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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Proverbs 22

 

 

Verses 1-16

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

Proverbs 22:1Comments- A person's name represents his character. When a person's name is mentioned in our ears, we immediately think of that person's character and we decide if this is a good person or a bad person at the mention of his name.

Proverbs 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Proverbs 22:3Comments- A prudent man is one who has taken the time to learn how to hear and obey the voice of wisdom. Therefore, he hears the voice of the Holy Spirit warning him about the evil ahead. Now the simple person is not necessary an evil person, but he is someone who has been too lazy to learn the Word of God and how to discern the voice of wisdom.

Proverbs 22:3Scripture references- Note the same verse in Proverbs 27:12.

Proverbs 27:12, "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished."

Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

Proverbs 22:4 Comments- Note another translation:

NASB, "the reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life."

Illustration- I had just returned from a Wednesday night church service when my boss began to tell me why I was getting the better jobs to do around the apartments than the other workers. I had been a good employee and had been receiving much honor and respect from my employer, and she was explaining this to me. This verse helps me to see that humbling myself before the Lord has its rewards. God will, in turn, reward me in three areas of my life, financially (riches), socially, (honor), and physically (life).

Proverbs 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6 — "Train up a child in the way he should go" - Word Study on "Train up" - Strong says the Hebrew word "train up" ( חָנַךְ) (H 2596) is a primitive root that means, "to narrow," and figuratively, "to initiate, to discipline." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used five times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "dedicate 4, train up 1." Note the other uses of this Hebrew verb in the Old Testament.

Deuteronomy 20:5, "And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it."

1 Kings 8:63, "And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD."

2 Chronicles 7:5, "And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God."

Comments- This word is often used of consecrating or dedicating something to the Lord. This verse carries the sense that we are to dedicate our children to the Lord by initiating there education and training in the fear of the Lord.

Word Study on "the way" - Strong says the Hebrew word "the way" ( דֶּרֶךְ) (H 1870) means, "a road (as trodden)," and figuratively, "a course of life, or mode of action," and it comes from the primitive root ( דָּרַךְ) (H 1869), which means "to tread," and thus "to walk." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 705 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "way 590, toward 31, journey 23, manner 8, misc 53."

Comments- It refers to a literal path, or figuratively to a course of life.

Word Study on "he should go" - Strong says the Hebrew word "he should go" ( פֶּה) (H 6310) literally means, "the mouth (as the means of blowing)," and it comes from a primitive root ( פָּאָה) (H 6284), which means, "to puff, or to blow away." This word can also be used adverbially (with a preposition) and can be translated "according to." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 498 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "mouth 340, commandment 37, edge 35, according 22, word 15, hole 6, end 3, appointment 2, portion 2, tenor 2, sentence 2, misc 32."

Comments- This phrase literally means, "Train up a child in accordance to the way." It tells us to train up our children in the path of righteousness. Adam Clarke says that this phrase literally reads, "Initiate the child at the opening (the mouth) of his path."

The phrase "his path" implies that each child has a unique path to follow. It means that a parent should train up a child in the individual gifts and callings that God has given to a child. This is why God often reveals to parents what a child's gifts and callings are.

For example, God revealed to David that his son Solomon would be gifted as the next king of Israel. God also revealed to Joseph and Mary and to Zacharias and Elisabeth that their children had special callings. In fact, the Scriptures give us examples of parents, such as Hannah, who determined the calling of a child through a vow.

These callings are often revealed by the names or surnames that a person is given by God or by his parents.

Proverbs 22:6Comments- Proverbs 22:6 does not say that when the wayward child departs, he will always come back. It says that he will not depart to begin with when he is grown up. He will walk in the way that he was taught and walked in when he was young.

Although a child is born in the image of his father and mother, there lies a potential for his heart to also be shaped in the image of his parents.

There is a dream, a desire, an unwavering determination that a parent can instill into the life of a child, so that when this child is grown, he will set his face to become like his father. He will have an image of his father or mother burned into his heart and mind that will forever determine his attitudes.

Some children do not see their parents as great examples. Training up a child involved being an example that inspires a child to be everything that his father or mother has been. Godly training creates a person with a vision and a goal and a determination to reach those goals.

A good illustration of this verse is found in Titus 1:6.

