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Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 10

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Pro 10:1

Proverbs 10:1

MISCELLANEOUS PROVERBS OF SOLOMON (Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16)

We are adopting a different style of commentary on these separate, disconnected maxims, most of them needing no explanation or comment whatever. The very simplicity of these axiomatic expressions, along with their common, everyday meaning, is in fact the secret of their strength and beauty.

"There seems to be no order in the arrangement of these proverbs; and so there will be no divisions noted here other than chapters and verses.” Some scholars, of course, have attempted to identify groups or subdivisions in this long list of proverbs; but none that we have seen is convincing. All such, "Groupings are secondary; and the main burden of exegesis must be borne by the individual sentences.”

Many of the comments which we have reviewed are little more than the author’s attempt to repeat the message of the proverb in different phraseology; and quite frequently this is helpful. Our purpose here will be to follow, in some degree at least, that pattern of exegesis. We shall also call upon the various Old Testament translations and versions for different renditions of the various proverbs. Also, we shall, in many instances, note the various readings advocated by 19th century scholars, current authors, and the ancient versions. We shall give special attention to any New Testament light on any of these. All aboard for an exciting journey!

Proverbs 10:1

"A wise son maketh a glad father; But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother."

"The non-mention, generally in Proverbs, of daughters and women may be attributed in part to the relatively small estimation in which women of the ancient world were held.”

The teaching here is simply that, "A wise son makes a happy father, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.” Of course, the converse is true also. A wise son makes happy parents; a foolish one grieves both his father and his mother. The same thing, of course, is true of daughters. It is the antithetical pattern of most of these proverbs that dictates the phraseolgy.

Proverbs 10:1 After 9 chapters in this book called “Proverbs,” aren’t you surprised to see the heading, “The proverbs of Solomon,” here? The explanation: a “proverb” is a wise saying. The first 9 chapters, while exalting and containing “wisdom”, are not “sayings” but are extended topical material. The actual “sayings” begin here and will continue through chapter 29. The message of the verse: What we do as sons can affect the happiness or the heaviness of our parents, both while under their roof and after we leave it. The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) surely brought heavenliness upon his foolish departure and throughout his waywardness and indulgence, but he brought happiness upon his penitent return. Other passages containing the same truth: Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 17:21; Proverbs 17:25; Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 29:3; Proverbs 29:15. Thought for parents: The way you are now rearing your children will have much to do with your own future happiness or heaviness.

Verses 1-10

Pro 10:1-10

A Comparison of the Righteous and Wicked (Proverbs 10:1-10):

"The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father; But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother" (Proverbs 10:1). Seems odd that our children can dictate the emotional responses of gladness and heaviness of heart. Parents are affected by the choices their children make. Solomon had earlier said, "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother" (Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 6:20). When a child forsakes the instruction and teachings of their father and mother it is a heaviness to their being. When children show signs of coming into wisdom there are glad hearts in the home. Parents have such a deep love for their children. They want the best for them in the area of spirituality. When a son or daughter rejects the teachings of their parents it is a source of great heart ache. If only the child knew how deep the pain they cause their parents for their folly. If only the child would consider the eternal state of their souls.

"Treasures of wickedness profit nothing; But righteousness delivereth from death. Jehovah will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish; But he thrusteth away the desire of the wicked" (Proverbs 10:2-3). Two possibilities here regarding the gains of the wicked. First, these treasures may be gained by wicked means (a false balance or thievery). Secondly, these treasures may be gained honestly; however, they do not profit the man because he is wicked. His life will end and his treasures will do nothing for him. The righteous man; however, will be delivered from the death of the wicked (i.e., eternal torment). The Lord will see to it that the righteous suffer not for their good and right deeds. The Psalmist said, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken. Nor his seed begging bread" (Psalms 37:25).

"He becometh poor that worketh with a slack hand; But the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; But he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame" (Proverbs 10:4-5). Solomon, by divine inspiration, gives God’s view of the man or woman who works hard as opposed to the sloth (see Proverbs 6:6-11). The scriptures portray the faithful servant of God as "rich" and the sinful sloth as "poor." The faithful are not minded to be rich (i.e., make it their objective) (see 1 Timothy 6:9) yet it occurs in their life because of their godly work ethic. The wise will be rich according to the world’s standards because of their intense work ethic. Such is approved of God. The sloth will not only be poor but "by slothfulness the roof sinks in; and through idleness of the hands the house leaks" (Ecclesiastes 10:18). The apostle Paul wrote, "If any will not work, neither let him eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

