Essays Written On Proverbs 18

Proverbs Bible Study Commentary

Lessons about wisdom

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on the Book of Proverbs

www.easyenglish.bible

Keith Simons

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Chapters in the Book of Proverbs

Proverbs 1 | Proverbs 2 | Proverbs 3 | Proverbs 4 | Proverbs 5 | Proverbs 6 | Proverbs 7 | Proverbs 8 | Proverbs 9 | Proverbs 10 | Proverbs 11 | Proverbs 12 | Proverbs 13 | Proverbs 14 | Proverbs 15 | Proverbs 16 | Proverbs 17 | Proverbs 18 | Proverbs 19 | Proverbs 20 | Proverbs 21 | Proverbs 22 | Proverbs 23 | Proverbs 24 | Proverbs 25 | Proverbs 26 | Proverbs 27 | Proverbs 28 | Proverbs 29 | Proverbs 30 | Proverbs 31

About the Book of Proverbs

King Solomon ruled the nation of Israel for 40 years. He brought peace and wealth to the nation. Solomon’s workmen built palaces, and the great temple (house of God in Jerusalem). The people of Israel learned arts, sciences and music.

When he was young, Solomon obeyed God. He asked God for wisdom, and God gave it to him (1 Kings 3:9, 12). Other rulers, including the queen of Sheba, visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-13). She asked him many questions. His answers showed great knowledge of many subjects. He taught about plants, animals and fish. Solomon became more and more famous.

Solomon learned and wrote many proverbs (wise words). He collected 3000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:29-34). The Book of Proverbs contains many of these proverbs. The Book of Proverbs also contains other lessons about wisdom. And the Book of Proverbs contains many poems about wisdom.

Solomon also wrote Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon in the Bible. The Bible also contains some other books about wisdom. These books are Job, Ecclesiastes and James. And Jesus taught lessons about wisdom in Matthew chapters 5 to 7 and Luke chapters 11 to 16.

Sections of the Book of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs has 6 main sections:

·    Solomon’s wise lessons (Proverbs 1:1 to Proverbs 9:18)

·    The proverbs (wise words) of Solomon (Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16)

·    30 wise lessons (Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:34)

·    More of Solomon’s proverbs (wise words) (Proverbs 25:1 to Proverbs 29:27)

·    The puzzles of Agur and Lemuel (Proverbs 30:1 to Proverbs 31:9)

·    A poem about a perfect wife (Proverbs 31:10-31)


Solomon’s Wise Lessons

(Proverbs 1:1 to Proverbs 9:18)

Proverbs chapter 1

v1 This book sets out Solomon’s proverbs (wise words). Solomon was David’s son, and the king of Israel. His proverbs will help you in many ways.

v2 You will receive wisdom and discipline.

You will understand words of wisdom.

v3 You will be careful and wise.

Your actions will be right and fair.

v4 If you are simple, then you will learn more.

Young people will learn knowledge, and learn to be careful.

v5 The wise person will become wiser.

The intelligent person will be ready to accept advice.

v6 You will understand wise words and stories.

You will understand even difficult words of wisdom.

Verse 1

Solomon wrote both proverbs (wise words) and songs. In all, he collected 3000 proverbs (1 Kings 4:29-34). The Book of Proverbs contains many of them. This book teaches us how we should live. It explains the way of wisdom. It warns us about being foolish.

Verses 2-3

The wise person honours God, and God protects him. A foolish person refuses to obey God. There are many dangers for such a person. The Book of Proverbs explains these dangers.

Solomon tells us about four types of person. Each will benefit from Solomon’s wise words.

Verse 4

The simple person

Today, we should not call someone ‘simple’. We might offend him. He would think that we supposed him to be stupid.

In the Book of Proverbs, a simple person is someone who is not wise. By the word ‘simple’, Solomon means more than this. A simple person has not learned to be wise. So he is in danger. Evil people can easily lead simple people to do evil actions. But nobody is really good. ‘Everyone does evil things. Everyone fails when you use God’s standards’ (Romans 3:23). We are all simple people by God’s standards.

God wants the simple person to learn his wisdom. This begins when we invite God into our lives. Then God will help us to become wise. We must grow in wisdom, and we must grow in our knowledge of God.

Young people

The Book of Proverbs is poetry. Some poems are very short and other poems are longer.

The style of the poems may seem unusual. Sometimes, one line has the same meaning as the next. Sometimes lines contrast with each other. In other places, the meaning develops from line to line. Watch out for these different styles.

These poems help us to remember the proverbs.

The people believed that they should remember proverbs (wise words). Fathers taught proverbs to their sons. Mothers taught them to their daughters. Grandchildren learned them from their grandparents. Children had to use their memories. The adults tested the children’s memories.

In this way, children learned to be wise. In the future, when problems came, they would know the right thing to do.

For the same reason, we should learn Bible verses today. We should teach them to our children. In this way, we shall learn true wisdom.

Many things in the world change. There are new inventions, for example television. There are new illnesses, for example AIDS. There are revolutions and new governments.

Wisdom does not change. Solomon gave advice that is still good. He wrote wise words and they are still wise today.

Today’s young people will grow old. Wisdom that we teach them now will remain with them.

Verses 5-6

The wise person

A wise person loves wisdom. ‘He loves God’s law. He is always thinking about it.’ (Psalm 1:2).

He always wants to learn more. He is never too tired to think about wisdom.

He still makes mistakes. ‘Show a wise man how he is wrong! He will love you for your correction.’ (Proverbs 9:8). He even wants you to teach him. ‘Teach a wise man and he will become still wiser.’ (Proverbs 9:9).

We can all learn more. We can all grow in knowledge. The Bible teaches us God’s wisdom.

The intelligent person

Like the wise person, the intelligent person wants to learn. He will ask for advice. He is trying to understand God’s ways. As he studies, he will know more. He will even understand difficult words of wisdom.

v7 Respect God! Knowledge begins with this lesson. Fools hate wisdom and discipline.

Verse 7

When you learned English, you started with easy words. When you learn any subject, you must start with easy lessons. The first lesson in wisdom is that we must respect God. He made everything. He is greater than we are. We must give honour to him.

