Proverbs 29:14

The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.
– Proverbs 29:13

This saying removes the facades of accomplishments or designations and considers all men on the same footing. The word for deceitful points to oppression. The poor are easily oppressed, so there is a natural opposition between the two. The last line refers to God as the giver of life to both (Proverbs 22:2). The king is concerned with both groups and must uphold justice for his throne to be established (Proverbs 28:16; 29:14).

Proverbs 29:12

If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
– Proverbs 29:12

Verses 12-14 form a small group of sayings related to kingship and rule. This saying relies on the Deuteronomic kingship ideal, where the ideal king is exemplar in keeping God’s law and presiding over a nation of the faithful (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). The king’s character will shape the character of his kingdom, for good or bad. This saying warns against the bad. If the king will listen to lies, more lies will be told him. The last phrase presents a thorough corruption to all his servants.

Proverbs 29:11

A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
– Proverbs 29:11

The first phrase literally says a fool vents all his breath. The picture is such a sheer quantity of words coming from a fool he is out of breath. Fools are characterized in Proverbs for much foolish speaking. They pour out words like water from a bucket (Proverbs 15:2, 28). It is such a common indicator that a fool might be thought wise by simply being quiet and offering no opinion (Proverbs 17:28).

A fool’s speech is not marked only by quantity, but also by content, all his mind. A fool is compelled to make his foolishness known (Proverbs 12:32; 13:16; 14:33). Such characteristic speaking is a product of the lack of self-control, particularly in terms of anger (Proverbs 12:16).

Most of the verses referenced have the contrasting characteristic of the wise that he has control over his tongue. The wise will understand many reasons for restraining speech: provide less to be used against him (Proverbs 10:14; 13:3), maintain relationships (Proverbs 11:12-13), calm heated tempers (Proverbs 17:27; 15:1), and even to lessen sin (Proverbs 10:19).

That a wise man keeps his words in till afterwards, can provide a cooling off period until minds are more reasonable, but also speaks to the characteristic wisdom of taking time to investigate, understand, and formulate a reasonable response (Proverbs 15:28; 18:13, 17).

Proverbs 29:10

The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
– Proverbs 29:10

The saying refers to men of blood. They hate and seek to destroy the upright. They display hostility, aggression, and anger toward righteousness. The wording of the second line is difficult and has been rendered variously by translators. If we take the upright to be the focus of each line, then the contrast is made between the bloodthirsty and the just in relation to the upright. The first seeks to destroy and the second seeks to save.

Proverbs 29:9

If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
– Proverbs 29:9

The contention here is an unreconciled complaint. The result is coming to no resolution because the contention is with a foolish man. The words of the wise are presented as calm and reasonable (Proverbs 15:23; 17:27), but a determined fool cannot be reasoned with (Proverbs 12:15). The fool’s response may range from anger to mockery, but there will be no rest, or peace. The wise discern the time to leave off speaking to a fool.

Proverbs 29:8

Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.
– Proverbs 29:8

Verses 8-11 have sayings with anger as a common theme. A scorner is a determined fool among the wisdom sayings whose persistent resistance to correction (Proverbs 9:7-8; 13:1; 15:12) keeps him from acquiring wisdom (Proverbs 14:6). Kidner called the scorner a deliberate trouble-maker (Proverbs 21:24; 22:10), and here he inflames the city, as the word for snare indicates. By contrast, the wise man is calming and turns wrath away. Wisdom understands and values the power of calm words (Proverbs 17:27; 15:1; 25:15).

Proverbs 29:7

The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
– Proverbs 29:7

This saying rounds out the group of sayings concerned with justice. The cause of the poor refers to justice, the rights and needs of the poor. The poor as a group often represent not merely the economically depressed, but those who are weak and vulnerable in various circumstances. The righteous know the state and condition of the easily oppressed, much like the faithful shepherd knows the state of his flocks (Proverbs 27:23). Such knowledge is coupled with action (Proverbs 29:4; 13-14; 26), but those who care nothing about it are here called wicked (Proverbs 21:13).

Proverbs 29:6

In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.
– Proverbs 29:6

Wisdom often asserts providential justice as the wicked being taken by their own devices (Proverbs 1:19; 5:22; 11:5-6; 12:13; 26:7). The main contrast of the saying is the captivity the evil man comes to with the freedom of the righteous. Singing and rejoicing here indicate the free response of the righteous (Proverbs 13:9; 23:24-25).

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).

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