Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Proverbs 13

Verses 1-25

Proverbs 13:1-25 — Wealth Gained by a Righteous Heart, Guarding the Tongue and Diligence in Work - Proverbs 13:1-25 places emphasis upon the spirit, soul and body of man.

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Proverbs 13:4Word Study on "shall be made fat" - Strong says the Hebrew word "shall be made fat" ( דָּשֵׁן) (H 1878) literally means, "to be fat," and figuratively, "to satisfy."

Proverbs 13:4Comments- The lazy person sees the wealth of the diligent person and he wants these same things, but he never is able to obtain them. The diligent person is able to gain many things in this life, to the satisfying of his soul. Thus, in the eyes of the sluggard, the poor stay poor, and the rich become richer.

God doesn't mind if a man has things and becomes prosperous. If you work hard, you can have these things ( 1 Timothy 6:17).

1 Timothy 6:17, "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;"

Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.

Proverbs 13:7 — "there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches." - Comments- Moses left the royal courts of the richest nation on earth to serve the Lord with God"s people ( Hebrews 11:25).

Hebrews 11:25, "Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;"

Proverbs 13:8 The ransom of a man"s life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.

Proverbs 13:8Comments- Note other translations for a better understanding:

Brenton, "A man"s own wealth is the ransom of his life: but the poor endures not threatening."

Proverbs 13:8 reveals the good and bad aspects of being rich and of being poor. Although riches give one much comfort in life, it also attracts those who try to steal those riches. In contrast, a poor man may suffer without the comforts of life, but he does not bear the worry about losing his riches to thieves.

True wisdom evaluates every aspect of a situation. It is for this reason that wisdom sees the advantages and the disadvantages to being both rich and poor.

In the day of trouble, a man will give all of his riches in order to spare his own life. Illustrations:

1 Kings 20:34, "And Benhadad said unto him, The cities, which my father took from thy father, I will restore; and thou shalt make streets for thee in Damascus, as my father made in Samaria. Then said Ahab, I will send thee away with this covenant. So he made a covenant with him, and sent him away."

Jeremiah 41:8, "But ten men were found among them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not: for we have treasures in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he forbare, and slew them not among their brethren."

How common it is for very wealthy men to have their loved ones kidnapped just for the ransom. But a poor man does not have to worry about someone chasing after his riches. Rather, they are despised and overlooked. They are not given rebukes and threats upon their lives. Illustration:

2 Kings 25:11-12, "Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away. But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen."

Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10Comments- Proverbs 13:10 shows the true cause of contention and strive, namely, "pride" (see James 3:16). A person who humbly receives instruction and reproof will walk in wisdom. But the person with a prideful heart will argue with instruction, thus producing strife. With employees, the proud ones will not take instruction well, but rather will resist with strife. The humble employee will receive instruction and will become a very wise person in a company.

James 3:16, "For where envying and strife Isaiah, there is confusion and every evil work."

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

Proverbs 13:11 — "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished" - Comments- Within the context of the book of Proverbs, we learn that God leads us into prosperity after developing our spiritual, mental and physical well-being. This order of priority is found in chapter 3. Therefore, when wealth is gained without spiritual maturity and without the wisdom to manage it, a person makes bad decisions in managing it, and thus looses it.

It is the same foolish way of thinking that gave the person vain wealth that will cause this person to lose it. The Lord once said to me, "Faith brings a blessing, but wisdom manages that blessing." In other words, the Lord may give us something, but if we lack Wisdom of Solomon, we can lose the blessing that He gave us.

Proverbs 13:13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

Proverbs 13:13Word Study on "destroyed" - Strong says the Hebrew word "destroyed" ( חָבַל) (H 2254) means, "to wind tightly, to bind, especially by a pledge," and figuratively, "to pervert, to destroy." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 29 times in the Old Testament, being translated in KJV as, it is translated, "destroy 7, take a pledge 5, pledge 5, bands 2, brought forth 2, at all 1, corrupt 1, corruptly 1, offend 1, spoil 1, travaileth 1, very 1, withholden 1."

Comments- These two shades of meaning are clearly seen in various translations. It can mean, "to repay":

HNV, "Whoever despises instruction will pay for it, But he who respects a command will be rewarded."

Rotherham, "He that despiseth a matter, shall get pledged thereto, but, he that revereth a commandment, the same shall be recompensed."

Or, the word can mean, "to suffer":

JPS, "Whoso despiseth the word shall suffer thereby; but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded."

YLT, "Whoso is despising the Word is destroyed for it, And whoso is fearing the Command is repayed."

Proverbs 13:13Word Study on " rewarded" - Strong says the Hebrew word "rewarded" ( שָׁלַם) (H 7999) literally means, "to be safe," and it figuratively means, "to be completed." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 116 times in the Old Testament, being translated in KJV as, "pay 19, peace 11, recompense 11, reward 10, render 9, restore 8, repay 7, perform 7, good 6, end 4, requite 4, restitution 4, finished 3, again 3, amends 1, full 1, misc 8."

Proverbs 13:13Comments- The contrast in Proverbs 13:13 can be seen in the translation that says a man who despises God"s Word will have to pay for it, but one who fears the Word will be rewarded.

Proverbs 13:15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

Proverbs 13:15Word Study on "understanding" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "understanding" ( שֶׂכֶל) (H 7922) means, "understanding, intelligence, prudence." Strong says it means, "intelligence, success." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 16 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "understanding 7, Wisdom of Solomon 3, wise 1, prudence 1, knowledge 1, sense 1, discretion 1, policy 1."

