The Book of Proverbs
Principles of the Rich and Poor Man.
We now turn to Proverbs Chapter 19, which speaks to the moral ambiguities of wealth. As we noted at the end of chapter 18 where this subject was introduced in vs. 23-24, there are great responsibilities that come with wealth and prosperity and our moral integrity is greatly challenged by the new types of decisions we have to make. When we were poor we understood the plight of the poor, and now that we are rich do we have the same concern and AGAPE Love for those less fortunate as we once did? At the same time vs. 23-24 and Prov 19:4 tell us, the rich attract many companions and the poor person loses them. Therefore, we are instructed to have good discernment and understanding about the friends we choose to associate with, and that Bible doctrine should be the rule in the selection of companions, not money.
Vs. 1-7, Poverty, Wealth and Companions.
Vs. 8-15, Wisdom regarding the use of wealth (Bible Doctrine) in society and the home.
Vs. 16-22, Educating the son to show kindness to the needy.
Vs. 23-29, Conclusion, The Protection Bible Doctrine Provides to the Soul, for the Rich and Poor Man.
We begin with Vs. 1
Prov 19:1, “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity, than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.”
Like other proverbs that compare poverty and wealth, e.g., Prov 15:16f, this verse does not imply that poverty is superior to wealth. The real issue is trustworthiness, regardless of the circumstances or consequences.
The first line of this proverb is identical to Prov 28:6a, “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity,” and then the second line is parallel to 6b, “Than he who is crooked though he be rich.”
This proverb continues the topic of the poor man and his speech but turns from his failed social relationships to his successful ethics, as does Prov 19:22, “What is desirable in a man is his kindness (or loyalty), and it is better to be a poor man than a liar.”
“Better is a poor man” is TOB RUSH. RUSH mean, “to be poor, destitute, lack, or needy,” and indicates a person who has few resources and little standing or influence in a society.
“Who walks in his integrity” is HALAK BE TOM.
HALAK or “walking” means, the type of lifestyle you are living.
TOM means, “integrity,” and refers to the integrity of your soul; how you think and operate. Often this word is used for the “integrity of heart,” meaning the application of Bible Doctrine in the right lobe of your soul. Integrity of heart leads to sincerity in action, which is due to the moral and wise character you have developed from the doctrine in your soul, cf. Gen 20:5; Psa 26:1; 78:72. To have integrity of the heart means you are filled with God’s Word and are applying it to life’s situations, having sincerity in your thoughts, words and actions. Therefore you have moral integrity due to the wise character emanating from the doctrine in your soul.
Integrity refers to innocence of willful wrongdoing and having a clear conscience in regard to relationships, 2 Sam 15:11. It has a sense of consistent honesty and moral behavior, where you fully desire to live in complete harmony with God and others.
Prov 10:29 used TOM for a person who is literally “the one of integrity,” which is usually translated as, “the upright or righteous.” Therefore, it is the believer walking in experiential sanctification as they apply the righteousness of God in their life.
As the first half of this verse tells us; “it is better to walk in experiential sanctification and be poor.”
Next we have the comparative life style that is inferior to walking in God’s righteousness, with the “than,” MIN, statement: “Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.”
The inferior lifestyle is one that has “perverse speech” which is IQQESH SAPHAH for “perverted lips.” This means a person who “twists their lips,” that is, they are full of verbal sins that include: gossip, maligning, slandering, lying, coarse jesting, foul language, etc., in general. As we have seen throughout Proverbs and here too, the one who speaks in such a way is a “fool,” KESIYL. This twisted fool will not find good and is headed for calamity, Prov 17:20; cf. 22:5.
Given the use of verbal sins in the second half, we also conclude that the first half is focusing on the integrity of a person regarding his speech as well. As such, in spite of the social liability of poverty, it is a better situation than to be a person filled with verbal sins, especially lying.
Our Lord said in Mat 15:18-20, “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. 20These are the things which defile the man.”
“Even though the rich person answers him rudely (18:23) and the poor person is on the verge of ruin (18:24; 19:7), the poor person’s way is better because it is blessed (20:7) and secure (cf. Job 4:6). On this eternal way the Lord is his shield to protect him (2:7); his way is like a mountain fortress (10:29); and, with full confidence that he will never lose his relationship with God and the community of the faithful, he can walk securely in it (10:9).” (Waltke, New International Commentary.)
Therefore, it is better to be a poor person who has few resources and little standing or influence in a society, yet having your integrity intact, than to be a wealthy fool whose heart and tongue is filled with verbal sins and walking in carnality or reversionism. That means that in order to maintain your integrity and walk with Christ, you sometimes will have to forego the opportunity for riches and wealth, which will be much more beneficial to you in time and for eternity.
“If honest poverty is implicitly better than wealth gained through injustice or other wickedness, then possessions are not the measure of life’s worth and value. This implies that truth, justice and righteousness, for example, are far more important in life than what is touched, tasted, seen and heard. There are many things more important than money—integrity is one of them.’ (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
“The poor may be miserable for the moment, but the unethical rich are miserable for eternity. Thus the proverb teaches the pilgrim to walk by faith, not by sight.” (New International Commentary.)
Prov 19:2, “Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who hurries his footsteps errs.”
In addition to maintaining your integrity at all costs, this proverb exhorts us to continue to take in and apply Bible Doctrine within our souls. The word for “person” here is NEPHESH which means “soul.”
It tells us that it is not good to be without God’s Word resident within your soul. And as you know, doctrine in the soul is what provides for your integrity. In the Hebrew this verse literally reads, “Also, when there is no knowledge, (i.e., Bible Doctrine), in the soul, it is not good.” Or “when there is no knowledge, the soul is not good.”
In the second half of this verse we see that not having doctrine in your soul ready for application will lead you to be a person that hastily makes errors. “Hurries” is the Hebrew Verb UTS, אּוּץ in the Qal Active Participle. It primarily designates “causing to move, to proceed or to act with haste.”
In Proverbs, UTS is used in the Qal substantival participle to denote a person who acts without regard to moral consequences, especially to make money. It is used to warn against hasty action which:
- May cause an individual to miss the true way of life, as in our verse,
- May lead an individual to poverty, Prov 21:5.
- Indicates that the one who is hasty to acquire wealth will be punished, Prov 28:20,
- Indicates that there is no hope for someone who speaks in haste, Prov 29:20.
The “hurrying” here is with “his footsteps,” REGHEL that means, “with his feet.” It is a euphemism for the actions that you take. So this person is quick to action, rather than pondering or contemplating the situation before moving to action.
Here we see the one who is quick to action will most likely “err” in his ways, which is the Hebrew noun CHATTA. חָטָא that means, “to sin, to be guilty or to offend.” In the Qal, or simple action, form of the verb, the basic meaning of CHATTA is “to be guilty of a moral wrongdoing,” where such action causes offense to another. Linked with “feet” here, it represents overt sins.
In vs. 1 we saw how mental attitude sins, lead to verbal sins, and here we see how they also lead to overt sins. So the three main categories for sin are in view in the first two verses of this chapter: Mental, Verbal and Overt.
The principle here is:
Take the necessary time to gather information, get advice and reflect on possible courses of action, cf. Prov 21:5, before you move to action.
Prov 21:5a, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage.”
But the ignorant fool, especially those who do not know their ignorance, do not understand the value of careful preparation and thus hurry into action without proper preparation.
Prov 21:5b, “But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.”
And as we have seen, the consequences of this carelessness are a haste that often leads to:
- Poverty, Prov 21:5.
- Sin, Prov 28:20, “A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.”
- Error, Prov 29:20, “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
How much better is the poor person who walks in total dedication to the Lord and his teachings, than the condemned sinner who enriches himself through lies? The spiritually rich, though materially poor, person should depart from the morally bankrupt rich person, lest he too be infected by his contagion, Prov 14:7.
Prov 19:3, “The foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against the LORD.”
“The foolishness of man,” is IWWELETH ADAM.
“Ruins,” is not the best translation, but is alluded to as other proverbs point to that fact, as we will see below. But here it is the intensive active Piel of SALAPH, that means, “to twist, distort or pervert,” and the more common meaning in Scripture is “to subvert or to overturn.” We would say, “Reverse process reversionism.”
So we could say the foolishness of man reverts his way, (DEREK), which means he was once walking in fellowship with God, operating in His righteousness, but now due to sin and folly, his walk has been perverted where he is now in reversionism.
Proverbs points out how evil continually twists a person until his way is thoroughly perverted, in Prov 13:6 and our verse. As a result, the Lord will overturn a seemingly prosperous fool in his treachery, Prov 22:12 and turn his way to ruin, Prov 21:12.
In the second half of this passage, we see that “his heart (LEB) rages against the Lord,” where the word for “rages” is the active Qal Imperfect of ZA’APH, זָעַף.
ZA’APH means, “to be dejected or to be enraged.” The root idea of the word is “to storm,” which is seen in the use of the related noun ZA’APH to describe the raging sea in Jonah 1:15. This word describes an unsettled storm within a person that exhibits itself in either dejection or rage.
This unsettling is the result of a lack of Bible Doctrine in the soul, which results when carnality takes over the soul. Any doctrine you had, can and will be lost as a result. With the resulting loss of Bible Doctrine in the soul, the void is filled with sin and cosmic thinking. This new way of thinking is counter to God’s Word, will and plan, and results in anger or rage against God and the things of God.
