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the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 28

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Pro 28:1

Proverbs 28:1

"The wicked flee when no man pursueth; But the righteous are bold as a lion."

"Many of the proverbs in Proverbs 18-29 remind us of those in the 2major section of Proverbs (Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16), with their frequent contrasts of good and evil.” In this verse the contrast is between a criminal whose guilty conscience compels him to flee and a righteous person who feels no such compulsion. "A rogue runs away when no one is chasing him, but just men are braver than lions.”

Proverbs 28:1. Mischievous children and evil adults will often drop the wrong they are doing to run when they hear some sound even though it is not somebody pursuing them. House robbers seldom try to break into a home where there is a light on even though they recognize that probably nobody is there—there just might be. See Leviticus 26:17 and Psalms 53:5 for fleeing when no man pursues. On the other hand (by way of contrast) the righteous have nothing to be ashamed of, and their courage causes them to stand right where they are. Noah was bold in a world of iniquity, for he was a preacher of righteousness in it (2 Peter 2:5) as well as an ark-builder (Hebrews 11:7). Elijah was bold on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:17-40). The apostles were bold when encountered by the authorities (Acts 5:27-29).

Verse 2

Pro 28:2

Proverbs 28:2

"For the transgressions of a land many are the princes thereof, But by men of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged."

"The text in the second line is very uncertain, and many renderings are possible.” What is said here was, in later times, illustrated in the history of Israel, The sin of Northern Israel resulted in their having many kings whose brief reigns followed in succession rapidly, whereas Judah’s righteousness (in a relative sense, of course) enjoyed a far more stable government. The idea is: "When a land transgresses, it has many rulers; but with men of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.”

Proverbs 28:2. When a nation was wicked, God brought an unrest that produced many turnovers in leadership (nobody remained in power for long), and in time the whole government collapsed and passed out of existence. The last clause shows that the opposite was true where men of understanding and knowledge were in power. “Clarke”: “Nations, as nations, cannot be judged in a future world; therefore, God judges them here.”

Verse 3

Pro 28:3

Proverbs 28:3

"A needy man that oppresseth the poor Is like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food."

Scholars admit that this is a fair rendition of the Hebrew text; but what is said here does not correspond with certain facts. Throughout the Old Testament, a poor man is nowhere presented as an oppressor of the poor; and furthermore it could not add to the distress of the poor that the oppressor was one of their own class. This has led to some various renditions. "A wicked ruler who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.” "A tyrant oppressing the poor is like a flood that leaves no food.” If the standard renditions are followed, we might cite Abimelech the son of Gideon as the type of "poor man" oppressor intended by the Hebrew text.

Proverbs 28:3. The needy man of this verse picks on the man who is poorer than himself, and when he takes the only thing of value that this poorer man has, there is nothing left. On a “sweeping rain”: “These are frequent in the East; and sometimes carry flocks, crops, and houses, away with them” (“Clarke”).

Verse 4

Pro 28:4

Proverbs 28:4

"They that forsake the law praise the wicked; But such as keep the law contend with them."

The mention of the law of Moses here is another example of the truth that every book of the Old Testament after the Pentateuch is written in the shadow of the Five Books of Moses. There is no ground whatever in this for referring the authorship of Proverbs to the Greek period, as Toy thought; because there were many other periods in Jewish history when they, in the general sense, forsook the law of Moses. In fact, the first generation following the death of Joshua and his contemporaries is just as good as any other example of Israel’s apostasy. There were literally dozens of them.

Proverbs 28:4. Other passages on the disobedient praising the wicked: Psalms 10:3; Romans 1:32. They praise the wicked because they are their kind; “If ye were of the world, the world would love its own” (John 15:19). An old saying: “Birds of a feather flock together.” Elijah said to the sinning nation, “How long go ye limping between the two sides?” (1 Kings 18:21). Micaiah always contended with wicked King Ahab (1 Kings 22:8). Malachi contended with the sinning nation of his day (Malachi 3:5-9). John the Baptist contended with the wicked Pharisees and Sadducees (Matthew 3:7). When Paul saw the wholesale idolatry of Athens, he contended with them (Acts 17:16-17). We are told not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but to reprove them (Ephesians 5:11).

