Proverbs 18 Commentary

Real strength (18:1-24)

When people become too confident in their own opinions, they are liable to break away from former friends. They become unreasonable in discussion and blind to the viewpoints of others. Those who despise others will themselves be disgraced (18:1-3). The words of the wise bring refreshment, but those of a fool or a gossip bring destruction (4-8).

Those who leave work undone are almost as bad as those who wreck what already has been done (9). Those who trust in God know they are safe, but those who trust in their wealth only think they are safe. One day they will find that pride leads to disaster. God exalts those who willingly take the lowest place (10-12).

Strength of mind and spirit is more important in the battle of life than strength of body. The wise listen to opinions from all available sources before giving their judgment (13-15). People may try to win a judge’s favour by giving him gifts or telling him only those parts of a story that support their viewpoint. In some cases the only way a judge may be able to settle a dispute is by the drawing of lots (16-18).

People may become strong friends or strong enemies, depending on how they are treated. Words will bring a person good or ill, depending on what they mean and how they are spoken (19-21). True friendship is not easily broken, nor does it make a distinction between the richer partner and the poorer partner. But a good wife is the best friend of all (22-24).

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