Here we see that this is more than just your average reversionism, but full out apostasy with antagonism toward God, His Word, and/or His Children, as this reversionistic believer rages against “the Lord,” YHWH. A profile of the reversionist can be seen in Psa 7:14-16.
In Prov 19:3, “The foolishness of man ruins his way, and his heart rages against the Lord,” we see the principle of reversionism coming into the life of a believer or even an unbeliever. As we have been studying the Book of Proverbs, its main theme is to build character in the believer so that he glorifies God to the maximum where God is then able to bless him in time and eternity. If we heed to the positive proverbs for living in righteousness, we will accomplish God’s goal for our lives. Likewise, if we learn from the negative proverbs that tell us how not to live in this life, we will also achieve the ultimate goal.
Paul is a great example of this. He was an unbeliever named Saul who persecuted those who believed in and followed intimately our Lord Jesus Christ. His heart was one that “raged against the Lord.” But our Lord was faithful to him, as He is to all believers, as He presented Himself to Sau,l as Saul was on yet another mission to persecute Christians. When our Lord appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, it was not a passing emotional experience, but a vision that had very clear and emphatic directions for him. As Paul stated in Acts 26:19, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.”
As Oswald Chambers notes, “Our Lord said to Paul, in effect, “Your whole life is to be overpowered or subdued by Me; you are to have no end, no aim and no purpose but Mine.” And the Lord also says to us, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go …” John 15:16.
You see from the moment of our spiritual birth, God had a vision of what He wants us to be. And it is vitally important that we learn what that vision is and not to be “disobedient to the heavenly vision.” To do so we must consistently learn and apply His Word and never doubt that God’s vision for us can be attained.
It is one thing to have a “mental assent” to the fact that God has redeemed us and the world, and to know that the Holy Spirit can make all that Jesus did a reality in your life. But it is something else to come to a place of experiencing a personal relationship with Him, just as Paul was brought into a vivid, personal, overpowering relationship with Jesus Christ.
Acts 26:16 tells us what the Lord’s vision is for our lives, “But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness …”
Yet, if we do not have a personal relationship with the Lord, there would be nothing for us to tell or witness about the Christ. “Paul was devoted to a Person, not to a cause. He was absolutely Jesus Christ’s. He saw nothing else and he lived for nothing else.” (Chambers)
As Paul also said to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 2:2, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
To know Christ in a personal way and to witness of Him, is God’s vision for you. But if you are living for this world, Satan’s Cosmic System, and not heeding to the principles and precepts found in His Word that are the only means of knowing Him, then that vision will not be realized in your life, and instead you will have a heart that “rages against the Lord.”
Likewise, in order to be a witness for Christ we must build character within our souls, (i.e., honesty, integrity, righteousness, justice, love, kindness, goodness, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, etc.), which means having the “Christ-like nature.” To do so we need to learn and apply both the positive and negative proverbs. This proverb is one of the negative ones that warn us to not stumble and fall into carnality, reversionism or even apostasy.
Therefore, in Proverbs we have been learning the “mind of Christ” which means how Christ thinks and how He did and would operate, if He were still here on earth in the flesh. And in these Proverbs, as also in this one, our Lord tells us, if we do not heed this warnings, we will be like the fool who is living inside of Satan’s cosmic system, who is filled with self-induced misery as he, “ruins his way”, who also has a mental attitude, “heart”, that “rages against the Lord.”
As noted above, “raging” is the Hebrew verb ZA’APH, זָעַף in the Qal active, Imperfect. It means, “to be dejected, or to be enraged.” The latter, “enraged,” is applicable in our verse, where the root idea of the word is “to storm.” This type of raging or storming is against the Lord, which means that in the right lobe, heart, of your soul there is a storm swirling that is in opposition to God, His Word and His Children. This storming is the result of prolonged carnality that leads to reversionism that leads to full out apostasy.
This “raging” or reversionism, as we call it, does not happen over night. It is a gradual process of the unchecked soul. Reversionism is the result of prolonged carnality, (i.e., living in sin and Satan’s cosmic system), and apostasy is the result of prolonged reversionism. Therefore, unchecked carnality, (i.e., no application of 1 John 1:9, Rebound), leads to reversionism, and unchecked reversionism, (still no rebounding), leads to apostasy. Unchecked apostasy then leads to the third stage of Divine discipline, the Sin Unto Death, 1 Cor 11:30, where “falling asleep” means the Sin Unto Death.
Because reversion gradually creeps into the life of the carnal believer, we need to understand what reversionism is, so that we can recognize its tell tail signs, and take action to rectify it through rebound and recovery, (the application of Bible Doctrine), if necessary.
The Doctrine of Reversionism
Reversionism is first an act of reversing or turning in the opposite way, or a state of being so turned. It means that as a believer, you were going in the right direction inside of God’s Plan, but for some reason you have reversed that course and are now living in sin, under the influence of your Old Sin Nature, (OSN). It is a reversal of the object of your personal love – God, which is replaced by the things of this world. It means maximum control of the OSN over the life of the believer, so that the believer functions under the dictates of the sin nature exactly as he did as an unbeliever.
Reversionism is a reversal of your priorities, attitudes and affections. Instead of God as the object of your priorities, attitude and affections, the things of this world, Satan’s cosmic system have replaced Him in your soul. Instead of thinking in terms of Divine viewpoint, you now think in terms of human viewpoint. This process of reverting begins with implosion or exploding within, by yielding to the temptations of the sin nature and disregarding the Word of God in your soul. This leads to fragmentation where you have bits and pieces of sin and the spiritual life swirling around in your thinking. One minute you are thinking in terms of Bible doctrine and the next you are thinking in terms of sin. Fragmentation unchecked leads to reversionism.
Reversionism is a series of related failures in the spiritual life which result in failure to execute God’s Predesigned Protocol Plan of for your life that leads to Christian degeneracy. Christian degeneracy is defined as the decline from the normal standards of the Predesigned Protocol Plan of God for the Church Age through the process of implosion, fragmentation and reversion. In this process, the Church Age believer remains unchecked by the utilization of the Rebound Technique, and by other post-salvation Problem Solving Devices of the Protocol Plan. Therefore, the believer unchecked by Rebound sinks into subnormal categories of personal sinning.
Reversionism is the believer’s retrogression because of negative volition toward the Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age, which both defines and reveals God’s plan, will, and purpose for your life. It is recession from any stage of spiritual growth through negative volition toward Bible doctrine, or even the lack of spiritual growth or failure to attain the three stages of spiritual adulthood: spiritual self-esteem, spiritual autonomy, and spiritual maturity, which leads to apostasy.
Reversionism is characterized by negative volition to doctrine, being influenced by evil and results in perpetual carnality causing a life of perpetual discipline.
Reversion is a technical theological term used for rejecting absolute truth, and drawing into your mind or accepting relative truth. It is a theological term for the results of fragmentation, which results in eight stages of reversionism:
- Reaction to Bible teaching or distraction from Bible teaching.
- A frantic search for happiness.
- Operation Boomerang. (Everything backfires)
- Emotional revolt of the soul.
- Locked in negative volition. (Bitterness toward God – If you want to blame anyone, blame Satan! He’s the god of this world in 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2; 1 John 5:19)
- Blackout of the soul.
- Scar tissue of the soul. (Hardness of the heart)
- Reverse process reversionism.
As believers we were designed to execute the Predesigned Protocol Plan of God for our lives. But in reversionism we turn the other way and cannot be distinguished from our pre-salvation status or the unbelievers of this world. The reversionistic believer is classified as a loser in the Christian life. He does not lose his salvation; that is impossible, but by failing to execute the Plan of God, the loser loses his escrow blessings for time and eternity.
The following is an excerpt from Chuck Swindoll’s book entitled “Simple Faith.” The excerpt is from a chapter entitled “When Simple Faith Erodes” that tells the story of one young man who fell into reversionism.
“Robert Robinson was born in England more than two hundred years ago. When he was just a boy, his father died and his widowed mother sent him to London to learn the trade of barbering. In that great city Robert came under the persuasive influence of a powerful man of God, the great Methodist revivalist George Whitefield. Robinson was soundly converted and felt a call to the ministry; he began at once to study for a lifetime of serving Christ.
At twenty-five Robert Robinson was called to pastor a Baptist church in Cambridge, where he became very successful. But the popularity was more than the young minister could handle. It led to the beginning of a lapse in his life of simple faith. Ultimately he fell into carnality, another tragic victim of “sin’s foul bondage.” As the years passed he faded from the scene and few even remembered his earlier years of devotion to Christ.
Years later Robinson was making a trip by stagecoach and happened to sit next to a woman who was reading a book with obvious pleasure. She seemed to be especially interested in one page of the volume, for she kept returning to it again and again. Finally she turned to Robinson-a complete stranger to her-and held the page toward him. Pointing to the hymn she had been reading there, she asked what he thought of it.
Robinson looked at the first few lines:
Come, Thou Found of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise…
He read no further. Turning his head, he endeavored to engage the lady’s attention on the passing landscape. But she was not to be denied. Pressing her point, she told him of the benefit she had received from the words of that hymn and expressed her admiration for its message.
Overcome with emotion, Robinson burst into tears. “Madam,” he said, “I am the poor, unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
Robert Robinson was now many years older and light-years removed from his earlier commitment to Christ. His days of simple faith had eroded. How ironic that, at the end of the hymn, he had seemed to prophesy his own downward course:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it
Seal it for thy courts above
That is precisely what he did. Robert Robinson died shortly thereafter at the young age of fifty-five, the victim of the lure of a lesser loyalty. He had left the God he once loved and had become “a wicked old man”.”