Titus 1:6, "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly."

Three Phases of Parenting- Kenneth Copeland teaches that there are three phases to parenting as a parent develops lifetime relations with a child.

1. Develop a relationship of father and mother with the child.

The parents give birth to the child in the flesh. They are to feed and raise the child to nourish his spirit, soul and body. They are to train up the child in the fear of the Lord.

Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

2. Develop a relationship as a brother and sister.

When this child turns into a mature young man and woman, do not continue to treat them as your child. You are now their brother and sister in the Lord. Treat them as such. Stop showing magnifying their faults. If you see them in need of correction, you no longer discipline them, but now you pray for them as you would a fellow believer (See 1 John 5:16).

1 John 5:16, "If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it."

We were born of God as new believers in Christ. But we are then raised up as joint heirs with Jesus Christ and He is not ashamed to call us brethren ( Hebrews 2:11).

Hebrews 2:11, "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,"

3. The children take care of the elderly parents.

In the later years, if these first steps are followed, then the third phase will be followed by the children. The children will take care of their parents. 120]

120] Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

1 Timothy 5:4, "But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God."

Proverbs 22:6Comments- The Lord spoke to me December 2001and said, "Truth begins at home."

Proverbs 22:6Illustrations:

Genesis 18:19, "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him."

Deuteronomy 4:9, "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons" sons;"

Deuteronomy 6:7, "And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

Psalm 78:1-8

Ephesians 6:4, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

2 Timothy 3:15, "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."

Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Proverbs 22:7"The rich ruleth over the poor" - Comments- In any country you can think of, the rulers are richer than those who are ruled over, the poor.

Proverbs 22:7 — "and the borrower is servant to the lender" - Comments- The one borrowing does so because he is poor, or in lack. The one lending is able to do so because he is rich, or has enough and more to meet his needs.

Proverbs 22:8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

Proverbs 22:9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Proverbs 22:10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

Proverbs 22:10Comments- I have seen God remove the scorner out of a ministry through sickness and death in order to cause strife and reproach to cease. Proverbs 22:10 not only applies to the lost person, but to those Christian who are working together in the ministry. We must be careful how we treat our fellow laborers in Christ.

The story of Abraham casting out Ishmael is a perfect example of Proverbs 22:10. Hagar"s son was mocking, or scorning Isaac. The only way to deal with this was to cast out the scorner.

Genesis 21:9-10, "And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my Song of Solomon , even with Isaac."

Proverbs 22:11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Proverbs 22:11Comments- Proverbs 22:1 refers to the heart and the lips. Jesus teaches that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks ( Luke 6:45).

Luke 6:45, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."

Proverbs 22:12 The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

Proverbs 22:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Proverbs 22:13Comments- The slothful man is always making excuses as to why he cannot work.

Proverbs 22:14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.

Proverbs 22:14Comments- Her mouth is one of flattery and deception. It is a trap that has captured many men.

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 22:15Comments- The word "rod" is used figuratively in Proverbs 22:15 of an instrument or means of discipline or judgment. This rod of discipline could be verbal rebuke, a spanking, or a slap on the hand. In other words, a rod refers to all forms of discipline necessary to bring about correction in the child. In the case of David and his sin with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, God used the prophet Nathan to pronounce judgment upon his lineage of children. This was the necessary remedy to drive such foolishness that had become bound in the heart of King David.

Proverbs 22:16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.


Verses 17-21

Prologue to the Thirty Sayings of the Wise (Ode or Decastitch) - I see in Proverbs 22:17-21 ten lines joined to make a single proverbial thought. Therefore, this ode could also be called a decastitch. These verses serve as a prologue, or introduction, to a collection of thirty wise sayings.

This passage reveals a series of progressive events that show how to apply God's Word to our lives. We first humble our hearts and pay close attention to His Word using our ears ( Proverbs 22:17 a). We then make the effort to understand its meaning by mediated upon these words ( Proverbs 22:17 b). Meditation causes us to retain these words within our hearts as we understand them and embrace them ( Proverbs 22:18 a). Then our normal response is to speak out of our lips what is in our hearts ( Proverbs 22:18 b). Such involvement with God's Word causes a trust to be developed in each area of our lives where we apply the Word ( Proverbs 22:19 a).

