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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 22:29

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.


Adam Clarke Commentary

He shalt not stand before mean men - חשכים chashukkim, dark or obscure persons; men of no repute. Na he schal ben before un-noble men - Old MS. Bible. "Not amonge the symple people." - Coverdale.

The general meaning of the proverb is, "Every diligent, active man, shall be at once independent and respectable."


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-22.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The gift of a quick and ready intellect is to lead to high office, it is not to be wasted on a work to which the obscure are adequate.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-22.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 22:29

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

The Bible ideal of man

The Bible is a history of human life and a picture of character extending through many ages, and embracing in its scope a vast variety of the family of man. There emerges from this story of life an ideal. There is a moral purpose in all the historical Scriptures.

1. The Bible always recognises a basis of character which is found in the natural endowments of a man.

2. According to the teaching of the Bible there must be a diligent use of these natural powers.

3. The diligence of life must be, according to the Scripture ideal, accompanied by the virtues and purities of a moral self-restraint

4. This ideal man of the Scripture is to be further inspired by a sense of the Divine presence and power. There is one remark necessary to complete the Bible idea of human life. There is a condition which the Scriptures give us as belonging to life, not necessary to perfection, but almost always present, and helpful to its development. The best of men are greatly crossed and exercised by the sorrows and oppositions which are incident to life. Trouble plays an important part as testing and strengthening and sweetening life. (L. D. Bevan, D.D.)

Diligence brings success in life

I believe success in life is within the reach of all who set before them an aim and an ambition that is not beyond the talents and ability which God has bestowed upon them. We should all begin life with a determination to do well whatever we take in hand, and if that determination be adhered to with the pluck for which Englishmen are renowned, success, according to the nature and quality of our brain power, is, I think, a certainty. Had I begun life as a tinker, my earnest endeavour would have been to have made better pots and pans than my neighbours; and I think I may venture to say without any vanity that, with God’s blessing, I should have been fairly successful. The first step on the ladder that leads to success is the firm determination to succeed; the next is the possession of that moral and physical courage which will enable one to mount up, rung after rung, until the top is reached. The best men make a false step now and then, and some even have very bad falls. The weak and puling cry over their misfortunes, and seek for the sympathy of others, and do nothing further after their first or second failure; but the plucky and the courageous pick themselves up without a groan over their broken bones or their first failures, and set to work to mount the ladder again, full of confidence in themselves, and with faith in the results that always attend upon cheerful perseverance. (Lord Wolseley.)
.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 22:29". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-22.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Seest thou a man diligent in his business?.... In the business of his calling, be it what it will, whether for himself or his master; constant in it, swift, ready, and expeditious at it; who industriously pursues it, cheerfully attends it, makes quick dispatch of it; does it off of hand, at once, and is not slothful in it, nor weary of it; when you have observed and taken notice of such a man, which is not very common, you may, without a spirit of prophecy, foresee that such a man will rise in the world;

he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men, or "obscure persons"F15לפני חשכים "ante obscuros", Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "coram obscuris", Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; "in conspectu obscurorum", Schultens. ; he shall not continue in the service of ignoble persons, or keep company with them; but he shall be taken into the service of princes and noble men, and be admitted into their presence, and receive favours from them; as Joseph, who was industrious and diligent in his business in Potiphar's house, was in process of time advanced, and stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt, Genesis 39:4. This may be spiritually applied. Every good man has a work or business to do in a religious way; some in a higher sphere, as officers of churches, ministers and deacons; the work of the one lies in reading, study, meditation, and prayer, in the ministration of the word and ordinances, and other duties of their once; and the business of the others in taking care of the poor, and the secular affairs of the churches; others in a lower way, and common to all Christians, which lies in the exercise of grace, and performance of all good works, relative to themselves, their families, and the church of God. Now ministers that are diligent in teaching and ruling; and deacons that do their office well; and private Christians, who are steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; are ready to every good work, heartily engaged in it, and constantly at it; shall not be company for the sons of darkness, unregenerate men, who are in the dark, and darkness itself; what communion has light with darkness, with works of darkness, they should be not workers of? or have any fellowship with the prince of darkness, from whose power they are delivered; but shall have society with the saints, who are made kings and priests unto God; shall be admitted into the presence of the King of kings now, and have communion with him; and shall stand before him at the great day with confidence, and not be ashamed; shall stand at his right hand, and shall be for ever with him. So the JewsF16Gloss. in T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 104. 2. interpret this place, "he shall not stand before dark ones", in hell; "he shall stand before kings", in the garden of Eden, in paradise; that is, in heaven.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-22.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Success rewards diligence (Proverbs 10:4; Proverbs 21:5).