"Blessings are upon the head of the righteous; But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. The memory of the righteous is blessed; But the name of the wicked shall rot. The wise in heart will receive commandments; But a prating fool shall fall. He that walketh uprightly walketh surely; But he that perverteth his ways shall be known. He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow; But a prating fool shall fall" (Proverbs 10:6-10). Solomon continues to draw contrasting points of view between the righteous and wicked. The righteous man is blessed (with material gain from his labors and eternally by doing God’s will). The fool has nothing but trouble in this life and the life to come (he brings trouble to himself). Some say, "Trouble just seems to follow that young man..." It is obvious that the young man under consideration lives in violence and folly. When people think back upon the lives of the righteous they do so fondly but the wicked man’s name is rotten. What fond thoughts are there of the man who is a pedophile, murderer, sexually immoral, foul mouthed, etc? Each man will be known and remembered for how they lived their lives. We examined the "worthless person" at Proverbs 6:12-14 who winks with his eyes as if to give signals to others regarding his wicked intentions.

Verse 2

Pro 10:2

Proverbs 10:2

"Treasures of wickedness profit nothing; But righteousness delivereth from death."

"Wealth you get by dishonesty will do you no good, but honesty can save your life.”

Proverbs 10:2. Treasures of wickedness are riches gotten by wrong means. A Christian must follow only acceptable vocations: Ephesians 4:28; marginal note on Titus 3:8. “Better is a little, with righteousness, Than great revenues with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8). Other similar references: Proverbs 11:4; Psalms 34:10; Psalms 37:25; Daniel 4:27. And yet communities and families are usually more proud of their rich than they are of their righteous!

Verse 3

Pro 10:3

Proverbs 10:3

"Jehovah will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish; But he thrusteth away the desire of the wicked."

Note that it is not particularly the body of the righteous, but his soul that shall not famish. The NIV misses this significant difference. "The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.”

Proverbs 10:3. “American Bible Union version”: “Jehovah will not let the spirit of the righteous famish; But he repels the longing of the wicked.” God so blesses the righteous that they do not faint. Consider David’s praise of God in Psalms 23:1-6. And so states Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:16. But equally so is God’s face against those who do evil (1 Peter 3:12).

Verse 4

Pro 10:4

Proverbs 10:4

"He becometh poor that worketh with a slack hand; But the hand of the diligent maketh rich."

James Moffatt’s Translation of the Bible, 1929, rendered this, "A slack hand makes men poor, a busy hand makes men rich.”

Proverbs 10:4. The proper result of shiftlessness is to have nothing. God has willed that if a person will not work, he should not have things to eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Some may become rich through crooked dealings, but others are prosperous through diligence. For similar material see Proverbs 12:24; Proverbs 13:4; Proverbs 19:15; Proverbs 21:5. In calling men to serve Him God has always called the busy people: Elisha plowing (1 Kings 19:19-21), fishermen working (Matthew 4:18-22), Matthew sitting at his place of toll (Matthew 9:9), and Saul of Tarsus busy persecuting (Acts 26:10-18).

Verse 5

Pro 10:5

Proverbs 10:5

"He that gathereth in summer is a wise son; But he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame."

"A smart man gathereth the crops at the right time; but if a man sleeps during the time of harvest and does not gather the crops, then he will be shamed.”

Proverbs 10:5. This is related in content to Proverbs 10:4. Also to Proverbs 10:1. In life our actions commend others or embarrass them.

Verse 6

Pro 10:6

Proverbs 10:6

"Blessings are upon the head of the righteous; But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked."

Cook points out that an example of violence covering the mouth of the wicked is found in Esther 7:8, where it is mentioned that they covered the face of Haman. It was an ancient custom to cover the faces of men condemned to death.

Proverbs 10:6. “Clarke” comments: “As blessings shall be on the head of the just, so the violence of the wicked shall cover their face with shame and confusion. Their own violent dealings shall be visited upon them.” Proverbs 10:11 talks again of violence covering the mouth of the wicked.

Verse 7

Pro 10:7

Proverbs 10:7

"The memory of the righteous is blessed; But the name of the wicked shall rot."

This contrasts the beautiful and precious memory of a godly life with the shame and rejection that linger upon the names of the wicked. As Deane asked, "Whoever thinks of naming a child Judas or Nero"?