Proverbs 22:17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.

Proverbs 22:17Comments- Regarding the phrase, "of the wise," the noun is plural, thus reading "of the wise (ones)."

Proverbs 22:18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.

Proverbs 22:18Comments- Whatever we hide within our heart will soon make its way to our lips. This is how God created us.

Proverbs 22:19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.

Proverbs 22:20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,

Proverbs 22:20Word Study on "excellent things" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "excellent things" ( שָׁלִישׁ) (H 7991) carries three meanings: (1) "a third, a measure of corn, probably the third part of an ephah." He says it is "used generally of a measure," ( Psalm 80:6), which means, "abundantly," thus, the KJV translation, "measure, great measure," (2) "a triangle, an instrument of music," ( 1 Samuel 18:6) thus, the KJV translation, "instrument of musick," (3) "a third Prayer of Manasseh , a noble rank of soldiers who fought from chariots," thus the KJV translation, "captain, lord, prince." Roland E. Murphy says this meaning is used metaphorically to mean, "excellent things," thus, the KJV translation, "excellent thing." 124] Strong says it literally means, "a triple," and is derived the Hebrew word ( שָׁלוֹשׁ) (H 7969), which means, "three." The Enhanced Strong says this word is used twenty times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, "captain 11, lord 4, instrument of musick 1, great measure 1, excellent thing 1, measure 1, prince 1."

124] Roland E. Murphy, Proverbs, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 22 (Dallas: Word, Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), 168.

The LXX uses the Greek word τρισσῶς (literally "three times) 125] which is figuratively translated into English as "repeatedly."

125] Roland E. Murphy, Proverbs, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol 22 (Dallas: Word, Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), 168; see also Henry G. Liddell and Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon Based on the German Work of Francis Passow (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1846), comments on " τρισσ ς."

AB, "And record them repeatedly for yourself on the table of your heart, for counsel and knowledge."

Brenton, "And do thou too repeatedly record them for thyself on the table of thine heart, for counsel and knowledge."

Some English literal translations read, "three, third."

DRC, "Behold I have described it to thee three manner of ways, in thoughts and knowledge:"

LITV, "Have I not written to you the third time with counsels and knowledge,"

YLT, "Have I not written to thee three times With counsels and knowledge?"

The most widely accepted translation reads, "thirty."

BBE, "Have I not put in writing for you thirty sayings, with wise suggestions and knowledge,"

ESV, "Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge,"

GNB, "I have written down thirty sayings for you. They contain knowledge and good advice,"

HNV, "Haven"t I written to you thirty excellent things Of counsel and knowledge,"

NIV, "Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge,"

NAB, "Have I not written for you the "Thirty," with counsels and knowledge,"

NASB, "Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge,"

NCV, "I have written thirty sayings for you, which give knowledge and good advice."

NET, "Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge,"

NLT, "I have written thirty sayings for you, which give knowledge and good advice."

NRSV, "Have I not written for you thirty sayings of admonition and knowledge,"

Some English translations carry the meaning, "excellent."

ACV, "Have I not written to thee excellent things of counsels and knowledge,"

AmpBible, "Have I not written to you [long ago] excellent things in counsels and knowledge."

ASV, "Have not I written unto thee excellent things Of counsels and knowledge,"

Darby, "Have not I written to thee excellent things, in counsels and knowledge,"

JPS, "Have not I written unto thee excellent things of counsels and knowledge;"

KJV, "Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,"

Rotherham, "Have I not written for thee noble things, with counsels and knowledge:"

WEB, "Haven"t I written to you excellent things Of counsel and knowledge,"

Webster Bible, "Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,"

This word can also be translated, "formerly, previously."

God'sWord, "Didn"t I write to you previously with advice and knowledge"

Proverbs 22:21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

Proverbs 22:21Comments- We see in Proverbs 22:21 a possible reference to the fact that Solomon sent a delegation of men to seek out wise men of other nations. The YLT reads, "To cause thee to know the certainty of sayings of truth, To return sayings of truth to those sending thee." It implies that Solomon sent a delegate to a faraway city in his search for wisdom; for we read in Ecclesiastes 12:9 that Solomon "sought out" proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 12:9, "And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs."

