Proverbs ~ Chapter 15
Chapter 15 is an interesting chapter made up of more contrasting proverbs in regard to living life in society and before God. Commentators break this chapter down in many different ways. As we have in our NASB and King James Bibles, this chapter ends with vs. 33. In fact, some end this chapter with Proverbs 16:8, others at vs. 9, while still others like Waltke end it with Prov 15:29 and begin the next section with vs. 30. Recalling our original outline, we have:
Collection I, Chapters 1-9
Collection II, Chapters 10-22:16
Collection III, Chapters 22:17-24:22
Collection IV Chapters 24:23-24:35
Collection V, Chapters 25-29
The Sayings of Agur Son of Jakeh:
Collection VI, Chapter 30
The Sayings of Lemuel:
Collection VII, Chapter 31
We are still in Collection II of Solomon I, the longest of the collections.
For our study, we will look at the entire chapter as we have in our Bibles, vs. 1 through vs. 33. Instead of studying this chapter in its order, we will study it based on five major topics or issues in regard to living life in God’s righteousness that I have noted in my studies.
The Five Major Topics / Issues Include:
- Issues Concerning Speech; How We Use Our Tongue, 1, 2, 4, 7, 23, 26, 28.
- Issues Related to God; How We Relate to Him, 3, 8, 9, 11, 16, 25, 29.
- Issues Concerning Discipline, Both Self-discipline and Punitive Discipline, 5, 10, 12, 14, 19-22, 24, 28, 31-33.
- Issues Concerning Material Blessings; How We Treat Blessing from God, 6, 15-17, 27.
- Issues Concerning Emotions; How We Handle Our Emotions, 13, 15, 17, 18, 23, 26, 30.
Some categories overlap, like vs. 15, 17 that combine Emotions with Material Blessings, vs. 23 that combines Emotion with Speech, and vs. 26 that combines God with Speech.
22 of the 33 proverbs in Chapter 15, or 2/3rds, are “contrasting” proverbs; contrasting right from wrong, righteousness and evil, wisdom and foolishness.
11 or 1/3rd of the Proverbs are “non-contrasting” or complementary, of which nine are positive, vs. 3, 11, 16, 17, 23-24, 30-31, 33; and two are negative, vs. 10, 12. Also of the 11 non-contrasting proverbs, two are “more than” or comparative statements, vs. 16-17.
As you know, many proverbs are repetitive, although presented each time in a slightly different light, yet they are given in order to increase our insight into the wisdom of God and to give us moral guidance so that we can live in God’s righteousness. These non-directive proverbs require our reflection in order to discern their intent and figure out the “ought to” from their description.
Issues Concerning Speech; How We Use Our Tongue:
vs. 1, 2, 4, 7, 23, 26, 28.
Given that three of the first four verses deal with this subject, we will address it first. We have seen many proverbs on the conduct of our speech for both good and evil, and have learned about the sins of the tongue. Here once again we see the issues associated with both righteous and unrighteous speech and the mental attitude that is associated with them.
Prov 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
“A gentle answer” is the noun MA’ANEH, מַעֲנֶה that means an “answer or response”, cf. Prov 15:23, 16:1, and the Adjective RAK that means, “tender, soft, or gentle.” RAK is actually used in the Old Testament meaning tender or young as in Prov 4:3. But here it does not mean an immature answer, but instead a gracious answer as if you were speaking so that even a child could understand you. It does not mean to dumb down your answer, but to respond with grace, kindness, and wisdom.
When you give a gracious answer, it indicates a Relaxed Mental Attitude (RMA). Everything you say is formed in your mind. You never say anything without first of all thinking it. A RMA is not running down people, saying unkind things about them, discrediting them, etc. A RMA is always expressed in terms of a grace answer. It means that when someone says something terrible about you or to you, you do not immediately switch over to mental attitude sins. You give them a grace answer. The filling of the Holy Spirit is involved here too, as well as Impersonal and Unconditional Love which means freedom from mental attitude sins. A grace answer is a response; a non-grace answer is a reaction. You can never live the Christian life and be a reactor.
“Turns away” is the causative Hiphil Imperfect of the Verb SHUB that means “to cause to turn away,” which is what a gracious answer does. The thing a gracious response turns away is “wrath”, meaning the CHEMAH, חֵמָה, cf. Prov 6:34, that has the connotation of being heated, anger, or rage.
Therefore, when you have a RMA, especially in heated situations, your gracious words will have a calming effect on the situation; while at the same time retaining your RMA and not entering into sins of the tongue, even when under fire by the sins of the tongue of others.
Words that stir up anger.
“Harsh” is the Hebrew Noun ESTEB, עֶצֶב that means, “hurt, pain, sorrow, toil,” Prov 5:10; 10:22; 14:23. In other words, these are “words” DAVAR that cause pain, turmoil, and sorrow towards others, which also negatively affects the mental attitude of the one speaking this way. They are “hurtful words.” These kind of words cause “anger” in others, which is a Hebrew idiom from the verb ALAH in the causative Hiphil Imperfect that means, “to cause to go up or ascend” with the Noun APH for “nose or face.” So literally it “goes up the nose”, meaning it causes angers in others, much like our short nosed person of Prov 14:17.
Therefore, we have the context of response versus reaction. When we use our tongue / words to respond to people with a RMA and grace, it causes everyone to calm down, but when we react to people emotionally with hurtful words, it causes everyone to be hurt and have anger.
Principles of Response and Reaction
- When you have two people that are reacting to each other in anger and hurtful words, all parties involved in the mental attitude sins have self-induced misery, and it only intensifies the schism between them.
- Yet, where response occurs, at least by one party, only the one guilty of mental attitude sins has self-induced misery.
- When one party responds to the reaction of the other party, it always isolates the person guilty of mental attitude sin and now God can deal with that person. In responding, you put the issues in the Lord’s hands instead of reacting and trying to get your own justice. Response is always grace.
- Under the response of grace there is less chance of schisms, since it takes two to fight.
- The gracious mental attitude, then, becomes the solution to any schism or split especially within the body of Christ.
- A gracious mental attitude depends upon the knowledge of Bible doctrine plus the Filling of the Holy Spirit that equals the production of Divine good.
- It not only produces Divine good but it also produces a RMA.
This theme is continued in verse two that tells us.
Prov 15:2, “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.”
Having a gracious heart and tongue produces wisdom applied from the soul which is soothing to others rather than agitating. When you speak graciously to others your wisdom becomes “acceptable” to others. “Acceptable” is the Hiphil Imperfect of the Verb YATSAB, ָיטַב that means, “to be good, pleasing, or agreeable, or to go well.” In other words, things will calm down; the other party will see your point of view and an accord can be struck between the two of you.
In the Hebrew this phrase is, “but the mouth of fools gushes out foolishness,” where “spouts or gushes” is also the Hiphil Imperfect, but this time it is with the verb NAVA that means, “to gush or pour out.” In other words, evil begets evil and foolishness begets foolishness. Rather than calming the situation down and speaking graciously, trying to reconcile the situation and reach an accord, the fool, KESIYL, only brings forth more and more foolishness, IWWELETH, which has a negative and detrimental effect on the situation and everyone involved.
As we will see in vs. 3, the Lord is always keeping His eye on both parties, waiting to bless or discipline as necessary.
Prov 15:4, “A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but perversion in it crushes the spirit.”
Here again we see the positive results of the gracious “tongue”, LASHON, described by MARPE as “soothing or calming.” We noted MARPE in Prov 14:30 for the “tranquil heart”, which indicated a RMA that gives “life to the body”, that is vigor and fulfillment, as well a good health. Here we see the application of the RMA with gracious speech. Gracious speech is a “tree of life.”
Having previously noted the unique usage of the phrase “tree of life” in the book of Proverbs, Prov 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; and now in 15:4, as compared to its literal usages in Genesis inside the Garden of Eden and in Revelation inside the New Jerusalem, we once again note its life giving effect. It tells us of the restoration of “paradise” in a broken world through healing speech that gives eternal life to those who receive it. That is, wisdom (Bible Doctrine) displayed in your speech has healing power in relationships that brings God’s Happiness, +H to the relationship you are in. So we see that both wisdom and words of healing are equated to a “Tree of Life,” because words that heal, strengthen, and restore come from thoughtful hearts, cf. Prov 10:11; 12:18. And those who are a source of encouragement must exercise both forethought and insight, i.e., “wisdom.” The ways of wisdom are pleasant, characterized by peace, long life, and blessing, which all result in the sharing in God’s Happiness, +H, while here on earth. And here in our verse, the gracious person breathes life into the situation, themselves, and the other party. This means there is invigoration, health and peace in the souls of all involved.
But the one who is perverted, (SELEPH, “crookedness or perversity”, cf. Prov 11:3), in their speech is the reactionary who is allowing their negative mental attitude, anger, and foolishness to rule their soul. As a result, this kind of speech, i.e., sins of the tongue, “crushes the spirit,” SHEBER RUACH.
SHEBER (shever) שֶׁבֶר is a noun that means, “breaking, shattering, or to ruin.” Isa 64:14, “Behold, My servants will shout joyfully with a glad heart, but you will cry out with a heavy heart, and you will wail with a broken spirit.”
It means that instead of lifting everyone up with gracious and life giving words, giving them vigor, peace, and happiness, this person tears them down, destroys and shatters the mentality of their soul. It snuffs them out, as it were.
And as vs. 5 tells us, as we will see, it is due to not taking in and applying the Word of God on a regular basis and instead rejecting its teaching.
Prov 15:7, “The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not so.”
Here we see that the “lips”, SAPHAH – speech, of the “wise”, CHAKAM, “spreads knowledge” ZARAH DA’ATH. Here ZARAH, זָרָה is in the intensive causative Piel Imperfect that means, “caused to continually spread, scatter, or winnow” God’s Word. It is the act of sowing seeds. In other words, your gracious speech will have a wide dispersement of impact, even beyond the other party directly involved.
I recall many times when I was witnessing to someone directly and there were other people in ear shot of my words. I noticed the others were in fact paying closer attention to my words than the one I was directly speaking with. And in fact, the “others” were very much impacted by what I was saying, even though it was addressed to the one right in front of me.
If your words are that of a reversionistic believer, “fool” KESIYL, filled with verbal sins because that is what is in your “heart”, (LEB – right lobe of your soul), others in the periphery, (ear shot of your words), will be negatively impacted by your foolish words as well. As the Hebrew says, “from the heart of the fools not so much”, in contrast to the knowledge of Bible Doctrine that is spread by the wise believer. Therefore, as the wise person spreads the righteousness of God and demonstrates the Christ-like nature, the fool – not so much – meaning they have a negative effect on others and the situation, rather than a positive one.
And as we will see in vs. 8, your graciousness is part of your sacrifice and offering to the Lord which is acceptable in His eyes, whereas the fools is rejected.
Prov 15:23, “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!” (non-contrasting)
This is a non-contrasting, complementary verse that is also a combination of categories including “speech” and “emotion.” The emphasis here is on being prepared to respond graciously, by the Doctrine in your soul. Just as in vs. 1a where, “a gracious answer turns away wrath,” and in contrast to vs. 1b where, “harsh words stir up anger”, here your gracious words, “apt answer”, MA’ANEH PEH, which literally means, “an answer in his mouth,” brings SIMCHAH, “joy, rejoicing, or happiness,” the +H of God, to others. We had MA’ANEH for “answer” also in vs. 1, there it was a “gentle / gracious answer”, here it simply means being prepared to respond graciously.
