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The Blue Letter Bible

David Guzik :: Study Guide for Proverbs 18

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Wisdom in Getting Along with Others

Proverbs 18:1

A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.

a. A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire: To cut one’s self off from family, friends, and community is often to express a selfish desire. It shows an unwillingness to make the small (and sometimes large) sacrifices to get along with others.

i. “The Mishnah uses this passage to teach the necessity of not separating from the community, because people have responsibilities as social beings (Aboth 2:4).” (Ross)

b. He rages against all wise judgment: God designed us after His own triune nature; He designed us to live in community. The instinct many have for isolation must not be over-indulged; it is against all wise judgment.

i. “The protest of this proverb is against the self-satisfaction which makes a man separate himself from the thoughts and opinions of others. Such a one finally ‘rages against,’ or ‘quarrels with all sound wisdom.’” (Morgan)

Proverbs 18:2

A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.

a. A fool has no delight in understanding: The wise man or woman has great satisfaction in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. This is not so with the fool; they find no delight in wisdom.

i. “He is wilful, and so stands as a stake in the midst of a stream; lets all pass by him, but he stands where he was. It is easier to deal with twenty men’s reasons, than with one man’s will.” (Trapp)

b. But in expressing his own heart: What does delight the fool is expressing his own heart. If he asks questions it is to show how clever he is rather than to learn. He is focused on self instead of God, and his folly flows from this wrong priority and wrong place to find delight.

i. “It is a fact that most vain and foolish people are never satisfied in company, but in showing their own nonsense and emptiness.” (Clarke)

ii. Expressing his own heart: “The verb occurs in Hithpael elsewhere only in connection with the drunken Noah indecently uncovering himself (Genesis 9:21; cf.).” (Waltke)

Proverbs 18:3

When the wicked comes, contempt comes also;
And with dishonor comes reproach.

a. When the wicked comes, contempt comes also: The wicked brings contempt with them; the proud, superior attitude that thinks itself better than others and looks at those thought to be lesser with scorn. Yet it can also be said that contempt follows the wicked because God will scorn those who scorn others.

b. With dishonor comes reproach: The wicked bring insults (reproach) upon those they consider dishonorable.

Proverbs 18:4

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.

a. The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters: The idea isn’t that everyone’s speech is deep and meaningful. Instead, the idea is that we reveal the depths of our heart by the words of our mouth.

i. “That is, the wise sayings of a wise man are like deep waters; howsoever much you pump or draw off, you do not appear to lessen them.” (Clarke)

b. The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook: When the wellspring of a man’s being is rooted in wisdom, it will then flow out from their words.

i. Deep waters…flowing brook: “Fitly are the words of the wise resembled to waters, saith one, inasmuch as they both wash the minds of the hearers, that the foulness of sin remain not therein, and water them in such sort that they faint not, nor wither by a drought and burning desire of heavenly doctrine.” (Trapp)

Proverbs 18:5

It is not good to show partiality to the wicked,
Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

a. It is not good to show partiality to the wicked: This is obvious to the person with a moral compass. Yet there are many reasons why someone might be tempted to show partiality to the wicked. They may do it out of misplaced compassion, out of a desire to please others, because of some kind of bribe, or many other reasons.

i. “We must not, in judicial cases, pay any attention to a man's riches, influence, friends, offices, etc., but judge the case according to its own merits. But when the wicked rich man opposes and oppresses the poor righteous, then all those things should be utterly forgotten.” (Clarke)

b. Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment: When one shows partiality to the wicked, they will overthrow the righteous in judgment whether they intend to or not. Each aspect of injustice is sin.

i. “For justice to happen, the cause must be heard, not the person. Let the person be punished for his wickedness, not the wickedness be covered for the person’s sake. When one is partial to the wicked, the rights of God are despised, and the claims of his justice are thrown away.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 18:6

A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows.

a. A fool’s lips enter into contention: It is in the nature of the fool to argue. Their words often bring them into contention.

b. His mouth calls for blows: The contentious words of the fool invite punishment, and sometimes this punishment will be physical correction, the blows of the rod of correction.

