Proverbs 27:1 ¶ Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Solomon recognized that we have no control over life and death. This is an important truth that we tend to ignore as we establish goals and make plans for the future. James words it a bit differently. He also gave wise counsel about how to plan for the future.
James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”
James 4:13–15 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
I liked Ironside’s application: “The present is given man in order that he may plan wisely for the future. To defer until tomorrow what should be attended to today is a sad mistake that has destroyed untold thousands. The old Spanish proverb says, ‘The road of by and by leads to the house of never,’ while another trite saying reads, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ The English are fond of quoting, ‘Procrastination is the thief of time;’ and it is likely that every nation has some maxim intended to remind one of the warning of our verse. Yet, how prone we all are to leave for tomorrow matters that should be settled at once!”
Guzik quoting Spurgeon: “To know the good might lead us to presumption, to know the evil might tempt us to despair. Happy for us is it that our eyes cannot penetrate the thick veil which God hangs between us and tomorrow, that we cannot see beyond the spot where we now are, and that, in a certain sense, we are utterly ignorant as to the details of the future. We may, indeed, be thankful for our ignorance.”
Proverbs 27:2 ¶ Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
In this verse, Solomon is warning us against becoming prideful. The only praise we should be seeking is from the LORD as we strive to honor Him.
Jeremiah 9:23–24 “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.”
Guzik quoting Waltke: “A German proverb says: ‘Eigen-Lob stinkt, Freundes Lob hinkt, Fremdes Lob klingt’—’self-praise stinks, friend’s praise limps, stranger’s praise rings.’”
Proverbs 27:3 ¶ A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
In these verses, Solomon acknowledges the powerful effect of one who is seeking to hurt you in anger or out of jealousy. Wrath and anger are powerful emotions, but jealousy is the more dangerous because it is more likely to lead to rash, irrational decisions. People who act in wrath or anger are more calculating and acting in self-control.
EBC Abridged: Jealousy “is a raging emotion that defies reason at times and takes the form of destructive violence, like a consuming fire.”
Proverbs 27:5 ¶ Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
One who loves you enough to offer you words of rebuke or correction loves you better than one who claims to love you but is not willing to confront you with your sin. Such a person cares about your well being and is willing to risk your displeasure to help you. This is the characteristic of a faithful friend, a friend in whom you can safely trust. In contrast, you should be wary of the kisses or flattery of a deceiver. Judas is the prime example.
Ironside: “Reproof in grace is better far than love kept concealed, which forbids my drawing his attention to his faults. An enemy may lavish kisses and tokens of affection at such a time, overlooking the evil and bolstering the wrongdoer up in his unrighteous cause, but they are deceitful evidences of love….”
Proverbs 27:7 ¶ The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
A person who is not hungry will trample on a honeycomb. A hungry person, however, appreciates even the bitterest food. Simply put—The more we need something, the more we value it.
Guzik quoting Spurgeon: “Sweet is liberty to the captive, and when the Son makes you free, you are free indeed; sweet is pardon to the condemned, and proclaims full forgiveness and salvation; sweet is health to the sick, and Jesus is the great physician of souls; sweet is light to those who are in darkness and to eyes that are dim, and Jesus is both sun to our darkness and eyes to our blindness.”
Proverbs 27:8 ¶ As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
Solomon compares a person that wanders away from home to a bird that wanders away from its nest. A home is usually representative of safety and security. For whatever reason, that person has chosen an insecure and possibly unsafe path.
Proverbs 27:9 ¶ Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
According to Webster, a friend is one that esteems and respects you; one who wants the best for you.
My paraphrase: The advice of a true friend is as pleasing as the fragrance of a good lotion or perfume.
Proverbs 27:10 Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.
A true friend is to be valued, and Solomon warns us not to forsake a friend. In fact, in time of trouble, a nearby friend is a more helpful than a relative that is far away. It is interesting to note that he noted that your parent’s friends are to be valued as much as your own friends. True friends also care about the loved ones of their friends.
Maintaining close friends that are local is much more difficult today. Everyone is on the move it seems like. This emphasizes the importance of the church community as a support structure in time of trouble.
Ironside: “Time and distance are powerful forces for the weakening of family ties, as many have learned to their sorrow.”
Proverbs 27:11 ¶ My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.
A child that chooses to live by God’s wisdom is a source of joy to his parents. It can shut the mouths of your critics to be able to point to the fact that you have raised a wise son or daughter. Despite my many failings, I am privileged to be able to do just that.
EBC Abridged: “The expression ‘treats me with contempt’ refers to the taunting or criticizing of the instructor as a poor teacher. Teachers are usually held responsible for the faults and weaknesses of their pupils; but any teacher criticized that way takes pleasure in pointing to those who have learned as proof that he has not labored in vain.”