Proverbs 10:7. This verse speaks of the deceased. “The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance” (Psalms 112:6). Their virtues are extolled (Acts 9:36-39). But the bad things that a wicked person did are remembered long after he is dead. His name “rots” (gets worse) because that is the only side of him seemingly remembered and passed onto others. While we may call our children “Timothy”, “Matthew”, and other good Bible characters’ names, yet we do not name them “Cain”, “Ahab”, or “Jezebel”.

Verse 8

Pro 10:8

Proverbs 10:8

"The wise in heart shall receive commandments; But a prating fool shall fall."

"A sensible man will take orders; but the fool who talks back will be crushed.”

Proverbs 10:8. Jesus also likened the obedient to the wise (Matthew 7:26-27(. Webster on “prate”: “To talk, especially much and to little purpose; to chatter.” Thus Young translates “a talkative fool”. Diotrophes prated against the apostle John (3 John 1:10). Such will “fall,” sometimes as a consequence of his words even before he falls at the final judgment. Proverbs 10:10 repeats the statement.

Verse 9

Pro 10:9

Proverbs 10:9

"He that walketh uprightly walketh surely; But he that perverteth his ways shall be known."

"He that walketh in innocence walketh securely; but he that goeth in secret ways is known.”

Proverbs 10:9. Walks in “integrity” says “Young’s Literal” and “Amplified.” One who is walking in righteousness knows what he is doing, has assurance, and is safe. To pervert one’s way is to divert it from what is right. One cannot do this without being found out, at least ultimately (dishonesty, adultery, embezzlement, etc.). Want to be known and noticed? Do wrong, and you will be. The righteous settle for “walketh surely”. Proverbs 28:18 is a parallel passage.

Verse 10

Pro 10:10

Proverbs 10:10

"He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow; But a prating fool shall fall."

Most of the proverbs are antithetical; but, "The relation of the two clauses here is one of resemblance.” The underhanded deceiver (he that winketh) and the blabber-mouth fool alike bring sorrow.

Proverbs 10:10. This ends the same as Proverbs 10:8. “Pulpit Commentary”: Winking with the eye “is a sign of craft, malice, and complicity with other wicked comrades.” Study Proverbs 6:12-14 also. The first statement shows that wrongdoing brings sorrow to others; the second shows that it brings destruction, to oneself.

Verse 11

Pro 10:11

Proverbs 10:11

"The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life; But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked."

The RSV renders the second clause here, "The mouth of the wicked conceals violence."

Proverbs 10:11. The blessings brought by the mouth of the righteous is set in contrast to the sorrow and destruction brought by the wicked in Proverbs 10:10. Psalms 37:30 also speaks of the “mouth of the righteous”. People are helped by what good people say. This verse ends the same as Proverbs 10:6.

Verses 11-21

Pro 10:11-21

A Man’s Mouth Identifies Him as being a Fool or Wise

(Proverbs 10:11-21):

"The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life; But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. Hatred stirreth up strifes; But love covereth all transgressions. In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding" (Proverbs 10:11-13). The use of Man’s mouth is a major theme in the book of Proverbs. The wise and righteous man of God will speak words of edification whereas the wicked man’s words are those of violence and harm (see Ephesians 4:29 and Colossians 4:6). The words of the wise man are those of "discernment" (i.e., perspicacity or insightfulness of judgment). The man of wicked lips should only expect the rod of correction to be placed upon his ignorant and foolish back. Consider these uses of the tongue: The wise man puts the mouth of perversion far from himself (Proverbs 4:24). The wise literally hates the perverse mouth (Proverbs 8:13). The wise use their mouths for godly purposes (see Proverbs 8:7-9). The worthless man, on the other hand, speaks words of perversion (Proverbs 6:12)

"Wise men lay up knowledge; But the mouth of the foolish is a present destruction" (Proverbs 10:14). The man of wisdom "lays up knowledge" as though it were treasures that are to be used on a rainy day (i.e., when he needs wisdom it shall be there for him because he has laid it up through study and meditation of God’s word). The mouth of the fool receives not wisdom but rejoices in folly. All his words and advice are thereby "destructive" to those who give heed to his words.

