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Proverbs 10-31: Wisdom in the Home

Roger Hahn

Previous lessons summarized the way in which Proverbs characterized various types of people. The wisdom of the sages included a keen awareness of the patterns of behavior that led to successful relationships and those patterns that were destructive. Another way of collecting proverbial wisdom is by the contexts with which the sages were concerned. One of their obvious concerns was the home. Almost all human beings are the product of a home and family and most then have their own home and family. This means that the observations of Proverbs on home life are of universal human interest. Throughout Christian history believers have turned to Proverbs as a major resource for instruction in the structure of the Christian home.

Parental Discipline: Proverbs 22:6; 29:15; 20:30; 22:15; 19:18; 29:17; 13:24; 23:13-14

The initial impression that comes from reading these verses on parental discipline is that beating was the only resource considered worthwhile by the sages. Some parents feel vindicated by these proverbs and others are repulsed by the negative and potentially abusive nature of the advice of Proverbs. However, to read Proverbs simply as approving or demanding physical whipping of children is misses the point. Proverbs was written in the context of the other Old Testament passages that deal with child rearing. The positive and supportive aspects of caring for children that was present in Israelite society is assumed in Proverbs more often than it is stated.

The positive assumption about children is well stated in Psalm 127:3-5,

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate. (NASB)

 The birth of a child was regarded as a mark of blessing from God. One of the persistent themes in the Bible is the cry of the infertile couple to God for children. Since the primitive medical understanding of the Ancient Near East believed childlessness to be the fault of the woman, most of the prayers on infertility recorded in Scripture come from famous wives. Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth provide major examples of God’s response to the shame and disappointment of childlessness. There was great joy that attended the birth of a child and deep sorrow experienced at a child’s death (see David in 2 Samuel 12:16-23 praying for the life of his first son from Bathsheba and in 2 Samuel 18:33 grieving for Absalom). These verses show a strong affection for children that the proverbs about using the rod fail to reflect.

A second fact is that Proverbs 22:6 provides a positive statement that can well function as the guiding principle and context for interpreting the passages about beating and discipline. This proverb urges parents to train their children in the right way with the promise that the children will not depart from that way when they are old. This proverb offers a positive command of training given in a way that is appropriate for children and it holds forth the promise of fidelity and continuity to a way of life. For that reason it is an appropriate proverb to state the general assumptions of child-rearing in Proverbs.

The command of Proverbs 22:6 to train a child reflects an unusual Hebrew verb. The verb is hanak, which normally means "to initiate" or "to dedicate." It was most often used of the dedication of a house, including the temple as house of God, to its intended purpose. (The Jewish Festival of Hanukkah uses the same word and it celebrates the re-dedication of the temple during the Maccabean era.) The point of Proverbs 22:6, however, is not a dedication service for an infant as is often done in some evangelical denominations instead of infant baptism. The word hanak means "to begin" or "to inaugurate." The point is that childhood provides a context in which people can be set on the right path. If that is done correctly, the proverb promises that the child will adhere to the same way of life when he or she is old and ready to instruct the next generation (perhaps the text actually has grandparents in mind). The point is to get a child started in the right direction while they are still children.

The word translated "child" comes from a Hebrew word that can refer to the whole age range of children from infancy to young adulthood. The translation of the second phrase of verse 6 has fallen into one of two patterns. The first, represented by the King James Version and traditional interpretation, translates, "Train a child in the way he should go." The New Revised Standard Version adopts this interpretation when it translates, Train children in the right way.

However, the Hebrew construction can also be interpreted to mean, "Train a child according to the way he goes." This has been interpreted to mean that parents should "encourage a child to pursue the things he’s most interested in, then he will really excel in them later in life" (Alden, p. 161). The most natural way to understand the Hebrew expression is, "Train a child in a manner befitting a child." Garrett (p. 188) declares, "One should train a child using vocabulary, concepts, and illustrations a child can understand. It does not mean that instruction should be tailor-made for each individual child (however valid that concept may be) but that one should begin instructing a child in elementary principles of right and wrong as soon as possible."