Ironside made a powerful application: “The admonition is important for us as ‘sons of God, through faith in Christ Jesus.’ By walking worthy of Him who hath called us, we will glorify our Savior-God and Father before men. How often do wicked men reproach Him for the follies of His children!”
Proverbs 27:12 ¶ A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
This verse mirrors 22:3. A person of wise forethought is able to recognize danger and avoid it. The foolish person plunges ahead into trouble because they have no foresight or awareness of the dangers ahead of them; they take no time to plan or consider their options.
God’s word is full of counsel of this very kind, the greatest being that of one’s eternal future. He warns us over and over again of the consequences of rejecting the LORD Jesus as our Savior.
John 3:16–18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life….He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Revelation 21:6–8 “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 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 27:13 ¶ Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
This verses basically mirrors 20:16. The NLT gives the plain meaning in today’s language: “Be sure to get collateral from anyone who guarantees the debt of a stranger. Get a deposit if someone guarantees the debt of an adulterous woman.”
The implication seems to be that a person who would co-sign for people he doesn’t even know is foolish, indicating that he is not to be entirely trusted himself.
Proverbs 27:14 ¶ He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.
In other words, don’t wake up your friend too early in the morning. He won’t appreciate you or your blessing if he needed his sleep.
Clarke: “He who makes loud and public protestations of acknowledgments to his friend for favors received, subjects his sincerity to suspicion; and remember the Italian proverb elsewhere quoted: - "He who praises you more than he was wont to do, has either deceived you, or is about to do it." Extravagant public professions are little to be regarded.
Proverbs 27:15 ¶ A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
Proverbs 27:16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.
Again, I like the NLT: "A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day. Trying to stop her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or hold something with greased hands.”
A nagging wife that can’t be controlled is great source of irritation to her husband and is endangering her marriage. And sadly, such a wife can’t be hidden, so she also brings shame upon her husband.
Proverbs 27:17 ¶ Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
My paraphrase: True friends will inspire one another to be better in character.
Guzik: “A man can be used to sharpen (improve and develop) his friend, but it may happen through a bit of friction and sparks.”
Proverbs 27:18 ¶ Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.
My paraphrase: Just as the person that takes care of the tree benefits from the fruit it produces, so the servant that takes care of his master will enjoy the reward for his good service.
The application to one who chooses to be a servant of Jesus Christ in this life is obvious.
Luke 6:22–23 “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven….”
Proverbs 27:19 ¶ As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.
Simply put, As water reflects your face, a man’s heart reflects the character of the man.
Guzik: “Who we are will eventually be evident to others as our words and actions reveal our heart.
Proverbs 27:20 ¶ Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
The Hebrew for “full” and “satisfied” is the same word. Generally speaking, a person is never satisfied; he is always wanting more. This is especially true in America today. Our culture is one that promotes that mindset in all types of media that bombard us each day.
Important to note: Hell and destruction refer to the eternal destination for those that reject the LORD—and there is always room for more. Sad to say, the scripture indicates that there will be far more that choose that direction than those that choose salvation.
Matthew 7:13–14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Proverbs 27:21 ¶ As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.
I liked the CJB: “The crucible [tests] silver, and the furnace [tests] gold, but a person [is tested] by [his reaction to] praise.”
The heat of the crucible or furnace causes the waste matter to rise so it can be removed. If a person reacts to praise with sincerely humility, it is a sign of good character. If he reacts with improper pride, his character needs further refining.
We should all strive to live so as to have the confidence of Job.
Job 23:10 “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Proverbs 27:22 ¶ Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
In other words, you can’t beat the foolishness out of a person. He must desire to change and be willing to learn. I am reminded of the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
Throughout Proverbs the fool is one who is perverse and has turned away from what is right before the LORD. The only hope for such a person is to repent of his sin and turn to the LORD in faith and obedience.
Proverbs 27:23 ¶ Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
Proverbs 27:24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
Proverbs 27:25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
Proverbs 27:26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.
Proverbs 27:27 And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
Solomon is basically saying that it is important to be responsible with what contributes to your well-being. Wealth and position are not guaranteed to endure. For example (an obvious choice in Solomon’s time), as long as you take care of your flocks and ensure they are properly fed, they will provide wool and milk to help clothe and feed your family.
Today, this would apply to being a responsible employer and employee. A responsible employer will be able to keep a loyal workforce to continue to grow his business and provide for his own welfare and the welfare of his employees. A responsible employee will prove valuable to his employer and ensure provision for his family.