A person who does not know God may be clever. He may have many skills. We can learn many things from him. Such a person lacks something important. He has learnt many lessons. But he has missed the first lesson. Wisdom begins when a person respects God. We should try to show a better way to this person.

The opposite of a wise person is a fool. (You would offend a person, if you called him a fool.)

A fool intends to do evil things. A simple person does evil things, because he does not know wisdom. But a fool does evil things, because he hates wisdom.

We want to show God’s way to such people. But this is difficult. Jesus said, ‘Do not give valuable things to pigs’ (Matthew 7:6). Wisdom is valuable. Sometimes we must leave a fool to be foolish. A pig does not appreciate things that are valuable to us. A fool does not appreciate the value of wisdom.

We can learn from the mistakes of fools. We must not copy their mistakes.

A fool hates wisdom and discipline. If we are wise, we shall love wisdom and discipline.

v8 My son, listen to your father!

Do not forget your mother’s words.

v9 Wear them like a crown for your head or a chain for your neck.

v10 My son, if evil men tempt you, do not give in to them!

v11 They might say, ‘Come with us! We shall attack an innocent man. v12 We shall destroy him. We will be as cruel as hell to that man. v13 We shall take his riches. His wealth will belong to us. v14 Join us! We shall share everything.’

v15 My son, do not listen to them! Do not follow them!

v16 They are quick to do wrong deeds. They do not hesitate to kill innocent men.

v17 You cannot set a trap for birds whilst they watch you.

v18 These thieves attack only themselves.

v19 In the end, a thief will destroy himself. His evil plan will cause his own death.

Verses 8-9

In Solomon’s time, both parents educated their children. It is good when children can learn from both parents.

We should listen to wisdom. Wisdom is beautiful, and it is valuable. To possess it is like a crown on the head. Or, it is like a gold chain round the neck.

To obtain wisdom, we must study. And we need discipline. We cannot become wise quickly. But wisdom will improve our lives.

Some people imagine that they know a quicker way to improve their lives. Solomon warns about such people in verses 10-19. They offer friendship (verse 14). But their friendship cannot last because their plan is evil. They offer rich rewards (verse 13). But really they will suffer a terrible fate (verse 19). Wisdom is much better than any evil plan.

Verses 10-16

The thieves’ plan

In Solomon’s story, a band of thieves have a cruel plan.

The thieves ask a young man to join them. Together, they will attack someone else. They will steal from him, and murder him. The young man and the thieves soon will become wealthy.

The young man does not realise the true plot.

Verses 17-19

The truth is this. The thieves also intend to kill the young man. This means that the thieves will keep all the money.

Solomon’s story teaches us about evil behaviour. An evil life is not fun. It is dangerous. The evil person risks a terrible end.

The young man in the story thought that he would become wealthy. In reality, he lost everything.

Solomon warns us not to make the same mistake.

v20 Wisdom is like a woman who calls aloud in the street.

She shouts in the market place

v21 She calls at the city square.

She speaks at the city gate.

v22 ‘If you are simple, then change your ways!

If you insult people, then you must stop!

If you are foolish, then you must learn the truth!

v23 If you answer me, then I shall teach my thoughts to you.

v24 But you have refused my wisdom.

Nobody listened to me.

v25 You did not hear my advice.

You did not change your life when I corrected you.

v26 Your punishment will be severe,

and I shall laugh at you.

v27 Evil things will destroy you, like a sudden storm.

Troubles will attack you, like a sudden wind.

Troubles and pain will overcome you.

v28 ‘Then these people will call to me. In that day, I shall not answer.

They will search for me, but they will not find me.

v29 They hated knowledge and did not respect God.

v30 They did not accept advice or correction.

v31 ‘As a plant has fruit, their evil behaviour will have an evil reward.

v32 If they are simple, they will wander and die.

Lazy attitudes will destroy a fool.

v33 But the person who listens to wisdom is safe.

He can relax and he will not be afraid.’

Verses 20-26

The woman called Wisdom

In his second story, Solomon tells us about a woman. This woman’s name is Wisdom.

The woman is upset, and she is angry.

This is why she shouts. Her children are not obeying her. They refuse her advice.

She walks through the streets and she complains to everyone. She even goes to the city gate. In ancient times, judges were at the city gate. She wants to obtain a judgement against her children. They are simple, evil and foolish (verse 22). They deserve punishment (verse 26).

Verses 27-33

She obtains judgement. Their punishment is severe. This is because they refused wisdom.

They did evil things. Now they will suffer a terrible punishment. Their punishment is sudden, like a storm. It is powerful, like the wind. (Verse 27)

We are all like Wisdom’s children. We can learn to be wise. Or we can refuse to listen to wise words.

Wisdom begins when we respect God (verse 7). If we respect God, then God will reward us. But if we do evil things, then we shall suffer a terrible punishment.

Everybody does evil things. So we must turn to God. We must be sincere. Then God will forgive us and teach us his wisdom. He sent Jesus to take away our punishment.


Proverbs chapter 2

v1 My son, accept my words!

Hide my commands inside yourself!

v2 You must listen to wisdom.

You should desire to learn.

v3 Ask for knowledge!

Cry aloud to learn more!

v4 Look for wisdom, as you would look for silver!

Search for it, as you would search for gold!

v5 Then you will understand how to respect God.

Then you will really know God.

v6 This is because wisdom is God’s gift.

God’s words provide knowledge and wisdom.

v7 He brings success to those who do right.

He protects honest people.

v8 He guards good people.

He protects those who trust him.

Verses 1-4

The search for wisdom

We must greatly desire wisdom. We must listen to it. We must desire it. We must ask questions, so that we can learn more. We must hunt for wisdom, like someone who searches for gold.

Psalm 42:1 is similar. ‘My spirit needs God like a deer (wild animal) needs the streams of water.’ The animal searches for water. We also must search for wisdom.

