Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 16

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verse 1


(Proverbs 16),

The Lord’s Will Prevails

Verse 1, with verses 9 and 19:21, affirm that man is free to make his own plans but the LORD so orders related matters that His divine will prevails, 1 Kings 12:24; Genesis 50:20. Although man is free to plan, he is not of himself capable of directing his own steps and therefore needs divine guidance, Proverbs 20:24; Jeremiah 10:23.

Verse 2

The Lord Knows

Verse 2 declares that man is inclined to think that his ways are right though they are wrong; but the LORD judges the motives and knows what is right, Proverbs 21:2.

Verse 3

Ways Committed Are Established

Verse 3 directs that the plans and activities of the righteous (see Proverbs 12:5) be rolled upon the LORD, with confidence that such will be established, Psalms 55:22; Philippians 4:6. See examples in experience of David, 1 Samuel 17:45-50;and Daniel, Daniel 6:10-23.

Verse 4

The Lord Is Maker Of All

Verse 4 declares that the LORD made all. He did not make some wicked and others righteous; but created all with capacities to manifest the glory of God and freedom to accept or reject the means of salvation graciously provided, 2 Peter 3:9; James 1:13. The wicked will one day acknowledge the unquestioned glory of God, Revelation 5:10-13; Philippians 2:9-11; a glory all could share but many refuse.

Verse 5

Pride An Abomination

Verse 5 emphasizes a previous declaration that pride is an abomination to the LORD (See 7-fold list Proverbs 6:16-19 of which pride is first); and warns that though many indulge, it shall not escape punishment, Daniel 4:20-32; Daniel 5:22-30. See also Proverbs 16:18-19.

Verse 6

Grace Purges and Constrains

Verse 6 declares that it is by mercy and truth that iniquity is purged, and it is out of a submissive reverence for the LORD that purged men turn away from sin, Proverbs 2:10-12; Proverbs 20:28.

Verse 7

Pleasing the Lord

Verse 7 declares that the first consideration in dealing with men should be to please God first, then deal with men in accord with His standards and rest on His promise to provide security, Vs 7; Proverbs 29:25; Proverbs 11:1; Leviticus 19:32-36; Romans 12:17-18; Genesis 33:4; 2 Chronicles 17:10; Daniel 6:4.

Verse 8

Right With the Lord

Verse 8 declares that it is better to have little and be right with the LORD than to have great wealth without a right relationship with God. Proverbs 15:16 states this principle with emphasis on the temporal consequences. This passage embraces the relationship with the LORD which has both temporal and eternal consequences, Ecclesiastes 5:19; Proverbs 28:20; Proverbs 23:5; Luke 12:16-21; Luke 16:19-26.

Verse 9

Verse 9- (See comment on Proverbs 16:1.)

Verse 10

Proper Exercise of Authority

Verse 10 affirms the responsibility of the king to adhere strictly to divine instructions in the exercise of his duties; to transgress not in so doing, Deuteronomy 17:14-15; Deuteronomy 17:18-20; Joshua 1:8.

Verse 11

Verse 11 emphasizes that just weights and measures are decreed by the LORD and the stones and receptacles authorized by the king as standards are ordered by the LORD, Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 25:13-15. Undersized stones and measures used by the dishonest are reproved in strong terms, Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 20:10; Proverbs 20:23. The LORD has the same concern for fairness today, 2 Corinthians 8:21; Romans 12:17.

Verse 12

Verse 12 suggests that kings who rule rightly are intolerable of wickedness because it is righteousness that establishes the throne and exalts the nation, Proverbs 11:11; Proverbs 14:34; Proverbs 25:5. Wickedness destroys, Proverbs 5:22; Proverbs 11:5; Proverbs 12:3.

Verse 13

Verse 13 declares that kings who rule rightly delight in truth and love truthful advisers, Proverbs 14:35 a.

Verse 14

Verse 14 recognizes the fear of death experienced by one who incurs the wrath of a king empowered to exact the death penalty; and commends as wise- the one who pacifies or appeases the wrathful person, Proverbs 19:12; Proverbs 20:2; 1 Samuel 19:1; 1 Samuel 19:4-6; Ephesians 4:26.

Verse 15

Verse 15 emphasizes further how much the attitude of the king affects those over whom he has authority. When his face and actions indicate he is pleased, it impacts upon the people as the spring rain cloud which meant blessing to the people of a dry thirsty land, Proverbs 19:12; Job 29:23; Zechariah 10:1.

