Chapter 26 Chapter 31
Chapter 27 Chapter 32
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30

Chapter 26

(Verses 1 through 12) As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool. As the bird by wandering, and the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back. Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage. The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools. As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool. As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools. The great God that formed all things, both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.


This entire text is concerning the fool, and how totally undependable he is. It may not be completely clear whether or not Solomon considers the fool as did David, who said, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” but one thing is perfectly clear. And that is that he considers the fool as totally worthless, and completely devoid of understanding. Therefore it is as much out of place to give honor to a fool as is snow in summer and rain in harvest. His statement in verse 2, might seem out of place, unless his meaning is that the fool is the cause of the curse, or the evil, that comes. For just as surely as it takes effort for the bird to wander and the swallow to fly, there must be a cause for whatever evil may come. And since this declaration is placed in his discussion of the fool, it appears that the fool may be the cause of which he speaks. Just as the whip and the bridle are necessary for controlling the horse and the ass, so the only control for a fool is a rod to be used on his back. Verses 4 and 5 seem to be contradictory, and in words they are. Yet their meanings are not so much at variance as appears. We are not to stoop to the level of the fool, and engage in folly ourselves to answer him, for in so doing we would become like him. but, at the same time it is sometimes necessary to turn his own folly upon him to shut him up, and keep him from thinking himself so wise that he has by his “wisdom” overcome everyone. Whoever uses a fool for a messenger will surely not get his message properly delivered, and thus he will suffer damage. When fools try to use a parable, or wise saying, it will no more properly illustrate the desired message than a lame man can walk without limping. Since the sling is used for throwing stones, and a stone bound in it cannot be thrown  but will stay in the sling, thus rendering the sling useless, one who gives honor to a fool is as one who binds the stone in the sling, foolish himself. Just as a thorn going into the hand of a drunkard will wound him, so a fool trying to make use of a parable is likely to wound himself. Since it is the great God Who will reward both the fool and the transgressors, the manner in which Solomon has joined them together seems to indicate that he thinks both shall receive similar rewards. And the LORD has said that he will tell the transgressors, “Depart from Me ye workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.” The fool can no more refrain from his folly than a dog can refrain from returning to his own vomit. Yet there is more hope of a fool than there is of a man who is wise in his own conceit. So beware of the man who thinks himself wise.


(Verses 13 through 16) The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion in the streets. As the door turneth upon its hinges, so doth the slothful man upon his bed. The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom: it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than ten men who can render a reason.


In Solomon’s use of “a slothful man” or “a sluggard,” we are to understand that he is speaking of a man who is too lazy to do anything. In fact, he pictures him as too lazy to even raise his food to his mouth. Such a man will use any excuse he can manufacture to keep from doing anything, even to claiming that there is a lion in the streets, and he is afraid to go out. The only turning he will do is that he will turn over in his bed as a door turns upon its hinges. Yet he thinks himself wiser than ten men who can give a good reason for their actions. Solomon often advises us to avoid such.


(Verses 17 through 23) He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is he that deceiveth his neighbor, and saith, “Am I not in sport?” Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Burning lips and wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.


About as foolish a thing as anyone can do is to walk up to a strange dog, and grab him by the ears. And this is what Solomon likens a man to, who just in passing by notices two men having a strife that is none of his concern, and he without considering the matter immediately joins into the fracas. There are many who think it great sport to deceive someone, and then after causing them trouble thereby, tell them ,”I was just joking.” Solomon says this is as bad as a mad man who throws firebrands and arrows, and even causes death. So it should be studiously avoided. Where there is no fuel, there will be no fire, for there is nothing to feed it. By the same token, where there is none to carry tales, strife will die out for lack of fuel. On the other hand, just as just a few coals added to coals that are already burning, will increase the fire, so a contentious man can with just a few words rekindle a strife that has almost burned out. And the words of a talebearer can cause grievous wounds to the spirit. And they sometimes hurt more deeply than natural wounds to the flesh. A person who is pretending to be such an ardent friend, but has wickedness in his heart is like a piece of broken pottery covered with the dross that has been burned off from silver. The piece of pottery is worthless, and so is the dross with which it is covered.


(Verses 24 through 28) He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; when he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.


