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 29:1

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 28:26

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 28:11

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 27:22

Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
– Proverbs 27:22

The mortar and pestle paints the image of grinding and crushing. The word for bray means to pound. The imagery alludes to the beating of a fool he has merited through his folly (Proverbs 10:13; 18:6; 19:29; 26:3). The last phrase points to the deeper, spiritual problem of a fool and the fact that physical punishment alone is not sufficient to remove folly from him (Proverbs 17:10).

 


 

 

Proverbs 27:3

A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.

– Proverbs 27:3

Verses 3-4 speak to things unbearable. The stone and sand are heavy and difficult burdens to workers. Carrying them and moving them about is exhausting work. Dealing with a fool’s wrath is worse. The word heavier indicates the fool’s wrath is excessive. The difficulty portrayed in the image of heavy stone and sand indicates the fool’s wrath is unreasonable and vexing as well (Proverbs 12:16; 17:12).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:18-19

As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbor, and saith, Am not I in sport?

– Proverbs 26:18-19

Verses 18-19 refer to the chronic jokester who does not seriously consider the damaging effects of his jesting. A mad man is a reference to insanity and the picture is completed by him throwing flaming arrows, arrows, and even death around indiscriminately. He has no concern for the danger that threatens those around him. The comparison is to the jolly fool who deceives his neighbor with no forethought of the hurtful potential of his antics. Of course, he attempts to cover is with the suggestion that he was only having fun (Proverbs 10:23; 15:21).

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:12

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.

– Proverbs 26:12

This verse is the last proverb in this group about fools. To be wise in one’s own eyes, or in one’s conceit, is to be proud and right by your own judgment. It is a mark of folly as it is set contrary to the “fear of the Lord” in Proverbs 3:7, which is the very beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). It is not describing the naïve simpleton of low information, but rather the knowledgeable proud who is obstinate in his self-confidence. Being proud of his knowledge makes him harder than a fool.

 


 

 

Proverbs 26:11

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

– Proverbs 26:11

This proverb highlights the ineradicable nature of folly to a fool. The image of the dog returning to its own vomit is deliberately nauseating and apt as a picture of the fool returning to his folly. A fool is known by the fact that no matter how high he seems to attain, the depth of folly is his delight and continual resort.

 


 

 

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