NOTE: Although one does not have the far reaching authority of a king, he is responsible for the measure of authority he has over others. Wherever one has the power to lift or cast down, help or hinder, instruct or ignore, or cause happiness or misery, he is accountable to God, Proverbs Psalms 9:7-8; Psalms 96:13; Psalms 98:9; Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1.

Verse 16

Verse 16- (See comment on 3:13-14; 8:10,11,19.)

Verse 17

Verse 17-(See comment on 2:7-11 and 16:6.)

Verse 18

Consequence of Pride and Arrogance

Verse 18 warns that sinful pride (an exalted false opinion of oneself) and a haughty spirit (an arrogant, overbearing manner) lead to humiliation and destruction, Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 18:12; Proverbs 29:23. See examples Jeremiah 49:16; Daniel 4:30-33; Obadiah 1:3-4; Acts 12:21-23.

Verse 19

Humility and Honesty Is Better

Verse 19 declares that the humble and honest poor fare better than they who fellowship with and share the dishonest gain of the proud, Proverbs 3:34; Proverbs 29:23; Isaiah 57:15; Proverbs 1:13-19; Exodus 15:9-10.

Verse 20

Trust and Happiness

Verse 20 (RV) declares that he that giveth heed unto the word shall find good; and states in the second line that happiness is gained by trusting the LORD (Jehovah). In order to trust the LORD there must be true knowledge of Him and that is gained through His word which reveals His love, truth and desire to bless, Proverbs 19:8; Romans 10:17; Psalms 2:12; Psalms 34:8; Psalms 119:49-50; Psalms 119:81; Psalms 130:5; Jeremiah 17:7.

Verse 21

Wisdom Shows

Verse 21 suggests that true wisdom will show in the conduct of the wise person. He will be known for his good judgment and clarity of speech, Vs 21; Vs 23; Hosea 14:9.

Verse 22

Spiritual Refreshment

Verse 22 declares that understanding, like a spring of good water, is a source of spiritual refreshment to him -that has it; but the instruction (correction - RV) of fools is folly, Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 18:4; Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 15:21.

Verse 23

Verse 23-(See comment on Vs 21.)

Verse 24

Pleasant Words Beneficial

Verse 24 suggests that as honey is sweet and beneficial to the physical well being, so pleasant words when appropriate, are comforting and beneficial to the spiritual health, Proverbs 15:26; Proverbs 24:13-14; Proverbs 4:20-22; Proverbs 17:22; Psalms 19:10.

Verse 25

Verse 25- (See comment on Proverbs 14:12.)

Verse 26

Hunger Prompts Labor

Verse 26 (RV) explains that the appetite of a laboring man prompts him to labor. This is in accord with Ecclesiastes 6:7; Genesis 3:19; 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

Verses 27-30

Evil Ways of Mischief Makers

Verses 27-30 describe evil ways of mischief makers who:

1) plan evil as one who digs a pit into which others fall, and create ill feeling with inflammatory words, Vs 27; Proverbs 6:12; Proverbs 6:14-15; James 3:6.

2) spread strife, as a whisperer (tale-bearer), causing ill feeling between close friends, Vs 28; Proverbs 15:8; Proverbs 17:9; Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 26:20-22; Proverbs 29:22.

3) with vigor and pressure entice neighbors Into wicked ways offensive to God and harmful to men, Vs 29; Proverbs 12:26.

4) use even the physical gestures of the body (winking, facial expressions, use of hands, etc.) to aid effecting wicked plans, Vs 30; Proverbs 6:13; Proverbs 10:10; Psalms 35:19-20.

Verse 31

Old Age With Honor

Verse 31 (without fete unwarranted "IF") declares that the white or gray head is a crown of beauty (margin) upon the head of one who has lived an upright life. Long life with peace is the promise of Proverbs 3:1-2; Proverbs 3:13-16 and a great testimony to the younger. How sad is the sight of a white head without peace, Job 21:7-8; Job 21:27-30.

Verse 32

Self Control

Verse 32 emphasizes the great importance of self control and patience; more important than ruling a city, of greater stature than the mighty, Proverbs 14:17; Proverbs 14:29; Proverbs 25:28; Proverbs 29:11; James 1:19-20.

Verse 33

God’s Will Controls

Verse 33 is a positive declaration that although the lot was used in certain O. T. choices, the outcome was the will of the LORD, Vs 1; 1 Samuel 10:17-24; Numbers 27:15-23.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 16". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.