One must remember the nature of a proverb when interpreting the final phrase of this verse, the promise that the child will not depart from correct teaching when he or she is old. Hubbard (p. 304) states, "This proverb states an accurate principle; it does not offer an absolute promise." It is not difficult to find examples of children who were taught well and then lived in rebellion against the teaching for the totality of their lives. It is not difficult to discover brothers and sisters who received virtually the same parenting who make completely different life decisions that they pursue with conviction in their lives. Hubbard wisely points out that the pastoral purpose of the proverb is to instruct young parents in their responsibility for providing strong moral foundation for the lives of their children. It is not a guarantee that churched children who stray in their teen and young adult years will eventually find their way back to faith. The very structure of Proverbs denies such a predestination view. The whole appeal of the first nine chapters is to the reader as a child hearing a father’s instructions. The child is free to choose right or wrong, but the parent is obligated to use every resource to persuade the child to make the right choice.

Obviously Proverbs regards the rod as a significant resource in persuading the child to take the right path in life. Proverbs 29:15 declares that the rod and reproof provide wisdom. The word translated reproof comes from a Hebrew root meaning argument. Logical argument and reasons were viewed by the Old Testament as an important resource for bringing wisdom to a child. However, almost every parent has discovered that there are moments when cool reasons are not adequate for persuading children bent on doing what they want. In that case the proverb recommends the rod. One of the proverbs from Egyptian wisdom literature observed, "Boys have ears on their backsides." The sting of spanking also can motivate proper behavior.

However, the second part of the verse places important qualification on the use of the rod. A child left to himself brings shame to his mother. The instruction to parents is clear: a child must not be left to himself or herself. Parents are responsible to be involved in life of their children. The first translation from Hebrew to Greek puts the matter rather poignantly. The Greek text literally speaks of a child left to wander shaming its parent. The rod is no substitute for parental presence, parental guidance, parental modeling, and parental participation in the life of the child.

One of the issues in the proverbs on the use of the rod is the role it can play in positively shaping a child’s character. Proverbs 20:30 makes the boldest claim in this area. Though the proverb does not directly mention children it states that a severe beating cleanses evil and makes one’s inner being clean. Proverbs 22:15 credits the rod of discipline with driving folly out of the heart of a child. Proverbs 19:18 implies that failure to discipline a child is to set one’s heart on the child’s destruction. Proverbs 23:13-14 points out that children act as if corporal punishment is killing them, when in fact it may accomplish the very opposite. A correctly administered beating will not kill a child, but it could save well save the child from Sheol. Sheol was the Hebrew term for the place of the dead. The two verses belong together for their implied contrasts. Sinful choices are often fatal, while punishment is not. A person is far better off to endure the pain of punishment, learn the appropriate lessons, and make the right choices than to be spared pain early and suffer the consequences of wrong decisions later in life.

Proverbs 13:24 brings several important elements of discipline together. Parents who spare the rod hate their children, but those who love them are diligent to discipline them. For the use of physical punishment to meet the biblical standard it must be an expression of love. While it is easy for parents to give lip service to this affirmation theoretically, it is much more difficult to put into practice. Too often corporal punishment is, in fact, an expression of parental frustration. Spankings given out of anger, impatience, or frustration do not carry the sanction and blessing of Scripture. Only spankings motivated by love are covered by this proverb. Parents who lack the integrity honestly to evaluate the real reasons behind any physical punishment of a child stand in need of discipline themselves.

Proverbs 13:24 also provides an important principle for discipline. It is to be administered promptly. The Hebrew word is often translated "diligent [ly]" or careful [ly]." However, the word means "early" or "quickly" and the timing of discipline is critical. Hubbard (p. 305) wisely notes, "The time for correction is when the wrong deed is discovered. Then the situation is clear, the feelings intense, and the opportunity for learning is most available. Withholding needed punishment is a sign of hate not love; bad behavior is rewarded by neglect, the opportunity of teaching an important lesson is lost, and the dignity of both child and parent is tarnished."

The challenges of parental discipline are overwhelming and the Biblical expectations are high. However, the Scripture assumes that parents can be successful and so instructs children in their responsibility to honor the efforts of their parents in the task of child raising.

