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Thursday, November 30th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 10

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Verse 1


From Proverbs 10:1 there is a remarkable change in the form of how Solomon passes on his proverbs. This changed form runs through until Proverbs 22:16. We do not find the powerful instructions there to seek wisdom and no long speeches with clear situations and persons or personifications. Instead we find what corresponds to the name of the book, Proverbs, a collection of brief and concise proverbs or pronouncements. There are about three hundred and seventy-five of them.

In the first part of the book, Proverbs 1-9, it is about two persons: the Woman of Wisdom and the Woman of Folly. In this second part, Proverbs 10:1-22:16, it is about two kinds of persons, of which each kind follows one of the mentioned women. The one kind is wise, righteous, good, etcetera; the other kind is foolish, ungodly, evil, etcetera.

The form of the proverbs in this second part consists, with a few exceptions, of two lines of the verse, whereby the second line works out the thought of the first line. This way of writing is called ‘parallelism’. The lines run parallel.

We will encounter three main types of parallelism. It is worthwhile to pay attention to that.

1. There are parallels that correspond with one another, which is also called synonymous parallelism. In that case a similar thought of the first line of the verse is repeated in the second line of the verse, written in other words. It is two parts that reflect one thought. An example of it is:
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling. (Proverbs 16:18)

2. There are also parallels that stand against one another, that form a contrast which is called antithetic parallelism. In that case, the opposite of what is said in the first line of the verse is written in the second line of the verse. That is often rendered by the word ‘but’ at the beginning of the second line of the verse. An example of it is:
A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)

3. A third form of parallelism is the complementary form, called synthetic parallelism. Thereby the second line of the verse gives a complement to the first line of the verse. The thought of the first line of the verse is elaborated in the second line of the verse. It is often rendered by the word ‘and’ at the beginning of the second line of the verse. An example of that is:
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)

The use of these different kinds of ‘parallelism’ will make us experience the power of the separate proverbs even more. Moreover, we find this use of parallelism also in the Psalms and in Ecclesiastes.

The proverbs in this second part mainly deal with the consequences of a good or bad action. In the epistle to the Galatians, Paul says it like this: “For whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-Ruth :). The proverbs that now follow help with making and stimulating to make the good choice; in other words, sow to the Spirit. There is no such thing as a predestination for making a choice, as if it would be inevitable to make that choice. That would exclude one’s own responsibility. This book makes it clear that everyone is responsible for the choice that he makes and in that way for the consequences of that choice. That makes this book so important.

There is no clear rank order to be remarked in this part of the book, although it occurs sometimes that two or more successive proverbs are related to one another. In that case it appears from a theme or a word which is mentioned in the successive verses. The fact that in most cases there is no relation between the verses, compels the reader to examine profoundly the meaning of one single certain verse, so one specific proverb, before he goes to the following proverb.

That the context is missing, in any case in our sight, also connects to the course of daily life in which all things do not always happen according to a specific pattern, a firm order. Although we have a specific expectation pattern on the basis of experience, life is still full of surprises too. When we will be with the Lord, it may probably be the case that all kinds of happenings, between which we did not see the connection, were surely connected to one another, but which we did not notice.

Precisely because of the apparent incoherence, this book invites us to read in it day by day. It is not so much the intention to read a chapter every day. That is certainly not wrong, for in that way we get more and more familiar with the contents in general. The point is that we read one or some verses and meditate on them. Who knows, we may face a situation to which we can apply what we have read and meditated on.

In that way the proverbs in this part of the book give new impulses over and over by presenting again and again another truth or the same truth from a different point of view. God’s Spirit has, through Solomon, given to us these ‘separate’ proverbs, in which at first sight no certain rank order is to be discovered, with a purpose. He knows what we need on a certain day or in a certain situation. He is able to bring to our remembrance a certain proverb for that occasion or make us read that specific proverb at that very moment.

A Wise Son and a Foolish Son

This second part of Proverbs (Proverbs 10:1-22:16) has the same opening sentences as the first part, “the Proverbs of Solomon” (Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 1:1). It confirms that the book continues here, although the form is different from the first part. The second part of Proverbs 10:1, with the first proverbs, underlines that. The first proverb is about a son in his relation with his father and mother. That indicates that the atmosphere in which the teaching is given, is just like in the first part that of the family (Proverbs 1:8). It emphasizes the importance of an education in the fear of God.

