Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 3

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-10

Pro 3:1-10

Admonition to trust in the Law of God (Proverbs 3:1-10):

"My son, forget not my law; But let thy heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and years of life, And peace, will they add to thee" (Proverbs 3:1-2). Solomon (as a voice of wisdom and knowledge) continues to speak tenderly to his audience as a father to a son. The wise king pleads with his listeners to never "forget" my law and always "keep my commandments." The greatest troubles that God’s people throughout history experienced were due to their forgetting God’s laws and consequential disobedience (see Jeremiah 5:22-24; Jeremiah 18:15). Those who love and treasure wisdom and the fear of God will always keep her near and thereby gain length of days, years, and peace to life. When one is doing what they are supposed to do they stay out of trouble and are at peace. A universal law of our existence is that there are consequences to all our actions (whether good or bad).

"Let not kindness and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; Write them upon the tablet of thy heart: So shalt thou find favor and good understanding In the sight of God and man" (Proverbs 3:3-4). The Law of wisdom of verse 1 is now equated to kindness and truth. The wise and fearful of God will not permit kindness and truth to be left in the lurch of their lives. Solomon advises that the wise make them such a part of their lives that they are figuratively bound to their necks and written in the tables of stone within the heart. When my disposition towards others is kind and truthful rather than abrasive, ugly, and lying I will certainly find favor in the sight of God and other men. I will be trustworthy to all.

"Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, And lean not upon thine own understanding: In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he will direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). The Law of Wisdom is trusting in Jehovah (i.e., in His promises). The man of God who obtains wisdom and the fear of God will trust that God’s ways will be helpful now and for ever more. With a heart filled with faith man is to "trust in Jehovah with all thy heart." God will not misguide you in life or eternity. When the temptation to do things by "thine own understanding" comes the wise will trust in the ways of the Lord. The Law of Wisdom does not equate to "thine own understanding." Though some things may not seem good to you they are nonetheless divinely instructed. Sometimes people in the church don’t believe in withdrawing from a fellow Christian because they formulate things according to their "own understanding." Those who will not follow all God’s instructions show a lack of trust in God. The Lord will direct our paths to eternal glory if we will let him.

"Be not wise in thine own eyes; Fear Jehovah, and depart from evil: It will be health to thy navel, And marrow to thy bones" (Proverbs 3:7-8). Notice the line of thought. Solomon instructs man to make wisdom and the fear of God an integral part of one’s life (Proverbs 3:1-4). The wise are to put their trust in God’s laws (Proverbs 3:5). The wise are not to "lean upon thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). The wise are now encouraged to "not be wise in thine own eyes" (see also Isaiah 5:21). We ought to never let our personal assessment of what is wise or not determine our level of wisdom but rather our quiet and lawful actions. Solomon advises against looking inward to self for direction and instructs the man of God to rather look to Jehovah. When one does this through a great interest in truth they will fear Jehovah. Solomon thereby instructs all to "fear Jehovah and depart from evil." Such will be the case because the man of God will have no interest in wicked practices. The Law of Wisdom is to fear God and depart from evil!

"Honor Jehovah with thy substance, And with the first-fruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, And thy vats shall overflow with new wine" (Proverbs 3:9-10). To honor another is to give reverence, respect, and obedience to. The Law of Wisdom is to honor Jehovah with thy substance. The man of God is to honor Jehovah not only with an insatiable appetite for His truths but also "with thy substance." The Mosaic Law commanded the people of God to tithe (Deuteronomy 14:22 ff) and to give of the first fruits of their harvest (see Exodus 22:29; Exodus 23:19 etc.). Televangelist love this verse because in it they find supposed authority for requesting their listeners to send money to them. The plea is that people would send their money and God will in turn bless them bountifully with plenty. The Lord does; however, promise plenty blessings for one who so honors Him. Those who do not merely give lip service to the Lord but actually open their wallet shall be blessed in that their actions of giving have made manifest their true faith. God’s blessings of redemption, which is compared to an overflowing wine vat, shall be richly supplied to such a one.

The New Testament speaks of one giving as they have prospered to the Lord as well (see 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6 ff). The same principle holds true here. Those who give liberally "shall reap bountifully" (the thought is spiritual - see 2 Corinthians 6:8).

Verses 11-20

Pro 3:11-20

Proverbs 3:11-20

HAPPINESS AND BLESSING OF THOSE WHO TRUST IN GOD

"My son, despise not the chastening of Jehovah;

Neither be weary of his reproof:

For whom Jehovah loveth he reproveth,

Even as the father the son in whom he delighteth.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,

And the man that getteth understanding.

For the gaining of it is better than silver,

And the profit thereof than fine gold.

She is more precious than rubies:

And none of the things that thou canst desire are to be compared unto her.

Length of days is in her right hand;

In her left hand are riches and honor.

Her ways are ways of pleasantness,

And all her paths are peace.

She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her:

And happy is every one that retaineth her.

Jehovah, thy Wisdom founded the earth;

By understanding he established the heavens.

By his knowledge the depths were broken up,

And the skies drop down the dew."