If a man hates you, he may not admit it with words, but his heart is full of not only deceit but also hatred. Therefore do not believe anything he may say that seems complimentary, for his heart is full of abomination. Verses 26 and 27 show that Solomon believed in the the doctrine of retribution. Even if a man covers his hatred by deceit, it will finally be uncovered and shown to all the people. And the man who digs a pit (to entrap someone else) will himself fall into it. And one who rolls a stone (at someone else) will also find it returning to him. Verse 28 is such an obvious truth that it needs no explanation.



Chapter 27


(Verses 1 through 9) Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? Open rebuke is better than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place. Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.


Obviously this is a selection of wise sayings that are not necessarily related to each other. But all are well worthy of being remembered. Since no man can accurately predict what any day will bring forth, it behooves us to refrain from bragging about what we are going to do tomorrow. When tomorrow comes we may not be able to do anything. No doubt, James said it best, (James 4: 13 – 17) “Go to now, ye that say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:’ whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, ‘If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that.’ But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is evil.” It is amazing how many who claim to serve the Lord can be so reluctant to thus acknowledge Him in this one little thing. James says that it is very important, and it takes so little effort to do it that I fail to see why we do not all do it, thus honoring God as we ought to. Certainly, we all know that it is much better that another praise us than that we should brag about ourselves. Inasmuch as a fool has no self control, his anger is indeed very heavy, and continues on and on. It is therefore heavier than a stone, or the sand. Wrath and anger are both evil, and should be avoided as much as possible. But they will sometimes fade away as time passes. But envy has no end. It never gives up. It seems that Solomon’s thought here is that one may be able to bring his wrath and his anger under control; but if he has envy against someone, he can never control that. If something is known by more than one person, contrary to popular opinion, it is no longer a secret. So, no matter how much someone may love you, if it is kept secret it will do you no good. Whereas an open rebuke, when justified and properly received will do the recipient much good. The wounds of a friend as mentioned by Solomon are not physical wounds, but the wounds caused by his faithful rebuke when needed. And they are much better than the kisses of an enemy, which are always hypocritical. When one is not hungry he cares nothing about any food, even such as a honeycomb; but when extremely hungry any food, even that which may be bitter tastes good. When a man wanders away from his place (and this can mean much more than just geographical location) he is as lost as a bird that wanders away from her nest. Although ointments and perfume may gladden the heart of a person so will the good counsel of a faithful friend.


(Verses 10 through 19) Thine own friend and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off. My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me. A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him. A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself. Iron sharpeneth iron; so s man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured. As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.


If you have a friend who has been a friend not only to you but even to your father, do not forsake him in the day of your calamity, and go running to a brother who has been away for some time. For the neighbor, or friend, who is near may be far better help to you than a brother who is far enough away that he doesn’t understand your situation. Solomon throws in a little advice that should be heeded by all. “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad that I may answer him that reproacheth me.” If our children are wise, it does make our hearts glad, and gives us a good answer for any who would reproach us. A wise child is the best production of our parenthood. A man of understanding can discern the approach of evil, and as he does he will try to make provision to avoid it. But those of no understanding will continue on without taking warning, and fall into the very evil the wise man has avoided. If a man is going to be surety for a stranger, take even his garment, if he has nothing else to give as security. And, by all means, make him give a pledge if he is going to be surety for a strange woman. The man who spends his time, even getting up early to begin it, loudly praising his friend, is likely to do his friend more harm than good, for his continual praising of him is likely to be considered a curse instead of a blessing. A woman who is always contentious and quarrelsome is like a rainy day that is continually dripping. And one who tries to cover up for her might as well be trying to hide the wind or the ointment that he has on his hand. For she will certainly find a way to make herself known. Iron is often used to sharpen iron, and just so a man can often sharpen the countenance, or wit, of his friend. He who patiently keeps the fig tree will finally eat the fruit thereof. And in like manner he who patiently serves his master shall be honored for his patient service. Just as water reflects the face that comes before it so the heart of a man often will reflect the  thoughts and feelings of the heart of his friend.


(Verses 20 through 27) Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise. Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him. Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not forever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance of thy maidens.