All following proverbs have the intention to help the son to act as a wise son and to keep him from acting like a foolish son. Whoever acts like a wise son, shows himself to be a son of wisdom. The result is the joy with his father, who has raised him in wisdom, just like the previous chapters have shown us. It goes together with the warning not to behave as a foolish son, which leads to grief to his mother. Esau was a foolish son. He delivered his parents grief by his marriage with Hittite women (Genesis 26:34-Habakkuk :; Genesis 27:46).

Both the father and the mother have their own vital role with the upraising. The father takes care of the safety and security by his powerful love. The mother gives the child the feeling that it is wanted and accepted, by her warm, soulful love.

The child can be a son or a daughter. That there is mention of a ‘son’ again and again, is because it is about the ‘male’ aspect of the life as a believer, meaning to bring the relationship into practice. The ‘female’ aspect of the believer represents more the relation itself, the relation in which the believer is placed.

A wise son is not wise because he simply has much knowledge and also the necessary experience that he has gained. Wisdom is not ‘knowledge plus experience’, but knowledge of Christ as the wisdom of God. The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. It is impossible to become wise if He is not the center of our heart and life. Wisdom is ‘Christ-centered’.

We see in the first proverb what the consequence is when one listens to the teaching and wisdom and what the consequence is when it is not obeyed. Whoever listens to it, is “a wise son”. He is a continuous source of joy for his father. Whoever does not listen to it, is “a foolish son”. He is a continuous cause of an intense grief to his mother. It is clear that the mother rejoices continuously with the father in a wise son and the father has continuous grief together with the mother because of a foolish son.

We see that the consequences of wisdom or folly of the son affect others. Those are in the first place both the parents who have told him about wisdom and folly (cf. Proverbs 17:21; Proverbs 17:25Proverbs 23:24-Lamentations :). But also others who live with God, will be happy or sad when they look at young people and notice wisdom or folly (cf. 2 John 1:4).

Verses 2-3

Righteousness Is Life

The next proverb is about life and death (Proverbs 10:2). The wicked lives for the here and now and tries to gain as many treasures as he possibly can in this life. He does that in his own wicked way. All those treasures are “ill-gotten gains”, treasures which are characterized by wickedness. That can be because of the wicked way they were gained or because of the way it is being dealt with. With these treasures, which are characterized by wickedness, he thinks to lead a pleasant life.

But those treasures will not benefit him when he dies. What benefit did Ahab have when he took possession of Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:4-Jeremiah :; 1 Kings 22:39)? What benefit did the thirty pieces of silver deliver Judas for betraying the Lord Jesus (Matthew 27:5)? Both of them died in their sins.

Only “righteousness delivers from death”. In the government of God, doing righteousness will not bring us into death, but guarantees us to be kept free from it. We do righteousness when we give everyone what he is entitled to, both God and man. This can only be realized by a person who possesses the righteousness of God in Christ. Such a person possesses a treasure of immeasurable value. That treasure is apart from all earthly treasures. Whoever possesses that treasure, can face death without fear, for death has been robbed from its terror. Christ has conquered death.

Righteousness is of far greater value than earthly prosperity, certainly when on top of that it has been gained dishonestly. Thereby prosperity can only be enjoyed for a limited time, at the longest during the short stay on earth, while righteousness goes through death and continues to be enjoyed thereafter.

The LORD makes sure that the righteous lacks nothing (Proverbs 10:3). The Lord Jesus points His disciples to the birds of heaven which He takes care of. Then He says that those who are His are worth much more than those birds (Matthew 6:25-Ezekiel :). He who lives in relation with Him, receives from Him what he needs. Even though he has any lack, still his soul will not suffer from hunger, for in his soul he has fellowship with God. Habakkuk can therefore sing, while he lacks of everything (Habakkuk 3:17-Psalms :).