Also see Job 28. A man digs deep into the earth. He breaks through the rock. He enters places that no animal has seen. He finds gold and silver. He discovers many things. However, he cannot find wisdom there. Wisdom is not in the deep sea. You cannot buy wisdom - not even with gold. ‘Respect God! This is true wisdom. Refuse to do evil things! This is true intelligence.’ (Job 28:28)

Verses 5-8

The reward of wisdom

If we respect God, then we shall become wise. God gives his wisdom to us. We are his people, and he guards us. He defends us, and he protects us. Psalm 23 compares God to a man who owns sheep. The farmer looks after his sheep. He provides their food and water. He cares about them. In the same way, God looks after us. When we are in danger, God protects us.

v9 God’s wisdom will teach you what is right. You will understand how to make good decisions.

You will see what is fair. You will walk in good paths.

v10 Wisdom will enter your heart.

Knowledge will be a pleasure for your mind.

v11 Right decisions will protect you.

The things that you have learned will guard you.

v12 Wisdom will save you from evil men.

Wisdom will save you from their evil words.

v13 Evil men leave the right road.

They walk down dark paths.

v14 They love to do wrong things.

They are glad to do evil things.

v15 They choose the wrong path.

Their way is wrong.

Verses 9-15

The journey of life

The Bible often compares life to a journey. Abraham’s whole life was a journey. He travelled from Ur to Haran, and then to Canaan. ‘He searched for the city that God built.’ (Hebrews 11:10) He did not find this place on earth. ‘These people wanted a better place, in heaven. God is not ashamed to be called their God. He has prepared a city for them.’ (Hebrews 11:16)

Jesus compared life to a journey. ‘Enter by the narrow gate! Do not choose the wide gate or the easy road! Many people go that way. The easy road leads to death. Look for the small gate and the narrow road. Only a few people find it, but it leads to life.’ (Matthew 7:13-14)

The Book of Proverbs also tells us about two ways. In verse 13, evil men walk in dark paths. They hide from the light, because light would show up their evil behaviour. In verse 15, Solomon says that evil men choose the wrong paths. It is easy to choose the wrong path in the dark! This wrong path is like their evil behaviour. Their behaviour is like a road that leads to death and hell (verse 18).

If we follow God’s wisdom, then our paths are good (verse 9). We are like travellers who choose the right way. We know where we are going. We act fairly. Our decisions are good. This is the right road for life’s journey. It leads to heaven (verse 19).

v16 Wisdom will also save you from wrong desires. Another man’s wife will not attract you. She tempts you to come to her. But she has left her husband.

v17 When she married him, she made promises. God heard those promises.

v18 Do not go into her house! Her house leads to death. Her paths lead to hell.

v19 If you go to her, then you will not return. You will not go to heaven.

Verses 16-19

In these verses, a woman tries to tempt a man. Deuteronomy 5 lists 10 commands that God gave. One command was, ‘Do not have sex with someone else's wife or husband.’ (Deuteronomy 5:18) The woman in the Book of Proverbs refuses to follow this command. A man who goes to her is in danger.

Solomon is teaching us about other wrong actions. Sometimes wrong actions are attractive. Sometimes evil thoughts tempt us. Sometimes we might think that God’s law is not fair. Perhaps the man likes the woman. However, he must not go to her.

We must not do wrong actions, when evil thoughts test us. The devil even tested Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11). But Jesus did nothing that was wrong against God. God gives his wisdom to us. His Bible teaches us how we should live.

If we turn from God, this is like leaving your husband or wife. When you became a Christian, you promised to follow God. Evil thoughts may still tempt you. Other religions may tempt you. Sex may tempt you. Do not break your promise to God! Jesus said, ‘I am the way. The only way to the father (God) is through me.’ (John 14:6)

Even Solomon, who wrote the Book of Proverbs, turned away from God in the end. He had many wives. Some followed other religions. With his wives, Solomon prayed to other gods. The Bible says that Solomon’s actions were evil. (1 Kings 11:1-13) We should learn from Solomon’s mistake.

God gave great wisdom to Solomon. Solomon taught wisdom. His Book of Proverbs still teaches wisdom to us today. We must follow God. We must desire God’s wisdom. We must not be like Solomon when he turned from God.

v20 Do right, and you will walk with good men.

You will go along the right paths.

v21 Those that do right will live in the land.

They will remain there. The land will be theirs.

v22 Evil people must leave the land.

Their enemies will lead them away.

Verses 20-22

The land

God gave land to the nation of Israel. He warned them to follow his commands. If the nation turned away from God, then they would lose their land. (Deuteronomy 28) Solomon knew that God had warned them.

After Solomon, the people served false gods. Some kings were good, but most were evil. God did not punish that nation immediately. God told the people to return to him. They did not return. After a war, they lost their land.

As Christians, our land is not this world. We are only visitors, because we belong elsewhere. Our real home is in heaven (Hebrews 11:13-16). We must follow God. He will lead us to heaven. He has prepared a place for us in heaven (John 14:1-4).


Proverbs chapter 3

v1 My son, do not forget my law.

Keep my commands in your heart.

v2 My commands will bring you long life.

They will bring you wealth.

Verse 1

Chapter 3 begins, as usual, with advice for Solomon’s son. Solomon encourages his son to remember his commands. The son must remember the words. But he should also aim for a deeper experience. Wisdom should enter his heart. Wisdom should guide his thoughts. Wisdom should control his emotions and desires.

Verse 2

The son will benefit from wisdom. Solomon mentions health and wealth.

Wisdom brings health, because wisdom teaches safe actions. A wise person eats good food and takes care of his body.

Wisdom brings wealth, because the wise person is careful. The wise person works hard and he does not waste money.

Do not think that health and wealth show wisdom. A thief can become wealthy, because he steals. An evil person can take money from other people. Sometimes God gives health and wealth to a person, but not always. ‘Remember God! He makes you able to get wealth…’ (Deuteronomy 8:18)

True health is not only the health of the body. Your relationship with God must also be healthy. In fact, your relationship with God is more important than your body. See Matthew 5:29-30.

Solomon was very wealthy. But he knew that true wealth is not money. See Proverbs 3:14-15. Wisdom is worth more than silver or gold. Wisdom is worth more than all our money.

v3 Never let love and trust leave you.