The wise men of this place compiled thirty of their most important proverbs and sent them back to King Solomon with a cover letter using the words found in Proverbs 22:17-21, which also serves as a prologue to these sayings. They gave this delegate a collection of sayings of truth for those who sent him. It appears that King Solomon honored these proverbs by keeping them with his other collection of proverbs. This is how they were placed within the Proverbs of Solomon.

This, however, does not take away from the inspiration of the Scriptures, because divine wisdom is universal, being found in many other people besides the Israelites. Job is an example of this.

Regarding its application to our spiritual journey, we see how God will pick a point in time when He finds us faithful to entrust to us a greater calling. In Proverbs 22:21 we see how Solomon chose one or more of his faithful servants and sent them to gather divine wisdom outside of his kingdom. It is a time when God calls us and anoints us for a particular task. For example, Paul was called to the nations in Acts 9:15 when Ananias prophesied that, "he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." But it was many years later when Paul was sent out with Barnabas and anointed in the office of an apostle to the Gentiles in Acts 13:1-4. If we will be faithful and continue in what God has given to us, we, too, will find a greater calling and anointing to serve. This is a place of maturity that God is trying to get each of us to obtain.


Verses 17-34

Divine Service: The Words of the Wise (Two Collections) - In Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:34 we have a collection of sayings that is often called "The Words of the Wise." Scholars give it this title because there are indications from Proverbs 22:21 that King Solomon sent young men to seek out the wisdom of Egypt and of the East. There are two collections of sayings in this section. The first collection is made up of thirty sayings ( Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:22) and the second collection is short, consisting of only four sayings ( Proverbs 24:23-34). We know that Solomon identified two sources of wisdom outside of Israel, which were the East and Egypt; for we read in 1 Kings 4:30, "And Solomon"s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt." We know that the first collection of sayings has similarities with ancient Egyptian wisdom. Thus, it most likely originated from Egypt. We can then suggest that the second, but shorter, collection of sayings ( Proverbs 24:23-34) either came from Egypt as miscellaneous Wisdom of Solomon , or it may have been that wisdom which Solomon collected from the East.

We see in one verse in this section ( Proverbs 22:21) that serves as a possible reference to the fact that Solomon sent a delegation of men to seek out wise men of other nations. The YLT reads, "To cause thee to know the certainty of sayings of truth, To return sayings of truth to those sending thee." ( Proverbs 22:21) It implies that Solomon sent a delegate to a faraway city in his search for wisdom; for we read in Ecclesiastes 12:9 that Solomon "sought out" proverbs.

Ecclesiastes 12:9, "And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs."

In other words, some of the young men that were trained in his court were selected, or called out, to go to other nations and seek divine wisdom. These would have been men who had learned Solomon's proverbs well and applied them to their lives. In addition, these men may have carried a collection of Solomon's proverbs as a gift to these wise men of Egypt and the East.

The wise men of this place may have compiled thirty of their most important proverbs and sent them back to King Solomon with a cover letter using the words found in Proverbs 22:17-21, which also serves as a prologue to these sayings. They gave Solomon's delegate a collection of sayings of truth for those who sent him. It appears that King Solomon honored these proverbs by keeping them with his other collection of proverbs. This is how they were placed within the Proverbs of Solomon. However, we must assume that King Solomon would not have sought something from lesser kings without offering to them a greater gift, perhaps his collection of divine sayings. Thus, those who were sent out probably took the message of the God of Israel with them to evangelize the civilized world as a part of their calling.

Regarding its application to our spiritual journey, we see how God will pick a point in time when He finds us faithful to entrust to us a greater calling. In Proverbs 22:21 we see how Solomon chose one or more of his faithful servants and sent them to gather divine wisdom outside of his kingdom. It is a time when God calls us and anoints us for a particular task. For example, Paul was called to the nations in Acts 9:15 when Ananias prophesied that, "he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." But it was many years later when Paul was sent out with Barnabas and anointed in the office of an apostle to the Gentiles in Acts 13:1-4. If we will be faithful and continue in what God has given to us, we, too, will find a greater calling and anointing to serve. This is a place of maturity that God is trying to get each of us to obtain.

