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).

Proverbs 28:9

He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
– Proverbs 28:9

The word for hearing is common in Proverbs and means to hear intelligently, or with understanding. Obedience is implied. The command to hear is given frequently in the law (Exodus 4:1-8; 5:1; 8:32-34; 15:26; 24:7; Deuteronomy 5:1; 29:3; 31:11-12, 38, 30; 32:1, 44). Refusal to listen to God’s instruction renders one’s prayer an abomination, or detestable in God’s sight. Wisdom teaches God will not listen to us if we do not listen to him (Proverbs 1:23-33).

Proverbs 28:8

He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
– Proverbs 28:8

Just as the previous saying, this wisdom saying follows the law closely (Exodus 22:24; Leviticus 25:36; Deuteronomy 23:20-21). The law forbade exorbitant interest rates and prices, false scales, and other oppressive or predatory business practices. Israelites were not to profit off the poor and needy, or their family, which they were required to care for. The saying speaks to a redistribution of the gain that is consistent with other wisdom sayings (Proverbs 13:22). This saying fits in the general wisdom theme of injustice being resolved by justice.

Proverbs 28:7

Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
– Proverbs 28:7

This saying brings common wisdom elements together. The structure of the saying is antithetical parallelism. Keeping the law is contrasted with being a companion of gluttons and a wise son is contrasted with shaming one’s father. Gluttony is one of the sins of the incorrigible son in Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

Prior sayings warn against the companionship of gluttons due to waste and poverty (Proverbs 23:19-22). A wise son keeps the law and keeps away from harlots (Proverbs 29:3) and gluttons (Proverbs 23:20) and honors his father.

Proverbs 28:6

Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
– Proverbs 28:6

Proverbs consistently holds that wisdom does not equal wealth and folly does not equal poverty. Uprightness, or integrity, is contrasted with perverse, or twisted or crooked. This proverb is a better than saying that states honest poverty is better than dishonest riches. While it is possible to be honest and rich, as well as being dishonest and poor, the choice is often between integrity/wisdom and wealth. Crooked ways lead to destruction (Proverbs 28:18). Wisdom teaches it is better to be upright than rich, if that’s the choice before you (Proverbs 16:8; 19:1, 22).

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