Proverbs 17

1 Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife.

What kind of house do you live in? Is there peace in it, or are the people in it fighting with each other frequently?

If you are in charge, learn to keep your house free from strife. It is more important to have peace and quiet at home than to have a home with parties and fun events where you invite friends and relatives over, but there is tension between husband and wife, or brother and sister, or father and son, or mother and daughter.

2 A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, and will share in the inheritance among brothers.

What you do has more impact than who you are. You may be the son of a great man, but if you act shamefully, he will give greater priority to an employee of his who wise than to you. Only a fool would value a person more because of a familial tie than because of wise behavior.

3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests hearts.

We need to understand something important about God – He tests us to make evident what we are made of, and the strength of our moral character. The events that occur around you are used to test you. So be on your best behavior at all times.

4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

What do you do when people tell you bad things about someone else? If you pay attention to such things, God will not have a high opinion of you.

5 He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; he who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.

What do you do when you see someone who is not as talented or rich as you are? If you look down upon them, or make fun of them, you are disrespecting God and begging Him to take you to task. So don’t do it.

When things go bad for someone else, and you hear about it, you are being tested. If you rejoice in someone else’s difficulty, you have failed the test, and God will take you task.

6 Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers.

If your dad is a wise man, you can benefit greatly and accomplish much if you listen to him. You have access to greatness because of your dad. Don’t waste that treasure.

It gives a wise grandfather great joy to see his grandchildren, especially when they display wisdom.

7 Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, much less are lying lips to a prince.

If you are in a position of power, you need to be a person of integrity. To give power to a person who doesn’t have integrity is not a wise thing to do.

Similarly, if a person has a good command of language, and can speak eloquently, but has nothing sensible to say, it is such a waste.

8 A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; wherever he turns, he prospers.

9 He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.

What do you do when you find out that a friend has done something wrong to you or to a friend of his? Do you tell others what they did? Or do you let it go?

Some people tell others, so that they can make the offender look bad, clearly showing that they don’t seek love, and that their friendship is for selfish reasons.

Such people are not worthy of friendship.

10 A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

Here is an easy way to tell whether you are a fool: how do you react when someone rebukes you, and what they say is true? If you really take what they say to heart, and work on changing your behavior, irrespective of why they rebuked you, then you are a person of understanding. On the other hand, if you try to justify yourself, you are a fool indeed.

11 A rebellious man seeks only evil, so a cruel messenger will be sent against him.

To rebel is to stand up against the current way of things. If you don’t like how things are being done, you can either accept it, or go elsewhere, or rebel.

If what is being done is immoral or illegal then rebelling is okay, but if it is merely a difference of opinion, then rebelling is evil.

12 Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

When you are with people – relatives, friends, acquaintances, how will you know whether it is time to go or run away?

Foolishness is a dangerous thing – so dangerous at times that it is worse than meeting a bear robbed of her cubs. For this reason, you need to make it a point to stay away from fools, especially when they are engaging in folly.

13 He who returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.

If bad things happen to you all the time, you should ask yourself whether you have ever returned evil for good to anyone. If you have, then you need to repent and make restitution, and you will find that evil has departed from your house.

14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so abandon the quarrel before it breaks out.

Many times, we find that things are not the way we expect that it should be. In such situations, should we raise an issue?

Most things are not worth fighting for. The moment you make an issue, you create strife, and it will lead to a quarrel. Most often, in a quarrel, both sides lose. So then, a wise person will be careful about what he fights for.

15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.

Just because someone is a friend or a relative, it doesn’t mean that you should stand up for them when they are in the wrong.

Similarly, just because someone is an enemy, it doesn’t mean that you should stand up against them when they are in the right.

Why? It is because God hates such behavior.

16 Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, when he has no sense?

If you ask anyone whether they want wisdom, most people will say, “Yes.” However, just because you want it, and just because you are willing to pay a ‘price’ (like time or money) to get it, it doesn’t mean that you will receive it. You have to have a determination to get it at any cost.

17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

When you are in trouble then you will find out who your friends are. A true friend will love you at all times. It doesn’t mean that he will say you are right when you are wrong, but he will want the best for you at all times.

In the same way, a true brother is also someone who you can depend on when you are in trouble.

18 A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor.

Don’t unnecessarily put yourself on the line for the sake of someone else.

19 He who loves transgression loves strife; he who raises his door seeks destruction.

Foolish people don’t like it when you point out their faults. Most people are foolish. Therefore, you need to think twice before you point out someone’s flaws. Most often, they will retaliate and fight back, and what began as an attempt to help someone become better now ends up in a fight.

20 He who has a crooked mind finds no good, and he who is perverted in his language falls into evil.

If you have a crooked mind, you will tend to mostly see the flaws in others. However, if your motive is to help others become better, you are an exception.

If you say things that are not good then you will end up hurting others.

21 He who sires a fool does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.

One of the saddest things for a parent to witness is the foolishness of his children. That is why it is important to spend time learning how to raise wise kids.

22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Learn to find joy in any situation. It is a requirement for good health.

23 A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom to pervert the ways of justice.

When someone tries to give you a gift in a way that no one else knows, know that he will except something in return, and it will not be a good thing. Be wary of gifts, especially when you are in a position of power.

24 Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

If you spend a lot of time fantasizing about outlandish things then you are a fool. Instead, spend time trying to get the understanding required to make useful things happen in the here and now.

25 A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him.

Don’t become a fool just to spite your parents. Your foolishness will bring grief to your father and bitterness to your mother, but you will be hurt more than them.

26 It is also not good to fine the righteous, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.

If you make trouble for people who are trying to do the right thing then you are doing an evil thing.

27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.

28 even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

Don’t just say anything that comes to your mind. Try to understand the situation first. If you say nothing then no one knows how ignorant you are. But when you open your mouth and say something stupid, then everyone knows what kind of a person you are.

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