Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.II. THE PROVERBS OF SOLOMON: CHAPTERS 10--19:19
Beginning with the tenth chapter we have the collection of proverbs given by inspiration through Solomon. In this section the personal address, “My son,” and the personal exhortations are missing. It will be noticed that each verse in this section contains a proverb, consisting each of two lines, mostly of an antithetic character, except Proverbs 19:7, which has three lines instead of two (a tristich).
It is impossible to give a detailed analysis of these chapters, nor can we take up each proverb separately for meditation. This must be left to each reader. By comparing Scripture with Scripture, and a prayerful study of these terse sayings, the heavenly wisdom given in these chapters can readily be found. There is no end to practical application. Yet even in these chapters a certain order is maintained. The contrast in each chapter is between the righteous and the wicked, between right and wrong.
CHAPTER 10 The Godly and the Ungodly in Life and Conduct
The opening proverbs are concerning treasures, earthly substance. What an important sentence, “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing!” Throughout these proverbs there are the warnings concerning getting riches, or as it is expressed in a modern phrase “getting rich quick” (Proverbs 28:20), and the dangers connected with it.
These grave warnings of Wisdom are especially needed at the present time in England and America, when the undisguised and the unrestrained pursuit of riches has become more and more recognized as the legitimate end of life, so that few people feel any shame in admitting that this is their aim; and the clear unimpassioned statements of the result, which always follows on the unhallowed passion receive daily confirmation from the occasional revelations of our domestic, our commercial and our criminal life. He that is greedy of gain, we are told, troubleth his own house. An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning, but the end thereof shall not be blessed. A faithful man shall abound with blessings, but he that maketh haste to be rich (and consequently cannot by any possibility be faithful) shall not be unpunished. He that hath an evil eye hasteth after riches, and knoweth not that want shall come upon him. “Weary not thyself,” therefore, it is said, “to be rich;” which, though it may be the dictate of thine own wisdom, is really unmixed folly, burdened with a load of calamity for the unfortunate seeker, for his house, and for all those who are in any way dependent upon him (Expositor’s Bible).
There are also warnings against being slack, which maketh poor, while the hand of the diligent, he that is up and doing, maketh rich. We find promises and assurance for the godly like these: “Righteousness delivereth from death ... the Lord will not suffer the righteous, the soul of the righteous to famish ... blessings are upon the head of the just ... the memory of the just is blessed.”
The walk and conduct of the two classes are contrasted, especially in relation to the mouth and lips. The walk of the righteous is the sure walk (Proverbs 10:9); the mouth of the righteous is a well of life, it is a fountain for good Proverbs 10:11. In this proverb we are reminded of John 4:10; John 7:38, the believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit welling forth waters of life. While violence covers the mouth of the wicked and hatred does nothing but stir up strife, love, the true love in the heart of the just covereth all transgressions. (See 1Peter 4:8 and James 5:20.) Whoever has understanding his lips speak wisdom. In all these proverbs there is something to be learned in a practical way and many blessed lessons are written here for all who desire to walk righteously, godly and soberly in this evil age. Here is a test, for instance, “He is in the way of life that heedeth correction” Proverbs 10:17, corrected translation). But as soon as one forsaketh reproof he errs. How well it would be if children of God would daily consider Proverbs 10:19. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” The fear of the wicked, the fear of the Lord, the hope of the righteous and the expectations of the wicked are furthermore contrasted in this chapter.