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).

Proverbs 28:28

When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
– Proverbs 28:28

This is the second of four similar sayings. The first is Proverbs 28:12, the third is Proverbs 29:2, and the fourth is Proverbs 29:16. These sayings frame this kingly section of wisdom sayings by emphasizing the righteous rule as a blessing to the people and wicked rule as a curse. These sayings form a string where each saying continues from the previous in the sequence. This saying picks up the thread of hiding from wicked rulers.

Thematically, the saying is also linked with the previous one (Proverbs 28:27). There the care or neglect of the poor brings either blessing or curse, and this saying could extend that to a nation. The word for increase means abundance, or being multiplied. The same word is used to denounce extortionary practices on the backs of the poor in Proverbs 28:8. This accords with a wise and righteous ruler who hates covetousness (Proverbs 28:16). So, righteous rule leads to the increase of the people.

Proverbs 28:27

He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
– Proverbs 28:27

Generosity counters greed. The general tenor of wisdom sayings runs to the blessing of generosity so that the giver needn’t worry about want (Proverbs 11:24-26; 19:17; 22:9). The hiding of the eyes to the plight of the poor reveals selfish indifference of the covetous. Such greed earns curses, from the people (Proverbs 11:26; 24:24) and from the Lord (Proverbs 1:23-33; 3:33; 21:13; Deuteronomy 15:7-11).

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
– Proverbs 28:26

This saying begins with a contrast from the last phrase of the previous verse. The very essence of folly is trusting in one’s own understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The fool follows his own way and walks by the suggestions of his own mind (Proverbs 14:12, 15; 15:14; 17:24). The first phrase emphasizes wisdom is from outside of us and must be received. To walk wisely is not to trust in oneself. Those who walk wisely will find safety (Proverbs 3:5-6; 28:18; 29:25).

Proverbs 28:25

He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
– Proverbs 28:25

Verses 25-27 are sayings touching on issues of self-sufficiency, such as pride and greed. A proud heart is here contrasted with trust in the Lord. The word for proud is more often translated large and broad. Being made fat is typically a figure of prosperity, or abundance. Contrasting the two gives the first phrase the sense of a large heart, or large appetite, and so means greedy. The saying amounts to greed bringing contention and trust in the Lord bringing prosperity. This saying would add greed to list of what stirs up strife: lying (Proverbs 6:14, 19), hatred (Proverbs 10:12), quick anger (Proverbs 15:18; 29:22), and froward gossip (Proverbs 16:27-28).

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