13:1 A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
The point of this proverb is humility and teachability. We want to be teachable. We want to be correctable. From time to time, we all make mistakes. We want to learn from our mistakes. Those who are wise will respond properly to discipline.
There is something within us that doesn’t like to be corrected. As we are growing up, most of us will come to an age when we resent it when parents try to teach us or correct us. If we are wise, we will humble ourselves, and learn from them, and allow them to correct us.
Being willing to receive correction should not be limited to parents. It should include others who are in authority over us: soldiers from those of higher rank; employees can accept correction from employers, so that they will do a better job; members of the synagogue from those who are in a position of authority over them, so that they will grow to spiritual maturity.
Someone observed: There is little hope for those who will not so much as hear rebuke or correction. How can you fix a problem in your life if you will not listen to those who tell you about it, and if you consider them enemies that do you this kindness?
Boy, girl, young man, young woman, especially teenager who thinks your parents don’t know anything, and you and your friends are smarter than your parents – you are never to old to learn from your parents. They have more life-experience than you, and generally more knowledge, and more wisdom.
13:2 From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good, but the desire of the treacherous is violence.
The good man is a giver. He gives time and things, particularly good words, and thereby blesses himself and others. In giving good things he receives good things. When we give out good things – talking to others about the truths of the Word of God, and the greatness of God, and the importance of salvation, and the sufficiency of Messiah, good things happen to them and to us. Our souls are encouraged, our resolve is strengthened, our minds are blessed.
But those who are not faithful to God and truth don’t give good and wise words. They are not interested in giving, but taking, and may resort to violence to get the things they want. Don’t be like that! Be a giver, not a taker. Be a giver of good things to say.
13:3 The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
How many times have you said something stupid, something hurtful, that you later regret? How many times have your words gotten you into trouble? The person who talks before he considers what he is going to say, and the right circumstances to say it, who says whatever comes to his mind, will hurt himself.
The wise man controls what he says. The mature man thinks about what he is going to say, the best way to say it; the right time to say it. Will he speak in person about this, or maybe by phone, letter, email?
Someone said: Take heed that your tongue does not cut your throat. If you learn to control what you say, you will prevent yourself much trouble. God has give us two eyes that we may see much. He has give us two ears, that we may hear much. But He has give us one tongue, and fences that in with teeth, that we should speak little.
13:4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.
Human beings want things. They way to get the things you want is by regular, diligent hard work. The one who is willing to show up to work regularly, and on time, and work hard all day, is generally going to earn enough to get the things he wants.
The lazy person also wants things, but he is unwilling to work hard enough to get them. Instead of working hard, improving himself, deferring purchases to the future, saving and investing wisely, he will place himself under the false prosperity teaching, and claim a few verses out of context, and delude himself into thinking that he is going to get everything he wants.
Someone said: Diligence is better than daydreaming. Rather than spend all day hoping for things that they do not have, the diligent will work toward realizing their dreams.
This proverbs also applies to spiritual diligence and spiritual laziness. There are people who want a closer walk with God and a richer spiritual life, and yet they never seem to get it. Why? They don’t work hard enough on their spiritual disciplines. They are not hard-working and diligent about their spiritual duties. They won’t discipline themselves to read the Bible regularly, study it, mediate on it; hear it being taught; they don’t pray regularly; they won’t participate in the life of the congregation regularly, serve, pitch in, help. They don’t support the work of the congregation diligently; they don’t engage in evangelism regularly. You reap what you sow. If diligently sow these things, your soul will be satisfied. You will have peace and happiness even in the midst of life’s challenges.
13:5 A righteous man hates falsehood, but a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.
A righteous man, who knows the Lord, and is in a right relationship with the Creator, and who is living the right way, knows what is true and what is false; what is good and what is bad. He knows how important truth is, how good, how beneficial it is. He knows how damaging falsehood is, especially when it comes to religion. Therefore he feels passionately about truth and falsehood. He loves what is true, and hates what is false.
He hates lies that are spoken. He hates fraud in business. He hates false teaching. He detests false prophets; he hates the religions and philosophies that are mixtures of truth and error, having enough truth to seduce, but enough error to damn.
A wicked man either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the differences between good and bad, right and wrong, truth and error. He wants what he wants, and he will ignore the truth, and engage in sinful behaviors to get what he wants.
13:6 Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, but wickedness subverts the sinner.