Humanity in general has, and always has had, such an appetite, or desire for something more than what it has that Solomon says it like hell and destruction, is never satisfied. Many argue that this is a good thing; for otherwise man would never have made all the discoveries he has. That may indeed be the case. But I leave it up to others to prove that everything man has been permitted to discover has been for his good. The refining pot is for burning off the dross from the silver, and the furnace for purifying the gold, and just as this is true, the thing that separates the lies from the truth in the praise of man is the man himself. He must be compared to what is said about him in order to see the difference. Apparently, from Solomon’s statement concerning the fool, there is no possible way to separate the fool from his foolishness. And until that is done, he cannot receive wisdom. Verses 23 through 27 are all directed to us as instructions by which we can become successful in accumulating sufficient wealth to meet our needs in this life. Since farming and raising of cattle were the primary means of livelihood in his day, he uses language that is readily understood by those engaged in such pursuits.

Chapter 28

(Verses 1 through 10) The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are as bold as a lion. For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food. They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich. Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father. He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that shall pity the poor. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.


The wicked, knowing that they are always in violation of the law, sometimes get paranoid to the point that they think they are about to be caught, even when no one is pursuing them; while the righteous, knowing that they are guilty of no crime, stand firm, and have no cause to flee. When a  land, or nation, has done wrong, there are usually many who have contributed to leading it into doing the wrong: but seldom are there many wise enough to lead it into surviving such, and returning to a condition in which its state will be prolonged. That is, in which it will enjoy the honor it had before being led into evil. It is a great evil when the rich oppress the poor. But when the poor oppress the poor it is as if a flood has washed away everything, including all food, and leaving nothing. There are many who seem to delight in breaking what they consider unnecessary laws. But what they apparently, do not understand is that to break any law is to praise the wicked, thus taking his side in the controversy. But they who keep the law are contending against the wicked by supporting the law. Evil men do not even believe that there is judgment, so they certainly do not understand it. They think that they can always escape punishment for their actions, so they are not concerned about judgment even when someone may mention it to them. But the righteous, since their wisdom is of the LORD, understand all things. It is a very common thing for people to envy a rich man, even if he is also evil; but a poor man who is upright is better than a rich man who is wicked. No doubt Solomon’s reference to the law, in verse 7, is to the law of the LORD. And he that keeps that law is indeed wise, and will bring honor to his father: but one who keeps company with riotous men will certainly bring shame upon his father. He that accumulates wealth by unjust and fraudulent means will likely lose it. And Solomon says it will be taken from him, and given to one who will have pity on the poor. One who will not heed the law may as well not pray; for his prayer is abomination. And one who will lead the righteous astray, and cause him to do evil will certainly fall into his own pit: but those who follow the pathway of righteousness shall possess good things. They may have very little, so far as material wealth is concerned, but they will have a wonderful peace with God which is far better.


(Verses 11 through 20) The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out. When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth always: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief. As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days. A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him. Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once. He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich  shall not be innocent.


The fact that a man is rich in no wise proves that he is wise. But those who are rich usually get the idea that they are wise. However, a wise man, though he be ever so poor can soon see through the facade of supposed wisdom, and know the real truth of the matter. Righteous men rejoice only when righteousness is being done, both by them and by those around them. And when that is the case there is great glory, not only for them, but for their entire community. On the other hand, when the wicked rise up, and are in charge of affairs, a man, especially a righteous man will be ashamed, and will hide himself. The man who tries to conceal his sins without repenting of them and turning away from them will not continue to prosper. For they will be found out. And when they are none will show him any mercy. But if he confesses his sins, and turns away from them, his neighbors will show mercy to him. The man who fears that he may make a mistake, and therefore observes carefully what he is doing, will avoid doing wrong, and will therefore be happy in the knowledge that what he has done is right. But the one who so hardens his heart that he is not concerned about whether or not what he does is right will surely fall into serious error. A wicked ruler holds his poor subjects under the same fear as would a roaring lion, or a bear that is on the prowl. They can never feel safe. A ruler that has no understanding will surely be an oppressor of his people, and, perhaps, even to the point of causing them to revolt against him. But one who hates covetousness will be so well liked by his subjects that he will prolong his days as ruler. It seems that Solomon’s meaning in verse 17 is that any man who for no cause violently sheds the blood of another is actually running toward the grave himself. Therefore let none attempt to stop him from that goal. The one who walks uprightly shall be saved, that is, his life shall be preserved. But the one who is perverse in his ways is subject to being struck down suddenly. The man who diligently cultivates his field (and this can be applied to any facet of life, not just agriculture) will prosper in his labor. But he that spends his time with vain, or worthless, men will only find poverty. The faithful man, that is, the one who diligently works at his calling, will be successful. But he that gets in too big a hurry to be rich shall not be innocent. There are so many temptations that appear to be short cuts that he is likely to follow them, and thus be ensnared by them.


