Proverbs 15 Commentary

Bringing joy to others (15:1-33)

Words can easily cheer others or enrage them, help them or hinder them. Therefore, people should think carefully about what they say (15:1-5). In addition to being wise in their speech, they must be honest in the way they earn their income (6-7). In fact, they must be upright in all aspects of their daily lives. Only then will God, from whom nothing can be hidden, accept their sacrifices and prayers (8-11). Another matter concerning habits of speech is that those who readily criticize others are usually offended when others criticize them (12).

Inner joy enables believers to be outwardly cheerful, even amid afflictions. Because they fear God and love others, they are truly contented even though not wealthy (13-17). A series of warnings shows that wrongdoing creates its own hardships: bad temper causes arguments (18); laziness means harder work in the long run (19); folly creates family tensions (20); ignorance results in plans going wrong (21- 22).

Those who bring joy to others can be assured of God’s goodness to them (23-24), but God opposes those who plot evil and use their positions of power to exploit the poor and the defenceless (25-29). A cheerful face, like good news, brings refreshment to others (30). Again the book records that to gain wisdom, people must be willing to learn, reverent towards God and humble in spirit (31-33).

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