Our actions have an impact on ourselves, as well as on others. Those who are straight and true, who are honest, who are fair, who have good morals, ethics and integrity, their righteousness will protect them. They will be protected from temptation; they will not be trapped by the schemes of men. They will be protected from the consequences of sins that they will not fall into.
On the other hand, no matter how wealthy, famous or powerful people may be, those that are wicked are undermining their own lives. Going against God’s wise principles undermines the foundations of one’s life. They wicked will be overthrown at last. You want security in this life and life in the World-To-Come? Do what is right!
13:7 There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth.
The one who pretends to be rich is the person who buys the newest cars, trendy clothes, fancy house, but he really has nothing of his own. Her is in debt – everything is leased, he has wrung up huge credit card bills. The one who pretends to be poor, but has great wealth is the person who does not care what other people think. He doesn’t need a new car, a huge house, designer clothes.
You want to get wealthier? Don’t buy to impress others. Live below your means and save. The more you save, the more you defer purchases, and then invest wisely, the more you will have. Adam Hamilton observed: “Building wealth is hard work. Few, if any, shortcuts exist and it takes diligence, persistence, and sacrifice over years or decades to amass significant amounts of capital. The only way for a nation, company, or individual investor to become wealthy is to consume less than they earn. Savings is the key to wealth accumulation.”
13:8 The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, but the poor hears no rebuke.
We usually judge a person’s level of happiness by the amount of their wealth. We think that they are more or less happy on the basis whether they have more or less money. But that is not always true. There are disadvantages to wealth. It is almost only the rich are susceptible to kidnaping and blackmail. It is the rich person that is exposed to legal suits. When was the last time that someone on welfare was sued, or one of his children held for ransom? When the Jewish people were carried off into captivity in Babylon, it was the rich Jews that were taken away as captives to Babylon; the poor of the land were left.
13:9 The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked goes out.
Light here represents life, prosperity and happiness. The lamp of the wicked that goes out represents adversity and death. The righteous – those who are in a right relationship with the Living God, and consistently do the right things, are generally happier than other people. They have hidden resources of faith and hope and peace that the world does not have.
The lamp of the those who ignore God and His wise principles for living may burn brightly for a while. They may gain fame, honor, wealth and power in this world, but eventually their light goes out. Their success, their happiness, is dependent on the world, and in the world there are all kinds of problems, and eventually, the wicked die, and this world will come to an end. You want a better and happier and lasting life? Follow the Lord and His ways!
13:10 Through pride (presumption, insolence) comes nothing but strife (quarreling, fighting), but with those who receive counsel is wisdom.
If your life is based on false premises – that you are the most important being in the universe; that God isn’t aware of things, or will not judge sin; that there are no absolutes of right and wrong; no Heaven and no Hell, you will create problems for yourself and for others. We call this attitude pride.
Someone said: There is hardly a quarrel among individuals, or a war among nations, that does not come from pride, the sin of exalting the self, the sin of seeking to be better than another. To acquire the wished for superiority, people and nations will argue, fight and quarrel to get it.
Pride creates the environment for fighting to take place. Those who are proud are sure that they are always right. They don’t want their opinions to be contradicted or their desires opposed. Pride makes people impatient. They are impatient with anything that looks like a slight. They will not forgive. They will not admit that they might be wrong. They don’t have the wisdom to take good advice to avoid a fight.
Those who are wise are humble. Those who are wise listen to advice rather than argue out of stubborn pride. Those who are humble will recognize the superior opinion of another. Receive counsel. Make it a habit to ask advice from others – from your conscience, from the Word of God, from your rabbi, your godly friends. If you do, you will do well.
13:11 Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.
How you get your wealth is important. If it is not gotten God’s way, it doesn’t have God’s blessing. Fortunes acquired by speculation, by gambling, by fraud, by lying, by illegal activity, soon dwindle. The same bad attitudes which incline men to engage in wrong way of getting wealth, inclines them to waste it after they get it. Wealth that is not the result of good hard honest work is seldom permanent.
How you make your money is very important. For example, teaching the false prosperity teaching, and building a church on this false teaching, which is spiritual fraud, will eventually cause your financial situation to diminish.
Prosperity comes from good hard work and from good investments. Wealth that comes about because of honesty and hard work and smart investing will grow more, instead of growing less; it will be sufficient to take care of us, it will be an inheritance to our children. The one who labors will have enough for himself and will have enough to give to him who has needs – Ephesians 4:28.
