EBC Abridged: “Beginning with ch. 10 there is a notable change in the form of the material. No longer do we find the forceful admonitions to seek wisdom, the lengthy poems, or the developed pictures and personifications. Instead we find what more closely corresponds to the title “Proverbs”—a collection of independent, miscellaneous aphorisms, dealing mostly with the consequences of right or wrong actions on various topics.”
JFB: “The evidences of art in the structure are very clear, and indicate, probably, a purpose of facilitating the labor of memorizing.”
Proverbs 10:1 ¶ The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
It is stated that these are the proverbs of Solomon. Proverbs are concise statements of truth. Considering the first nine chapters, it is not a surprise to note the first one listed. A wise son pleases his father; a foolish son brings grief and sorrow to his mother. I think you could reverse the use of father and mother and have the same truth. Solomon attributed wisdom to the teaching of both parents in the first section. It was probably stated this way to point out that a son’s actions bring either joy or sorrow to his parents.
Proverbs 10:2 ¶ Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
Proverbs 10:3 The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
Both these verses declare the truth that those that live righteously live within the protective confines established by the LORD that nourish and promote life. The wicked may accumulate ill-gotten treasures, but they will profit him nothing; the LORD will bring the wicked to ruin.
Guzik: “Significantly, the principle is directed to the soul. The soul can flourish even when the body is afflicted.”
Ironsides: “God has not abdicated His throne as the moral governor of the universe; therefore reaping follows sowing, as surely as night follows day.”
Proverbs 10:4 ¶ He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
Proverbs 10:5 ¶ He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
A slack hand is idle and slothful. Diligence is determined effort. One that is slack and slothful in his work can expect to become poor; however, one who works with determined effort can expect to prosper. This goes hand-in-hand with the next verse. The one that gathers the harvest to prepare for the future is wise and compares to the diligent person. The one that is idle during harvest brings shame upon himself.
Proverbs 10:6 ¶ Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
Proverbs 10:7 ¶ The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.
These verses contrast the just and the wicked. A just person brings blessing upon himself and is remembered with honor. The mouth of a wicked person is filled with lies and injustice, and memory of his name will stink.
Proverbs 10:8 ¶ The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
Proverbs 10:9 ¶ He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
The person who is wise will heed the commandments (of the LORD and of parents); he is a man of integrity and confidence. The fool rejects God’s commandments and is full of empty words; he lives a perverted or crooked life that will eventually bring him to ruin.
Clarke notes the Septuagint translation of the last part of verse 8: “but he that reproveth with freedom, maketh peace.”
Proverbs 10:10 ¶ He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.
I liked the CJB translation of this verse: “He who winks his eye [instead of rebuking] causes pain, yet a babbling fool will have trouble.”
I’ve often told my children and grandchildren that if I didn’t love them, I wouldn’t bother disciplining them. To wink at something is to choose to overlook a wrong rather than correct it. A prating fool is one who talks on and on with no purpose.
Proverbs 10:11 ¶ The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
My paraphrase: The words of one who is moral and lives by God’s law are a source of wisdom that contributes to well-being; however, the words of a wicked man are cruel and promote breaking God’s law.
Proverbs 10:12 ¶ Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
I often hear the last part of this verse quoted; in fact, the Apostle Peter quotes it in his first epistle.
1 Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”
To hate someone is to “desire that evil should befall the person” (Webster). Such an attitude toward others is intended to stir up trouble. Love, on the other hand, leads one to act with kindness toward others; it promotes peace and unity, not trouble.
Chuck Smith adds another perspective: “If you"re a hateful person, man, then people are looking, they’re scrutinizing you for faults. They can’t wait to find it. It satisfies them when they can find something wrong and to see the flaws. But if you’re a loving kind of a person, then they’re just going to overlook all kinds of mistakes.”
Proverbs 10:13 ¶ In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
Proverbs 10:14 ¶ Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
Again, the contrast between the wise man and the foolish man. The speech of a wise man shows discernment in the use of knowledge; they are ever seeking to learn more. The speech of a foolish man reveals his lack of wisdom and his need of severe correction; he is headed for destruction.
Clarke: “Think much, speak little, and always think before you speak. This will promote your own peace and that of your neighbor.”
Proverbs 10:15 ¶ The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
This is basically saying that wealth provides security and poverty leads to dismay or terror (from the Hebrew for “destruction”) about one’s future. Obviously, this truth applies to life in this world, but we know that worldly wealth isn’t as important as spiritual wealth. Even the poorest Christian can accumulate spiritual treasure for eternity.
Matthew 6:19–21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
So, how do you lay up treasures in heaven?
Colossians 3:23–24 “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
Proverbs 10:16 ¶ The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
Proverbs 10:17 ¶ He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
The work of a righteous man promotes well-being and brings reward; he obeys the law of the LORD. The ways of a foolish, wicked man lead to sin; he refuses to accept correction or listen to reasoning.
