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 confide