13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Someone said: It is exciting and invigorating to fulfill your hopes. To fail over and over again is depressing. People can bear frustration only so long. They must have encouragement to continue. Few things are more enjoyable than to enjoy that which we have long wanted and waited for. When the desire is finally fulfilled it is like being in a kind of paradise, a garden of pleasure. It is sweet, satisfying, and reviving.
Since hope that is not realized is depressing, don’t hope for great things from this world. Don’t hope to live like a king. Don’t hope to be a billionaire. Don’t hope that the whole world knows your name. Limit your hopes for this world. Instead, place your hopes in eternal realities; your sure hope of Heaven, and everlasting life and happiness; your incorruptible inheritance. You will not be disappointed, and though you wait long for it, it will be very sweet.
13:13 The one who despises the word will pay for it, but the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
The Lord has designed the universe so that it functions according to His Word. Therefore, if you respect the Word of God, and implement it, your life will line up with the universe, with God, with truth, and you will be rewarded with a blessed and successful life. But if you despise the Word by knowing the Bible but not believing it and not implementing its truths, then your life will be out of order. You will be opposing the universe, God, truth, and you will suffer loss. The same holds true for a nation, as well as an individual, and sadly, we are despising the Word more and more. We will pay for it.
Someone observed: Wise people listen to wise instruction, especially the Word of God. The individual who fears the commandments, that respects the Word of God, and is afraid to violate it, who stands in awe of God, who has deference to His authority, who is afraid of displeasing God and incurring the penalties found in that Word, will not only escape destruction, but shall be rewarded for his godly fear with peace and safety. In keeping the commandment there is great reward.
If we want a truly successful and blessed life, we must get to know the Word of God and implement its truths.
13:14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn aside from the snares of death.
Wisdom – the ability to properly apply knowledge, brings great benefits. It is like the fountain of life – life-giving and invigorating. Wise teaching helps us to enjoy a full, rich, blessed and successful life. Not only does good teaching make life more abundant, but it also turns us from the snares of death. In this life, there are so many ways to do so many foolish things that will harm us. In this fallen, demonically controlled world, there are so many dangers, snares, traps and temptations to be avoided, and so many foolish decisions that can be made.
The teaching of the wise helps us avoid life’s many dangers, and enhances the quality of our lives. So, make sure that you get the torat-chah-cham – the teaching of the wise. Listen to good sermons, attend a good Bible study. Read good religious books that educate and inspire. Seek out those who are wise, and get their counsel for important decisions.
13:15 Good understanding produces favor, but the way of the treacherous is hard.
The Creator has designed laws, principles and rules into the universe. There are physical laws like gravity, and spiritual and moral laws, like, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and might.” “You shall worship Him and serve Him alone.” “Yeshua is God’s Anointed Leader who makes atonement possible for those who come to know Him and follow Him.” The more we know about these moral and spiritual laws, principles, and commands, and the more we line up our lives with them, the more we will experience chen – favor. The more the Lord will be able to bless us. Seh-chel – good sense that is based on the Bible, make us appreciated and acceptable to God and to other good men and women.
The way of the treacherous – those that are not loyal to these moral and spiritual laws, principles, and commands that the Creator designed into the universe, is rough and uneasy, because they are opposing reality, defying truth and goodness, and rebelling against the Lord. Don’t go in the way of the treacherous! Go the way of good understanding!
Someone observed that the wages of sin is death, and the road to Hell is covered with thorns and thistles that are the products of the curse. Most sinners have more pain and difficulty getting their souls damned, than the righteous have, with all their cross-bearing, getting into the kingdom of Heaven!
13:16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool displays folly.
Before he does gets into a difficult or complicated situation, the wise individual acts with knowledge. He learns about the situation. He studies the facts. He finds out the circumstances. He thinks about the potential problems, difficulties and dangers. He makes his decisions based on knowledge and prudence.
The wise individual is cautious. He acts with deliberation. He is careful not to get involved in situations that he is not knowledgeable about. He will not start a business which he has not thoroughly familiarized himself with. He is careful to invest only in situations that he has done due diligence. He is careful not to get involved with people who he is not familiar with – having determined if they are trustworthy and may be confided in.
The foolish individual is rash. He doesn’t sufficiently consider the situation. He ignores the red flags and the warning signs. He is confident about things that he really doesn’t understand. He launches into foolish ventures and winds up looking ridiculous.
13:17 A wicked messenger falls into adversity, but a faithful envoy brings healing.