Strong says ( שֶׂכֶל) (H 7922) comes from the primitive root ( שָׂכַל) (H 7919), which means, "to be circumspect, and hence, intelligent." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 63times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "understand 12, wise 12, prosper 8, wisely 6, understanding 5, consider 4, instruct 3, prudent 2, skill 2, teach 2, misc 7."

Comments- The Hebrew noun ( שֶׂכֶל) (H 7922) is a key word woven throughout in the book of Proverbs being used six times:

Proverbs 3:4, "So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man."

Proverbs 12:8, "A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised."

Proverbs 13:15, "Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard."

Proverbs 16:22, "Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly."

Proverbs 19:11, "The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression."

Proverbs 23:9, "Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words."

This word refers to the ability of a man to think straight in contrast to the person who has a twisted mind.

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Proverbs 13:20Illustration- One of the most life changing prayers that I ever prayed took place in the early 1990"s. I was working in the ministry of helps at my local church as an altar worker. I prayed that God would put me with a man of God in the church to strengthen me. I had been working for several years as a maintenance man at an apartment complex. In this type of occupation, many of the co-workers were uneducated and foolish sinners. In my grief of working in such an environment, I cried out to God for wise company.

Within a week after praying this prayer, I was asked to become the assistant to the man who was the minister over the altar workers. This gave me the opportunity for the next few years to rub shoulders with one of the greatest men of God in the church. As iron sharpens iron, this man sharpened my character for the better. As I walked with a wise Prayer of Manasseh, I became wise.

I later prayed for God to put me with a man of God in my work. Soon, I received a promotion into the position as a supervisor. This gave me the opportunity to work closely with a man of God who was the CEO of the company. I spent the next four years learning principles of management that prepared me for the mission field. Walking with the wise had made me wise.

God is so willing to hear our prayer for wisdom.

James 1:5, "If any of you lack Wisdom of Solomon, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."

Proverbs 13:22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children"s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.

Proverbs 13:22 — "and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just" - Illustration- This wealth is given to us by God sometimes during the greatest trials in our lives.

Abraham took the spoil of the heathen when his nephew was taken captive in war:

Genesis 14:16, "And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people."

The sons of Jacob took the spoil of Shalem, a city of Shechem, when their sister Dinah was defiled.

Genesis 34:27-29, "The sons of Jacob came upon the slain, and spoiled the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house."

The children of Israel spoiled the Egyptians when the land lay in ruins with death and destruction all around.

Exodus 12:36, "And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians."

God gave the children of Israel the spoils of the land of Canaan. But this spoil came through the challenges of war.

Psalm 105:44, "And gave them the lands of the heathen: and they inherited the labour of the people;"

David took the spoil of the Amalekites when they invaded Ziklag and took his wives and possessions.

1 Samuel 30:20, "And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David"s spoil."

These examples show us that if we will live a righteous life before God, that He will cause what the enemy meant for bad to result in our prosperity. For it was in the greatest trial of Job"s life that his greatest prosperity came. Because Job remained righteous in the midst of a trial, God caused all of those around him to bring him to prosperity.

Job 42:11-12, "Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses."

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Job 27:16, "Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay; He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver."

Ecclesiastes 2:26, "For God giveth to a man that is good in his sight Wisdom of Solomon, and knowledge, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit."

Proverbs 28:8, "He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor."

Proverbs 13:23 Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.

Proverbs 13:23Comments- Having lived in Africa, it became apparent to me that this is a continent that is rich in natural resources and potential wealth, but by injustice in corrupt leadership, this potential or prosperity has been swept away. Africa has resulted in remaining the poorest continent on earth as a result of this injustice.

Note other modern English translations:

BBE, "There is much food in the ploughed land of the poor; but it is taken away by wrongdoing."

WebsterBible, "Much food [is in] the tillage of the poor: but there is [that is] destroyed for want of judgment."

HNV, "An abundance of food is in poor people"s fields, But injustice sweeps it away."

JPS, "Much food is in the tillage of the poor; but there is that is swept away by want of righteousness."

Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 13:24 — "He that spareth his rod hateth his son" - Comments- The greatest example of this is in the life of Eli, the high priest. Eli did not punish his sons for defiling the priesthood. Therefore, God cut off Eli and his two sons in judgment.

1 Samuel 2:29, "Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?"

1 Samuel 3:13, "For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not."

Proverbs 13:24 — "but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" - Word Study on "betimes" - Strong says the Hebrew word "betimes" ( שָׁחַר) (H 7836) literally means, "to dawn," and figuratively, "to be early at any task, to search for (with painstaking)" The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 12times in the Old Testament, being translated in KJV as, "seek early 4, seek 2, diligently seek 2, betimes 1, misc 3." It means, "to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early or diligently for, (Qal) to look for diligently, seek, (Piel) to seek, seek early."

Comments- When a father loves his Song of Solomon, he is concerned about the well-being and future character of his son. Discipline is applied out of love. Therefore, he disciplines him "early", or in the childhood when correction is most effective.

Proverbs 13:24Comments- Proverbs 13:24 implies that a father"s love will give him the courage to discipline his son as often as it is needed. A loving father will not neglect this duty. This idea is in direct contrast to the word "spareth," or "withholdeth." The opposite of sparing the rod is diligently applying it.

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Deuteronomy 8:5, "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his Song of Solomon, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee."

Proverbs 3:12, "For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."

Proverbs 19:18, "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying."

Proverbs 22:15, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him."

Proverbs 23:13-14, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."

Proverbs 29:15, "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame."

Proverbs 29:17, "Correct thy Song of Solomon, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."

Hebrews 12:7, "If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"

Proverbs 13:25 The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Proverbs 13". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.