Wear them about your neck.

Write them on your heart.

v4 You will win love and honour.

God and people will show you love and honour

Verses 3-4

Love and trust should always be with us. As Solomon writes this, he is thinking about Deuteronomy 6:7-9. ‘Teach God’s law to your children. Talk about God’s law at home! Talk about it, when you travel! Talk about it, when you lie down! Talk about it, when you wake! Tie the words of God’s law on your hands! Tie the words about your head! Write God’s law at the side of your doors and gates!’

‘Wear them about your neck.’ You cannot really wear love and trust. But you can show your love and trust to other people. Everybody will know your attitudes when they see your behaviour.

‘Write them on your heart.’ You cannot really write ‘love and trust’ on your heart. But love and trust should direct your whole life, even in private. Love and trust should direct your thoughts, plans and attitudes. Love and trust should always be in your heart and mind.

Love and trust should not be just ideas. We must not remember them today, and then forget them tomorrow. They must be part of our lives. They should guide every decision.

v5 Trust in God with your whole heart.

Do not depend on your own intelligence!

v6 Wherever you go, think about God.

He will clear the path for you to follow.

Verses 5

Verses 5 and 6 are very important. It is a good idea to learn them. They will help us if we worry about the future.

‘Trust in God.’ People trust many things. Some trust money. Some trust governments. Other people trust luck or fate. You might trust your family or your church. Sometimes all these things will fail. But God never fails. ‘God is like a castle. We are safe with him, because he is strong. He is always with us. He protects us whenever there are troubles.’ (Psalm 46:1)

‘Your whole heart.’ Perhaps you trust God sometimes, but not at other times. Some people become Christians, but do not trust God with their whole hearts. God is part of their lives, but only part. Maybe they want God at home, but not at work.

God wants our whole hearts. We should always desire his wisdom. He wants us to live as Christians at work and at home. We must trust God, even when our lives are difficult.

God encourages us to trust him in everything.

‘Do not depend on your own intelligence!’ God is wiser than we are. We may know many things, but God knows everything. We must not be proud. We must not imagine that we are wiser than God.

Verse 6

The future is unknown to us. But God knows the future. He is able to lead us. He can guide us. We should trust him, and not our own ideas. So we should pray to God about our lives. We should ask him to help us and to guide us.

‘Wherever you go, think about God.’ These words remind us that life is like a journey. We shall have many experiences. Some experiences will be good. Other experiences will be bad. Wherever we are, we should think about God. We should remember God’s place in our lives. If life is like a journey, then we must follow God. He knows the right path. His way is the right way.

‘He will clear the path for you to follow.’ Another translation is: ‘He will show the right path to you.’ We can trust God to guide us.

v7 Do not be proud about your own wisdom.

Respect God and refuse to do evil actions.

v8 This will bring health to your body.

This will bring strength to your bones.

Verse 7

Wrong types of wisdom and intelligence

There is a wrong type of wisdom. Verse 7 mentions ‘your own wisdom’.

There is also a wrong type of intelligence. Verse 5 mentions ‘your own intelligence’.

There is a difference between our own wisdom and God’s wisdom. Also, there is a difference between our own intelligence and God’s intelligence. God is wiser than we are. And God is more intelligent than any person is. See Isaiah 55:8-9.

We must not be proud. All true wisdom comes from God. Our own ideas may be good. But they are never better than God’s wisdom.

God teaches his wisdom to us. It is God’s gift to us. Do not confuse your own ideas with God’s wisdom!

Verse 8

Sometimes our wrong ideas cause illnesses. For example, excess alcohol will make us ill. But God’s wisdom does not hurt us. God is kind to us and he helps us. He cares about our bodies. He also cares about our spirits. Nobody will be ill in heaven (Revelation 21:4).

The wisdom that we need is God’s wisdom.

v9 Use your wealth to give honour to God.

Give him the first part of your harvest.

v10 Then your harvest will be vast.

Your new wine will be plentiful.

Verses 9-10

In Malachi 3:6-12, Malachi accuses the people. He says that they have stolen from God. This is because they have not given their gifts for God’s work.

The truth is that all our possessions belong to God. He made the world. So he made everything that we have. Our own lives belong to him. As Christians, we should be generous. We should give for God’s work. We should also give to help poor people.

People may say, ‘If I give, then I shall not have enough for myself.’ We should be sensible, but we must also trust God. God says, ‘I do not need your animals. Every animal in the forest is mine. I own the cows on 1000 hills.’ (Psalm 50:9-10)

If we give our money for God’s work, then God will provide for us. Jesus said, ‘If you give to God, then he will give to you. He will provide plenty of food for you. If you are generous, then God will be generous with you.’ (Luke 6:38).

God does not need our wealth. However, he chooses to work with us. We should be glad to give to God. ‘God loves a joyful giver.’ (2 Corinthians 9:7)

As we give to other people, God gives good things to us. ‘… I will open heaven. I will give good things to you. You will receive so many good things, that you cannot find space for them.’ (Malachi 3:10)

v11 My son, do not be angry when God teaches you.

Do not dislike it when he speaks strictly to you.

v12 God speaks strictly to people whom he loves.

He is like a father. He speaks strictly to his favourite son.

Verses 11-12

Many people do not want to learn how to behave well. They want to choose how they will live their lives.

God is our father. A father teaches his son. Sometimes, the father must correct or punish his son. In the same way, God corrects us.

God does not correct us because he is angry. God corrects us because he loves us. A human father should not punish his child because the father is angry. Rather, the father corrects the child because the father loves his child. If God corrects us, then we should be glad. His correction teaches us to do the right things. His correction will save us from troubles.

Jesus spoke about this in John 15:1-8. He compares God to a gardener. We are like a vine (fruit tree). ‘If a branch has no fruit, God cuts it shorter. He does this so that the branch will have more fruit.’ (John 15:2)

God does not forget about us. He watches us. He sees our errors. In love, he corrects us.