Honoring Parents: Proverbs 10:1; 15:20; 17:21, 25; 23:15-16, 22, 24-25; 27:11; 13:1; 15:5; 30:11, 17; 20:20; 19:26; 28:7, 24; 10:5; and 29:3

The fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16) demands that children honor their parents. Proverbs provides specific examples of how that may be done. The opening verse in the section of individual proverbs, 10:1, declares that a wise child makes a glad father. Proverbs 15:20; 17:21, 25; 23:15 and 27:11 echo this theme. Wise choices, commitment to wisdom, and a life in pursuit of understanding produces joy and honor for parents. The opposite is also true. Foolish choices, the pursuit of folly, and a lifetime of refusing wisdom bring shame, grief, and dishonor to parents. One conclusion of the sages is that the pursuit of wisdom is an important way to honor one’s parents.

This means that all the expressions of wisdom described in Proverbs are ways of honoring one’s parents. Proverbs 23:24 specifically mentions righteousness as a source of joy to one’s father. Proverbs 23:16 notes that when a child’s lips speak what is right it brings rejoicing to a parent. The importance of words in reflecting the life of wisdom is an important principle of Proverbs.

However, Proverbs 20:20 and 30:11 both mention the dangers of cursing one’s parents. This is a more wide ranging issue than the use of profanity against one’s parents. The Hebrew word translated "curse" in these verses literally means to speak lightly of, to trifle with, or to treat as of no account. One of the unfortunate results of our media culture is the debasement of words. When so many words are spoken and printed for public consumption the ability to comprehend them is surpassed. There are so many words that we cannot give serious attention to all of them so we often give no attention to any of them. In contrast, words were extremely important in Hebrew culture. They were considered the carriers of reality. To speak of one’s parents (or anyone else for that matter) as worthless is to actually treat them or even make them of no value. Since God has already spoken a word of value into the reality of one’s parents, cursing or speaking lightly of them contradicts God and rebels against the very structure of creation.

Proverbs 30:17 rather graphically portrays the punishment coming to persons who so disregard their parents. This proverb must be recognized as using figurative language. Few children who have mocked their parents end up with their eyes pecked out by ravens and eaten by the vultures. Proverbs 20:20 also puts the matter picturesquely. If you curse father or mother, your lamp will go out in utter darkness. One’s lamp symbolizes one’s life. The point is that one’s life will be snuffed out. This figure of speech is declared in a straight forward manner in Exodus 21:17, Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.

Proverbs also addresses child-crime against their parents. As is normally the case now,these crimes would have been committed by adult children against their aged parents. In Old Testament culture a father ruled his household until death. The demands of providing for aged parents who demanded the right of ruling the household sometimes placed adult children in a difficult position. However, violence, rejection, and robbery were not options allowed by the sages according to Proverbs 19:26 and 28:24. Regardless of the attitude or behavior of aged parents, such criminal actions toward them brought dishonor and shame to the adult child.

The most positive thing a child could (and can) do to honor parents is to listen to them and to obey them. The most common appeal in Proverbs 1-9 was for the son/reader to hear the teachings of the father/author. There and in Proverbs 23:22 the verb means both to hear and to obey. Such listening obedience demonstrates wisdom according to Proverbs 13:1. The listening and obedient child will be industrious rather than lazy, bringing honor rather than shame to the father according to Proverbs 10:5. The listening and obedient child will avoid gluttony and sexual promiscuity according to Proverbs 28:7 and 29:3. The chaste and moderate life will bring gladness and honor to the parents while refusing to obey these injunctions will yield a harvest of shame for the parents.

It is clear that the sages of Israel had observed carefully the ways in which children brought honor, fulfillment, and meaning to their parents. As has happened so often in Proverbs obedience to the commandments and practical wisdom come together and each is interpreted by the other.

A Good Wife: Proverbs 19:13, 14; 27:15-16; 21:9, 19; 25:24; 18:22; 12:4, 14:1; and 31:10-31

Old Testament culture did not reflect directly on the qualities of a good marriage. However, that is the basic issue behind the proverbs that deal with the qualities of a good wife. Though the treatment is rather one-sided – after all there are no specific proverbs on the qualities of a good husband – these proverbs reflect a yearning for the values of a good marriage and an admiration for a strong woman that surprises many readers.