The complement here is a little different in the Hebrew than the English. The English speaks of “delightful” but the Hebrew is MAH TOB, literally “how good” and reads, “And a word, DAVAR, in its time, ETH, how good,” or as we would say, “How good is a timely word.” Nevertheless, an apt answer or good word both bring SIMCHAH, joy to its listener, as well as to its speaker. It has a positive and uplifting affect rather than tearing down the soul. So we see both the Verbal and Emotional categorization of this passage as our good news of God’s Word blesses those who receive it with the happiness of God.
And as we will see in vs. 24, these aptly and well spoken words of wisdom (Bible Doctrine) lead people to God with blessings in time and eternity!
Prov 15:26, “Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD, but pleasant words are pure.”
Our final verse in this category of Speech compares “evil plans” RA MACHASHAVAH with “pleasant words” NO’AM EMER. This is the third time “abomination,” TO’EBAH, “to the Lord” is used in this chapter, cf. vs. 8, 9. In those verses, we see that the sacrifice of the wicked, “their evil words or prayers,” and their general mode of operation is an abomination to God. Here their evil plans are hated by Him and detestable to Him. This is also one of the Seven Abominable sins of Prov 6:16-19. In fact, “abomination” is used 17 times in the Book of Proverbs, and the phrase, “abomination to the Lord” is used 10 times.
Because of the contrast in the second half of this verse, we see that evil plans, which speaks to the mentality of the soul, leads to wick words or sins of the tongue. The conclusion then tells us of the genesis of all these verbal sins: the heart of a man – what he thinks on a consistent basis. And we see that the Lord hates both the evil scheming and the resultant sins of the tongue that follow.
But on the other hand, He loves “pleasant words” NO’AM EMER, because they are “pure” the Adjective TAHOR, טָהוֹר meaning, “clean or pure.” TAHOR has the understanding of ceremonially clean in the Law. So it means that gracious words from Bible Doctrine in your soul are not offensive to the Lord, and are in fact acceptable to Him. As a result, He is pleased, like the soothing aroma of the sacrifices made on the Brazen Altar, Ex 29, Lev 1, 2, etc., and the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place which represents our prayers to God, Rev 5:8; 8:3-4.
And as vs. 27 tells us, as we will see, our words have consequences for us in that we will either be blessed for our righteousness or disciplined for the evil we perform.
Therefore, with our words, we can either please the Lord or cause Him detest. When we are motivated by the Doctrine in our souls, we speak righteously, responding to others graciously, have a calming effect on those around us based on the Relaxed Mental Attitude of our soul, as we witness the truth of God’s Word to those who can hear us, offering up a sacrifice to the Lord, which in total is acceptable and pleasing to Him, and giving ourselves, those around us, and the Lord much joy, peace, and happiness that also results in our being blessed in both time and eternity.
We will address this verse under the category of “Discipline.”
Issues Related to God; How We Relate to Him:
vs. 3, 8, 9, 11, 16, 25, 26, 29.
In this section, we will note various aspects of God and how He relates to man, and how we should relate to Him. We begin with vs. 3.
Prov 15:3, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” (non-contrasting)
This is a non-contrasting verse, meaning the entire passage relates to one aspect. Here we will note the essence of God and how He relates to man, the man-ward side of the relationship equation, noting several Divine attributes; Omniscience and Omnipresence specifically.
“The eyes” is the Dual of the Noun AYIN. It is used here anthropomorphically, (ascribing to God a physical attribute of man that God does not have so that we can better understand Him). It describes the nature of God, YHVH. It is also used here metaphorically to indicate His omniscience, (all knowing). Note that this word is in the dual meaning; two eyes versus the counterfeit of false ancient religions in Egypt, Greece, and Roman, which had only one eye.
It is interesting that this week the Lord showed me a familiar symbol that to my surprise was inside of a prominent church on TV. It is an ancient symbol of false gods and goddesses in the shape of one eye, called the “eye of Ra” or the “eye of Horus.” Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more prevalent in our pop culture today.
Eye of Horus
Symbol in a Prominent Church with a cross in the middle of the eye.
Image from the most recent movie version of Les Miserables that has many Christian themes in it.
We are seeing the blending of Christianity with these ancient pagan symbols.
But that is nothing new, just look at your dollar bill.
Nevertheless, in our scripture the “eyes of the Lord” are said to be “in every place”, BE KOL MAQOM. MAQOM, מָקוֹם is a Noun that can mean, “place, location, residence, or site.” Sometimes it is used for residence or home. Basically this is showing how the “eyes of God” are everywhere, over the whole earth and in our lives as well, cf. 2Chron 16:9, Job 31:4; Jer 16:17; Zech 4:10; Heb 4:13 Acts 17:28. It speaks of God’s Divine attributes; first of His omniscience and then of His omnipresence. In regard to His omniscience, it tells of His foreknowledge of all that has or ever will be in time and eternity. Of His omnipresence, it tells us that He is everywhere at the same time and seeing all that is currently going on in the world and our individual lives.
As Keil and Delitzsch note, it is God’s “beholding with penetrating look on the evil and the good, i.e., examining men whether they are good or evil, and keeping them closely before His eyes, so that nothing escapes Him. This universal inspection, this omniscience of God, has an alarming but also a comforting side. The proverb seeks first to warn; therefore, it speaks first of the evil.”
We note this in the following phrase that begins with ”watching,” the Qal Participle of the Verb TSAPHAH, צָפָה that means, “to keep watch or to overlay.” The root carries with it the meaning of “being alert and active in watching” rather than simply gazing at something from a distance. We will note a play on this term in vs. 29, as God is said to be “far away” from the reversionistic believer in regard to their prayers. Of the 82 occurrences of this root, about half of them are used to convey the idea of being fully aware of a situation so as to guard against any incoming enemy attack or to gain some kind of an advantage. It is with the same intent that the Lord watches over the nations and every individual, both the good and the wicked, Psa 66:7. In addition, the “overlaying” sense is used in regard to the articles in the Tabernacle, and here speaking of our Lord’s omnipresence – being everywhere at the same time. This Word is used negatively for sins of the tongue in Prov 26:23, tying in our first category of “speech” with our Lord’s omniscience, in regard to the believer’s righteous or wicked speech.
“The evil and good” is RA and TOB (tov). Both are in the plural, RAIM Wa TOBIM, for “evils and goods.” God is the one who upholds righteousness, and here He is well aware of both that which emanates from the old sin nature, (the evils), and that which results from the filling of the Spirit (the goods). Likewise, He disciplines the one and rewards the other, as vs. 5 notes.
So the concept is that in eternity past God the Father knew about the circumstances of this and every generation. God is perfect in His essence, and because He is perfect essence, He devised a perfect plan. “The eyes of the Lord” refers to eternity past when God knew everything that would happen in time. This is His omniscience. His omnipresence is also involved because in time He is right here, He knows what is going on.
Vs. 8 contrasts the Lord’s response regarding our prayers.
Prov 15:8, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.”
Here we have a contrast of what we offer to the Lord and whether it is acceptable to Him or not. It uses anthropopathism, (ascribing human emotions to God, which He does not have, so that we can better understand Him), to explain God’s rejection and acceptance of our prayers.
It begins with the negative.
“The sacrifice, ZEBACH, of the wicked, RASHA,” speaks to what we offer up to the Lord. ZEBACH is used for animal sacrifices of the Old Testament and many times related to the “peace offering.” So we see peace offerings made by the wicked (reversionistic) believer to the Lord which ultimately He rejects; i.e., “is an abomination,” TO’EBAH, “to the Lord,” YHWH. This is the first of three “abomination” phrases, cf. vs. 9, 26, that are anthropopathisms that tell us God detests such sacrifices.
Here God detests things offered to Him when being out of fellowship with Him; offering under false pretenses. That is, you say one thing but have something else on your heart. It is used in comparison to the Old Testament saint who would offer sacrifices to the Lord but had un-repented sin upon his soul, cf. Mat 5:24. As a result, the Lord would ultimately reject the sacrifice. See the story of Cain in Genesis 4. Therefore, the Lord rejects the prayers of a believer when he has unconfessed sin upon his soul.
“Prayer” is the Hebrew singular, Noun TEPHILLAH, פִלָּה, and is only used with reference to petitions to the God of Israel.
The prayers of the “upright”, YASHAR, the positive believer, “is His delight”, RATSON, that means, “favor or pleasure” and even “will,” which is another anthropopathism. Therefore, the prayers of the positive believer, who is in fellowship with the Lord as a result of utilizing 1 John 1:9, are acceptable and pleasing to Him. See 1 John 1:5-8 for the context regarding fellowship with God and how 1 John 1:9 is our means of entrance into that fellowship experientially. Therefore, fellowship with God experientially is the means of being a “delight” in the eyes of God. And when we offer up prayers in fellowship with Him, (being filled with the Spirit), it is acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.
This verse contrasts our Lord’s response of the believer’s overall daily walk.
Prov 15:9, “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but He loves one who pursues righteousness.”
This verse escalates from one aspect of our spiritual life, prayer, to all aspects of our spiritual life. All must be done while in fellowship with God.
This verse also begins with the negative and continues the discussion on that which is detested by the Lord. The context is expanded from our prayers of vs. 8, to our overall life style, “the way of the wicked,” DEREK RASHA. It references the believer out of fellowship. Therefore, anytime the believer is consistently out of fellowship with the Lord, He hates it. God sent His Son so that we could perpetually have fellowship with Him. We were given entrance into that fellowship on the day of our salvation. But if the believer walks in the darkness of sin after his salvation, rather the light of fellowship with God, we are “not practicing the truth,” 1 John 1:6b, which is detestable to God.
The believer in fellowship with God, walking in the Light.
Here we see that God “loves,” AHAB, the “one who pursues righteousness,” RADAPH TSEDAQAH.
RADAPH is in the PIEL stem meaning, we intensely chase after the righteousness of God and Divine good production, rather than casually or passively; willy-nilly like.
AHAB is in the Qal Imperfect which means, God continually loves this mode of operation in the believer. He is continually pleased with the believer who consistently walks in fellowship with Him.
This non-contrasting verse discusses God’s intimate knowledge of our thoughts.
Prov 15:11, “Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD, how much more the hearts of men!” (non-contrasting)
This is a negative non-contrasting verse.
“Sheol,” שְׁאוֹל is the word for “grave” and indicates that God knows the place we will all go to one day; to the grave, except for the Rapture generation.
“Abaddon,” אֲבַדּוֹן literally means, “destruction or death.” It occurs five times in the Old Testament, and each time is in wisdom literatures, Job 26:2; 28:22; 31:12; Psa 88:11; Prov 15:11. The use of this term in the Old Testament is the personification of death, destruction, and ruin. It represents the ultimate end of evil. Here it speaks of God’s intimate knowledge of the day of one’s death, and alludes to the Sin Unto Death for the reversionistic believer.
“How much more the hearts, LEB, of men, BEN ADAM.” BEN ADAM means, the “sons or descendants of men”, which speaks to generation after generation, harkening back to God’s omniscience and omnipresence. Therefore, if God in the past has been able to take believers out of this world under the Sin Unto Death because He knew what was going on inside their heart, how much more people today? God reads minds. He knows what you are thinking. Since He knows, He can pull you out quickly, especially in regard to the apostate believer.
This passage gives context and meaning to Heb 4:12-13, “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
Prov 15:16, “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it.” (more than)
This “more than” exhortation passage turns from God’s perspective toward man, to man’s perspective towards God. It will also be addressed under the topic of “Material Blessings.”
