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READING: Proverbs 10-11 – The Proverbs of Solomon


Chapter 10 begins with The Proverbs of Solomon. Chapters 1-9 introduce the difference between Wisdom and Folly. The Proverbs of Solomon continue through 22:17 when a new heading appears, Words of the Wise.” Solomon’s proverbs are short, pithy sayings, usually of two lines, that parallel or contrast each other in the fashion of Hebrew poetry. 

They begin with a simple observation; “A wise child makes a glad father, but a foolish child is a mother’s grief.” (10:1) The second is a little less obvious; “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.” (10:2) 

Here are two together that speak to prudence and slothfulness; “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. A child who gathers in summer is prudent, but a child who sleeps in harvest brings shame.” (10:4-5) “To remember the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.” (10:7) These are paralleled with an opposite; the contrast makes the point. 

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offences.” (10:12) “The wealth of the rich is their fortress; the poverty of the poor is their ruin. The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin. Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but one who rejects a rebuke goes astray.” (10:15-17)  

Here are oroverbs where the parallels are repeating the same thought in different words. “Lying lips conceal hatred, and whoever utters slander is a fool.” (10:18) “The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and He adds no sorrow with it.” (10:22) “Like vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so are the lazy to their employers.” (10:26) 

Sometimes, similar proverbs are close together. Consider these, “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but an accurate weight is His delight… The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” (11:1, 3-4) 

But 11:2 is a favorite; “When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but wisdom is with the humble.” Also consider, “When the wicked die, their hope perishes, and the expectation of the godless comes to nothing.” (11:7) “Whoever belittles another lacks sense, but an intelligent person remains silent.” (11:12) 

Some proverbs address the personal use of money. Have you ever co-signed a loan for someone? Think about this; “To guarantee loans for a stranger brings trouble, but there is safety in refusing to do so.” (11:15) This was also addressed in 6:1-5. Co-signing for a friend can destroy the friendship, much less doing it for a stranger. 

One of my favorites is this; “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without good sense.” (11:22) Who puts a gold ring in a pig’s snout? But it sets the stage for the beautiful woman without good sense! 

I love reading Proverbs. 

They always give us something to think about. 

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MY PRAYER FOR YOU (and for myself)    

Holy Father, my prayer for all who read this and for myself, is that we will each seek Solomon’s wisdom in the proverbs he wrote, even though he did not always follow his own advice. For myself, and for all who read this, in the name of Jesus, I pray, AMEN! 

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