1 Better is a dry morsel with quietness,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
-The wealthy are never fully happy because everything they have is based upon what they can achieve, what they can buy-
2 A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame,
And will share an inheritance among the brothers.
–Sometimes we see things involving the children of others better than the parent. Wisdom is very critical in such a situation. But it’s an opportunity to ensure a child knows right from wrong. But, wisdom must be the absolute precursor in this. You can lose much by being too blunt with another’s child.
3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests the hearts.
-Wow! Trials make us who we are. We cannot become great in anything in the life without trials. We have to choose the furnace to become gold and walk in greatness with the Lord-
4 An evildoer gives heed to false lips;
A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.
-We are what we eat. We become what we are willing to let in our heads. Whatever goes into us will have an effect on us. Once we become that, we go after it much the same as an addiction-
5 He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker;
He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
-We often take joy in seeing the failures and mistakes of others. I am very guilty of this. Jesus was poor and he fed the poor and had mercy on the poor. God loves the poor and we should never forget that. Jesus said we would always have the poor. It wasn’t a derogatory statement, it was a fact. But it serves to remind us that the poor are part of God’s Kingdom. AND, He values them greatly-
6 Children’s children are the crown of old men,
And the glory of children is their father.
-God loves kids. He loves grand kids too! I am so proud of my children. I am not a perfect dad by any stretch, but they are my greatest achievements in my life-
7 Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool,
Much less lying lips to a prince.
-I love this statement because it covers both the wise and the unwise. No matter what you say or how you say it, the fool will not change or even see your point. This is very true in things like politics. The “prince” plays the wise man here. He is smart enough to realize when someone is lying to him and he is not conned. Are we a prince or a fool?-
8 A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor;
Wherever he turns, he prospers.
-The mindset of someone who recognizes the value of a gift can determine what his life is like-
9 He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
-One of the greatest ways to show love is to know someone’s mistake and keep it to yourself. Whether they know it or not. Everything we do wrong can be made worse or better. If we observe something that is wrong and then repeat it ourselves, knowing it was wrong, we have made something bad even worse. We should be an example to the person instead of enabling them-
10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man
Than a hundred blows on a fool.
-A person that takes criticism and goes with it, will go far. For instance, sometimes a young person refuses to see the errors in their life because of a lack of wisdom. Sometimes these are the fools that will never get it. Wisdom in the young is seldom seen, but as they grow, rebuke becomes welcome. Even if it is wrong, it can be accepted and used as it applies-
11 An evil man seeks only rebellion;
Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
-We often expect others to think as we do. Even when we are clearly being rebellious. In the end, we must see the errors of our ways or, eventually, we suffer difficulties. Sometimes very hard difficulties. If we continue to buck the system, a “cruel messenger” may show up to let us know we are fired. Or however it applies-
12 Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs,
Rather than a fool in his folly.
-Being stupid is the worst way in this life. It seems a bit extreme, but it could be better to die young than to live a life of a fool-
13 Whoever rewards evil for good,
Evil will not depart from his house.
-We have decisions to make in our life. Those decisions should always be tempered with the greatest intent possible. It is vital as human beings that we do not seek to do bad things to other people for personal gain. Or even just the folly of seeing them suffer. We shall always have to live with the fallout of our choices-
14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
-Take a bucket of water and dump it out on the ground. Now, pick all the water back up. It’s impossible. How do you keep the water in one place? You don’t dump it out. Watch what you say and do, avoid the fight before it happens-
15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.
-It’s important to remember that our actions are seen by God at all times. The big word to this now days is “enabling.” When we approach a sinner with love, it does not include okaying their sinful ways.
In the same way, when we decide to condemn someone because we think we know better, we do ourselves more harm than any good we might think we are doing to anyone else. And, let’s face it, most times we condemn, we are trying to make ourselves look better than we are. The penalties to these actions are severe. Something we need to repent from-
16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom,
Since he has no heart for it?