Ironside: “God’s children cannot afford to refuse reproof. The greatest kindness another saint can show me is to point out any portion of God’s truth that I am not following. Let me gladly receive correction to keep me from dishonoring the One who has redeemed me to Himself.”
Proverbs 10:18 ¶ He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
A person that hides his hatred is a liar; he may speak kind words, but he is a hypocrite; he obviously has evil ulterior motives.
To slander is to spread “malicious tales or suggestions to the injury of another” (Webster).” Such a person is a fool; he lacks wisdom and disregards God’s law.
Guzik: “This explains one way that someone filled with hatred lies. They do it by spreading slander, false and unsupported accusations against others. That person is a fool, because God knows all and will judge righteously.”
Proverbs 10:19 ¶ In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
My paraphrase: The more you talk, the more opportunity for you to sin. The wise person will choose his words carefully. In all transparency, I know this from experience.
Proverbs 10:20 ¶ The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
The words of one who is just and righteous, who lives according to God’s law, are to be treasured like pure silver; they bring comfort and encouragement to many. The words of a man that reveal a wicked heart are worthless; his lack of wisdom will lead to his destruction.
Jesus had something to say about this as recorded in Matthew.
Matthew 12:34–35 “…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
Proverbs 10:22 ¶ The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
It is the blessing of the LORD that makes one wealthy without painful toil or sorrow. This seems to indicate that to get wealth without the LORD’s blessing is going to involve pain, sorrow and unhappiness. It is better to be content with what the LORD provides.
Hebrews 13:5 “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”
Philippians 4:11–12 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”
Guzik: “This is greater blessing upon smaller blessing. To receive riches from God is to be blessed; to have riches without the sorrow that often come with them is an even greater blessing. There are many rich people who are miserable and have great sorrow along with their riches.”
Proverbs 10:23 ¶ It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
The Hebrew for “mischief” references doing what is criminal or wicked; it always causes trouble. The foolish person thinks it is fun to do mischief to others. A man of wisdom, however, enjoys doing things requiring discernment, things in accordance with God’s law.
It reminded me of a bible verse I have emphasized with my grandchildren in particular.
Proverbs 20:11 “Even a child is known by his doings….”
It should be obvious to those around you that you are a Christian by the the choices you make that reveal your desire to be obedient to the word of God.
Proverbs 10:24 ¶ The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.
Proverbs 10:25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
This is a warning that the wicked person will experience the repercussions of his evil actions; it will result in his sudden destruction. The righteous person that seeks to obey God’s law has established an eternal, permanent foundation that will provide for his desires to be fulfilled. This is true because his desires will align with God’s desire for him.
Proverbs 10:26 ¶ As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
Vinegar tastes terrible, and its acid is harmful to your teeth. Smoke affects your vision and makes your eyes burn. A sluggard is a lazy person. None are desirables. Many translations make reference to employers, and that is certainly a valid application; no employer wants a lazy person on his staff.
Proverbs 10:27 ¶ The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
A person who fears the LORD will try to live in obedience to His word. Such a lifestyle is conducive to long life. The wicked person ignores God’s laws; his lifestyle puts his life in jeopardy.
Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
“Hope” in reference to one who is righteous and honors the LORD refers to a confident expectation. That person’s hope is one of gladness; he knows there is a better life in his future in the presence of the LORD. Job is a prime example.
Job 19:25–27 “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.”
“Expectation” (a different Hebrew word from “hope”) of one who is wicked and rejects the laws of God refers to something he longs for, but he has no confident expectation that he will get it. His expectation will perish with his death.
Proverbs 10:29 ¶ The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
Proverbs 10:30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
The upright person who lives in obedience to the LORD will find strength in His word. The one who is wicked and rejects God’s law does so to his own destruction. The righteous person stands strong in his convictions and his faith in the LORD. The wicked will not be allowed to continue on this earth.
Solomon was probably thinking of the words of Moses.
Deuteronomy 5:32–33 “Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.”
This brought to my mind how men and women of faith will get to inhabit the new earth for eternity while the wicked suffer eternal condemnation.
2 Peter 3:13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
Revelation 21:1 “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea….He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Proverbs 10:31 ¶ The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
A just person that strives to obey the LORD speaks with wisdom. A man who is disobedient to the LORD speaks words that destroy and cause harm.
The Hebrew for “acceptable” refers to delight, favor and pleasure. The righteous man speaks with wisdom and pleases God. The speech of a wicked man perverts the word of God; he changes it to suit his own purposes.
Chuck Smith: “This is classic Hebrew poetry. For they found beauty in the ideas and the thoughts that were expressed rather than in the rhyme or the rhythm….with the Hebrew poetry, there is, there isn’t the rhythm, there isn’t the rhyme, there’s just the thoughts. And you get the beauty in the contrasting thoughts, or in the compounding of a thought….”