Verse 5

Pro 28:5

Proverbs 28:5

"Evil men understand not justice; But they that seek Jehovah understand all things."

Another reading for justice here is "religion.” What this proverb says is that, "It is only through the Divine Law that either justice or right (righteousness in general) can be known.” As Kidner noted, all of this is spelled out in detail in Romans 1:18-32.

Proverbs 28:5. “An evil man’s moral conception is perverted; he cannot distinguish between right and wrong; the light that was in him has become darkness (Proverbs 29:7” (“Pulpit Commentary”). Compare Matthew 6:23 : “If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness how great is the darkness!” On the righteous knowing discernment: “If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know...” (John 7:17). While “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged,” “the spiritual judgeth all things” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). The righteous “by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14). Paul prayed for the Philippians to have this discernment: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may approve the things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:9-10). That God’s enlightened people possess discernment, John affirmed, “Ye have an anointing from the Holy One, and ye know all things” (1 John 2:20).

Verse 6

Pro 28:6

Proverbs 28:6

"Better is the poor man that walketh in his integrity, Than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich."

This is a variation of Proverbs 19:1. There the righteous poor man is better than a fool; here he is better than a wealthy wicked man. It’s true both ways. See the note there.

Proverbs 28:6. The comparison is between a poor man who is honest and a rich man who is perverting his way. Proverbs 16:8 affirms the same: “Better is a little, with righteousness, Than great revenues with injustice.” In other words righteousness and justice are more important in the sight of God than riches, even great riches. We are to seek righteousness first and foremost (Matthew 6:33). Proverbs 19:1 also speaks of the poor who walk in their integrity (and praises them for it) and of those who pervert their ways. So does Proverbs 28:18.

Verse 7

Pro 28:7

Proverbs 28:7

"Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son, But he that is a companion of gluttons shameth his father."

"Again, the Law here is the Torah (the Pentateuch) and seems also to include the directions and commandments of one’s father. An obedient and prudent son brings joy and honor to his father (Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 29:3). The son who herds with debauchers, and wastes his substance in riotous living brings shame and insults upon his father.”

Deane recommended the Septuagint here: "A wise son keeps the law, but a son that keeps up debauchery dishonors his father.”

Proverbs 28:7. This verse reflects that which is seen so often throughout the Bible; namely, that though all people live in the same world and are more or less exposed to the same things, some live right, and some don’t. This is even true of one’s offspring: a son may be a “wise” son, or he may be a “companion of gluttons”. This same contrast is seen in Proverbs 29:3 : “Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father; But he that keepeth company with harlots wasteth his substance” (like the Prodigal Son).

Verse 8

Pro 28:8

Proverbs 28:8

"He that augmenteth his substance by interest and increase, Gathereth for him that hath pity of the poor."

Usury, defined as excessive interest, was based upon a percentage of money loaned required to be paid in addition to the principal; `increase’ referred to such agreements in which grain and other products were loaned, contingent upon the lender being repaid with an "increase in kind." Borrow three bushels, pay back four!

This proverb states that unscrupulous loan sharks who amassed fortunes by such tactics were merely gathering up wealth that a successor would distribute to the poor. Although this must have happened in certain cases, the passage should be viewed as the way God intended it to be, rather than as the way things generally occurred.

Proverbs 28:8. Of the wicked oppressing the poor to increase their own substance, “Clarke” exclaims, “Oh, that the names of all those unfeeling, hard-hearted, consummate villains in the nation, who thus take advantage of their neighbour’s necessities to enrich themselves, were published at every market cross; and then the delinquents all sent to their brother savages in New Zealand!” Other passages bearing out that such ill-gotten gain will in time get back where it belongs: “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” (Job 27:16-17); “The wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22); “To the man that pleaseth him God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy; but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that pleaseth God” (Ecclesiastes 2:26).

