Proverbs 10:2

I. ILL-GOTTEN WEALTH AND RECTITUDE. (Ver. 2.) The former cannot avert sudden death or shame (vers. 25, 27); the latter is vital, and stands the man in good stead in every hour of human trial, and of Divine judgment.

II. HONEST POVERTY AND PROFLIGATE GREED. (Ver. 3.) The former does not hunger, is contented with little, has true satisfaction. The latter is never satisfied, expands with every indulgence, is like the "dire dropsy." It is an unappeasable thirst. God repudiates it by fixing it in perpetual impotency, while the temperate and chastened doilies are rewarded by fulfilment.

III. THE LAX AND THE INDUSTRIOUS HAND. (Ver. 4; comp. Proverbs 12:24.) The one leading to poverty, the other to fiches. Languor and energy have their physical conditions; but how much lies in the will? We live in a day when it is the fashion to talk of "determinism," and to extend the doctrine of "causes over which we have no control" beyond all reasonable limits. We need to fall back on the healthy common sense of mankind, and on the doctrine of these proverbs. There is a moral question involved. Laziness is immoral, and receives the condemnation of immorality; industry is a virtue, and brings its own reward in every sphere. The opposition is amplified in ver. 5; active forethought being contrasted with supine indifference. The hard field labour referred to belongs particularly to young men; and to young men idleness is peculiarly corrupting.

IV. ASSOCIATIONS OF BLESSING AND THOSE OF VIOLENCE. (Ver. 6.) However the verse may be rendered and interpreted, this is the opposition. Blessing leads the mind through such a series of associated ideas as peace, tranquillity, order, security; violence through a contrasted series - trouble, disquiet, disorder, and all that implies a curse.

V. BRIGHT AND DARK RECOLLECTIONS. (Ver. 7.) The good man lives in thankful memories; the bad man's name is like an ill odour, according to the literal meaning of the Hebrew word. When the saying is quoted, The ill men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones," we should recall by whom this was said, or feigned to be said, and for what purpose. In the memory of Caesar's ambition Antony is afraid the Romans will forget his services. Momentarily good may be forgotten, but ultlmately must come to recognition and honour. The course of time illustrates the worth of the good, and enhances the odium of evil memories. - J.

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivereth from death
In nothing is our common proneness to self-deception more conspicuously manifested than in the erroneous estimate which we form respecting this world and the next. Of the one we think as though it could never have an end; of the other as though it could never have a beginning.

I. THE TREASURES OF WICKEDNESS PROFIT NOTHING. "Treasures of wickedness" should mean wealth which has been acquired by dubious or unjustifiable methods, or which is applied to unhallowed or forbidden purposes. But it may be used to signify all wealth bearing no relation to the command and will of the Almighty; all wealth in the acquisition and expenditure of which religion has no influence. But take the present life only, and appearances are against the statement of this text. What will not riches do and obtain for men! Some things they will not. They cannot give health to the languid, ease to the tormented, nor life to the dead. Therefore, with all their fair appearances, they profit nothing. They bring with them no solid, substantial happiness; no joy upon which the soul can confidently repose itself; no strength to endure trials in adversity. If they could, we have still to keep in mind that man is destined for an eternal existence, and for him the hour is coming in which all must confess that riches are useless — nothing in the sight of immortal man, much less in the sight of an eternal God.

II. WHAT IS MEANT BY RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND IN WHAT SENSE IT DELIVERETH FROM DEATH. The righteousness which delivereth from death is not our own righteousness properly so-called, but the righteousness of Christ. This righteousness, however, involves a righteousness of our own, which is, in its nature, a necessary fruit, and without which it cannot really exist. The righteousness adverted to by Solomon, in the case of the Jews, was first a ceremonial and then a meritorious righteousness. For us there is first an imputation of the perfect righteousness of Christ, and secondly, an actual righteousness of our own; the first being the cause of our justification, and the second its natural and necessary consequence. The righteous man is he who has accepted the salvation of Christ, is in the leading of the Holy Spirit, and has the testimony of his conscience that, in simplicity and godly sincerity, he daily labours to combine a holy life with a humble and contrite heart. Such a righteousness delivers, not from bodily death, but from all those evils that are represented by, and consummated in, death. To disappointment religion opposes hope; to suffering, patience; to the loss of earthly friends, the friendship of One who "sticketh closer than a brother." In the hour of calamity, disease, and death itself, righteousness is proved to be the only lasting, sustaining remedy.

