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Bible: What Does Proverbs 27-8 Teach Us About Pride, Friendship, Poverty, Diligence and Understanding?

Updated on September 9, 2016

Solomon's Wisdom

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Right Attitudes

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Proverbs 27-28: Pride, Friendship, More Comparisons, Poverty, Diligence, and Understanding

Solomon rejects two forms of man's pride: the rejection of God’s sovereignty and self-praise (vv. 1-2; cf. James 4: 13-16).

A fool’s wrath causes others pain, but jealousy inflicts even worse injuries (vv. 3-4).

Friendship

The author writes much about friendship.

Real friends demonstrate their love to others through active correction, not passive acceptance of them in their sins (vv. 5-6).

They also cheer your heart with their sweet counsel (v. 9).

In times of trouble, it's good to have friends nearby (v. 10).

In all events, you become a more astute individual because of their concern (v. 17).

Sometimes, however, friends can be unintentionally inconsiderate (v. 14).

Verse 7 contrasts the attitudes of the filled and the empty (physically speaking) toward appealing and unappealing food.

The filled cannot eat anymore, even sweets; on the other hand, the empty person, scraping the bottom of the barrel to survive, will literally regard unpalatable food as delicious.

[What moral lesson, if any, do these proverbs teach?

Is the latter liable to be more thankful than the former?]

Wandering from one’s niche (“nest,” “place”) may lead one to a desolate, even to a dangerous, state of being (v. 8).

Solomon again exhorts his son to gain wisdom by developing foresight so that he might avoid evil (vv. 11-12).

He recognizes that whatever is in a man's heart will show his quality (v. 19).

Man's eyes lust for material things, revealing his tendency toward this-worldliness (v. 20; cf. Gen. 3:6; 1 John 2:15, 16).

Public opinion, like the pressure and heat in a furnace, further reveals his character (v. 21).

A fool, however, will always remain a fool (v. 22).

Verses 23-27 counsel the diligent care of your "flocks."

Though applied primarily to shepherds, this wisdom also suits the work of a pastor.

Take pains with the livestock (the sheep), and they will provide for you materially (cf. 1 Cor. 9:11).

Proverbs 28

Comparisons and contrasts between three separate pairs—the wicked and the righteous, the rich and the poor, and the wise and the fool—continue.

Solomon characterizes the wicked as

(1) paranoid, and possessing of a guilty conscience (vv. 1a, 17a),

(2) the heroes of lawbreakers (v. 4a),

(3) lacking understanding of what is right (v. 5),

(4) perverse (v. 6),

(5) those who cause the righteous to stumble (v. 10) and fear (vv. 12, 15, 28),

(6) liable to fall (vv. 10, 18b),

(7) covetous (v. 22), and

(8) proud (v. 25).

On the other hand, the righteous

(1) exhibit courage (v. 1b),

(2) keep and contend for the Law (v. 4b),

(3) have great understanding of what is right (v. 5),

(4) are inheritors of good things (v. 10),

(5) cause praise to God by their joy (v. 12),

(6) are always reverent and happy (v. 14),

(7) will be delivered from trouble (v. 18),

(8) are abundantly blessed (v. 20),

(9) trust God and are prospered (v. 25), and

(10) increase when the wicked perish (v. 28).

Poverty and Contentment

The author also engages in extensive discussions about the poor and poverty.

"Poor on poor" violence results in even greater poverty for both parties involved (v. 3).

Verses six and eleven underscore the surpassing value of spiritual and moral virtue over the merely material.

Contentedness with what one possesses may very well help to prevent an early demise (v. 16), but companying with the greedy will bring familial shame (v. 7b).

Riches acquired by unscrupulous characters often find their way to someone who will aid the poor (v. 8).

Diligence

Solomon again encourages diligence in one’s work because this character trait leads its owner to prosperity; however, he denounces lack of seriousness about life because it brings poverty (v. 19).

God rewards faithfulness in the routine, but frowns upon get-rich-quick schemes (vv. 20, 22).

Giving to the poor guarantees that God will meet your needs; pretending that the needy do not exist is shameful (v. 27).

Understanding

Understanding is essential to the preservation of righteousness.

Those who keep the Law and seek the LORD have good judgment in moral matters (vv. 2b, 5b, 7a), but rebels' prayers can expect only divine rejection (v. 9).

Oppression proceeds from those who lack understanding (v. 16).

A sinful nation will produce many men vying for political power (v. 2a).

God will deliver the wise walker, but the one who trusts himself is acting foolishly (v. 26).

© 2013 glynch1

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