Proverbs 18:7

A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.

a. A fool’s mouth is his destruction: The words of the fool show his folly, but they also work towards his destruction. Many a fool has been ruined because of his foolish words.

b. His lips are the snare of his soul: As in most places in Proverbs, snare here speaks of the life of being of the fool. It includes the inner spiritual self but is not restricted to it. The fool’s life is trapped — caught in a snare — by his foolish words.

i. “It is most remarkable that the apostle Paul, when analyzing man’s depravity, focuses on the little member and all that is linked to it — the throat, the tongue, the lips, and the mouth (Romans 3:13-14).” (Bridges)

Proverbs 18:8

The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body.

a. The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles: The gossip and evil reports brought by the talebearer are almost impossible to resist. Those who should know better find it difficult to tell the talebearer to stop talking. The importance of this proverb is expressed in its repetition, being repeated in Proverbs 26:22.

i. Yet the damage the talebearer brings is great. “He that takes away a man’s good name kills him alive, and ruins him and his posterity; being herein worse than Cain, for he, in killing his brother, made him live for ever, and eternalised his name.” (Trapp)

ii. “Unlike the fool’s insolent speech that hurts himself in hurting others, gossip destroys the relationship of others, even the closest friends.” (Waltke)

iii. “The words of a gossip [talebearer] in an unguarded moment may inflict irreparable injury. This evil may be welcomed in certain circles that thrive on scandal. But that does not alter the real character of a gossip, who is detested by both God and man.” (Bridges)

b. They go down into the inmost body: When we receive the words of a talebearer, they normally have an effect on us. The words go down into us and often change the way we think and feel about people, even if what the talebearer says isn’t true or isn’t confirmed. God gave a strong word regarding the confirmation of testimony (Deuteronomy 19:15, 2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Timothy 5:19).

i. Once we start eating these tasty trifles, it is hard to stop. “When such tasty bits are taken into the innermost being, they stimulate the desire for more.” (Ross)

ii. Instead of eating the tasty trifles of the talebearer, “Jeremiah sets a better model: he ate God’s word and delighted in it (Jeremiah 15:16; cf. Colossians 3:12-20).” (Waltke)

Proverbs 18:9

He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

a. He who is slothful in his work: There are times of entertainment or leisure where perhaps laziness can be excused. There is never an excuse to be lazy or slothful in work. As previously noted at Proverbs 15:19:

  • Laziness is theft — you live off the work of others.
  • Laziness is selfishness — you live for yourself and comfort.
  • Laziness is neglect of duty — you don’t do what you should.

b. Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer: We often think of laziness as a fairly innocent sin, but it is not. The lazy man is a close associate (brother) to the one who brings great destruction.

i. “It means that in life there can be no neutrality. Every man lives in the midst of a conflict between good and evil. He must and does take part therein. If he is not helping Jehovah against the mighty, he is helping the mighty against Jehovah” (Morgan). Morgan also noted this principle in other Biblical passages.

  • “It was in the mind of Deborah when she cursed Meroz for not coming to the help of Jehovah against the mighty.”
  • “It found explicit statement when our Lord said: ‘He that gathereth not with me scattereth’”
  • “James recognized it when he wrote: ‘To him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.’”

ii. “This proverb applies this principle to work. Constructive work is the law of human life and progress. There is an active principle of destruction operating in the history of man; and he who is a slacker at his work, who does not put into it all his strength, is a brother to the man who in wickedness sets himself to the activity of destruction. No living being can be merely a spectator. Each works or wastes. Not to work well, is to aid the process of waste.” (Morgan)

iii. If a person is given management over a large estate and ruins it through vandalism and outright destruction, it is easy to see them as a great destroyer. Yet if the same person allows it to fall into disrepair and uselessness through neglect and laziness, they also are a great destroyer — they just did it another way. Laziness destroys.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.

a. The name of the Lord is a strong tower: God provides a wonderful and strong defense. This is rooted not in a magical saying of His name as if it were a charm or a spell, but in the name of the Lord as a declaration of His character, His person. In all that He is and all that He stands for, Yahweh (the Lord) is a strong tower.

i. “This is the only place in Proverbs where ‘the name of the Lord’ is found; it signifies the attributes of God, here the power to protect (cf. Exodus 34:5-7).” (Ross)

ii. Because the name of Yahweh represents His character in all its aspects, the believer can think about the aspects of God’s character and find a strong, safe refuge in them. It can be as simple as this:

