Proverbs 13 Commentary

Satisfaction amid life’s hardships (13:1-25)

Parental advice is one of the benefits of life. Those who habitually ignore it will develop an attitude of scorning all opinions except their own (13:1). Good words bring a reward, but treacherous words can result in violence. Discipline in speech is necessary, because rash words lead to disaster (2-3). Discipline is necessary also in work and behaviour, otherwise a person’s life may end in ruin. Security is found in honesty (4-6).

The poor might at times pretend they are rich (since there are some advantages in wealth), but the rich, out of meanness, might pretend they are poor (7-8). If people acquire wealth quickly, they often spend it rashly. If they work hard for it, they usually make it last longer (9-11).

When people see their hopes fulfilled they have joy; when they take notice of the teachings of the wise they have refreshment (12-14). Sound common sense will win them the respect of others and bring them personal satisfaction. They will achieve their goals. Fools, on the other hand, have not enough sense either to hide their folly or to turn from paths that are leading them to ruin (15-19). The sorts of experiences people meet in life, for better or for worse, depend to some extent on the company they keep (20-21).

There is a recognition of justice when the wicked rich lose the wealth that they have gained through exploiting the poor. Although injustice will always be reversed in the end, parents must act as justly as possible now in training their children and preparing for their children’s future (22-25).

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