who exercises wisdom in performing his required duties will incur the favor of his superior; but those who bring shame upon him will receive his displeasure, Proverbs 22:29.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 14". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/proverbs-14.html. 1985.
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