The number "thirty" symbolized manhood and maturity in ancient times. Thus, these thirty sayings of the wise may serve to symbolize a Christian's spiritual maturity; for it is only those mature in Christ who are appointed to Christian service; Song of Solomon , the thirty sayings contained within this passage of Scripture may represent our journey towards maturity. In other words, when we adopt these thirty sayings to our life, we will have developed a mature behaviour and be ready for our assignment and calling in Christian service.

This section of proverbs is characteristics by having lengthy sayings of two or more verses, which build upon a theme. The training becomes more intensive as we apply ourselves to learning the ways of wisdom. Therefore, we must apply more contemplation in order to understand these truths. However, as in our secular education, our past learning will serve as a foundation to understanding the more difficult issues of life. These sayings can be divided into two groups.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. First Collection (Thirty Sayings of the Wise) — Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:22

2. Second Collection (Four Sayings) — Proverbs 24:23-34

Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:22 — The Words of the Wise: First Collection (Thirty Sayings) - Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:22 begins a new section of collections, often called The Words of the Wise. It is possible that these sayings were collected by Solomon from outside his kingdom. We know that Solomon identified two sources of wisdom outside of Israel, which were the East and Egypt; for we read in 1 Kings 4:30, "And Solomon"s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt."

We know that the first collection of sayings has similarities with ancient Egyptian wisdom. Thus, it most likely originated from Egypt. We can then suggest that the second, but shorter, collection of sayings ( Proverbs 24:23-34) either came from Egypt as miscellaneous Wisdom of Solomon , or it may have been that wisdom which Solomon collected from the East.

This first collection of "Sayings of the Wise" is characterized by individual truths that come in groups of two or more verses. The training becomes more intensive as we apply ourselves to learning the ways of wisdom. Therefore, we must apply more contemplation in order to understand these truths. As in our secular education, our past learning will serve as a foundation to understanding the more difficult issues of life.

The signposts found in the sayings of the wise ( Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:34) and in Solomon's second collection (25-29) tell us to continue in the fear of the Lord, to honor those in authority over us, and this will bring happiness into our lives as we continue on this journey. Note:

Proverbs 23:17, "Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long."

Proverbs 24:21, "My Song of Solomon , fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:"

Proverbs 28:14, "Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief."

Here is a proposed outline:

a) Prologue (Ode or Decastitch) — Proverbs 22:17-21

b) First Saying( Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 22:22-23

c) Second Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 22:24-25

d) Third Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 22:26-27

e) Fourth Saying (Distitch) — Proverbs 22:28

f) Fifth Saying (Tristitch) — Proverbs 22:29

g) Sixth Saying (Hexastitch) — Proverbs 23:1-3

h) Seventh Saying (Pentastitch) — Proverbs 23:4-5

i) Eighth Saying (Heptastitch) — Proverbs 23:6-8

j) Ninth Saying (Distitch) — Proverbs 23:9

k) Tenth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 23:10-11

l) Eleventh Saying (Hexastitch) — Proverbs 23:12-14

m) Twelfth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 23:15-16

n) Thirteenth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 23:17-18

o) Fourteenth Saying (Hexastitch) — Proverbs 23:19-21

p) Fifteenth Saying (Octastitch) — Proverbs 23:22-25

q) Sixteenth Saying (Hexastitch) — Proverbs 23:26-28

r) Seventeenth Saying (An Ode) — Proverbs 23:29-35

s) Eighteenth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 24:1-2

t) Nineteenth Saying (Tristitch) — Proverbs 24:3-4

u) Twentieth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 24:5-6

v) Twenty-First Saying (Distitch) — Proverbs 24:7

w) Twenty-Second Saying (Distitch) — Proverbs 24:8

x) Twenty-Third Saying (Distitch) — Proverbs 24:9

y) Twenty-Fourth Saying (Distitch) — Proverbs 24:10

z) Twenty-Fifth Saying (Hexastitch) — Proverbs 24:11-12

aa) Twenty-Sixth Saying (Pentastitch) — Proverbs 24:13-14

bb) Twenty-Seventh Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 24:15-16

cc) Twenty-Eighth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 24:17-18

dd) Twenty-Ninth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 24:19-20

ee) Thirtieth Saying (Tetrastitch) — Proverbs 24:21-22

The Thirty Sayings- Some scholars translate Proverbs 22:20 to read "thirty sayings" instead of "excellent things," and it is easy to find thirty individual proverbs in this section of literature.