Proverbs 19:13 and 27:15 compare a quarrelsome or contentious wife with the dripping of rain. Garrett (p. 170) points out that there is more at stake here than a husband’s sense of irritation at a nagging wife. Irritation that simply arises from the never ending nagging is one thing. It may be as maddening as a dripping faucet, but a dripping faucet can be fixed. The dripping of rain through the roof can be fixed also, but more is at stake than just irritation. Damage to the house, expensive repairs, and the potential ruin of a building are at stake when one deals with the dripping of a leaking roof.

Further, the Hebrew word translated "quarreling," or "contentious" in these verses and in Proverbs 21:9, 19, and 25:24 is more serious than pestering a husband. The word refers to legal proceedings. The warning of these verses is not against the whining wife, but against the wife whose talk creates such dissension in the neighborhood that lawsuits result. The idolizing of privacy in modern society leads us to interpret these passages in the context of the husband-wife relationship because most of us experience marriage (as we define it) in the privacy of our homes. In the Ancient Near East – as in many cultures still – all the extended family lived under one roof. Villages were clusters of extended families with some relationship with each other living in close proximity to the water supply. In such a culture one’s performance in private was of much less concern than the ability to get along with the group. A wife who constantly stirred up the village or even the extended family placed her husband and her marriage in jeopardy.

A wife who is a quarrelsome troublemaker in the community is not likely to be a peacemaker at home either. Proverbs 21:9 and 25:24 observe that it is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with such a woman. The most literal parallel in suburban culture would be to live in the garage in peace rather than in the house with such a woman. The proverbial wisdom of our culture speaks of "being in the doghouse" to express a similar thought. Proverbs 21:19 even states that it is better to head for the desert than to remain trapped in a marriage in which the quarrelsome wife makes it so difficult for the husband to live in peace with either his wife or his community.

On the other hand a good wife is a gift from God as Proverbs 18:22 and 19:14 affirm. Proverbs 31:10-31 provides the most extensive treatment on the ideal wife to be found in all of Scripture. While the content of these verses has elicited much interest in the debates of contemporary evangelicalism over the proper role of women these verses are an astounding literary effort also. This is an acrostic and chiastic poem on the subject on the ideal wife. There are 22 verses; as an acrostic each verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Garrett (p.248) has identified this as a chiastic poem. The poem begins with the subject of the high value of a good wife in verse 10, moves toward a center concept in verse 23 of public respect for the husband, and then moves back in reverse order to the original subject of the value of a good wife in verses 30-31. The concept of a wife who works hard in verses 13-19 is mirrored in verse 27. No fear of snow in verse 21 is mirrored by no fear of the future in verse 25.

Garrett develops many more steps in the chiasm but these will illustrate the point. Not all scholars agree with him that the poem is chiastic and not all his steps are equally convincing. However, two of his basic points are valid. First, the author of these verses put an immense amount of creativity and skill into the construction of these verses. Second, the structure points to verse 23 as the key point of the verse. The lady’s husband is known in the city gates, which is a way to say that he is respected in the community.

This poem is not written for young women, instructing them in the kind of wife to be, though that is an appropriate use of it. Rather, the poem was written to young men instructing them in the kind of wife they should desire. That does not make the poem a description of the kind of wife a Hebrew young man would try to select. In that culture the parents arranged marriages without consultation with the children. The way a young man can have a wife like that described in Proverbs 31:10-31 is to create a marriage relationship in which the traits described are nurtured and allowed to flourish. When that cultural background is understood these verses become more than a checklist for an ideal wife. These verses become the guiding principles for constructing a marriage relationship.

The content of Proverbs 31:10-31 is also astounding. This ideal wife is the trusted partner of her husband (verse 11). She has servants to manage (verse 15) and money to invest in the acquisition of real estate for the expansion of the family farm (verse 16). She is a shrewd buyer (verses 13-14) and seller (verses 11, 18, 24). She provides leadership in the home (verse 27-28) because she is a disciplined and tireless worker (verses 15 and 19). Her industry profits her family (verses 14, 15, 21, and 24), herself (verse 22), and provides enough to serve the poor (verse 20). However, her economic abilities are matched by moral excellence (verse 25), wisdom (verse 26a), kindness (verse 26b), and by significant spiritual qualities (verse 30).