"The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: The destruction of the poor is their poverty. The labor of the righteous tendeth to life; The increase of the wicked, to sin" (Proverbs 10:15-16). How is wealth the rich man’s strong city (see also Proverbs 18:11)? Wealth gained by honest labor can make one secure in many ways. Food, shelter, clothing, and environment are a few of those things. The rich have all the necessities of life and they are not forced into desperate situations where they may do foolish or unlawful things to get by. They also are not going to live in slums where great poverty and all the wickedness that comes with that life are present. Solomon writes, "A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes glad the life; and money answers all things (Ecclesiastes 10:19). Again, he writes, Wisdom is as good as an inheritance; yea, more excellent is it for them that see the sun. For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserves the life of him that hath it (Ecclesiastes 7:11-12).

"He is in the way of life that heedeth correction; But he that forsaketh reproof erreth" (Proverbs 10:17). The "way of life" is obviously an allusion to a life of wisdom, hope, and happiness (see Proverbs 9:8-9). Such a humble approach to life that is willing to learn leads to a more abundant life. The foolish, arrogant, prideful, and simple cannot stand to be told they are wrong and they do not like to listen to boring lectures of substance that expose their ignorance and lack of interest in spiritual matters.

"He that hideth hatred is of lying lips; And he that uttereth a slander is a fool. In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression; But he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely" (Proverbs 10:18-19). Here is a man who stores up hatred and bitterness within his heart yet speaks words of love (he is not revealing his true inner being). Furthermore, those who speak insulting words of disparagement (slander) about others are. The foolish are known by the multitude of words but the wise refrains his lips from flapping away. Many people believe that you should listen to all their stories. They will burn your time with their volumes of information about their selves yet if you try to get one word in about your activities they make it obvious that they could care less. The wise will not be so bent on telling others everything about themselves because they realize that what really matters is the things of God rather than my accomplishments.

"The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver: The heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many; But the foolish die for lack of understanding" (Proverbs 10:20-21). Solomon continues to contrast the words and speech of the wise and wicked. The wise man’s words are compared with "choice silver" for value. Not even rubies nor the riches of this world can compare to the value of the words of the wise (see Proverbs 8:10-11) . Contrary to the valuable words of the wise is the worthless words of the wicked. The words of the wicked will not profit others except by perverse and crooked means.

Verse 12

Pro 10:12

Proverbs 10:12

"Hatred stirreth up strifes; But love covereth all transgressions."

"1 Peter 4:8 is connected with this verse by the word `covers.’” These are not direct quotations, but both passages stress the same thought. Love indeed covers a multitude of transgressions.

Proverbs 10:12. Hatred does not desire the fellowship of the one hated, does not wish the peace and the welfare of the one hated. Hatred must show itself, and the result is trouble and strife. Hatred will stir up strife by picking on all the small “talking points” that love would have overlooked (1 Corinthians 13:4). The soft answer (of love) will turn away wrath, but the grievous words (of hatred) will stir up strife (Proverbs 15:1). Other Scriptures on love’s covering or concealing faults: Proverbs 17:9; 1 Peter 4:8.

Verse 13

Pro 10:13

Proverbs 10:13

"In the lips of him that hath discernment, wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding."

"If your mind is enlightened, wisdom will flow into your words, and so into the lives of others; but if your mind is closed, God will deal with you, but by force (Psalms 32:8-9).” The `rod’ is a reference to corporal punishment by brutal scourgings which were inflicted upon offenders in ancient societies.

Proverbs 10:13 One who is wise has “discerning lips”; that is, he knows what to say and what not to say, when to say it and when not to, how to say it and how not to, how much to say, where to say it and where not to, etc. Jesus’ perfection was also seen in this. Peter’s imperfection often exhibited itself in this (Matthew 16:21-23; Luke 9:32-35; John 21:19-22. Proper speech is a crowning virtue (James 3:2). During World War II Uncle Sam was shown on posters with his finger saying, “Sh-h-h.” Another government poster during that war showed a big ship sinking and included these few words, “Somebody talked!” No wonder Proverbs 26:3 says, “A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the back of fools.”

Verse 14

Pro 10:14

Proverbs 10:14

"Wise men lay up knowledge; But the mouth of the foolish is a present destruction."

"Sensible men are reticent, but a fool’s babbling will bring trouble down.”

Proverbs 10:14. A wise man does more listening (taking in, “laying up”) than he does talking; the fool, just the opposite. See Proverbs 18:7; Proverbs 21:23. Christians are taught to be “swift to hear” but “slow to speak” (James 1:19).

Verse 15

Pro 10:15

Proverbs 10:15

"The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: The destruction of the poor is their poverty."