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-22.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

After these four proverbs beginning with אל , a new series begins with the following tristich:

29 Seest thou a man who is expert in his calling -

Before kings may he stand;

Not stand before obscure men;

i.e. , he can enter into the service of kings, and needs not to enter into the service of mean men = he is entitled to claim the highest official post. חזית , in Proverbs 26:12 = Proverbs 29:20, interchanging with ראית , is perf. hypotheticum (cf. Proverbs 24:10; Proverbs 25:16): si videris ; the conclusion which might begin with דּע כּי expresses further what he who sees will have occasion to observe. Rightly Luther: Sihestu einen Man endelich ( vid ., at Proverbs 21:5) in seinem geschefft, u.s.w . = seest thou a man expert in his business, etc.. מהיר denotes in all the three chief dialects one who is skilful in a manner not merely by virtue of external artistic ability, but also by means of intellectual mastery of it. התיצּב לפני , to enter on the situation of a servant before any one; cf. Job 1:6; Job 2:1. עמד לפני , 1 Samuel 16:21; 1 Kings 10:8. Along with the pausal form יתיצּב , there is also found in Codd. the form יתיצּב (the ground-form to יתיצּב , whence that pausal form is lengthened), which Ben-Bileam defends, for he reckons this word among “the pathachized pausal forms.” חשׁכּים , in contrast to מלכים , are the obscuri = ignobiles . The Targ. translate the Heb. דּל and אביון by חשׁיך and חשׁוך . Kimchi compares Jeremiah 39:10, where העם הדּלּים is translated by חשׁיכיּא (cf. 2 Kings 24:14; 2 Kings 25:12). חלכּה ( חלכּה ) is the old Heb. synonym in Ps 10. The poet seems here to transfer the Aram. usus loq . into the Heb.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-22.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Here is, 1. A plain intimation what a hard thing it is to find a truly ingenious industrious man: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? Thou wilt not see many such, so epidemical are dulness and slothfulness.” He is here commended who lays out himself to get business, though it be but in a very low and narrow sphere, and is not easy when he is out of business, who loves business, is quick and active in it, and goes through it, not only with constancy and resolution, but with dexterity and expedition, a man of despatch, who knows how to bring a deal of business into a little compass. 2. A moral prognostication of the preferment of such a man; though now he stands before mean men, is employed by them and attends upon them, yet he will rise, and is likely enough to stand before kings, as an ambassador to foreign kings or prime-minister of state to his own. Seest thou a man diligent in the business of religion? He is likely to excel in virtue, and shall stand before the King of kings.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-22.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

Before kings — He is fit to be employed in the affairs of princes.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-22.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 29. Seest thou a man diligent.] God loves nimbleness; "what thou doest, do quickly," said Christ to Judas, though it were so ill a business that he was about. Princes love such, and employ them, as Pharaoh did Joseph, and those that were men of activity among his brethren. Solomon also made use of Jeroboam for the same reason, though that was not the wisest act that ever he did. [1 Kings 11:28] How dear was Daniel to Darius, because, though sick, yet he despatched the king’s business! What favourites to our Henry VIII were Wolsey, Cromwell, Cranmer, for like reason! A diligent man shall not sit long in a low place. Or if he do all the days of his life, yet if his diligence proceed out of conscience, "he shall stand before the King" of kings when he dies. And surely if Solomon’s servants were held happy for this, and the greatest reward Solomon could promise the diligent is this in the text, what an inconceivable honour must it needs be to look for ever upon the face of God, and, angel-like, stand in his presence!


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-22.html. 1865-1868.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

REFLECTIONS.