In this paragraph are enumerated a number of the marvelous blessings of trusting in the Lord which far exceed and surpass any material prosperity. Happiness, peace, pleasantness, honor, length of days - these are the things more profitable than silver or gold. "These are truly `the good things’ of life, the blessings which all men are seeking."

"Despise not the chastening of Jehovah" (Proverbs 3:11). This understanding of the utility of sufferings and misfortunes borne by the righteous, "Is the same solution to that problem that was proposed by both Eliphaz (Job 5:17 f) and Elihu." And, although their understanding of it as it regarded the miseries of Job was inaccurate, it is nevertheless one of the valid reasons why God causes his saints to pass through afflictions.

"God’s people, like Jonah, may fall into sin and fall asleep in the storm; but for those whom God’s loves, he will send some terrible tempest to awaken them. The true Christian is thankful for the very afflictions that some despise, because he is able to use them as the occasion for his complete return to duty."

"Hebrews 12:5-6 quotes this passage verbatim from the Septuagint (LXX) and Sinaiticus Versions of the Old Testament." For further commentary on the subject of Chastening, we refer to Vol. 10 in our New Testament Commentaries (Hebrews), pp. 293-296.

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom" (Proverbs 3:13). Tate observed that here there are two elements in the admonition regarding wisdom: "This verse speaks of finding wisdom; and Proverbs 3:18 says `Happy is the man that retaineth it."

"The gaining of it (wisdom) is better than the gaining of silver" (Proverbs 3:14). We like Kidner’s terse comment on this that, "Wisdom will make you richer than money ever will."

This writer is deeply impressed with the personification of Wisdom in Proverbs 3:15-16; and we have taken the liberty of capitalizing Wisdom here. To the Christian "Christ is our Wisdom" (1 Corinthians 1:30); and, as Tate observed, "There is presumed some degree of an independent existence of Wisdom which antedates the creation of the universe (Proverbs 3:19-20)." This harmonizes completely with the fact of God’s having created all things by Jesus Christ our Lord (Hebrews 1:2).

Cook also noted that, "This passage is a link in the chain which connects the Wisdom mentioned here with the Divine Word ([@Logos]) of John 1:3; and therefore this passage takes its place among the proofs of the dogmatic statements of the Nicene Creed."

"She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her" (Proverbs 3:18). "The Book of Proverbs is the only book in the Bible that mentions the tree of life except the first (Genesis) and last (Revelation)." Other references in Proverbs to the tree of life are Proverbs 11; Proverbs 30; Proverbs 13:12; and Proverbs 15:4.

This first section of Proverbs (Proverbs 1-9) exists in the format of some ten speeches, most of them beginning with the words, "My son." Walls pointed out that, "The 3rd, 4th, and 5th of these speeches begin in Proverbs 3:1; Proverbs 3:11; Proverbs 3:21 in this chapter." We have now come to this fifth speech.

Proverbs 3:11. Immediately after telling of all the joyous blessings that God sends, we have another blessing listed, a blessing of a different nature, a blessing in disguise—chastening. Unlike the other blessings, it comes not because of obedience but disobedience; nor is it like other blessings, joyous at the time, but grievous, but it proves to be a blessing in the peaceful fruit that it brings to those who are corrected by it. “All chastening seemeth for the present not to be joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11); “For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10); “We are chastened of the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:32). Our verse is similar to Job 5:17 (“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: Therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty”) and is quoted in Hebrews 12:5-6. Solomon urges his son not to “despise” or belittle, not to disregard or misunderstand God’s chastening nor to be weary of it, for it will bring blessings (Psalms 94:12).

Proverbs 3:12. Satan tempts us because he seeks our destruction (1 Peter 5:8), and wicked people persecute us because they hate us (Luke 6:22), but God brings His hardship of chastening upon us because He loves us (this verse; Hebrews 12:6; Revelation 3:19). His chastening is compared to the correction of our earthly parents (this verse; Deuteronomy 8:5; Hebrews 12:7-9). Solomon has to tell us that it is God’s love that causes Him to chasten. People’s idea of “love” is not always right. The preacher who forcefully condemns sin and falsehood is accused of having an unloving attitude (Yet he is working to save people). The parent who corrects his children is criticized as harsh and unloving, but both God who corrects His children and parents who correct theirs do so because of love and concern (“He that spareth the rod hateth his son; But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes”—Proverbs 13:24).

Proverbs 3:13. Proverbs 3:13-20 go together, bidding the son to get wisdom and understanding for the rich blessings they bestow and reminding him that the Highest Himself employed wisdom in laying out the universe. He who finds wisdom gets understanding, and the finding is not so likely by accident as by searching. The whoso “findeth” wisdom of Proverbs 8:35 is the one who has heard “instruction” (Proverbs 8:33). Yes, a wise, an informed, an understanding person is a “happy” person, for he is blessed with the light of knowledge.

Proverbs 3:14. God would have men seek wisdom as they seek earthly treasures: “If thou seek her as silver, And search for her as for hid treasurers: Then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, And find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:4-5); “My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; And my revenue than choice silver” (Proverbs 8:19). Especially is the knowledge of God’s Word so valuable: “I rejoice at thy word, As one that findeth great spoil” (Psalms 119:162); “The ordinances of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold” (Psalms 19:9-10).