The grand emphasis throughout Proverbs is altogether worldly, material, and economic. Riches and poverty are viewed as the opposite poles of successful and unsuccessful lives. Practical and usable in the every-day affairs of life, these proverbs surely are; but they fall far short of the ideals of Him "Who for our sakes became poor" (2 Corinthians 8:9). Here and there in Proverbs there are fleeting glimpses of truth that points to the higher ideals of the New Testament. For example, Proverbs 18:11 has this, "The rich man’s wealth is his strong city ... IN HIS OWN IMAGINATIONS"!

Proverbs 10:15. The opening statement is also in Proverbs 18:11. “Strong city” means that in which he trusts. There are those who trust in their riches (Psalms 52:7). 1 Timothy 6:17 forbids it, and Jesus said such cannot enter heaven (Mark 10:24). Job recognized that to make riches one’s “confidence” is to “deny” God (Job 31:24-28).

Verse 16

Pro 10:16

Proverbs 10:16

"The labor of the righteous tendeth to life; The increase of the wicked to sin."

"The reward for doing good is life, but sin leads only to more sin.”

Proverbs 10:16. The labor of the righteous is good for him: he enjoys his food, he sleeps well, he is healthy, and his mind is not troubled. Ecclesiastes 5:12 says, “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much; but the fulness of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.” The increase of the wicked is not good for him, for it but leads to sin. Luxury and licentious living often go together. Kings as a group (the wealthies in the land) were usually not godly. Ecclesiastes 10:17 says, “Happy art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!”

Verse 17

Pro 10:17

Proverbs 10:17

"He is in the way of life that heedeth correction; But he that forsaketh reproof erreth."

McGee cited Absalom as a classical example of one, "Who wouldn’t accept reproof"; but one hardly needs to go that far back in history to find myriads of other examples of the same error!

Proverbs 10:17. In Proverbs 10:16 labor led to “life”; in this verse heeding correction does. All people make mistakes and will be corrected: as children by parents (Hebrews 12:9), school teachers, and other adults; later in life by employers, neighbors, mates, God’s leaders, and even God through chastening (Hebrews 12:5-6). David listened to what Abigail had to say, saw the wisdom of it, and wisely changed his course (1 Samuel 25:32-33). For other passages on heeding correction see Proverbs 12:1; Proverbs 13:18; Proverbs 15:5; Proverbs 15:31-32. But there will always be those who forsake reproof, and they will not prosper (Proverbs 15:10). See also Proverbs 1:25-26.

Verse 18

Pro 10:18

Proverbs 10:18

"He that hideth hatred is of lying lips; And he that uttereth slander is a fool."

DeHoff noted that "Comment here is hardly necessary, and yet the sin of many `good’ people is that of gossip and slander.” It should be particularly noted here that it is not the invention of a slander, but the repetition of it, that is forbidden.

Proverbs 10:18. “Hideth” and “uttereth” are obvious contrasts. Those who seek to hide their true feelings will lie. When asked, “What’s the matter?” or “What have I done that’s wrong?” they will reply, “Nothing.” When asked, “Why are you upset?” they will say, “I’m not upset.” See also Proverbs 20:24-26. On the other hand to slander (defame) is foolish and wrong (Matthew 5:21-22). The word “devil” means “slanderer”. We must be careful not to be guilty of doing the same thing (1 Timothy 3:11). We should neither hide hatreds nor utter slanders. We can only avoid such a dilemma by getting hatred out of our hearts, which we are commanded to do (Ephesians 4:31).

Verse 19

Pro 10:19

Proverbs 10:19

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not transgression; But he that refraineth his lips doeth wisely."

This thunders the message that one should avoid talking too much. Various readings of the second clause here are: "He who controls his tongue acts wisely" (TOY), and "The wise man guardeth his tongue." (FRANK). The New Testament elaborates this warning. "If any stumbleth not in word, the same is a perfect man" (James 3:1-13).

Proverbs 10:19. Ecclesiastes 5:3 says a fool’s voice is known, is recognized, by its multitude of words. James 1:19 says we are to be “slow to speak”. See also Proverbs 17:28. Those who speak incessantly will surely sometime speak when they should be listening, will say some things that shouldn’t be said, and will sometime speak before they think. “Speak little, because for one sin which we may commit by keeping silence where it would be well to speak, we commit a hundred by speaking upon all occasions” (Pinart).

Verse 20

Pro 10:20

Proverbs 10:20

"The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver: The heart of the wicked is little worth."