(Thomas Dale, M.A.)

may mean either treasures wickedly got or treasures wickedly spent, or both. Such treasures profit nothing unto the bestowment of true happiness.

(R. Wardlaw.)

No moral system is complete which does not treat with clearness and force the subject of wealth. The material possessions of an individual or of a nation are, in a certain sense, the prerequisites of all moral life. The production of wealth, it not, strictly speaking, a moral question itself, presses closely upon all other moral questions. Wisdom will be called upon to direct the energies which produce wealth, and to determine the feelings with which we are to regard the wealth which is produced. Moral problems mightier still begin to emerge when the question of distribution presents itself. If production is in a sense the presupposition of all moral and spiritual life, no less certainly correct moral conceptions — may we not even say, true spiritual conditions? — are the indispensable means of determining distribution. In our own day this question of the distribution of wealth stands in the front rank of practical questions. Religious teachers must face it. Socialists are grappling with this question not altogether in a religious spirit. But all socialism is not revolutionary. In the teaching of the Book of Proverbs on this subject note —

I. ITS FRANK AND FULL RECOGNITION THAT WEALTH HAS ITS ADVANTAGES AND POVERTY ITS DISADVANTAGES. There is no Quixotic attempt to overlook, as many moral and spiritual systems do, the perfectly obvious facts of life. The extravagance and exaggeration which led St. Francis to choose poverty as his bride find no more sanction in this ancient wisdom than in the sound teaching of our Lord and His apostles. As poverty is a legitimate subject of dread, there are urgent exhortations to diligence and thrift, quite in accordance with the excellent apostolic maxim, that if a man will not work he shall not eat; while there are forcible statements of the things which tend to poverty and of the courses which result in comfort and wealth.

II. BUT, MAKING ALL ALLOWANCE FOR THE ADVANTAGES OF WEALTH, WE HAVE TO NOTICE SOME OF ITS SERIOUS DRAWBACKS. To begin with, it is always insecure. If wealth has been obtained in any other way than by honest labour it is useless, at any rate for the owner, and indeed worse than useless for him. There is wealth of another kind, wealth consisting in moral and spiritual qualities, compared with which wealth, as it is usually understood, is quite paltry and unsatisfying. A little wisdom, a little sound understanding, or a little wholesome knowledge, is more precious than wealth.

III. POSITIVE COUNSELS ABOUT MONEY AND ITS ACQUISITION. We are cautioned against the fever of money-getting; we are counselled to exercise a generous liberality in the disposal of such things as are ours. Happy would that society be in which all men were aiming, not at riches, but merely at a modest competency, dreading the one extreme as much as the other.

(R. F. Horton, D.D.)

I. THE WORTHLESSNESS OF A WICKED MAN'S WEALTH. It will "profit nothing." The wicked man gets treasures here, and often, indeed, the more wicked a man is the more he succeeds. The fool of the gospel became rich. But of what real profit is wealth to the wicked? It feeds and clothes him well as an animal. It may give him gorgeous surroundings.

1. It "profits him" nothing in the way of making him truly happy. It cannot harmonise those elements of his nature which sin has brought into conflict; it cannot remove the sense of fault from his conscience; it cannot fill him with a bright hope for the future.

2. It "profits him" nothing in the way of obtaining the true love of his fellow-men. Men take off their hats to the wealthy, but there is no genuine reverence and love where there is not the recognition of goodness.

3. It "profits him" nothing in the dying hour or in the future world. He leaves it all behind. Money was the curse of Judas.

II. THE VALUE OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN'S CHARACTER. The righteous shall be delivered from death, from that which is the very essence in the evil of physical death — the sting of sin; and entirely from spiritual death. The soul of the righteous shall never famish. On the contrary, it shall increase in vigour for ever. There is no want to them that fear Him.


A millionaire who had been born a poor boy, and whose money had become his idol, was showing his house and grounds to a Quaker. The genial Friend praised them and said it was all wonderfully beautiful. "The almighty dollar has done it all," said the millionaire. "What cannot money do?" The Quaker looked sadly at him. He said, "Thy question reminds me of the people in the desert. They bowed clown to the golden calf and said it was that which brought them out of Egypt. As it turned out it hindered them and kept them out of the promised land. It would be an awful thing if thy gold kept thee out of heaven. You say, 'What cannot money do?' It cannot deliver thy soul."