BBE, "Have I not put in writing for you thirty sayings, with wise suggestions and knowledge," ( Proverbs 22:20)

It is possible that Solomon gathered these sayings outside the nation of Israel, perhaps in Egypt. When we compare some of these sayings with an Egyptian writing entitled The Instruction of Amenemope, written about 1200 to 1300 B.C. and made up of thirty chapters, we find that this ancient writing has a few proverbs that are similar to the proverbs in this passage of Scripture. 121]

121] Miriam Lichtheim, The Instruction of Amenemope, in Ancient Egyptian literature: Volume II: The New Kingdom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973- 80]), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004).

Example One:

Proverbs 22:17-18 a, "Direct your ear and hear wise words. Set your heart to know them. For it is pleasant if you keep them in your inmost self."

Amenemope Proverbs 3:10, "Give your ears and hear what is said, give your mind over to their interpretation: It is profitable to put them in your heart.

Example Two:

Proverbs 22:20, "Have I not written for you thirty counsels and teachings to teach you what is right and true?"

Amenemope Proverbs 27:7, "Mark for your self these thirty chapters: They please, they instruct, they are the foremost of all books."

Example Three:

Proverbs 22:24, "Do not make friends with people prone to anger. With the hotheaded person do not associate."

Amenemope Proverbs 11:12, "Do not fraternize with the hot-tempered Prayer of Manasseh , nor approach him to converse."

Example Four:

Proverbs 23:1-2, "When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe what is before you. Put a knife to your throat if you have a big appetite."

Amenemope Proverbs 23:16, "Look at the cup in front of you, and let it suffice your need."

Thus, it was possible that Solomon was exposed to other ancient literature, and actually read this ancient piece of wisdom literature. One verse in the Scriptures that refers to this exposure is found in 1 Kings 4:30. It mentions that there were wise men in the east and in Egypt.

1 Kings 4:30, "And Solomon"s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt."

We see in Ecclesiastes 12:9 that Solomon sought out Wisdom of Solomon , which meant that he could have looked far and wise for wisdom literature.

Ecclesiastes 12:9, "And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs."

We see a possible reference to the fact that Solomon sent a delegation of men to seek out wise men of other nations in Proverbs 22:21. Thus, a group of Egyptian wise men many have compile a collection of thirty sayings that were most popular among themselves.

Proverbs 22:21, "That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?"

This, however, does not take away from the inspiration of the Scriptures, because divine wisdom is universal, being found in many other people besides the Israelites. Job is an example of this.

The theme of universal wisdom given from God to mankind is found in the book of Romans:

Romans 1:19-20, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

Romans 2:14-15, "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)"

The Significance of the Number "Thirty" - We ponder the question of why there were thirty sayings. We have seen that an ancient Egyptian piece of wisdom literature entitle The Instruction of Amenemope was made up of thirty chapters. In this ancient document, there is also a reference to the "council of the thirty." 122] The importance of the number thirty can be found in other parts of Egyptian antiquity. It shows up in an ancient board game named "Senet," which was "the best known and most widely popularized board game from ancient Egypt. Based upon a 3x 10 board of thirty squares, it consisted of a race game played with knucklebones that could be engaged between two players or, as some temple drawings suggest, by a single player." "The game itself symbolized the path of the dead through the underworld. ‘I must enter the Hall of the thirty and I become God at the 31 ,' says one papyrus." 123]

122] Mirian Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: vol. II: The New Kingdom (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1973), chapter 19, in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004).

123] Ricardo Calvo, "Chapter 2: Mystical numerology in Egypt and Mesopotamia," in The Origins of Chess: Mystical Numerology in Egypt and Mesopotamia, [on-line]; accessed on 7 June 2009; available from http://www.goddesschess.com/chessays/calvonumerology.html; Internet; see also Wolfgang Decker, Sports and Games of Ancient Egypt (London: Yale University Press, 1992), 124.

Even within the Hebrew culture, the age of thirty was significant in that it marked the maturity of adulthood. We find Joseph being appointed to lead the nation of Egypt at the age of thirty ( Genesis 41:46). Ezekiel and Jesus Christ were both called into their ministries at the age of thirty ( Ezekiel 1:1, Luke 3:23).

Genesis 41:46, "And Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt."

