-Discipline, diligence, and wise use of speech continue to play out as themes, among other things, in this insightful chapter on continuing wise tidbits. Solomon says that a wise son will accept his father’s discipline; however, a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. Solomon’s father, David, warned not to associate with scoffers (Psalm 1:1). Solomon was accepting his father’s wisdom and passing it on. From the fruit of a wise man’s mouth, he enjoys good, but the desire of the treacherous is only violence. The one who guards his mouth preserves (shamar- keep, take charge of, guard) his life, while the one who opens wide his lips foolishly comes to ruin. Laziness is dealt with again by stating that the sluggard craves and gets nothing. To the contrary, the soul of the diligent is made fat with production. Lying is now dealt with again. The righteous hate all falsehood compared to the wicked who act shamefully and disgustingly. In fact, righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless (right before God by faith), but wickedness subverts (sâlaph- to twist, pervert, distort, overturn, ruin) the sinner. Along the lines of this honesty theme, the king says that there are always those who pretend to be rich but have nothing, while others pretend to be poor but have great wealth. Solomon goes on to say that the ransom of a man’s life is wrapped up in his wealth, but the poor hears no rebuke. The light of the righteous shines brightly (some translate it “rejoices”), but the lamp of the wicked will go out into darkness. “Through insolence (zadown- arrogance, swelling, pride, presumptuousness, haughtiness) comes nothing but strife, but wisdom is with those who receive counsel (Godly counsel, Proverbs 11:14;13:1-10).”
-Wealth obtained by fraudulent means dwindles, but the one who steadily gathers by the use of labor increases his fortune and stability. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled and realized is a tree of life and sweet to the soul. The one who despises the Word of God will be in debt to it, but the one who fears the commands of the LORD will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is an ongoing fountain of life, and it will turn one aside from the snares of death. Good understanding will produce favor in situations, but the way of the treacherous is hard. Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool puts his folly on display for all to see. When it comes to messengers, a wicked one falls into adversity, but a faithful envoy brings about healing. “Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored.” A fool’s abomination is to turn away from evil. The person who lives life with the wise will be wise themselves. But, the companion, or coming under the influence, of fools will suffer harm. Adversity will chase down sinners, but the righteous will be blessed and rewarded with prosperity. A good man thinks ahead for his posterity and leaves an inheritance (should be material, emotional, social, and especially spiritual) to his children’s children. Plus, Solomon says, the wealth of the sinner is actually often times stored up for the righteous. In other words, those He favors, because of their good heart, end up getting the wealth of those who have squandered the resources God graciously gave them. Injustice jumps to the forefront of the themes now as the king claims that abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, but it is swept away by unfairness. Then, he jumps back into the themes of discipline and contentment. Corporal punishment is endorsed. “He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” Notice that word “diligently” there. This means that care and consideration in the disciplinary process is key. Parents should always avoid rashness and acting out in anger towards their children. They should be wise and always loving in their discipline. With contentment, Solomon says, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, the righteous feel like they have enough to satisfy their appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is always wanting more (Proverbs 13:11-25).
-*Application* There are so many things to once again consider as we seek to live out these principles written down for our wisdom around 3,000 years ago. Family relationships are important, and parents’ authority is key to training up a child in the way he/she should go. We should always pray that our children accept our discipline, and we should be constantly aware of the balance between encouraging/building up and setting limits/consequences. Our children do need boundaries, and they need to know what our expectations are with consistency. Discipline is for Godly correction. We need to teach them to be diligent, honest, respectful, careful in speech, humble, faithful, and content among other things. If this is to happen, we must necessarily model this behavior and let them see, from us, a heart connected to the Heavenly Father. This will fulfill our desires as our tree of life and bring sweetness to our soul based on our relationship to the One who loves us.
Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 13:10, 12, 20, 22, 24