James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.Proverbs 4:1-7:27
These chapters begin with reminiscence. A father is reciting to a son the precepts taught him by his father in his youth, and which cover chapter four. Chapter five is a warning against the evil woman. Chapter six deals with suretyship, indolence, malice and violence, while chapter seven returns to the theme of chapter five.
In the first-named chapter occurs the beautiful illustration of Hebrew rhythm to which attention was called in Lesson 1; and following it we find in Proverbs 4:18 and Proverbs 4:23, two of as off-quoted texts as are in the whole book.
The “just” man, as usual in the Bible, is he who is justified by faith and walks with God in a holy obedience. On him the Sun of Righteousness shines. His new life is at first like the morning light, a struggle between the darkness and the dawn. Ere long the doubt vanishes, and morning is unequivocally declared. The counterpart is fitted to overawe the boldest heart, “The way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble.” The thought is that the darkness is in them and they carry it, an evil heart of unbelief, wherever they go.
As to the other text, notice the fountain the heart (Proverbs 4:23), and then the stream the mouth, the eyes, the feet (Proverbs 4:24-27). The heart is kept by prayer and the Word of God, and then the life issuing from it is what it ought to be. The speech is pure, and true and potent. There are no secret longings and side glances after forbidden things, and the steps in matters of business, society, and the home are all ordered of the Lord. (Compare Christ’s words Matthew 15:18-20.) FAMILY JOYS
We have spoken of chapter five as a warning against the evil woman, which is true of its first half; but the reader will observe how the warning is accentuated by the contrast of the pure and happy home life in the second half, beginning at Proverbs 5:15. The former is a clark back ground to bring out the latter’s beauty. The keynote of the first half is “remove far from her.” She is deceitful (Proverbs 5:3-4), unstable (Proverbs 5:6) and cruel (Proverbs 5:9). To associate with her means waste of property and health (Proverbs 5:8-9), and at the last remorse (Proverbs 5:12-14).
The home in comparison is a pure and well-guarded well (Proverbs 5:15). Read Proverbs 5:16-17 in the Revised Version, and observe a husband’s duty toward his wife (Proverbs 5:18). Let him avoid biting words, neglect, unnecessary absences and the like. And as Paul says (Ephesians 5:33), let “the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
The suretyship against which we are warned (Proverbs 6:1-5) is of the inconsiderate kind. That imprudent assumption of such obligations leaving out of account the moral unreliableness of the man involved. The advice is to get the quickest release possible (Proverbs 6:3-5). It does not mean that we should not kindly and prudently help a neighbor in financial need, if we can.
The “mother” of Proverbs 6:20-24 must be one who knows God, for it is the instilling of His Word only in the heart of her child that can produce the results indicated. Observe it is a grown son here referred to as keeping his mother’s law.
1. What are the general subjects treated in these chapters?
2. Quote and explain Proverbs 6:18.
3. What possible evidence is there in this lesson of our Lords acquaintance with Proverbs?
4. What does this lesson teach about conjugal love? About parental authority? About suretyship?