Proverbs 27:10

Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.
– Proverbs 27:10

Family connections are presented as the strongest bonds and form a standard for comparisons of the friendship of neighbors and friends (Proverbs 17:17; 18:24). Overall, this saying is about cultivating relationships. The image of a near neighbor suggests relationships with those who are close at hand spatially. Even if they are not blood relation, they are near and better than blood relation far away in times of calamity. Wisdom cultivates community.




Proverbs 21:10

The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbor findeth no favor in his eyes.
– Proverbs 21:10

Desire can be a wish, want, longing, hunger, ambition, and so on. The phrase soul desireth speaks of appetite. The picture is sinfulness, not in terms of a misstep or mistake, but rather a strong desire to do evil, or calamitous harm (Proverbs 3:29; 12:12). The word for favor means to bend, and so, pity or mercy. Wisdom properly infers it is better to avoid such a person bent on evil.

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Proverbs 14:21

He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
– Proverbs 14:21

The word for despiseth means to treat with contempt or view as worthless. The word used is common in the Old Testament for sin. It means to miss the mark or the way. We infer from the parallel the neighbor is in some way needy, so to ignore or despise him is to miss the way of wisdom and righteous (Proverbs 11:12). It is a direct affront to our Creator (Proverbs 17:5) and a mark of the wicked (Proverbs 18:3). The contrast is to show mercy, which is to bend down in pity to one beneath you. To show mercy is the way of wisdom and righteousness to acknowledge that both alike are created by God (Proverbs 22:2). The merciful thereby honor God (Proverbs 14:31). The merciful will also receive mercy and be happy, or blessed (Proverbs 19:17; 28:27).

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Proverbs 12:26

The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
– Proverbs 12:26

The language of this proverb is difficult and the interpretations various. The word for excellent means to explore, or search out. The word for seduceth means to wander, vacillate, or go astray. The contrast is between the different effects the righteous and the wicked have on their neighbor. The searching out indicates a careful guidance and the wandering indicates going astray from the way of wisdom.

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Proverbs 11:12

He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbor: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
– Proverbs 11:12

To despise is to hold in contempt or as insignificant. We would say it is to look down on someone else. Considering the contrast, despising means gossiping, slandering, or even openly deriding one’s neighbor. It could include scorn and mockery, even when covered with a thin veneer (Proverbs 26:19). Conversely, the wise man will keep silence rather than speak such to his neighbor (Proverbs 10:19; 15:28; 17:27).

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Proverbs 6:31

But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
– Proverbs 6:31

Restoring sevenfold is an expression that refers to the law of restitution (Exodus 22:1-4). Sevenfold expresses a severe penalty paid. Theft was a breach between neighbors and restitution was a means of reconciling them. Jesus taught the law was summed up in love for God first and love for neighbor second (Matthew 22:37-40). Coveting and stealing from your neighbor violates that love and restitution is designed to restore it. So a thief who steals because he is hungry, does not incur the utmost condemnation from society and restitution provides a means for him to be reconciled to his neighbor.

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Proverbs 3:30

Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
– Proverbs 3:30

Strive and cause can have legal connotations, i.e. suing in court. It need not go that far. It can also refer to any contention or strife. Wisdom teaches not to enter into contention or strife without good reason. We are to avoid it and live peaceably with all as much as is possible (Romans 12:18-21).

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Proverbs 3:29

Devise not evil against thy neighbor, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.
– Proverbs 3:29

Verses 29 and 30 continue addressing interpersonal relations in terms of our neighbor. Devise evil expresses the idea of secretly plotting against. This in light of the neighbor thinking he is secure by you. Taken together wisdom here teaches not betray a confidence nor take advantage of one trusting you.

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Proverbs 3:28

Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
– Proverbs 3:28

Verse 28 illustrates verse 27. A neighbor is anyone that is near to us, to whom we may personally do good (Luke 10:29-37). Again, that good may be owed in the sense of a wage (Leviticus 19:13) or owed in the sense of charity (1 John 3:17). Overall, both verses speak to urgency and doing justly sooner rather than later. We should do good while we can do good (Proverbs 27:1; Ecclesiastes 9:10).

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