Verse 9

Pro 28:9

Proverbs 28:9

"He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination."

Hearing the law (here) is not a reference merely to hearing it read. It means "accepting and obeying the law." If a man is disobedient to God, even his prayer is an abomination to God. The same thing is said of the wicked man’s sacrifice (Proverbs 15:1), and even of his very thoughts (Proverbs 15:26). That God indeed refuses to hear some prayers is mentioned by Isaiah (Isaiah 1:15).

Proverbs 28:9. Of those who turn away their ears from hearing God’s Word, Zechariah 7:11 says, “They refused to hearken, and pulled away the shoulder, and stopped their ears, that they might not hear.” God refused to hear the prayers of many in Isaiah’s day because of their disobedience: “When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you; yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:15). The curse of God is upon all who turn their ears from His Word: “Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words...it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Matthew 10:14-15). All religious acts by the disobedient are obnoxious to God: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to Jehovah” (Proverbs 15:8).

Verse 10

Pro 28:10

Proverbs 28:10

"Whoso causeth the upright to go astray in an evil way, He shall fall himself into his own pit; But the perfect shall inherit good."

"He who tempts the upright to evil courses will himself fall into the pit which he has dug.” ; Proverbs 26:27 has this same thought. See the comment there.

Proverbs 28:10. “Clarke”: “He who strives to pervert one really converted to God in order that he may pour contempt on religion shall fall into that hell to which he has endeavored to lead the other.” Satan is out to cause the upright to go astray (1 Peter 2:8; 2 Corinthians 2:11). It is no wonder that those who are all-out for Satan cause many to stumble if they can: “They think it strange that ye run not with them into the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you” (1 Peter 4:4). About falling into one’s own pit see Proverbs 26:27. While the plotter falls into his own pit, the perfect (whose downfall he sought) will inherit good. David could say, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over” (Psalms 23:5). Did you notice that our verse has three lines instead of the customary two?

Verse 11

Pro 28:11

Proverbs 28:11

"The rich man is wise in his own conceit; But the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out."

"Poor men know what rich men really are. The rich may fool themselves into thinking they are really wise and good; but poor people see through the masks to their true worth.” Toy’s rendition of the second line: "But an intelligent man will probe him thoroughly.”

Proverbs 28:11. Because wealth and great earthly possessions often bring conceit to the rich, 1 Timothy 6:17 warns, “Charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not highminded.” because he is out to get more money, he may be plotting new schemes and moves to increase his wealth, but in so doing he may not fool some of the poor people. Some poor man of understanding may face him with what he is up to, to the rich man’s embarrassment. Not all poor people are ignorant people.

Verse 12

Pro 28:12

Proverbs 28:12

"When the righteous triumph, there is great glory; But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves."

The meaning here is obvious; and most of the translations and versions show very little variation. There is a glimpse here of the terrible sorrow and suffering that come to mankind, because occasionally wicked men gain the ascendancy in power, wealth, government, etc. It is always a sad day for humanity when an evil man procures great authority. Joseph Stalin, for example is credited with murdering over thirty million people!

Proverbs 28:12. Judah knew what it was to have both good and bad kings. When men like Hezekiah and Josiah were on the throne, it was a glorious time for the nation. Proverbs 11:10 says, “When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth.” Proverbs 11:11 : “By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted.” But when wicked rulers like Ahaz and Manasseh came to power, there was fear. Proverbs 28:28 also says, “When the wicked rise, men hide themselves,” and “when the wicked perish there is shouting” (Proverbs 11:11), and “the righteous increase” (Proverbs 28:28). Because Archelaus was ruling in Judea, Joseph was afraid to settle there with his family. (Matthew 2:22-23).

Verse 13

Pro 28:13

Proverbs 28:13

"He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper; But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy."

