Proverbs 22


‘A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.’ Proverbs 22:1-2

It Has To Be The Heart

In the ancient culture, it was a terrible thing to bring shame upon the family name. Many today, couldn’t care less about their reputation as long as they have money. Solomon says whether a person is rich or poor, the one thing they have in common is that God made them both.

‘The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honour and life.’ Proverbs 22:3-4

Humility and fear should always go together. God doesn’t force people to bow down to Him, but it comes naturally to the humble.

‘In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them. Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.’ Proverbs 22:5-6

By considering the child’s tendencies and temperament, each child needs individual attention. Sometimes we need to let them make their own decisions so that they can gain wisdom for themselves.

‘The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.’ Proverbs 22:7

Can Christians borrow from other people or banks? Yes, as long as we can pay it back.

‘Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken. The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.’ Proverbs 22:8-9

These verses are used in contrast to one another, the generous person will be blessed.

‘Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended.’ Proverbs 22:10

This is a good Old Testament commentary on Romans 16:17. If we get rid of the troublemaker, we have rid ourselves of the trouble, Proverbs 26:20.

‘One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.’ Proverbs 22:11

The king will approve of those with reliable speech and reliable character and will promote those in his kingdom.

‘The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.’ Proverbs 22:12

Preserve means to keep, retain. God will not allow the words of evil men to succeed. The word ‘knowledge’ refers to those who have knowledge, it takes courage and discipline to live life God’s way but if we try our best, God will reward us and protect us.

‘The sluggard says, ‘There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!’ Proverbs 22:13

This reason for not going to work is absurd, but so are most of the excuses of lazy people.

‘The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit; a man who is under the LORD’s wrath falls into it.’ Proverbs 22:14

The mouth refers to using seductive words. Only those going in the wrong direction will fall into this pit.

‘Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.’ Proverbs 22:15

Some children love to get into trouble. They have foolishness so deeply ingrained in them that it will not be removed easily. The reason some children are foolish is because they don’t understand the consequences of their actions.

‘One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.’ Proverbs 22:16

There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy, it’s all about what we do with that wealth.

Thirty Sayings Of The Wise

‘Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you. Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve?’ Proverbs 22:17-21

Saying 1

Solomon begins his thirty sayings which all relate to the heart, they begin here and continue to Proverbs 24:24. The first saying is about the importance of being honest and telling the truth.

How do we answer people who ask us about our religion? Christians must be honest and speak truth to those around us, 2 Corinthians 8:21 / Ephesians 4:15.

‘Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the LORD will take up their case and will exact life for life.’ Proverbs 22:22-23

Saying 2

We don’t want to take a case where God Himself is defending the one we oppressed. Many countries have unjust leaders and many people are unable to defend themselves, but the hope is that God will take up their case, Exodus 22:21-27 / Psalm 82:3-4.

‘Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.’ Proverbs 22:24-25

Saying 3

The hot-tempered person will get us into trouble and, as a result, we may not live long. If we spend a lot of time in bad company, we will usually take on some of their traits, 1 Corinthians 15:33.

‘Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.’ Proverbs 22:26-27

Saying 4

These seem to be hasty pledges without seriously considering the consequences. When I read these verses, I think of the bailiffs coming to someone’s house because they haven’t kept up the payments. We shouldn’t pledge what we cannot pay, or we could say, ‘do not get in over your head’, Romans 13:8.

‘Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors.’ Proverbs 22:28

Saying 5

In Joshua 13-12 we see the land which God promised was marked out with landmarks for each tribe. But even before that time Moses had warned the people about doing this, Deuteronomy 19:14 / Deuteronomy 27:17.

‘Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank.’ Proverbs 22:29

Saying 6

If people want to get good, secure, high paying jobs, they need to get the skills to do so. In our world today it appears that the more skills we have, the better-paid job we will get.

Please note that there’s nothing wrong with having a low paid job either because it is God who gives us all the skills we have, Exodus 31:6 / Exodus 38:23.

‘For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.’ Romans 12:4-8

Go To Proverbs 23


"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."