“Fear” is our familiar word YIRAH that means awe and respect for God, plus a healthy dose of fear in regard to His majesty, might, and power.
In this passage, “it is better”, (TOB – good), “to have a little”, (ME’AT), “fear of the Lord”, (YIRAH YHWH), “than to have great treasure” (RAB OTSAR – storehouse/treasury), “and turmoil with it”, MEHUMAH, הוּמָה, plus BE. MEHUMAH means, “uproar, confusion, or dismay.”
The context is our relationship with the Lord. If we have respect for Him and walk in fellowship with Him inside of His plan on a consistent basis and have only a few of the material blessings of this world, that is much better than to be living in sin with great wealth, (lots of money, great success, maximum number of pleasures, etc.), while having chaos in and all around us.
Turmoil, in context with our previous verses, speaks to God’s discipline in the life of the reversionistic believer. Therefore, because of their pursuit of the riches of this world, to the neglect of their relationship with the Lord, there will be trouble (discipline) for them. But for the one who pursues God and is occupied with Christ consistently, there will be joy and happiness within their soul.
The contrasts here are “a little” versus “great treasure” differentiating material blessings in time, and “fear of the Lord” with “turmoil” contrasting Divine discipline in time; none for the righteous and much for the reversionist.
Therefore, if you depend upon worldly things for your happiness, they are going to make you miserable because your happiness comes from Bible doctrine. Your life is Bible doctrine. You belong to the Lord, you are in full time Christian service, and Bible doctrine must be your life. Behind this verse is a principle. If you have doctrine, lots of doctrine in your soul, you are going to have inner happiness. Your happiness depends on the Word of God and the relationship that you have with the Lord is based on His Word in your soul. Therefore, you have occupation with Christ, and inside you are thoroughly stabilized, you are spiritually self-sustaining, and you are qualified to handle the problems and disasters of life.
Prov 15:25, “The LORD will tear down the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.”
This contrasting proverb, once again has the context from the Lord’s perspective towards man and speaks to His discipline versus His blessings. This could be considered a dual verse as it speaks not only about God, but in regard to His discipline for the reversionistic believer.
“The Lord” is the Hebrew Tetragrammaton once again, YHWH.
“Will tear down” is the Qal Imperfect of the Verb NASACH, סַח that means, “to tear down, to tear out.” It is used to tear down a house or plucking out from a location or removing a people from their land, cf. Prov 2:22.
“The house” is BAYITH which can mean, “house or household.”
“Of the proud” is the Adjective GE’EH, גֵּאֶה that means, “arrogant, presumptuous, or proud.” The proud are the unprincipled individuals who take advantage of “the widow,” (an example of any kind of helpless person). The proud who take advantage of others are considered ungodly or wicked, Psa 92:4, 140:5. They are driven by inordinate ambition and their way of life is contrasted with that of the humble, Prov 16:19, “Better to be lowly in spirit… than to share plunder with the proud.”
Divine discipline is once again in view for the arrogant believer. It does not mean the house is going to be blown down, although that could also happen. It simply means the family is not going to have happiness in the days to come.
“He will establish” is the declarative Hiphil Imperfect of the Verb NATSAV that means, “to take a stand, or to govern.”
“The boundary” is the Noun GEBUL, גְּבוּל, that means, “boundary or territory.” In the agricultural society, this has the meaning of increasing your wealth, and in context to BAYITH it means an increase in progeny.
“Widow”, the noun ALANUTH, לְמָָנה is an interesting choice here, because the widow is a helpless parent and has no husband to increase her offspring or inheritance. Yet the Lord will increase it regardless, as He can do all things; (His sovereignty and omnipotence are in view). The widow who has Bible Doctrine in her soul will spread that doctrine to her children, and to her children’s children. As a result, there will be happiness in that family and other blessings from the Lord.
Prov 15:26, “Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD, but pleasant words are pure.”
Once again we have the man-ward orientation of God. We noted this verse under the “Speech” category as it was the last verse in that category in Chapter 15. Refer there for more exegesis. But here we have the third use of the phrase “abomination to the Lord,” so we are including it in the category of “God” as well.
We begin with the negative. Because of the contrast in the second half of this verse, we see that evil plans, which speaks to the mentality of the soul, leads to wicked words or sins of the tongue. The conclusion then tells us of the genesis of all verbal sins: the heart of a man – what he thinks on a consistent basis. Prov 23:7a, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” In the context of God, this shows us once again that the Lord knows the heart of a man. And we see that the Lord hates both the evil scheming and the resultant sins of the tongue that follow.
God is pleased, like the soothing aroma of the sacrifices made on the Brazen Altar, Ex 29, Lev 1, 2, etc., and the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place, (which represents our prayers to God, Rev 5:8; 8:3-4), when we operate in His righteousness. In other words, the believer who stays in fellowship begins to think in terms of grace and as a result, speaks words of grace, even in his prayers. That means they have a vocabulary of grace. If you are going to be oriented to grace, you have to have a vocabulary for it, which comes from having God’s Word in your soul. When you do, it is acceptable and pleasing to the Lord.
Prov 15:29, “The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.”
The final man-ward verse summarizes the overall relationship God has with the reversionistic believer versus the righteous believer.
“The Lord”, (YHWH), “is far”, (RACHOQ, רָחוֹק an adjective meaning, “far or distant”), “from the wicked” (MIN RASHA), using terms of physical proximity in the first half.
The context of the second half, “hears”, uses anthropomorphic terminology once again, as did our first verse, vs. 3. The context is relationship. For the reversionistic believer, God is too far away from them relationally to hear and answer their prayers, even though He is omniscient of them and omnipresent, “watching”, them, vs. 3. Literally, He knows all prayers and hears them, Mat 6:8, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Yet, He cannot answer them due to the lack of fellowship with Him. That is because the relationship or fellowship by which He hears their prayers is broken, (too far away). Therefore, like the sacrifices of the wicked in vs. 8 being rejected by Him, so too are the prayers of the wicked.
“But He hears” the Qal Imperfect of SHAMA, “the prayers”, TEPHILLAH, cf. vs. 8, “of the righteous”, TSADDIQ.
SHAMA uses another anthropomorphism for God in “hearing” the prayers of the righteous. Just as God “sees all” and “knows all”, He will “hear” all the prayers of the believer in fellowship with Him who is walking in His light, and answer them. This is emphasized in 1 John 5:13-15.
1 John 5:13-15, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
In vs. 30-31, as we will see, we have the resultant blessing for the righteous believer. This is accomplished through our “eyes and the ears.” The eyes are used as a system of perception, to be able to see something illustrated. The ears hear. Both of these are a basis for communicating Bible doctrine and putting it in the human spirit, which results in great joy and blessings.
Issues Concerning Discipline, Both Self-discipline and Punitive Discipline:
vs. 5, 10, 12, 14, 19-22, 24, 28, 31-33.
Our next topic has to do with “Discipline.” It primarily addresses the self-discipline we need to have to live the unique spiritual life unto God, but also includes Divine discipline for the reversionistic believer when necessary. The interesting aspect here is, when we have self-discipline, we will avoid Divine discipline. That is, when we have genuine humility, we will avoid some categories of enforced humility. It is a significant topic within this chapter encompassing 13 of the 33 verses, almost 40% of the chapter.
Prov 15:5, “A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.”
Here we have an exhortation to receive discipline, i.e., wisdom / Bible Doctrine.
“A fool rejects” is KESIYL with the Qal Imperfect of NA’ATS that means, “to spurn, disdain, or treat with contempt,” cf. Prov 1:30:5:12. The thing this reversionist disdains is “his father’s discipline,” AB MUSAR.
MUSAR is also used in vs. 10, 32, 33. Here the foolish son spurns the discipline or instruction of his father. He does not learn from the lessons he has been taught. It indicates that he rejects Bible Doctrine, God’s Word too, that is designed to reprove, rebuke, and correct, 2 Tim 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
The fact that anyone would reject wisdom (Bible Doctrine), categorizes them as a fool.
“But he who regards, (WA SHAMAR), reproof, (TOKACHATH), is sensible, (ARAM).” Reproof here means to learn; the easy way or the hard way.
The easy way is to have academic discipline and apply the principles you have learned. The easy way includes being receptive to the instructions of those wiser than you.
The hard way is to ignore the above and “do your own thing,” making mistakes and creating problems for yourself, which too are teachers in your life. The hard way includes self-induced misery and Divine discipline from the Lord.
The believer who observers, guards, or keeps God’s Word within their soul and learns from it is a sensible and prudent person. They will have wisdom to apply to life and will grow to spiritual adulthood. Therefore, listening to authority in your life, (including your parents, bosses, Pastor, etc., and especially Bible Doctrine), and applying the principles you have learned is the wise and sensible thing to do.
Prov 15:10, “Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die.” (non-contrasting)
This negative non-contrasting passage tells us of the consequences of not having self-discipline, i.e., learning from those wiser than us – God and His Word. It speaks of God’s discipline, (Divine discipline), for the reversionistic believer.
“Grievous punishment” is RA MUSAR that literally means, “evil chastisement or discipline.” MUSAR also means, “warning,” as all discipline is a warning of future actions. In the Hebrew it is MUSAR RA which means, “chastisement is evil to the one who forsakes (AZAB – leaves or abandons), the way (ORACH).” In this sense, the self-discipline of learning from authority is hated and rejected by the fool who has forsaken the way, (i.e., walking in righteousness and fellowship with God), and is instead in reversionism. In other words, the reversionist thinks principles of Bible Doctrine are evil! This believer learns the hard way!
Unfortunately, for the believer with that mentality, “He who hates reproof,” (SANE TOKACHATH), “will die,” the Qal future Imperfect of MUTH. This means he will suffer the 3rd Stage of Divine discipline, 1 Cor 11:30. This warning is emphasized in vs. 11, which we noted under the category of God, as “Sheol, (the place of one’s death), and Abaddon, (the time of one’s death), are before the Lord.”
So the warning here is “learn and apply God’s Word, before it is too late.”
Prov 15:12, “A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise.” (non-contrasting)
This is a warning or “heads up” for the righteous believer to anticipate that they will be rejected by the reversionistic believer. That is, if we are the one giving wisdom and counsel to others, we should not be surprised when we are rejected by them.
This is the second of two negative non-contrasting passages. Here we see the reversionistic fool’s, “a scoffer,” LITS or LUTS, meaning, “to scorn, make mouths at, scoff, or talk arrogantly”, reaction towards authority. It nicely says, “does not love them,” LO AHAB. The one they do not love is the person in authority who is trying to teach them something, that is, the “one who reproves him,” which is the causative Hiphil Infinitive Absolute of YAKACH, יָכַח that means, “to rebuke or to correct.” The Infinitive Absolute here acts as an intensifier telling us of the absolute disdain this reversionistic believer has towards the person trying to get something through that thick skull of theirs, (i.e., trying to teach him something). It shows their hatred towards God’s Word, and the epitome of their arrogance.
R.B. Thieme Jr. comments on this verse by saying, “The scorner is the one who rejects Bible doctrine, the believer who refuses to accept the simplest principles of grace, e.g. rebound. The one who reproves is the one who communicates doctrine.”