(Verses 21 through 28) To have respect of persons is not good: for, for a piece of bread that man will transgress. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse. When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.


No man who practices respect of persons can be trusted, because he will, for any advantage, even a piece of bread, favor the one who pays him. The man who is in a hurry to get rich is not concerned about whether or not what he does is right. His only concern is to gain wealth, and he never considers that poverty can overtake him, just as it can others. Many think that the way to gain favor with anyone is to flatter him. But if the one with whom they are dealing is a faithful person, a proper rebuke will be more appreciated than will flattery. There are children who think it not stealing, or robbery to take something that belongs to their parents without saying anything to them about it. But one who will do such is indeed the companion of a destroyer. That is, he is just as bad as a destroyer. The truth of verse 25 is so obvious that it needs no explanation. He that trusts to his own heart, that is, he that is going to do what he wants to do regardless of good advice or rules to the contrary, is a fool. And Solomon tells us many times his assessment of a fool. And that assessment will, no doubt, apply here. Nevertheless he that walks according to the dictates of wisdom shall be delivered. Giving to the poor will not impoverish us. But those who hide their eyes from the needs of the poor shall have many a curse. Verse 28 is a repetition of verse 12 in slightly different words.

Chapter 29

(Verses 1 through 10) He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance. The king by judgment stablisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it. A man that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet. In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice. The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it. Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath. If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest. The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.


Anyone who will refuse to listen to reproof, though it is often laid upon him, will surely come to disaster, and there is no way to prevent it. As long as the righteous are in authority in a country, or even a community, the people will enjoy prosperity, and therefore rejoice. But when the wicked come into power it causes great sorrow among the people. Solomon makes it abundantly clear that having wisdom, and keeping company with harlots are directly opposite habits. And they have directly opposite results. The one who has wisdom is a credit to his father, while he that spends his time with harlots is a liability. The king who exercises judgment, will establish his country, but one who takes bribes will cause it to fall. The man that flatters his neighbor is attempting to lead him into some kind of a trap. For in his transgression there is always a snare. But the righteous will suspect the evil, and escape the snare. He therefore can sing and dance, because he is not in danger. The Righteous is always ready to consider the cause, or problem, of the poor: but the wicked will not even listen to the problem. He is not at all interested in knowing about it. Men sometimes become so lifted up in their own minds that they think themselves great, and become scornful of others. These will lead a city into a snare: but wise men will turn away wrath, thus delivering the city. There is no use getting into an argument with a fool. Whether the fool breaks into a rage, or tries to laugh off the reasoning of wisdom there is no rest; for he never knows when to quit anything. He cannot even discern when he is beaten in the argument. The bloodthirsty hate the upright, primarily because the upright will reprove them for their evils. But the just seek the soul, or the companionship, of the upright.


(Verses 11 through 20) A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked. The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes. The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever. The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall. Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. A servant will not be corrected with words: for though he understand he will not answer. Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.


One does not have to do a lot of research to find the difference between a fool and a wise man. A fool is so enamored of his own speech that if left to run his course, he will tell everything he thinks, and sometimes even more, while the man of wisdom will carefully consider the situation, and he will be reluctant to speak until he is sure of his facts. If a ruler will listen to and heed lies, his servants will likely be no better than he, and will therefore all be wicked as he is. The poor man often is forced by circumstances to meet with the deceitful man, or as the center references tell us, “the usurer.” For he often has to borrow money. Yet the LORD will lighten both their eyes. That is, He will cause each of them to discern more about the other than most would expect. If the king will be faithful in judging the cause of the poor, it will solidly establish his throne. Although some may not realize it, there are usually far more poor than rich in any country. So the king who faithfully judges the poor has the majority on his side. Since children are not born with wisdom and understanding, they have to be taught, and it sometimes takes the rod and reproof to teach them. Therefore one left to grow up with no discipline is likely to bring shame upon his parents. As the wicked are increased there will surely be more transgression: but the righteous shall outlast the wicked, and shall see the final fall of wickedness and those who engage therein. If you would have your son, or daughter, to be a delight to your soul, do not come up with the idea, “I love him, or her, too much to punish them.” But, instead, apply proper discipline, and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD. When the leaders of a country, a state, a city, or even a family have lost their vision of what they desire for the future, the people, those involved in that entity perish. They lose hope. But those who keep the law, the law of the LORD, can still go happily along, for they still have something in which to trust. If a servant has done wrong, it will usually take more than just words to correct him, because although he hears what you say, he lets it pass as if he did not understand it. Therefore it may take a little more than words to make him take heed. The man who is quick to answer a matter, perhaps even answering before he has fully heard  the case, has little hope of ever being a worthwhile consultant for any matter. Solomon says there is more hope of a fool than of him. And he has many times told us what he thinks of a fool.