Biblical Terms for Reversionism:
Jer 9:25-26, “Uncircumcised of heart.”
Gal 5:4, “Fallen, (drifting off course), from grace.”
Phil 3:18, “The enemy of the cross.”
1 Tim 1:19, “Shipwrecked.”
2 Tim 2:26, “They have entered the devil’s snare / trap.”
Heb 12:15, “Falling from grace.”
1 Peter 5:8, “Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
2 Peter 2:7-8, “The tormented soul.”
2 Peter 2:14, “The unstable soul.”
John 15:23, “He who hates Me, also hates My Father.”
Rev 2:4, “Left your first love.”
Rev 2:5, “Fallen.”
Rev 3:15-16, “Lukewarm.”
There are at least five categories of the emotional complex of sins that cause the most problems and distractions for the reversionistic believer. These sins produce an emotional reaction that results in an irrational distraction from God’s Plan.
- Self-Centeredness – (The arrogance skills). This includes self-justification, self-deception and self-absorption characterized by arrogant self-righteousness, egotistical irrationality, hypersensitivity (concerning self), and insensitivity (concerning others), projection, denial, self-pity, and whining.
Rom 12:3, “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.”
- Reaction – This combines the arrogance complex of sins with the emotion complex of sins, characterized by: jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, hatred, vilification, vituperation (an outburst of violently abusive or harshly critical language), malice, revenge motivation and operation, and inordinate ambition and competition.
Eph 4:31, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Cf. Heb 12:15
- Guilt – This is a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some real or imagined offense. Religion in general functions by producing guilt in its members, which is not the Christian way of life. Guilt is a sin related to repression, which is rejection from the soul of anything that is painful or disagreeable. When you fall into the sin of guilt, you have succumbed to the greatest weakness in your soul. The most helpless and most easily manipulated people in the world are those that live under guilt!
1 Cor 1:12, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed (do not feel guilty); for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”
1 Tim 4:12, “Let no one look down (make you feel guilty) on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
- Hysteria: Characterized by fear, worry, anxiety, panic, confusion, irrationality, dislocation, and garbage in the subconscious, Prov 3:25; 29:25; Mat 6:31-34; 13:24; Luke 12:22ff.
Mat 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Luke 12:22, “And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.”
Mat 13:22, “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
- Hatred: Characterized by anger, hatred, bitter jealousy, loathing, animosity, vulnerability to imagined insults or injury, implacability, malice, tantrums, irrational violence, and even murder, Prov 12:16; 14:29; 15:18; 19:19; 22:24; 27:4; 30:33.
Prov 12:16, “A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor.”
Prov 14:29, “He who is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.”
Prov 10:18, “He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.”
In addition, reversionism causes the believer to concentrate on false teaching, be it inside the church or outside as part of Satan’s false cosmic system of beliefs. The cosmic system is a trap for the development of reversionism.
2 Cor 2:11, “In order that no advantage be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.”
Eph 4:27, “Do not be giving opportunity to the devil.”
1 Tim 3:6‑7, “Fall into the snare of the devil.”
For those that fall prey to Satan and his schemes, they will possess a spirit of error, 1 John 4:5‑6, as they tend to always believe the lie, false doctrine, gossip, or anything else that is untrue because it appeals to their emotions and arrogance.
Those who fall into reversionism also like to drag others into their folly and false belief systems, Heb 12:15.
Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one falls back from the grace of God, that no root of bitterness sprouting up causes trouble, and through this many be contaminated.”
This contamination of reversionistic thinking leads to all kinds of perversion, Rom 1:26‑27, and as a result of collective unchecked reversionism, it produces national disintegration, Rom 1:29‑32; Hosea 4:1‑6.
And finally, reversionism causes the believer to lose his escrow blessings for both time and eternity, Heb 3:10‑12.
So our Lord exhorts us to avoid or recover from reversionism, 2 Tim 2:26; Heb 3:13-15.
Heb 3:13, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15while it is said, “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as when they provoked Me”.”
In summary, we are exhorted to walk with moral integrity in spite of poverty, Prov 19:1, and gain the wisdom of God’s Word so that we do not hasten after the wealth of Satan’s cosmic system, vs. 2, because if we do not, it will lead to reversionism in our souls, which is the subversion and perversion of our ways that leads to raging against the Lord, vs. 3.
As we have seen, Proverbs is full of wise advice, and there may be no better advice described than the concepts expressed in vs. 1-3.
In vs. 1 we are told that we must hold on to our integrity, (the application of Bible Doctrine), at all costs. Because once we begin to worry about our finances and life, we will be defeated by Satan and his cosmic system and become fools. Vs. 2a also exhorts that we must have Bible Doctrine in our souls to avoid the pitfalls of the lusts of worldly riches inside of Satan’s cosmic system. As vs. 2b tells us, chasing after, or being preoccupied with maintaining, the riches of this world will result in a foolish carnal life. As vs. 3a, notes, when we pervert our ways and chase after worldly riches, we have foolishly subverted our walk with Christ and have entered into reversionism. Vs. 3b then tells us that if we continue down that wrong path, it will lead to our total apostasy, (i.e., a heart raging against the Lord).
Now moving on to vs. 4-7, they tell us of the moral ambiguity of wealth and companions, as wealth adds companions, vs. 4a, 6, and the poor person loses them, vs. 4b, 7. Yet we see that liars / perjurers, (those using verbal sins to chase after or maintain their worldly wealth), will not escape punishment, vs. 5a.
Also keep in mind as we review these last four verses of Section 1, the connection of the passages we have already noted, and will note in the future, regarding the selection of companions, that suggests the companions in view are not wise, because they can be bought, Prov 18:23, 19:1-7, and it is folly to depend upon them, Prov 18:24. Therefore, we are to be wise, prudent and diligent about those we closely associate with in life.
Prov 19:4, “Wealth adds many friends, but a poor man is separated from his friend.”
In this passage we have a comparison between the wealthy and poor man where the wealth of a man “adds” YASAPH, “many friends,” REA, and the poverty of the “poor man,” DAL, (meaning poor, or weak socially), “separates,” PARADH, “his friends from him,” MIN REA.
The “adding of friends” due to wealth is in the causative active Hiphil, and the “separation of friends” due to poverty is in the passive Niphal stem. Both are in the Imperfect tense for ongoing or continual action. Therefore, the wealth of some causes them to have friends; whereas, the poverty of the poor man results in him receiving the action of losing his.
This passage shows the shallowness of the average person who bases their “friendships” on a person’s economic status, rather than on what is in their soul. Many of you may have experienced this on either end of the spectrum, where you have friends that are there only because you have some wealth that they are able to share in, or you have experienced a lack of friendships or loss of friendships because you have no worldly wealth to share with them. Therefore, we see that circumstances often reveal the true nature of relationships and see that “friendships” often grow out of self-interest, cf. Prov 14:20; 19:7.
Prov 14:20, “The poor is hated even by his neighbor, but those who love the rich are many.”
This also tells us that friends who remain when there is no external motivation are rare and precious, and the friends who are there because of good fortune are numerous, as well as fickle. The many friends of the wealthy will melt away when the money dries up.
Waltke notes, “This proverb cautions the disciple about the dangers of wealth and friendships outside the community of faith.” (New International Commentary)
In other words, friendships should not be based on the external, but what is in the heart of a man, just as God views our friendship with Him.
Prov 27:19, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects man.”
Prov 19:5, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.”
This proverb applies the principle of vs. 1 to the courtroom, and tells us of the consequences of lying, especially in a courtroom while under oath. Whether the false witness is found out or not, the Supreme Court of Heaven knows all, and the one who testifies falsely will come under the Divine judgment of God. So Solomon repeatedly warns us against perverting truth and justice, whether by bribes, Prov 17:23; cf. Isa 5:23, favoritism Prov 24:23 or lying under oath, as here and vs. 9.
The first half of this verse is identical to the first half of vs. 9. The second half varies slightly.
We have seen this “false witness” SHEQER ED in Prov 6:19; 12:17; 145, 25, and as we have seen, SHEQER means, “to lie or deceive.” Therefore, this false witness is a liar and deceiver.
As for his judgment, “he will not go unpunished,” is actually LO NAQAH in the Hebrew which, with the negative LO means, “he will not be free from guilt, exempt or innocent.” It is in the passive Niphal Imperfect which means he will continually receive the action of not being innocent. When someone is not innocent, it means that they will be punished for their actions, cf. Prov 11:21; 16:5; 17:5.
In the second half, “he who tells lies,” is PUACH KAZAB that literally means, “he blows lies, deception or fraud.” It is in the causative active Hiphil Imperfect that means, “he is continually caused to tell lies, and deceive others with his fraudulent words.” What causes his lies and deception is his lust of worldly wealth.
Next we see the judgment, “He will not escape,” which is the simple passive Niphal Imperfect of MALAT that means “escape,” and usually has the connotation of escaping from mortal danger. With the negative LO it means, “he will not escape Divine discipline” that can lead to the Sin Unto Death.
Solomon also said in Ecc. 3:16-17, “Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there.”
Liars may think that they are clever and getting away with something, but their story will eventually break down, either because they cannot keep track of all that they have said or because some inadvertent circumstance will reveal the lie. Even though a witness may lie successfully in court, after the verdict has been reached he has to live with himself and those who know the truth, especially since the Law forbade reaching a verdict based on one person’s testimony, Num 35:30; Deut 19:6; 19:15. Therefore, at least one other person knows his lie and as always, God knows his lie as well. So they never truly get away with it. If it does not eat away at them internally, God will deal with it eternally.