This is no ordinary woman. Verse 30 demands that no ordinary standards be applied to her. Charm and beauty, so often admired by men who want female playthings, are of little consequence for this woman. Charm and beauty are temporary assets quickly lost to passing time and changing circumstances. The abiding values of thrift, leadership, industry, and trustworthiness characterize the lady idealized in these verses. It is no wonder that her husband and children praise her. Everyone praises her!

The spiritual thrust of the passage comes to light in verse 30 where her fear of the Lord is presented as the underlying reason for all her success. At this point we must remember the nature of proverbs. "Fear of the Lord" – a right perspective on God – will not automatically produce all the amazing characteristics of the ideal wife of Proverbs 31:10-31. For one thing, this lady was obviously very much a part of Israel’s upper class society. Most Israelite families did not have servants or the money to invest in fields and to import goods from afar (verses 13-14). However, the fact that these verses are part of Proverbs means that all Israel saw them as instructive and applicable regardless of income and social standing. The fact that they are part of the Biblical canon means that Christianity today can find instruction and meaning from this description of the upper class ideal wife. The construction of a marriage in which such mutual trust and working together was no easy matter in ancient Israel regardless of a family’s wealth. Mutual trust and cooperation for the good of the family is not easy today, but still of greatest value for both wives and husbands.

Study Questions for Reflection and Discussion

These readings and study questions are in preparation for next week's lesson.

As you study each day ask the Lord to speak to you through his word. Ask the Holy Spirit to make the word come alive to you for that day.

Note: This section of Proverbs consists of short proverbial sayings. We will approach the study topically, reading a chapter each day, but focusing on verses from throughout Proverbs that deal with the topic of the day.  The Readings are listed after the discussion questions.

First Day: Read the notes on Proverbs 10-31 – Wisdom in the Home. Look up the Scripture references given.

1. Identify one or two new concepts that were important to you. Describe why these ideas are important for your life.

2. Select one or two insights that have significant spiritual meaning for you. How do those insights apply to your life?

3. Write a brief prayer asking the Lord to use you to strengthen the homes of families that are near to you.

Second Day: Read Proverbs 30. Now focus in on Proverbs 18:24; 17:17; 27:6, 9, 10, 14, 17; 26:18-19; 25:8-10, 17; 17:9; 19:22; 20:6; 25:19; 14:22; and 11:17.

1. What benefits from friendship do these focus verse identify? Can you name friends from whom you have received these blessings?

2. What requirements to be a friend can you discover in these verses? Which characteristics of being a true friend are most important to you? Why? Which is most difficult for you? Why?

3. What do these verses teach about loyalty, faithfulness, and trust? What can you do to strengthen those character traits in your own life?

Third Day: Read Proverbs 31. Now focus on Proverbs 20:22; 17:13; 24:17-18; 25:21-22; 16:7; 26:24-26; 10:12; 15:17; 17:1; 26:17, 21; 17:14, 19; and 18:19.

1. What attitude toward enemies and revenge is reflected in these verses? Is this the attitude you expected from the Old Testament? Why or why not?

2. What view of hatred and strife appears in these focus verses? In your own words summarize the harm done by hatred and strife. Is hatred ever justified? Why or why not?

3. Read Matthew 5:38-48. How do these teachings of Jesus relate to the focus verses? Does the teaching of Jesus move beyond that of Proverbs? If so, how?

Fourth Day: Read Proverbs 22-23. Focus on Proverbs 17:5; 14:21, 31; 22:9, 16, 22-23, 28; 23:10-11; 30:14; 15:25; 28:3, 27; 19:17; and 21:13.

1. What view of the poor do these verses take? How does this view fit with the idea from Proverbs that is one works hard he or she will not suffer want?

2. What attitude toward the poor does the Lord have according to these verses? Are you aware of other passages in the Bible that show God with the same attitude toward the poor?