This arrogance is also shown in the second half of the verse, “He will not go to the wise,” which uses the Qal Imperfect of the verb HALAK with the negative LO for “will not go,” meaning he will continually shun or avoid the wise counselor and counsel that is available to him. He will not expose himself to the one who knows doctrine and instead will “go his own way.” As we noted above, this type of mental attitude will lead to all kinds of problems and difficulties.
Prov 15:14, “The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on folly.”
Here we are exhorted to have self-discipline and seek God’s Word diligently. It shows us the contrast between wise believers and foolish believers.
It begins with the positive, “the mind of the intelligent,” which in the Hebrew is the Noun LEB with the simple passive Niphil Participle of the Verb BIN meaning, “a heart that perceives or understands.” This is the wise believer who receives instruction / discipline / Bible Doctrine. This believer “seeks knowledge,” BAQASH DA’ATH. BAQASH is in the intensive active Piel Imperfect. The verb is generally used literally, as one is seeking an object which is concrete. It means, he diligently and continually seeks out the wisdom of God’s Word.
“But the mouth of fools feeds on folly,” in the Hebrew is PEH KESIYL RA’AH IWWELETH.
“Feeds” is the Qal Imperfect of the Verb RA’AH that means to continually, “graze or shepherd.” It tells us that this foolish believer only takes foolishness, (sin and evil), into his soul. His appetite is foolishness, and his diet consists solely of cosmic thinking.
Instead of taking in God’s Word on a consistent basis, he rejects it and eats of his own fruits, which are sin, human good, and evil.
Likewise, this is a metonymy for the fool’s speech. Therefore, since he does not seek wise counsel from God’s Word or those in authority, he instead finds satisfaction in spouting forth his own opinions, cf. Prov 15:2b. In other words, the dog returns to his own vomit! Cf. Prov 26:11; 2 Peter 2:22.
Prov 26:11, “Like a dog that returns to its vomit, is a fool who repeats his folly.”
Vs. 19 begins a string of four verses regarding “discipline.”
Prov 15:19, “The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.”
This proverb distinguishes between the one who has self-discipline and the one who does not. It also tells us of the consequence of each. It begins with the negative.
“The way of the lazy,” DEREK ATSEL. ATSEL means, “idle, lazy, or sluggard.” We noted the sluggard in Prov 6:6, 9, for the one who refuses to work and who sleeps excessively. In Prov 26:13, we will also see that they love to make excuses as well.
With those definitions in view, here it relates to the previous context of not receiving instruction and having no self-discipline in his life. As a result, there will not be any Divine Good Production, (the fruit of the Spirit), in his life. Instead, his life will be like “a hedge of thorns,” MESUKAH, מְשֻׂכָה with HEDEQ. The lazy person will find his life to be as difficult as traveling through a hedge of thorns. That is, he will have much self-induced misery and Divine discipline in life. Likewise, he will have no Divine Good Production and his rewards in the eternal state will be like wood, hay, and straw; burnt up, 1 Cor 3:12-15.
“The path”, ORACH, “of the upright”, YASHAR, “is a highway,” SALAL, סָלַל, that means, “to lift up, cast up, or exalt.” Here, in contrast to a life of a hedge of thorns, this life is a “highway,” meaning walking inside the plan of God for your life, having self-discipline and gaining wisdom with the result of being exalted and rewarded for your Divine good production in time and eternity. This is the life of the believer who learns and applies Bible Doctrine on a consistent basis; they will be exalted! They will avoid the thorns and thistles of life, i.e., no self-induced misery or Divine discipline, walking in peace and happiness.
So the first verse in this string of four; indicates what our life will be like with and without God’s Word in it, as well as alluding to rewards or loss of rewards in the eternal state.
Prov 15:20, “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother.”
This contrast of self-discipline begins with the positive impact we can have on our parents, and ends with the reason for the resultant impact. It begins with the positive.
“A wise son,” CHAKAM BEN, refers to the one who learns and applies God’s Word consistently. This believer will “make his father glad,” AB SAMACH. In the parent-child relationship, the parent has joy and happiness to see his son or daughter growing in the Grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and making good decisions. At the same time, God the Father receives joy when he sees you growing spiritually. From the context of the second half of this passage, we see that the reason the father has +H (God’s perfect happiness) is that his son loves the teaching he is given, i.e. he embraces it and applies it to life. In other words, he loves the Word of God.
“A foolish man,” KESIYL ADAM, “despises,” the Qal Active Participle of BAZAH, בָּזָה that means, “to hold in contempt or disdain, to disrespect or despise”, “his mother,” EM.
The mother is used here to drive home the excessive amount of apostasy here. It is one thing to hate your father who is usually the authoritative disciplinarian, but it is another thing to hate your mother who is the caring and nurturing one.
Given the context of the first half of this verse, we also see that due to the hatred this son has for his father and mother, demonstrated by rejecting their advice and counsel, it causes the parents much grief and pain. It pains a parent to see their child or children making bad and harmful mistakes in life, especially when the parents know they gave, or could have given, their children advice and counsel so as to avoid the bad decision(s) they make. Likewise, our Father in heaven and His Spirit, are grieved, Eph 4:30, when we reject His advice and counsel found in our Bibles, and instead make bad and harmful decisions in life from cosmic viewpoint.
That is why the 5th of the 10 Commandments is to “honor your father and mother,” Ex 20:12. Not only does it foreshadow your relationship with God and His Word, but it is also an indication of your spiritual life.
Therefore, the second verse in this string of four; indicates the joy or sorrow we bring to others, especially God, based on our relationship with them.
Prov 15:21, “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight.”
This proverb contrasts the genesis of our inner emotions when we live a life of self-discipline or not.
Continuing the theme of rejoicing, this verse first discusses the genesis of joy for the reversionistic believer. The genesis of his “joy,” SIMCHAH, is his “folly,” IWWELETH, which means his sin and the evil he performs, or that of those around him. This origin of joy from folly is for “him who lacks sense,” LE CHASER LEB, that is, “one lacking in heart.” In other words, he has no Doctrine in his soul to give him the +H of God. Instead, he looks to sin and evil to bring him happiness in the frantic search for happiness. And from the context of the second half of this verse, we see that his walk is crooked and perverse.
“But a man of understanding,” WA ISH TEBUNAH, “walks straight”, HALAK with the intensive Active Piel Imperfect of the Verb YASHAR that means, “straight or upright.” Therefore, the person who has God’s Word in the heart, right lobe of their soul, will live righteously unto the Lord. And given the context of the first half of this verse, that righteousness will give him great joy in his life, the +H of God.
Therefore, the third verse in this string of four; indicates the basis of our joy; for the reversionist it is sin and evil, for the upright it is the righteousness of God, (His Word in your soul).
Prov 15:22, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”
Here we see the self-discipline to seek out advice and counsel from others and the consequences of whether we do or not. It begins with the negative.
“Without consultation” in the Hebrew is BE ‘AYIN SOD. SOD means, “private and intimate communication.” Here with “plans,” MA-CHA-SHA-BAH, it indicates those that are closest to you, who you seek out for advice and opinion when determining your next course of action. In this case, you are not seeking out any counselors, including God’s Word, and are “going it alone.” This arrogant believer thinks they know it all, and do not need the advice of others, especially the advice found in God’s Word.
As a result of “going it alone,” their plans “are frustrated,” the causative Hiphil Infinitive Absolute of the Verb PARAR, פָּרַר meaning, “to break, annul, frustrate, foil, thwart, or invalidate.” Once again the Infinitive Absolute acts as an intensifier, which means his plans will be caused to be utterly destroyed. In other words, what he thought would happen, does not. And as the context of the second half tells us, he does not succeed as planned with the potential of great disaster.
This half encourages the young believer to seek out “many counselors,” ROV with the Qal Active Participle of the Verb YA’ATS, as we noted in Prov 11:14; 12:20. Because when you do, your plans will “succeed,” which is the Qal Imperfect of QUM meaning, “to rise or to stand.” This word sometimes is used to “attack.”
So we see that the one who seeks out God’s Word and Will, (Bible study and prayer are in view), prior to and during the planning stage, they will have success in what they set out to accomplish. They will righteously attack the situation by applying Bible doctrine and prayer in faith-rest, with the result of accomplishing their goals. See the story of Nehemiah for example.
Therefore, the fourth verse in this string of four; indicates that we should seek out the advice and opinion of others, especial God and His Word before entering into any new situation.
Prov 15:24, “The path of life leads upward for the wise that he may keep away from Sheol below.” (non-contrasting)
This positive non-contrasting proverb summarizes the previous group of four and harkens back to vs. 19. Here we see the self-discipline of living unto Christ daily, which has its rewards.
“The path of life,” ORACH CHAYYIM, “leads” (is added for context), “upward,” is a double preposition LE plus MA’AL meaning, “the above or higher above.” It means to capture the high ground which is fellowship with the Lord leading to spiritual maturity.
This proverb escalates the rewards of righteousness from present joy, as noted previously, to a life of relationship with the Lord and consistently sharing the happiness of God. It is being Occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ, and living experientially sanctified in your resurrection life of POLITEUMA privileges, right now.
This life is not for the foolish reversionistic believer, but “for the wise,” LE SAKAL, meaning, “the one with understanding and prudence,” that is, the one with Bible Doctrine in their soul who is applying it daily.
This life is given to us by application of Bible Doctrine so that we are “kept away”, (SUR – to turn aside or deviate), “from Sheol below,” SHEOL MATTAH, meaning the avoidance of Divine discipline. This upward life is the antithesis to the downward spiral of reversionism that leads to the grave, the Sin Unto Death – being taken out before their time. So it implies Experiential Sanctification of Phase 2, which leads to life above and beyond the grave.
Col 3:1-4, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, (and you have), keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
And in vs. 25b, we saw the context of the blessings we receive in time and eternity when we “live the life above.”
Prov 15:28, “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
This verse speaks of the self-discipline we should have regarding our speech. This proverb should be classified as a dual category of both “Discipline” and “Speech,” as it addresses the self-discipline to say the right thing, versus speaking with sins of the tongue.
We are including this passage in this category primarily, because the issue is one of “the heart”, LEB. It begins with the heart “of the righteous,” TSADDIQ, the believer who “ponders,” the Qal Imperfect of HAGAH, הָָגהthat means, “to coo, growl, murmur, or speak.” Cf. Prov 8:7a, “For my mouth will utter truth.” Here HAGAH is linked with the Qal Infinitive of LE ANAH for, “how to answer.”
In other words, the believer with God’s Word in their soul does not just blurt things out, cf. Prov 15:2b, but instead has the self-discipline to thoughtfully respond to inquiries or attacks, by utilizing the Doctrine in the right lobe of their soul, with the result of giving pleasing and acceptable answers, Prov 15:2a.
The second half of this verse reminds us of vs. 2b, as the “mouth,” PEH, “of the wicked,” RASHA, “pours out,” the causative Hiphil Imperfect of NABA (nava), (cf. vs. 2 – spouts), “evil things,” RA’AH.
Here we see the reversionistic believer who has no self-discipline to control their speech, who speaks arrogantly and rashly from their sin nature. What they say is classified as “evil things”, i.e., the various types of verbal sins or sins of the tongue they can commit. Therefore, we are exhorted to have self-discipline over our tongues so that we do not lead people astray and into sin and evil, but rather, lead them to Christ!
Prov 15:31, “He whose ear listens to the life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise.” (non-contrasting)
This positive non-contrasting passage begins a string of three verses that tell us of the benefits of having self-discipline in our lives, which also concludes this chapter, although we still have two categories left in our study. The self-discipline in view here is to learn and apply God’s Word / Bible Doctrine.