If you are in a position of responsibility, and you need to delegate authority, you make sure that you delegate authority to a trustworthy individual. A person of integrity and faithfulness brings healing and good results. The faithfulness of your representative determines the success or the failure of the responsibilities that you are entrusting him with.
If you don’t choose a faithful representative, you will cause yourself trouble. If you trust an irresponsible person with an important task, you can expect trouble. If you hire a person with bad values, and give him much responsibility, he will do a lot of damage. Barings Bank was one of the oldest and most respected banks in England, built up over 200 years by generations of careful businessmen and investors. It took only one young man, Nick Leeson, who was put into a position of responsibility, by lying and fraud, to destroyed this venerable bank.
13:18 Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored.
It goes against fallen and proud human nature to graciously receive correction. We don’t like to be corrected. We don’t like to admit we are wrong. We don’t like to humble ourselves before others and admit our mistakes. But, we need others to discipline us. We are born with so much foolishness and arrogance in us. We need those who are wiser and more experienced to correct our faults.
The person who thinks he is too good, too important, to be corrected will be brought down a few notches. He will continue making mistakes and suffer loss as a result. But the one who lowers himself and receive discipline and correction will be raised up. He will learn from his mistakes. He won’t repeat them. He will advance in his career, in his work, with his relationships. Submit to discipline and correction when they come to you.
13:19 Desire realized is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Human beings want things. When we want good things, and we get those things, we feel happy. I want to grow beautiful flowers and plants. For 11 years at my house in West Bloomfield I’ve worked hard learning about various plants, and then trying to plant and cultivate the right plants in the right places. It has taken me time and money and study and hard work. When my fruit trees bear fruit, and my plants grow, and my thousands of flowers bloom, it makes me very happy. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction. My life is enriched. I thank God for His goodness to me.
Desire realized is sweet to the soul – provided those desires are good. Make sure what you want is what is good. We need to limit our desires to those things that are good; those things that are right, those things that are reasonable for us to have; those things that the Lord approves of, those things that the Lord is willing for us to have.
Fools – those who ignore God and His ways, also want to be happy, and get things and have things that they think will make them happy, but they are seeking happiness in the wrong way. They want the wrong things. And, they do the wrong things to get the wrong things. For example, they won’t stop being sexually promiscuous. They won’t break off their affairs, their drug habits; their alcoholism; they won’t stop lying cheating or stealing. They come to love their sinful pleasures, and hate stopping them. They won’t depart from evil. But, because the things they want to do are wrong and harmful, and go against the Lord and His principles, they can never be truly happy.
Are there things in your life that you want, are there things that you are doing, that you know are wrong? Ask the Lord for the desire and the strength to give those things up. Ask Him for His help to substitute good desires for those harmful desires. It is generally not easy to change bad desires bad habits, but if you do, you will eventually be a much happier person.
13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Choose your friends wisely. Those we associate with have an influence on us. That influence will be good or bad. It will either help us or harm us. Wise friends will contribute to your well-being and success. Friends of good character who love the Lord and are wise in the ways of God will help you have a truly successful life. Spend time with those who know the Lord and are committed this His wise principles, and it will make you a better and more successful person.
Millions and millions of men and women have been ruined by hanging out with the wrong crowd. Since the friend of fools will suffer harm, don’t hang out with those who ignore God and His ways, who are dishonest, immoral and materialistic.
Wise people want to associate with wise people, so that they will be wiser and better. One way of living with the wise is by reading and studying the Holy Scriptures. As we read, study, contemplate the lives of wise men and women like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Samuel and the prophets, we associate with the wisest of men and women and learn from them and become like them.
Another way to “walk with the wise” is to read biographies of some of the great men and women of God who have lived after the Bible was written. We may not have the privilege of personally knowing personally men like Patrick of Ireland, J. Hudson Taylor, Augustine, D.L. Moody, or Dietrich Bonhoffer, but by reading their biographies, we can benefit from their walk with the Lord.
Remember, the Son of God is the wisest of the wise, and also our Brother and Friend. He is alive, and real, and able to communicate to us and influence us. Spend time thinking about Him, and contemplating His teachings, and listening for His still small voice and talking to Him. If you do, you will become wise and successful, and more like Him. In the first century it was obvious to everybody that His disciples were followers of Yeshua, since they spent so much time in the presence of Messiah, and they became more like Him.
Who are your friends? Who have you chose to spend your time with? Who is influencing you?