-We must decide where our heart and mind is. Go to school to learn or to have fun? We spend money to look smart, but we never gain. We pay our tithes at church be never grow from the time we spend in worship and training. We can approach this from many angles. Are we here to learn or to make sure everyone sees us? Keep your money and seek God for real-
17 A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
-A true friend is family. They will love you in your good times and your bad times. They will be honest with you and catch you when that honesty knocks you to your knees. Then when you’ve worked through it, they will help you to your feet, never having left your side-
18 A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes surety for his friend.
-Standing for a friend is what a friend does. Support in finances is what we do. But we do our friend no good if this is done without wisdom. And in the end, it can lead to serious trouble-
19 He who loves transgression loves strife,
And he who exalts his gate seeks destruction.
-Transgression is not just sin, it is choosing to do something against someone. This kind of person likes the trouble. Likes to stir up problems and create strife. And, then they build themselves up to look good when all the problems become overwhelming. In the end, they lose all as eventually no one wants anything to do with them-
20 He who has a deceitful heart finds no good,
And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.
-We see life through the “glasses” we wear. Not eye correcting glasses, but the kind that allow us to see the world around us filtered through our spirit. Everyone has a certain amount of that spiritual activity in their life because they are made with a spirit. Like it or not. If your heart is deceitful (a spiritual condition) you will not find good through your lenses. It spills over and out through your mouth. What comes out of you is first in you. Your spiritual condition will always taint what comes out of you-
21 He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool has no joy.
-Your heritage is more than a few things you got from your parents. What we leave for our kids is more than money and old relics. We pass on our attitude to them as well. When you are old and sitting back in the rocking chair reflecting on your life, will you be happy about the way your kids see life and interact with others?-
22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.
-Joy comes from the Lord. Happiness becomes a choice. We do have a choice. This mixture can affect the body much the same as medicine does. It’s “spiritual medicine.” In fact, it can often have a much more effective result with long term healing and not just treatment. In the same way, the opposite can destroy an individual-
23 A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back
To pervert the ways of justice.
-Clearly the write knew politicians and people who would do evil to let evil do more. Many times in these days (and long before now) men who begin their journey good are perverted because of money. It is the love of such that is a the source of evil after all. Integrity is often hard to come by. We find ourselves “looking the other way” for things that are fleeting. The wheels of justice are slowed and stopped by those bound with personal agendas and desires and a good man will suffer for it-
24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
-Understanding is a gift from God. I believe the author is writing specifically about spiritual understanding. Which changes the understanding we have for anything else. He is drawing the comparison of the smart man and the foolish man. To be truly wise, we need to have understanding. But not understanding a particular thing, but a mindset ready for wisdom. We come to understand that God is God and we must love, honor and serve Him. This simple understanding leads us to wisdom. But as the “fool” focuses his attention on the world and the things of the world, he loses the wisdom he might have had. Focus on the things of the world around us instead of God causes us to lose wisdom and understanding-
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her who bore him.
-Isn’t it funny how we blame everyone else for our mistakes. Especially our parents? My parents are good people. They aren’t perfect. Neither am I. A foolish son is one who makes bad decisions and does “foolish” things with his life. Dad shakes his head and mom doesn’t even want to speak his name. It’s why we need God so much.
26 Also, to punish the righteous is not good,
Nor to strike princes for their uprightness.
-The righteous is not just he who follows God. But that’s the best description. Still, a righteous person is someone who strives to do what is right. It’s something we see a lot of. The righteous being punished. When we are in sin, we do not want someone to point it out. Many times the very fact that someone is not in sin is enough to point out our flaws. The world will punish the sinless to give the sinful good countenance.
27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
-Much can be said in a few words. That’s why we are always quoting someone. They have made their point in only a few lines. Screaming your statement doesn’t mean anyone will get you or understand you. Most of history records men and women who said great things with a calm voice. Most will not listen to someone who is trying to break the sound barrier to make their point anyway. And a calm, soft word will touch even the most despicable of hearts.
28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
-There’s a saying that goes around, “Keep your mouth shut and let them think you are foolish. Open your mouth and prove them right.” If you’re in a discussion on a subject you know little about, it’s a good idea to remain quite. Two things happen:
- You do not look like a fool
- You might learn a little more than you already know.