The wicked people receive nothing from God. They neither have asked Him anything, but have stolen properties from others and especially from God. He rejects their craving. A wicked man is never satisfied, he never says he has enough, but always wants more. His cravings are therefore evil cravings, which he wants to satisfy at the expense of others. Sometimes he even succeeds in that, but God will take away all of that from him. He will have to live forever with unfulfilled cravings. It is one of the torments of hell that the wicked people will never get what they want, because they have never wanted God when He offered Christ to them.

Verses 4-5

To Work Diligently in Summer

These verses relate to the previous verse. That God takes care (Proverbs 10:3) does not mean that man should not work for his living (Proverbs 10:4). Here on the one hand laziness and poverty are linked together and on the other hand diligence and riches. Laziness causes poverty, and diligence results in riches. A “negligent hand” is a limp, lazy hand, a hand that seems to perform something, but does not do anything in reality. It is a hand that neglects, that disappoints, because it is not used. He who is lazy, will become poor. Diligence or fervor is a condition to become rich. Paul warns us about laziness (2 Thessalonians 3:7-2 Kings :). Ruth is an example of somebody who is diligent (Ruth 2:2; Ruth 2:19).

Diligence also goes together with the consideration and use of time. It is not the intention that we only get to work when we are excited to do it. We must work when the occasion to work is present, or, just like the Lord Jesus says of Himself, that He works “as long as it is day” (John 9:4). A son of wisdom will gather “in summer” (Proverbs 10:5; Proverbs 6:6-Ruth :; Proverbs 30:25). In that way he proves to be “a wise son”. The harvest is the right time to do the right thing. Joseph acted as a wise son by gathering and storing up the abundance out of the years of plenty for the years of ‘famine’ (Genesis 41:46-Titus :).

When we make the most of the suitable occasion, make the most of our time (Ephesians 5:15-Nehemiah :), we act as “a wise son”. This has everything to do with learning to know the will of God, which He reveals to those who want to be obedient. Young people will show to be ‘a wise son’, when they diligently study the Word of God. In that way they give attention to the exhortation that Solomon gives in the book of Ecclesiastes: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

The opposite of a wise son is the son who “sleeps in the harvest”. While everyone is working hard to bring in the harvest, this son is asleep in his bed. In this way he lets the time of gathering go by and will have nothing when he awakes. The Lord Jesus says: “The fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). But He unfortunately also has to say: “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Matthew 9:37; Luke 10:2). Many Christians are in a deep spiritual sleep. They are occupied with many things for themselves and not with the work for the Lord.

A son who sleeps in the harvest, does not only deprive himself. He “is a son who acts shamefully”, which means that he also disgraces and deprives his father, who has taught him wisdom. He behaves himself shamefully by neglecting his obligations, while knowing them, because of his laziness. Demas is an example of a person who disgraces others. Paul has to say with sadness to Timothy that Demas “has loved the present world” (2 Timothy 4:10). Unfaithful believers make believers who have prayed and fought for their spiritual well-being ashamed (cf. 1 John 2:28).

Christians who do not meet the calling with which God has called them, make God the Father ashamed. God is ashamed of them. The people of God that had returned from Babel to Judah and Jerusalem, made God ashamed by saying that it was not the right time for building the house of God (Haggai 1:2-Leviticus :). They worked very hard for their own houses, while every effort for God’s house was too much for them.

Verses 6-7

Blessing or Rotting Away

“The righteous” and “blessings” belong together (Proverbs 10:6). On the head of the righteous are the blessings of God (cf. Genesis 49:26; Deuteronomy 33:16), whatever people may do to them or may say about them. God speaks out His blessing over the righteous and blesses him with material and spiritual blessings. Hereby we can again firstly think of the Lord Jesus Who is the Blessed.

Opposite the head of the righteous stands “the mouth of the wicked”. His mouth “conceals violence”. That may imply that his mouth is silenced with violence. For him there is no blessing, but he is silenced in a violent way (cf. Psalms 107:42). It can also imply that violence lies as a carpet over his mouth; that only violence comes out of his mouth. Each word of blessing to another is strange to him.

What has characterized the life of the righteous and the wicked, will be continued after death (Proverbs 10:7). How blessed is the remembrance of the Righteous, Christ Jesus (Psalms 112:6), but how terrifying is the name of Judas. Thinking about the righteous who have lived before us, is an activity which produces blessing to us (e.g. Hebrews 11:1-Matthew :). We experience that when we read biographies of devoted believers. We keep such believers in grateful memory.