3. Read Matthew 26:11 and I Corinthians 13:3. These verses do not seem sympathetic to the needs of the poor. How do you explain them in relationship to the proverbs you have read as focus verses?

Fifth Day: Read Proverbs 16 and 18. Now focus on Proverbs 18:4, 13, 20-21; 12:14, 18; 20:15; 13:3; 21:23; 10:19; 29:20; 24:26; 25:11; 15:4, 23; 12:25; 16:21-24; 27:5, 12, 27; s7:2; 28:23; and 10:10.

1. How important are a person’s words according to these verses? Which verse made the biggest impact on you personally as you studied them? What message did that verse convey to you?

2. What benefits or blessings can arise from words well spoken? Write a brief prayer asking the Lord to train you in speaking words of blessing and grace into other people’s lives.

3. What view of reproof or rebuke comes from the focus verses? Is this view different from what you would expect from the Bible? Why or why not?

Sixth Day: Read Proverbs 21. Now focus on Proverbs 21:5; 15:22; 11:14; 20:18; 21:22; 24:5-6; 24:27; 16:1, 9; 19:21; 20:24; 21:30-31; 16:3; and 27:1.

1. What do these verses say about the importance of planning? What help from God do you need for the proper planning in your life?

2. What do these verses say about God’s purpose in the unfolding of people’s lives? How do you fit together what these verses day about human planning and God’s purpose?

3. Write a brief prayer asking God to direct your plans and the unfolding of your life to bring glory and honor to himself.

Readings for Lesson 10

Day 2

18:24 There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

27:10 Your friend, and your father’s friend, do not forsake; and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.

27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, but the soul is torn by trouble.

27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

26:18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,

26:19 is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I am only joking!"

25:17 Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and hate you.

27:14 He who blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing.

17:9 He who forgives and offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter alienates a friend.

25:8 do not hastily bring into court; for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?

25:9 Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not disclose another’s secret;

25:10 lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.

19:22 What is desired in a man is loyalty, and a poor man is better than a liar.

20:6 Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but a faithful man who can find?

25:19 Trust in a faithless man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.

14:22 Do they not err that devise evil? Those who devise good meet loyalty and faithfulness.

11:17 A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

Day 3

20:22 Do not say, "I will repay evil"; wait for the LORD, and he will help you.

17:13 If a man returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.

24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles;

24:18 lest the LORD see it, and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;

25:22 for you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you.

16:7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

26:24 He who hates, dissembles with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart;

26:25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart;

26:26 though his hatred be covered with guile, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

15:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it.

17:1 Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.

26:21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

17:19 He who loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction.

26:17 He who meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.

17:14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water; so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

18:19 A brother helped is like a strong city, but quarreling is like the bars of a castle.

Day 4

17:5 He who mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

14:21 He who despises his neighbor is a sinner, but happy is he who is kind to the poor.

14:31 He who oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors him.

22:16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to want.

30:14 There are those whose teeth are swords, whose teeth are knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, the needy from among men.

28:3 A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.

22:22 Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate;

22:23 for the LORD will plead their cause and despoil of life those who despoil them.

15:25 The LORD tears down the house of the proud, but maintains the widows boundaries.

22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.

23:10 Do not remove an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless;

23:11 for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.

22:9 He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.

19:17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.

28:27 He who gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

21:13 He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be heard.

Day 5

18:20 From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.

18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

12:14 From the fruit of his words a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.

18:4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.

20:15 There is gold, and abundance of costly stones; but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

13:3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

21:23 He who keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.

29:20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

12:18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

18:13 If one gives answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

24:26 He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.

25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.

15:23 To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!

12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

16:24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.

15:4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

16:21 The wise of heart is called a man of discernment, and pleasant speech increases persuasiveness.

16:23 The mind of the wise makes his speech judicious, and adds persuasiveness to his lips.

27:2 Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

25:27 It is not good to eat much honey, so be sparing of complimentary words.

25:12 Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.

28:23 He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with his tongue.

27:5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love.

10:10 He who winks the eye causes trouble, but he who boldly reproves makes peace.

-Roger Hahn, Copyright 2013, Roger Hahn and the Christian Resource Institute
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