Dod’s paraphrase of the second clause is, "Sinful persons make a great show on the outside, but there’s nothing within them that’s worth anything"! Peter said to the lame man, "Silver and gold have I none," but his words were life, health and strength to the cripple

Proverbs 10:20. A triple contrast: “tongue” vs. “heart”; “the righteous” vs. “the wicked”; “choice silver” vs. “little worth”. The “little worth” of the wicked person’s heart is seen in that contains no praise for God and no love for his fellowman.

Verse 21

Pro 10:21

Proverbs 10:21

"The lips of the righteous feed many; But the foolish die for lack of understanding."

The kind of food with which the lips of the righteous may feed others is, "The food that abideth unto eternal life" (John 6:27), namely, the blessed Truth of the holy gospels, without which, "the foolish die for lack of understanding."

Proverbs 10:21. In this verse “feed” is set over against “die”. “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge” (Proverbs 15:7). Jesus “fed” multitudes with His teachings. Teachers of God’s Word “feed” the flock of God (Acts 20:28). Paul “fed” many people in many places. We too can edify (build people up) with our lips (Ephesians 4:29). People need this knowledge, for they will die for lacking it or for disregarding it (Hosea 4:6). Why does a mouse die in a trap or a fish die on the end of a hook? Because they “didn’t know” what would happen by biting the bait.

Verse 22

Pro 10:22

Proverbs 10:22

"The blessing of Jehovah, it maketh rich; And he addeth no sorrow therewith."

"When sorrow comes to men who have been enriched by God, it springs from some other source than that of the riches. Great sorrow came to Solomon, but God did not add it; Solomon by his sins added it.”

Proverbs 10:22. When Israel did right, God blessed them and enriched them. They were not made rich by their own power but by God’s (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). Compare Genesis 24:35; Genesis 26:12; Psalms 37:22. Those who gain riches without regard for God both err from the faith and pierce themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:9-10). When people get money in their own way, they often resort to crookedness, and all kinds of troubles follow. “Unsanctified riches bring only trouble and vexation” (Pulpit Commentary”). God’s riches are a blessing all the way (“no sorrow therewith”).

Verses 22-32

Pro 10:22-32

More contrast between the Wise and Wicked (Proverbs 10:22-32):

"The blessing of Jehovah, it maketh rich; And he addeth no sorrow therewith. It is as sport to a fool to do wickedness; And so is wisdom to a man of understanding" (Proverbs 10:22-23). Solomon seems to comment upon this verse in the book of Ecclesiastes by saying, " Behold, that which I have seen to be good and to be comely is for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy good in all his labor, wherein he labor under the sun, all the days of his life which God hath given him: for this is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor – this is the gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19). The blessed man has riches and with riches comes no sorrow. While the wicked make sport (or is amused and entertained) by his wicked actions the wise man is made content and satisfied with gaining wisdom and understanding.

"The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him; And the desire of the righteous shall be granted. When the whirlwind passeth, the wicked is no more; But the righteous is an everlasting foundation" (Proverbs 10:24-25). This verse is connected to the preceding thoughts regarding the wicked making sport of their ill-advised ways. Though they enjoy the passing pleasures of sin there is that deep feeling of fear because they know that there will be consequences to their actions. The wicked thereby live in fear of the retribution of their error (see Proverbs 1:26). When the time of reckoning comes the wicked passes into the realm of trouble and consequential rewards. The wicked may run but they cannot hide from the all-seeing eyes of Jehovah. The righteous; on the other hand, have their immediate and everlasting desires met as they seek out a life of submissive obedience and wisdom in spiritual matters.

"As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, So is the sluggard to them that send him" (Proverbs 10:26). Ezekiel said, "The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?" in relation to children not being guilty of their parents sins (see Ezekiel 18:2). To have your "teeth set on edge" or to have "vinegar to the teeth" is to experience a bitter and unbearable taste or feeling to the teeth and mouth. Likewise, to have smoke in the eyes is to be annoyingly unbearable. The man that employees a sloth who will not accomplish his instructed task is likened to experiencing vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes. The sluggard’s ways are annoying and unbearable. These people are seeking to do the least bit of work they can.

