Proverbs 28:10

Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
– Proverbs 28:10

Corrupt dealings and leading others astray will merit divine justice. This is a wisdom theme in Proverbs (Proverbs 5:20; 20:1; 26:7), as well as throughout Scripture (Deuteronomy 27:18; Job 12:16; Isaiah 28:7; Amos 2:12; Matthew 5:19; 18:6; 23:15; Luke 17:1-2; Colossians 2:18; 2 Timothy 3:6; 2 Peter 2:15, 18). The reward for the evil is to fall into his own pit and the reward for the upright is to come into a good inheritance. The saying warns against using others for your own ends and also warns against being lead astray, reminiscent of the opening wisdom addresses (Proverbs 1:8-19).

Proverbs 28:9

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
– Proverbs 28:9

The word for hearing is common in Proverbs and means to hear intelligently, or with understanding. Obedience is implied. The command to hear is given frequently in the law (Exodus 4:1-8; 5:1; 8:32-34; 15:26; 24:7; Deuteronomy 5:1; 29:3; 31:11-12, 38, 30; 32:1, 44). Refusal to listen to God’s instruction renders one’s prayer an abomination, or detestable in God’s sight. Wisdom teaches God will not listen to us if we do not listen to him (Proverbs 1:23-33).

Proverbs 28:8

He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
– Proverbs 28:8

Just as the previous saying, this wisdom saying follows the law closely (Exodus 22:24; Leviticus 25:36; Deuteronomy 23:20-21). The law forbade exorbitant interest rates and prices, false scales, and other oppressive or predatory business practices. Israelites were not to profit off the poor and needy, or their family, which they were required to care for. The saying speaks to a redistribution of the gain that is consistent with other wisdom sayings (Proverbs 13:22). This saying fits in the general wisdom theme of injustice being resolved by justice.

Proverbs 28:7

Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
– Proverbs 28:7

This saying brings common wisdom elements together. The structure of the saying is antithetical parallelism. Keeping the law is contrasted with being a companion of gluttons and a wise son is contrasted with shaming one’s father. Gluttony is one of the sins of the incorrigible son in Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

Prior sayings warn against the companionship of gluttons due to waste and poverty (Proverbs 23:19-22). A wise son keeps the law and keeps away from harlots (Proverbs 29:3) and gluttons (Proverbs 23:20) and honors his father.

Proverbs 28:6

Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
– Proverbs 28:6

Proverbs consistently holds that wisdom does not equal wealth and folly does not equal poverty. Uprightness, or integrity, is contrasted with perverse, or twisted or crooked. This proverb is a better than saying that states honest poverty is better than dishonest riches. While it is possible to be honest and rich, as well as being dishonest and poor, the choice is often between integrity/wisdom and wealth. Crooked ways lead to destruction (Proverbs 28:18). Wisdom teaches it is better to be upright than rich, if that’s the choice before you (Proverbs 16:8; 19:1, 22).

Proverbs 28:5

Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the Lord understand all things.
– Proverbs 28:5

This verse continues the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Judgment is the issue at stake in the contrast. The word means a judicial verdict and refers to receiving right treatment according to law. The standard of judgment was referenced in the previous verse and is the law of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” and the goal of instruction is wisdom, including the understanding of judgment (Proverbs 1:1-7). Evil men are fools who despise wisdom, so it remains out of reach for them and they do not understand true justice (Proverbs 1:7; 24:7). Evil men do not seek the Lord and do not understand justice, but the wise seek the Lord and do understand (Proverbs 2:1-9).

Proverbs 28:4

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
– Proverbs 28:4

Verses 4-6 contrast the wicked, evil men, and the perverse with the righteous who are described as keeping the law, seeking the Lord, and walking in uprightness. This verse contrasts the conditions of forsake the law and keep the law. The word for forsake means to leave, or neglect. The word for keep means to guard, or heed. Leaving the law leads to praising the wicked and keeping the law leads to contending with the wicked. Leaving God’s fixed, transcendent standard leads to lack of discernment between right and wrong, and even to calling evil good and good evil (Psalm 10:3; Isaiah 5:20).

 


 

 

Proverbs 28:3

A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
– Proverbs 28:3

The poor are the oppressed and afflicted in Proverbs. This would be the only occurrence, though, of the poor oppressing the poor. It may be difficult to envision, but not impossible. The simile compares that situation to a sweeping, or driving, rain that beats down the field and destroys the crops. Rain is necessary for the food to grow and where a blessing is expected, a curse can be found when the rain destroys. It is a fitting illustration of a poor man oppressing the poor given the opportunity, such as coming to power. Isaiah used the image of a driving rain that destroys to depict the Assyrians coming upon Ephraim (Isaiah 28:2). Whereas the reign of the righteous King bringing justice and judgment to the poor is compared to a gentle, watering rain that causes the fields to flourish (Psalm 72:1-7).

 


 

 

Proverbs 28:2

For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
– Proverbs 28:2

The word for transgression points to rebellion and land is put for a nation of people. Rebellion and multiplication of rulers go together. The northern kingdom of Israel had nine different dynasties consisting of twenty different kings in just over two hundred years. New dynasties were inaugurated by assassination of the previous one. Hosea prophesied against this sinful state in Israel (Hosea 7:7; 8:4; 13:11).

The contrast in the saying is not to a nation of people but to a single ruler who is a wise king, a man of understanding and knowledge. The wise and righteous king brings stability to the land (Proverbs 16:12; 29:4, 14).

 


 

 

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