  • Lord, You are a God of love — so I find refuge in Your love.
  • Lord, You are a God of mercy — so I find refuge in Your mercy.
  • Lord, You are a God of strength — so I find refuge in Your strength.
  • Lord, You are a God of righteousness — so I find refuge in Your righteousness.

iii. “Numberless are those castles in the air to which men hasten in the hour of peril: ceremonies lift their towers into the clouds; professions pile their walls high as mountains, and works of the flesh paint their delusions till they seem substantial bulwarks; but all, all shall melt like snow, and vanish like a mist.” (Spurgeon)

iv. A strong tower: “Within these walls, which of us needs to worry that the sharpest arrow can harm us? We realize our security from external trouble as we exercise our faith. We are safe from God’s avenging justice, from the curse of the law, from sin, from condemnation, from the second death.” (Bridges)

b. The righteous run to it and are safe: God invites all to find refuge in His name; whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21, and Romans 10:13). Those who humbly run to God and find refuge with Him are His righteous ones, so it is the righteous who run to it.

i. “All creatures run to their refuges when hunted….Run therefore to God, by praying and not fainting. [Luke 18:1] This is the best policy for security.” (Trapp)

ii. Run to it: “This running appears to me to imply, that they have nothing to carry. A man who has a load, the heavier the load may be, the more will he be impeded in his flight. But the righteous run, like racers in the games, who have thrown off everything, their sins they leave to mercy, and their righteousness to the moles and bats.” (Spurgeon)

Proverbs 18:11

The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.

a. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: In contrast to the righteous who find their strong tower in God and His character, the rich man (here used in the sense of the man who trusts in his riches, who is only rich and nothing else) finds refuge in his wealth.

i. Such a man who trusts in his own riches has no refuge when they fail. “A wicked man beaten out of earthly comforts is as a naked man in a storm, and an unarmed man in the field, or a ship tossed in the sea without an anchor, which presently dasheth upon rocks, or falleth upon quicksands.” (Trapp)

b. Like a high wall in his own esteem: The rich man sees his wealth as safe and sure as a high wall around a strong city. Yet this is only in his own esteem; both the Lord and the wise know that wealth is not a truly strong city and not a high wall.

i. “Wealth does afford a measure of protection, but the danger of wealth is precisely that it gives its possessor the illusion of greater security than it can provide.” (Garrett)

Proverbs 18:12

Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility.

a. Before destruction the heart of man is haughty: Since pride leads the way to destruction (Proverbs 16:18), we should expect that the haughty heart is ready to receive its just destruction.

i. “There is no wisdom in a self-exaltation. Other vices have some excuse, for men seem to gain by them; avarice, pleasure, lust, have some plea; but the man who is proud sells his soul cheaply. He opens wide the flood-gates of his heart, to let men see how deep is the flood within his soul; then suddenly it floweth out, and all is gone — and all is nothing, for one puff of empty wind, one word of sweet applause — the soul is gone, and not a drop is left.” (Spurgeon)

b. And before honor is humility: Wise people know that humility leads the way to honor. If you want destruction, be haughty; if you want honor, show humility.

i. “It is not humility to underrate yourself. Humility is to think of yourself, if you can, as God thinks of you.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “Very likely the most humble man in the world won’t bend to anybody. John Knox was a truly humble man, yet if you had seen him march before Queen Mary with the Bible in his hand, to reprove her, you would have rashly said, ‘What a proud man!’ (Spurgeon)

iii. “The humility and exaltation of Jesus provides the classic example of this truth (see Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Philippians 2:1-10).” (Ross)

Proverbs 18:13

He who answers a matter before he hears it,
It is folly and shame to him.

a. He who answers a matter before he hears it: It is common to give a quick, impulsive answer to questions and problems. We respond without thinking, or without hearing the full story, sometimes more interested in what we hope to say than what the matter before us really is.

i. This is “a special snare of the self-important.” (Kidner)

b. It is folly and shame to him: To whatever extent we do this, it is foolish and shameful. It is folly because a wrong or misguided answer is likely; it is shame because we do not represent ourselves well in doing so.

i. “There are many also that give judgment before they hear the whole of the cause, and express an opinion before they hear the state of the case. How absurd, stupid, and foolish!” (Clarke)

Proverbs 18:14

The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?

a. The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness: Many who have labored long under sickness have felt themselves sustained — sometimes miraculously so — by the strength of their spirit.

