Proverbs 16:33

The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
– Proverbs 16:33

The casting of lots in the Old Testament time was a way of making decisions deemed too difficult, or the settling of disputes. The word for disposing means judgment, or verdict. The point of the proverb is God’s sovereign determinations and not random chance controlling events. This proverb closes chapter 16, which has strong statements of God’s sovereignty from the start (Proverbs 16:1, 9).

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Proverbs 16:32

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
– Proverbs 16:32

Self-control is a mark of wisdom found throughout Proverbs. A wise man controls his anger (Proverbs 14:17, 29; 15:18), his mouth (Proverbs 29:11), and his spirit (Proverbs 25:28). This proverb not only promotes the self-control of wisdom but describes it as better. The mighty and one that taketh a city refers to a conquering warrior or king. The proverb concludes wisdom is better, as Solomon also said elsewhere (Ecclesiastes 9:18).

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Proverbs 16:31

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
– Proverbs 16:31

The word for glory means beauty and splendor. It can indicate honor and renown. The hoary head refers to the gray head and is not only put here for old age, but a long life. A long life in the way of righteousness is a life lived in wisdom. This proverb is another promise of the reward of long life for those who seek wisdom early and walk in it (Proverbs 3:16; 4:10).

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Proverbs 16:30

He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeht evil to pass.
– Proverbs 16:30

Verses 27-30 are a group of proverbs about trouble makers. This proverb ends the group. Reference to eyes and lips means facial expressions or gestures. These gestures either serve to deceive or to convey some malignant purpose (Proverbs 6:13-14; 10:10). If connected with enticement in the previous proverb, he is masking the evil of his way and persuading his neighbor.

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Proverbs 16:29

A violent man enticeth his neighbor, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
– Proverbs 16:29

The word for violent means cruel and often as a means of obtaining unjust gain. It is translated oppressor in Proverbs 3:31, but most often it is rendered by violence in some form. To entice is to persuade and here it is the violent man that persuades his neighbor to violence (Proverbs 1:10-14; 2:12-15). The second phrase is the inevitable end of that path, not good. The Proverbs begins with a warning against joining such schemes and the end of that way is plainly described (Proverbs 1:15-19).

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Proverbs 16:28

A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
– Proverbs 16:28

The word for froward means perverse, or fraudulent. The use of soweth means to broadcast or spread, as a sower does with his seed. The perverse man spreads around strife, or contention (Proverbs 6:14, 19; 15:18). A whisperer is a gossip, talebearer, or slanderer. The sowing of strife and spreading of slander causes a rift between even chief friends. Those who are close with a good relationship can be separated by strife and contention. The proverb focuses on the damage done by sowing strife and whispering (Proverbs 17:9; 18:8).

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Proverbs 16:27

An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
– Proverbs 16:27

The figure of digging, i.e., digging a pit, is often used for the plotting of evil (Proverbs 26:27). Digging evil also provides a contrast to the figure of searching for wisdom like buried treasure (Proverbs 2:4), so it is necessarily opposite of seeking wisdom. The burning fire in his lips describes the wicked use of the tongue to spread strife (Proverbs 26:20-21; 30:33). The figure is also used to describe deceitful speech (Proverbs 26:23). This proverb informs of the marks of the ungodly, or thoroughly wicked man, whose lips hide “seven abominations in his heart” (Proverbs 26:24-26).

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Proverbs 16:26

He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
– Proverbs 16:26

This proverb fits in the broad category of diligence and hard work. It is also among the proverbs I call wise observations. The craving mouth stand for the bodily appetite for food. Our basic needs and appetites compel us to labor. The proverb prompts at least two considerations pertaining to work. First, the hunger is real and only real work will feed it (Proverbs 14:23). Second, the hunger is real and pressing but the satisfaction is only temporary (Ecclesiastes 6:7). If we think about work wisely, we understand the place it should be in, what it can do, and what it cannot do.

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Proverbs 16:25

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
– Proverbs 16:25

This proverb is a repeat of Proverbs 14:12. The proverb speaks of man’s contrivance apart from divine wisdom. He plans a way that seems right and good, but despite the best efforts and intentions, all plans not founded in wisdom will go astray and fail (Proverbs 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:24). The man is either ignorant of God’s sovereignty or rejects it in his plans (Proverbs 16:9). Proverbs presents wisdom as looking ahead and considering the outcome of a way (Proverbs 14:15).

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