Proverbs 13


‘A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes. From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.’ Proverbs 13:1-3

The Wise Son

These verses are self-explanatory but we could ask ourselves, were we wise sons when we were younger? If so, in what way? If not, in what away? Maybe we should all ask ourselves if we recognise that we’re all responsible for our own actions, James 3:2.

Clarke, in his commentary says the following.

‘It has often been remarked that God has, given us two EYES, that we may SEE much; two EARS, that we may HEAR much; but has given us but ONE tongue, and that fenced in with teeth, to indicate that though we hear and see much, we should speak but little.’

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘He that thinks before he speaks, that suppresses evil if he have thought it, keeps his soul from a great deal both of guilt and grief. Many a one is ruined by an ungoverned tongue.’

‘A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.’ Proverbs 13:4

Lazy people want things but don’t have them, while the diligent person has them, why? Because they are willing to work for the things they want, Proverbs 21:25.

‘The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves. Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. A person’s riches may ransom their life, but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes.’ Proverbs 13:5-8

Who likes seeing evil done to someone? Solomon tells us that both extremes are bad, the idea is that we should simply be honest and humble. We must remember we are rich in Christ, 2 Corinthians 8:9.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Those who have riches have often much trouble with them; as they had much trouble to get them, so they have much trouble to keep them. In despotic countries, a rich man is often accused of some capital crime, and to save his life, though he may be quite innocent, is obliged to give up his riches; but the poor, in such countries, are put to no trouble.’

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Some who are really poor, trade and spend as if they were rich: this is sin, and will be shame, and it will end accordingly. Some that are really rich, would be thought to be poor: in this there is want of gratitude to God, want of justice and charity to others. There are many hypocrites, empty of grace, who will not be convinced of their poverty. There are many fearing Christians, who are spiritually rich, yet think themselves poor; by their doubts, and complaints, and griefs, they make themselves poor.’

Have you ever seen the film ‘Ransom’ with Mel Gibson? In the film, Mel Gibson is rich and willing and able to pay the demanded ransom. However, he rebukes the man who wants the ransom money and refuses to pay because there is no reason to blackmail him. Our ransom has been paid by Christ, Mark 10:45.

‘The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out. Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.’ Proverbs 13:9-10

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The light of the righteous is as that of the sun, which may be eclipsed and clouded, but will continue: the Spirit is their Light, he gives a fulness of joy: that of the wicked is as a lamp of their own kindling, easily put out.’

Have you ever met someone who is a complete know it all? Solomon tells us that a ‘know it all’ loses the value of useful and sometimes critical conversation with others.

We must be willing not only to listen to advice but put that advice into practice. Those who listen to and receive the counsel of others walk in wisdom.

‘Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.’ Proverbs 13:11

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Wealth that is not the result of honest industry and hard labour is seldom permanent. All fortunes acquired by speculation, lucky hits, and ministering to the pride or luxury of others, etc., soon become dissipated. They are not gotten in the way of Providence, and have not God’s blessing, and therefore are not permanent.’

Who has a savings account? Solomon tells us that obtaining money little by little is the best way. Anyone who ‘gets rich quick’, i.e. stealing, lottery, etc. is unstable and will probably lose it quickly.

‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.’ Proverbs 13:12-13

Expectations which repeatedly fail to be realised have a way of discouraging us.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The delay of what is anxiously hoped for, is very painful to the mind; obtaining it is very pleasant. But spiritual blessings are chiefly intended.’

Those who despise the word of the teacher, the person who disregards the guidance of a wise teacher will ruin themselves, while the person who respects the teachings of the wise will find success.

‘The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. Good judgment wins favour, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction. All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly. A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing. Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honoured. A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil. Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.’ Proverbs 13:14-20

These verses again state a basic principle of education. The one who wants to be wise will keep company with the wise, this is because wise people will always stimulate the development of other people who are wise.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true, fools lead to fools, and sadly there are more fools than wise men! 1 Corinthians 15:33 / 2 Timothy 2:24-26.

Clarke, in his commentary says the following concerning verse 14.

‘Never was a truer saying; most sinners have more pain and difficulty to get their souls damned, than the righteous have, with all their cross-bearings, to get to the kingdom of heaven.’

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following concerning verses 19-20.

‘There are in man strong desires after happiness; but never let those expect any thing truly sweet to their souls, who will not be persuaded to leave their sins. Multitudes are brought to ruin by bad company. And all that make themselves wicked will be destroyed.’

‘Trouble pursues the sinner, but the righteous are rewarded with good things. A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. An unploughed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away.’ Proverbs 13:21-23

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘When God pursues sinners he is sure to overtake them; and he will reward the righteous. The servant of God who is not anxious about riches, takes the best method of providing for his children. The poor, yet industrious, thrive, though in a homely manner, while those who have great riches are often brought to poverty for want of judgment.’

Proverbs are concerned with the general rule but there are exceptions like men like Job, Ecclesiastes 2:26. We also read of another illustration of the injustices done to the poor.

Even when they are productive, someone will always try to ruin their efforts. Whenever someone is successful there is always someone else waiting in the wind to take it from you.

‘Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.’ Proverbs 13:24-25

Human rights campaigners have a field day with verses like these, but this verse supports physical punishment as a proper form of parental discipline, Proverbs 10:13 / Ephesians 6:4 / Hebrews 12:7.

Here again, is the simple reminder if a person works, they will have food, but if they don’t work, they can’t expect food on the table to eat, Proverbs 10:3 / Jeremiah 44:18 / Ezekiel 4:17.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It is the misery of the wicked, that even their sensual appetites are always craving. The righteous feeds on the word and ordinances, to the satisfying of his soul with the promises of the gospel, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of life.’

‘For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: ‘The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.’ We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.’ 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12

Go To Proverbs 14