13:21 Adversity pursues sinners, but the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity.
The good and wise Creator has designed the universe with laws, principle and commands. The one who discovers what those laws, principles and commands are, and then lines up his life values according to them, will prosper. He will be successful.
The individual who goes against those laws, principles and commands may prosper for a while. He may seem successful and secure, but eventually, either in this life, or on the Day of Judgment, his sins will catch up with him.
Adversity versus genuine, lasting prosperity – it all depends on your morals, your character, and your submission to the laws of God.
13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
It pays to be good. A good man works hard. A good man takes care of his family. A good man honors the Lord with his money. A good man invests wisely. A good man earn his income honestly. A good man does not spend everything on himself, but tries to gives his children an inheritance. A good man who does these things has a successful life, and has more than enough for his own needs, and is able to leave an inheritance to his children and grandchildren.
Someone wrote: A good man stores up many prayers in Heaven for his family, and his good example and advice are remembered and quoted from generation to generation. Even if he is not able to leave them much of this worlds goods, his prayers, his instructions, his good example, will be the best gift to them.
It does not pay to be bad. Those who ignore the Lord and his wise principles may become wealthy and prosperous for a time, but eventually they will lose it. They may lose it in this life by mismanagement, by war, taxation, depression, business failures, investments going bad, or maybe by some other sinner taking away their wealth. If they manage to maintain some wealth, they will lose it when they die.
Someone wrote: God often brings into the hands of the righteous that which wicked people had laid up for themselves. The Jewish people left Egypt with much of the wealth of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:36) and one day in the future we will enjoy the wealth of the Gentiles who have ignored God. We will wind up with their wealth, and in their riches we will boast – Isaiah 61:6.
13:23 Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, but it is swept away by injustice.
There are many opportunities in the world around us. There is enough food in the world around us. Those who don’t have a lot, but are willing to work hard, will generally have enough to meet their needs and the needs of their family. There is no need for poverty in this world. The Lord has designed things in such a way that the Earth will yield enough if justice and decency prevail among human beings. It is man’s injustice and bad government and war that impoverishes. Stalin’s purposeful starvation of seven to 11 millions people in the 1930s is an example of this kind of injustice.
13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
Disciplining of children is the duty of good parents. And, it is necessary for parents to correct their children because children are naturally foolish and rebellious. If not corrected regularly, firmly and lovingly, they will generally end up being spoiled, selfish and bad citizens. If children are not disciplined when they are young and need it, and are left to themselves, they don’t learn proper boundaries and what the consequences of obedience and disobedience are.
Many modern educators and psychologists and social engineers revolt against this biblical teaching about discipline. They tell us that spare the rod is child abuse that cripples the child for life. But, nowhere does the Bible teach that we should be brutal when it comes to disciplining children. If a word will suffice, then we are to speak a word of correction. If they need to be sent to their room for half an hour, then they should be sent to their room for half an hour. But if they need a patch on the tuchus, then they should get a patch on the tuchus. I read that an old Egyptian proverb says that boys have their ears on their tushees, because they listen when they are smacked there!
If you want to produce successful children and enjoy your children throughout your life, lovingly discipline them early. Better that your child is corrected by a loving but firm parent than by a law enforcement official in a correctional institution.
13:25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the stomach of the wicked is in want.
The individual who is right with God, and is doing the right things, will have enough to satisfy his appetite. He works, and works hard and has enough.
The righteous limit their worldly desires. They are not greedy. They resist materialism. They try to be content with what they have, and give thanks to God if they have their basic needs met.
Someone wrote: A contented soul has a continual feast. Enough for them is better than a feast for others. Godliness and food on the table and a roof over their heads is enough to give them contentment. Those that feed on the bread of life, that feast on the promises of God, meet with abundant satisfaction of soul. They eat, and are filled.
The wicked, who ignore the Lord and His principles and commands, may act foolishly. They may become alcoholics or drug addicts, and lose their jobs and not have enough money. They may cheat or steal from their company, and get fired. They may commit crimes and lose everything.
Someone wrote: The wicked are constantly dissatisfied with their portion. They want three things: more, more and more. There is never enough. Those who are slaves to the physical are insatiable. What does a person who has 10 million dollars want? 20 million!
Because they want more and more things, they will max out their credit cards on toys and entertainments, and cars and vacations and eating out. During a housing bubble with lower lending standards, they might foolishly take out all the supposed equity from their homes, and spend it, and then wind up with nothing.