READER! a name to live while virtually dead before God, is one of the most awful states into which our poor nature can possibly fall. But to be named with a good name in Christ which the mouth of the Lord shall name, is among the highest felicities our nature is capable of enjoying. Solomon seems to have had this in view while sending forth these proverbs. everything that can lead to this enjoyment in Jesus, ought to be our daily pursuit and desire. And what can tend to the attainment of it, but an interest in Christ Jesus? The grace of God which bringeth salvation is the only possible means of procuring it. And under the divine blessing this will ensure whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, lovely, and of good report. Reader! let me hope that this grace hath appeared unto you: and then it will be found that all these divine principles will have their suited influence upon the heart. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, it is the companion of fools that is destroyed.


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Bibliography
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/proverbs-22.html. 1828.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 29. Seest thou a man diligent in his business? one who is skilful, apt, diligent. He shall stand before kings, being invited to serve them with his counsel and with his ability; he shall not stand before mean men, ordinary, obscure persons, for the services of such a man would be considered too valuable to be of benefit to a small circle only.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-22.html. 1921-23.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Proverbs 22:29

(with Romans 12:8; 1 Samuel 2:30)

I. The Bible always recognises a basis of character which is found in the natural endowments of a man. The Bible does not glorify men because of beauty and strength, because of great mental parts, powers of reason or imagination; but it never hesitates to speak of these as parts of the perfectness of life, as conditions and qualities which by proper use and right direction may be turned to the good of men and the glory of God.

II. According to the teaching of the Bible, there must be the diligent use of these natural powers. Simply for man to possess certain capacities and faculties, physical and mental, is not sufficient. He has to discipline and practise, develop and perfect, them. The stigma of folly and the terror of ruin alike are declared against that man who is careless and uncertain, who heeds not the opportunities which are presented to him, and lets the precious moments of life fly by while his powers are undisciplined and his God is unserved.

III. The diligence of life must, according to the Scripture ideal, be accompanied by the virtues and purities of a moral self-restraint.

IV. The ideal man of the Scriptures is to be inspired by a sense of the Divine presence and power.

L. D. Bevan, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxiii., p. 168.


References: Proverbs 22:29,—Preacher's Monthly,vol. ii., p. 468. Proverbs 23:1-3.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 237. Proverbs 23:1-11.—R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. iii., p. 70.




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Bibliography
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/proverbs-22.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 22:29. Seest thou a man diligent in his business Solomon does not merely commend industry and diligence, as some understand it; but something more, which the Hebrew word מהיר mahir, plainly imports; namely, speed, swiftness, readiness, and cheerfulness in the dispatch of business; to which is required a quickness of apprehension in conceiving the fittest means, and a dexterity in the application of them; so that the business is not only done, but done speedily, and without much noise and bustle. Bishop Patrick. Houbigant, in conformity with this remark, renders it, If any man is intelligent and quick in the dispatch of business. Upon which Lord Bacon observes, that quickness of dispatch only in the execution of commands, of all other qualities, hath nothing in it which doth not please the minds of princes: the motions of their minds are swift, and not very patient of delay; for they imagine that they can do any thing. This only being wanting, that it be done out of hand; upon which account, above all other qualities, celerity is to them most acceptable.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-22.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Diligent; or, expeditious, as the word properly signifies; one of quick despatch, vigorous and speedy in executing what hath been well and wisely contrived.

He shall stand before kings; he is fit to be employed in the affairs of the greatest princes.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-22.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

29. Diligent — Quick, active, prompt, skilled in business. Such a man will attract the attention of those above him — rulers, princes, kings; and he will be called into the public service — he will not remain in the service of mean (common or obscure) men. The form of the verb is forcible: He shall take his stand, or present himself, before kings. It has been said, “Of all the qualities which kings look to and regard in the choice of their servants, that of energy and dispatch in business is the most acceptable. There is no other virtue which does not present some shadow of offence to the minds of kings. Expedition in the execution of their commands is the only one which contains nothing that is not acceptable.”


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-22.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

The quality of a person"s work, not his bribes or flattery, will ultimately determine how his career progresses. Therefore a person should seek to improve his or her skills.

"Anyone who puts his workmanship before his prospects towers above the thrusters and climbers of the adjacent paragraphs." [Note: Kidner, p150.]