Proverbs 3:15. A similar passage comparing rubies and the value of wisdom: “Wisdom is better than rubies; And all the things that may be desired are not to be compared unto it” (Proverbs 8:11). “Pulpit Commentary”: “There is nothing—neither silver, gold, precious stones, nor anything precious—which is an equivalent to wisdom in value...When everything is put before us to choose from...like Solomon at Gibeon, we should prefer wisdom (1 Kings 3:11-13)!”

Proverbs 3:16. Both hands are full of great things and are stretched out to the person of true understanding. “The two hands, the right and the left, signify the abundance of Wisdom’s gifts” (“Pulpit Commentary”). Wisdom claims, in Proverbs 8:18, to have “riches and honor” to bestow. Long life, then, can be a result of wisdom. Riches, then, can be a product of wisdom. Honor, then, can come to those with wisdom.

Proverbs 3:17. Here are two more great blessings of wisdom: “pleasantness” and “peace”. Add these to riches and honor and long life, and who could ask for more as far as earthly life is concerned? Contrast such a life with one’s life that is void of wisdom and is characterized by foolish ways.

Proverbs 3:18. Like “Fountain of Youth” in our language, so “Tree of Life” in Bible days stood for something very desirable. The name was first used for one of the trees in the midst of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9). God did not allow Adam and Eve to eat of this tree after they sinned (Genesis 3:22-24). In Revelation 2:7 it is said to be in the Paradise of God. The blessings of having wisdom are compared to eating from the tree of life! Our verse points out the importance both of laying hold upon (obtaining) wisdom and then of retaining it. Unfortunately, many never obtain it, and sadly some who have had it have not retained it later. So, we should work to possess it, and we should be careful not to let it get away from us. Even a small amount of folly can undo one’s wisdom: “Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor; so doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor” (Ecclesiastes 10:1).

Proverbs 3:19. Always is man urged to be like God. The same is true concerning wisdom. After all these instructions on wisdom, Solomon now points out that God Himself is guided by wisdom. Other passages showing that God employed wisdom in creating the universe and life upon it: “O Jehovah, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all” (Psalms 104:24); Wisdom says, “When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, When he made the firm skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was by him, as a master workman” (Proverbs 8:27-30); “He hath established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding hath he stretch out the heavens” (Jeremiah 10:12). The marvels of creation continue to mystify the greatest minds in their depth and accuracy.

Proverbs 3:20. The watering of the earth, so necessary to its vegetation and its support of both human and animal life, is here under consideration. Only God would know how to lay out and operate such a vast, continual system. There may be an illusion to the breaking up of the deep at the time of the Flood (Genesis 7:11); if so, it would still be saying that only God would know how to do such.

STUDY QUESTIONS - Proverbs 3:11-20

1. Where is Proverbs 3:11 quoted in the New Testament?

2. What motivates God to reprove (Proverbs 3:12)?

3. Why is the man who gets wisdom “happy” (Proverbs 3:13)?

4. Why is the getting of wisdom better than the getting of treasures (Proverbs 3:14)?

5. Give a synonym for “precious” as used in Proverbs 3:15.

6. Compare the blessings mentioned in Proverbs 3:16 with those mentioned in Proverbs 3:2.

7. What two additional blessings of wisdom are promised in Proverbs 3:17?

8. What is meant by “tree of life” in Proverbs 3:18?

9. How is God’s wisdom reflected in His creation (Proverbs 3:19)?

10. What breaking up of depths is referred to in Proverbs 3:20?

Verses 11-35

Pro 3:11-35

The Value of Wisdom (Proverbs 3:11-35):

"My son, despise not the chastening of Jehovah; Neither be weary of his reproof: For whom Jehovah loveth he reproveth; Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth" (Proverbs 3:11-12).

The author of Hebrews quotes from this passage at Hebrews 12:3-11 when he said, "For consider him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against himself, that ye wax not weary, fainting in your souls. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin: and ye have forgotten the exhortation which reasoneth with you as with sons, My son, regard not lightly the chastening of the Lord, Nor faint when thou art reproved of him; For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. It is for chastening that ye endure; God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father chasteneth not? But if ye are without chastening, whereof all have been made partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore, we had the fathers of our flesh to chasten us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed good to them; but he for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness. All chastening seemeth for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yieldeth peaceable fruit unto them that have been exercised thereby, even the fruit of righteousness."

Here is the big picture regarding the Hebrews. Apparently many had apostized from the faith that they once held. They were not studying the scriptures. They were being persecuted and some were on the verge of giving up their faith. The picture is one of spiritual weakness brought on by a lack of knowledge. How would the Lord bring the Hebrews back to their senses? The Lord would do so by chastening.” To chasten (paideia) = “the rearing of a child… training and teaching, education… its result, culture, learning, accomplishments” (LS 584). Chastening is therefore not punishment for sinful deeds but rather an education process whereby the recipient will do some learning.

