Prov. 29:1-3, 12-20 - Notes - ACCEPTING DISCIPLINE
1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.
3 A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his
12 If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
14 If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.
19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response.
20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
29:1-3 - Choosing the Right Path
29:12-14 - A Lesson in Political Science
29:15-18 - Training Them Up
29:19-20 - Choosing Words and Deeds
29:1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
This refers to a man in a state of increasing stubbornness, along with an un-teachable spirit. A man who has been corrected over and over. Each time he was corrected just made him more and more stubborn. "Hardens his neck" Just meant stiff necked. His destruction will come suddenly. "Without remedy" indicates that he is doomed, because he never changed. Stubborn self-will has destroyed him.
29:2 " When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.
We see here, that the welfare of the people is better served under the righteous than the wicked. A righteous man will rule justly. There will be no prejudice or bribing. The truth will be the rule when the righteous are in control. It will be fair to everyone. The poor, the widows, and the homeless will be cared for. On the other hand, when the wicked rule, the order of the day would be to make the wicked ruler richer. Every decision he made would have a selfish motive. He would have no regard for others' welfare, just his own. This could describe the political turmoil of the northern kingdom of Israel in the time of Hezekiah, who collected these proverbs.
29:3 " A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.
A man who keeps company with a harlot is an embarrassment to his entire family. His family cannot be proud of who their son is dating and certainly does not want a grandchild from this union. A harlot is one for pay, so the man will spend all of his money on this and wind up poor, as well as being looked down upon.
29:12 "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants [are] wicked."
A corrupt leader will draw around him corrupt people. Allow lies and you will be surrounded by liars.
Whatever rules the ruler sets are rules for all the people. A wicked ruler who listens to lies can expect all of his people to lie, also.
29:13 "The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes."
We see that if the poor and the deceitful come together and try to settle their differences, the Lord will
open their eyes and let them see. "Lighteneth both their eyes" is a phase that means to sustain life. God gives life to both the poor and the rich oppressor, and He holds each responsible for His truth.
29:14 "The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever."
We see here, a king who is not led astray by riches, but is fair to all of his subjects, rich and poor alike. We see a king with such a good reputation with all of his subjects that his throne will pass on to the descendants. His people will be pleased with their government and will not want to overthrow it.
29:15 "The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] bringeth his mother to shame."
Sometimes a whipping with the correction makes a more lasting lesson. If a child is left to have his own way, he will wind up spoiled; and no one enjoys being around a child who knows no discipline. It shames his mother. (In Prov. 13:24), we saw that He who withholds his rod hates his son.
29:16 "When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall."
When the morals of most of the people are bad, sin increases rapidly. Leave them alone, and they will destroy each other. The righteous receive the blessings of God and watch the failures of the transgressors.
29:17 "Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul."
When you train a son correctly, you have nothing to fear from his behavior. A good son brings pleasure and good memories to his parents. (In Prov. 22:6), we learned that we should train up a child in the way he should go. Since it is axiomatic that early training secures lifelong habits, parents must teach God's Word and enforcing it with loving disciple consistently throughout the child's upbringing.
29:18 "Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he."
This proverb looks both to the lack of the Word and the lack of hearing the Word, which leads to lawless rebellion. The proverb then contrasts the joy and glory of a lawful society. A vision from God can be the will of God being revealed to you in a supernatural way. To lose sight of the will of God would certainly cause us to perish. The person who knows the will of God and is living in that will is very happy and contented, knowing they are pleasing God.
29:19 "A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer."
This is speaking of a servant who is disobedient. He can easily hear what you are saying, but words will not move him. He understands only rough treatment. This views the mind set of an unprincipled and foolish slave who is unresponsive and irresponsible.
29:20 "Seest thou a man [that is] hasty in his words? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him."
In Prov. 10:19 we learned: "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise." This is speaking of a man that speaks before he thinks. He is always in trouble, because he speaks before he thinks. In James, we are told to be swift to hear and slow to speak. If you talk all the time, you cannot and will not take instruction, so you never improve. The fool perhaps will listen and finally understand.
v. 1: Beyond their own experience, wise people learn from others, from father and mother, teachers, friends, police, or even enemies. They listen to advice, they watch and observe, and they learn from books, such as Proverbs.