i. “Christian principle strengthens natural strength. Outward troubles are bearable, yes, more than bearable, if there is peace within.” (Bridges)

b. Who can bear a broken spirit? When the spirit is broken, instead of giving life it proves to be something few people can bear.

i. “In physical sickness one can fall back on the will to live; but in depression the will to live may be gone, and there is no reserve for physical strength. The figure of a ‘crushed’ spirit suggests a broken will, loss of vitality, despair, and emotional pain. Few things in the human experience are as difficult to cope with as this.” (Ross)

ii. “There are some who have been greatly wounded, no doubt, through sickness. A wounded spirit may be the result of diseases which seriously shake the nervous system. Let us be very tender with brethren and sisters who got into that condition. I have heard some say, rather unkindly, ‘Sister So-and-so is so nervous, we can hardly speak in her presence.’ Yes, but talking like that will not help her; there are many persons who have had this trying kind of nervousness greatly aggravated by the unkindness or thoughtlessness of friends. It is a real disease, it is not imaginary. Imagination, no doubt, contributes to it, and increases it; but, still, there is a reality about it. There are some forms of physical disorder in which a person lying in bed feels great pain through another person simply walking across the room. ‘Oh!’ you say, ‘that is more imagination ‘Well, you may think so, if you like; but if you are ever in that painful condition, — as I have been many a time, — I will warrant that you will not talk in that fashion again.” (Spurgeon)

Proverbs 18:15

The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

a. The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge: The wise desire more wisdom and know how to get it. They show their prudence (wisdom) by seeking and getting more knowledge.

b. The ear of the wise seeks knowledge: Wise men and women seek after wisdom with all their being — their heart and their ear are given over to the pursuit of more wisdom.

i. “By paralleling ‘heart’ and ‘ears,’ the verse stresses the full acquisition of knowledge: the ear of the wise listens to instruction, and the heart of the wise discerns what is heard to acquire knowledge.” (Ross)

Proverbs 18:16

A man’s gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.

a. A man’s gift makes room for him: A previous proverb (Proverbs 17:8) spoke of a present in the sense of a bribe, but a different word is used here. This proverb is a simple recognition of fact: generosity and politeness open many doors.

i. “Matan (‘gift’) is more general than ‘bribe’ (soh ad as in Proverbs 17:8, 23)…. Here the proverb simply says that a gift can expedite matters but says nothing about bribing judges.” (Ross)

ii. “This Jacob [Genesis 43:11] knew well, and therefore bade his sons take a present for the governor of the land, though it were but of every good thing a little. So Saul, [1 Samuel 9:7] when to go to the man of God to inquire about the asses.” (Trapp)

iii. “It can also be an innocent courtesy or eirenicon [gift to reconcile], like the present (minhah) sent to the captain in 1 Samuel 17:18, or to Esau or Joseph (Genesis 32:20; 43:11).” (Kidner)

b. And brings him before great men: It is true that a gift can be effective in gaining an audience of even great men. We are grateful that no gift is required to come before the greatest Man, the Man Christ Jesus who offers His work as mediator without cost (1 Timothy 2:5, Romans 5:1-2).

i. “Blessed be God! We do not lack any gifts to bring before him. Our welcome is free. The door of access is forever open. Our treasure of grace in his unchanging favor is unfathomable.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 18:17

The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him.

a. The first one to plead his cause seems right: This is a strong and familiar principle. When we hear the first side of a dispute or a debate, we often think the first one to plead his cause seems right, and we are quick to take their side against the other.

b. Until his neighbor comes and examines him: The judgment is very different when the other side is heard from his neighbor. The second voice may confront the first one to plead his cause and give both sides of the story.

i. “Any man may, in the first instance, make out a fair tale, because he has the choice of circumstances and arguments. But when the neighbour cometh and searcheth him, he examines all, dissects all, swears and cross-questions every witness, and brings out truth and fact.” (Clarke)

ii. “Thus the proverb teaches the equality of disputants and instructs the disciple not only to hear both sides of an argument but to demand direct cross-examination before rendering a decision (cf. Deuteronomy 19:16-18).” (Waltke)

iii. With this principle in mind, it is important that we argue for and defend Biblical truth in a way that can stand before the examination of others. Giving arguments that sound convincing but can be easily exposed or answered by an adversary do no good in defending and advancing God’s kingdom.