It seems clear here that the afflictions the Hebrews were undergoing at the hands of ungodly men are directly associated with the chastening of the Lord. Throughout history God has used various wicked men and nations to chasten His children. The Assyrian nation, (though wicked), were used as God’s rod to correct His people (Isaiah 10:9-10). Again, God used Babylon to chasten His people to shame that they may repent of their sinful works (cf. Jeremiah 31:17-20). The people of Judah had the same problem as the Hebrew Christians; i.e., they lacked knowledge (cf. Jeremiah 8:7). When heavily reproved by the Babylonians many of the survivors were moved to shame and repented (cf. Lamentations 1:20). God was correcting them in measure (cf. Jeremiah 30:11; Jeremiah 46:28).

Let all today understand that because we suffer we are loved of God. He deals with us as a loving father would his own children. We are educated when treated shamefully by the world and evil brethren. Let us gain wisdom and understanding from each case of ill treatment knowing that we have a glorious home in heaven after a while.

Said chastening at the hands of evil men (yet through the purpose of God) is never pleasant; however, let us see the consequences and thereby endure them with joy (cf. James 1:2-4). This is God’s world and this is how He operates. He allows sinful men to persecute us and those who truly love Him will endure gaining wisdom along the way. So the old adage, ‘no pain, no gain.’

How am I educated when treated shamefully? Such an incident will force me to make a decision in life. I will ask myself, ‘is what I believe worth this ill treatment?’ Again, I will find myself defending truth against ungodly men and growing stronger and stronger. I am educated therefore, by ill treatment of the ungodly because I am forced to make decisions that will strengthen my faith and knowledge of God’s word. The Psalmist said, It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy statutes (Psalms 119:67).

If we will simply understand the Lord’s chastening we will not despise nor grow weary of it. We will understand that our holiness and righteousness is being molded.

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, And the man that getteth understanding. For the gaining of it is better than the gaining of silver, And the profit thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: And none of the things thou canst desire are to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: And happy is every one that retaineth her" (Proverbs 3:13-18).

Solomon had said at chapter two that wisdom and the fear of God will only be found by great effort on the part of man. Now, Solomon tells us that in this quest for wisdom the interested will be chastened by God and thereby obtain wisdom. While man has his part in the quest for wisdom and fear God has his part as well. Jehovah providentially permits man to suffer various ill events that they may obtain wisdom. Those who view trials and tribulations from this perspective will indeed be "happy" (see also James 1:2).

Wisdom and the fear of God is well worth the hard search and trials of ill treatment. Wisdom and fear is thereby viewed as a greater treasure than that of silver, gold, and rubies (riches and honor).

"Jehovah by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths were broken up, And the skies drop down the dew" (Proverbs 3:19-20). Here we find an association between Jehovah and wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The wisdom of God speaks. Luke records, "Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send unto them prophets and apostles; and some of them they shall kill and persecute..." (Luke 11:49). Jehovah used wisdom to "found the earth" (i.e., create all that is). John writes of the "word" (i.e., Jesus) saying, "All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made" (John 1:3). Such a statement identifies the authoritative position of Jehovah in relation to wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Wisdom is not the Holy Spirit, as some may conclude, but rather an identifying attribute of Jehovah. Jehovah’s actions and thoughts define what wisdom, understanding, and knowledge is.

The apostle Paul spoke of the "potentate" position of Jehovah at 1 Timothy 6:15 illustrating His grand authority over mankind. this authority, through wisdom, created the earth. This authority, through understanding, established the heavens. This authority, by knowledge, broke up the depths (i.e., divided the waters into rivers, lakes, and various streams to sustain His creation). This authority, through knowledge, causes the skies to drop down rain and dew. God simply spoke and the universe was framed (see Psalms 33:6 ff). Jesus simply spoke and he exercised authority over the Devil (Matthew 4:10), sickness, diseases, demons, epileptic, and palsied (Matthew 4:24; Matthew 8:5 ff), Peter’s mother-in-law’s fever (Matthew 8:14-15), demons (Matthew 8:16-17; Matthew 8:30-32), the wind and sea (physical elements) (Matthew 8:23-27), sin (Matthew 9:2-8), life and death (Matthew 9:23-25), eyesight (Matthew 9:27-29), gravity and water (physical elements) (Matthew 14:24-25), fish of the sea (Matthew 17:27), and a fig tree (plant kingdom) (Matthew 21:20).

"My son, let them not depart from thine eyes; Keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, And grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely, And thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: Yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet" (Proverbs 3:21-24). Wisdom, discretion (prudence, forethought, judgment, carefulness), and understanding are "not to depart from thine eyes." God’s potentate sovereign position is defined by these traits. The New Testament Christian is commanded to attain unto the perfection (Matthew 5:48), holiness (1 Peter 1:16) and divine nature of Jehovah (2 Peter 1:4).

Those who keep wisdom and discretion shall have life, walk in God’s ways securely, shall not stumble, nor be afraid of the wicked. After Peter spoke of attaining unto a divine nature at 2 Peter 1 he writes, " Wherefore, brethren, give the more diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never stumble:" (2 Peter 1:10). Remember, such an endeavor in life will guard one from ungodliness because we will not be interested in filth but all our interest will be in truth, justice and equity.