This admonition should not be construed as teaching any such thing as "auricular confession" after the manner of the Roman church. Christians are not commanded to confess to any kind of prelate, or representative of any church. We are commanded to confess our sins "one to another" (James 5:16); and that is a mutual affair. Also it is said that every tongue shall "Confess to God" (Romans 14:11; Romans 15:9).

Proverbs 28:13. When one has done wrong, he can go one of two ways: either seek to cover or conceal his transgress (like Achan-Joshua 7:1; Joshua 7:16-26) or confess the transgression and forsake it (like 1 John 1:9 teaches us to do: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins”). The Prodigal Son is a good example of the latter (Luke 15:21-24). When one tries to conceal sin when he should confess and forsake it, things are not going to go right. It is like keeping a thorn in one’s hand that ought to be removed, like keeping a bad tooth in one’s mouth that ought to be extracted, like driving a car that is badly out of time, etc. Not until one removes the bad and gets things fixed will things be like they ought to be. Nathan did King David a great favor when he dealt with him about his sin (2 Samuel 12:1-13). After David ‘s sin was all over, after God had uncovered it, and after God had forgiven it, he could write, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no guile”—no dishonesty in attempting to cover it up (Psalms 32:1-2). And then as he looked back at his own covering up attempt, he said, “When I kept silence, my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: My moisture was changed as with the drought of summer” (Psalms 32:3-4). Then Nathan came, and now David could say, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, And mine iniquity did I not hide: I said, I will confess my transgressions unto Jehovah; And thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psalms 32:5).

Verse 14

Pro 28:14

Proverbs 28:14

"Happy is the man that feareth alway; But he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief."

"Happy is the man who lives in fear of sin: reckless men come to grief.”

Proverbs 28:14. One’s attitude toward God is under consideration. He will either fear God (the reverence and godly fear mentioned in Hebrews 12:28 and Ecclesiastes 12:13) and depart from evil (Proverbs 16:6), or he will harden his heart so he won’t fear, and he will continue in his sins. Romans 2:5 speaks of this “hardness” and “impenitent heart,” and they do go together. Proverbs 23:13 says we should not envy sinners (that leads to sinning) but to be in the fear of Jehovah all day long.

Verse 15

Pro 28:15

Proverbs 28:15

"As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear, So is a wicked ruler over a poor people."

Israel had their wicked rulers such as Ahab, Manasseh and many others; but the current century has seen a parade of evil rulers just as wicked and far more powerful; and any people with such a ruler is a "poor" people.

Proverbs 28:15. The next two verses have to do with “kings” as do a number of verses in Proverbs. The Hebrews’ own history contained a classic example of a “wicked ruler” (Pharaoh) over a “poor people” (when he had them in Egyptian bondage). First the Egyptians “made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field, all their service, wherein they made them serve with rigor” (Exodus 1:14). But that wasn’t enough, so Pharaoh said to the Egyptian midwives, “When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the birth-stool; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him” (Exodus 1:16). And when he saw that that wasn’t working, he issued this order to the Hebrew people themselves: “Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river” (Exodus 1:22). Wicked King Herod, who killed at will throughout his reign, was like a roaring lion and a ranging bear when he “sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under” (Matthew 2:16).

Verse 16

Pro 28:16

Proverbs 28:16

"The prince that lacketh understanding is also a great oppressor; But he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days."

The antithesis in the second line carries the implication that the oppressive prince or "ruler” is a covetous person greedy for wealth. There is also the implication that, "Such a ruler will not be tolerated very long.” Covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). "Neither the possession of wealth nor the acquisition of it is sinful, but the eager haste of covetousness.”