Prov 10:9, “He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.”
Under the Law, the false accuser if found out would receive the same punishment he intended for the one he lied about, Deut 19:16-19, “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing, 17then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days. 18And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely, 19then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.”
“The irony of this warning is that the prudent, those who consider the outcomes of their choices (cf. 16:17; 22:3; 27:12), would not lie, even without this warning. The arrogant, who think that they can, literally, “get away” with lying, are those who reject wisdom’s counsel.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Next in vs. 6-7 we see the effect of financial or social status on relationships, which bind these verses closely together and continues the theme of vs. 4 and 18:23. Vs. 6 speaks to the benefits and cautions the rich man should have, while vs. 7 speaks to the harsh realities of how the poor man it treated.
Proverbs 19:6, “Many will entreat the favor of a generous man, and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.”
“Entreat” is an interestingly word. It is the verb CHALAH. This verb has two groups of meaning. The basic meaning is, “to be weak, to be sick or to be tired,” and occurs in the Qal stem. The Piel form of CHALAH, as we have here, is the most difficult to interpret. Sometimes it keeps its root meaning, but other times it uses a secondary root. These secondary Piel uses are usually found with the word PANIM that means “face.” The resulting translation is “to seek the favor of or to entreat,” as we have here. Zophar, Job’s counselor, told him that if he was good, people would “entreat his favor” in Job 11:19; which is the same principle we have in our verse. With the root meaning of “to be or become sick,” this entreating can carry a negative connotation regarding the one who is entreating.
“The favor of a generous man” is a good translation for the concept of a man who is a giving man. The Hebrew words are PANIM for “face,” that is used euphemistically for someone who does acts of goodwill towards others, and NADIYB is used for “a generous man,” which is an adjective meaning, “willing, generous or noble,” and is used as a noun to mean those of noble birth. The word often denotes an attitude of the heart which consents or agrees, often readily and cheerfully, to a course of action, and describes an individual as one of excellent moral character. Combined PANIM NADIYB means, “the favor of a generous man.”
When people know that you are generous and willingly give, they will seek you out for a gift. Therefore, you need to be extra prudent and cautious about giving, so that they do not take advantage of your generosity and lead you to bankruptcy or worse.
Then we have a warning, “and every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.” Literally this verse says, “a man of gifts is a friend of everyone.”
Once again we see the shallowness of people who choose their friends based on what they can get from them. In this case, the gift giver is not the one in the wrong. He is doing as the Lord instructs, to be generous with the wealth that he has been blessed with. The issue here is the friends who are latching on to him just because he gives gifts.
So the warning is to the gift giver, to have your eyes wide open regarding those who call you their friend. You need to have discernment and seek out their heart to determine whether they are legitimate friends who will “stick closer than a brother,” Prov 18:24, or if they are the shallow ones who love you because of what they can get from you, and when the presents run out, they will run away too
How different was the mind of Jesus in this world. He received sinners and ate with them; He sought not the smiles of the great, nor feared their frowns! Through the Holy Spirit He commanded those who would follow in His steps to “be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation,” Rom 12:16.
Proverbs 19:7, “All the brothers of a poor man hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone.”
This subject began with the poor person’s supplications back in Prov 18:23, and ends with the assertion that they are of no avail, here in vs. 7.
Here we have three lines to this proverb. The first speaks to the hatred even family members can have for their poor brothers and sisters. The second is a greater-than phrase that emphasizes their complete appall of him, as they distance themselves from him. The third shows the sad reality of turning a “deaf ear” towards him, which means that even though he diligently seeks their friendship, they turn their back on him.
The first section, uses “brothers,” which is ACH that can mean, “a brother, fellow or close companion.” The sad commentary here is that when a man is “poor,” RUSH, his brothers, or even his closest associates, will “hate him,” SANE, (saw-nay’).
The second section uses “friends,” REA that means, “kinsman, fellow countryman or friend,” and therefore represents his close companions. These thought to be “close companions” now run or “go far from him,” which is RACHAQ that means, “to be far or to be separate.” Therefore, they terminate their friendship with him, because he no longer has any worldly gifts to offer them.
So we have the principle that if the brothers of a poor man hate him, how much more will his no bloodline friends also hate him and cut themselves off from him?
Then in the third section we see the futile pursuit of the poor man to regain his friends, “He pursues them with words, but they are gone.”
“Pursues” is the Piel Participle of RADAPH for intensively pursuing or chasing after his family and friends. He chases after them with “words,” EMER, that connotes Bible Doctrine or God’s Word, cf. Num 24:4, Prov 19:27. Therefore, with Bible Doctrine he seeks after them, pursuing their friendship. He is trying to give them the most valuable thing in the universe, God’s Word, Prov 3:13-14; 8:10-12, 19; 16:16, and have that as the basis of their friendship.
But unfortunately, they do not want any part of it or him. They only desire worldly riches from him as, “they are gone,” LO HEMMAH that literally says, “they are not,” meaning they want nothing to do with him any longer because he has no worldly riches to offer them, and therefore have separated themselves from him. In other words, they don’t return his calls or text messages.
“The world prefers the rich and great over the destitute and outwardly lowly. But let the Christian remember that his Lord appeared on earth as one of the poor whom His brethren despised. His friends went far from Him, though He pursued them with tender entreaties. Surely those who are now linked by grace with Him must always cherish a loving concern for the needy.” (H.A. Ironside Expository Commentary.)
Both biblically and innately, we know we are to love people and use things, but practically, too often we do just the opposite. We love things and use people. People have a tendency to hang around those who can advance their career or enhance their social standing. Jesus, however, did not do this at all. Instead, He said we should give to those who cannot return the favor.
It has been said that you can judge a man’s character by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. That is why Jesus is so remarkable. He chose to hang out with those who, in the world’s eyes, were unimportant and forgotten. We too should do the same.
Lev 19:15, “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbor fairly.”
Luke 14:13-14, “But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,
14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Mat 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Section 2, Vs. 8-15, Wisdom regarding the use of wealth (Bible Doctrine) in society and the home.
Prov 19:8, “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls that results in God’s blessings in time and eternity.
“Gets Wisdom” is actually QANAH LEB that means “buy or acquire heart.” It is used here to represent Bible Doctrine in the right lobe of your soul.
This verse once again stresses the importance of having God’s Word resident within your soul. And as it says in the first half, having Bible doctrine in the soul means you, “love your own soul,” AHEB NEPHESH.” They love their soul because they are fortifying it with the greatest power known to man, God’s Word, which guides and protects the soul from sin and Satan’s Cosmic System. God’s Word provides peace, love, gentleness, goodness, etc.
Therefore, the one who does not have God’s Word resident within their soul, in essence, hates their soul because they are not fortifying it with Divine power to overcome the world.
As the second half tells us, when we “keep,” SHAMAR or guard God’s Word within our soul, we will “find” MATSA, “goodness,” TUB within our lives. Yet without it, there will be pain, suffering, anguish, etc., within our souls and we will experience loss of rewards in the eternal state.
So we see that diligence in learning God’s Word demonstrates that someone cares deeply about the quality of his or her life. And God’s promise is that obeying what one learns becomes a source of blessing, as the same idiom occurs in Prov 16:20; 17:20; 18:22.
Prov 19:9, “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls to avoid the discipline of the Lord for habitually committing verbal sins, i.e., sins of the tongue.
Repeating the principles of vs. 5, this verse ends by speaking of the third stage of Divine discipline for the habitual liar: the Sin Unto Death. “Perish” here is AVADH, אָבַד that means, “to destroy, to annihilate, to perish, to ruin, or to exterminate.” The Qal Imperfect means the liar produces the action of continually destroying his soul because he is not protecting it with Bible Doctrine in his soul, from sin, human good or evil, as he lives inside of Satan’s cosmic system. If he continually allows his soul to be filled with the garbage from his Old Sin Nature and this world, resulting in reversionism and apostasy, the Lord with eventually take him out under a dishonorable discharge.
Prov 19:10, “Luxury is not fitting for a fool; much less for a slave to rule over princes.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls to ensure social and moral order.
“Luxury” is the noun TA’ANUGH, תַּעֲנוּג that means, “ease, pleasure, pampering, daintiness, luxury, or pleasantness.” It means living a life of pleasure and luxury. It is used only five times in Scripture, here and also in Ecc 2:8; Song of Sol 7:6; Micah 1:16; 2:9. Our verse is the first use of this word in Scripture. It draws a picture of a fool’s inappropriate enjoyment of comfort and luxury, as a “fool” often has a negative moral and spiritual connotations. So it is the inappropriate use of luxury.
“Not fitting” is LO NA’WEH, where NA’WEH means, “beautiful, lovely or seemly.” With the negative LO it means “inappropriate.”
The second half provides a comparison to luxury being inappropriate for a fool, where it is also inappropriate for a slave to “rule,” MASHAL, “to rule or speak a proverb,” “over princes,” SAR, for “leaders, officials, commanders, etc.”
So this passage warns that some things are not right. In this case, fools ought not to enjoy the fruits of wisdom, and masters must not be foolish, lest they be ruled by those under them. Because fools reject wisdom, (Bible Doctrine), they should not enjoy its rewards. For fools to enjoy these things, as for slaves to replace their rulers, unravels the moral order of society, and is thus “not appropriate,” cf. Prov 17:7; 26:1; 30:21ff. In an upside down kingdom, the incorrigible fool lives the good life at the expense of the righteous and so validates his impiety toward God and his unethical behavior toward people.
