Proverbs 28:4

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
– Proverbs 28:4

Verses 4-6 contrast the wicked, evil men, and the perverse with the righteous who are described as keeping the law, seeking the Lord, and walking in uprightness. This verse contrasts the conditions of forsake the law and keep the law. The word for forsake means to leave, or neglect. The word for keep means to guard, or heed. Leaving the law leads to praising the wicked and keeping the law leads to contending with the wicked. Leaving God’s fixed, transcendent standard leads to lack of discernment between right and wrong, and even to calling evil good and good evil (Psalm 10:3; Isaiah 5:20).




Proverbs 13:14

The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
– Proverbs 13:14

The word for law means direction or instruction. It can refer to any instruction, though it often refers to God’s law-word. Here it is qualified as the law of the wise. The wise have the fear of the Lord and have acquired wisdom (Proverbs 14:27). Their wise instruction functions two ways. The fountain of life imagery suggests they are a source of life as well as refreshment. Their law also teaches to depart from the snares of death, or delivers from death (Proverbs 15:24; 16:6, 17).

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Proverbs 6:23

For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
– Proverbs 6:23

Solomon is not merely speaking of the homespun wisdom of the older generation. He is talking about God’s word and the wisdom in it. Commandment, law, and instruction are references to God’s word (Psalm 119:105). He is still mentioning benefits of wisdom and this verse explains the previous one. Lamp, light, and way of life speak of illuminating and guiding in the wise course of life. Reproofs are corrections that come through instruction, so wisdom provides a continual course corrective as we proceed through life.

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Proverbs 6:20

My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
– Proverbs 6:20

This verse begins a new address that goes through verse 35, the end of the chapter. The exhortation culminates in the warning against the evil woman. This address focuses on the life of the mind and fighting the battle there. To keep and to forsake not are familiar admonitions to the son to take pains to understand and guard the father’s commandment and the mother’s law. We see the importance of both father and mother instructing their children in the way of wisdom and the role of the early home life in preparing them for life outside the home.

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Proverbs 5:14

I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
– Proverbs 5:14

Verse 14 concludes this section on the consequences of adultery. It is fitting as a last step for congregation and assembly refer to being brought to public judgment. The law condemned such a one to death (Deuteronomy 22:22-24), but historically it seems that was little practiced. Rather the adulterer was reduced to public disgrace (Proverbs 6:33). The opinions of society are fluid on the question of adultery, but regardless of man’s inability to judge this sin faithfully, God will judge all adultery (Hebrews 13:4; Revelation 21:8).

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Proverbs 4:2

For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
– Proverbs 4:2

Good doctrine is sound teaching that urges reception. In the book of Proverbs we are receiving the inspired wisdom from God and it is good in every sense of the term and should be received. Solomon admonishes us not to depart from it or forsake it. This highlights the continual nature of pursuing wisdom. Law is a precept or statute. Our desire should be as the Psalmist’s to “keep it unto the end” (Psalm 119:33).

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Proverbs 3:1

Chapter 3 exhorts us in the study of truth. Unquestionably, God gives wisdom and is the source of it, but that is not a shortcut. Study is not excluded because we ask wisdom from God. He has given us means of obtaining wisdom and we are to seek wisdom through those. This chapter teaches us some of the practical means of obtaining wisdom and some of the practical effects of wisdom. We learn here that walking in wisdom is walking with God. The chapter ends with the contrasted destinies of the righteous and the wicked.

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

– Proverbs 3:1

Verses 1-10 urge a full and joyful commitment to wisdom so that we do not lean on our own understanding but trust fully in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6). The latter verses of this section illustrate the evidence of such a commitment to wisdom and the fruit produced by it. It gives us the picture of a happy and quiet life.

Verse 1 continues the fatherly directions to his son. He admonishes his son to “forget not” and to “keep”. The word for forget means to mislay something. It has the idea of losing something through lack of attention and care. The word for keep means to guard and to watch so as to preserve. In a sense the words are opposites of one another. Solomon tells his son to commit to this and be deliberate about guarding it so you don’t lose it.

The son is to guard the “law” and “commandments” of his father. The word for law means a teaching or instruction. It commonly refers to the law given to Moses or even the Pentateuch as a whole. Here it is the law of the father, or the wisdom he teaches through inspiration of the Spirit that applies the law to the individual. Commandments are commands and, taken with law, encompasses the whole of divine instruction. This brings us back to the Word of God and that there is no obtaining and keeping of wisdom apart from God’s Word.

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Psalm 119:53

Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.
~ Psalm 119:53

The Psalmist is gripped by horror at this prospect. He shows here that he has no vengeful spirit. He does not take delight in the destruction of the wicked. He is terrified by it.

He experiences horror on two fronts. First, he is horrified at the forsaking of God’s law. It is extreme hubris to forsake the law of the all-wise, sovereign Creator of the universe. To forsake His law is to presume to know better, to sit in judgment on the law and the lawgiver. It is to make oneself higher than God.

Second, he is horrified at the prospect of the end of all those who forsake God’s law. Their end is only destruction no matter how oft they’ve been reproved. The judgment merited by transgressing God’s law is a fearsome prospect. His horror is all the more intense because he has tasted the good of things of the Lord and knows His service to be true and right.

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Psalm 119:51

The proud have had me greatly in derision:
yet have I not declined from thy law.
~ Psalm 119:51

The proud have had me greatly in derision:

Derision refers to scorn or ridicule. The proud have scorned the Psalmist because of his dedication to God’s Word and way. They have used his afflictions as an opportunity to heap scorn upon him. They do this because they hate God and His people. They do this because they also misunderstand affliction. God sovereignly works all these things together for good (Romans 8:28), but they have such a limited perspective that they cannot see it. Therefore, they mock.

yet have I not declined from thy law.

The Psalmist had suffered double trouble. He endured his afflictions and the scorn heaped on him for them. However, despite these difficulties, his resolve for God’s Word is only strengthened. Job’s wife tried to provoke him to give up God’s way and the Psalmist’s scorners tried to do the same. Rather than forsaking it the Psalmist found comfort in it and so we must do in the face of affliction and the teeth of our adversaries.

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