Those who live with wisdom, discretion, and understanding avoid the ills of society that come to the wicked and they are able to sleep at night knowing that their actions and words carry no punishment.

"Be not afraid of sudden fear, Neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh: For Jehovah will be thy confidence, And will keep thy foot from being taken" (Proverbs 3:25-26). There is nothing for the righteous to fear (see 2 Timothy 1:7). There will be no pity nor fear for the wicked when their desolation comes. The faithful lives by holiness and righteousness and display the confidence in Jehovah’s promises. There is no reason for them to fear even if they loose their lives (Matthew 10:28).

"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, When it is in the power of thy hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, And to-morrow I will give; When thou hast it by thee. Devise not evil against thy neighbor, Seeing he dwelleth securely by thee" (Proverbs 3:27-29). Wisdom, discretion, and understanding are not just words but they are ways. The wise will seek out the knowledge of God and perform acts of kindness. Furthermore, the wise will not withhold things from the needy. If I have the ability ("when it is in my power to do") I should never withhold help to those who need it. Recall that John said, "Whoso hath the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need, and shuts up his compassion from him, how doth the love of god abide in him?" (1 John 3:17). Again, James writes, "If a brother or sister be naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; and yet ye give them not the things needful to the body; what doth it profit?" (James 2:15). Wisdom is defined by actual actions (as we noted earlier in the giving honor to God through our contributions - see Proverbs 3:9). Again, wisdom would never be seen devising a plan of wickedness against the people who live or work next to you. Wisdom will always seek out the betterment of all men.

"Strive not with a man without cause, If he have done thee no harm. Envy thou not the man of violence, And choose none of his ways. For the perverse is an abomination to Jehovah; But his friendship is with the upright" (Proverbs 3:30-32). More of wisdom is defined in the peaceable nature of such a man. The man of wisdom and discretion does not envy the "man of violence." Said men often prosper through wicked vices yet the wise cannot be jealous of him. His kid never sits the bench, he is promoted at work, and he attains all that he has through behind the scenes wickedness. Remember, the world knows their own and they also know those who are not like them (see John 15:19). Let not the wise be bothered by this. Jehovah is true friends with the upright (see James 2:23).

"The curse of Jehovah is in the house of the wicked; But he blesseth the habitation of the righteous. Surely he scoffeth at the scoffers; But he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory; But shame shall be the promotion of fools" (Proverbs 3:33-35) Chapter three ends as chapter two did. The consequences of wicked living is their extermination or banishment from among the righteous (see Proverbs 2:22). Furthermore, Solomon states that they have Jehovah’s curse and live in shame. The wise will attain the grace of God and "inherit glory" (i.e., dwell in the land - Proverbs 2:21). The New Testament speaks of the saints obtaining or inheriting glory (see Philippians 3:20; Philippians 2 Timimothy 2:10; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Peter 4:13; 1 Peter 5:4; 1 Peter 5:10; 1 John 3:2 etc.).

QUESTIONS Proverbs 3:11-35

1. Where is Proverbs 3:11 quoted in the New Testament?

2. What motivates God to reprove (Proverbs 3:12)?

3. Why is the man who gets wisdom “happy” (Proverbs 3:13)?

4. Why is the getting of wisdom better than the getting of treasures (Proverbs 3:14)?

5. Give a synonym for “precious” as used in Proverbs 3:15.

6. Compare the blessings mentioned in Proverbs 3:16 with those mentioned in Proverbs 3:2.

7. What two additional blessings of wisdom are promised in Proverbs 3:17?

8. What is meant by “tree of life” in Proverbs 3:18?

9. How is God’s wisdom reflected in His creation (Proverbs 3:19)?

10. What breaking up of depths is referred to in Proverbs 3:20?

11. What does “keep” mean in Proverbs 3:21?

12. Comment upon “grace” as used in Proverbs 3:22.

13. What Hebrew parallelism do we have in Proverbs 3:23?

14. What is there to fear about the night (Proverbs 3:24)?

15. Why can a godly person be safe and secure from all alarms as the song, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” says (Proverbs 3:25)?

16. Where is a godly person’s confidence placed (Proverbs 3:26)?

17. Where did Jesus teach that to withhold good is actually evil (Proverbs 3:27)?

18. Why would one put off to tomorrow giving help that he is able to give today (Proverbs 3:28)?

19. Should a neighbor’s security be one of our concerns (Proverbs 3:29)?

20. Who especially needs the instruction found in Proverbs 3:30?

21. What is listed in Proverbs 3:31 as a possible cause of strife?

22. How are the violent of Proverbs 3:31 described in Proverbs 3:32?

23. According to Proverbs 3:33 what does God do to those who are wicked?

24. Where in the New Testament is Proverbs 3:34 quoted?

25. What do the wise have to look forward to (Proverbs 3:35)?

26. What do fools have to look forward to (Proverbs 3:35)?

Verses 21-35

Pro 3:21-35

Proverbs 3:21-35

THE CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY OF THOSE WHO WALK WITH GOD

"My son, let them not depart from thine eyes;

Keep sound wisdom and discretion:

So shall they be life unto thy soul,

And grace to thy neck.

Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely,

And thy foot shall not stumble.