(Verses 21 through 27) He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length. An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not. The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD. An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in his way is abomination to the wicked.


Solomon made a great distinction between a servant and a son. And this was certainly the common practice of most people who had servants. Although they did consider their servants as an extension of their household, they did not consider them as an actual part of the family. Yet if a man brought up his servant from a child as delicately, and with as intimate a relation as he did his son, that servant, when he grew up, would want to occupy for life the same position as son. There are many things in life that though they may be useful and even pleasant to us should be kept at a little distance from us lest we become too wrapped up in them, and at last they seem as close to us as our own children. A man who has just been made angry at something, or someone, will probably stir up strife; and one who is chronically angry, will surely do so. And such a man indeed abounds in transgressions. The man who is lifted up with pride is sure to fall, and will seldom be honored, while the humble shall be upheld by true honor. Solomon’s expression, “he heareth cursing,” though it can relate to profanity, appears by the context to mean, “he hears plans of evil.” Thus the partner of a thief will hear plans of evil against someone, but will not report it. He therefore lets the evil go on, and by so doing, becomes a part of it, thus bringing judgment upon himself. By such action he proves that he hates his own soul. Those who fear man bring a snare upon themselves, while those who trust in the LORD shall be kept in safety. Solomon declares that although men often seek the favor of the ruler; they are trying to find favor in the wrong place. The LORD is the One Who can help them in their cause, because judgment comes from Him. A shorter way of saying what is in verse 27 is, “The just hate an unjust man, and the wicked hate an upright man.”

Chapter 30


(Verses 1 through 6) The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind up in His fists? Who hath gathered the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell? Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.


In verse 1 seems to be the only reference we have in scripture to either Agur, or Jakeh. It also seems to be our only reference to Ucal, though we do have mention of an Ithiel in Nehemiah 11:7. Whether or not it is the same man may be uncertain. Nevertheless Agur received a prophecy, evidently from the LORD, and spoke it to Ithiel and Ucal. He begins it with a statement of how unqualified he was for such. He declares, “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” That is, he considered himself to have less education and less wisdom, or understanding, than other men. He continues, “I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.” He was not a student of some wise man, and he did not feel that God had endowed him with any great knowledge before giving him this prophecy. So if there is any real substance to his prophecy, it must be of the LORD, because he was not smart enough to make it up himself. The next 3 verses are the prophecy itself. “Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters with a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His son’s mane, if thou canst tell?” In John 3:13 Jesus answered the first of these questions thus: “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven.” Psalm 104:1-6 says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, O LORD my God, Thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honour and majesty. Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters: Who maketh the clouds His chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh His angels spirits; His ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be moved for ever.” Then, in Romans 10: 6-9, the Apostle Paul tells us, “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, ‘Say not in thine heart,“ Who shall ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, “Who shall descend into the deep? “ (that is to bring up Christ again from the dead.)’ But what saith it? ‘The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart;’ that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Since the psalmist has declared so vehemently that it is only the great LORD GOD Who has done these things, and Jesus has Himself declared that no man has ascended up to heaven except the same One Who has first descended there from, Who also is the Son of Man, and is also now in heaven; certainly we can see that Agur’s question is asked only to focus our minds upon the very fact that the only One who can do, or has done this is the LORD. And Jesus has also told us that He and the Father are One. And He is the Son of Man. So this answer leaves no room for the question of who will ascend to bring down the Christ from heaven, or descend to bring Him up from the dead, since He is also God, and God is the only One Who can do this. Thus faith in Him assures us that He has already accomplished this with no help from anyone else. As for the other wonderful works here mentioned, it is readily seen from the quotation from Psalms that only the same One can do them who has ascended into heaven and descended into the grave, none but the Son of Man, Christ Jesus our Lord.. And this also answers the other two questions, since His name is The LORD GOD, and His Son’s name is JESUS. Every word of God is pure, and will so stand forever. And He is a shield to them who put their trust in Him. He has also declared His commands, instructions, and teachings in sufficient words to make clear His message to us. So let us be careful to add nothing to them lest He reprove us, and prove us to be liars.