Next in vs. 11 and 12 we have principles that pertain to avoiding “anger,” first subjectively within oneself, vs. 11, and objectively from the king, vs. 12; cf. Prov 16:14.
Prov 19:11, “A man’s discretion makes him slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls to avoid anger from within ourselves.
As we have seen before, “slow to anger” is literally “lengthen his nose” ARAK APH, which is an idiom for the patient believer. What makes him patient is his “discretion,” SEKEL that means, “intelligence or good sense.” This intelligence is more than just mere book knowledge or learning Bible Doctrine. It has a greater significance and means insight or understanding in the application of Bible Doctrine. So we see another benefit of God’s Word being resident and applied within your soul – patience.
In the second half we see once again that it is to his “glory,” TIPHARAH, תִּפְאָרָה, that he “overlooks a transgression.” PESHA is used here for transgression, which also can mean “rebellion or offense.” So to overlook another’s sin and not make an issue out of it brings blessings to you. This is a main factor in the application of AGAPE Love towards mankind.
Therefore, the prudent understand that a wise life is one of self-discipline and spiritual growth in light of God’s standards, cf. Prov 1:7. Patience is not only good, but can always be developed and strengthened, especially by training oneself to ignore the often unintended slights of others. When we demonstrate a steadfast forbearance, it will bring respect, and eventually, honor from both others and God, cf. Prov 3:3f; 14:29.
Prov 19:12, “The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls to avoid reaping the anger from those in authority over us and instead gain their blessings.
Here we see that it does not pay to get on the wrong side of a ruler, leader, boss, coach, etc., anyone who is in authority over you. If you do, it will cause his “wrath” ZA’APH, זַעַף, for “wrath or anger,” to come down on you, which will not be pleasant for you.
Remember that the king, or those in authority over you, exercised the power of life and death, cf. Prov 16:14f. We therefore need to deal with them wisely, Prov 14:35; 16:13, 15b, letting our deeds speak for us, Prov 22:29; 25:6f, and not provoking them, Prov 20:2.
And if you do what is pleasing to them, you will be blessed, “like dew on the grass.” This means his blessing will be on you to provide for you, each and every day. That is, to enjoy the logistical grace blessings from God.
The next two verses use object lessons of children and spouses.
Prov 19:13, “A foolish son is destruction to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls to ensure a cohesive, peaceful and joyful family life.
The first warning is for the child to not be or become a fool. Because if you are or do, it will cause your father to be “destroyed,” HAWWAH, that can mean, “calamity, destruction, lustful craving, or wickedness,” the latter sense being most prominent in its occurrences. From this we see that the sins of the son can lead the father into his own self-destructive sinning in the form of worry, anxiety, anger, bitterness, revenge, implacability, or the like. The son may be operating in lasciviousness, which can cause the father to stumble over sins of arrogance or bitterness.
In the second half, have the “contentions” of a wife, which is the Noun MIDYAN, מִדְָין that means, “dispute or contention.” It refers to a “contentious persons,” in this case a wife, who brings “quarrels and disputes” consistently to her husband as noted in the phrase the “wife who is a constant dripping.”
This constant dripping, also known as a “Chinese water torture,” can drive a husband mad. It is from the Hebrew words DELEPH, דֶּלֶף that literally means, “a leaking roof,” and TARAD טָרַד, that means, “to be constant, continuous, no break, or no let up.” So it is a constant leaking of contentions and disputes coming from the soul of his wife. These two words are only used here and in a synonymous verse in Prov 27:15, “A constant dripping on a day of steady rain and a contentious woman are alike.”
It describes the incessant, destructive behavior of a quarrelsome wife as the “constant dripping of rain,” that is used to depict the contentious “wife,” ISHSHAH.
The constant dripping or pecking of whining or complaining can wear down the weak soul that is not fortified with Bible doctrine, causing him to react towards her in various sinful ways, either verbally or physically. Therefore, Bible Doctrine is needed also for the husband to avoid such reactionary sins.
Prov 19:14, “House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls to enjoy the blessing of God in our lives.
Here we have two such blessings, for example: The inheritance from your father, and the prudent wife.
The “prudent wife,” SAKHAL ISHSHAH, where SAKHAL means, “to succeed or understanding,” means she is one who succeeds in the application of Bible doctrine to her life. She trusts in God and His Word in all areas of her life, and therefore does not enter into selfishness, self-pity or self-centered thoughts or behaviors thinking she deserves something more or something else. This chaste thinking, due to Bible doctrine circulating within her soul, causes her to avoid whining and complaining about every little thing, and being a constant nag to her husband. When she avoids those things, it is truly a blessing from God to her and her husband.
Prov 19:15, “Laziness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle man will suffer hunger.”
Here we note the necessity of the application of Bible Doctrine from our souls to work diligently, doing our job unto to the Lord, and thereby being a blessing to society rather than a drain on it.
“Laziness” is the Hebrew Noun ATSLAH, עַצְלָה that means, “laziness or idleness,” and is only used here in all of Scripture.
It is used to warn the righteous that laziness brings deep sleep and resulting hunger upon a man because of a lack of work that results in a lack of wages earned, which results in poverty. The plural form occurs in Prov 31:27.
In the second half, this principle is doubly emphasized with “an idle man,” which is the Noun REMIYAH רְמִָיּה that means, “laziness or deceit.” We noted this word previously for the “slack, slothful or negligent” person in Prov 10:4; 12:24, 27. As it tells us here, the man who does not work as he should “will suffer hunger,” which is the verb RAEB in the Qal Imperfect for ongoing habitual or customary action.
So we see that the slothful will impoverish themselves and starve. Therefore, we need to apply God’s Word towards our lives and jobs so that we are a useful and contributing member of society; that means personal blessings to us and blessings to our society as well.
In Conclusion, in order to have a peaceful and blessed life and society, we need to take in and apply God’s Word on a consistent basis so that we:
- Guard the Doctrine in our souls in order to receive God’s blessings in time and eternity.
- Avoid committing verbal sins, i.e., sins of the tongue, and its resultant discipline from the Lord.
- Ensure social and moral order.
- Have great patience in the application of AGAPE Love.
- Receive grace and praise from those in authority over us and avoid their wrath.
- Ensure a cohesive, peaceful and joyful family life.
- Enjoy the blessings of God in our lives; e.g., an inheritance from our parents and a prudent spouse.
- Avoid laziness and be a contributing member of society.
Section 3, Vs. 16-22, Educating the son to show kindness to the needy.
After being exhorted to adhere to Bible Doctrine in our lives, vs. 16, we are given an instruction to be kind to the poor, vs. 17, and also to show unfailing love towards our fellow mankind. This is wrapped up with a “better than” passage where it tells us we are better off to be poor than to be a liar filled with lies, vs. 21. The section is punctuated with sayings about the Lord, vs. 17, 21, 23, who upholds a moral order that rewards the kind with abundant life, and who also punishes the unkind with death.
Prov 19:16, “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of conduct will die.”
In the first half, parallel to vs. 8, we have our heading once again, “The importance of guarding God’s Word / Bible Doctrine within your soul.” When you “keep the commandment” SHAMAR MITSWAH, (i.e., apply principles of Bible doctrine to your life), you are “keeping,” SHAMAR, (i.e., protecting), your “soul,” NEPHESH, from the destruction that result from living in sin and Satan’s cosmic system. As Waltke notes, the two “keeps” SHAMAR are a play on words, “to heed scrupulously” and “to protect scrupulously.”
“Commandment” is in the singular here to emphasize the individual principles and precepts of God’s Word that we are to abide by. It makes this a personal one-on-one relationship between us and the Lord. Therefore, obedience to instruction (God’s Word) is a safeguard of life; remember that His Word is the word of life, Phil 2:16; 1 John 1:1.
Phil 2:14, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.”
In the second half, we have the reason for guarding the application of God’s Word in our life that guards our soul, as it warns, “he who is careless of conduct will die.”
“Careless” here is more of a commentary, where the actual Hebrew verb is the Qal Active Participle of BAZAH, בָָּזה that means, “to despise, or regard with contempt.”
When we do not apply the doctrine we have been taught, we are saying in essence we despise our souls and despise righteous “conduct.” Conduct is the Noun DEREK that means “way, manner or custom.” It means we despise or treat with contempt our righteous character and conduct, and their consequences. Therefore, we are despising our “way of life” as we subject our soul to the influences of sin and Satan’s cosmic system.
As a result, we “will die,” MUTH, that signifies a severance of what should be an unending relationship in love and loyalty with God and his people, as we suffer Divine discipline that could culminate in the Sin Unto Death, S.U.D.
Therefore, the wise believer will do well to keep watch over his behavior, and make sure it is in line with Scripture. When we are attentive and put into practice God’s mandates, we take steps that will help preserve our lives physically, emotionally and spiritually. We keep or guard our soul. Solomon confirmed this truth in the book of Ecclesiastes.
Ecc 8:5, “He who keeps a command experiences no trouble, for a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure.”
Prov 19:17, “One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed.”
This is an instruction to be kind to the poor, as the Lord will reward those who are.
Here is one of the commandments we are to heed, “graciousness,” CHANAN, חָנַן that means, “to be gracious, to show favor or to have compassion,” “to a poor man,” DAL, “poor or weak,” that means poor financially and/or weak socially.
