Darby's Bible Synopsis
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
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.
The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.
A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.
The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.