(Verses 7 through 9) Two things have I required of Thee: deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.


When Agur says, “Two things have I required of Thee,” it is obvious that his meaning is, “Two things have I desired, or requested, of Thee,” since this is evidently his prayer to the LORD. And none is able to “require” something of God in the sense in which we commonly understand “require” to mean. We cannot demand anything of God, but only request it. And the next statement bears this out. He is requesting that the LORD do these two things for him before he dies. His request is, “Remove from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches.” In a time when everyone is striving to obtain all the wealth he possibly can, this seems a strange request. But Agur gives his reasons for this. If the LORD will only give him that which he actually needs, it will free him from two temptations. By not giving him more than he needs, the LORD will prevent his becoming so “filled” with natural things that he becomes wrapped up in them, and forgets God, as many do. And if the LORD will give him what he does need, he will not find himself in such straits that he is tempted to steal, thus taking the name of the LORD in vain. Those who declare themselves the servants of God, and continue to practice evils, such as stealing, and other forbidden things are taking the name of the LORD in vain.


(Verses 10 through 14) Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty. There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! And their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.


Although the word, “generation,” can mean the people of a certain time, as we often use it, such as “the older generation,” or “the generation to come,” and many other common expressions. But its original meaning had nothing to do with time, and actually refers to people of similar characteristics, such as a family, or a tribe. In this case, it obviously refers to the wicked, who are found in every era of time in the world. They are a curse to their father, and no blessing to their mother. They are always pure in their own eyes, but never cleansed from their sins and filthiness. They are always obvious because of their haughty manners, and are always seeking to destroy the poor and needy, because such are the easiest prey for them.


(Verses 15 and 16) The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: the grave; the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not It is enough.


The word, “horseleach,” is not found in any of our small modern dictionaries. But it would today be called a “horse doctor,” or veterinarian. The reason for his being called a “horseleach” is that one of the most common treatments for horses that had certain symptoms of sickness was “leaching,” or drawing off a certain amount of blood from the horse. Agur says that the horseleach has two daughters, both of whom are constantly calling for someone to give them something. This evidently causes him to consider what things there are that are never satisfied, but are always calling for more. He comes up with three of those, and then adds that there is also a fourth. These are “the grave, the barren womb, the earth that has no water, and the fire. He declares that none of these ever say, “It is enough.”


(Verse 17) The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.


Thus he declares that those guilty of these two things shall be put to death, and left out in the open for the ravens and eagles, or vultures, to feed upon.


(Verses 18 and 19) There be three things that be too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.


When he says that these four things are too wonderful for him, his meaning is not that they are too marvelous for him; but that they are too complex for him to understand. In his day men did not understand aeronautics as they do today, and, perhaps , Agur knew absolutely nothing of the subject. Therefore he could not understand how the eagle could soar through the air as it did, Neither could he understand how a serpent could glide across the rocks as he could. He has previously told us that he had not learned wisdom, (worldly wisdom,) and that he did not have the knowledge of the holy. So, likely, he knew nothing of navigation, and could therefore not understand how a ship could maintain its course on the trackless sea. And the way of a man with a maid is so devious that none can understand it. This counts up to four things in particular that he could not understand.


(Verse 20) Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.


Thus he declares that an adulterous woman has no shame for, and no repentance from her sin. In fact, she doesn’t even consider her actions as wickedness. She has no conscience. And, no doubt, the same description fits the adulterous man.


(Verses 21 and 23) For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: for a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; for an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.