As this proverbs tells us, when we are gracious toward a poor man, it is like, “lending to the Lord,” LAWAH, לָוָה, YHWH. LAWAH means to “join or borrow,” and in the Hiphil stem, as it is here, it means, “to lend.”
“Joining” connotes your partnership with the Lord in helping those in need, which may be the answer to the poor man’s prayers. Also note that the lending here is not to the poor man, but to the Lord. The one who gives generously to those in need figuratively gave a loan to the Lord. Presumably because the Lord’s honor is tied up with the poor, for He made them and they too are His image, Prov 14:31; 17:5; 22:2. Having made a loan to the Lord means He will repay you, with blessings in time or eternity, as the second half of this verse tells us, “the Lord will repay our good deeds.”
“Repay” is the verb SHALAM, שָׁלַם from SHALOM that means, “to be complete or to be at peace.” But here it is used in the Piel stem, and its most common use in the Piel means, “to pay what is owed.” This can be positive, such as the reward for good deeds or a righteous life as in, Ruth 2:12; 1 Sam 24:19; Prov 13:21. So this repayment not only affects us overtly, but also spiritually, with peace and prosperity going hand in hand.
“Good deed” here is not TOB, but GEMUL, גְּמוּל, a masculine noun indicating “recompense, benefits, something deserved, dealings, or doings.” It conveys the sense of getting what one deserves, and here it is the sense of reward. Therefore, we see that the action is the reward itself.
This does not mean that the repayment is made in full, just because of your action of giving graciously to those in need, but it indicates the inner peace and happiness that you will receive when you are able to give graciously to others, and do so with the right motivation from God’s Word in your soul.
Therefore, we are exhorted to esteem the powerless poor person as worthy of favor, active acceptance and acts of graciousness and love because the Lord will reward us for doing so, cf. Prov 14:21, 31; 22:9; 28:27.
God has left the poor in the world to test the hearts of those who have better provision. And He accepts what is done with compassion to relieve the needy, as if it was done to Him.
As a result, God will bless those who bless others with the material blessings God has given to them, cf. Prov 3:27f.; 11:17, 25; 14:21; 22:9, 22-23; 25:22f.; Psa. 41:1-3; 112:5; Mat 25:34; Luke. 6:38; James 1:27.
Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
Yet, if you oppress those in need, you will have to contend with God as their Defender, Prov 21:13; 22:22-23; 28:27.
Prov 21:13, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered.”
Next we have this section’s core, vs. 18-21, that consists of two pairs of rearing proverbs. The first, in a rare direct address in the imperative mood, is an exhortation for the father to discipline his son and not aspire to kill him, vs. 18. Then in vs. 19, also partially in direct address, it teaches him to not ease the penalty incurred by a hot-head.
Prov 19:18, “Discipline your son while there is hope, and do not desire his death.”
“Discipline” is the intensive active Piel stem with the Imperative of command of YASAR that means to “rebuke, chastise or instruct.” Even when speaking of rebuke or chastising, the idea of instruction is included, cf. Deut. 4:36; Prov. 31:1, rather than cursing or condemning. We noted this word in Prov 9:7.
Therefore, we are to raise up our children with discipline and instruction “while there is hope (TIQWAH),” meaning, while they are still young, (or new believers who are spiritually immature), where Satan’s cosmic system has not yet completely engulfed them in false systems of thinking. This is the principle of “The iron hand in the velvet glove.”
The second half “do not desire his death,” in the Hebrew is literally, “but to kill him do not lay your soul,” where “lay” is the Active Qal Stem and Jussive of desire mood of NASA. Therefore, from our innermost being we should not desire the easy way out of our parenting responsibilities, nor desire for our children to suffer the consequences of their sinful ways or breaking the law.
This death also refers to causing the son to participate in experiencing an eternal death, severed forever from a relationship with the living God and his people because you never led him to the knowledge of salvation in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, failure to teach, train and discipline our children is tantamount to seeking their death, because self-discipline is a primary trait of the wise. To fail to teach children discipline before they leave home may well condemn them to lives of foolish, and therefore self-destructive behavior, cf. Prov 27:5, or the worst case, never come to salvation.
Prov 27:5, “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed.”
Prov 19:19, “A man of great anger will bear the penalty, for if you rescue him, you will only have to do it again.”
Continuing the theme of rearing our children, in the previous verse we noted that the son is corrected by parental discipline, but here the hothead must be corrected by allowing the consequences of his own emotional anger to punish him. So we see the consequences of not training our children on how to deal with adversity, bullying, verbal abuse, etc.
If we do not train them in the principles of Bible doctrine related to longsuffering and patience, they instead will have “great anger,” (GADOL CHEMA – great wrath, heat or anger), in their lives, cf. Prov 22:24-25; 29:22. And it is alluded that this great anger will cause them to commit further verbal or overt sins that will cause them to “bear a penalty,” NASA ONESH that literally means, “to carry a fine.” It means he must make amends by paying compensation in some way to repair and make good the damage he has done in his anger. So we see the consequences of his anger resulting in punitive discipline.
The second half of this passage warns that we should not intervene in this case, using ‘IM NATSAL for “if you rescue him” and YASAPH in the causative active Hiphil Imperfect for “you will have to do it again.” That is, he will once again vent his heated emotions intentionally against the perceived offender and unintentionally against himself and you will have to deal with his outbursts of anger over and over again.
This proverb warns people who would like to help someone with a bad temper that by paying his fines, (whether it is a monetary fine, social ostracism or some other form), to rescue or excuse him from whatever punishment is levied against him, is not the best thing you can do for him, since he inevitably will return to his folly Prov 10:23; 15:21; 26:11.
Prov 26:11, “Like a dog that returns to its vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.”
Bailing him out of trouble is counterproductive. For if you do, you will alleviate the impact his fines should have had. More simply, fines were used to teach a lesson. But if they are not rescued, they may understand the consequences of their folly; whereas, if they are excused, they will never learn. So he should be left to himself until he learns by punishment what he would not receive otherwise. Ironically, the one who “rescues’ the hothead becomes caught in the unhealthy dynamics of his way.
Therefore, paying someone’s debt does not typically teach them a lesson. You are much better off counseling them about prudent behavior and encourage them to pay back those they have done harm to. That is why AA has a step of making recompense with those you have hurt while you were under the influence of your sin nature.
Next we have the second proverb pair, vs. 19-20 that also begins with the rare imperative, admonishing the son to accept the father’s discipline and counsel, which is implicitly escalated to the Lord’s immutable counsel in vs. 21b.
Prov 19:20, “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.”
Like our main headings in this chapter, this too exhorts the importance of receiving Bible doctrine in your life. This verse turns from exhorting the Father to teach his son, to exhorting the son to receive his father’s teaching, (i.e., Bible Doctrine).
It begins with the exhortation to “listen to counsel,” SHAMA ETSAH, which means perceive doctrine through the ear gate. Then we have “accept discipline,” which is QABAL, (qaval), MUSAR that means to apply the principles of doctrine in your life. The first way we receive discipline is to perceive doctrine the easy way, (e.g. in the class room), the second way is learning the hard way, (e.g. learning through punitive discipline).
Proverbs does not commend the “lone thinker,” and implies that we cannot arrive at good and wise conclusions or act wisely without help or counsel from God’s Word resident within our souls, cf. Prov 12:15; 15:22.
The reason we need to perceive God’s Word in all situations is so “we may be wise the rest of our days,” EL MA’AN CHAKAM BE ACHARIYT. Bible doctrine in your soul carries you through your entire life and into eternity; therefore, it is highly beneficial to your soul to learn God’s Word, especially learning from your mistakes. Vs. 27 makes it clear that one must persevere in the teaching of God’s Word to guarantee this outcome.
Prov 19:21, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.”
Here we have the escalation of learning / discipline to the Lord’s immutable counsel.
In this verse we learn that we have “many plans,” RAB MACHASHAWAH, מַחֲשָׁבָה meaning, “thoughts, plans, or inventions,” “in our hearts,” BE ISH LEB, (in a man’s heart), “but the counsel,” WAW ETSAH, “of the Lord,” YHWH, יְהָוה, “it will stand,” the Qal Imperfect for ongoing action of HIY QUM.
“In its restlessness, the human heart constantly turns from one idea to another, making more plans than any person could ever realize. In the providence of God; however, the universe is designed so that events happen one at a time.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Even though we come up with many thoughts and plans for our lives, and how we will go about accomplishing them, the fact of the reality is that the Word of God, being a counselor to our soul, has the right information we need to make good, just and right decisions that will have lasting effect. We cannot go wrong by having God’s Word lead us in all of our decision making responsibilities. Therefore, this verse encourages the wise to live in the fear of the Lord, submitting their plans to His will and purposes.
Isa 40:6-8, “A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. 7The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.”
Prov 19:22, “What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar.”
Now coming full circle, we are once again exhorted to be “kind” toward one another, which uses the Hebrew noun CHESED חֶסֶד that means, “grace, steadfast love, kindness, etc.” Being “kind” or having unconditional love for your fellow man at all costs is most “desirable in a man,” TA”AWAH, תַּאֲָוה that means, “a longing, eager desire, or delight.” What people desire in others is decency, love and kindness. This is an attractive trait that we respect and admire. We do not want to hang around with people that are mean and nasty.
Therefore, we see that what gives the Lord and our fellow mankind great delight and pleasure is our acts of kindness or unfailing love towards one another. And as the second half indicates, these acts of graciousness have to do with our words, (i.e., not committing verbal sins like lying).