He might correct us by some word that we read in the Bible. He might use the advice of other people, for example, a minister or friend. He might even use someone who is not a Christian. ‘If you hear God’s voice today, do not refuse him!’ (Hebrews 3:15)

There is a different, ancient translation of verse 12. Hebrews 12:6 copies this translation. It says, ‘God punishes everyone whom he receives as a son.’ Hebrews 12:7-11 explains these words. God corrects us, because we are his children. If he did not correct us, we should not be his children. We respect our natural fathers who correct us. In the same way, we must respect God.

Sometimes correction includes punishment. ‘Punishment is not pleasant at the time. Punishment seems painful. Later, however, it produces something good. We learn peace, and we learn right actions.’ (Hebrews 12:11)

v13 Wisdom is like a woman. She makes the person who finds her happy.

She makes the person who learns her lessons happy.

v14 She is worth more than silver.

She is even more valuable than gold.

v15 She is more valuable than precious stones.

No valuable things compare with Wisdom.

v16 Her right hand gives long life.

Her left hand gives wealth and honour.

v17 Her ways are pleasant.

Her paths are beautiful.

v18 If you grasp her, she will give a good life to you.

She brings happiness to those who hug her.

Verses 13-18

In Proverbs 1:20-33, Solomon describes wisdom as a woman. This happens again in Proverbs 3:13-18. There is a difference. In Proverbs 1, Wisdom is angry with evil people. They have refused her advice. In Proverbs 3, we read about the people who love Wisdom. Wisdom brings good things to them; long life, wealth and honour (verse 16). When we walk with Wisdom, our life is pleasant and beautiful (verse 17).

Verses 14-15

These verses compare Wisdom to valuable objects. She is worth more than precious stones. Her value is more than silver or gold.

You can put your money in a bank. The bank will pay you an income. However, the bank is not as good as Wisdom. If you give your life to Wisdom, she will pay more than any bank. No bank can make your life longer. But Wisdom can give a long life. No bank can promise you a place in heaven. But wisdom can promise this. No bank can make you right with God. Wisdom can do this.

Verse 18

The happiness that wisdom brings is not just an emotion. This is the same happiness that Jesus describes in Matthew 5:3-12. When God forgives our evil actions, we receive his joy in our spirits.

Sometimes our lives will still be difficult. Sometimes, we shall be very sad. Even then, God will comfort us. He will look after us. Although we are sad, God’s joy will still be in our hearts. And we will have good lives, because God will help us.

David wrote, ‘Even when death is near, you (God) are with me. So, I am not afraid. You guide and comfort me’ (Psalm 23:4). David was not happy when he was in danger. But he knew that God’s joy was in his spirit. So he was not afraid of the dangers that surrounded him.

v19 God created the world by his wisdom.

He created the heavens by his skill.

v20 His knowledge caused the rivers to flow.

And the clouds dropped gentle rain.

Verse 19-20

We all need wisdom. Even God used his wisdom to make the world.

This paragraph is similar to John 1:1-3. ‘In the beginning was the word. The word was with God. The word was God. He was with God in the beginning. God made everything by his word. He made nothing without the word.’

John explains that ‘the word’ means Jesus. Jesus was always with God, because Jesus is God.

v21 My son, hold firmly to wisdom and right decisions.

Do not let them escape from you!

v22 These things will bring you a long and beautiful life.

They are like a precious stone on a chain about your neck.

v23 If you are wise, then your journey will be safe.

And your foot will not trip.

v24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid.

You will sleep in peace.

v25 Do not fear sudden dangers!

An evil man will lose everything.

v26 But God will protect you.

He will save you from dangers.

Verse 22

True beauty

Verse 22 reminds us of verse 3. Verse 3 tells us to wear love about our necks. In many countries, women display their beautiful objects. They wear gold, silver and precious stones on chains about their necks.

Verse 22 encourages us. There are plenty of beautiful things for us. Right decisions, love and wisdom are all beautiful things. They are better than any precious stone.

Gold and silver may be beautiful. Wisdom is more beautiful than any valuable objects.

Verses 23-26

This is another passage that compares life with a journey. This passage teaches us that God will protect us. We have nothing to fear. Many Psalms teach a similar lesson. See Psalm 121, Psalm 46:1, and Psalm 62:2.

Verse 24 gives us special comfort. We cannot protect ourselves at night. In the dark, there are many dangers. Many people struggle to sleep. We should trust in God. He can keep us safe. He can protect us. ‘You do not benefit if you wake early. You do not need to work at night for your food. God gives sleep to the people whom he loves.’ (Psalm 127:2)

v27 Be kind to those who deserve good things.

Do not refuse if you can help them.

v28 If you can help your neighbour today, then help him!

Do not wait until tomorrow!

v29 Your neighbour trusts you.

Do not plot against him! Do not hurt him!

v30 Do not accuse an innocent man.

He is not guilty, and he has not hurt you.

Verses 27-28

Jesus said, ‘Love your neighbour as much as you love yourself!’ (Mark 12:31) In Luke 10:30-37, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37). A Samaritan was a person from a nation that the people from Jerusalem disliked (John 4:9). Jesus told his story to explain the word ‘neighbour’. In the story, a Samaritan rescued a man from Jerusalem. The Samaritan cared, because this man needed help. So, Jesus argued, this other man was the Samaritan’s neighbour. We should do the same. We should care about everyone whom God sends to us.

Jesus discussed this subject again in Matthew 5:43-48. ‘You have heard the words: “Love your neighbour. Hate your enemy.” I am telling you to love your enemies. Pray for anyone who attacks you.’ (Matthew 5:43-44) The people in Jesus’ time thought that they should hate their enemies. But the Bible does not tell us to hate our enemies. In fact, Jesus said that we should love our enemies.

Jesus even prayed for the people who killed him. ‘Father, forgive them! They do not know what they are doing.’ (Luke 23:34)

v31 Do not be jealous of cruel men!

Do not behave like them!

v32 God hates evil men.

Honest men are friends of God.

Verse 31

People like to follow a leader. They might copy a film star. They might act like their teacher. They could behave like their ruler.