“He whose ear listens” is the Noun OZEN for “ear,” with the Qal Active Participle of the Verb SHAMA meaning, “hear.” This means perception through the ear gate. The thing that we are to perceive is “life giving reproof,” which is CHAYYIM TOKACHATH that is a metonym for God’s Word that gives life. Therefore, combined, these phrases mean: to perceive God’s Word (Bible doctrine) through the ear gate which is the means of giving you life.
A principle here is that if a teacher can gain the student’s ear, he has the key to his heart, Prov 2:2.
For the believer who perceives God’s Word there is a promise of blessing; He “will dwell,” which is the Qal Imperfect of the Verb LIN, לִין that means, “to spend the night, to lodge, abide, or remain.” It has the sense of dwelling in a place. The dwelling place here is “among the wise,” BE QEREV, “in the midst of”, CHAKAM, “the wise.” The “wise” are those believers who have already grown to spiritual adulthood inside God’s Plan for their lives.
Therefore, the believer who persistently perceives and applies Bible Doctrine to overcome the problems and details of life, will grow spiritually as a result, and eventually be categorized as “wise” in the Plan of God. They will take their place of honor amongst the other invisible heroes of the Church Age.
Prov 15:32, “He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to reproof acquires understanding.”
Next, we have a contrast between the undisciplined, non-hearer of God’s Word, and the disciplined, hearer of God’s Word. It begins with the non-hearer / un-disciplined believer, “he who neglects discipline,” which is the Qal Active Participle of the Verb PARA that means, “to lose something” that is “to let it go or reject it.” By extension the term may be understood as, “to let alone, to release, to abandon, or to show lack of restraint.” The thing that is loosed, rejected, and abandoned is “discipline,” MUSAR that ultimately denotes the willful rejection of the wise instruction of Bible Doctrine.
The consequence of rejecting God’s Word is that this believer “despises himself,” which is MA’AS NEPHESH for “despises his soul or life.” Therefore, the one who refuses Bible doctrine destroys his own soul. His own soul refers to his own inner life. In other words, when a believer rejects God’s Word in their life, they are saying, “I hate myself and I want bad things to happen to me,” because bad things happen to the believer who rejects God’s Word. They may not literally say this, but it is what they are saying in essence. As we have seen, rejecting God’s Word results in all kinds of consequences including poverty and shame, Prov 1:25; 8:33; 13:18.
“But he who listens to reproof,” the Qal Active Participle of, WA SHAMA TOKACHATH, “acquires understanding,” the Qal Active Participle of QANAH LEB, for “acquires heart.” In other words, they build up their inner self, their edification complex of the soul, with God’s Word that has all kinds of benefits and blessings associated with it.
Prov 15:33, “The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” (non-contrasting)
This positive non-contrasting passage concludes this chapter and brings us back to the introduction of Chapter 1, especially vs. 7.
“The fear of the Lord,” is that old familiar phrase used ten times to this point in the Book of Proverbs, and four times more in the rest of the book, YIRAH, יִרְאָה – YHWH, יְהָוה. Then we have “is the instruction for wisdom,” MUSAR CHOKMAH. So how does “being afraid of God” lead to being taught His Word? Well, what it really means is having self-discipline to learn His Word because of your awe, respect, and love for your Creator and Savior. That will lead you to want to know more about Him, which can only happen when you read and are taught His Word – The Bible! Our A #1 priority in life should be to know our God, better and better, each and every day, which means we must learn His Word more and more, each and every day.
And finally, to wrap up this third main topic of Chapter 15 on “discipline,” we see what it takes to know more about God; “and before honor comes humility.”
“And before” is the Conjunction WA with the Preposition LE for “to or toward,” and the Noun PANIM that means, “face.” It literally means “and toward your face” and comes to mean “and before.”
Next we see the promise of blessing, “honor,” KABOD that means, “glory, honor, weightiness, or wealth.” Here it is used for the weightiness of a person’s reputation, meaning the honor or glory they receive of being classified as one of the wise, one of the invisible heroes of the Church Age.
But before we can receive honor, we must possess an important quality of personality, “humility,” the noun ANAWAH, עֲָנָוה which we are seeing for the first time in Proverbs. It means “humility” and indicates patience, mildness, and tenderness; characteristics of God that foster growth in His children. In the context of Proverbs 15, it signifies the self-discipline necessary to place all else aside and put God as your A #1 priority in life. It is the humility to “not think more highly of yourself” or of your circumstances, and instead place God in THE position of prominence in your life. It means to study and learn His Word so that you “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” And, it indicates the attitude necessary in the positive believer in order for him to receive honor.
Therefore, “before honor comes humility,” which means we need to place God in front of our face continually, being occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ, by learning and applying His Word consistently. When we do, we will be honored and glorified as invisible heroes in both time and eternity.
1 Peter 5:5-7, “You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
The Faith-Rest Life is an indication of your self-disciplined humility before the Lord!
Issues Concerning Material Blessings, How We Treat Blessing from God:
vs. 6, 15 – 17, 27.
Our next topic in Proverbs 15 regards Material Blessings as provided from God and our treatment of them. That is, do we hoard and abuse them, or gain them illegally, taking them for granted as a right, or do we see them as the gifts of God for His good work and pleasure. We begin with Vs. 6.
Prov 15:6, “Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, but trouble is in the income of the wicked.”
The Hebrew begins with “the house of the righteous,” BAYITH TSADDIQ which we have seen many times in Proverbs. It means the entire family, and is a technical term for Christian families. Here we see blessings by association, as the entire family is blessed by the blessings given to the righteous believer by God.
Next we see that they have “great wealth,” which is the Adjective RAV with the noun CHOSEN, חֹסֶן that means, “storage, wealth, riches, or treasure.” It is used five times in the Old Testament, and all but one refers to material treasure or accumulated wealth. The exception is the metaphorical use found in Isa 33:6, were the Lord is called Zion’s “treasure” of salvation.
In our verse, we have the observation that “wealth” will be found in the home of the righteous, yet Prov 27:24 tells us that wealth is fleeting. It underscores a contrast between the blessings for righteous living and the obsession with material possessions that leads to evil, Prov 8:10 ff. In other words, we are not to be obsessed with material possessions that lead to evil, Prov 8:10 ff. Instead we are to be Occupied with Christ.
For those Occupied with Christ there are great blessings as they walk inside the Plan of God for their lives. They will be able to hold down a job, they will have their daily needs met, and most importantly they will store up blessings and rewards for both time and eternity.
Spiritually, “great wealth” indicates that this family has Bible doctrine. The greatest thing a believer has in his home is doctrine. The communication of this doctrine is the solution to the problems of the next generation. If doctrine is a treasure to you, it will be a treasure to them too. But if it is not a treasure to you, there is a good chance it will likewise not be a treasure to them, which leads us to our contrast.
The Hebrew begins with “but in the income” which is the Conjunction WA plus the Preposition BE, “in”, and the Noun TEBUAH for, “produce, gain, profit, revenue, income, etc.” It is speaking about the fruit of your labors.
“Of the Wicked,” RASHA, indicates the reversionistic believer. It tells us that their income is filled with “trouble,” which is the simple passive Niphal Participle of AKHAR, עָכַר that means, “to trouble or be disastrous.” Therefore, the reversionistic believer receives the action of trouble or disaster. In the poetic literature, it applies to personal disaster usually based upon one’s actions. Here the actions are summarized as the reversionistic lifestyle of this “wicked” believer. It means that even what they do produce is for naught, and will be destroyed. It reminds us of 1 Cor 3:10-15, where the human good “works” of the reversionistic believer will be burnt up like wood, hay, and straw at the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, Human Good that is considered evil or wicked in the eyes of God, especially legalistic human good works, will result in the loss of blessings and rewards in time and eternity for the reversionistic believer. The fruit of their labor will be disastrous.
Prov 15:15, “All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.”
Vs. 15 begins a string of three verses that continue the exhortation about material blessings. It continues with the negative side as we left off with vs. 6.
“All the days” is KOL YOM, “of the afflicted,” the Adjective ANIY, עָנִי that means, “unfortunate, afflicted, poor, or humble (in a negative way).” Its primary thought expresses a person suffering some kind of distress. Then we have “are bad,” which is the Adjective RA meaning, “evil.”
Having noted the disaster that comes to the income of the wicked believer in vs. 6, here it is escalated to include their entire life. It means that if they stay perpetually in reversionism, there is nothing of Divine good that will emanate from them. Everything they produce will be viewed as sin, human good, or evil in the eyes of God. In contrast to the second half of this verse, it means that hunger and poverty will be their daily diet. It represents a lack of logistical grace blessings due to their squandering activities.
“A cheerful heart” is TOB LEB, meaning, “a good heart.” A good heart is one filled with the Word of God and the Filling of the Holy Spirit. The good heart produces the fruit of the Spirit, (Divine Good), on a consistent basis.
“Has a continual feast” is the Adverbial use of the Noun TAMIYD תָּמִיד that means, “continuity or perpetuity,” and the noun MISHTEH, מִשְׁתֶּה that means, “drinking,” but is used for “feast, festival meal, or banquet.” Therefore, for the righteous believer who is producing Divine Good from the Doctrine in his soul and the Filling of God the Holy Spirit, they will continually have a feast, meaning logistical grace blessings in time and greater blessings for time and eternity. Their rewards at the BEMA seat of Jesus Christ will be “gold, silver, and precious gems.”
Prov 15:16, “Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and turmoil with it.” (more than)
We already noted this verse under the topic of “God,” but it also speaks to material blessings, as this verse continues the thought of vs. 15 with the positive. This is a contrasting “more than” verse, as is the next also. The “more than” statement is in regard to material blessings. It emphasizes that we should not be focused in life on the blessings we receive or potentially could receive, but instead, to keep being focused on the Lord, YIRAH YHWH.
We defined the Hebrew of this verse under the topic “God”, so please see those notes for more detail. Here we will note the subject in view.
This verse tells us it is better to have a little of the world’s possessions, including food, and to have “the fear of the Lord,” YIRAH YHWH, than to have great wealth in this life and not be Occupied with Christ. Occupation with Christ is one of the Problem Solving Devices and is the means of Divine Good Production. It is a tremendous blessing in time. Since the Bible is the mind of Christ, 1 Cor 2:16, in order to be occupied with Him, we must know His Word. Therefore, the “fear of the Lord,” YIRAH YHWH is synonymous with having Bible Doctrine in the right lobe of your soul.
It is better to be occupied with the person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Heb 12:2, and have a few material blessings than to have great wealth in this life and not be occupied with Him. Not being occupied with Him means not having His Word in your soul. Not having His Word in your soul means, no Divine Good Production. No Divine Good Production means, no rewards in time or eternity.
Likewise, as this verse tells us, the life without Christ is a life of “turmoil,” (MEHUMAH, מְהוּמָה meaning, “uproar, confusion, dismay,” meaning problems, difficulties, and disasters. It is a combination of self-induced misery and Divine discipline.
Prov 15:17, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred.” (more than)
The second “more than” statement continues the contrast.
It begins again with, “better”, TOB, meaning “good,” and used in this comparison it means, “better.” Then we have “is a dish,” the Noun ARUCHAH, אֲרֻחָה meaning, “provision or portion,” with “of vegetables,” YARAQ, יָרָק that represents a modest meal. Next we have, “where love is,” AHABAH, אַהֲבָה that means, “love.” This is a powerful, intimate love between a man and woman or God and man. It is synonymous with PHILEO of the Greek that means rapport love. The LXX uses PHILOS here for AHABAH.