The second half exhorts us by saying, “it is better,” TOB, “to be poor,” RUSH, “than a man,” MIN ISH, “who is a liar,” KAZAB. Like vs. 1, this “better than” passage exhorts us to not commit sins of the tongue; thereby, continuing to walk in the integrity of the Lord, where it results in AGAPE love and kindness toward others. Here we also see once again that it is better to not have the riches of this world, Satan’s cosmic system, and keep our souls experientially sanctified, than to gain the riches of this world through various forms of verbal sins. Simply stated, it is better to walk in Christ, than to walk in sin!
Section 4, Vs. 23-29, Conclusion: The Protection of Bible Doctrine in the soul, for the Rich and Poor Man.
This section begins with an exhortation to receive and apply God’s Word that has resultant blessings, and then is followed by six verses that demonstrate the negative results of not applying God’s Word in your life.
Prov 19:23, “The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.”
Vs. 23a, like 16a, exhorts us to receive and apply God’s Word, which is a blessing with the reward of life. Vs. 23 takes it up a notch, and escalates the Father’s command of vs. 16a to the “fear of the Lord”, (YIRAH YHWH), in vs. 23a, cf. Prov 14:7; 1 Tim 4:8.
Remember that most of the usages of the noun YIRAH are in the concept of worship and obedience, not the fear of God. Although a little healthy dose of a true fear of God will lead to obedience. Nevertheless, it means awe and respect of the Lord and is synonymous with the worship of Him. We worship the Lord through the daily application of His Word, whether it is within our church services, with our songs, praise, prayers, and study of His Word; or outside of church, in the daily decisions we make along with our prayers and praise, which is our “life,” the emphatic use of CHAYYIM – “surely is life”.
1 Tim 4:8, “On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
“The fear of the Lord is the first requirement of gaining wisdom, Prov 1:7, and wisdom is the source of life Prov 3:18; 8:35, so that obedience to wisdom, which is the essence of the fear of the Lord, yields life, Prov 10:27; 14:27; 22:4; cf. 16:6.” (Complete Biblical Library)
As we have noted, especially in the Psalms and Wisdom literature, the “fear of the Lord” is synonymous with the worship of Him. Remember that Jesus Christ, the Messianic shoot from the stump of Jesse, is described by Isa 11:2-3a as, “the Spirit of YHWH” that will rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, and the spirit of knowledge and the fear of YHWH. 3And He will delight in the fear of YHWH.” In the context of Isa 11, YIRAH clearly means reverence or obedience.
Indeed “The fear of YHWH” is the beginning of wisdom, Prov 1:7, and wisdom is based upon following the mandates of YHWH. When we have this type of reverence, according to traditional wisdom teaching, it is rewarded as a person receives:
- Long life, Prov 10:27.
- Avoids trouble, Prov16:6.
- Receives “riches, honor, and life,” Prov 22:4.
It is this kind of fear which enables people to:
- Live righteously, Jer 32:40.
- Not economically oppress the poor or weak, Neh 5:9.
- Show hospitality to the stranger, Gen 20:11.
- Show kindness to friends, Job 6:14.
Just as Ex 20:20 notes, when the Lord gave Israel the commandments at Sinai, the purpose of “the fear of the Lord” was so that “…the fear of Him might be before you, that you may not sin.”
So the question is, do you really “fear the Lord?”
Oswald Chambers noted in relationship to our obedience to God’s Word, “We don’t consciously and deliberately disobey God—we simply don’t listen to Him. God has given His commands to us, but we pay no attention to them—not because of willful disobedience, but because we do not truly love and respect Him. “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15).” (My Utmost of His Highest.)
This is further understood by examining Ex 20:19, “They said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’”
It is interesting how people will listen to the messenger of God, but do not want to hear from God Himself. Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks, we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey. On the other hand, if the message comes from one of his messengers, it is simply one of God’s servants speaking to us and we feel obedience is optional, not imperative. We respond by saying, “Well, that’s only your own opinion or idea, even though I don’t deny that what you said is probably God’s truth.” It is much easier to pick and choose what we will obey and what we will not because it came from the messenger, as opposed to God speaking directly to us Himself. But the fact of the matter is, the messenger, many times the Pastor-Teacher is telling you what God’s Word says. So in fact, it is God speaking to you, which precludes your optional response.
Therefore, we need to be more attentive to the teachers of God’s Word and apply what they have taught us, and stop thinking that it is optional. When we do, we will truly experience and enjoy “life.”
This is indicated in the second half of vs. 23, “so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil,” which explains the abundant life as abundant provision and sure protection, cf. Deut 11:15; Lev 26:6.
Here we see one of the blessings of applying the Word of God in our lives.
“Satisfied” is the Adjective SABEA once again that means, “full, satisfied or abounding.” It indicates fullness of life in years and in satisfaction, Gen 25:8; 35:29; 1 Chr 29:28; Job 42:17. It also indicates a fullness or satisfaction of God’s approval and favor in Deut 33:23. Therefore, someone who has “The Fear of the Lord” will abide in satisfaction, just as dwelling in the secret place of the Most High is like abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, Psa 91:1f. It means you will receive guidance and protection from God’s Word applied from your soul, with the result of inner peace, happiness and contentment, +H, as you faith rest in The Lord and His Word.
And as it says here, for those who fear God, it means a fullness or sufficiency of “sleep.” The Hebrew verb for “sleep” here is LIN that we noted in Prov 15:31 for “abide”, which means, “to lodge or to tarry,” that is, to rest or to stay, often overnight. Its primary notion of “to remain at night,” is used to indicate the time of danger; as darkness and night often signify moral darkness, John 1:5; 8:12; 12:35, 46. So this is the time when you will be protected, when sin, human good, evil, and Satan’s cosmic system tempt you to go astray, which is noted in the last phrase, “untouched by evil,” BAL PAQAD RA.
BAL is a negative particle that means, “not or nothing,” and PAQAD has many meanings. Here in the simple passive Niphal Imperfect with the negative BAL it means, “not visited.” Therefore, when we are obedient to God’s Word, i.e., “The Fear of the Lord,” we will “not be visited by evil.” In other words, untouched by or protected from evil, sin and Satan’s cosmic system.
So a blessing we receive for the consistent intake and application of Bible Doctrine is to have peace within our souls, as we are protected from the adverse effects of sin, evil, human good, and Satan’s cosmic system.
We could also say here that if we do not fear the Lord, (i.e., are not obedient to His Word), then we will have fear, worry and anxiety in our lives, as sin and Satan’s cosmic system run rampant over our souls. Therefore once again, we see the importance of the intake and application of Bible Doctrine on a daily basis!
Prov 19:24, “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, and will not even bring it back to his mouth.”
The first half of vs. 24 is identical to the first line of Prov 26:15. Having been exhorted to apply Bible Doctrine on a consistent basis, which has resultant blessings. Here we have a warning not to be a “sluggard” when it comes to learning and applying God’s Word.
“Sluggard” is a word we have noted throughout Proverbs, ATSEL, that means, “idle, lazy, slothful, or sluggish.” The sluggard is a useless or lazy person in many aspects of life, and here in regard to their intake and application of Bible Doctrine. In the first half of this verse, we see that they “bury their hand in the dish.”
“Bury” is the Qal Perfect of TAMAN, טָמַן that means, “to hide, conceal or bury.”
“Dish” is the noun TSALLACHATH, צַלַּחַת, meaning a “bowl or pan.” The KJV translates it “bosom,” because of various translations of the Septuagint, (LXX). It speaks of a bowl or pan in the center of the table, out of which the diner takes pieces of food or into which he dips into the sauce, cf. Prov 17:1.
In the second half, we see the slug “will not even bring it back to his mouth.” This uses the causative active Hiphil Imperfect of SUB, (suv), with the negative LO that means, “his laziness causes him to continually not return his hand to his mouth.” Therefore, he buries his hand in the bowl, but never feeds himself of the food found within it.
This verse uses a comical, and almost impossible, picture of someone too lazy to bring the food back to his mouth, so that his hand sits in the food dish. It emphasizes the spiritually lazy believer who does not apply the Word that has been taught. It tells us that laziness keeps someone from doing what is literally vital for the physical life, feeding himself food, which is analogous to the spiritually lazy believer who is slack on the intake and application of Bible Doctrine; thereby, not feeding his soul the spiritual nutrients necessary to provide for and nourish his spiritual life.
This is the believer who goes to church, but never applies the doctrines he is taught. He is a spiritual sluggard in God’s eyes. Although literally this describes the fact that some people are so lazy that even when food is provided for them, they do not bother to eat it. This is really speaking of the spiritual application where a believer does not take in or apply God’s Word when it is taught and provided for them.
This imagery reminds us of someone else that was spiritually lazy and did not feed himself the necessary food, even for his salvation, even though the Bread of Life was right in front of him. That person was Judas Iscariot, cf. Mat 26:23; Mark 14:20.
Mark 14:20, “And He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl’.”
As a result, the spiritual sluggard will have many problems:
- As Prov 6:6, 9 told us, they will always fail in the spiritual life, because their laziness results in moral failure.
- Prov 13:4 showed us that their souls want nothing in terms of Bible Doctrine, and therefore they get nothing.
- And now in Prov 19:24 we see that because they take no initiative to learn God’s Word, they will not fulfill God’s Plan for their lives, Prov 20:4
Later we will see that:
- They will not “do their job” in the spiritual life, failing in their Christian profession, Prov 21:25.
- They always create imaginary excuses for why they can not do this or that, or why they did not do this or that for God, Prov 22:13.