Death, Delivereth, Delivers, Gained, Gains, Gives, Ill-gotten, Nothing, Profit, Righteousness, Salvation, Sin, Treasures, Value, Wealth, Wickedness
1. Proverbs of Solomon: observations of moral virtues, and their contrary vices

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Proverbs 10:2

     5414   money, stewardship
     6135   coveting, and sin
     8812   riches, ungodly use

Proverbs 10:2-3

     8158   righteousness, of believers

The Two-Fold Aspect of the Divine Working
'The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.'--PROVERBS x. 29. You observe that the words 'shall be,' in the last clause, are a supplement. They are quite unnecessary, and in fact they rather hinder the sense. They destroy the completeness of the antithesis between the two halves of the verse. If you leave them out, and suppose that the 'way of the Lord' is what is spoken of in both clauses, you get a far deeper and fuller meaning. 'The way
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Folly of Slander. Part 1.
"He that uttereth slander is a fool."--Prov. x. 18. General declamations against vice and sin are indeed excellently useful, as rousing men to consider and look about them: but they do often want effect, because they only raise confused apprehensions of things, and indeterminate propensions to action; which usually, before men thoroughly perceive or resolve what they should practise, do decay and vanish. As he that cries out "Fire!" doth stir up people, and inspireth them with a kind of hovering
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

The Folly of Slander. Part 2.
"He that uttereth slander is a fool."--Prov. x. 18. I have formerly in this place, discoursing upon this text, explained the nature of the sin here condemned, with its several kinds and ways of practising. II. I shall now proceed to declare the folly of it; and to make good by divers reasons the assertion of the wise man, that "He who uttereth slander is a fool." 1. Slandering is foolish, as sinful and wicked. All sin is foolish upon many accounts; as proceeding from ignorance, error, inconsiderateness,
Isaac Barrow—Sermons on Evil-Speaking, by Isaac Barrow

Sanctions of Moral Law, Natural and Governmental.
In the discussion of this subject, I shall show-- I. What constitute the sanctions of law. 1. The sanctions of law are the motives to obedience, the natural and the governmental consequences or results of obedience and of disobedience. 2. They are remuneratory, that is, they promise reward to obedience. 3. They are vindicatory, that is, they threaten the disobedient with punishment. 4. They are natural, that is, happiness is to some extent naturally connected with, and the necessary consequence of,
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

The Desire of the Righteous Granted;
OR, A DISCOURSE OF THE RIGHTEOUS MAN'S DESIRES. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR As the tree is known by its fruit, so is the state of a man's heart known by his desires. The desires of the righteous are the touchstone or standard of Christian sincerity--the evidence of the new birth--the spiritual barometer of faith and grace--and the springs of obedience. Christ and him crucified is the ground of all our hopes--the foundation upon which all our desires after God and holiness are built--and the root
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Lii. Trust in God.
15th Sunday after Trinity. S. Matt. vi. 31. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness." INTRODUCTION.--We read in ancient Roman history that a general named Aemilius Paulus was appointed to the Roman army in a time of war and great apprehension. He found in the army a sad condition of affairs, there were more officers than fighting men, and all these officers wanted to have their advice taken, and the war conducted in accordance with their several opinions. Then Aemilius Paulus
S. Baring-Gould—The Village Pulpit, Volume II. Trinity to Advent

The Death and the Raising of Lazarus - the Question of Miracles and of this Miracle of Miracles - views of Negative Criticism on this History
From listening to the teaching of Christ, we turn once more to follow His working. It will be remembered, that the visit to Bethany divides the period from the Feast of the Dedication to the last Paschal week into two parts. It also forms the prelude and preparation for the awful events of the End. For, it was on that occasion that the members of the Sanhedrin formally resolved on His Death. It now only remained to settle and carry out the plans for giving effect to their purpose. This is one aspect
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Christian's Hope
Scripture references: 1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27; Psalm 130:5; 43:5; Proverbs 10:8; Acts 24:15; Psalm 71:5; Romans 5:1-5; 12:12; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 1:20; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:19; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7; Psalm 31:24; 71:14,15. HOPE IN THE PRESENT LIFE That which a man ardently hopes for he strives to realize. If he desires fame, office or wealth he will seek to set forces in motion, here and now, which will bring him that which
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian

