Proverbs 28:20

A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
– Proverbs 28:20

This saying continues the the theme of rewards for diligence and the condemnation of greed. The word for faithful means steadfast, stable, reliable. Contextually, it refers to honest and diligent work. The rewards are multiplied blessings. Read in the context of wisdom sayings and inferred from the meaning of faithful, the rewards come over time so that patience in implicit in the first phrase as well.

The contrasting phrase contains an irony by speaking of the haste to be rich. The saying doesn’t contrast the diligent with the slothful, though many sayings do just that. The saying contrasts faithful work over time with a hurry to get rich. The former will be rewarded and the latter will be punished, for that is the indication of not be innocent. This saying accords with the general tenor of wisdom (Proverbs 13:11, 22-23; 20:21; 21:5, 25).

Proverbs 24:14

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
– Proverbs 24:14

The figure of eating honey is now applied to the acquiring of wisdom. Just as honey is pleasant to the taste and wholesome to the body, getting wisdom is both pleasant and life-giving to the soul (Proverbs 2:1-5, 10; 3:13-18; 22:18). The last phrase highlights wisdom is its own reward and the benefit of wisdom extends beyond this life (Proverbs 8:35; 10:16; 11:7; 12:28; 14:32; 23:18). The word for reward means end or after part. It would be like us saying, “There’s a future in it.” Commentators vary on how much Proverbs speaks of the afterlife, but this verse at least alludes to it.

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Proverbs 13:21

Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
– Proverbs 13:21

This proverb is in line with the general principle of sowing and reaping, which is throughout Proverbs as well as the rest of Scripture. The word for evil means adversity or calamity, and pursueth means to chase after. The way of sinners has calamity on their heels. The righteous, or just, shall be rewarded with all forms of good (Proverbs 11:31).

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Proverbs 13:13

Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
– Proverbs 13:13

This is a Proverb that brings us back to the seriousness of receiving or rejecting divine wisdom. The Proverbs is not a collection of homespun advice. Despising and rejecting the word leads to destruction (Proverbs 1:25, 30-31). Alternatively, fearing and keeping the commandment leads to life (Proverbs 10:27; 11:31; 9:10-11).

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Proverbs 12:11

He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
– Proverbs 12:11

The first phrase commends honest, hard work and recognizes it will be rewarded. This is one who avoids the ridiculous excuses of the sluggard (Proverbs 22:13; 26:13) and empty talk (Proverbs 14:23). He works and enjoys the fruits (Ecclesiastes 2:24). The contrast in this proverb is different than the usual contrast of diligence and laziness. The contrast is of one who follows after vanity. The word for vain persons here is literally empty. It can refer to worthlessness, whether of people or general pursuits. The picture then is not of a sluggard hinged to his bed who is too lazy to raise a hand to his mouth (Proverbs 26:14-15). The picture rather is of one who puts time and energy running after worthless schemes or pleasures. He invests himself in unprofitable pursuits. This would include get rich quick schemes, excessive pleasure seeking, or generally being one who works harder at getting out of work than what the work would be if done directly. Such a one is void of understanding, or lacks wisdom.

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Proverbs 11:31

Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.
– Proverbs 11:31

The word for recompensed means repaid and carries the thought of completion. The requital can be reward or judgment depending on the context. The word is used at least twice in Proverbs to speak of a reward to the righteous (Proverbs 13:13, 21). If we think more about the aspect of completion in the recompense, we see it refers to a fitting reward that finishes the works. So, the righteous receive a reward that brings completion to their works and the wicked receive a reward of judgment that finishes their works. The proverb does not present a contrast, but a comparison and the primary point is that just reward is sure to come to all.

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