Then there are people who refuse to learn, both the passively aggressive who pretend to listen but change nothing, and the openly defiant. In either case, the proverb notes the frequent "body language" that goes with such defiance, a certain way of holding one's head with a stiff neck that communicates, "I'm not listening!" Parents see such posture in their children: head held still with stiff neck, while child calculates whether he must comply or not. Note that fools who ignore rebukes are "often rebuked" -- by parents, teachers, elders, even the legal system, everyone hoping they will "wise up."
Most of the time in this life, God allows us to escape the natural and deserved consequences of our follies - until suddenly He doesn't. I, and all my sons, remember multiple times when we did things that could easily have gotten us killed, but by God's grace, did not. Parents, teachers, and the legal system operate the same way, rarely bringing the fully deserved consequence on wrongdoers. But then suddenly, or so it seems to the incorrigible, time's up. Disaster strikes. What happens to such fools? Like Humpty Dumpty, they are destroyed beyond remedy. By the time they need a second chance, they have already had dozens of them. There may be hope for them in the next life, if they repent, but they have no more hope in this one. Without repentance, they will enter where the entrance warns, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here."
v. 2: When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan Ah, the Bible weighs in on politics - or at least on the kind of people who rule over a nation. The phrase, "when the righteous increase," is actually not saying that when the number of righteous people grows larger. It is speaking of when the righteous become great - or when they are in authority. The idea here is that a godly man rises to the point where he is given greater authority over the ruling matters of the nation. When this happens - the people will rejoice! Oh, that we would see this at some point in our nation. Thus who ruled our nation early were concerned that we would have godly rulers and godly people in positions of authority. The discussions early on when the republic was formed was whether we were "good enough people" to be ruled in this way. Rather than the lowest common denominator being sought - we were concerned whether we, as a people, could be godly and good enough to maintain our nation.
1. The character and moral direction the leader takes the country causes the people either to rejoice or mourn. The point of this section of the proverb is to highlight the fact that the people REJOICE when they have good, righteous leaders. 3. "The people rejoice" a. The rejoicing of the people is BECAUSE righteous men are in power. b. The rejoicing of the people is due to the fact that righteous men enact righteous laws and are honest, fair, and just. c. People rejoice when they are treated fairly.
v. 2b: But when a wicked man rules, people groan We have come to grasp the second half of this proverb though. When the wicked rule - the people mourn and groan. The Hebrew word usually used for wicked, "ra" is not used here. Instead "rasha" is - which points to people who are criminals.
1. Mourn defined: To groan; to moan; it is the universal response to oppression or despair. a. Ex. 2:23 - "And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage." • (Mourn = same word as sighed.) • Here people who are oppressed and are suffering injustice mourn and sigh. • They are longing and waiting for a change. • Here the Jews cried out to the Lord because of their bondage.
2. People who are oppressed; people who are in despair over the moral and spiritual ruin of their country "mourn" - they go about "sighing" in a sense of defeat and despair over their condition and the condition of their country.
v. 3: A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth.
A son pleasing his father demonstrates wisdom in his words and actions. He is morally upright and financially prudent. These three things are intended, though two are unstated, by reading the second clause. A son that hates wisdom, associates with whores, and is a spendthrift grieves his father, where hating wisdom and grieving his father is understood by reading the first clause. A son that loves wisdom is a prince. Loving wisdom is as high as the bar can go - it proves a noble son and brings God's favor in his life (Pr 8:17,21; Eccl 12:1). Wisdom is the principal thing, and it is a good man's chief goal (Pr 4:7; 16:16; Eccl 7:12; 9:16-18). If a father wonders about his son's heart, he only needs to measure his love of wisdom.
A foolish son befriending whores grieves their hearts, as they watch his ruinous lifestyle. His parents are stricken with grief and guilt - a calamity of pain and shame for them (Pr 17:25; 19:13; 29:15,17). The fool they created and formed hates wisdom, loves folly, rebels against authority, befriends whores and whoremongers, and wastes his living and theirs. He is a shame to them and a stench to others. He breaks their hearts. He does not care what pain or shame he causes his parents, for he cannot think outside his own worthless life. He does not fear God, and he mocks those that do. He is a fool.
What is wisdom? It is the power of right judgment, including the knowledge that eternal things of heaven far outstrip the temporal things of this life. What is the love of wisdom? It is the aggressive zeal to sacrifice things of this life so esteemed by others in order to obtain the better things of the next life despised by others
v. 12: If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked.
