Proverbs 19:23

The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
– Proverbs 19:23

Life in Proverbs has a range of meaning beyond mere physical life as opposed to death. Kidner points out the term often denotes fullness, or abundance, of life in terms of flourishing and harmonious home life (Proverbs 16:15; 15:27). Here it is life lived in the fear of the Lord, and so it is wisdom life, since wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7). Other proverbs speak of wisdom in life tending to long life and peace (Proverbs 6:22; 10:27; 14:26-27). The life in this proverb is explained in the two lines that follow. The word for satisfied means full, or satiated. It speaks of having enough, or not being in want. The word for evil can mean moral evil in terms of wickedness done, or it can mean natural evil in terms of calamity, adversity, or natural disaster. Wisdom life in the fear of the Lord tends to having needs met and living in peace.

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Proverbs 16:6

By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
– Proverbs 16:6

The word for purged means covered, i.e., atonement. It is the word often used in the law for expiation of sin. At first blush, the first statement could seem to speak of a justification by works, but that would contradict other Scripture and miss the point of the proverb badly. The phrase mercy and truth is paralleled with the fear of the Lord. The first phrase is most often used of God and expresses his covenant faithfulness (Psalm 85:10). The second indicates the beginning of wisdom and so refers to the way of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). Both result in iniquity is purged and depart from evil. The point of the proverb is not the outward rites or works, but rather the inward truth and genuineness, as in Proverbs 15:8. The thought is similar with other proverbs (Proverbs 14:16, 27; 15:27).

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Proverbs 15:33

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honor is humility.
– Proverbs 15:33

Proverbs begins with the root issue of acquiring wisdom. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). There is no wisdom without the fear of the Lord. Fools do not want the fear of the Lord and therefore do not acquire wisdom, though they try to get it other ways (Proverbs 17:16). The word for instruction means discipline, or training. So the fear of the Lord is not only the beginning of the way of wisdom, but it is the whole course. Acquiring wisdom requires humility, and that is the only way to the honor wisdom brings (Proverbs 3:16). The contrast is pride that refuses reproofs and goes on to destruction (Proverbs 18:12; 29:23).

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Proverbs 15:16

Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
– Proverbs 15:16

This is one of those proverbs that refute the notion the blessing and prosperity of wisdom is material. It is better to have wisdom than not (Proverbs 3:14; 8:11, 19; 16:16), and it is better to have the fear of the Lord, a meager supper, righteousness, a humble spirit, integrity, and uprightness than riches (Proverbs 15:17; 16:8, 19; 17:1; 19:1; 28:6). The word for trouble means tumult, confusion, and vexation. We might say it is a great grief or worry of mind. Material substance is not ultimate, and not to be preferred when it comes with trouble (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12).

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Proverbs 14:27

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
– Proverbs 14:27

Those who fear the Lord are in the way of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). The fountain refers to a naturally flowing water supply. It is a source that is perpetually fresh. So, the fear of the Lord gives life and refreshment continually to those who have it (Proverbs 22:4). Right fear will keep you from the snares of death (Proverbs 2:10-18; 22:5). Proverbs in this vein illustrate the spiritual nature of wisdom in Proverbs and the seriousness of the subject.

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Proverbs 14:26

In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
– Proverbs 14:26

Proverbs begins with the “fear of the Lord” as “the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). Confidence and security are particular blessings of that fear in this proverb. We are urged not to misplace our fear, but to put it in the Lord and we will have refuge (Proverbs 3:25-26; 18:10). The second phrase indicates a legacy left by the man who fears the Lord (Proverbs 13:22; 20:7).

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Proverbs 14:2

He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
– Proverbs 14:2

Fearing the Lord produces uprightness in our walk. The word for uprightness means straight and has obvious moral implications. Walking in uprightness means departing from evil (Proverbs 16:17) and it is more valuable than earthly riches (Proverbs 28:6). In the contrast, despising the Lord produces perversity. The word for perverse means crooked, or to turn aside. In the context, it is a departing from the upright way in the fear of the Lord. Because they do not fear the Lord, they despise wisdom and instruction that comes from him (Proverbs 1:7) and they hate knowledge (Proverbs 1:29). Because they do not fear the Lord, they do not depart from evil but rather pursue it (Proverbs 3:7; 16:6).

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Proverbs 9:10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
– Proverbs 9:10

The beginning, or commencement, of wisdom is the reverent fear of God. This is thematic in Proverbs (Proverbs 1:7) and is taught elsewhere as well (Psalm 111:10). Wisdom is to hate evil and through the fear of the Lord we depart from it (Proverbs 8:13; 16:6). Holy fear leads to satisfaction and contentment (Proverbs 19:23). It brings us to safety and blessing (Proverbs 29:25; 28:14). The holy is interpreted variously by commentators and scholars. The Hebrew word is in the plural and is a term applied to God, angels, and saints. From the context, it seems sensible to understand it as referring to God here so that you have both the fear and the knowledge of God to be wisdom and understanding.

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