When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid:

Yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Be not afraid of sudden fear,

Neither the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh: For Jehovah will be thy confidence,

And will keep thy foot from being taken.

Withhold not good from them to whom it is due,

When it is in the power of thy hand to do it.

Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again,

And tomorrow I will give;

When thou hast it by thee.

Devise not evil against thy neighbor,

Seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.

Strive not with a man without cause,

If he have done thee no harm.

Envy thou not the man of violence,

And choose none of his ways.

For the perverse is an abomination to Jehovah;

But his friendship is with the upright.

The curse of Jehovah is in the house of the wicked;

But he blesseth the habitation of the righteous.

Surely he scoffeth at the scoffers;

But he giveth grace unto the lowly.

The wise shall inherit glory;

But shame shall be the promotion of fools."

"We have been watching celestial processes, but here we are brought firmly back to earth.” Not only did the previous paragraph speak of the Creation; but the separation of the beneficial waters by the heavens, dividing those beneath from those above, appeared in the mention of `the depths’ and the `dew from the skies’ (Proverbs 3:19-20).

"Let them not depart from thine eyes ... so shall they be life unto thy soul" (Proverbs 3:21-22). "The main thrust here is the security that wisdom gives.” The plural `them’ refers to both wisdom and discretion. There is also a stern warning here that wisdom and discretion may be lost, escape, slip away, or depart from thine eyes. Therefore a constant guard must be posted against such a disaster.

"Then shalt thou walk in thy way securely" (Proverbs 3:23). "Here it becomes very clear that wisdom means walking with God,” doing his will, keeping his commandments, and doing so continually.

Lawton reminds us that, "No wisdom is sound that is not taught in the Word of God. Some kinds of wisdom highly esteemed in the world are not merely useless, but folly."

"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due" (Proverbs 3:27). These verses (Proverbs 3:27-35) are declared by Tate to, "Have little or no direct connection,” with the preceding verses. He made this a separate paragraph on, "Being a Good Neighbor"! Deane also wrote that these verses are, "A sixth admonitory address which demonstrates the conditions upon which wisdom and happiness are to be attained. It consists of a number of detached proverbs.”

In these final verses of the chapter, we are impressed with the fact that, "The value of the Book of Proverbs is its revelation of the application of wisdom to all sorts and conditions of people, and to the ordinary affairs of human life.”

"The curse of Jehovah is in the house of the wicked" (Proverbs 3:33). It is not only the physical dwelling which is meant here, but especially the `family’ or `household’ of the wicked; but it appears from Zechariah 5:3-4 that the physical residence of the wicked is also included. "This curse continues from generation to generation, the source of ever-recurring woes.”

"Surely he (God) scoffeth at the scoffers" (Proverbs 3:34). This is also rendered, "He scorneth the scorners." "The word from which these translations come has many overtones of wickedness. It is one of the many synonyms for a wicked man. It carries the meaning of arrogant; and the opposite of it is `lowly’ or `humble.’”

"It is pride that makes men scorners; men having an overweening conceit of themselves are likely to behave insolently toward others. Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, and Herod are Biblical examples of this wickedness.”

Proverbs 3:21. Both statements mean the same: “them” is identified as “sound wisdom and discretion”, and “let them not depart from thine eyes” is boiled down to the word “keep”. It was the father’s strong desire that his son would always keep his eyes upon the way of true wisdom both as a young man growing up and as a grown man. This good verse introduces material that runs through Proverbs 3:26.

Proverbs 3:22. The rewards of living by wisdom dominate this 6-verse section. This verse mentions two: “life” and “grace.” “Life is used here in an all-inclusive sense of embracing more than lengthy existence a blessed and a spiritual life here. Other passages on an ornamented neck: “They shall be a chaplet of grace unto thy head, And chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:9); “Bind them about thy neck” (Proverbs 3:3); “Tie them about thy neck (Proverbs 6:21). Prominent men wore golden chains around their necks: Belshazzar said, “Whosoever shall read this writing, and show me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with purple, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:7); “Pharaoh took off his signet ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph’s hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck” (Genesis 41:42).

Proverbs 3:23. The promised rewards continue in this verse, this being a promise of safety and security. “As he who is accompanied by an escort proceeds on his way in safety, so you protected by God will pass your life in security; or, as Trapp, ‘Thou shalt ever go under a double guard, ‘the peace of God within thee (Philippians 4:7) and the ‘power of God’ without thee (1 Peter 1:5)’” (“Pulpit Commentary”). Proverbs 10:9 speaks similarly: “He that walketh uprightly walketh surely”. Psalms 37:31 says, “The law of his God is in his heart; None of his steps shall slide.” But contrast the ways of the wicked: Their way shall be unto them as slippery places in the darkness” (Jeremiah 23:12).

Proverbs 3:24. One’s safety and the resulting peace of mind are again stressed. Other passages on this peaceful condition: “I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid” (Leviticus 26:6); “In peace will I both lay me down and sleep; For thou, Jehovah, alone makest me dwell in safety” (Psalms 4:8. Such lying down in peace and safety is employing the figure of sheep (Psalms 23:2). Words of a song: “Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go to sleep When the dark’ning shadows round about me creep.”