Proverbs 18:18

Casting lots causes contentions to cease,
And keeps the mighty apart.

a. Casting lots causes contentions to cease: When there is an argument or dispute, appealing to an outside authority to solve the matter can make contentions to cease. In this case, the outside authority is the casting of lots, but the principle can be applied to other agreed-upon authorities.

i. “Verse 18 speaks of a practice that was widely practiced and highly regarded in ancient Israel, the casting of lots to settle disputed matters. The intent is to give the controversy over to God.” (Garrett)

ii. “Today God’s word and spiritual leaders figure prominently in divine arbitration (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).” (Ross)

b. And keeps the mighty apart: When an outside authority settles the contention, it can keep mighty warriors from fighting and killing each other.

Proverbs 18:19

A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.

a. A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city: There is a price to pay in offending a brother. To win him back to friendship and cooperation is difficult, more than we often think. Therefore, we avoid offending our brother, doing so only if necessary and doing all we can to be blameless so that whatever offense is taken is because of him and not us.

i. “If we take the words according to the common version, we see them express what, alas! we know to be too generally true: that when brothers fall out, it is with extreme difficulty that they can be reconciled. And fraternal enmities are generally strong and inveterate.” (Clarke)

ii. “It is as if the closer the relationship, the wider the breach. The thread, once snapped, is not easily joined.” (Bridges)

b. Contentions are like the bars of a castle: The conflict and contentions that come from a brother offended can be as difficult to break as the bars of a castle. They also may imprison those caught in the contentions.

i. “The proverb so understood is a forceful warning of the strength of the invisible walls of estrangement, so easy to erect, so hard to demolish.” (Kidner)

ii. “Chrysostom gives this rule: ‘Have but one enemy, the devil. With him never be reconciled; with your brother never fall out.’” (Bridges)

Proverbs 18:20

A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.

a. A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth: For some, it is possible for them to make their living by what they say. They satisfy their stomach and perhaps that of their family from the fruit of the mouth.

b. From the produce of his lips he shall be filled: What he says shall fill his stomach and fulfill his financial obligations.

i. At the same time, this proverb “forces the thought that whatever a person dishes out, whether beneficial or harmful, he himself will feed on it to full measure through what his audience in return dishes out to him.” (Waltke)

Proverbs 18:21

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

a. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: The previous proverb said how what a man speaks could provide for his stomach. Here the idea is extended to remind us that the tongue not only has the power of provision but also of death and life.

i. “The Midrash mentions this point, showing one way it can cause death: ‘The evil tongue slays three, the slanderer, the slandered, and the listener’ (Midrash Tehillim 52:2).” (Ross)

ii. “Solomon doth vary his words: he speaketh sometimes of the ‘mouth,’ sometimes of the ‘lips,’ sometimes of the ‘tongue,’ as Proverbs 18:21, to show that all the instruments or means of speech shall have, as it were, their proper and just reward.” (Trapp)

b. Those who love it will eat its fruit: Those who are wise enough to love and appreciate the power of what a man says will be blessed and will eat the pleasant fruit of wise and effective speech.

Proverbs 18:22

He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

a. He who finds a wife finds a good thing: God brought together the first husband and wife in Genesis 2:21-25. In this God gave marriage between a man and woman as a gift to humanity, both as a whole and a blessing on an individual level.

i. Some commentators believe that this proverb implies finds a good wife (such as John Trapp and Allen Ross); others insist it does not (such as Matthew Poole and Adam Clarke).

ii. “Although it does not say it, the verse clearly means a ‘good’ wife.” (Ross)

iii. “For a wife, though she be not the best of her kind, is to be esteemed a blessing, being useful both for society of life, Genesis 2:18, and for the mitigation of a man’s cares and troubles, and for the prevention of sins.” (Poole)

iv. “Marriage, with all its troubles and embarrassments, is a blessing from God; and there are few cases where a wife of any sort is not better than none…. As to good wives and bad wives, they are relatively so, in general; and most of them that have been bad afterwards, have been good at first; and we well know the best things may deteriorate, and the world generally allows that where there are matrimonial contentions, there are faults on both sides.” (Clarke)

b. And obtains favor from the Lord: In Genesis 2:18 God said that it was not good for man to be alone. His gift of Eve to Adam was a demonstration of God’s favor, and He still gives that gift of favor. In the modern western world, the cultural incentives for marriage seem to become weaker year by year, but God’s declaration of good and the giving of His favor doesn’t depend on cultural incentives.

