Proverbs 28:23

He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flattereth with the tongue.
– Proverbs 28:23

This saying contrasts the immediate with the long term. The general tenor of wisdom is to consider the long view more than the short run. The word for rebuketh means give a corrective of some kind that could range from gentle to severe. It speaks of frankness as in Proverbs 27:5-6, which is preferable.

The contrast is with smoothness, or flattereth. Flattery is typically a cover for some ulterior motive (Proverbs 2:16; 7:5; 29:5). The thrust of the saying is not to the recipient of rebuke or flattery, but to the giver. Flattery may gain immediate favor, but it will not last (Proverbs 26:28).

Proverbs 22:11

He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
– Proverbs 22:11

The word for pureness means clean and can refer to ceremonial, physical, or moral cleanness. The word for grace means kindness, or favor. Wise speech is marked by honesty (Proverbs 16:13), appropriateness (Proverbs 15:23), and beauty (Proverbs 10:20; 25:11). The first phrase indicates purity of motives and the second indicates purity of speech. The proverb teaches honest and gracious speech wins favor.

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Proverbs 18:22

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD.
– Proverbs 18:22

Proverbs as a whole only speaks of two acquirements as receiving the favor of the Lord. The first is wisdom, which means the obtaining of life, i.e., spiritual, everlasting life (Proverbs 3:4; 8:35). The second is a good wife, or good marriage (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14). A good wife is also paralleled with wisdom in being of superior high value (Proverbs 8:11; 31:10). A good wife is an inestimable blessing in a man’s life (Proverbs 12:4; 14:1; 31:11, 23). Solomon elsewhere spoke of living happily with a good wife as a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 9:9).

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Proverbs 14:35

The king’s favor is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.
– Proverbs 14:35

This proverb is a truism, or a general rule that competence and diligence are rewarded (Proverbs 22:29). People often think that promotion comes to a person because of luck, connections, or back room dealings. Those things do happen, but we generally receive what we have earned, or reap what we sow (Proverbs 17:2). The two phrases show both sides—favor and wrath. A servant causes shame by being unreliable, lazy, incompetent, etc. (Proverbs 10:5). Everyone makes mistakes and has to learn from them. The servant who does this will be rewarded with favor, and the obstinate servant with wrath (Proverbs 13:18).

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Proverbs 14:9

Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor.
– Proverbs 14:9

The wording here is difficult with various interpretations. The general sense comes out in the antithetical parallelism of the two phrases. The word for sin means guilt or an offense. The word for favor means delight or acceptance. Both words are used elsewhere in reference to sacrifices, but that seems beyond the scope of the interpersonal relationships suggested in this proverb and the Proverbs as a whole. So fools scoff at guilt, or the sense of personal offense (Proverbs 10:23; 26:18-19). They see no need of reconciliation or making right any action (Proverbs 30:20). The word for righteous means straight or upright. It’s a term often describing a man’s relation to another as being a just one. The contrast is the righteous have a sense of wrong done and strive to maintain a good conscience (Proverbs 12:2; 13:15; Acts 24:16).

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Proverbs 13:15

Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.
– Proverbs 13:15

The word for understanding means prudence. The first phrase someone with good sense, who has good judgment. They also give good counsel and do good work and hence earn favor (Proverbs 3:4; 14:35). The word for hard means rough and indicates the contrast for transgressors is a loss of favor. Their way is difficult (Proverbs 4:19).

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Proverbs 12:2

A good man obtaineth favor of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
– Proverbs 12:2

The good man is contrasted with the man of wicked devices. The word for wicked devices means a plan or scheme. God often subjects such to their own plans (Proverbs 1:31). The word for good is good in the greatest sense, so all kinds of good. The word for favor refers to delight and goodwill. Elsewhere, the one who finds wisdom receives the goodwill of the Lord (Proverbs 8:35).

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