Proverbs 3:25. Again the blessing of safety, peace, and lack of fear is emphasized. “Sudden fear” would be that which strikes instantly, immediately, without advanced warning. Their world, even more than ours, was one of uncertainty: anything could happen at any time. Psalms 91:5-6 tunes us in on some of their uncertainties: “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, Nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor the pestilence that walketh in darkness, Nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” As Christians we can sing, “What have I to dread? What have I to fear? Leaning on the everlasting arms. I have blessed peace with my Lord so near; Leaning on the everlasting arms.”

Proverbs 3:26. Jehovah will be the One in whom the believer places his confidence—he commits his way unto Him (Psalms 37:5). All the great “heroes of faith” in Hebrews 11 had this one thing in common: their faith, their confidence, was in God. One with true wisdom, such as is urged in the previous verse of this chapter, will include God in everything (Proverbs 3:5-6). If one is wise at all, wisdom will teach him not to trust in his own wisdom, strength, or perfection but in the guidance, help, and mercy of God. Can we not say that confidence in God is never misplaced, but confidence apart from Him is always a false confidence that in time will let us down? The promise of our verse: He will “keep thy foot from being taken” shows there are many traps and snares along the way that God will keep us from getting into. After saying, “My help cometh from Jehovah” (Psalms 121:2), the Psalmist goes onto emphasize the “Keeping” work of God: “Jehovah is thy keeper … Jehovah will keep thee from all evil; He will keep thy soul. Jehovah will keep thy going out and thy coming in From this time forth and for evermore” (Psalms 121:5-8). God’s promise again: “A thousand shall fall at thy side, And ten thousand at thy right hand; But it shall not come nigh to thee” (Psalms 91:7).

Proverbs 3:27. Beginning with this verse Solomon discusses our relationship with those about us. First of all, he says we should pay what we owe just as soon as we are able to do so. But this verse is not limiting the subject to paying debts: it is talking about doing “good” to those about us—a subject set forth in several important places in the Bible: “Do good”—Psalms 37:3; “As we have opportunity, let us work that which is good toward all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of faith”—Galatians 6:10; Jesus “went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil”—Acts 10:38. To learn the E, G, B, D, F, A lines of the musical staff, elementary teachers have long used the significant statement: “Every Good Boy Does Fine Always”—and it is true! A careful study of Mark 3:4 and its surrounding verses will show that it was “lawful” to do good on the Jewish sabbath (to heal a sick man) but harmful (or evil) not to. Jesus had the power to heal him, and He affirmed it would have been wrong not to do so. Everyone needs a growing conviction that what God has given him is to be used wherever needed and not merely squandered for his own selfish wants.

Proverbs 3:28. This instruction refers back to Proverbs 3:27. How many times people in urgent need have gone to someone of means and ability for help only to be put off until “tomorrow” or “next week” when it was only the slightest matter that could have been taken care of easily that kept them from giving the help that very day. God tells us not to dally with duty! We have a saying that says, “Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today.”

Proverbs 3:29. At the bottom of every case of trouble, there is someone who got things mixed up or who purposely did wrong to begin it. Here is a commandment against purposely, knowingly devising evil and trouble for someone else. We have sayings that remind us to drive carefully and to live carefully, for the life we save may be our own. This verse, though, appeals strictly to our feelings of responsibility for the other person: take care of your neighbor, for he dwells securely through your dealings. But don’t forget that trouble can be a two-way street: there is a sense in which you dwell securely by him.

Proverbs 3:30. If everybody heeded this, there could be no strife except that which might arise from some misunderstanding. Remember that it takes somebody to start trouble before there can be trouble. Some people who seem to live in a state of strife really need this instruction, for they are chief offenders.

Proverbs 3:31. Other similar passages: “Fret not thyself because of evil-doers, Neither be thou envious against them that work unrighteousness” (Psalms 37:1); “I was envious at the arrogant, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalms 73:3); “Be not thou envious against evil men; Neither desire to be with them” (Proverbs 24:1). It is too bad that so many choose wrong models to follow. In this verse the father continues to warn his son about joining in with a life of violence (See Proverbs 1:10-19; Proverbs 2:12-15).

Proverbs 3:32. One who “devises evil” against his neighbor (Proverbs 3:29), one who “strives” with a man who has done him no wrong (Proverbs 3:30), one who “envies” the wicked (Proverbs 3:30) is said in this verse to be “perverted”—he is doing what God never planned for a person to do. This verse tells of two contrasting classes of persons (the “perverse” and the “upright”) and of God’s contrasting attitudes toward them (“abomination” for the perverse and “friendship” with the upright). Passages on God’s pleasure with the righteous: “The friendship of Jehovah is with them that fear him; And he will show them his covenant” (Psalms 25:14); “Ye are my friends, if ye do the things which I command you” (John 15:14); “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, And his ears unto their supplication” (1 Peter 3:12). Passages on God’s displeasure with the wicked: “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4); “Alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil works” (Colossians 1:21); “He that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

Proverbs 3:33. Another verse contrasting God’s treatment of the wicked and the righteous. The law that they were under had a long list of curses in Deuteronomy 27:15-26 and a long list of blessings in Deuteronomy 28:3-6. God can send blessings upon people, or He can bring curses upon them. The basis on which God gives to each is set forth in Deuteronomy 11:26-28 : “Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if ye shall hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah your God...and the curse, if ye shall not hearken unto the commandments of Jehovah your God.” Psalms 37:22 says, “Such as are blessed of him shall inherit the land; And they that are cursed of him shall be cut off.” One’s relationship to God and His consequent attitude toward us is the main issue of life.