"The fear of Jehovah prolongeth days; But the years of the wicked shall be shortened. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness; But the expectation of the wicked shall perish. The way of Jehovah is a stronghold to the upright; But it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity. The righteous shall never be removed; But the wicked shall not dwell in the land" (Proverbs 10:27-30). Over and over Solomon points up the fact that the righteous will benefit from wisdom and good choices by longevity of life where as the wicked have nothing but shortness of life to experience (see Proverbs 9:11-12). The righteous shall have their desire and expectation (hope) met (i.e., they shall receive a heavenly home through the blood of Jesus Christ). The wicked man’s hope as it is set upon this world, will only perish with the things of this world (see 1 John 2:16-17).

"The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom; But the perverse tongue shall be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable; But the mouth of the wicked speaketh perverseness" (Proverbs 10:31-32). The mouth is viewed as a fruit tree that produces fruits. The "mouth of the righteous" produces much beneficial fruits. The mouth of the wise shall edify its hearers and cause one to know right from wrong and salvation from condemnation. The "perverse tongue" is also viewed as a fruit tree. This tree; however, produces poisonous and harmful fruit and is thereby good for nothing but to be cut down. While the fruit of this tree may be beneficial to animals (like deer berry) it is not fit for human consumption (see 2 Peter 2:12; Judges 1:10).

Verse 23

Pro 10:23

Proverbs 10:23

"It is as sport to a fool to do wickedness; And so is wisdom to a man of understanding."

A various reading here, "It is sport for a fool to commit lewdness, but it is an abomination to a man of understanding.” "A rascal thinks sin is fun.”

Proverbs 10:23. To do mischief is sport or fun to a fool. Hebrews 11:25 speaks of the “pleasures of sin”. Godliness would be boredom to him until converted. He is sure he is living the only way to be lived. He thinks he is smart, and that everybody else is missing out on the main thing of life. But don’t forget that the man of understanding enjoys the way of wisdom too. Fools are not the only ones who enjoy themselves. Yes, godly people are happy too!

Verse 25

Pro 10:25

Proverbs 10:25

"When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more; But the righteous is an everlasting foundation."

The truth of this is apparently lost on our beloved America today. "It is righteousness that exalteth a nation" (Proverbs 14:34). Ten righteous people would have spared Sodom and Gomorrah from destruction. The only foundation therefore for any `everlasting’ society is righteous people. Humanism is the destruction of any society built upon it.

Proverbs 10:25. Finally God’s patience with the wicked comes to an end, and He sweeps them away with the suddenness of a whirlwind. After such a storm has passed, oftentimes it is only the foundation of a building that is left. The righteous are like that foundation, the wicked like the building that was carried away. Psalms 37 is a psalm that says the same thing over and over. Read it, noting the sudden destruction of the wicked and the continuation and blessing of the righteous.

Verse 26

Pro 10:26

Proverbs 10:26

"As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke in the eyes, So is the sluggard to them that send him."

The message here is that there is no worse messenger that can be sent than a lazy one.

Proverbs 10:26. See the “Paraphrase” on this verse. The teeth do not like vinegar nor the eyes smoke, and neither does an employer like a sluggard. Pulpit Commentary: “In a country where chimneys are unknown...the eyes must have often been painfully affected by the household fire.”

Verse 27

Pro 10:27

Proverbs 10:27

"The fear of Jehovah prolongeth days; But the years of the wicked shall be shortened."

There is no mature person who cannot recall from what he has observed many examples of the wicked whose lives have been shortened and terminated by their wicked deeds. The drunken drivers killed in accidents, the robber shot in the act, the adulterer slain in vengeance - the list is endless.

Proverbs 10:27. As a rule a person or a people given to sin will not live as long as a godly person or people. Sin soon burns its victims out like a roaring fire does the wood. Read Proverbs 9:11 and Psalms 55:23 in connection with this verse.

Verse 28

Pro 10:28

Proverbs 10:28

"The hope of the righteous shall be gladness, But the expectation of the wicked shall perish."

Contrasting with the futile hopes of the wicked that shall come to naught, "The patient expectation of the righteous is joyful, because it has full confidence of its being fulfilled.”

Proverbs 10:28. Several times does this chapter state this same truth. The righteous have much to hope for, and God does not disappoint them. The hopes of the wicked will be dashed to the ground as they perish. Psalms 112:10 and Proverbs 11:7 also speak of the expectation of the wicked perishing. Sin, then, is a losing game. Don’t play it!

Verse 29

Pro 10:29

Proverbs 10:29

"The way of Jehovah is a stronghold to the upright; But it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity."

The inherent enmity between good and evil appears here. This truth is quite comprehensive. Devotion to God and the service of holy religion in Christ, "Are for the righteous a strong protection and a safe retreat"; but God’s ultimate purpose is that of casting evil out of his universe. There is absolutely no way that wickedness can win.