When used in an abstract way, as it is here, it designates a desirable personal quality, which connotes affection and faithfulness. Therefore, this statement says, “It is better to have a few material blessings where you also have rapport love.” This rapport love is directed toward God and vice versa, as vs. 16 speaks to our Occupation with Christ. In other words, you have a daily walk and relationship with Him.
So we see that it is possible to have a modest portion in this life and be able to enjoy it. Why? Because you have love for God. When you have this type of love on the inside, the things on the outside, (a plate of cabbage), do not matter and are not what make you happy. With AHABAH love the soul operates on all systems go, and because of your love directed toward God, you can even make a dish of cabbage enjoyable and satisfying.
More importantly, when you have AHABAH love for God, you will be producing Divine Good consistently with the result of blessings in time and eternity.
The More Than Contrast!
“Than a fattened ox served with hatred.”
The Hebrew begins with “than an ox”, MIN SHOR. Then we have “fattened,” the Qal Passive of ABAS, אָבַס that means, “to feed or fatten,” used only here and 1 Kings 4:23. The KJV uses “stalled” to indicate the process of feeding the ox to fatten him up. Being fat is analogous to prosperity. So our comparison is, it’s better to be poor than rich, given the accompanying conditions.
The accompanying condition here is “hatred,” the Noun SIN’AH, שִׂנְאָה meaning, “hatred or enmity,” cf. Prov 10:12, 18. It refers to the whole realm of mental attitude sins. In other words, it is not much fun to eat something nice and be hateful at the same time. When you are upset you cannot eat. So we see mental attitude sins that are carried around inside of you that produce self-induced misery.
When you carry around mental attitude sins, they first of all produce self-induced misery, which you take with you wherever you go. If you have this in your soul, whatever you eat you cannot enjoy it, even great food. Food is a detail of life, but you cannot enjoy the details of life when you are miserable on the inside.
Therefore, it is better to be poor and have AHABAH love with God, than to be rich and miserable due to mental attitude sins in your soul.
Prov 15:27, “He who profits illicitly troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.”
Our final verse concludes this topic and harkens back to Chapter 11, vs. 1, “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.”
Just as we began in vs. 6 with blessing and discipline by association, our topic ends in vs. 27 with the same theme. Note that “house,” BAYITH, is linked with the righteous in vs. 6, and the wicked in vs. 27.
It begins with the negative, “he who profits illicitly,” is the Qal Active Participle of BATSA, בָּצַע that means, “to cut off, to break off, or to gain by violence.” It often denotes the presence of dishonesty, greed, and injustice.
With this is the noun BETSA בֶּצַע that means, “something cut off,” and comes to mean “profit, unjust gain, or covetousness.” The KJV says, “greedy for gain.”
As Waltke notes, this person “is represented as a murderous thug in Prov 1:10-19, and here, by its parallel, as a corrupt shyster, most probably an official.”
Many times kids grow up with the idea that their success and happiness in life depends upon making money, and they make money their source of happiness, instead of having the right doctrinal perspective of making money simply a detail of life to be enjoyed.
The one who is greedy for gain “troubles his own house,” AKHAR BAYITH, meaning that the evil he has performed on others, comes back to his own family. Just as in vs. 6, AKHAR meaning, “troubles” is associated with the income of the wicked. Here it is associated with illegal and dishonest gain; the means of evil or wicked income.
So we have here, discipline by association. It is the “reap what you sow” principle of self-induced misery and Divine discipline, as we will see in the contrast below.
“But he who hates” is the contrasting Conjunction WA plus the Qal Active Participle of the Verb SANE. The thing this righteous believer hates is, “bribes,” the noun MATTANAH, מַתָָּנה that means, “present or gift.” It is used here and Eccl 7:7 for a “bribe.”
A bribe is giving someone something in return for favor. It is to give money, gifts, or presents to someone so that they will help you, typically by doing something dishonest or illegal. That is what the righteous and honest believer hates and does not enter into. They do not give bribes and they do not take bribes.
As a result, he “will live,” the Qal Imperfect of KAYAH that means, “to live or to remain alive.”
“To live” is the opposite of dying, and as we have seen through Proverbs, death, dying, and Sheol all speak to God’s discipline for the reversionistic believer. Therefore, “to live” means that he will not be under Divine Discipline and instead be blessed with a life of quality and quantity.
Therefore, the one who hates dishonest and illegal business practices will be blessed. In other words, life does not depend upon making extra money in an unjust way through false business practice. Consequently, this believer will continue to walk in righteousness and fellowship with the Lord, and a lot of self-induced misery and Divine discipline will be avoided. Instead, because of his experiential sanctification, he will be in a place of blessing.
In summary we note that:
The wicked reversionistic believer will have:
- Disasters financially, 6.
- A disastrous life, 15.
- Constant turmoil, 16.
- A life filled with hatred, 17
- Self-induced misery and Divine Discipline, 27.
The righteous positive believer will have:
- Blessing by association to the entire family, 6.
- Logistical grace blessings in time and greater blessings in eternity, vs. 15.
- Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, vs. 16.
- Rapport love with God and others, vs. 17
- A life of quality and quantity – blessings for time and eternity, vs. 27.
Issues Concerning Emotions, Using Our Emotions to Glorify God:
vs. 13, 15, 17, 18, 23, 30.
Prov 15:13, “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
“A joyful heart” is the Verbal Adjective SAMEACH, שָׂמֵחַ that means, “joyful, merry, or glad,” which is from the root word SAMACH that means, “to rejoice or be joyful.” With this is LEB for “heart,” meaning the right lobe of your soul.
The first use of SAMEACH is in Deut 16:15, were in the Pentateuc God commands the Israelites to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles unto the Lord for seven days. As a result, the Lord promised to bless their harvest and other work as well, thus making their joy complete. As you may know, the Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration that commemorates God’s provisions for the people of Israel as they were freed from Egyptian slavery and brought to the Promised Land. But it also signifies the Lord’s 2nd Advent, when He will establish His Millennial reign here on earth. Then He will once again, “tabernacle” or dwell amongst man.
Next we have, “makes a cheerful face,” which is the causative Hiphil Imperfect of the Verb YATAB יָטַב that means, “to be good, to be well, to be pleasing.” We noted YATAB for the first time in vs. 2 for “acceptable.” It is used as a play on words as it is similar to TOB that means, “good or pleasing.” Here in the causative stem, it means, “to do good, to do well, to please, to make pleasing.” So we could say, “the face is caused to be good,” which as an idiom means a “cheerful face.” It represents the inner emotion of joy being expressed outwardly in the countenance of your face.
Therefore, a “joyful heart that makes a cheerful face” is first related to God’s provisions of our Logistical Grace Blessings, when we have the capacity to appreciate them by having His Word resident within our souls, and secondly in regard to our fellowship with Him as He tabernacles among us, which for the Church Age believer alludes to His indwelling of our soul. Therefore, with Bible doctrine in your soul, you have capacity to appreciate God’s provisions inwardly and express that resultant joy outwardly.
In both instances it is related to having knowledge of God’s Word in your soul first and foremost, as indicates. When you cycle Bible doctrine in your soul, your emotions will respond in a righteous way of joy, happiness, and thanksgiving directed towards God. This joyful heart and cheerful face is linked to praising and celebrating the wonderful bounty provided by God, which can only be accomplished by having capacity through the Word in your soul. Therefore, our expression of the emotion of joy is the result of praising and thanking God for all that He has done for us and given to us, based on the capacity of Bible Doctrine we have built within our souls.
On this weekend when we celebrate our nations Independence Day, we must remember to praise and thank God for providing us with this wonderful nation, our freedoms and prosperity. When we do, we will have true joy in our souls.
We will see this theme continued in the next verse, vs. 15, when it speaks of a “continual feast.”
“But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”
“When the heart is sad” is LEB plus the Noun ATSTEVETH, עַצֶּבֶת that we noted in Prov 10:10 for “causes trouble.” It means, “a wound or injury, pain, hurt, or painful spot.” This noun is used only in Hebrew poetry and refers to grief or sorrow. Here we have the pain and suffering from living inside of Satan’s cosmic system without having God’s Word in our lives to rejoice and celebrate in. It is the opposite of having a heart filled with joy, it is a heart full of grief, misery, and sorrow.
This type of sorrow causes you to have a “broken spirit,” which is NAKE or NAKA, נָכֵא that means, “broken, stricken, beaten, or crushed,” with the Noun RUACH for “spirit.” So it is a beaten down or crushed spirit. It is not speaking to the human spirit, which is a place of perfection, but is used like heart for the inner being that is dejected and saddened. The “broken or crushed spirit” renders a person hopeless, as here and Prov 17:22; 18:14.
The fact is, no one should ever have a “broken spirit” of hopelessness, because when you have the Word of God in your soul and you walk in faith-rest in your relationship with the Lord daily, there is always hope and encouragement for the moment and for tomorrow, Mat 6:25-34, as we will also see below.
Prov 15:15, “All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.”
Continuing the theme of joyfulness, we turn to vs. 15, which we noted under the topic of “Material Blessings.” See those notes for the exegesis of this verse.
The “afflicted” is a person suffering some kind of distress in their lives, real or imagined. The distress that they have is due to having their eyes on the world around them, rather than keeping their eyes fixed at the person of Jesus Christ, Heb 12:2. As a result, their emotions of fear, worry, and anxiety take over their soul. This is what is called emotional revolt of the soul. It is due to a lack of Doctrinal application. As a result, this believer enters into a state of hopelessness called, “bad,” RA or evil.
“The cheerful heart” is TOB LEB or “good heart.” Just as in vs. 13 we had “the face that is caused to be good,” here we have the “good heart” or cheerful heart, which “has a continual feast.” As noted in vs. 13, the feast reminds us of the “Feast of Tabernacles” when we celebrate the Lord’s bountiful provisions for His people today, with anticipation of the Lord’s 2nd Advent tomorrow, when He will dwell amongst man once again.
Having the picture of the Feast of Tabernacles representing our Lord’s Millennial reign, gives cause for the heart, soul, spirit, and face to have joy, as we faithfully look forward, in unwavering hope, to our Lord’s return. This is the picture of fixing our eyes on Jesus and the promises that God has given to us, rather than wallowing in the muck and mire of Satan’s cosmic system and the problems, difficulties, pain, sorrow, and suffering that it brings. So rather than focusing on the sorrows of evil, we look forward in hope and faith-rest for our Lord’s provisions for today and tomorrow.
Prov 15:17, “Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred.” (more than)
Like vs. 15, we have also previously covered this verse under “Material Blessings.” Please go there for the exegesis.
In our topic of “Emotion” it continues the analogy of food and feast, where here we see the faith rest life, as it is better to have modest means in this life and yet have rapport love, AHABAH, with the Lord, than to have all the riches in the world, and yet not have a relationship with Him, and instead be at SIN’AH, “enmity,” with Him.
Therefore, as we have noted in the first three verses, we have a choice in life. We can either be all wrapped up in the things and details of this life and be miserable, or we can be Occupied with Christ, His Word, and our relationship with Him that leads to inner joy, peace, and happiness.
Prov 15:18, “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger calms a dispute.”
Having noted the emotions of joy and sadness, rapport love and hatred in vs. 13, 15, & 17, we continue our topical study of “Emotions” in Chapter 15 with a new type of emotion, “anger” in vs. 18.