“The name of the wicked” gives the opposite effect. Thinking about it or mentioning it arouses horror. We shall not name our children after a wicked person. Such a name does not produce blessing, but such a name “will rot”, which indicates a process of rotting. The name of king Jeroboam is such a name. After his death he was indicated as the king “who made Israel sin” (1 Kings 14:16; 1 Kings 15:301 Kings 22:53; 2 Kings 3:3; 2 Kings 10:292 Kings 10:31; 2 Kings 13:22 Kings 13:6; 2 Kings 13:112 Kings 14:24; 2 Kings 15:182 Kings 15:24; 2 Kings 15:282 Kings 23:15).

The question that we face is how we want to be remembered. With funerals often only the good things are mentioned, while the person sometimes was known very differently. But the aroma of the life that one has lived, remains after death, whatever words people may have spoken out at their funeral. Do we leave a sweet aroma or a stench? Shall our name be mentioned with gratefulness or with horror?

Verses 8-10

Be Ruined or Walking Securely

“The wise of heart will receive commands” which his father or another person who is superior to him, presents to him (Proverbs 10:8). He does that because he is aware of his need of them and the value of them. In himself he has no power to say no to the sin within himself and against the temptations of the world around him. Therefore the wise of heart longs for commands which he can treasure in his heart; these will make them lead his life (Proverbs 4:23). He is willing to be taught in order to become wiser.

The fool is continually speaking himself, simply talking nonsense. In that way he is not able to listen to the commands that are presented to him and are unto life. You may try to show him that he needs wisdom, but he will directly interrupt you with highly verbose absurdities. In this way he circumvents the confrontation with his real need, for he refuses to see that.

One walks “in integrity” when he walks with God and not for the eye of men (Proverbs 10:9; Genesis 17:1). In that way he walks “securely”. Security goes hand in hand with integrity. Joseph walked in integrity and therefore enjoyed the protection of God. “But he who perverts his ways”, which means walks in sinful ways, will be found out. God sees all his ways and will confront him with them. That uncovering, that “to be found out”, goes together with punishment (Psalms 125:5).

Peter perverted his ways when he denied his Christian position, out of fear for the Jews. He was not straightforward about the truth of the gospel. Paul remarked that and strongly admonished him concerning it (Galatians 2:11-2 Chronicles :).

There are people who cause trouble for others by secret communication (Proverbs 10:10; cf. Proverbs 6:12-2 Chronicles :; Psalms 35:19). To say something with a wink has the meaning that what is said, is not true. A “babbling fool” will be ruined by himself. Here the second line of the verse is not a comparison to the first line of the verse; it is neither a contradiction, but complementary to it, which is indicated by the word “and” at the beginning of the second line of the verse.

Verses 11-14

The Mouth of the Righteous and of the Wicked

“The mouth of the righteous”, which means what the righteous says, “is a fountain of life” for who listens to it (Proverbs 10:11). His words are beneficiary and give life force. A fountain continually gives fresh water. This is perfectly true about the mouth of the Lord Jesus. Out of His mouth came words of grace (Luke 4:22). His words “are spirit and are life” (John 6:63).

We find that also with all the prophets that have spoken God’s Word. All their words of instruction which they spoke on God’s behalf, were intended to make the people of God live the true life. The same goes for the mouth of the New Testament believer. It is a fountain of life when he lets himself be led by the Holy Spirit in his words. Then “rivers of living water” will flow from his innermost being for the benefit of others (John 7:38-Malachi :).

What the wicked says has a totally different content. He spreads violence. What he says, causes only harm to others (Proverbs 10:6). The quality of life is destroyed by him. Wherever he is and opens his mouth, the atmosphere gets poisoned. Instead of refreshment and life, he sows death and destruction with his babbling.

The wicked are driven by “hatred”, but the righteous by “love” (Proverbs 10:12). Out of hatred flows conflict and quarrels. The words of the wicked conceal violence, but the love of the righteous covers sins by forgiving them. Love brings peace through forgiveness, through the covering of “all transgressions”.