Proverbs 10:29. The way of Jehovah is followed by two statements: it is a stronghold (the utmost is protection) to the upright, but it is destruction to the workers of iniquity. When God rises to sift a people, not one kernel will be lost, but all the sinners will be destroyed (Amos 9:9). For God’s special care of the righteous, see Psalms 91:1-12. It pays to do right. The backslidden people of Malachi’s day said it didn’t (Malachi 3:14-15), but look what Malachi 3:16 to Malachi 4:2 goes on to record.

Verse 30

Pro 10:30

Proverbs 10:30

"The righteous shall never be removed; But the wicked shall not dwell in the land."

The truth here is eternal in its scope. History affords many examples of the oppression of the righteous and the establishment of wicked populations in every land; but in the destiny of our sin-cursed earth, God has scheduled another chapter. "We look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2 Peter 3:13).

Proverbs 10:30. And again the same lesson is emphasized. “Never be removed” is said of the righteous, but “not dwell” of the wicked. For the security of the godly see Psalms 125:1-2.

Verse 31

Pro 10:31

Proverbs 10:31

"The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom; But the perverse tongue shall be cut off."

An interesting paraphrase here is: "Good people say wise things, but people will stop listening to a person that says things that bring trouble.” There is also here a glimpse of ancient brutal punishments in which the tongues of disrespectful servants were actually cut off.

Proverbs 10:31. The good mouth brings forth good things like praise (Ephesians 5:4), edifying things (Ephesians 4:29), and truth (Ephesians 4:25) while the wicked mouth brings forth just the opposite, for which it will be destroyed.

Verse 32

Pro 10:32

Proverbs 10:32

"The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable; But the mouth of the wicked speaketh perverseness."

"In both of these last two verses, the straightforward speech of the righteous which informs and pleases is contrasted with the evil speech of the wicked." "Thy speech betrayeth thee"! (Matthew 26:73) was correctly applied to the apostle Peter; but it also fits us all!

Proverbs 10:32. The lips of the righteous know what to say, when, where, etc. The mouth of the wicked speaks the wrong thing. Proverbs, Ephesians, and James all have much to say on the use and the abuse of the tongue.

Proverbs of Solomon - Proverbs 10:1-32

Open It

1. Who was the last person to say something encouraging to you?

2. Why do you agree or disagree with the statement that the tongue can do as much harm as a gun?

3. Who is a popular television or movie character you would characterize as being really wicked or evil?

Explore It

4. Who wrote these proverbs? (Proverbs 10:1)

5. How would you describe these proverbs? (Proverbs 10:1-32)

6. By what common themes are the proverbs in this chapter linked together? (Proverbs 10:1-32)

7. What two types of people are compared and contrasted in these verses? (Proverbs 10:1-32)

8. How did Solomon characterize the wise person? (Proverbs 10:1-32)

9. How did Solomon describe the wicked person? (Proverbs 10:1-32)

10. From what does righteousness deliver a person? (Proverbs 10:2)

11. What are the rewards of diligence? laziness? (Proverbs 10:4-5)

12. How did Solomon compare the memory of the righteous and the wicked? (Proverbs 10:7)

13. What did Solomon say about the mouth of the righteous and the wicked? (Proverbs 10:11; Proverbs 10:13-14)

14. How are hatred and love different? (Proverbs 10:12)

15. How do the wages of the righteous differ from the income of the wicked? (Proverbs 10:16)

16. What did Solomon say about the tongue, the lips, and words? (Proverbs 10:18-21; Proverbs 10:31-32)

17. What can the fear of the Lord do? (Proverbs 10:27)

18. What is the way of the Lord for the righteous and the wicked? (Proverbs 10:29)

Get It

19. In what way is it true that the way of the wise leads to life and success while the way of the wicked leads to death and destruction?

20. When is it difficult to be diligent and easy to be lazy?

21. What does it mean to use our lips, mouth, tongue, and words wisely?

22. Why is it difficult for people to hold their tongue?

23. When might words be more beneficial or more harmful than physical actions?

24. How can you nourish another person with your words?

25. How is God your refuge?

Apply It

26. Who is someone you will nourish with a kind word today?

27. What is one way that you can adjust your life-style in order to live more wisely?

28. In what area of your life will you strive to be more diligent this week?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Proverbs 10". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/proverbs-10.html.
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