Proverbs 28:16. Greedy tyrants (like Hitler) want more and more territory, and they become great oppressors (such as he did of Poland, France, England, Russia, and others). This verse says such a ruler lacks understanding: he does not have the welfare of his people at heart as many of them fall in his battles, and he finally bites off more than he can handle and is finally defeated (as Hitler was). “Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days” (Psalms 55:23). In contrast the ruler who is not greedy (“hateth covetousness”) shall prolong his days. The contrast of this verse is reflected in Psalms 37 : “Evildoers shall be cut off; But those that wait for Jehovah, they shall inherit the land. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and he shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace...The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay such as are upright in the way. Their sword shall enter into their own heart, And their bows shall be broken...I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like a green tree in its native soil. But one passed by, and, lo, he was not” (Proverbs 28:9-28).

Verse 17

Pro 28:17

Proverbs 28:17

"A man that is laden with the blood of any person Shall flee unto the pit; let no man stay him."

"If a man is burdened with the blood of another, let him be a fugitive until death; let no one help him.” This version is better because it makes it clear that it is a sin to aid murderers fleeing to avoid punishment for their crime.

Proverbs 28:17. “Clarke”: “He who...slays the innocent...may flee to hide himself: but let none given him protection. The law demands his life, because he is a murderer; and let none deprive justice of its claim. Murder is the most horrid crime.” What law did “Clarke” have in mind? “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed” (Genesis 9:6); “He that smiteth a man, so that he dieth, shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:14); “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be slain...Moreover ye shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer, that is guilty of death; but he shall surely be put to death...Blood, it polluteth the land; and no expiation can be made for the land for the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it” (Numbers 35:30-33).

Verse 18

Pro 28:18

Proverbs 28:18

"Whoso walketh uprightly shall be delivered; But he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once."

Another rendition: "A man of blameless life is safe: pitfalls bring down the man of crooked courses.” "Time and chance happeneth unto all men" (Ecclesiastes 9:11); but it is still true that the righteous man enjoys a security even in the present life that is infinitely greater than that of the evil man.

Proverbs 28:18. A double contrast: “whoso walketh uprightly” vs. “he that is perverse in his ways” and “shall be delivered” vs. “shall fall at once”. Proverbs 10:9 is similar: “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely; But he that perverteth his ways shall be known.” The right way to live proves to be the best way to live!

Verse 19

Pro 28:19

Proverbs 28:19

"He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread; But he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough."

This proverb is practically the same as Proverbs 12:11. See the comment there.

Proverbs 28:19. Proverbs 12:11 is very similar: “He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread; But he that followeth after vain persons is void of understanding.” A double contrast: “he that tilleth his land” vs. “he that followeth after vain persons” and “shall have plenty of bread” vs. “shall have poverty enough”. The normal and expected reward of honest labor is to be supplied from it (“bread”). Thus, Proverbs 14:23 says, “In all labor there is profit.” Getting in with the non-working bunch, with the play-around group, with the no-good element is a good way to have “poverty enough” instead of “plenty of bread”. One’s companionships will often affect his working-outlook.

Verse 20

Pro 28:20

Proverbs 28:20

"A faithful man shall abound with blessings; But he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be unpunished."

Paul admonished Christians in the strongest language against striving to be rich (1 Timothy 6:6-10). The lifestyle that is most compatible with the hope of receiving at last the crown of life that never fades away is one that stresses industry, contentment, kindness and a genuine concern for the welfare of others as well as that of one’s own family.

Proverbs 28:20. This is one of several verses dealing with getting-rich-quick: see Proverbs 28:22; Proverbs 28:25. Another double contrast: “a faithful man” vs. “he that maketh haste to be rich” and “shall abound with blessings” vs. “shall not be unpunished”. Notice in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 the promises that God made to Israel if they were faithful. “Abound” is related to “abundant”. God will punish—not bless—one who hastens to be rich, for he has the wrong goal in mind, and he will likely sin in pursuing his goal: “They that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

Verse 21

Pro 28:21

Proverbs 28:21

"To have respect of persons is not good; Neither that a man should transgress for a piece of bread."

