Proverbs 20:2
The terror of a king is like the roar of a lion; whoever provokes him forfeits his own life.
Evils to be AvoidedE. Johnson Proverbs 20:1-5


1. Drunkenness. (Ver. 1.) The spirit or demon of wine is spoken of as a personal agent. It leads to frivolity, scoffing, profane and senseless mirth. To be drunk with wine, as St. Paul points out (Ephesians 5:18), is the opposite of being "filled with the Spirit" (see F.W. Robertson's sermon on this subject).

2. The wrath of kings. (Ver. 2) In those times of absolute rule, the king represented the uncontrollable arbitration of life and death. As in the case of Adonijah, he who provoked the king's wrath sinned against his own soul. What, then, must the wrath of the eternal Sovereign be (Psalm 90:11)? To invoke the Divine judgment is a suicidal act.

3. Contentiousness. (Ver. 3.) Quick-flaming anger is the mark of the shallow and foolish heart. The conquest of anger by Christian meekness is one of the chiefest of Christian graces, "Let it pass for a kind of sheepishness to be meek," says Archbishop Leighton; "it is a likeness to him that was as a sheep before his shearers."

4. Idleness. (Ver. 4.) The idle man is unseasonable in his repose, and equally unseasonable in his expectation. To know our time, our opportunity in worldly matters, our day of grace in the affairs of the soul, all depends on this (Romans 12:11; Ephesians 5:15-17).

II. THE SAFEGUARD OF PRUDENCE. (Ver. 5.) The idea is that, though the project which a man has formed may be difficult to fathom, the prudent man will bring the secret to light. "There is nothing hidden that shall not be made known."

1. Every department of life has its principles and laws.

2. These may be ascertained by observation and inquiry.

3. In some sense or other, all knowledge is power; and that is the best sort of knowledge which arms the mind with force against moral dangers, and places it in constant relation to good. - J.

Meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
Not all insects are welcome visitors to plants; there are unbidden guests who do harm. To their visits there are often obstacles. Stiff hairs, impassably slippery or viscid stems, moats in which the intruders drown, and other structural peculiarities, whose origin may have had no reference to insects, often justify themselves by saving the plant. Even more interesting, however, is the preservation of some acacias and other shrubs by a bodyguard of ants, which, innocent themselves, ward off the attacks of the deadly leaf-cutters. In some cases the bodyguard has become almost hereditarily accustomed to the plants, and the plants to them, for they are found in constant companionship, and the plants exhibit structures which look almost as if they had been made as shelters for the ants. On some of our European trees similar little homes or domatia constantly occur, and shelter small insects, which do no harm to the trees, but cleanse them from injurious fungi.

(J. Arthur Thomson, M. A.)

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