Proverbs 28:18

Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
– Proverbs 28:18

The way of walking is a consistent theme in Proverbs, where there are only two ways—wisdom or folly. The word for uprightly means complete, or whole. It is often contrasted with perverse, as it is here (Proverbs 28:6; 10). The image of falling is common to one walking perversely. The thrust of the saying is the contrast between the safety of integrity and the certain fall of those who twist and distort the way of wisdom (Proverbs 2:8, 12-15, 20; 3:6, 23; 10:9, 25; 11:3-6).

Proverbs 28:17

A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
– Proverbs 28:17

The word for violence is a form of the same word in translated oppressor in verse 16. It typically refers to extortion, and here is coupled with blood, so it refers to murder. Fleeing to the pit refers to going to the grave and means that guilt overwhelms the murderer. The last line is difficult and has been interpreted variously. It most likely seems to be a warning against interfering with justice.

Proverbs 28:16

The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
– Proverbs 28:16

A prince is a ruler and wanting understanding means he is a foolish ruler. He lacks the wisdom needed in ruling justly. The foolish ruler becomes an oppressor, or tyrannical in his rule. The word for oppressor refers to extortion. The second line forms an uneven parallel. The ruler that hates covetousness has wisdom and it tends to life (Proverbs 15:28; 29:14). The word for covetousness refers to unjust gain that might result from deceptive business practices, or in this case, tyrannical abuse of authority. The implication for the foolish ruler is their folly rejects wisdom and tends to death (Proverbs 8:36).

Proverbs 28:15

As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
– Proverbs 28:15

The sayings in verses 15-16 continue the theme of wisdom to rulers. The saying compares a wicked ruler to a roaring lion and a ranging bear. Wild and predatory animals provide descriptive analogies for various foolish human behaviors (Proverbs 19:12; 20:2; 30:29-31). The saying means a wicked ruler abuses power to prey on helpless, poor people. Wisdom teaches that God is a just judge who will execute justice for the poor (Proverbs 14:31; 17:5).

Proverbs 28:14

Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
– Proverbs 28:14

The saying contrasts two conditions—fearing always and hardening the heart. Proper fear causes one to avoid evil and the envy of sinners (Proverbs 3:7; 23:17) and is a mark of a wise man (Proverbs 14:16). Such fear leads a man to blessing, or happiness. Hardening the heart means avoiding the instructions of wisdom and warnings of conscience (Proverbs 21:29). Such hardening leads to mischief, or evil (Proverbs 24:16).

Proverbs 28:13

He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
– Proverbs 28:13

The sayings in verses 13 and 14 work together. Verse 13 is consistent with various sayings throughout Proverbs, but this is the only occurrence of the exact expression. The covering of sins refers to a person covering, or concealing, his own sins. The word for prosper means to make progress, or succeed. It is used here in Proverbs, but it the same word used in Psalm 1:3 to describe the flourishing of the blessed man who delights in the law of the Lord and eschews the counsel of the ungodly.

The second phrase contrasts the first with the one who confesseth and forsaketh his sins. The phrase expresses the biblical idea of repentance (Psalm 32:1-5; 51:1-19; 1 John 1:6-9). Such repentance is always met with mercy, or compassion (Psalm 86:5; 103:8, 13; Joel 2:13; Ephesians 2:4-7).

Proverbs 28:12

When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
– Proverbs 28:12

The saying is close to Proverbs 28:28 and Proverbs 29:2. Wisdom acknowledges the blessing of righteous rule and the rejoicing and glory are emblems of human flourishing (Proverbs 11:10). The contrast is with wicked rule and the result that men hide themselves. The contrast is with open rejoicing and glory. The seek refuge from the oppression and injustice of the rule.

Proverbs 28:11

The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
– Proverbs 28:11

Being wise in one’s own eyes is a characteristic of a fool, regardless of the particular avenue the fool walks down (Proverbs 3:7; 12:15; 26:5, 12, 16). The foolish rich find false security in wealth (Proverbs 18:11) and here, they take credit for their situation in life. The saying contrasts the foolish rich man with the poor man who has wisdom, understanding. Wisdom looks past the facade of riches and success.

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).

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