-The next major section of this book begins in the tenth chapter as Solomon authors and collects wise sayings designed to give help for all people. This makes a turn from the more specific advice he had been giving directly to his son and sons. These sayings will go through the twenty-fourth chapter in length. He begins with how a wise son gives gladness to his father, but a foolish son is such a grief to his mother. This starts his comparison/contrast didactic on the theme of the righteous verses the wicked. He claims that ill-gotten gain does not profit, but righteousness delivers from death. The righteous God will not allow to hunger (generally speaking), but the LORD will reject the craving of the wicked. Poverty comes from a negligent hand, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. The gatherer in the summer is a son who acts wisely, but the sleeper in time of harvest is a son who acts shamefully. Blessings are on the head of the righteous; however, the mouth of the wicked conceals violence. The posterity of the righteous is remembered with blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot in a short time. He continues, in this plethora of topics, to say that the wise of heart will receive commands, but a babbling fool will be absolutely ruined. The one walking with integrity will walk securely; on the contrary, the one who perverts his ways will be exposed. One who winks the eye causes trouble, and again he repeats, “the babbling fool will be ruined (Proverbs 10:1-10).”
-The speech of people is dealt some thought now. “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” He maintains that hatred is that which stirs up strife (in other words a bad heart condition); however, love covers all transgressions. This is a key biblical concept as we consider the actions and commands of Christ Jesus (John 3:16; 13:34-35; 15:13, 1 Peter 4:8, and we could go on and on with many more verses here). On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is discovered, but the rod is reserved for the back of him who lacks this discernment and understanding. Wise men, Solomon teaches, store up knowledge, but the painful part of being foolish is forgetting what should be known and then applied. This foolish one’s ruin is at hand when he runs his ignorant mouth. Another topic is discussed revolving around the rich man’s wealth being in his fortress. God is our strong tower (Proverbs 18:10). On the converse, the ruin of the poor is their poverty. The wages of the righteous is life, but the income of the wicked is punishment. This could certainly include eternal damnation. The one heeding instruction, the king says, is on the path of life, but the one who ignores reproof goes far astray. The one concealing hatred has lying lips, and the one who spreads slander is an absolute fool. Solomon wisely concludes another important point, “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise.” Wow! How true this is. He goes on with his instruction in regard to speech by saying that the tongue of the righteous is like choice silver. But, the heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed the many, but the reverse is true for the fools. Fools die for lack of understanding. It is the blessing of the LORD, not money, that make one rich, “and He adds no sorrow to it.” In fact, doing wicked things is like a sport to a fool, but the sport of the people of understanding is Godly wisdom (i.e- righteous things). What the wicked fears, will actually transpire, so also the desire of the righteous will be granted (faith verse fear concept at play here). When the whirlwind storms through, the wicked is no more. But, the righteous ones have an everlasting foundation (Matthew 7:24-27). The irritants of vigor to the teeth and smoke to the eyes are compared, by Solomon, to one who is sent out that is lazy in his work. In other words, it is irritating for those in authority when they cannot count on lazy, negligent people under them. Solomon parlays this into another tidbit of wisdom on the issue of fearing God. “The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be shortened.” The righteous have an incredible hope, that is gladness. But, the expectation of the wicked perishes. The righteous will never be shaken, Solomon says, but the wicked will be cast out from the land. There dwelling places are insecure. The king gives one final proverb back to the theme of speech now, “The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, but the perverted tongue will be cut out. The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverted (Proverbs 10:11-32).”
-*Application* Our words come from our heart (Matthew 15:18, Luke 6:45). If we sincerely want to guard our mouths, we must necessarily guard our hearts. It all begins with a heart that is devoted to Jesus and the things of God. This is what will season our speech (Colossians 4:6), and it is a wise thing to do. Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to get angry (James 1:19). Use words to build up and not tear down (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Work hard and don’t ever be lazy (Colossians 3:23, 1 Corinthians 10:31). Pursue righteousness and not wickedness. Meditate and act upon these important principles today and do well. Incur the blessings of the LORD.
Verse to Memorize: Proverbs 10:12, 19, 22