Proverbs 29:5

A man that flattereth his neighbor spreadeth a net for his feet.
– Proverbs 29:5

The word for flattereth means smooth, and indicates smooth talk. Wisdom consistently treats flattery as malicious and ruinous, to be avoided (Proverbs 2:16; 7:5; 26:28; 28:23). Ultimately, the man who gains by flattery will bring ruin upon himself (Proverbs 1:17-19; 26:27; 28:19).

Proverbs 29:4

The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
– Proverbs 29:4

The sayings of verses 4-7 share a common concern for justice. The contrast here is between establishing the land and overthrowing it. The difference between the outcomes is in the heart of the king. If he pursues judgment, or justice, the land/nation will be established (Proverbs 16:12; 20:8; 29:14). The word for gifts usually indicates bribes when in the context of justice. Here, the gifts reflect financial corruption in the hearts of rulers. We could extend the application of Proverbs 15:27 to greedy rulers who trouble their own land and add the admonition of hating covetousness for the nation to have stability (Proverbs 28:16).

Proverbs 29:3

Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
– Proverbs 29:3

This saying echoes a long line of wisdom sayings pertaining to sons who acquire wisdom blessing their fathers (Proverbs 10:1; 15:20; 23:15, 24-25; 27:11). The second line gives the contrasting parallel for the foolish sons (Proverbs 5:8-10; 6:26; 21:17, 20; 28:7, 19). The contrast is between loving and pursuing wisdom or loving and pursuing folly. Wisdom and folly are personified as women in Proverbs (Proverbs 9:1-18), and so loving wisdom is pictured through finding a virtuous wife (Proverbs 31:10-31) and folly through chasing prostitutes (Proverbs 5:1-23; 7:1-27). Jesus told of such a foolish son, who went on to forsake folly for wisdom (Luke 15:11-32).

Proverbs 29:2

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
– Proverbs 29:2

This saying echoes the theme of righteous rule contrasted with wicked rule. The general tenor of wisdom emphasizes the flourishing of people under righteous rule and also issues warning to rulers (Proverbs 11:10-11; 28:12, 28; 29:16).

Proverbs 29:1

Introduction
Proverbs 29 continues the proverbs of Solomon, which Hezekiah had collected. These sayings focus on the human condition and public life of high and low station, wealth and poverty, and justice and injustice. This chapter continues the kingly instruction with concerns about ruling, oppression, anger, and receiving correction. Most sayings follow the two-line proverbial structure.

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
– Proverbs 29:1

This sayings sets the tone for a number of sayings in this chapter, which follow thematically (Proverbs 29:3, 8-9, 11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 24). A hardened or stiff neck is a figure of stubborn refusal. Israel was frequently rebuked for their obstinacy is refusing God’s word (Exodus 32:9; 33:3; Deuteronomy 9:6; 10:16; Isaiah 30:1; 46:12; Jeremiah 5:23; 16:12).

Here the figure is applied to those who refuse reproof. The stubborn fool is the worse kind of fool in Proverbs. They are not merely ignorant, but refuse correction and instruction, which are so necessary to attain wisdom (Proverbs 9:7-8, 13:1; 15:12). The last line refers to their destruction, which shall be abrupt and complete (Proverbs 6:15).