Here we have a contrast between a “hot-tempered” man and one who is “slow to anger.” In both cases there are consequences as to how we handle the emotion of anger within our soul. We begin with the negative
“Hot-tempered man” is the noun ISH for “man,” and the Noun CHEMAH, חֵמָה meaning, “heat, wrath, or poison.” Cf. Prov 6:34; 15:1. In regard to heat, it is used for the burning sensation when drinking wine or any alcohol. As for poison, we see its deadly result. Both have nuances regarding the main use of the word for wrath or anger, and the common denominator of these meanings has to do with heat felt internally. Therefore, the word is translated here as “hot-tempered.” As you know, when you or someone else gets angry, the blood pressure goes up and adrenalin begins to flow, causing the body to feel heated up.
When a cartoon character gets angry, steam comes out the ears, red creeps over the body from head to toe, and there may even be an explosion or two. It is not as entertaining to watch in real life, but the state of anger causes physical effects in us as well. The response varies from person to person, but some symptoms include teeth grinding, fists clenching, flushing, paling, prickly sensations, numbness, sweating, muscle tensions, and temperature changes.
The feeling of anger may differ from person to person; “women, for example, are more likely to describe anger slowly building through the body rate, while men describe it as a fire or a flood raging within them.” (Thomas, Sandra P, “Anger: The Mismanaged Emotion,” Dermatology Nursing, August 2003.) It also varies by what is acceptable in the culture as well. Nevertheless, it is much like the fight-or-flight response; your body is gearing up for a fight to survive a wrong that has been perpetrated against you. As a result, chemicals like adrenaline and noradrenaline surge through the body. In the brain, the amygdala, the part of the brain that deals with emotion, is going crazy. It wants to do something, and “the time between a trigger event and a response from the amygdala can be a quarter of a second.” (Ellison, Katherine, “Mastering Your Own Mind,” Psychology Today, September/October 2006.)
But at the same time, blood flow is increasing to the frontal lobe, specifically the part of the brain that is over the left eye. This area controls reasoning and is likely what is keeping you from hurling a vase across the room. These areas generally balance each other out quickly. According to some research, “the neurological response to anger lasts less than two seconds,” (McCarthy, Jenna, “Anger Management,” Real Simple, June 2008.). This is why we are told to count to 10 when we get angry before making any response.
The frontal lobe is important in controlling our rage as noted in the example of Phineas Gage. In 1848, Gage, a nice, dependable railroad worker suffered an accident in which a rod went through his skull above the left eye. From then on, Gage was angry, irritable, and unstable, and not just because he had had a rod driven through his skull, but rather, the rod had destroyed the part of his brain that would inhibit an angry response.
Next in Prov 15:18a, we have, “stirs up strife,” which is the intensive active Piel Imperfect of the Verb GARAH, גָּרָה that means, “to meddle, stir up, provoke, or excite.” With this we have the Noun MADON, מָדוֹן that means, “strife or contention.” Stirring up strife means to cause trouble, conflict, discord, fighting, dissension, frictio, and rivalry between two people or two groups. It means having a detrimental effect on others, the ones your anger is projected towards. But we also note that anger can cause inner problems for the one who is angry, especially if you are constantly being activated by triggers that make you angry, because this state of reaction can start to cause damage.
Chronically angry people may not have the mechanism to turn off these effects. They may not produce acetylcholine, a hormone which tempers the more severe effects of adrenaline. Their nervous system is constantly working and can eventually become overexerted, leading to “a weakened heart and stiffer arteries,” Angier, Natalie, “If Anger Ruins Your Day, It Can Shrink Your Life,” New York Times, Dec. 13, 1990). There is potential for liver and kidney damage, as well as high cholesterol, and it may cause depression or anxiety.
Anger’s physical side effects explain why you frequently see studies about the damage that this emotion can do to our bodies. In one study of almost 13,000 subjects, individuals with the highest levels of anger had twice the risk of coronary artery disease and three times the risk of heart attack, as compared to the subjects with the lowest levels of anger, (Kam, Katherine, “Rein in the Rage: Anger and Heart Disease,” WebMD). Some scientists think that chronic anger may be more dangerous than smoking and obesity as a factor that will contribute to early death.
For all of these effects, the key is cycling Bible Doctrine in your soul to first temper the triggers that set you off, so that you are not mad at every little thing that happens and instead maintain a Relaxed Mental Attitude, while faith-resting in God and His Word. In addition, a key is how you are expressing your anger. Do you react to situations or do you respond with Bible Doctrine?
Doctrine of Anger
Anger is a mental attitude sin from the Old Sin Nature, Gal 5:20, which motivates Royal Family Honor Code violations like gossip, judging, or maligning others, Col 3:8.
As a mental attitude sin, anger expresses antagonism, hatred, exasperation, resentment, irrationality. It can be mental or emotional, or both. It is unjustifiable because it becomes a reaction of antagonism, irritation, exasperation, or irrationality, which makes it a sin.
Anger violates the following principles of the Royal Family Honor Code.
- Two wrongs do not make a right. Anger plus another sin is not right.
- You cannot build your happiness on someone else’s unhappiness. This is exactly what retaliation tries to do. You will never become happy by getting revenge.
- To punish someone else by revenge such as verbal sins or violence is synonymous with obstruction of Divine punishment and blasphemy toward Divine justice.
- Anger becomes involved with arrogance and opens the gate to all of the manifestations of arrogance and sin.
- Anger is motivation for murder.
Anger stems from arrogance within your soul that motivates emotional sins like jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, implacability, revenge, self-pity. Criminal activity is the function of the arrogant and angry person. Anger always adds wrong to wrong, sin to sin.
Anger is never an isolated sin, Prov 29:22, “An angry (APH – nostrils or face) man stirs up strife, and a hot tempered (CHEMAH) man abounds in transgression.”
Anger is associated with grieving the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30-31, “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and slander be removed from you, together with all wickedness.”
Anger hinders effective prayer, 1 Tim 2:8, “Therefore, I desire that men in every place pray, lifting up holy hands without anger and without dissension.”
Anger destroys virtue in the subject. Therefore, anger destroys the function of Impersonal Love and marriages, Eph 5:26.
Anger destroys a nation, Amos 1:11, “So decrees the Lord, ‘for three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not revoke its punishment. Because he pursued his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion, because his anger raged continually and he maintained his anger forever’.”
Anger results in self-induced misery, Prov 22:8. You fail to interpret history or your circumstances correctly, become frustrated and then angry, which results in self-induced misery. The reaction of anger has a way of fragmenting your life.
Most people who spend their time in anger have a temporary loss of self-esteem, or it is a manifestation that no self-esteem existed in the first place.
Anger is related to stupidity, Eccl 7:9, “Do not be eager in your heart (right lobe) to be angry; for anger resides in the bosom of fools.”
Satan had anger and it turned a genius into a fool. Anger turns any person into a stupid fool. A person is never smart when angry, which is why many stupid and embarrassing things are said in anger. If you have to deal with some problem and must have your senses about you, do not lose your cool, do not lose your temper!
Anger, like most sins, is the source of chain sinning, Heb 12:15. This is hidden, hypocritical anger. It motivates jealousy and cruelty, Prov 27:4. A person cannot be angry without being cruel and unfair.
Anger causes misery to those in your periphery, Amos 1:11; Prov 21:19, 22:2;, 25:24; 29:22.
The Bible distinguishes between sinful anger as mental and emotional anger. If your right lobe is dominating, you can react in mental anger (the Greek word ORGE). If your reaction is from emotional revolt, then it is emotional anger (the Greek word THUMOS). Both are unjustifiable reactions.
- The Greek word ORGE meaning, “impulse, wrath, or anger,” refers to mental anger, and THUMOS, meaning, “passion or anger,” to emotional anger. In Eph 4:31 both types are related to bitterness.
Eph 4:31, “Let all bitterness and wrath (THUMOS) and anger (ORGE) and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
- In Prov 15:18, the LXX utilizes the Greek Adjective THUMODES from the root THUMOS for the Hebrew Noun CHEMAH in the first half of the verse, and in the second half of the verse the Greek compound word MAKROTHUMOS that means, “longsuffering or patient,” from MAKROS meaning, “long” and THUMOS meaning, “passion or anger,” for AREK APH of the Hebrew.
Believer’s with arrogant subjectivity look down at others and hide their anger, until one day when they explode at friends or loved ones. This is a flawed character. This is a hidden anger instead of an outburst of anger.
As an irrational sin of emotion, mental attitude anger expresses antagonism, hatred, resentment. It often expresses itself in slander and even violence and murder.
“But the slow to anger calms/pacifies a dispute/contention.”
We have noted the problems and difficulties caused by being a “hot-tempered,” i.e., quick to anger type of person both to ourselves and those around us. In the second half of vs. 18, we note the benefits of being “slow to anger,” i.e., patient or longsuffering.
“Slow to anger” in the Hebrew is actually AREK APH meaning, “long nosed.” APH, as we have noted, is used euphemistically for “anger” and here with AREK it means “a long time to get angry, slow to anger, patient, and longsuffering.” So this is the opposite of the “hot-tempered” man who is quick to blow his top.
The benefit that comes from being patient here is that he will “calm a dispute,” which begins with the causative active Hiphil Imperfect of the verb SHAQAT, שָׁקַט that means, “to rest, to be quiet, be still, or undisturbed.” The primary meaning of this verb is the state or condition of tranquility, safety and security, and an inner confidence or peace, Job 37:17b, Isa 7:4; 32:17; Ezek 38:11. It suggests the absence of strife and war, but it also suggests the absence of worry and anxiety. Therefore, we call this having a Relaxed Mental Attitude, (RMA).
The thing that patience calms is “disputes,” the noun RIYB, רִיב that means, “a strife, a controversy, a quarrel, a lawsuit, or any contention.”
Therefore, the hot-tempered man who is full of mental attitude sins stirs up strife, causing all kinds of contentions and problems for himself and those around him. While the “slow to anger” man who has a Relaxed Mental Attitude (RMA) from the application of Bible Doctrine in His soul, calms them down and brings peace to the situations. The believer with a RMA has benefit to himself and to others.
In fact, the one who is slow to anger and brings peace to situations in life, is considered a great man in God’s eyes, Prov 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”
That leads us to:
Principles of Patience / Long-suffering
Having patience and longsuffering demonstrates the Christ-like nature as God Himself is patient and longsuffering, especially with sinful man.
- Because the Lord is filled with lovingkindness and truth, He is able to be patient with each and every one of us. Think of how patient the Lord has been with you over the years! Therefore, patience and longsuffering are related to God’s lovingkindness and truth, Psa 86:15, just as our patience must be related to having Bible Doctrine in the Soul with the application of Impersonal and Unconditional Love, (in the Hebrew AHEB, in the Greek AGAPE), for others.
Psa 86:15, “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.”
When you have love and a godly disposition, you will have patience and longsuffering.
- Patience and longsuffering are also related to the compassion of the Lord, in Psa 103:8. Because He is compassionate He operates in patience and longsuffering. We too need to have compassion for our fellow man by exercising patience and longsuffering.
Psa 103:8, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.”
- Patience and longsuffering are related to the power or omnipotence of God, Nahum 1:3. When you have perfect power and omnipotence, you are not so concerned with how things turn out because you know that at any moment you have the power to do what has to be done. Therefore, with the power of God’s Word and the Filling of the Holy Spirit, we have more than enough omnipotence to be patient with others.
