1 The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight.
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
The word for “pride” comes from the word that suggests boiling up. It refers to those who must have everything their way and will not let themselves be “pushed around.”
Biblical examples: Pharaoh, the social rebel (Dt. 17:12,13), the false prophet (Dt.18:20), murderer (Ex.21:14)
“Humility” is a rare word that suggests the cooperative spirit that is opposite of arrogant. It is used in Malachi 6:8 “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
Integrity will guide you as you try to make choices and decisions in life
4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
5 The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.
Righteousness will avoid many of the unnecessary detours of life that cause for a winding, hilly, rocky road
6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
“Unfaithful” is the word for “renegades” or the “treacherous”.
They are trapped by their own lusts.
7 When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing.
8 The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead.
The wicked are caught in their own trap.
This also includes the concept of atonement or exchange.
Pro. 21:18, says, “The wicked become a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright.” God will deliver the righteous out of a situation by exchanging them for the wicked.
God does this for the redeeming of
I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life.”
9 With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.
The godless talk and teach rebellion to God by undermining true values and wisdom.
The righteous man will escape the godless mans talk by having knowledge of righteousness.
10 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
People may want to be wicked in their private lives but they know that their leaders must be righteous for the community to succeed.
Righteousness in public office is clearly a must for there to be success and prosperity in the community.When the righteous prosper:
a) the benefit is shared with everyone
b) similar behavior and similar blessings follow
When the wicked succeed:
a) only they benefit, and that only temporarily
b) more wicked behavior and more trouble follow
11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
The blessing of the righteous benefit a city.
The speeches of the wicked are based in evil philosophy, ideologies, political agendas that undermine wisdom.
When people hear the bad logic and accept these corrupt philosophies the city is destroyed
12 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
A man who thinks he knows everything and sees things from the view of omniscience also feels justified in running down another man.
The man who lacks judgment can not understand that he only sees things from his perspective.
A man of understanding may have an opinion about another person but realizes that he is not in a position to know everything.
He realizes his opinion is not based on complete information and so he waits to speak.
13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.
A gossip or talebearer is out to hurt.
They want to promote themselves at the cost of hurting someone who apparently trusted them.
“Betrays” means “deliberately betray you.”
“Secret” refers to information revealed in a time of council with a friend or a group of advisors.
14 For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.
“Guidance” comes from a word referring to the tackle of a ship and so is speaking of the handling and steering of the ship, or here the nation.
It is possible to get too many opinions and miss God
15:22; 20:18; 24:6
15 He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe.
The idea is not to get into something you do not know the future about.
To give money to someone is good. This though is a set amount given at your decision.
To pledge or sign a deal that the total amount is not set and the price depends on future events is not wise
16 A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.
There are two ways to the top:
1) be kindhearted
2) be ruthless
Ruthlessness will only gain you the money.
Kindheartedness will gain you the good will of all.
17 A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.
“Kind” is the word “hesed” or “steadfast love”. It is the unchanging covenant love like God’s.
If you treat others with this kind of love you will benefit yourself.
Your love of others will benefit you or bring you trouble.
18 The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.
There are no lasting earnings or benefits for being wicked.
Living righteously will produce a lasting reward.
“It is not real, what a bad man gains.” is one translation
19 The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death.
20 The LORD detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.
“Perverse” is “twisted”
21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.
“Be sure of this” is literally “hand to hand” which alludes to an agreement that you can count on. So it begins by saying, “Depend on this. . .”
22 Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
The size of the pig or the woman’s character and inward self must be compared to the size of the gold ring which is the woman’s outward appearance.
A woman’s outward beauty is noticeable but it is small in comparison with her character
It is a ridiculous and wasteful thing in the eyes of God for a beautiful woman to be fit with a corrupt character.
23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.
Three proverbs on gaining by giving:
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.
Basic principle: Sometimes you must loses to gain.
The idea is alms giving or giving to people in need.
There is a portion of our money that should be given to others.
25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
The result of giving will be that the giver will be given to eventually.
What you do comes back to you.
26 People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell.
This is talking about a time in the economy where it is to your advantage to hold on to your grain to drive the prices up even higher. This is talking about a time when people need you to sell so they can survive, but the seller is more interested in driving the prices up
27 He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.
28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.
29 He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
31 If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!