i. “As with the first man, the Creator gives each fractured male with whom he is pleased one wife to complete the abundant life he intended.” (Waltke)

ii. “The wording, especially in the Hebrew, strikingly resembles that of Proverbs 8:35, and so suggests that after wisdom itself, the best of God’s blessings is a good wife.” (Kidner)

Proverbs 18:23

The poor man uses entreaties,
But the rich answers roughly.

a. The poor man uses entreaties: It is sadly true that often, when a person is poor in money or influence, all they can do is beg for favor and justice.

i. “Speaks supplications; comes in a submissive manner; uses a low language, as a broken man. How much more should we do so to God…creeping into his presence with utmost humility and reverence.” (Trapp)

b. The rich answers roughly: The rich man or woman can speak boldly — even rudely — because they have resources of money and influence. Solomon here described the world as it is, not as it should be. We sense in this proverb a quiet plea to make a better world than what is described in the proverb.

i. Answers roughly: “Speaketh proudly and scornfully, either to the poor, or to others that converse with him, being puffed up with a conceit of his riches, and of his self-sufficiency.” (Poole)

ii. “The well-bred man of the world, who is all courtesy and refinement in his own circle, is often insufferably rude to those who are under him.” (Bridges)

iii. “Was Jesus not as considerate to blind Bartimaeus as to the nobleman of Capernaum? All classes of people alike shared in his tenderest sympathy.” (Bridges)

Proverbs 18:24

A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

a. A man who has friends must himself be friendly: This is a basic but often ignored principle. If you want friends, you should be friendly to others.

b. There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother: Even when a man has friends, there is something that will disappoint in human friendship. The flesh and blood friends of this world are important and a blessing, but we need the friend who sticks closer than a brother — Jesus Christ Himself, who called us no longer servants but friends (John 15:14-15).

i. “The bond of real friendship is often closer than the natural tie. The friendship between David and Jonathan is such an example.” (Bridges)

ii. The transition between the plural (friends) and the singular (a friend) is significant. “It is better to have one good, faithful friend than numerous unreliable ones.” (Ross)

iii. We apply this to Jesus our Friend as a spiritual principle; it is likely that Solomon did not have the Messiah in mind. “In many cases the genuine friend has shown more attachment, and rendered greater benefits, than the natural brother. Some apply this to God; others to Christ; but the text has no such meaning.” (Clarke)

iv. “The friend whose loyalty transcends the solidarity of blood is realized in Jesus Christ (cf. John 15:12-15; Hebrews 2:11, 14-18).” (Waltke)

v. “Now I have a question to ask: that question I ask of every man and every woman in this place, and of every child too — Is Jesus Christ your friend? Have you a friend at court — at heaven’s court? Is the Judge of quick and dead your friend? Can you say that you love him, and has he ever revealed himself in the way of love to you? Dear hearer, do not answer that question for thy neighbor; answer it for thyself. Peer or peasant, rich or poor, learned or illiterate, this question is for each of you, therefore, ask it. Is Christ my friend?” (Spurgeon)

© 2020 The Enduring Word Bible Commentary by David Guzik — ewm@enduringword.com


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  7. Poole, Matthew "A Commentary on the Holy Bible" Volume 2 (Psalms-Malachi) (London: Banner of Truth Trust, 1968)
  8. Ross, Allen P. "Proverbs: The Expositor's Bible Commentary" Volume 5 (Psalms-Song of Songs) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1991)
  9. Spurgeon, Charles Haddon "The New Park Street Pulpit" Volumes 1-6 and "The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit" Volumes 7-63 (Pasadena, Texas: Pilgrim Publications, 1990)
  10. Trapp, John "A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments" Volume 3 (Proverbs to Daniel) (Eureka, California: Tanski Publications, 1997)
  11. Waltke, Bruce K. "The Book of Proverbs: Chapters 15-31" (The New International Commentary on the Old Testament) (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 2005)

Updated: August 2022

Study Guide for Psalm 1 ← Prior Book
Study Guide for Ecclesiastes 1 Next Book →
Study Guide for Proverbs 17 ← Prior Chapter
Study Guide for Proverbs 19 Next Chapter →
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Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

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Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.