"The first line here is also found in Proverbs 24:23, referring there, as it does here, to the administration of justice.” See our comments there. "Some renditions here give the thought that a judge given to favoritism will swerve from the right decision upon the very smallest of temptations, `a crust of bread.’” Kidner warned that, with regard to favoritism, "The preacher is just as vulnerable as the judge.”

Proverbs 28:21. The first statement is found in Proverbs 18:5 also. We should not have respect of persons when it comes to right and wrong, truth and error. Wrong is wrong even if our best friend does it, and right is right even if somebody does it who doesn’t like us personally. God will not save those who have not obeyed the gospel even if they are our relatives or friends. He has no respect of men’s persons (Romans 2:11). The second statement of our verse is probably mentioning another thing that should not be done; namely, transgressing for a paltry gain. Of course, the two statements might be related as when a judge would show respect for persons for a small bribe.

Verse 22

Pro 28:22

Proverbs 28:22

"He that hath an evil eye hasteth after riches, And knowest not that want shall come upon him."

The headlines in today’s Houston Post (June 27,1993) reveal that hundreds of millions of dollars have been lost to local investors in the collapse of a real estate empire promoted by a woman named Rodriguez. The district attorney’s office named `greed’ as the motivation of the investors. They lost it all! The ancient proverbs are still true.

Proverbs 28:22. Hastening after riches is also mentioned in Proverbs 28:20. “Lust of the eyes” in 1 John 2:16 is desiring something that we should not have: it might be to desire one who is not our mate or to desire earthly gain at the expense of one’s spirituality. This is an “evil eye” for it leads one into sin. Jesus mentions “evil eye” in Mark 7:22 and says it is one of the things that proceed from within man. We know that the eye feeds the heart, and the wicked heart prompts the eye to be evil—a vicious circle! Our verse is warning against getting-rich-quick, saying that such a one will in time lose it (“want shall come upon him”).

Verse 23

Pro 28:23

Proverbs 28:23

"He that rebuketh a man shall afterward find more favor Than he that flattereth with the tongue."

The scholars tell us that there’s difficulty in the Hebrew with the word `afterward’; and the same is true as it stands in our version. If the first line is rearranged to read, "He that rebuketh a man afterward shall find more favor," then it might mean that the `afterward’ would refer to misdemeanor; but as it is the word applies to the time when the one who rebuked will find more favor.

To rebuke one who deserves it is a courageous thing to do, and only one’s true friend will do it. (See James 5:19). "The true friend says harsh things, but they are wholesome words that may lead to spiritual growth, and they show more real affection than the soft and flattering words of the fawning parasite.” Deane favored this rendition: "He that reproves a man’s ways shall have more favor than he that flatters with the tongue.”

Proverbs 28:23. Proverbs 27:5-6 praises “open rebuke” as “better” than “love that is hidden”. Such “wounds of a friend” are said to be “faithful”. Our verse says that one that rebukes a man will later find more favor than those who flattered the man when they should have been rebuking him. If a preacher believes this, he will be more faithful to God’s Word and will not let the people be lost without saying something about their sins. The “smooth talkers” who never say anything about the sins of the people will really do the people no good. In time to come (sometimes years later) people will look back and have more respect for the honest, outspoken, plain-spoken man than for the coward who was full of good words and fair speeches.

Verse 24

Pro 28:24

Proverbs 28:24

"Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression, The same is the companion of a destroyer."

The background of this, as suggested by Cook, seems to be that very kind of "robbing" one’s parents that Jesus condemned in Mark 7:10-13. The fact that some robber of his parents might have the gall to say, "It is no transgression" points squarely at that Corban device invented by the Pharisees. This proverb places that class of robbery in the same category as "Open lawless robbery,” effected by use of a deadly weapon.

