PROVERBS CHAPTER 29.
Warning against Stubbornness and Rebellion.
DESCRIPTION OF STUBBORNNESS AND DISOBEDIENCE. — V. 1. He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shaking off the reproofs with deliberate stubbornness, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy, for when the patience of God is exhausted, He will shut the door to repentance and bring ruin upon the offender. V. 2. When the righteous are in authority, when they increase in numbers, when they are in the majority, the people rejoice, for such a condition serves to further the welfare of a nation; but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn, grieving on account of the harm which is bound to strike the country under the administration of the ungodly. Cp. chap. 28, 12. V. 3. Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father, who will, of course, share in the reward which the application of wisdom brings, chap. 10, 1; but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance, thus bringing disgrace upon himself and upon all his relatives. V. 4. The king by judgment, by maintaining the cause of righteousness and justice, establisheth the land, so that it is in good condition, so that safety and prosperity are assured to all its citizens; but he that receiveth gifts, is influenced in his administration by bribes which are offered him, overthroweth it, for in such a manner good government is bound to be perverted. V. 5. A man that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet, for all his fine talk lacks sincerity, serving merely as a veil of hypocrisy to keep his victim from realizing the peril into which he is being led. V. 6. In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare, he is caught in his own wickedness; but the righteous doth sing and rejoice, not only for a moment, but constantly, on account of the good fortune which is the reward of virtue. V. 7. The righteous considereth the cause of the poor, regarding them as entitled to certain rights in life; but the wicked regardeth not to know it, he refuses to listen to reason and to consider the right of the poor, he has neither compassion nor justice in his make-up. V. 8. Scornful men bring a city into a snare, literally, “Men of mockery set on fire a city,” namely, by exciting the passions and the party spirit of the people upon every occasion; but wise men turn away wrath, they work to subdue passions and to prove themselves peacemakers always. V. 9. If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, trying to gain a point for his own cause, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest, that is, the fool will either fly into a rage or pretend to find the matter extremely funny, so that it is impossible to argue with him in a sane manner. V. 10. The bloodthirsty hate the upright, since the conduct of the righteous is a constant reproof to them; but the just seek his soul, their aim being to uphold and preserve the upright. V. 11. A fool uttereth all his mind, he is ready, upon the slightest occasion, to give vent to angry spite; but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards, he does not permit his angry feeling to get the better of him, but controls himself always. V. 12. If a ruler hearken to lies, permitting his judgment to be swayed by lying flattery and exaggerated misrepresentations, all his servants are wicked, for since their master does not heed the truth, they are educated and trained in falsehood. V. 13. The poor and the deceitful man, literally, “the usurer,” the unmerciful creditor, meet together, they live side by side, as incongruous as it often seems; the Lord lighteneth both their eyes, they both owe their blessings to His kindness. Cp. Matt. 5, 45. V. 14. The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, with proper attention to his duty, so that he renders always a true judgment, his throne shall be established forever. Cp. chap. 20, 28; 25, 5.
THE SOURCE OF EVIL SHOWN. — V. 15. The rod and reproof, properly and judiciously administered to a child, give wisdom, lay the foundation for the attainment of true morality; but a child left to himself, without proper discipline, left to his own will, bringeth his mother to shame, whose foolish indulgence is often to blame for the degeneration of her children. V. 16. When the wicked are multiplied, when they are in the majority in a community or state, transgression increaseth, for not only do they themselves grow in impudence, but they influence others as well and cause them to transgress; but the righteous shall see their fall, be witness of the punishment laid upon the godless by the Lord. V. 17. Correct thy son, with proper reproof and punishment, and he shall give thee rest, bring a feeling of quiet satisfaction to the parent’s heart; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul, so that the parent may have constant enjoyment. V. 18. Where there is no vision, the people perish; if revelation is scarce, if the Word of God is precious, if men do not properly judge circumstances with relation to their ultimate effects, the people become wild, untractable, grow beyond discipline; but he that keepeth the Law, happy is he, sure to come under the blessing of Jehovah. V. 19. A servant will not be corrected by words, being in need often of sharper correction; for though he understand, he will not answer, he will pay no attention to an ordinary statement or reproof. V. 20. Seest thou a man that is hasty In his words? one who speaks before he thinks. There is more hope of a fool than of him. Op. chap. 26, 12; Eccl. 9, 18. V. 21. He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child, causing the slave to believe himself more than his station really permits him to be, shall have him become his son at the length, or, his end will be contention, for rebellion on the part of the slave will naturally follow. V. 22. An angry man, one readily yielding to his temper, stirreth up strife, chap. 15, 18, and a furious man, one who gives way to angry passions, aboundeth in transgression, that being the inevitable consequence of such a disposition. V. 23. A man’s pride shall bring him low, for self-exaltation comes before the fall; but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit. Cp. Matt. 23, 12; Luke 14, 11; 1 Pet. 5,5. V.24. Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul, the concealer, being on the same level with the criminal, must expect to share his punishment; he heareth cursing and bewrayeth it not, he hears the imprecation or objurgation of the judge, Lev. 5, 1, warning him to tell the truth, but he refuses to reveal the crime, and so the penalty descends upon him. V. 25. The fear of man bringeth a snare, many a person having yielded to sin under the constraint of such terror; but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe, both by overcoming temptation and by escaping the evils attending transgression. V. 26. Many seek the ruler’s favor, literally, “his face,” they try to gain his good will by every form of attention; but every man’s Judgment cometh from the Lord, who is not swayed by fawning or flattery, but always judges a righteous judgment. V. 27. An unjust man is an abomination to the just, on account of his utter lack of uprightness; and he that is upright in the way, in his entire conduct, is abomination to the wicked, because the behavior of the righteous is a constant accusation of the ungodly, a fact which they resent very strongly. There can be no union between the godly and the ungodly, between believers and unbelievers. To be a friend of the world is equivalent to being an enemy of God.