Proverbs 3:34. A double contrast: “scoffeth” vs. “giveth” and “scoffers” vs. “the lowly”. Scoffers are those who act as if they “know it all”; the lowly are those who recognize their deficiencies and who, as a result, trust” in God and do not lean to their “own understanding” but who “acknowledge Him” in all their ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). James 4:6 refers to this verse (“He giveth more grace. Wherefore the scripture saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble” as does 1 Peter 5:5 (“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble”).

Proverbs 3:35. A double contrast: “wise” vs. “fools” and “glory” vs. “shame.” “The wise shall inherit glory”—what an inheritance to come into! Abraham was wise in following God’s directions, and think of the glory he inherited as a result! Daniel was wise in his decision concerning the king’s wine and dainties, and think of the glory he had before the book of Daniel closed! The Christian is the wise builder who builds his house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-25), and the resulting Christian life is one of glory (“Ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory”—1 Peter 1:8), and he will have his eternity in glory! On the other hand “shame shall be the promotion of fools”—what a “promotion” to get! We detect irony in the use of “promotion” here. The fool has nothing to look forward to but “shame”. A fool lives a shameful life, and his eternity will be one of “shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2). That which both the wise and the foolish come to will be because God will make it so!

STUDY QUESTIONS - Proverbs 3:21-35

1. What does “keep” mean in Proverbs 3:21?

2. Comment upon “grace” as used in Proverbs 3:22.

3. What Hebrew parallelism do we have in Proverbs 3:23?

4. What is there to fear about the night (Proverbs 3:24)?

5. Why can a godly person be safe and secure from all alarms as the song, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” says (Proverbs 3:25)?

6. Where is a godly person’s confidence placed (Proverbs 3:26)?

7. Where did Jesus teach that to withhold good is actually evil (Proverbs 3:27)?

8. Why would one put off to tomorrow giving help that he is able to give today (Proverbs 3:28)?

9. Should a neighbor’s security be one of our concerns (Proverbs 3:29)?

10. Who especially needs the instruction found in Proverbs 3:30?

11. What is listed in Proverbs 3:31 as a possible cause of strife?

12. How are the violent of Proverbs 3:31 described in Proverbs 3:32?

13. According to Proverbs 3:33 what does God do to those who are wicked?

14. Where in the New Testament is Proverbs 3:34 quoted?

15. What do the wise have to look forward to (Proverbs 3:35)?

16. What do fools have to look forward to (Proverbs 3:35)?

Further Benefits of Wisdom - Proverbs 3:1-35

Open It

1. What is one thing or person you can rely on?

2. What makes someone successful in life?

3. What is your most valuable possession?

Explore It

4. What should we do and not do? Why? (Proverbs 3:1-2)

5. What benefits of wisdom did Solomon mention? (Proverbs 3:1-35)

6. What should we do with love and faithfulness? Why? (Proverbs 3:3-4)

7. How should we trust in the Lord? (Proverbs 3:5-6)

8. What is the result of fearing the Lord and shunning evil? (Proverbs 3:7-8)

9. What is the relationship between wisdom and personal health? (Proverbs 3:8; Proverbs 3:24)

10. What is the result of honoring the Lord with your wealth? (Proverbs 3:9-10)

11. Whom does the Lord discipline? (Proverbs 3:11-12)

12. How did Solomon describe wisdom and its benefits? (Proverbs 3:13-18)

13. What role did wisdom play in creation? (Proverbs 3:19-20)

14. What did Solomon say about sound judgment and discernment? (Proverbs 3:21-23)

15. Why should we not be afraid? (Proverbs 3:24-26)

16. What can help a person overcome fear? (Proverbs 3:25-26)

17. How should we treat our neighbors? (Proverbs 3:27-30)

18. Why shouldn’t we envy a violent person? (Proverbs 3:31-32)

19. What does God do to the wicked, the righteous, the mocker, the humble, the wise, and the fool? (Proverbs 3:33-35)

Get It

20. What do we need to do to receive the benefits of wisdom?

21. What is the relationship between wisdom and personal success?

22. How can we write love and faithfulness on our heart?

23. What does it mean to trust the Lord with all your heart?

24. What does it mean to shun evil?

25. What "firstfruits" do you need to give to God?

26. How can we pursue wisdom in our life?

27. How should we treat our neighbor?

28. Why would someone envy a violent person?

Apply It

29. What one thing can you do today to give wisdom its proper place in your life?

30. In what one area of your life in which you have not been trusting the Lord will you begin to trust Him this week?

31. How can you honor the Lord with your wealth this week?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Proverbs 3". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/proverbs-3.html.
 
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