We must be careful if we choose a model. If we copy an evil person, then we shall become evil. Even a holy person makes mistakes and could lead us in the wrong way.

Verse 32

God has both friends and enemies. If we are evil, God hates us as enemies. This is because he hates our evil actions. However, God wants evil people to change their lives. God has great love, even for his enemies. This is why he sent Jesus. ‘Remember this! “Jesus came into the world to save evil people.” I was the worst!’ (1 Timothy 1:15. Paul wrote this passage.)

Honest people are God’s friends. We can all become honest. First, we must trust in Jesus. Jesus’ death takes away the punishment for our evil actions. Then God forgives us. He makes us his friends. Now we must learn more. God will teach us. He will use the Bible to teach us. He will also use other people. We should live God’s way. We should try to be honest. God will help us.

Formerly, we opposed God. We were his enemies. But when we trusted God, God forgave us. We became God’s friends. We are now God’s own people. See Ephesians 3:11-22.

v33 God curses the evil man’s house.

He is kind to the good man’s home.

v34 God insults those who insult other people.

But God is kind to humble people.

v35 Wise people will receive honour.

Fools will receive shame.

Verses 33-35

God deals with different people differently.

Verse 33

God will do good things for us if we obey him. He is kind to us, and he is kind to our homes too. The word ‘home’ shows that God will help our families also.

Contrast this with the evil man. God curses both the evil man, and those who live in the evil man’s house. The evil man’s family suffer, because of his evil actions.

Since Jesus died, this has changed. Each person must trust God for himself or herself. ‘Then these words will become untrue: “The fathers ate sour fruit, and the children have a sour taste in their mouths!” Instead, everyone will die because of his own wrong actions. Whoever eats sour fruit will taste it for himself.’ (Jeremiah 31:29-30)

Verse 34

The time for judgement is coming. God will be our judge.

We should serve God, and we should be humble. We must not be proud. When God is our judge, he will show us kindness and love.

Some people are proud. They insult other people. They must turn from their evil behaviour. Then God will forgive them. If they refuse God’s love, God will punish them.

God loves us, although we do not deserve his love. He offers his kindness to everyone. We must be humble to receive it. If we trust in ourselves, we cannot receive his love. Nobody will go to heaven because they deserve it. We have all done wrong things. We all deserve God’s punishment. This is why God sent Jesus. Jesus did not deserve God’s punishment. Jesus suffered the punishment that we deserve. If we turn to God, he will forgive us. He saves us, because he is kind.

This verse, Proverbs 3:34, is an important Bible verse. Both James and Peter used this verse in their own books. See James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:6.


Proverbs chapter 4

v1 My sons, listen to your father’s instruction.

As you listen to me, you will understand more.

v2 My lessons are good.

Do not leave the things that I teach you.

v3 I was only a boy in my father’s house.

I was young, and my mother’s only child.

v4 My father taught me. He said, ‘Study my words deeply!

Keep my commands, and so learn to live a good life.

v5 Get wisdom! Learn to be wise!

Do not forget my words! Do not turn away from them!

v6 Do not leave wisdom. (Wisdom is like a woman.) She will protect you.

Love her! She will watch over you.

v7 Wisdom is better than everything else, so get wisdom!

Even if it costs you everything, learn to be wise!

v8 Give honour to wisdom. (Wisdom is like a woman.) She will lift you higher.

Hug her, and she will give honour to you.

v9 Wisdom’s gifts are like a beautiful crown.’

Verses 1-9

This poem is not just about Solomon’s family. It is about all families. It tells us that a father should teach his son. When he grows older, the son should teach his own children.

Solomon’s family was Israel’s royal family. In the poem, the father does not teach about being a king. He does not speak about wealth and money. He does not explain how to lead the nation. For this father, only one thing matters. His son must learn wisdom.

We can teach our children about many things. We must not forget to teach them wisdom. This is the most important lesson of all.

Verses 1-2

The poem begins with commands to listen. The father will teach a valuable lesson to his sons.

Verse 3

The advice did not begin with the father, who is writing the poem. The father learned this lesson from his own father. The lesson is good, because it is ancient. Grandfather followed this advice. And he saw that it was good advice. This is why he taught it to the boy’s father. The father has lived by this advice too. So now he teaches it to his own sons.

The words of verse 3 speak about the father’s childhood. These words suggest a loving home. The father was grandmother’s only child, so he was close to her. Grandfather taught his lessons with love to his little child.

Verse 4

The grandfather began his lessons in the same way as the poet. The grandfather also emphasised that the lesson was important.

Today, many people say that things are important. A salesman will say that his advice is important. This is because the salesman wants us to buy his products. We can doubt salesmen and politicians. But we must not doubt God’s word. The Book of Proverbs repeats its advice, because wisdom really is important.

Verses 5-6

At last, we hear the advice. This is the lesson that grandfather taught. We must learn to be wise.

As in earlier chapters, he compares wisdom to a woman. Wisdom, like a woman, deserves our love. Like a woman, she will protect you, if you love her.

Verse 7

Wisdom is better than everything else. It is better than money. It is better than beauty. It is better than health. Wisdom is worth more than everything that you own. Remember that these words come from Israel’s royal family. They had great wealth. But wisdom is more important than wealth.

Verse 8

As in verse 6, the poet compares wisdom to a woman. In verse 6, the poet tells us to love Wisdom. In verse 8, he tells us to hug her. We should get closer and closer to Wisdom. We shall benefit if we do so. Wisdom will lift us higher and give honour to us. Like a woman, Wisdom looks after those who love her.

Verse 9

At the end of this poem, the royal family speaks about a crown. This crown is not a gold crown or a silver crown. It is a crown for a king, but a poor person can wear a crown, too. Wisdom gives honour to us. This gift is like a beautiful crown.

In the introduction to this poem, we saw that it was about every family. This poem was not just about Israel’s royal family. Every family can teach wisdom. Every person can trust God and learn to be wise. We can all wear wisdom’s crown. Jesus said, ‘God will give honour to anyone who serves me.’ (John 12:26)

v10 My son, believe my words!

They will bring you long life.

v11 I am guiding you in a wise way.