Nah 1:3, “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power.”
- The patience and longsuffering of God is related to the Lord’s tolerance and endurance with us, 1 Tim 1:16.
1 Tim 1:16, “And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate his perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in him for eternal life.”
Therefore, we too must express tolerance towards others, rather than being judgmental and hypersensitive as we endure their foolishness, giving them grace to learn and grow spiritually.
Patience results from the power of the Filling of the Spirit and Bible doctrine in your soul, Gal 5:22, Col 1:11.
Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”
The Greek word for patience here and in Col 1:11 below is the Noun MAKROTHUMIA that is a compound word from MAKROS meaning, “long” and THUMOS that mean,s “passion or angry.” Therefore, combined MAKROTHUMIA means, “long-suffering, patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, or slowness in avenging wrongs.”
Col 1:11, “Strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.”
Steadfastness is the Greek Noun HUPOMONE, that means, “steadfastness, constancy, and a patient enduring.” Steadfastness and patience are developed through the two power options from God.
Patience and longsuffering is a system of thinking; it is not an emotion.
Col. 3:12, “And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart (right lobe) of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
To put on a heart of patience means it is something learned or developed, not an emotion. Therefore, a patient person will learn Bible doctrine and exercise the Christ-like nature to be slow to anger. He will not get angry quickly.
Patience gives you the power and the gracious system of thinking to have great understanding and sensitivity toward others. Therefore, when you put on the power of God (filling of the Holy Spirit and application of His Word), that will empower you to have patience, which in turn gives you the power to operate under grace orientation towards others and have fantastic compassion and understanding of others and their problems.
Prov 14:29, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick tempered exalts folly.”
Patience towards others will also help you resolve and reconcile differences, as noted in our passage.
Prov 15:18, “A hot tempered man stirs up strife, but the slow to anger pacifies contention (calms a dispute).”
Patience is a virtue which gives the believer fantastic strength while under pressure.
Prov 16:32, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.”
Patience will also allow you to be discrete and overlook the sins of others; more grace orientation. When you are patient with people, you do not hold them accountable for the wrongs they have done against you.
Prov 19:11, “A man’s discretion, (SEKEL – prudence, insight, understanding), makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.”
Patience allows us to rest in the Lord and let the Supreme Court of Heaven handle any unfair or unjust treatment, Psa 37:7.
Psa 37:7, “Rest (be still) in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.”
If someone is carrying out wicked schemes against you, be patient, relax (RMA); the Lord has everything under control.
Patience gives us the strength and power to handle undeserved suffering and mal-treatment, while bringing glory to the Lord.
1 Peter 2:20, “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, you patiently endure it, this finds favor (CHARIS – grace / blessings) with God.”
Application of Faith-Rest in God and His Word gives you patience.
James 1:3-4, “Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
“Perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” does not mean sinless perfection, it means maturity and contentment.
The Pastor-teacher must have extreme patience with members of his congregation.
2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction, (DIDACHE – doctrine, teaching).”
The reason why it says, “to exhort with great patience and instruction,” is simply because you can teach Bible doctrine accurately for years and people will still reject it when they need it. This can be a source of discouragement to any man who is in the ministry. Therefore, we see the necessity of great patience for the Pastor-teacher.
Patience is also needed concerning the promises of God. The Lord has made many promises to you as a believer. You must have patience to wait on the timing of the Lord for some of those promises to be fulfilled.
Heb 6:12, “That you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Heb 6:15, “And in this way, having patiently waited, he (Abraham) obtained the promise.”
Patience is also needed after you have done all that you are supposed to do, and things in your life have still not changed.
Heb 10:36, “For you have need of patience, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.”
Patience allows us to put up with people and each other as we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Eph 4:2, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love (AGAPE).”
This verse was addressed in our topical study of “Speech.” Please see those notes for the exegesis.
Prov 15:23, “A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!” (non-contrasting)
This is a non-contrasting, complementary, passage.
Here we see the emotion of “joy” SIMCHAH, once again, as we did in vs. 13 & 15. SIMCHAH meaning, “joy or gladness,” denotes both the feeling and display of joy, and often expresses exceeding joy or jubilation. Here that joy is received when we are able to give an apt or gentle answer (MA’ANEH), especially when strife or contention is being raised towards us by another.
This means, when you are able to respond to someone who is asking you a question or even attacking you through gossip or slandered, with an appropriate response from the Bible Doctrine in your soul, it makes you happy inwardly and outwardly, as it may be expressed in the uplifting countenance of your face, as we noted previously. This means you have the +H (happiness) of God in your soul. Therefore, when you are able to express Divine viewpoint in any situation, it gives you inner and outer happiness.
This verse is addressed to the believer who is responding to another with Bible Doctrine, but it also connotes the positive impact you have on the other party as well. In other words, you both receive joy as a result of communicating Bible Doctrine.
“Delightful” is TOB (tov) here meaning, “good.” So we have, “how good is a word in its time.” In other words, how awesome is it to be able to help someone in disaster and suffering and pressure with Divine viewpoint. It is one thing to help others with your human power, but how much more rewarding is it to help others with God’s Word and Divine viewpoint. So here is some of the success, which comes to you personally, when you are able to communicate Bible doctrine to help others.
This “good” also eludes to Divine Good Production, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, also called, “good of intrinsic value”, that you produce when speaking to others while in fellowship with the Holy Spirit as you give Bible doctrine to others, which by the way has a lasting reward for you in heaven. So we see the double blessing of speaking a “good” word to others; the joy it brings you in time, and the rewards it stores up for you in the eternal state.
In our final verse of this topic, and the 5 topics we have noted in Chapter 15, we conclude the subject of “Emotions” by addressing joy once again. This time we have an analogy and a blessing.
Prov 15:30, “Bright eyes gladden the heart; good news puts fat on the bones.” (non-contrasting)
This too is a non-contrasting complementary verse. The analogy for joy in the first half of this verse is “bright eyes that gladden the heart.”
“Bright eyes” is the Noun MA’OR, מָאוֹר that means, “lamp or luminary,” and AYIN for “eyes.”
MA’OR refers to the object(s) which cause illumination, i.e., the source of the light. This lamp of illumination is referencing Bible Doctrine in your soul, which is the true light. This word is used also for the “Golden Lampstand” in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle that represented the Deity of Jesus Christ, which burns oil, representing the Holy Spirit, through the wick, which represents the believer, who would burn and give off light, representing God’s Word.
The whole picture of the Lampstand represented the Word of God being used by the Holy Spirit through man to shed the Light of God onto a lost and dying world.
As John noted in 1 John 1:5, “…God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” As “light,” God is infinitely pure and glorious and possesses all wisdom, excellency, and knowledge. Therefore, this illumination is the shining forth of God, via His Word in your soul that is spoken by you.
John 1:9 tells us about the 1st Advent of Jesus Christ. “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” And as you know, the Word of God is the mind of Christ. So the phrase “bright eyes” represent the communication of Bible Doctrine, the mind of Jesus Christ.
The benefit that sharing God’s Word has is that it “gladdens the heart.” This is the causative use of the Piel Imperfect of the Verb SAMACH that means, “to rejoice or be glad,” with the Noun LEB for heart, or right lobe of the soul. Therefore, when you communicate Bible Doctrine to others, it makes you happy inwardly. You have rejoicing within your soul.
“Good news puts fat on the bones.”
Here too “Speech” is alluded to, as this portion begins with “good news,” which is the Adjective TOB (tov) meaning, “good,” and the Noun SHEMUAH שְׁמוּעָה that means, “news or report.” This is the first time we have seen this word in the book of Proverbs. It is derived from the verb SHAMA that means, “to hear,” and speaks to the inculcation of Bible Doctrine through the ear gate. SHEMUAH then comes to mean, “that which is heard, a message, tidings, news, or report,” and refers to the communication of Bible Doctrine. Just as “bright eyes” indicates the communication of God’s Word from the soul, here too the phrase “good news” represents Bible Doctrine being communicated and heard by others.
As you may know, the Greek word for “Gospel” is EUAGGELIZO or EUAGGELION and means, “good news” from EU for “good” and AGGELOS for “message.” Sometimes it is translated “good news,” others times “Gospel.” It primarily represents the salvation message of Christ crucified and raised from the dead, but other times Bible doctrine, or just any type of good or pleasing information passed on.
There is another Hebrew word that means “good news,” which is the Verb BASAR that means, “to bear good news” that emphasizes the deliverer or delivery of good news. But here, and in Psa 25:25, are the only two passages that utilize SHEMUAH for good news, which emphasizes the receiver or reception of the good news.
Prov 25:25, “Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land.”
The blessing associated with the reception of this “good news” is that it “puts fat on the bones.”
“Puts fat” is the causative use of the Piel Imperfect of the Verb DASHEN that means “become fat” which we noted in Prov 11:25: 13:4. In the causative, it means that for the hearer of the good news of God’s Word, it causes them to become fat. As you may know, “fat or becoming fat” is an analogy for blessings and prosperity. Therefore, when you receive God’s Word in your soul, you will be blessed.
The place where this fat / blessing resides is “on the bones,” which is the Noun ESTEM that means, “bone(s) or strength.” Throughout the Old Testament, an individual’s bones are regarded as the center of his physical health, Job 20:11; 21:24; Prov 3:8; 15:30; Lam 4:7. Therefore, we see that the good news of God’s Word blesses us with good health.
This verse is in contrast to Prov 14:30 that told us, “A tranquil heart is life to the body, but passion is rottenness to the bones.” Where “passion” is the Hebrew word QINAH that means, “passion, zeal, jealousy, or anger.”
QINAH reminds us of Prov 15:18 and the “hot-tempered,” or angry man. There we noted the detrimental affect anger has on our own body. But here we see the positive affect of God’s Word on our body. Therefore, the mental attitude sin of anger, stemming from an emotional revolt of the soul, causes the bones to rot and deteriorate, meaning sickness, illness, and disease. Yet, the “good news” of Jesus Christ and God’s Word gives its hearer a Relaxed Mental Attitude (RMA) that is at peace and rest, which in turn brings good physical health and strength to your body with the avoidance of illness and disease.
The blessings and benefits of receiving Bible Doctrine into your soul are also noted in the last three verses of this chapter as we have previously studied.
Summary of the Topic of “Emotion” in Proverbs 15.
In vs. 13, we learned that having inner peace and joy because you have God’s Word in your soul, leads to the outward expression of joyfulness in your speech, praise and worship of God. Yet, the sadden heart, one without Bible Doctrine residing in it, leads to the mentality of helplessness and hopelessness, (a crushed spirit), which should never be in the life of the believer.
In vs. 15, we learned that for those who continually operate in sin, human good and evil, their life will be one of affliction, problems and difficulties. Yet, the believer with God’s Word in their soul, who “tabernacles” with the Lord, has a consistent happiness and positive outlook on life, as they have great anticipation of the imminent return of our Lord.
In vs. 17, we learned that it is better to have very modest means here on earth and have rapport love with God and others than to have all the material riches in the world and be at enmity with God with hatred in our hearts.
In vs. 18, we learned that the quick to get angry type of person causes all kinds of problems for himself and those around him, including physical ailments, whereas, those who have patience and lovingkindness, will bring healing to themselves and to the problematic situations of life.
In vs. 23, we learned that when our speech is filled with Bible Doctrine, it brings joy to others and to ourselves.
In vs. 30, we learned that the communication of Bible doctrine to others brings happiness to our souls and causes good health to our bodies.