There is an essential difference between the concealment or covering of Proverbs 10:11 and the covering of Proverbs 10:12. In Proverbs 10:11 it is about the covering itself. Nothing is being covered, but visible and that is violence. In Proverbs 10:12 something is being covered and removed and that is all transgressions.

The Lord Jesus has in His love covered all the transgressions of those who believe in Him with His blood and forgiven them by that. Love “does not take into account a wrong suffered” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Peter applies this word powerfully to our mutual interactions as believers who are living in the end times (1 Peter 4:7-Ruth :). We also cover transgressions or sins when we turn back a sinner from his wrong way (James 5:19-Proverbs :).

He who seeks “wisdom”, will find it “on the lips of the discerning” (Proverbs 10:13). Wisdom is to be found there. As wisdom and the lips of the discerning belong together, so also “the rod” and “the back of him who lacks understanding” belong together. The only language that people understand who lack understanding, is the language of the rod that beats them as a punishment. They have hurt others with their talk and as a punishment they receive pain.

Rehoboam, Solomon’s foolish son, is someone who has acted as a man who lacks understanding when the people asked him to lighten them from the burdens. He did not listen to the wise counsel, but followed a foolish advice. Therefore he had got to do with the rod, which is the chastisement of God (1 Kings 12:1-Jeremiah :).

“Wise men” store up “knowledge” (Proverbs 10:14). They can come up with the right thing at the right time on the right occasion (Matthew 12:35; Matthew 13:52). Wise men know the value of being silent. Knowledge is a precious treasure, which one does not just simply sacrifice. They do not scatter with words of wisdom all the time. The fool lets himself to be heard at the most inappropriate times and in the most inappropriate situations. From what he says, it appears that he leads himself to the fall.

Verses 15-17

Security and Life or Ruin

He who is rich will feel himself thereby just as safe as someone who is in a fortress (Proverbs 10:15). He is able to provide himself with all kinds of means to protect himself from evil. The poor is not able to do that and they easily fall prey to wicked men. This is what the wise observes in the world. One can be rich or poor, which gives him a certain vulnerability or invulnerability.

Spiritually we can apply this to being rich or poor in the faith. He who realizes how rich he is in Christ, feels that he is in a fortress. But the believer who is not aware of that, has a poor and vulnerable life of faith. The rich believer is safe from false doctrine; he will not allow anyone to rob him from that wealth. The poor is a prey to “every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14).

One’s reward depends on his moral character, which means whether he is a righteous or a wicked (Proverbs 10:16). What a righteous does, improves life, what a wicked acquires, his income, leads to sin and death. Said in New Testament language: “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6). Above all “the wages of the righteous”, which is Christ, is wages “unto life”. The result of what He did is that “whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

When someone “heeds instruction” and accepts it, he will go on “the path of life” (Proverbs 10:17). He will hold on to it and therefore stay in that path of life. In that way he is an inviting example to others to listen to instruction. Whoever does not listen to instruction, will bring others on a wrong way by going astray himself. The way we behave has not only consequences for ourselves. We are an example for others in that way, which leads others to act in a certain way. We set a good or a bad example and our followers follow our good or bad example.

Verses 18-21

The Use of the Lips

To conceal “hatred”, hiding the wrong, is hypocritical and testifies of “lying lips” (Proverbs 10:18). Whoever conceals hatred is a liar, for he hides his real intentions. He acts nicely, but in his heart hatred is burning. Absalom was such a person in his approach to Amnon (2 Samuel 13:22-Joel :). The second line of the verse speaks about a possibly even greater evil. That regards the spreading of “slander”. Whoever does that, breaks someone down to everyone he tells the slander to. Whoever does that, is a fool. In the first line of the verse something is concealed or kept hidden; in the second line of the verse something is spread or made public.

A person who talks a lot cannot possibly speak the truth for one hundred percent in everything that he says (Proverbs 10:19). What James says of the words that a man speaks applies especially to him: “For we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). A fool uses many words (Ecclesiastes 5:2). A “transgression” means overstepping a boundary, to come into a prohibited territory. It testifies of wisdom if we restrain our lips. It is wise not to say always and surely not directly everything that we think. Every person must “be quick to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19).

