Proverbs 14 Commentary

Hidden feelings and motives (14:1-35)

Wisdom builds, but folly destroys. People’s actions reveal their attitude to God (14:1-2). The wisdom of their speech and their commitment to hard work are among the things that determine whether they progress or come to ruin (3-5). Those who think they know everything can never become truly wise and therefore can never have right discernment in the moral issues of life (6-8).

Good people may prosper and evil people may suffer loss, but outward appearances do not tell the full story. Hidden within the heart there may be a joy or a sadness that no one can share (9-14). Those who believe anything, who throw away caution, or who act in quick temper are only increasing their folly


(15-18). The wicked may have a secret respect for those who are genuinely good, but they despise the poor, because they know they can get nothing from them (19-21).

The next five proverbs urge pure motives, hard work, wisdom, truthful speech and reverence for God (22-27). No one can live without depending on others; even a king cannot exist without his people (28). Bad temper affects people’s health as well as their personality, but oppressing the poor affects their relation with God (29-31). Righteousness and wisdom bring benefits in whatever sphere they are practised, whether in private life or in the political affairs of the nation (32-35).

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