This proverb is the first of a set of three that runs through verse 14. The general theme concerns the integrity of government, while the middle proverb, verse 13, deals with the obvious fact that both ruler and ruled are equal in the sight of God. There is also a progression among the three verses from negative to positive, passing through the neutrality of verse 13. One can also see that wicked officials who become oppressors of the poor meet their match in a ruler who leads with integrity and truth.
Our concern, however, is with verse 12 specifically. A little understanding of the way a royal court works-in fact, any seat of leadership-will help explain how this happens. If the ruler bends an ear to gossip, insinuations, misrepresentations, unfounded assertions, manufactured "facts," or any other kind of falsehood, his administration will be founded on sand. His advisors and officials will soon learn that the easiest way to influence and power in the government is by telling the ruler what he wants to hear rather than what is actually true. That is how the game is played. In a very short time, the whole government will be corrupt. In other words, the underlings adjust themselves to their leader,
The overall lesson is that a person in authority must lead by seeking the truth in all matters that come before him. It is foolish to decide a matter based on initial reports or only one side of a dispute, even if it sounds right. He should not act before taking the time and the effort to discover independently whether matters are as they have been presented. If a leader takes this prudent path, those under him will soon learn that it does not pay to tell falsehoods that will be found out, leading to their ouster. In an atmosphere of truth, corruption finds it much harder to gain a foothold, and everyone under such an administration of integrity has a greater opportunity to be satisfied.
1. Solomon is speaking about a RULER. a. A ruler is one who has dominion or power over others; one who exercises authority over others. b. It is often used of kings and their dominion or rule over others. c. But the term could also refer to a master or an employer. d. It was also used of a husband ruling over his wife.
2. The ruler Solomon is describing is one who HEARKENS to liars. a. In other words, he listens to dishonest people. • The English word "lies" is a translation of two words meaning one speaking lies. • The term for "lies" means false; tricks; cheat; deal falsely; deception; misleading. • The proper attitude is found in Ps. 119:104 - "I hate every false way." • But this ruler does not hate deception. • He is attracted to it. He listens to it and takes heed to it. • He surrounds himself with deceivers and cheats; and they share with him all their dishonest schemes to scam and cheat the people. b. Hearken: To hear; give heed to; to regard; to pay attention to. c. Solomon is describing a ruler who not only listens to dishonest liars, but he pays attention to their lies. He gives heed to what they say. d. WHY would this ruler give heed to liars and cheats? Probably because he himself is a liar and a cheat. e. There is an old proverbial saying: Birds of a feather flock together. f. A ruler (employer; master; politician; person of authority) surrounds himself with people like himself... people who think like he does... people who have the same ideology and values-or lack thereof. c. Solomon is describing a ruler who not only listens to dishonest liars, but he pays attention to their lies. He gives heed to what they say. d. WHY would this ruler give heed to liars and cheats? Probably because he himself is a liar and a cheat. e. There is an old proverbial saying: Birds of a feather flock together. f. A ruler (employer; master; politician; person of authority) surrounds himself with people like himself... people who think like he does... people who have the same ideology and values-or lack thereof.
1. The second part of this proverb speaks of the influence this dishonest ruler has on his servants. a. If everybody knows that the boss cheats; if everybody knows that the ruler lies; if everybody knows that the leaders are corrupt; they too are encouraged to be corrupt... wicked. b. If he listens to cheats and liars, then he must approve of them. c. Therefore, the servants under him feel empowered to lie and cheat themselves. d. Why not? The boss seems to reward that kind of behavior.
2. Note that the word "are" is italicized. It was not in the original and was added by the translator. a. Something needs to be added there. b. I would probably insert "will be" or "will become" rather than "are." c. Solomon is not simply pointing out a fact: that the servants of this dishonest ruler ARE wicked. d. He seems to be implying that there is a connection. e. It is BECAUSE the ruler is a dishonest cheat that his servants are wicked. f. The bad behavior of the leader will encourage more bad behavior from his servants. g. Corruption spreads from the top down very quickly. h. A leader sets the moral tone for those under him-either for good or for evil. i. This is true in a kingdom, a business, or a home.
v. 13: The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
Very simply, this means that all men are equal before God and implies that God will judge even the king (rulers) without any favoritism. To give "lights to the eyes" means to give life. We would like for God to make an "in your face" threat to the oppressor. Tell him stop or I'll smack you upside the head! Tell him that if he keeps oppressing - God will show him what real oppressing looks like! That's what we want. Yet God's statement here is subtle - yet strong.