Letter xxxi (A. D. 1132) to the Abbot of a Certain Monastery at York, from which the Prior had Departed, Taking Several Religious with Him.
To the Abbot of a Certain Monastery at York, from Which the Prior Had Departed, Taking Several Religious with Him. [50] 1. You write to me from beyond the sea to ask of me advice which I should have preferred that you had sought from some other. I am held between two difficulties, for if I do not reply to you, you may take my silence for a sign of contempt; but if I do reply I cannot avoid danger, since whatever I reply I must of necessity either give scandal to some one or give to some other a security
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

The Poor in Spirit are Enriched with a Kingdom
Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3 Here is high preferment for the saints. They shall be advanced to a kingdom. There are some who, aspiring after earthly greatness, talk of a temporal reign here, but then God's church on earth would not be militant but triumphant. But sure it is the saints shall reign in a glorious manner: Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.' A kingdom is held the acme and top of all worldly felicity, and this honour have all the saints'; so says our Saviour, Theirs is the
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

The Heavenly Footman; Or, a Description of the Man that Gets to Heaven:
TOGETHER WITH THE WAY HE RUNS IN, THE MARKS HE GOES BY; ALSO, SOME DIRECTIONS HOW TO RUN SO AS TO OBTAIN. 'And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain: escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.'--Genesis 19:17. London: Printed for John Marshall, at the Bible in Gracechurch Street, 1698. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. About forty years ago a gentleman, in whose company I had commenced my
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

How the Simple and the Crafty are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 12.) Differently to be admonished are the simple and the insincere. The simple are to be praised for studying never to say what is false, but to be admonished to know how sometimes to be silent about what is true. For, as falsehood has always harmed him that speaks it, so sometimes the hearing of truth has done harm to some. Wherefore the Lord before His disciples, tempering His speech with silence, says, I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now (Joh. xvi. 12).
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Letter xv (Circa A. D. 1129) to Alvisus, Abbot of Anchin
To Alvisus, Abbot of Anchin He praises the fatherly gentleness of Alvisus towards Godwin. He excuses himself, and asks pardon for having admitted him. To Alvisus, Abbot of Anchin. [18] 1. May God render to you the same mercy which you have shown towards your holy son Godwin. I know that at the news of his death you showed yourself unmindful of old complaints, and remembering only your friendship for him, behaved with kindness, not resentment, and putting aside the character of judge, showed yourself
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

Jesus Heals Multitudes Beside the Sea of Galilee.
^A Matt. XII. 15-21; ^B Mark III. 7-12. ^a 15 And Jesus perceiving it withdrew ^b with his disciples ^a from thence: ^b to the sea [This was the first withdrawal of Jesus for the avowed purpose of self-preservation. After this we find Jesus constantly retiring to avoid the plots of his enemies. The Sea of Galilee, with its boats and its shores touching different jurisdictions, formed a convenient and fairly safe retreat]: ^a and many followed him; ^b and a great multitude from Galilee followed; and
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

How the Silent and the Talkative are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 15.) Differently to be admonished are the over-silent, and those who spend time in much speaking. For it ought to be insinuated to the over-silent that while they shun some vices unadvisedly, they are, without its being perceived, implicated in worse. For often from bridling the tongue overmuch they suffer from more grievous loquacity in the heart; so that thoughts seethe the more in the mind from being straitened by the violent guard of indiscreet silence. And for the most part they
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness, and all These Things Shall be Added unto You. "
Matth. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." The perfection even of the most upright creature, speaks always some imperfection in comparison of God, who is most perfect. The heavens, the sun and moon, in respect of lower things here, how glorious do they appear, and without spot! But behold, they are not clean in God's sight! How far are the angels above us who dwell in clay! They appear to be a pure mass of light and
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Many specimens of the so-called Wisdom Literature are preserved for us in the book of Proverbs, for its contents are by no means confined to what we call proverbs. The first nine chapters constitute a continuous discourse, almost in the manner of a sermon; and of the last two chapters, ch. xxx. is largely made up of enigmas, and xxxi. is in part a description of the good housewife. All, however, are rightly subsumed under the idea of wisdom, which to the Hebrew had always moral relations. The Hebrew
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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