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/proverbs-22.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 22:29. Seest thou a man diligent in his business — Hebrew, מהיר, expeditious, as the word properly signifies; one of quick despatch, vigorous and speedy in executing what hath been well and wisely contrived. He shall not stand before mean men — He is fit to be employed in the affairs of the greatest princes.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-22.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Obscure. By industry he shall raise himself to notice. (Haydock) --- Kings employ those who are most active. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-22.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Seest thou . . . ? Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

mean = mean ones: i.e. men who are obscure.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-22.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings - as Joseph, Nehemiah, and Daniel did (Genesis 39:3-6; Genesis 41:42; Nehemiah 1:11; Nehemiah 2:1; Daniel 6:1-3; Daniel 8:27). The spiritually diligent shall stand before the King of kings (cf. 1 Kings 10:8 with Revelation 7:15; Revelation 22:3-4; John 12:26).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-22.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(29) He shall stand before kings.—Shall attend upon them as their minister. (Comp. Genesis 41:46.) This verse is a tristich, containing three lines.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-22.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
a man
10:4; 12:24; 1 Kings 11:28; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Matthew 25:21,23; Romans 12:11; 2 Timothy 4:2
he shall stand
That is, he shall have the honour of serving kings; as the phrase denotes.
mean men
Heb. obscure men.

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-22.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . Diligent, rather "expert," apt."

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

THE DESTINY OF THE DILIGENT

I. The diligent man meets with Divine approval. The repeated commendations of diligence and condemnations of slothfulness which we meet with in this book show the estimate which God sets upon rightly-directed industry.

1. The diligent man is in harmony with God. The Divine Father is ever working for the good of His creatures, and no being who ever trod this earth laboured so continuously and earnestly as the Divine Son. With Him during His public ministry the completion of one work was the beginning of another. He was ever about His Father's business, diligently carrying on and seeking to finish the work which His Father had given Him to do. The man who is diligent in business is in this respect a follower of his Lord and Master.

2. He is in harmony with creatures both above Him and beneath Him. Angels are doing the will of their King with promptitude and despatch—Gabriel "flies swiftly (Dan ) when sent on a message to the earth. Heaven is a world of activity, the cherubim around the throne "rest not day nor night" (Rev 4:8). Many of the creatures below man set him an example of industry. (See on chap. Pro 6:6-11, page 78.) Even inanimate nature seems to rebuke the idle man. (See a comment by Dr. Perry on page 425.)

3. He is in harmony with the needs of humanity. The world calls for diligent workers, and without them all civilisation would soon cease and men sink to the condition of the savage. We have around us many proofs of this. The home of the indolent husband or wife is destitute of all refining influences and is often a nursery of crime. The land where the people are thriftless is a land of degradation and poverty. We can well understand, therefore, that God's approval rests upon those who make the best use of the time and opportunities which He gives them.

II. The diligent man will reap some reward for his diligence. It is not, of course, possible to take this proverb in an absolutely literal sense, because many diligent men never saw the face of a king. But without diligence it is hardly possible for any man to obtain any position of honour, or if he do he is not likely to retain it. But there is another sense in which diligence may bring a man before kings. Caxton was a diligent man, and by his diligence came literally to stand before the King of England. But he has, by his invention of the printing-press, stood before kings and princes from that hour to this, for they have all learned to honour his name, and to acknowledge their obligations to him. Every time a royal traveller takes his seat in a locomotive James Watt stands before him, for his ability to move with such ease and speed from place to place is the result of that man's diligence, and his name is held in honour in consequence. And instances might be multiplied indefinitely, in which diligence has caused a man to stand before not only the kings of his own time, but of succeeding generations.

On this subject see also Homiletics on chap. Pro , page 285.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

Of all the qualities which kings especially look to and require in the choice of their servants, that of despatch and energy in the transaction of business is the most acceptable.… There is no other virtue which does not present some shadow of offence to the minds of kings. Expedition in the execution of their commands is the only one which contains nothing that is not acceptable.—Bacon.

God loves nimbleness; "What thou doest, do quickly," said Christ to Judas, though it were so ill a business that he were about.—Trapp.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-22.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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

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.


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Bibliography
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Proverbs 22:29". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/proverbs-22.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 19th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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