The Lord addresses the fact that the oppressor and the poor man he oppresses have something in common. He tells the oppressor that the Lord gives light to both of them. That phrase refers not to physical sight - but to giving life itself. To say that God gives light to our eyes means that we are alive because of Him. Now, let's look at how this is a veiled, yet very effective threat. God is telling the oppressor that although he thinks he is a moral free agent - and can do what he wants - that is not true. The reason he is alive - is the same reason the poor man whom he oppresses is alive too. God gave them both life. So how is this a threat?
The oppressor thinks "he" determines who lives and who dies. He is a bully - just on a much larger level. He does not think he will be held accountable - even as he holds the poor man accountable to his oppressive demands. But now God is saying to the oppressor - you are exactly like the poor man you are abusing. I gave light to both of your eyes. Now for the threat. It is implied. God is saying to the oppressor - I gave light to your eyes - and I can take it away. You, oppressor, are NO DIFFERENT than the one whom you oppress. You can't give anyone life - so your power is severely limited. Then God says, "I, on the other hand, give life to anyone who is alive. My power is utterly unlimited. You would do well to remember that."
v. 14: If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.
Just recently we finished an election cycle in the United States. The pattern for many years now has been that the candidate with the most money usually wins the election. Thus, for an American leader, the adage is that whoever can court the most wealthy people and gather the most money will rule over the land. It is not so much how one will rule - or what they plan to do in this country - as it is how many of the wealthy come to their $5000 a plate each fundraisers. One must keep the wealthy happy - or else you will no longer have the money to win an election. Things were not always like this - in fact, today's proverb gives wise guidance to the leader or king who will hear it. That advice is not based upon men making you or keeping you as their leader. It is insted about caring for things like compassion toward the poor and truth. These are things that have long been trampled under the foot of American political process and theory. Yet God still considers them very important in a leader.
The king is to judge the poor with truth. That is his responsibility. It is an easy thing to forget - especially when the poor do not have the means to protest or challenge an unfair ruling in the courts. It is even more difficult when the one you rule against is rich. The wealthy don't appreciate truth in those situations. But a ruler may not face a challenge greater than maintaining truth when it comes to disputes between the wealthy and the poor. God's wisdom is to judge with truth - then it will not matter what a man's position in life is. Only one thing matters - and that is that truth is upheld.
The promise of God is equally as clear. When you judge the poor with truth - your throne will be established forever. God rewards the king who appreciates truth and justice more than power and position. The people of that nation will greatly appreciate their king, and will joyfully support him. It is hard to overthrow a king who acts this way because he is very popular among the people.
v. 15: The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
See ESV-SB (refer to Spock's baby book) - misled an entire generation of parents and led to the "hippie" rebellion of the 1960s.
If a child is "left to himself," where is his training coming from? Obviously, in this case, mom and dad are not having a great impact on their child. The training must then be coming from society, most likely from the child's peers. Because "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15), a child left to himself brings shame-he is bound to get into trouble if his training is haphazard or undirected, or if he is not drilled or disciplined. The flipside of this verse says, "But the rod of correction will drive it far from him." The rod symbolizes that someone has taken an interest in the outcome of this child's life. He is giving direction, correction, instruction, to steer this child where he is to go. The training, the teaching, makes all the difference in the world.
v. 16: When the wicked increase, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall.
This proverb is about of the consequences of bad leadership. The result is that sin increases. Israel's history demonstrated the truthfulness of this proverb. Solomon is writing this at the early stages of Israel's history - before the division of the nation and before the influx of unrighteous kings. Solomon is writing this at the early stages of Israel's history - before the division of the nation and before the influx of unrighteous kings. Up to this point, David and Solomon were the only two kings in the royal line, and though not perfect, they were godly men who loved the Lord.