“The tongue of the righteous”, which implies what the righteous says, is worth much more than “the heart of the wicked”, which means his best intentions (Proverbs 10:20). The contrast between both expressions is the contrast between the external and the internal. The external is the tongue – what is said. The internal is the mindset of the heart, or what one’s intentions are. There should be a healthy balance between them.

What the righteous says, has the value of “choice silver”, while the intention of the wicked has no value at all. The Lord Jesus had a tongue of “choice silver”, for He used His tongue after He had received teaching. Therefore He knew “how to sustain the weary one with a word” (Isaiah 50:4). Silver is a picture of the price that has to be paid for the redemption (Exodus 30:11-Nehemiah :). The words of the Lord Jesus were focused on redeeming people.

The value of the words of the righteous is that many are (spiritually) fed by them and in that way stay alive (Proverbs 10:21). To feed means to herd, like a shepherd does. It is not only about food, but also about taking care to give the right food. The words are passed on with care. That goes especially for the words of the Lord Jesus. He is the Bread of life. Also the prophets who have spoken in His Name, have fed the people with their words; they gave the right spiritual food (Jeremiah 3:15). Those words are edifying. The task of the shepherd and teacher in the church is also to edify the church.

The fools lack understanding. They do not want to be fed by the lips of the Righteous; they despise His words. In that way they reject life and die. Whoever rejects Him and does not accept His words, will be condemned by the word that He has spoken (John 12:48).

Verses 22-26

The Blessing of the LORD

All the riches that we have, has been given to us by God (Proverbs 10:22). It is His blessing, without Him asking any achievement, any “sorrow” (or ‘toil’), from our side (cf. Psalms 127:1). The word “that” fully emphasizes “the blessing of the LORD”. Only that blessing makes rich. This verse is a warning against self-satisfaction, against the thought that our richness is owed to ourselves.

There is no contradiction to Proverbs 10:4, where it is written that the hand of the diligent makes rich. Both the one and the other are true. We should work, but also realize that the Lord has to give us the strength to and also bless it. Then we will realize that everything comes from Him and we will honor Him for it.

One’s character becomes public by the things in which he finds pleasure (Proverbs 10:23). Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool. It is just as pleasant to him as playing is for a child. It is his greatest pleasure to do wickedness, which appears from the obscene expressions that he uses. “To do wickedness” is an indication for a very sinful behavior. The fool even considers the worst in the area of sin as recreation, as a joke. He laughs at it and because of it.

That is opposite to the wisdom that one with understanding gives full joy, as if it is about a pleasant game. It is not about what a person does, but about the conduct that one has with what he does. Wisdom gives pleasure to a person who has understanding. That pleasure is found in God’s Word (Psalms 119:117).

The wicked may have pleasure in doing wickedness, but at the same time he is inwardly afraid of what is to come. He ultimately receives what he is afraid of (Proverbs 10:24). He lives without God and therefore without any security, which means that he is always in fear. The righteous on the contrary, receives what he longs for, for he lives with God and expects everything from Him. Here an enormous contrast is pictured.

He who has no foundation in his life, meaning who has no biblical principles, looks like a whirlwind that passes away (Proverbs 10:25). A whirlwind rushes for a moment and then disappears again, while he leaves a trace of destruction behind. That’s what the wicked is like. This connects to the previous verse, where it is said that what the wicked fears, comes upon him. He can enjoy in his life everything that he wishes, like richness, honor, family, while he lives in fear of losing that all ultimately. It will all indeed be taken away from him like by a rushing wind – probably in this life already, but very surely with his (perhaps sudden) death.

The righteous is the opposite. The same things could happen to him, like the wicked. He may also lose his richness, honor and family (Job 1:12-Psalms :; Job 2:6-1 Samuel :). But when disasters happen in his life, he appears to be “an eternal foundation” (cf. Matthew 7:24-Daniel :). It proves the steadfastness of the position that the righteous has because his life is built on Christ the Rock. Therefore the house of his life remains firm, however much the whirlwind may bash against it.

