Darby's Bible Synopsis
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
The following commentary covers Chapters 10 through 31.
In chapter 10 begin the details which teach those who give ear how to avoid the snares into which the simple might fall, the path to be followed in many cases, and the consequences of men's actions: in short, that which characterises wisdom in detail, what may be prudence for man, divine discretion for the children of God; and also, the result of God's government, whatever appearances may be for awhile. It is well to observe, that there is no question of redemption or propitiation in this book; it proposes a walk according to the wisdom of God's government.
In the final chapter we have the character of a king according to wisdom, and that of the woman in her own house-the king who does not allow himself that which, by darkening his moral discernment through the indulgence of his lusts, would make him unfit to govern. In the woman we see the persevering and devoted industry which fills the house with riches, brings honour to its inhabitants, and removes all the cares and anxieties produced by sloth. The typical application of these two specific characters is too evident to need explanation. The example of the woman is very useful, as to the spirit of the thing, to one who labours in the assembly.
Although in this book the wisdom produced by the fear of Jehovah is only applied to this world, it is on that very account of great use to the Christian, who, in view of his heavenly privileges, might, more or less, forget the continual government of God. It is very important for the Christian to remember the fear of the Lord, and the effect of God's presence on the details of his conduct; and I repeat that which I said at the beginning, that it is great grace which deigns to apply divine wisdom to all the details of the life of man in the midst of the confusion brought in by sin. Occupied with heavenly things, the Christian is less in the way of discovering, by his own experience, the clue to the labyrinth of evil through which he is passing. God has considered this, and He has laid down this first principle, "wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil." Thus the Christian may be ignorant of evil (if a worldling were so, he would fall into it), and yet avoid it through his knowledge of good. The wisdom of God gives him the latter; the government of God provides for all the rest. Now, in the Proverbs, we have these things in principle and in detail. I have not dwelt on the figurative character of the forms of evil. They are rather principles than figures. But the violent man of the last days is continually found in the Psalms; and Babylon is the full accomplishment of the woman who takes the simple in her snares and leads them down to death; just as Christ is the perfect wisdom of God which leads to life. But these two things which manifest evil proceed from the heart of man at all times since the fall: only we have seen that there is an active development of the wiles of the evil woman, who has her own house and her own arrangements. It is not simply the principle of corruption, but an organised system, as is that of sovereign wisdom.
He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.
A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.
In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.