Learn here about trends, polls, majorities, sin, the future, and a right worldview. God and Solomon want you to understand what is happening and will happen in the world. As the world gets worse, you should understand why and not be surprised, and you should know its certain future. Here is crucial wisdom for your life with a profound invitation buried in one single word. The wicked love a majority - they need a crowd to bring their sins out of the closet into public view. They think numbers justify their opinions and practices. As trends develop, the wicked jump on the sin bandwagon, because their hearts and minds were always sinful. They crave the encouragement of a majority to make their abominations and rebellion public. The effect is a increase in wickedness, as in today's world. Consider this rule: As the wicked increase in proportion to any population, the overall wickedness increases even geometric faster due to the growing majority providing support for greater individual rebellion.
A decline in true religion increases wickedness. Pulpits are where men chosen by God are to preach forcefully against sin (Is 58:1). This was once a major influence in America's moral uprightness. But sinners do not like such preaching, so they ask for a gentler message by false teachers. Humanistic education increases sin. Immoral entertainment increases sinfulness. The news media, which greatly influences society's judgment of events, increases wickedness. They have not honestly reported a moral issue in decades.
v. 17: Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul.
It's a common error for parents to think that if they discipline their children, they will not like them later in life. This is especially the case when at the time of the discipline the child makes a comment to the effect that they hate you. Another winner at this juncture is when a child announces in overdramatic fashion that you are ruining their life. Correcting your son involves discipline. The word here is "yasar" and it means to discipline, chasten, instruct, teach, and even punish. This process of correction therefore takes into account all the aspects of rearing a child. It means so much more than just spanking or punishing a child when they do wrong. It involves instructing and teaching them even as you chasten and punish them. It is not enough to tell a child something is bad - you have to eventually explain why something is bad or a wrong choice. When you do this, you take the time to encourage them toward godly, right behavior.
When you rear a child in this fashion you will find that your son gives you two wonderful things. First, we are told that he gives us "comfort." The word here means to give someone a sense of rest and repose. It can also mean a rest in the way you feel when you are satisfied with something. A well-disciplined child, although a chore during the process, will give a parent rest as they make godly, wise choices later in life. I know from a little experience and from helping others that when a child makes unwise choices - it can rob you of any sense of rest or relaxation. Some parents seem to spend a majority of their latter years rescuing a child from one disaster after another. That is not rest!
The second blessing that comes to parents who correct their children is delight. The Hebrew word here is "ma'aden" and it means something of beauty or when referring to food, something that tastes wonderful. One of the blessings that I have is that of thoroughly enjoying my children. Now just a word in closing on this proverb. The delight often comes later in life - because rearing a child is a full contact sport! There were many times when we struggled to know what to do - and how to deal with rebellion in our children. There were times when my wife and I were dropped to our knees in broken-hearted prayer on their behalf.
v. 18: Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18 in the New Living Bible says, "When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild." It does not mean that those without vision were "screaming Mimi's" running around tearing their hair out or something of that nature. It simply means that those without the revelation of God, those without godly vision, live purposeless lives. Their lives are lived lawlessly and in vanity - without direction. Therefore, for a group to be unified, all must have the same vision of where to go in life. We cannot do that until we all believe the same things.
A problem arises, however, when church leaders use this proverb to spiritualize strategies that are not godly in origin and purpose. Vision statements are sometimes cast and mission statements are crafted to serve the vision. An array of programs is developed to serve the values. A stable of leaders is recruited to serve the programs. An army of volunteers is inspired to assist the leaders. The vision is prophetic vision; what is in mind here is the revelation of God to his biblical spokesmen. Where there is no vision shared with us by the prophets, to whom God revealed the mysteries of the ages, we like savages run wild. In other words, we may have a vision, but if it is not the one given to the biblical representatives of God's revelation and the forecasters of God's coming glory, it is not to be conformed to. "But blessed is he who keeps the law." The latter part of the verse implies that when the vision of the prophets is held by the people, the blessing of living God's way ensues. What is the vision of the prophets? It is "the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints" (Col. 1:26; see also Rom.16:25 and Eph. 3:9). The vision is Jesus. The world would have us know a billion other things. The church would sometimes have us know many other things, as well. But those who have beheld the life-changing vision of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ know better.
v. 19: A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response.