Vinegar gives a terrible feeling to your teeth when you drink it (Proverbs 10:26). Smoke also causes irritation, for it brings tears to your eyes and therefore you do not see anything anymore and cannot move further. The lazybones who is sent for a special order is compared to these unpleasant experiences. He does not carry out the order, or is too late, or inaccurate and incomplete. The lazybones causes only irritation when you expect anything from him. Slowness in the work of the Lord is also a bad and irritating matter. He who is slow in it, even brings a curse upon himself (Jeremiah 48:10).

Verses 27-28

Hope and Expectation

The normal expectation for a person who fears the LORD, is that his life will be prolonged, while the years of the wicked “will be shortened” (Proverbs 10:27). That a Godly person sometimes dies young and the ungodly lives long, can cause doubt to this verse (Psalms 49:16-Proverbs :; Psalms 73:3-2 Kings :). This doubt disappears when we consider that the meaning of it goes beyond death.

The hope that the righteous has, gives him joy now already and not only soon, at the fulfillment of that hope (Proverbs 10:28). The meaning of it is that his hope is related to the faithful God and His Christ. – that particular God is now already with him. In Him his heart trusts. The eye of the righteous is not mainly focused on what he hopes, life to eternity, but on Him Who will not disappoint his hope.

Someone said that it is not about a long life, but about a full life. A full life is a life, filled with the will of God and is therefore a long life, for “the one who does the will of God, will live forever” (1 John 2:17). The Lord Jesus has spoken about life in abundance (John 10:10). This life will never come to an end and is also a life that is enjoyed in its fullness. It is not only about the duration, but also about the content. The short sojourn on earth is followed by a life to eternity with the Lord Jesus in the Father’s House.

The ungodly also have their expectation (Proverbs 10:29). They consider themselves to be rich when they are prosperous and healthy by living as if this will endure endlessly. In their dream house they really believe that they are now already in heaven, but they will wake up in hell. They have absolutely no ground for their expectation that their prosperity will always remain, because they do not consider God. Their expectation will therefore perish. King Zedekiah is a clear example of it (Jeremiah 39:1-Ruth :).

Verses 29-30

The Way of the LORD

“The way of the LORD”, which means the way that He goes and the actions that He takes, the work that He does, means a stronghold to the upright (Proverbs 10:29). The upright feels himself to be fully safe on God’s way, under His guidance, protected against all kinds of dangers. He entrusts everything to God in confidence, because he knows that He judges righteously. That’s what the Lord Jesus did (1 Peter 2:23). The same act of God which is the stronghold to the upright, means “ruin” to those who do iniquity. God uses His power against them. He is righteous in His judgment to both the upright and the workers of iniquity.

“The righteous” will surely “never be shaken” (Proverbs 10:30). He will steadfastly, uninterruptedly stand firm and receive all the promises that God has promised him. He will always dwell in the land (Leviticus 20:22). But the wicked will not receive anything from the future blessing that God will give to His people on earth (Deuteronomy 4:25-Daniel :). They will be wiped out of the land (or earth) and will therefore “not dwell” in it.

Verses 31-32

The Mouth and the Lips of the Righteous

“The mouth of the righteous” not only speaks with wisdom, but it “flows” with it (Proverbs 10:31). Like always, we also think here with ‘the righteous’ in the first place about the Lord Jesus. He speaks always and abundantly with wisdom. Others can be refreshed by it. He is the Source out of Whom wisdom flows ceaselessly.

It is very different from “the perverted tongue”. This tongue will be “cut out”, like a “tree that does not bear good fruits will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10). The man of sin, the antichrist, is the prototype of it. This applies to all false prophets and false teachers. When the tongue is cut out, it is impossible to speak any word. The result is that he cannot destroy anyone with his wicked talk anymore.

“The lips of the righteous” bring forth acceptable things that do good to man (Proverbs 10:32). The righteous knows “what is acceptable” to others to listen to; he knows to choose his words well. The Lord Jesus has spoken what is acceptable. He has spoken gracious words, at which people have wondered (Luke 4:22). To us it is said that we should speak “only such a word according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). These are acceptable words.

In contrast to that, the wicked speaks only perverted things. He speaks without thinking about it. What he says, will bring himself and others into perdition.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Proverbs 10". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/proverbs-10.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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