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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Proverbs 15

 

 

Verses 1-33

Proverbs 15:1-33 — A Merry Heart - Proverbs 15:1-33 places emphasis upon the heart of man.

Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 15:1Word Study on "soft" - Strong says the Hebrew word "soft" ( רֵישׁ) (H 7390) means, "tender, weak." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 16 times in the Old Testament, being translated in KJV as, "tender 9, soft 3, fainthearted + 038241, one 1, weak 1, tenderhearted + 038241."

Proverbs 15:1Word Study on "turneth away" - Strong says the Hebrew word "turneth away" ( שׁוּב) (H 7725) means, "to turn back, to turn away or to retreat."

Proverbs 15:1Word Study on "grievous" - Strong says the Hebrew word "grievous" ( עֶצֶב) (H 6089) means, "an earthen vessel, (painful) toil, a pang (whether of body or mind)," and it comes from a primitive root ( עָצַב) (H 6087) meaning, "to carve, i.e, fabricate or fashion," and in a bad sense, it means, "to worry, pain or anger."

Proverbs 15:1Word Study on "stir up" - Strong says the Hebrew word "stir up" ( עָלָה) (H 5927) means, "to ascend, to be high."

Proverbs 15:1Illustration- When the men of Ephraim rose up against Gideon, he appeased them with a soft answer.

Judges 8:1-3, "And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply. And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that."

In contrast, Jephthah chose a rough answer for the men of Ephraim, and a battle ensued.

Judges 12:1-4, "And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah, Wherefore passedst thou over to fight against the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will burn thine house upon thee with fire. And Jephthah said unto them, I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon; and when I called you, ye delivered me not out of their hands. And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon, and the LORD delivered them into my hand: wherefore then are ye come up unto me this day, to fight against me? Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim: and the men of Gilead smote Ephraim, because they said, Ye Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among the Ephraimites, and among the Manassites."

Note also how Abigail appeased the wrath of David when he sought to kill Nabal in 1 Samuel 25:23-35. David had been angered by the harsh words of Nabal in 1 Samuel 25:10-13.

Note how Rehoboam spoke roughly to Jeroboam and the children of Israel, thus loosing the northern kingdom. See 1 Kings 12:12-16.

Also, note:

2 Samuel 19:43, "And the men of Israel answered the men of Judah, and said, We have ten parts in the king, and we have also more right in David than ye: why then did ye despise us, that our advice should not be first had in bringing back our king? And the words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel."

This appears to be the heart of the issue in Matthew 5:22, when Jesus warned us about calling a person names out of anger.

Matthew 5:22, "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire."

Proverbs 15:1Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Proverbs 10:32, "The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness."

Proverbs 12:18, "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health."

Proverbs 15:18, "A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife."

Proverbs 16:24, "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."

Proverbs 25:15, "By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone."

Proverbs 21:23, "Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles."

Ecclesiastes 10:12, "The words of a wise man"s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself."

Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Proverbs 15:2 — "The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright" - Comments- Perhaps the best definition for "wisdom" in the Holy Scriptures is found in Proverbs 15:2. Anyone can gain knowledge, which is the gathering of facts and information, but it takes wisdom to use this information, or knowledge, correctly.

Proverbs 15:2Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Proverbs 12:23, "A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness."

Proverbs 13:16, "Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly."

Proverbs 15:7, "The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so."

Proverbs 15:28, "The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things."

Proverbs 15:1-2Comments - The Tongue of the Wise- Not only will a wise person speak softly when it is due, he will also manage the words that he allows to flow out of his mouth. This reveals a person who has control over his spirit. In contrast, a person with no control over his spirit will become easily angered and speak harshly when it is not due ( Proverbs 15:1). He will also speak frequently, when his words are out of season.

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:3Comments- God is omniscience, or all knowing. Proverbs 15:3 also implies that God is able to deliver the righteous from all danger.

Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Psalm 11:4, "The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD"S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men."

Psalm 33:13-15, "The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works."

Hebrews 4:13, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

Proverbs 15:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

Proverbs 15:4 — "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life" - Word Study on "wholesome" - Strong says the Hebrew word "wholesome" ( מַרְפֵּא) (H 4832) means, "curative," and literally, it means, "a medicine, a cure," and figuratively, "a deliverance," and it comes from the verb ( רָפָא) (H 7495), which means, "to mend, to cure." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 16 times in the Old Testament, being translated in KJV as, "health 5, healing 3, remedy 3, incurable + 03691, cure 1, sound 1, wholesome 1, yielding 1."

Comments- The tree of life is noted for its healing leaves ( Revelation 22:2). This tree of healing is compared to a healing, or wholesome, tongue in Proverbs 15:4.

Revelation 22:2, "In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

Proverbs 15:4 — "but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit" - Word Study on "a breach" - Strong says the Hebrew word "breach" ( שֶׁבֶר) (H 7667) literally means, "a fracture," and figuratively, it means, "ruin," and this word comes from the verb ( שָׁבַר) (H 7665), which means, "to burst." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 44times in the Old Testament, being translated in KJV as, "destruction 21, breach 7, hurt 4, breaking 3, affliction 2, bruise 2, crashing 1, interpretation 1, vexation 1, misc 2."

Comments- Note a similar phrase to "a breach in the spirit" used in Isaiah 65:14, "Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit."

Proverbs 15:4Comments- The contrast in Proverbs 15:4 is seen in the fact that one tongue brings healing (wholeness), and the other tongue causes a bruise (a breach).