This proverb talks about the correction of servants, but in reality, it's really a study in human nature. Solomon's main point is real simple: Words don't always work. The term used here refers either to a slave or a household servant but can also refer to a subject (a king's subjects/ servants), and It is a term that can also be used for those who serve and worship God. (translated "servants" of the Lord). In this context, it seems very unlikely that Solomon had servants of God in mind. So he's speaking of human authority, the master/ servant relationship or a king/subject relationship. But for the rest of us, in today's world, the best application is in the work world and those who work under us or provide service for us.
The idea here is that a servant "will not be corrected by words," i.e., not instructed; chastened; warned or disciplined. Servants, employees, and subjects of a king (citizens of a country) do not always take correction well., because this is human nature. Though correction is designed for our good, we don't usually like being corrected, do we?
"Words" ought to be the first step of correction, but unfortunately, Solomon tells us that verbal correction doesn't always work-some servants will NOT be corrected by words. Our proverb teaches us that the ideal is not always achieved. Sometimes people do not respond well to verbal rebuke or verbal correction.
19b: In this part of the proverb, Solomon inserts the fact that the lack of response to a verbal correction is not always due to a lack of understanding. Some people may fully understand the correction and still not answer. He may not answer (respond) in an appropriate way, which here might include a change of behavior, attitude, or a change in the way they are working on a project. c. Not everyone responds to correction with the appropriate and obedient changes. In other words, they heard, they understood, but they continued to do it their way... which just happens to be the wrong way. You would not want this kind of guy folding parachutes in a factory. You would not want this kind of guy preparing your medications.
If words don't work, though not stated, it is implied, that more drastic means may have to be used to make the corrections. In this case, the servant was not corrected by words because he is lazy or rebellious and refuses to work. Perhaps he is a procrastinator and keeps putting the corrections off until tomorrow. Perhaps force is the only language he will ever respond to. For the employee, words of correction may not work; not getting a raise might work better... or losing his job. For the student, verbal correction may not produce the desired results; an "F" on his report card may be a better motivator. For a child, words of reproof may not be as effective as a spanking. When words don't get the job done, other means may be required. That's Solomon's implied point. Without the option of a more severe form of reproof (some sort of penalty), words will fall on deaf ears and those words will be hollow and empty. Could you imagine if there were no penalties for breaking the speed limit? Cars would fly down the highway. The words of the police and the speed limit signs would be but mere suggestions. This is human nature: words don't always work.
v. 20: Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
This is a simple proverb that makes one statement: men or women who are hasty with their words are fools...or even worse. Solomon has in mind the person who is always eager to interject something into the conversation; he is quick to give his opinion; he is quick to judge and draw conclusions; he is in a hurry to blurt something out. His words are thoughtless and reckless. His words can be hurtful, destructive, and malicious. This man is often inconsiderate, insulting, inaccurate, ignorant, but a know-it-all, rash, insensitive, selfish, proud, or a combination of the above. God is the opposite of this man. It is human nature to jump the gun, speak before you have all the facts, and to make assumptions based on a few pieces of information, and thus make up our minds on the matter... before we hear the whole question... or the whole story... or all the details. It is human nature to jump the gun, speak before you have all the facts, and to make assumptions based on a few pieces of information, and thus make up our minds on the matter... before we hear the whole question... or the whole story... or all the details.
There is an old saying that is used to help people see that they need to think before they do something. That phrase is, "Look before you leap." After reading this proverb I think there should be a second phrase developed and used to help us keep from sticking our foot in our mouth - saying things that hurt others and damage our testimony. That phrase is, "Think before you speak!"
There is great wisdom in taking a moment to think about what you are going to say. It may slow you down in communicating, but in the end it will keep you from saying things that you will regret later. Proverbs 10:19 tells us, "When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but a wise man restrains his words." It won't hurt us to take a moment to think about what we are about to say - it will actually bless us - and keep us from sin. It might be helpful on a test to write down the first answer that comes to our mind - but it is usually not helpful to speak the first thing that comes into our heads. I know many times in my life that doing that would have seriously damaged relationships.
The wise thing to say is the thing we have contemplated or thought about. When we are hasty in our words we will be careless in them as well. That can lead to hurtful words being spoken. It is wise for us to remember that we are fallen, sinful men and women. It is also wise for us to remember that we can speak out of our flesh or out of God's Spirit.
Speaking out of the Spirit involves yielding ourselves to the Holy Spirit. It means stopping and listening to the counsel of the Spirit as He guides us through every situation we face. Here is what we can expect to come out of our mouths when we do this. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.