- Their spiritual prosperity and physical health will deteriorate, Prov 24:30.
- Due to the arrogance within their soul, they consider themselves wise or a spiritual giant, Prov 26:13-16, when in fact they are not.
Yet, with the intake, metabolization and application of God’s Word, the believer will be protected from these things and excel in Divine Good Production, glorifying God to the maximum.
Prov 19:25, “Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd, but reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.”
Similar to Prov 21:11, “When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; but when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.”
“Strike a scoffer” NAKAH LETS, speaks of the discipline the fool receives due to his folly or the Divine discipline the reversionist receives from God. As is always the case, Divine discipline is designed to teach, typically the one receiving the discipline, but in this case the lesson is for others to learn from, “the naive” PETHIY or immature but positive believer.
The naive, when they see the trouble that scoffers get into, learn to fear the consequences of folly. And as a result of learning from the discipline of others, even the positive immature believer will become “shrewd”, ARAM meaning, “prudent and wise,” cf. Prov 15:5, “A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.”
This verse goes from the “scoffer” to the “naive” to “one who has understanding,” BIN which means he is one who learns from all things, (i.e., the discipline of others, the discipline he may receive directly and learning from the Word – the easy way.) Therefore, the discerning responds to rebuke because they understand that they are not perfect and need correction from time to time.
And when they do, “they will gain knowledge,” BIN DA’ATH meaning, “to understand knowledge,” i.e., positive application of Bible doctrine to their life – wisdom.
As Paul said to Timothy in 1 Tim 5:20, “Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful of sinning.”
Prov 19:25, also emphasizes the locked in arrogance by the incorrigibility of the “scoffer,” as noted in Prov 21:11, as he is unmoved by correction, Prov 9:7f, nor does the example of the positive responses by the naïve or discerning affect him, because as Prov 1:7b tells us, “Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Therefore, this verse commends self-examination and self-discipline, lest one be trapped by this form of conceit.
So we can learn the hard way, by Divine discipline or the easy way, by discernment of Bible doctrine.
Prov 19:26, “He who assaults his father and drives his mother away is a shameful and disgraceful son.”
Here we see the negative consequences of the fool not learning from the discipline of his parents and having self-discipline, or from the punitive discipline of others, as he will negatively affect both his “father,” AB and their “mother,” ‘EM.
The two negative affects are, “assaults,” the intensive active Piel Participle of SHADAD, שָׁדַד, where the primary meaning of the verb is to, “devastate or to destroy,” and “drive away or chase away,” using the causative active Hiphil Imperfect of BARACH, בָּרַח. Both of these words speak to the negative consequences the parents receive by having a child that is a fool, whether this is physical harm that the son brings to the father or just the mental anguish that he causes both the mother and father, this type of child causes much damage to his parents and his relationship with them. The Hebrew indicates that by ruining his father, (destroying the family fortune), the foolish son leaves his mother as good as a defenseless widow.
The “son,” BEN, who does this, is both “shameful,” BOSH and “disgraceful,” CHAPHAR meaning, “to dig, to search out, or to be ashamed.” Here we see the public shame or disgrace that this son brings upon themselves and the family, which also causes them to “dig a hole” for themselves, speaking of future ramifications of his actions and negative relationship with his family. It means their shame is not just temporary, but will have a lasting affect both on themselves and on their parents.
“How he destroys the father is not stated. It could be by passive sloth (10:5), actively squandering the family fortune in riotous living (29:3), and/or by the overt crime of plundering the father and evicting the mother to seize the inheritance (20:20; [cf. Exod. 21:17; Lev. 20:19]; 28:24; 30:11, 17; cf. 2 Sam. 15:1-14).” (Waltke, New International Commentary.)
This is a sad reality that is also said to plague the last days in 2 Tim 3:2, “For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy.”
As you know, the fifth of the 10 Commandments mandates in Ex 20:12 and Deut 5:16 that you, “Honor your father and your mother.” When we are obedient to this mandate, there is a blessing, “that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you,” just as we have noted in Prov 1:8; 4:1-4.
So this proverb warns against ill treatment towards our parents, which can be direct verbal or physical harm one does to them, or may simply come in the way of continual foolish and disgraceful actions that the parents have to watch and suffer through. Treating our parents in such a way was condemned under the Law, Deut 27:16, as Agur will also note later in Prov 30:11-14, 17.
Prov 19:27, “Cease listening, my son, to discipline, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.”
This verse gives the reason for the son’s actions of vs. 26, and encourages self-“discipline,” MUSAR that means, “chastisement, discipline or warning,” of the “son,” BEN, by warning him to not stop “listening,” SHAMA, (taking in and applying Bible Doctrine through the ear gate), as well as, to not stop learning from the positive and negative examples of the lives of others, (as is the context of this section).
“Cease” is the Qal Imperative of CHADAL, that means to “stop, cease or refrain.” It is a command that says, “if you stop taking in God’s Word through the ear gate, there will be negative repercussions.” It warns the believer that if they do not keep going forward in their spiritual growth by learning Bible Doctrine, they will “stray,” SHAGAH, שָׁגָה, meaning to “stray or err,” from the “words of knowledge,” EMER DA’ATH, i.e., Bible doctrine. Without constant attention to Bible doctrine, depraved human beings will unconsciously stray from it.
Prov 5:23, “He will die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray.”
Combined with vs. 26, the reason for the disgraceful and shameful behavior of the son is due to his lack of concentration on the Word of God. And linked with vs. 25, verbal reproof gives the discerning knowledge, yet according to vs. 27, ceasing to listen to instruction leads to the loss of knowledge.
As H.A. Ironside notes, “It is an evidence of youthful pride for one to suppose he can listen to all kinds of theories, good and evil, but be defiled by none. Spiritual eclecticism may seem to be characterized by open-mindedness and liberality; but it generally ends by destroying faith. You can only recognize and avoid error when the truth of God is known and delighted in. Therefore it is vital to earnestly and diligently study the Scriptures. When someone proclaims what is contrary to God’s revealed word, it is time to refute him and his teaching. You cannot afford to trifle with unholy doctrine. Remember that what is opposed to the teaching of the unerring Word of God is directly from Satan. To dabble with it is to expose yourself to its powerful influence. Therefore refuse to hear it.” (H.A. Ironside Expository Commentary.)
Therefore, this passage encourages the believer to keep taking in the Word of God on a consistent basis, so that they do not lose the doctrine that is in their soul and enter into reversionistic and foolish behavior that is counter to God’s Word. “Wisdom and discipline are not objects to be acquired, stored up and used when needed. They are skills that must be practiced constantly in order to be maintained, and there is always room for growth, cf. Prov 1:5f.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
Prov 10:17, “He is on the path of life who heeds instruction, but he who forsakes reproof goes astray.”
Prov 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Prov 19:28, “A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, and the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.”
Continuing the theme of discipline, here we see the arrogant reversionist who lies to pervert justice.
The phrase “rascally witness,” is actually ED, עֵד, BELIYYA’AL בְּלִיַּעַל in the Hebrew, where BELIYAL means, “worthless, good for nothing, destruction, something corrupt” or used substantively for “Belial” meaning, Satan or the Devil. It refers to those who deliberately deprive others of justice or good, through false testimony, defamation, oppression, etc., and those who are morally debased or degenerate. Literally saying, “a witness of Belial,” it refers to those who have such contempt for justice that they deliberately tell lies under oath.
Those who act in such a way “make a mockery of justice,” LETS MISHPAT where LETS means, “to boast or speak arrogantly or scoff.” This arrogance refutes laws and justice, and thereby tries to make them look stupid or useless by lying or bending the truth.
In the second half, this “wicked,” RASHA, reversionist has a “mouth that spreads iniquity,” PEH BALA AWEN.
“Spreads” is the intensive active Piel Imperfect of BALA that means, “to swallow or engulf.” The thing they are engulfing is AWEN meaning “trouble, sorrow, wickedness, idolatry, iniquity, or evil.” Swallowing may mean they enjoy evil and so consume it, or it is understood in the sense of “to destroy” where they destroy righteousness and justice, especially in a court of law. Arrogance is seen here once again because witnesses who scorn the ideal of justice are untrustworthy, as they know no law outside themselves.
Prov 19:29, “Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and blows for the back of fools.”
In regard to “striking the scoffer” of vs. 25, and the arrogant lying reversionist of vs. 28, here we see that justice is intended to enact swift penalties on those who would otherwise corrupt it.
“Judgments,” here is SHEPET, שֶׁפֶט, which is not the most common word for judgments in the OT, and is used only 16 times. It is used in the plural, as here, for God’s judgment, of which a governing body is an extension of. So we see the decision by God to bring Divine discipline against the reversionistic believer, as He “prepared,” the passive Niphal of KUN, judgments for “scoffers / mockers,” LE LETS. In other words, He makes the sovereign decision for them to receive Divine discipline.
In the second half, we see the penalty being carried out with, “blows for the back of fools,” which is the plural of MAHALUMOTH, (meaning “blows or beatings,” used only here and in Prov 18:6), LE GEW, “for the back,” KESIYL, “of fools.”
This scene was also noted in Prov 10:13; and will be noted in Prov 26:3.
Prov 10:13, “On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.”
Prov 26:3, “A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools.”
Therefore, we see God’s sovereignty in decision making and execution of Divine discipline toward the wayward son, designed to teach him the hard way, so that others may also learn the easy way, of how to walk in righteousness and positively affect others with righteousness.