Proverbs 13:25

The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.
– Proverbs 13:25

The word for satisfying means to be full, e.g., to have one’s hunger satisfied. The contrast is the want, or lack, of the belly of the wicked. Providentially, this proverb speaks of God’s governance of the universe and the reward or retribution to the righteous and the wicked respectively (Proverbs 10:3). Practically, this proverb speaks to true satisfaction. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon starts out by labeling everything under the sun as vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2) and concludes all is “vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 1:14). Vexation of spirit describes trying to grasp the wind. This seems contradictory to this proverb. Solomon goes on in Ecclesiastes to lament man’s plight of chasing the wind and never catching it. I don’t have time or space for a study of Ecclesiastes here, but the problem is resolved by understanding the “gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13; 5:19). The righteous can find satisfaction because they acknowledge and thank God (1 Timothy 4:3-4).

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Proverbs 13:24

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
– Proverbs 13:24

This proverb speaks directly and plainly to parents rearing children. More modern times turns the words upside down to make them opposite their intended meaning. The contrast is between love and hate and sparing and chastening. Love and hate are not to be understood only in terms of emotion and sentiment. They are meant to speak to actions. The word for rod means a branch or stick and it is an instrument of correction (Proverbs 10:13; 19:18; 22:15; 29:15, 17). To spare the rod is to withhold correction and it is a hateful action toward the child because they are not being trained. The word for betimes means early and points to early in life and maybe also early in the sense of being quick to give needed corrections. The motive of correction should always be the child’s good (Hebrews 12:5-11) and should not be done in anger or severity (Ephesians 6:4).

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Proverbs 13:23

Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
– Proverbs 13:23

The word for tillage means fallow ground. The point is the poor man can eat of the land with hard work and good management. His lack of resource is no insurmountable obstacle (Proverbs 28:19). Contrariwise, failure to discern the time and respond accordingly leads to loss (Ecclesiastes 8:5-6).

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Proverbs 13:22

A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
– Proverbs 13:22

The word for good is a general term encompassing a wide range of good. Such a man is upright, just, and wise. We infer he has gathered whatever he leaves through honest dealing, diligent work, and wise stewardship. Wealth acquired that way tends to last (Proverbs 13:11; 27:23-27). The word for inheritance means to acquire a possession, or a bequeathal. Of course, such a man as described in the first phrase leaves more behind than silver and gold. He leaves a good name, good example, good instruction, and a good heritage. The children and the grandchildren of such an one are blessed beyond measure regardless of the size of their accounts. The contrast is how the wicked gather through unjust means and it tends not to last (Proverbs 10:2; 20:21). The contrast goes further and shows a providential correction. Their wealth is laid up for the just. What sinners gather will ultimately be possession of the righteous (Proverbs 28:8; Ecclesiastes 2:26; Psalm 37:9-11).

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Proverbs 13:21

Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
– Proverbs 13:21

This proverb is in line with the general principle of sowing and reaping, which is throughout Proverbs as well as the rest of Scripture. The word for evil means adversity or calamity, and pursueth means to chase after. The way of sinners has calamity on their heels. The righteous, or just, shall be rewarded with all forms of good (Proverbs 11:31).

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Proverbs 13:20

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
– Proverbs 13:20

Proverbs speaks often about the influence, for good or bad, of others upon one’s life. The fatherly addresses in the opening chapters alert to the presence of evil influences and instruct and warn to avoid them (Proverbs 1:10; 2:12; 4:14). The proverbs proper also warn this way (Proverbs 16:29; 22:24-25; 23:20; 28:7). The first phrase commends the good of walking with wise men. The result is becoming wise oneself (Proverbs 2:20). The second phrase warns that to flock with fools, which the word for companion means, will to be inherit the same end as fools (Proverbs 1:11-19; 2:12-19; 9:6).

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Proverbs 13:19

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
– Proverbs 13:19

The wording in this proverb is difficult and various interpretations have been offered. The second and contrasting phrase gives the emphasis to the first phrase. Taken in this light, the desire mentioned must be a good desire as the obtaining it yields the sweet result. The contrast is that fools refuse the good that comes from wisdom and righteousness because they cannot depart from evil. It is an abomination to fools, just as the upright are to the wicked (Proverbs 29:27). This proverb then reflects the spiritual nature of the fool’s problem. He doesn’t lack good information. He refuses it because he loves his folly more (Proverbs 26:11). He is wise in his own eyes and does not fear the Lord and therefore will not depart from evil nor purge his iniquities (Proverbs 3:7; 16:6).

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Proverbs 13:18

Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honored.
– Proverbs 13:18

This proverb is a truism of outcomes in life. The word for shame points to disgrace, or dishonor, and poverty is just that. This comes to one who refuses instruction, which is discipline including correction. Despising instruction is the proverbial characteristic of the fool (Proverbs 1:7). The contrast is to regard reproof. To regard is to keep or give heed. The word for reproof leans more to the correction. Such correction is an indispensable part of acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 15:5, 31-32; 9:9; 25:12).

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Proverbs 13:17

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
– Proverbs 13:17

Relying on an unreliable messenger brings many troubles upon you. The slothful messenger is a serious irritation (Proverbs 10:26) and a foolish messenger does more harm than good, as far accomplishing your purpose is concerned (Proverbs 26:6). Here a wicked messenger causes you trouble, or plunges you into it. The contrast is with the faithful ambassador, or messenger. The word for health has the idea of being curative and so, helpful. The faithful messenger is also presented as being refreshing to the one who sent him (Proverbs 25:13).

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