Proverbs 15:15

All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
– Proverbs 15:15

The word for afflicted means depressed, as in mind or circumstances. The word for evil means bad or painful. The parallelism makes plain the state of the afflicted comes from the state of the heart (Proverbs 15:13; 17:22). The word for merry means good and agreeable. This is reinforced by continual feast, which points to sustained pleasure and delight. The hint here is that even our experiences are affected by our state of mind and outlook (Proverbs 16:22). We might say to the miserable, everything is miserable, and to the happy, everything is happy.

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Proverbs 14:22

Do they not err that devise evil? But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
– Proverbs 14:22

The word for err means to go astray and to devise is to plot or plan. The first phrase refers to the outcome of their plans. They go astray because they plan evil. These are not accidentally or carelessly getting into the wrong way, but are plotting and contriving wickedness (Proverbs 3:29; 6:14). The phrase, mercy and truth, speaks of God’s favor and blessing (Psalm 25:10; 61:7). Here it is the outcome or reward that comes to those who devise good.

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Proverbs 14:19

The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
– Proverbs 14:19

This proverb addresses the humbling of the wicked. Circumstances in life often appear to favor the wicked while the righteous seem to be humbled (Psalm 73:3-11; 37:35). The wicked go on in foolishness and pride. They seem to have success but their destruction is coming (Proverbs 18:12; 29:23). Ultimately, the righteous who have wisdom will be exalted over the wicked (Psalm 37:36-40; Proverbs 14:23).

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Proverbs 13:21

Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
– Proverbs 13:21

This proverb is in line with the general principle of sowing and reaping, which is throughout Proverbs as well as the rest of Scripture. The word for evil means adversity or calamity, and pursueth means to chase after. The way of sinners has calamity on their heels. The righteous, or just, shall be rewarded with all forms of good (Proverbs 11:31).

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Proverbs 13:19

The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
– Proverbs 13:19

The wording in this proverb is difficult and various interpretations have been offered. The second and contrasting phrase gives the emphasis to the first phrase. Taken in this light, the desire mentioned must be a good desire as the obtaining it yields the sweet result. The contrast is that fools refuse the good that comes from wisdom and righteousness because they cannot depart from evil. It is an abomination to fools, just as the upright are to the wicked (Proverbs 29:27). This proverb then reflects the spiritual nature of the fool’s problem. He doesn’t lack good information. He refuses it because he loves his folly more (Proverbs 26:11). He is wise in his own eyes and does not fear the Lord and therefore will not depart from evil nor purge his iniquities (Proverbs 3:7; 16:6).

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Proverbs 11:19

As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
– Proverbs 11:19

Wisdom is concerned with the long view and outcomes over time more than immediate circumstances. This proverb contrasts pursuing righteousness and evil. Pursuing righteousness results in life and pursuing evil in death. This is a continual wisdom theme throughout Proverbs (Proverbs 1:16-19; 8:36; 10:16; 11:4; 12:28; 13:21; 19:23).

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