Proverbs 15:4Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Proverbs 12:18, "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health."

Proverbs 16:24, "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."

Proverbs 18:8, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly."

Proverbs 18:14, "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?"

Proverbs 26:22, "The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly."

Proverbs 15:5 A fool despiseth his father"s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

Proverbs 15:5 — "A fool despiseth his father"s instruction" - Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse:

Proverbs 5:12-13, "And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!"

Proverbs 15:6 In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

Proverbs 15:6 — "In the house of the righteous is much treasure" - Comments- In the house of the righteous are not only material treasures, but blessings of peace and joy in the presence of the Lord.

Proverbs 15:6 — "in the revenues of the wicked is trouble" - Comments- In describing the revenues of the wicked, Matthew Henry says, "In the revenues of the wicked, the great incomes they have, there is trouble; for there is guilt and a curse; there is pride and passion, and envy and contention; and those are troublesome lusts, which rob them of the joy of their revenues and make them troublesome to their neighbours." 104]

104] Matthew Henry, Proverbs, in Matthew Henry"s Commentary on the Whole Bible, New Modern Edition, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 1991), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), notes on Proverbs 15:6.

Scripture Reference- Note:

1 Timothy 6:10, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

Proverbs 15:7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.

Proverbs 15:7 — "The lips of the wise disperse knowledge" - Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Proverbs 10:20-21, "The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom."

Proverbs 15:7 — "but the heart of the foolish doeth not so" - Comments- Not only do the foolish pour out foolishness from their mouths ( Proverbs 15:2), but also they lack the capable of dispersing knowledge.

Proverbs 15:2, "The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness."

Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Proverbs 15:8 — "The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD" - Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Proverbs 7:14, "I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows."

Proverbs 21:27, "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?"

Isaiah 1:11, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats."

Proverbs 15:8Comments- Though a wicked man may bring a large offering, it means nothing to God, for the cattle upon a thousand hills belong to Him ( Psalm 50:7-15). God will not even hear their prayer ( John 9:31). Yet, the slightest whisper to God from the lips of his saint brings Him great delight; for God accepts not what a righteous man lacks, but what they have to offer ( 2 Corinthians 8:12).

John 9:31, "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth."

2 Corinthians 8:12, "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."

Illustration- Compare the sacrifices of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-5. Note:

Hebrews 11:4, "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh."

Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

Proverbs 15:10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

Proverbs 15:11 Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

Proverbs 15:11 "Hell and destruction are before the LORD" - Comments- Hell is certainly before the Lord, as seen in the story of the rich man and Lazarus ( Luke 16:19-31), and in the judgment of God in Revelation 14:10-11.

Proverbs 15:11 — "how much more then the hearts of the children of men" - Comments- If God knows the hidden regions of darkness and hell, He certainly knows the hidden regions of a man"s heart.

Proverbs 15:12 A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:13Word Study on "broken" - Strong says the Hebrew word "broken" ( נָכֵא) (H 5218) means, "smitten, afflicted."

Proverbs 15:13Scripture References- Note similar verses:

Proverbs 12:25, "Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad."

Proverbs 17:22, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."

Proverbs 18:14, "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?"

Proverbs 15:14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

Proverbs 15:15 — "but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast" - Comments- A festival is a time of joy, a time to lay aside the toils of life and rejoice in something good. A person who learns how to be happy has a feast, or joy, in the midst of life's daily circumstances.

Proverbs 15:15Comments- The Hebrew text literally reads, "All days of afflicted (or wretched) evil, but a good heart feasts continual." Is the meaning of "afflicted" saying that the downtrodden have bad days, or that the "wretched" or evil men have evil days in contrast to a good man with a good heart?

Proverbs 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:16Comments- Proverbs 15:16 tells us that the condition of our heart takes priority over material wealth. In Proverbs 3, the blessings of God are listed in order of priority, beginning with spiritual, mental, physical then financial blessings. God wants us fully developed in every area of our lives, but our spiritual development is much more important that our financial condition. It is better to have a pure heart, even if there are few material possessions.

The divine principle referred to in Proverbs 15:16 is so applicable to the ministry. Someone who has been called into the ministry must learn to stay focused upon his particular calling. He has to avoid spreading his energies into many directions; for with many pursuits comes more cares and troubles. A person who lays aside everything except that which he has been called to do will find the time to fulfill his divine calling. He keeps his life simple and walks in the fear of the Lord. Others constantly change their focus in pursuit of the latest popular activities. With their pursuit of these "treasures" that they call ministry comes much trouble.

Proverbs 15:16Scripture References- Note a similar verse in Psalm 16:8.

Proverbs 16:8, "Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right."

Proverbs 15:19 The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.

Proverbs 15:19 "The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns:" - Comments- The slothful man is always finding problems in his life and depending upon others to carry him through.

Proverbs 15:19"but the way of the righteous is made plain" - Comments- The righteous man plans and looks ahead so that his steps are established.

Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.

Proverbs 15:22Comments- God has given us a "multitude of counselors" when seeking His divine will for our lives. We can know God's will by reading His Word. A second way to know God's will is by the witness of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. A third way that God leads us is by the confirmation of circumstances, but God will always give to us two or three witnesses in order to confirm His will ( Deuteronomy 19:15).

Deuteronomy 19:15, "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

Proverbs 15:33"and before honour is humility" - Scripture References- Note a similar verse:

1 Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Proverbs 15:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/proverbs-15.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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