Proverbs 28:24. Why would somebody rob his father and mother? First of all, it would be easy to do as compared to robbing anybody else, for he would know where everything was, he would be present in the house at times when they weren’t, etc. Or, he might think they would be more lenient upon him than upon somebody else, if what he did was ever found out. Or, he might salve his conscience by saying, “It’s all going to belong to us children in time anyway.” This last thought could account for his saying to himself, “It is no transgression.” But as long as one’s parents live, it is still theirs, and to take from them is robbing, and the “whoso” of our verse shows that it doesn’t matter who does it, it is still robbing. How perverse to rob the very ones who gave him life, provisions, and rearing.! He is a “companion of a destroyer” because he is destroying their financial holdings. A similar expression (“brother to him that is a destroyer”) is said of a lazy person (Proverbs 18:9).

Verse 25

Pro 28:25

Proverbs 28:25

"He that is of a greedy spirit stirreth up strife: But he that putteth his trust in Jehovah shall be made fat."

The ancient view of many `wise men’ was simple. "Be good, get rich; be bad and you’ll be poor." This widely accepted philosophy was vigorously advocated by Job’s `comforters,’ namely, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar and Elihu. The philosophy was defective in that it made no allowance for exceptions. Nevertheless, there were some residual elements of truth in it. We should understand this proverb in the light that shines on it from the Book of Job. See our comments there.

Proverbs 28:25. “He that is of a greedy spirit” is put over against “he that putteth his trust in Jehovah”. Most people who have lived on the earth could have used more than they had, especially at times. Some have been able to content themselves with the bare necessities (“having food and covering we shall be therewith content”—1 Timothy 6:8), trusting the Lord to take care of them through the situation. But others of a greedy spirit will not thus content themselves. They fret under their situation and will do anything to get their hands on more, and their greediness usually results in trouble (“stirreth up strife”), for in order for him to get more, it usually means that somebody else has less. He usually outwits somebody else, and hard feelings result. But in the long run, who ends up better? The one who trusts in Jehovah “shall be made fat” (be prosperous).

Verse 26

Pro 28:26

Proverbs 28:26

"He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool; But whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered."

He shall be delivered (2nd line). This means that, "He shall be saved.” Therefore, walking wisely means following the sacred instructions in the Bible. For Christians, especially those in the New Testament.

Proverbs 28:26. This may or may not be connected with Proverbs 28:25. If it is, it talks of the greedy one trusting in his own schemes rather than in God, and the one who walks wisely is the one who trusts in God. Likely, though, it is not connected but is another saying all by itself. If so, what does it mean? Always should one trust God and what He says. When one’s heart says to do something but God says not to, we should do what He says. This is walking wisely, and he will end up blessed (“he shall be delivered”). But oh, how many will go “their” way instead of “God’s”! That is why God said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Isaiah 55:8). He calls upon those thus living to “forsake his way, and...his thoughts; and...return to Jehovah” (Isaiah 55:7). Jeremiah knew the human heart when he said, “O Jehovah, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23); and, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly corrupt: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

Verse 27

Pro 28:27

Proverbs 28:27

"He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack; But he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse."

The sentiment of the first line here is reiterated in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 9:6-11). God today blesses liberal and generous Christians. The reference to `curses’ in line 2 reflects the extreme bitterness of poor people who are suffering for lack of the bare necessities of life, which are denied to them by people wallowing in affluence and luxury.

Proverbs 28:27. Jesus said there will always be some poor among us (Mark 14:7), and He went on to say, “Whensoever ye will ye can do them good” (same verse). As we have opportunity, therefore, to give to the poor and needy, we are to do so (Galatians 6:10; 1 John 3:17). Deuteronomy 15:7 says, “If there be with thee a poor man, one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates in thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, not shut thy hand from thy poor brother.” Proverbs 22:9 also says a man shall be blessed who “giveth of his bread to the poor”. God will repay all that we give to the poor (Proverbs 19:17). Our verse talks about hiding one’s eyes from the poor. This is what many do as they merrily go on their own way or busily pursue their business interests. Listen to Proverbs 29:7 : “The righteous taketh knowledge of the cause of the poor; The wicked hath not understanding to know it.” So Jesus made a helpful Samaritan the hero of His parable and the heartless Jewish priest and Levite the goats (Luke 10:30-37). The ultimate blessing and curse to come upon us for our dealings with the poor will be at the Judgment (Matthew 25:34-46).

