Proverbs 20:21

An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
– Proverbs 20:21

The word for inheritance means just that, and the word for hastily means in a hurry. Many infer some unscrupulous method of gain, and Proverbs does speak to that (Proverbs 13:11; 28:8). The emphasis in this proverb seems to be on the haste, “Easy come; easy go.” What is gained quickly can be lost quickly, and often is (Proverbs 28:20, 22). What is gained quickly is gained without also gaining wisdom. Wisdom does not come quickly. Though wisdom is accessible to the simple (Proverbs 9:4, 16), it’s not just lying about but rather is stored up for those who seek it (Proverbs 2:1-7). To acquire wisdom you must watch daily at wisdom’s gates (Proverbs 8:34), receive instruction and correction (Proverbs 3:11; 9:9; 10:8; 13:10; 17:10), and understand its value enough to be willing to pay a high price for it (Proverbs 17:16; 23:23). You also have to turn from your wisdom in order to acquire true wisdom (Proverbs 3:7; 26:12). To exhaust yourself to gain wealth is to be wise in your own eyes (Proverbs 23:4). So this inheritance is not blessed because it is gained by vanity in a hurry.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 19:2

Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with this feet sinneth.
– Proverbs 19:2

This proverb pairs with the previous one. The word for knowledge means perception, or skill. The word is used in Proverbs to speak of the knowledge of God, and therefore the knowledge of truth. The instruction of wisdom is designed to give “knowledge” (Proverbs 1:4). The “beginning of knowledge” is the “fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:7). By contrast, fools “hate knowledge” and the “fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 1:22, 29). To be without knowledge is to be without success, i.e., not good. His schemes and plans go astray, as expanded in the second phrase of the proverb. The word for sinneth means to miss the way, or go wrong. That he hasteth means that he hurries, or presses forward. The proverb expands on the fool of the previous proverb. He hurries to get rich or work his scheme, but he does so without knowledge and contrary to it (Proverbs 1:16; 28:22). Ultimately, he fails (Proverbs 1:16-19).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series