I am leading you along straight paths.

v12 You will walk in safety.

When you run, you will not fall.

v13 Hold on to my instructions! Learn them well!

Guard my instructions, and they will give you a long life.

This is a list of popular English proverbs. Proverbs are also known as sayings. Proverbs give some form of life advice. Every language and culture has them, and many proverbs exist in more than one language. It is important not to miss any of the words in most proverbs because the meaning can be lost if even one word is changed or left out. This list of English proverbs includes definitions and examples, and is meant to improve English vocabulary and English cultural knowledge.

1PROVERBAbsence makes the heart grow fonder
MEANINGBeing away from someone or something for a period of time makes you appreciate that person or thing more when you see them or it again
EXAMPLE“I used to hate going to my aunt’s house, but now I kind of miss it. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
2PROVERBActions speak louder than words.
MEANINGWhat you do is more important than what you say
EXAMPLE“Don’t just tell me you’re going to change. Do it! Actions speak louder than words.”
3PROVERBA journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step
MEANINGYou must begin something if you hope to finish it; something that takes a long time to finish begins with one step
EXAMPLE“If you want to lose weight, you need to stop eating junk, and you need to start exercising. Today. Not tomorrow. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
4PROVERBAll good things must come to an end
MEANINGEverything ends; good times don’t last forever
EXAMPLE“I wish this vacation would go on forever. It’s too bad that all good things must come to an end.”
5PROVERBA picture is worth a thousand words
MEANINGAn image can tell a story better than words
EXAMPLE“I wasn’t sure that he loved her, but then I saw them hugging at the airport. A picture is worth a thousand words.”
6PROVERBA watched pot never boils
MEANINGIf something takes time to do, it doesn’t help to constantly check on it. You just have to give it time.
EXAMPLE“I know you think he’s going to be a great guitar player one day, but stop criticizing him so much. He just started taking lessons two weeks ago! A watched pot never boils.”
7PROVERBBeggars can’t be choosers
MEANINGIf you’re in a bad situation and someone offers to help you, you have to take whatever they give you and shouldn’t ask for more
EXAMPLE“I was unemployed, and they offered me a job cleaning prison toilets. I didn’t like the job, but I accepted it. Beggars can’t be choosers.”
8PROVERBBeauty is in the eye of the beholder
MEANINGWhat is “beautiful” is different for each person
EXAMPLE“I think their house is ugly, but they seem to like it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
9PROVERBBetter late than never
MEANINGIt’s better to finish something late than to never do it at all
EXAMPLE“Hello, Mr. Jameson. Here is my final essay. Better late than never, right?”
10PROVERBBirds of a feather flock together
MEANINGPeople who are similar spend time together
EXAMPLE“I think we all started hanging out because we all liked anime. Birds of a feather flock together.”
11PROVERBCleanliness is next to godliness
MEANINGIt’s good to be clean. God is clean, and you should be too.
EXAMPLE“Go take a shower before your date. You know what they say; cleanliness is next to godliness.”
12PROVERBDon’t bite the hand that feeds you
MEANINGDon’t make someone angry or hurt someone who is helping you or paying for you
EXAMPLE“You had a fight with your boss? Are you stupid? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
13PROVERBDon’t count your chickens before they hatch.
MEANINGDon’t expect a positive result before you actually see it
EXAMPLEA: “This idea is going to make me millions of dollars!”
B: “Whoa. Let’s slow down. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”
14PROVERBDon’t judge a book by its cover
MEANINGDon’t judge someone or something by appearance alone
EXAMPLE“Racism is still a problem today, and it will continue to be that way until we learn not to judge a book by its cover.”
15PROVERBDon’t put all of your eggs in one basket
MEANINGDon’t put all of your hopes and resources into one goal or dream
EXAMPLE“I know you really want to be an actor, but don’t you think you’re being financially irresponsible? Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.”
16PROVERBDon’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today
MEANINGIf you can do something today, do it. Don’t wait until tomorrow; don’t procrastinate.
EXAMPLE“You have 6 hours of free time now. You should start on that final psychology assignment. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”
17PROVERBDon’t put too many irons in the fire
MEANINGDon’t try to do too many things at the same time; focus on one thing at a time
EXAMPLE“No wonder you’re exhausted. You’re trying to work 4 jobs at the same time! You have too many irons in the fire right now.”
18PROVERBEasy come, easy go
MEANINGWhen you make money quickly, it’s very easy to lose it quickly as well
EXAMPLE“I won $200 at the casino, and then I spent it on a very expensive meal for me and some friends. Easy come, easy go.”
19PROVERBFortune favors the bold
MEANINGPeople who are brave and who take risks are more successful than people who are do things safely all the time
EXAMPLE“It’s a risk, but the reward could be great. I say you go for it. Fortune favors the bold.”
20PROVERBGod helps those who help themselves
MEANINGDon’t just wait for good things to happen to you. Work hard to make them happen
EXAMPLE“If you want a better life, you can’t just sit on your butt thinking about it. You have to work to make it happen. God helps those who help themselves.”
21PROVERBGood things come to those who wait
MEANINGIf you are patient, good things can happen
EXAMPLE“I know you’re hungry, but stop being so impatient. We just ordered our food. Good things come to those who wait.”
22PROVERBHonesty is the best policy
MEANINGIt’s always better to tell the truth than it is to lie
EXAMPLE“If you want people to trust you, you need to be honest with them. Honesty is the best policy.”
23PROVERBHope for the best, prepare for the worst
MEANINGIn any situation, be optimistic about the result, but always be ready for the worst outcome
EXAMPLE“We’re going on vacation next week. It’s supposed to rain a lot, so we’re bringing our umbrellas and a bunch of board games. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”
24PROVERBIf it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
MEANINGIf something is already working well, don’t try to change it or improve it
EXAMPLE“Why are you trying to upgrade your PC again? It was working fine before. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
25PROVERBIf you can’t beat ’em, join ’em
MEANINGIf you can’t change someone’s behavior or opinion, sometimes it’s better or easier to do what they want to do
