Proverbs 18


‘An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.’ Proverbs 18:1-2

Words, Work And Relationships

Most people who are unsociable care only about their own selfish concerns. They are against everything, even good, solid suggestions. A fool isn’t interested in trying to understand things. What they really want to do is tell you what they think. Understanding takes more work than the fool is willing to invest.

‘When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach.’ Proverbs 18:3

Solomon here describes the path of wickedness; it ends up in disgrace.

‘The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.’ Proverbs 18:4

We know that wisdom comes from God and so because it comes from God, the wise person has a continual source of wisdom.

‘It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.’ Proverbs 18:5

When I was at school the most popular kids were the ones who were always in trouble. People foolishly choose the most popular people to be their friends with, even though they may be wicked.

‘The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating. The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.’ Proverbs 18:6-8

The fool’s mouth constantly gets them into trouble, they attract hostility and retaliation.

Who likes chocolate? Once you take a bite of a chocolate bar, you just want another one and another. This is like gossip, once we hear one part of a story, we just want to hear more and more, this is the desire for gossip.

We may forget the good things we hear about people, but we easily remember the bad things and ‘whisper’ them to others who are eager to devour them.

‘One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.’ Proverbs 18:9

This verse means of the same class and sharing the same nature.

‘The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.’ Proverbs 18:10-11

The Name of the Lord is like a strong tower, the righteous person who runs to the Lord will find security in Him, which is provided by a fortified tower. This security is not accessible to the dangers below.

What we see here is strength, in contrast, remember the film ‘Dam Busters’! Some things look impressive and may even give some sort of security, things like money, wealth or a big house but they can be taken or destroyed or stolen. God’s power never ceases, it can’t be broken.

‘Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honour.’ Proverbs 18:12

The haughty means someone who thinks they can control everything. The word, ‘humility’, perhaps means that once someone learns that they cannot control everything, they are humble. Humility leads to greatness, Matthew 18:1-5.

‘To answer before listening—that is folly and shame. The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out. A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great. In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.’ Proverbs 18:13-17

What we’re being told here is that we shouldn’t answer anyone, until we hear the whole statement and know what is involved. It pays to listen before talking. We have probably learned this ‘a thousand times’, yet we still have a tendency to judge before all the facts are known.

A broken spirit means if the spirit is crushed, a person’s sickness is fatal because the inner source of resistance is gone. Physical weakness can be counterbalanced by the determination of the spirit, i.e. mind and will.

We’ve heard a lot in Proverbs about being silent but this text tells us that there are times when we do not merely listen, we inquire!

People let peace into someone’s life because of the gift. However, money, when properly used, can gain entrance into the circles of high society and great influence.

A gift can be the simplest of things, a cup of water in Jesus’ Name can do wonders, Matthew 10:42 / Mark 9:41. The just are the righteous. This shows the value of close examination, especially concerning false witnesses!

These verses teach us that there are three things we need to remember in decision making.

1. We need to remember there are two sides to a story before we make a judgment about someone or something.

2. We need to know the facts before we make a judgment about someone or something.

3. We need to be open to people with their ideas.

‘Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.’ Proverbs 18:18

This is a reference to legal cases, particularly those whose investigations are drawn out and indecisive. In such situations, a settlement by the use of the casting of lots is commendable because it will settle what we cannot or will not decide by normal legal procedures, Proverbs 16:33.

‘A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.’ Proverbs 18:19

The bars of a castle mean it’s difficult to break down. When someone is offended their backs are usually up and so it’s difficult to break down their pride.

‘From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.’ Proverbs 18:20-21

When we go for a job interview, we know we have to say what they want to hear and some have a talent for doing this. The idea seems to be that proper speech can put a person in a position to earn a living.

In the film ‘Gladiator’, we see the Emperor has the power to allow a gladiator to live or die and so he will give the thumbs up to live, thumbs down to die. Because of the tongue’s power, it is imperative to use it properly, James 3:9-12. If we live by the sword die by the sword, Matthew 26:52 / Galatians 6:7-8.

‘He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the LORD.’ Proverbs 18:22

Married life is great only if we find the right husband or wife, someone who is willing to work on their marriage through good times and bad times. The Proverbs believe in the benefits of marriage despite its obvious hazards, Proverbs 21:9.

‘The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.’ Proverbs 18:23

The poor person has to worry about properly asking for help, the rich person doesn’t.

‘One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’ Proverbs 18:24

In most cases, our church family can easily become closer to us than our physical families. There is a friendship which endures more strongly and loyally than one’s own relatives. These are genuine friends.

Most people I know don’t like to be lonely, we were created to have relationships with others.

‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn’. Romans 12:15

Go To Proverbs 19


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."