1 A {good} name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold.

Most people think differently – they think that great wealth is more desirable than a good name, and they don’t mind getting that wealth at the expense of their good name. They will make questionable sales to people and don’t care if the people afterwards (when they realize that they didn’t get a fair deal) are upset with them.

Why is a good name more important that wealth? It is because, on the Judgment Day, the people you wronged and didn’t set right the wrong – these people will stand up against you before God. Your sins may be forgiven, but your placement in heaven will be affected. At that time your great wealth will not be able to help you out.

2 The rich and the poor have a common bond, the LORD is the maker of them all.

When we realize that every person is created by God we will be hesitant to treat any person with disrespect or dishonor. If you mistreat the work of an artist won’t the artist be displeased with you? In the same way, if you mistreat a person created by God, won’t God be displeased with you?

3 The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, but the naive go on, and are punished for it.

People who ignore this verse end up getting into a lot of trouble.

When we see evil we must hide ourselves. For example, when someone begins to backbite, we should get ready to walk out of their presence. When we see gossipers and backbiters approaching us we should make ourselves scarce.

If you are a young person, and you get invited to parties where you know there will be drugs, alcohol or sex, or other wrongdoing, you should not go to the party at all instead of thinking, “Oh, I’ll go but I won’t participate in anything.” Once you go, peer pressure may change your mind and you might do something that you’ll regret forever.

4 The reward of humility {and} the fear of the LORD are riches, honor and life.

In the earlier verses we see that honor is better than riches. In this verse we see that if we have humility and the fear of the Lord then we get riches and honor and also the most important thing – life.

The life here, and in the Old Testament in general, refers to a fruitful life – a life where you accomplish a lot of things of great value.

To fear the Lord is to hate evil (Prov 8:13). That is, you must hate to do anything that you know displeases God.

If you are humble then God gives you grace (help to get things done) instead of opposing you. If you fear God then He teaches you valuable things. That is why humility and the fear of the Lord enable you to get riches, honor and life. With God on your side, and God as your mentor, you cannot but be successful in everything you do.

5 Thorns {and} snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.

People who are perverse are people who are attracted to doing things the wrong way.

For example, instead of trying to find a spouse in a church, they will go to bars or dance clubs.

For example, they will download questionable movies from the Internet and end up getting their computer infected with viruses.

6 Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.

7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower {becomes} the lender's slave.

This is a verse for 2008 when the credit crunch resulted in may people who bought homes thinking that they will make a quick buck when the home appreciates ended up having their homes foreclosed because the value of the home dropped and they could not afford the payments.

8 He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish.

Vanity is uselessness. A vain person is someone who focuses on things that have no value, like enhancing their looks or their clothing. Don’t get me wrong – it is okay to look decent and wear decent clothes, but when you spend a lot of time and money on looking good and wearing good clothes then you are vain.

To reap vanity means that you get nothing for your effort.

To sow iniquity is to develop bad habits – habits that do not honor God, habits that waste your time on things that have no spiritual value.

Such a person gets nothing for his effort, except perhaps temporary pleasure. When such a person gets angry, his anger doesn’t result in anything useful. In other words, the rod of his fury will perish.

9 He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.

10 Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease.

11 He who loves purity of heart {and} whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.

12 The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the treacherous man.

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!”

This verse defines a sluggard (i.e. a lazy person).

When people are supposed to do something, and they give you a lame excuse for why it was not done then you know that they are lazy.

14 The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it.

Beware of being seduced by a married person. The pit is deep because the pleasure is great, and after you have tasted the pleasure you will have to fight to not want it again. Having an affair with a married person may be very pleasurable because you are getting something that belongs to someone else, but this verse should shock you into sensibility. Those who fall into this sin should realize that they are under God’s curse. They need to find out why they are under God’s curse and figure out what they need to do to have the curse revoked.

15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.

16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, {will} only {come to} poverty.

The rich here don’t only include the financially rich. They include the smart people, the good looking people, the popular people, the leaders, and the influential people. All of these people are rich in something esteemed by men.

Examine yourself: think about who you have invited to your home in the past year and why you invited them over.

For some reason people like to give to the rich, but this verse tells us that that is not a good idea.

17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; 18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you. 20 Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge, 21 To make you know the certainty of the words of truth That you may correctly answer him who sent you?

22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the LORD will plead their case and take the life of those who rob them.

24 Do not associate with a man {given} to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man, 25 Or you will learn his ways and find a snare for yourself.

26 Do not be among those who give pledges, among those who become guarantors for debts. 27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take your bed from under you?

When people realize that you have money they will come to you asking you to be guarantors for their debts. You will be tempted to help them out especially if they are your friends or relatives, or if they have been recommended by your friends or relatives.

If you don’t pay heed to this verse be prepared to lose all the money that you have set aside for them.

28 Do not move the ancient boundary which your fathers have set.

Don’t change things that your parents have established unless God has directed you to do so.

29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.

Whatever you do, do it to the best – the very best – of your ability.

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