-Solomon continues pouring out the wisdom of God by starting this chapter with the fact that it is better to have little and quietness (shalvah- tranquility, peace, the simple kind of prosperity and security) than a house full of feasting (wealth and opulence) with strife. It just isn’t worth it to live with the misery of fighting all the time. The servant who acts wisely will eventually rule over a son who acts shamefully. The theme of inheritance arrives here and who will be the rightful heir and heirs. Wisdom will succeed and give generously. The LORD tests hearts like the refining pot for silver and the furnace for gold. An evil person listens to wicked lips. They receive from deception and curses. A liar pays attention to the destructive mouth. Anyone who mocks the poor in their suffering taunts their Maker, and the one rejoicing in another’s calamity will not go unpunished. In other words, what comes around, goes around. Grandchildren are a blessing, the crown of old men, and the glory of the sons are their fathers. Family ties come to play here, and enjoying the goodness of God’s institution the right way. It is not fitting for a fool to give excellent speech, nor is it proper, even to a further degree, for a prince to utter lies. Honesty is the theme. A bribe is a charm (literally “a stone of favor”) in the view of its owner. He will prosper everywhere he turns, yet this not commendable (Proverbs 17:23; 21:14, Ecclesiastes 7:7, Isaiah 33:15). The man who conceals (kacah- covers up, does not reveal, hides) a transgression seeks deeper love and relationship. But, one who repeats (shanah- changes, alters, with a sense of gossip) a matter divides intimate friends and friendships. How sad. “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool (Proverbs 17:1-10).”
-*Application* We need to practice understanding by receiving righteous rebukes that are intended for our discipline. This will make us better people. Don’t be stubborn, like Solomon suggests the fool is like, and unyielding to correction. We must be content and satisfied with the things God gives us, and seek the peace of our homes. Mo money, mo problems is the modern-day equivalent. Keep acting wisely in every circumstance and eventually it will pay off. We will have honor, prestige, and wealth as we do things the right way with all the satisfaction of living well before the LORD.
-A rebellious person seeks only to be evil, and a cruel messenger will be sent their way who will oppose. Catching a fool in his folly is tantamount to meeting a bear robbed of her cubs. Mama bear don’t play. She is angry, and so is the fool in his mischief, not wanting to be exposed. The man who returns evil for good will never see evil depart his house. He stirs up demonic activity that will prevail upon him. The beginning of strife is like the letting out of water, which as we know spreads as it wills with no way of stopping it. Therefore, the king says to abandon the quarrel before it breaks out. In other words, choose your battles wisely under the direction of the Holy One. Next, two more abominations before the LORD are listed. One should never justify the wicked, nor should one condemn the righteous in the court of law. Solomon now asks, “Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, when he has no sense (Proverbs 17:11-16)?”
-The Word goes on with some encouraging sentiment. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” But, then there is a quick return to things wrong in this fallen world. A man who lacks sense makes pledges he cannot keep. He does so publicly and threatens to embarrass himself by becoming a guarantor who can’t oblige. Lovers of transgression are lovers of strife, and pride raises the door towards destruction. A crooked mind finds no good in the world, and he who is perverted in his speech falls into manifold evil. The person who raises a fool will be sorrowful in life with no joy. However, a joyful heart causes good healing to one who has the LORD and His wisdom (Philippians 4:4). On the contrary, a broken (naka'- stricken, wounded, broken) spirit dries up the bones. Wicked men accept bribes to pervert the ways of justice. The presence of wisdom presides over one who has understanding, but the eyes of the fool wander all over the earth, never discovering it. Speaking of foolishness, Solomon goes on to say that a son who is making bad decisions for evil is a grief to his father and bitterness to the woman who bore him. It is not good to place fines on the righteous, nor is it wise to strike the nobleman for his uprightness. That would just not make any sense at all, yet we see this happening in our current society way too much. Slander and corruption are at issue here. The one who restrains his/her words has knowledge. They respond rather than react. A person who has a cool spirit has great understanding. “Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent (Proverbs 17:17-28).”
-*Application* We live in a political world with people trying to better their own estate at the expense of others. Today we learn that this is not the way of God’s Kingdom. Perversions of justice and righteousness should have no place in our Christian lives, and we should fight for the right whenever, wherever, and however we can. Sometimes the best advice is to stay quiet and not even speak. Jesus used this approach in the face of wickedness (Matthew 26:62-63, Mark 14:61-62). He had total wisdom, self-control, and faith that God would work everything towards His benefit. He can apply these principles as well.
Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 17:3, 5, 10, 17, 22, 28