World Wide Study Bible


a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary

20. Proverbs of Solomon

1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler;

And whosoever erreth thereby is not wise.

2The terror of a king is as the roaring of a lion:

He that provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own life.

3It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife;

But every fool will be quarrelling.

4The sluggard will not plow by reason of the winter;

Therefore he shall beg in harvest, and have nothing.

5Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water;

But a man of understanding will draw it out.

6Most men will proclaim every one his own kindness;

But a faithful man who can find?

7A righteous man that walketh in his integrity,

Blessed are his children after him.

8A king that sitteth on the throne of judgment

Scattereth away all evil with his eyes.

9Who can say, I have made my heart clean,

I am pure from my sin?

10Diverse weights, and diverse measures,

Both of them alike are an abomination to Jehovah.

11Even a child maketh himself known by his doings,

Whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

12The hearing ear, and the seeing eye,

Jehovah hath made even both of them.

13Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty;

Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

14It is bad, it is bad, saith the buyer;

But when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

15There is gold, and abundance of rubies;

But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

16Take his garment that is surety for a stranger;

And hold him in pledge that is surety for foreigners.

17Bread of falsehood is sweet to a man;

But afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

18Every purpose is established by counsel;

And by wise guidance make thou war.

19He that goeth about as a tale-bearer revealeth secrets;

Therefore company not with him that openeth wide his lips.

20Whoso curseth his father or his mother,

His lamp shall be put out in blackness of darkness.

21An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning;

But the end thereof shall not be blessed.

22Say not thou, I will recompense evil:

Wait for Jehovah, and he will save thee.

23Diverse weights are an abomination to Jehovah;

And a false balance is not good.

24A man's goings are of Jehovah;

How then can man understand his way?

25It is a snare to a man rashly to say, It is holy,

And after vows to make inquiry.

26A wise king winnoweth the wicked,

And bringeth the threshing -wheel over them.

27The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah,

Searching all his innermost parts.

28Kindness and truth preserve the king;

And his throne is upholden by kindness.

29The glory of young men is their strength;

And the beauty of old men is the hoary head.

30Stripes that wound cleanse away evil;

And strokes reach the innermost parts.

Select a resource above

Pr 20:1-30.

1. mocker—scorner. Such men are made by wine.

strong drink—made by spicing wine (compare Isa 5:11, 22); and it may include wine.

raging—or boisterous as a drunkard.

deceived—literally, "erring," or reeling.

2. (Compare Pr 19:12). Men who resist authority injure themselves (Ro 13:2).

3. to cease from strife—or, better, "to dwell from or without strife," denoting the habit of life.

fool … meddling—(Pr 17:14).

4. shall … beg—literally, "ask" (in this sense, Ps 109:10).

5. Counsel … water—that is, deeply hidden (Pr 18:4; Ps 13:2). The wise can discern well.

6. Boasters are unreliable.

goodness—or, "kind disposition."

7. The conduct of good men proclaims their sound principles. God's covenant and their good example secure blessing to their children (Pr 4:26; Ps 112:1, 2).

8. As in Pr 14:35; 16:10, 15, this is the character of a good king, not of all kings.

9. The interrogation in the affirmative strengthens the implied negation (compare Job 15:14; Ec 7:20).

10. Various measures, implying that some are wrong (compare Pr 11:1; 16:11).

11. The conduct of children even is the best test of principle (compare Mt 7:16).

12. Hence, of course, God will know all you do (Ps 94:9).

13. Activity and diligence contrasted with sloth (Pr 6:9; 10:11).

lest … poverty—literally, "be deprived of inheritance."

14. when … his way—implying that he goes about boasting of his bargains.

15. The contrast denotes the greater value of knowledge (compare Pr 3:14-16).

16. Take his garment—implies severe exaction, justified by the surety's rashness.

a strange woman—by some readings "strangers," but the former here, and in Pr 27:13, is allowable, and strengthens the sense. The debauchee is less reliable than the merely careless.

17. Bread … sweet—either as unlawfully (Pr 9:17) or easily obtained.

mouth … gravel—well expresses the pain and grief given at last.

18. (Compare Pr 15:22). Be careful and considerate in important plans.

19. Those who love to tell news will hardly keep secrets.

flattereth … lips—(compare Margin; Pr 1:10).

meddle … him—literally, "join," or "associate with."

20. his lamp—(Compare Pr 13:9; 24:20).

21. gotten hastily—contrary to God's providence (Pr 28:20), implying its unjust or easy attainment; hence the man is punished, or spends freely what he got easily (compare Pr 20:17).

22. (Compare Ps 27:14; Ro 12:17-19).

23. (Compare Pr 20:10; 11:1).

24. Man's goings—literally, "Stately steppings of a strong man."

a man—any common man.

understand—or, "perceive."

25. devoureth … holy—or, better, "who rashly speaks promises," or "devotes what is holy," consecrating any thing. This suits better the last clause, which expresses a similar view of the results of rashly vowing.

26. (Compare Pr 20:8).

bringeth … over them—The wheel was used for threshing grain. The figure denotes severity (compare Am 1:3).

27. The spirit … Lord—Men's minds are God's gifts, and thus able to search one another (compare Pr 20:5; Pr 18:8, 17; 1Co 2:11).

28. (Compare Pr 3:3; 16:6, 12).

29. The glory of young men … the beauty of old men—Each age has its peculiar excellence (Pr 16:31).

30. blueness—literally, "joining," the process of uniting the edges of a wound throws off purulent matter.

stripes … belly—So punishment provides healing of soul (Pr 18:8), by deterring from evil courses.