Ezekiel 1:1, "Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God."

Luke 3:23, "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,"


Verse 22-23

First Saying (Tetrastitch) - Proverbs 22:22-23 forms a single proverbial thought using four lines. This is an example of a tetrastitch. This proverb warns us not to afflict the poor because God will take vengeance upon his oppressors. Note a similar verse in this division of proverbs where God will also defend the fatherless:

Proverbs 23:10-11, "Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee."

Proverbs 22:22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

Proverbs 22:23 — "Rob not the poor, because he is poor" - Comments- In many societies today it is easy for a rich person to pressure and intimidate the poor into yielding to the demands of the rich; for the poor are fearful of the rich who have the power to oppress and even kill them. We see an example of this in 1 Kings 21:1-16 when King Ahab took the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite by killing him.

Proverbs 22:23 — "neither oppress the afflicted in the gate" - Comments- The gate of the cities was the place where judgment took place, where the elders decreed decisions in times of conflicts. Note:

BBE, "Do not take away the property of the poor man because he is poor, or be cruel to the crushed ones when they come before the judge:"

The statement "neither oppress the afflicted in the gate" refers to the injustice that takes place at a place of judgment, such as a court. In many societies today, and in ancient times, it was easy to bribe the judges and gain their favor, while the poor had nothing to offer such judges.

Proverbs 22:23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.


Verse 24-25

Second Saying (Tetrastitch) - Proverbs 22:24-25 forms a single proverbial thought using four lines. This is called a tetrastitch. It warns us against befriending a person who cannot control his temper, lest we become like him and cause problems in our own lives.

Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

Proverbs 22:25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Proverbs 22:24-25Comments - Befriending an Angry Person- Note the following modern English translations of Proverbs 22:24-25 :

BBE, "Do not be friends with a man who is given to wrath; do not go in the company of an angry man:"

The Geneva Bible translation notes read, "Have nothing to do with him that is not able to rule his affections: for he would hurt you by his evil conversation." 126]

126] The Geneva Bible translation notes, in The Bible, That Isaiah , the Holy Scriptures Containing the Old and New Testament, Translated According to the Hebrew and Greek, and Conferred With the Best Translations in Divers Languages (London: Robert Barker, 1615), notes on Proverbs 22:24-25.

Illustration- I came home one evening while living in Brown Trail Apartments and found my neighbor beaten and bloody, while holding a stick defending his home, wife and kids from a tall, strong man who was in a rage. My neighbor had befriended this poor, homeless guy, by allowing him to stay in his apartment for a while. Soon after, my neighbor began to ask this guy to leave. However, the guy was stubborn to leave. He was now having a difficult time with this person. When they went out drinking together one night, these two guys broke out into a drunken fight in front of our apartment, with his wife and children watching. He had befriended a man who could not control his temper.

Proverbs 22:24-25Scripture Reference- Note a similar verse:

1 Corinthians 15:33, "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."


Verse 29

Fifth Saying (Tristitch) - Proverbs 22:29 forms a single proverbial thought using three lines, which is called a tristitch. It tells us that men who are diligent believe that they have a destiny in life. They do not enjoy the company of the average person who lack purpose and direction in his daily affairs.

Proverbs 22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

Proverbs 22:29Illustration- In 1989 I began to work as a maintenance man at an apartment complex in Hurst, Texas. I was attending a large church in Dallas, Texas and began to work as an altar worker. After two years, I began to pray and ask the Lord to put me with a man of God at church, someone who would influence me and change my character. In seven days, I received a position as an assistant director of the altar work ministry. This promotion immediately placed me with one of the greatest men of God in the church. I spent the next three years working closely with this Prayer of Manasseh , eating lunch with him after Sunday services. I learned to receive his counsel and his correction. During this time, in 1994, I prayed a similar prayer. I asked the Lord to put me with a man of God on my job. Within thirty days, I received a promotion from maintenance man to maintenance supervisor. This promotion put me in a new office and in daily contact with the general manager of the company. I spent the next four years learning how to manage a business with godly business ethics.

I still look back in amazement at how quickly the Lord answered these two prayers. Working with these two men changed my life and prepared me for a greater calling, that of a missionary in July 1997.

 


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 22:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/proverbs-22.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 23rd, 2019
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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