Verse 28

Pro 28:28

Proverbs 28:28

"When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase."

We have already reviewed two companion verses: this one in Proverbs 28:12, above, and in Proverbs 11:10. We shall also have it again in Proverbs 29:2. Nothing can be a source of more apprehension and dread for a community than the ascendancy of wicked people to positions of power and authority. Delitzsch gave this rendition: "When the godless rise up, men hide themselves; and when they perish the righteous increase." When the wicked are removed from such eminence, we might also add that the people rejoice (Proverbs 29:2). They come out of their hiding places and have great glory (Proverbs 28:12). The inherent sorrow, distress, violence and oppression of evil appears not only in the sorrow of certain communities but in the tragic status of all mankind. Our sinning shameful race, in rebellion against their Creator, is on a collision course with disaster, which shall occur on that day described in Revelation 6:12-17.

Proverbs 28:28. “Rise to power is the thought. How tragic that in the world’s history there have been so many wicked as rulers! This may be partly due to the humility of the godly, causing them to be meek among men, not seeking places of eminence even though they be places of service to mankind. But the wicked are often graspy, covetousness, and proud, and they by nature seek such places of prominence. The first statement of our verse is also found in Proverbs 28:12. Proverbs 29:2 says, “When a wicked man beareth rule, the people sigh.” Israel probably liked the first years of Solomon’s reign, when he was seeking to do God’s will, better than his latter years, when he was idolatrous. They demanded a more civil rule from his son Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:4). Our verse shows that when the wicked leadership passes, righteousness increases to the true exaltation of the nation (Proverbs 14:34). “Pulpit Commentary”: “The overthrow of the ungodly adds to the prosperity of the righteous...promotes their advancement in influence and numbers.”

Proverbs of Solomon - Proverbs 28:1-28

Open It

1. What do you usually do when a street person or beggar asks you for money?

2. What sort of fantasies or desires do television commercials encourage people to pursue?

Explore It

3. How did Solomon contrast the wicked and the righteous? (Proverbs 28:1)

4. What types of individuals did Solomon discuss in this chapter? (Proverbs 28:1-28)

5.What topics are dealt with in these proverbs? (Proverbs 28:1-28)

6. What can we learn about a person from how he or she speaks about the wicked? (Proverbs 28:4)

7. Who understands justice? (Proverbs 28:5)

8. What type of person is better than a rich person? (Proverbs 28:6)

9. What kind of poor person has the advantage over rich people? (Proverbs 28:11)

10. What are the consequences of concealing one’s sins? of confessing them? (Proverbs 28:13)

11. What did Solomon say about the person who fears the Lord and about the person who hardens his or her heart? (Proverbs 28:14)

12. How do blameless people and perverse people differ? (Proverbs 28:18)

13. What promise applies to the person who chases fantasies? (Proverbs 28:19)

14. Who gains a lot of favor with others? (Proverbs 28:23)

15. Why is it bad to trust in yourself? (Proverbs 28:26)

16. What should be our response to the needs of poor people? (Proverbs 28:27)

Get It

17. How do we forsake the law by our behavior?

18. Why do you think it is better to be poor and blameless than rich and perverse?

19. When are you tempted to conceal rather than to confess your sins?

20. How does a person’s heart become hardened?

21. What sort of fantasies do people often chase?

22. What kind of person is willing to rebuke someone honestly?

23. What kind of person uses flattering words?

24. What does it mean to trust in one’s self?

25. Why would you be tempted to close your eyes to the problem of poverty?

Apply It

26. What fantasy that you have foolishly chased will you put behind you?

27. What is one part of your life-style that you can change in an effort to live a blameless life?

28. What is one thing you can do this week to help someone in need?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Proverbs 28". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/proverbs-28.html.
 
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