Agur tells us that there are four things which the earth can not bear. And as we look at them we can readily see the reason why the earth cannot bear them. They are so completely out of place. They are a servant set up as ruler, a fool successful enough to acquire a full meal, a woman of vile reputation when she is married, and the maidservant of a woman, who, when her mistress dies, inherits what belonged to her mistress, including her place as lady of the house.


(Verses 24 through 28) There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; the conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.


We are all familiar with the creatures he mentions here.  What he calls “conies,” we usually call “rabbits.” But we usually call all the others by the same names used here. The bite, or sting of the ant may be somewhat painful, but he is a very small creature, especially when compared to many others. But he is wise enough to store up food when it is available. Conies, or rabbits, are feeble so far as protecting themselves is concerned. Often a common housecat will catch and kill a rabbit much larger than itself. But they are wise enough to make their home in the rocks, and use the rocks for protection. Though the locusts have no king, when they go from one place to another, they all go together, as if a general had given them a command to go forth, signifying that there is among them wisdom that is not shared by man. And the spider, though small lays hold of whatever presents itself, and can be found not only in the homes of the poor, but even in kings; palaces. And this, as do many other things in nature, proves that God does live, and does control all things, though many cannot understand this.


(Verses 29 through 31) There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: a lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; a greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.


As he uses the expressions, “which go well” and “are comely in going,” it is evident that in this observation the writer is concerned only of the appearance, or carriage of these things which he mentions. They do not slouch around, but carry themselves as with great pride.


(Verses 32 and 33) If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth. Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.


Although it is good advice at all times, it may be that the writer was considering that when the “king against whom there is no rising up” appears, we had better take careful thought of what we have done, and even what we have thought, and bring it to an immediate stop, if it has been inappropriate. Because, just as surely as churning milk brings forth butter, and wringing the nose brings forth blood, our forcing the issue as we had started will cause strife. And we cannot win.


Chapter 31

(Verses 1 through 9) The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; Nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.


So far as we can find, this is the only scriptural reference to king Lemuel. The meaning of this name is “by God,” and some think it another name for Solomon. This text is here called a prophecy, and is credited to the mother of Lemuel, as she taught it to him. Actually, it can readily be seen that it is a set of basic instructions to govern his conduct. And if he, or anyone else in authority will follow them he will find himself much better qualified to govern, than if he failed to follow them. They are so simple that they need no explanation. But it is well to emphasize them. “Give not thy strength to women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.” In the course of history there have been several kings who have lost their kingdoms because of women. Some have even abdicated their thrones to be permitted to marry some woman, while others have ruined themselves by simply being what today is called “womanizers.” Not only is this true, but there also are many other things that destroy kings. And he is warned to keep himself from all such. He certainly should not let himself become addicted to wine and other strong drink. For this could make him forget the law, and pervert judgment, not only the judgment of the afflicted, but all judgment in general. The proper use for wine and strong drink is that it be given to those who are about to perish, and are thus in the depths of sorrow, that it may cause them to forget their afflictions. But kings are to be ready to take up the cause of those who cannot speak for themselves, and are therefore appointed to destruction. This has no reference to those whom the LORD has appointed to destruction, but to, especially, those whom men have wrongfully so appointed. Further, a king should judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.


In verse 10 he asks a question, “Who can find a virtuous woman?” And he further declares “Her price is far above rubies.” He is not saying that there are no virtuous women; but simply that they are in a class far above the rest, and they cannot be bought. The remainder of this chapter through verse 28 extols the many wonderful characteristics and actions of a virtuous woman, showing of what great value she is to her husband and her household. All of this is so plainly written that there is no room for misunderstanding what he is saying. Although the social and economic background of that day and modern times may indeed be different, the same principles still apply.


Verse 29, since it singles out one woman in particular, saying, “Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excelleth them all,” is often interpreted to be referring to the church of our Lord, Christ Jesus.


(Verses 30 and 31) Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.


This seems to be a continuation of the instructions Lemuel’s mother gave him, that he might know how to pick a woman for a wife. And it is the best short instruction ever written  Favor and beauty can be very poor guides to lasting happiness. They can so easily fade away. But the woman worthy of praise is the one who fears the LORD. In the list given above we can readily see what is the fruit of her hands. So give her that, or acknowledge it as her work, and let her works praise her “in the gate,” that is publicly, before the council.

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