EXAMPLE“I told Mark that we needed to study, but he kept playing video games. Eventually I gave up and just played video games too. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
26PROVERBIf you play with fire, you’ll get burned
MEANINGIf you get involved in something dangerous or beyond your abilities, you will probably experience negative consequences
EXAMPLE“Don’t make him angry. If you play with fire, you’ll get burned.”
27PROVERBIf you want something done right, you have to do it yourself
MEANINGDon’t depend on someone else to do a good job; do it yourself
EXAMPLE“I asked my roommate to wash the dishes, but they ended up super filthy! I guess it’s true what they say: if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”
28PROVERBKeep your friends close, and your enemies closer
MEANINGIf someone is your enemy, treat them like a friend so you can be ready if they ever try to betray you
EXAMPLE“We don’t trust each other, but we have to be nice to each other because we work for the same company. I’m worried about him stealing my promotion, so I’m going to keep being nice to him. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer, and all that.”
29PROVERBKnowledge is power
MEANINGThe more you know, the more powerful you can be in different areas of your life
EXAMPLE“When we were kids, our parents taught us how to swim. That knowledge helped me to save my cousin’s life when he was 5 years old. Knowledge is power.”
30PROVERBLaughter is the best medicine.
MEANINGWhen you’re in a difficult situation, laughing can make it easier to get through that situation
EXAMPLE“I’m sorry to hear about your dog. Want to watch a funny movie? Sometimes, laughter is the best medicine.”
31PROVERBLike father, like son
MEANINGSaid when a son is similar to his father; also, “Like mother, like daughter”
EXAMPLE“Ryan started playing hockey at a very young age. He’s just like his dad. Like father, like son.”
32PROVERBNo man is an island
MEANINGNo one is truly capable of living alone. We need human connection to be healthy
EXAMPLE“You can’t just abandon your friends and family. No man is an island.”
33PROVERBPeople who live in glass houses should not throw stones
MEANINGDon’t criticize someone if you’re not perfect either; don’t be a hyprocrite
EXAMPLE“Why are you always bothering her about being addicted to her phone? You’ve been smoking for 20 years and haven’t been able to give it up. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”
34PROVERBPractice makes perfect
MEANINGThe more you do something, the better you will become at it
EXAMPLE“Don’t give up on learning the violin. Practice makes perfect.”
35PROVERBThe early bird gets the worm
MEANINGPeople who wake up early or who get to places early have a better chance of success
EXAMPLE“I got to the ticket office before anyone else. I got front row seats to the show! The early bird gets the worm.”
36PROVERBThe enemy of my enemy is my friend
MEANINGIf someone whom I don’t like doesn’t like someone else whom I don’t like, we can act like friends and unite against the other person (common in war)
EXAMPLE“I don’t like you, you don’t like me. But I think we can agree that we both HATE Daniel. Let’s work together and get him fired! The enemy of my enemy is my friend, right?”
37PROVERBThe grass is always greener on the other side
MEANINGPeople always want what they don’t have
EXAMPLEA: “I’m jealous of all the free time my single friends have.”
B: “Yeah, but your friends are probably jealous of you too in some ways. The grass is always greener on the other side.”
38PROVERBThe pen is mightier than the sword
MEANINGIf you’re trying to convince someone of something, words and ideas are stronger than using physical force (common in politics)
EXAMPLE“We must avoid this war and use diplomacy to solve our problems. The pen is mightier than the sword.”
39PROVERBThere is no place like home
MEANINGYour home is the most comfortable place in the world
EXAMPLE“What a tiring vacation! I’m glad to be back in my own bed again. There’s no place like home.”
40PROVERBThere is no such thing as a free lunch.
MEANINGNothing is free. Even the things that are free have a hidden cost
EXAMPLE“His bank gave him $50 for free, but he had to commit to opening a credit card account. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.”
41PROVERBThere is no time like the present
MEANINGDon’t wait to do something. Do it now.
EXAMPLE“Why don’t you stop talking about needing to call your mom? Just CALL her! There is no time like the present.”
42PROVERBThe squeaky wheel gets the grease
MEANINGThe person who complains in a situation is more likely to get something.
EXAMPLEA: “I just don’t understand why she’s received so many promotions, and I’m still at the bottom of the company!”
B: “She complains a lot. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
43PROVERBTime is money
MEANINGDon’t waste your time or other people’s time; also, if you can use your time to make money in some way, you should do that.
EXAMPLE“Hurry up! Time is money!”
44PROVERBTwo heads are better than one
MEANINGIt’s easier to do something as a team than by yourself
EXAMPLE“I’m stuck on this project. Can you help me out? Two heads are better than one.”
45PROVERBTwo wrongs don’t make a right
MEANINGTrying to get revenge on someone who has hurt you will only make things worse
EXAMPLE“I know she made you angry, but did you have to steal her phone? Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
46PROVERBWhen in Rome, do as the Romans do
MEANINGWhen you are in a new place or situation, try to act like the majority of people in that place or situation.
EXAMPLEA: “You’ve been eating a lot of bread and cheese on this Paris vacation.”
B: “Hey, when in Rome.”
47PROVERBWhen the going gets tough, the tough get going
MEANINGWhen a situation becomes difficult, strong people don’t give up; they work harder
EXAMPLE“My great grandfather survived the Great Depression. You know the phrase, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going?’ That was my great grandfather.”
48PROVERBWhere there’s smoke, there’s fire
MEANINGIf something seems wrong, it probably is; also, there is usually some truth to a rumor
EXAMPLE“Matilda came to school with a black eye today. She cried when I asked her about it after class and didn’t want to say anything about her parents. I don’t want to speculate too much, but where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.”
49PROVERBYou can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it
MEANINGYou can try to help someone by giving good advice, but you can’t force them to accept it or follow it
EXAMPLE“She tried to help her brother find a job by improving his resume, but he didn’t do anything with it. I guess you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it.”
50PROVERBYou can’t always get what you want
MEANINGDon’t complain if you don’t get what you want
EXAMPLEA: I really wanted to see that movie, but I didn’t have enough money last week
B: It happens. You can’t always get what you want, right?

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