Proverbs 28:1 ¶ The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Again, the context of the book assumes a godly culture. The wicked person knows that his evil deeds deserve judgment, and he is always looking over his shoulder to avoid being caught. The righteous man, however, has no reason to feel threatened; he boldly goes about his business knowing he has no reason to fear.
Guzik quoting Bridges: “Adam knew no fear until he become a guilty creature. But if guilt brings fear, the removal of guilt gives confidence.”
Ironside: “When naturally weak and timid men and women were martyred for Christ’s sake they were bolder than a lion facing its foes.”
Proverbs 28:2 ¶ For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
I liked the NLT: “When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But with wise and knowledgeable leaders, there is stability.”
The people of our country (America) should take this truth to heart. I think there have always been men of both good and bad character in government leadership in our country. The difference today being that those of bad character are stepping forth more boldly in declaration of their wicked agendas and doing all they can to destroy the moral fiber of our society. The inevitable conclusion will be the destruction of America. Only if the American people wake up and recognize that truth and actively work to turn our nation back to the principles upon which it was founded that were rooted in the word of God do we have a hope for the future. Our only hope is in strong, godly leadership. Sadly, I believe we have passed the point of turning back. My hope is in the return of Jesus to take His children home and eventually usher in His earthly kingdom.
Proverbs 28:3 ¶ A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
It’s bad enough when the rich and powerful oppress the poor. However, it seems even worse when the poor mistreat others who are poor. If the oppressed can’t even count on the support of one another, they are left hopeless.
How comforting that the “poor” child of God in this world can have joy and hope in spite of their condition because they know their heavenly Father will provide their needs—if not here, then by taking them home to be with Him.
I liked Clarke’s observation: “Our Lord illustrates this proverb most beautifully, by the parable of the two debtors, Matthew 18:23. One owed ten thousand talents, was insolvent, begged for time, was forgiven. A fellow servant owed this one a hundred pence: he was insolvent; but prayed his fellow servant to give him a little time, and he would pay it all. He would not, took him by the throat, and cast him into prison till he should pay that debt. Here the poor oppressed the poor; and what was the consequence? The oppressing poor was delivered to the tormentors; and the forgiven debt charged to his amount, because he showed no mercy. The comparatively poor are often shockingly uncharitable and unfeeling towards the real poor.”
Proverbs 28:4 ¶ They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
The Hebrew for the word “law” is a reference to God’s law. Those who reject God’s law praise the wicked, while those that choose to obey the law oppose the wicked.
Again, this is blatantly on display in America today. Those that reject God and His word are blatantly passing laws and instituting practices that are in direct disobedience to God’s word. As they do so, the masses cheer them on. They are so blinded by the god of this world that they cannot reason properly.
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Those of us that seek to honor the LORD and obey the laws and principles set forth in His word are fighting back—but I think complacency and apathy have been allowed to reign for far too long. It will take a great revival in our country to change course to honor the biblical foundation upon which this country was established.
Scripture is very clear that when it comes to a choice—Acts 5:29 “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Proverbs 28:5 ¶ Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
The Hebrew for “judgment” references what is right according to divine law, God’s law. To understand is to have the ability to discern, to distinguish between right and wrong, good and evil. Evil men do not have that ability because they are blinded by the god of this world and their own pride and lust. Only those that seek to honor the LORD and obey His law have the moral basis to make just decisions.
1 John 2:20 & 27 “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things….but the anointing which ye have received of Jim abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.”
EBC Abridged: “Only people attuned to the divine will can fully perceive what justice is. Without that standard, legal activity can easily become self-serving.”
Proverbs 28:6 ¶ Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
This proverb is obviously a statement from the perspective of a person that honors God—and more importantly, from God’s perspective. A person that is poor and lives his life seeking to honor and obey the LORD is a better person that is more to be honored than a rich person that lives in rejection of God and His word.
Ironside: “Poverty is indeed a difficult trial and often involves much sorrow; but it is not to be compared to the unhappiness of the godless wealthy man who sows the wind to reap the whirlwind.”
Luke 16:19–26 “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
Proverbs 28:7 ¶ Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
Again, the Hebrew for “law” references God’s law. Solomon quotes this from the perspective of a father that honors God and His law. A son that seeks to honor God and His law is wise and brings honor to his father. A son that chooses to reject God’s law and fellowship with those of loose or no morals brings shame upon his father.
Ironside: “How rich the grace that led the father in Luke 15 (re the prodigal son) to go out to meet such a son “while he was yet a great way off.” It is a precious picture of the joy that fills the heavenly Father’s heart when one poor wanderer returns, whose wretched, sinful life has long shamed the God who created him.”
Proverbs 28:8 ¶ He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
This is an interesting proverb that is only applicable in a society that honors the LORD. In such a society, the person that gets rich dishonestly and taking advantage of others is likely to end up losing all when justice catches up to him. His wealth would then be used to provide for the poor.
As noted in previous chapters, there are times when it seems that those that are dishonest and in rebellion against the LORD are allowed to prosper to the consternation of the righteous person.
The important truth to remember is that God, the Righteous Judge, will make all things right in the end. Solomon affirmed this truth in Ecclesiastes.
Ecclesiastes 3:16–17 “And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there. I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.”
Proverbs 28:9 ¶ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
Once again, the reference is to God’s law. The person that refuses to abide by God’s law cannot expect the LORD to answer his prayers; they are disgusting to God’s ears. Scripture is clear in stating that sin directly affects the effectiveness of one’s prayers.
Psalm 66:18 “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:”
Proverbs 1:28–29 “Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD….”
Isaiah 59:1–2 “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
James 4:3 “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”
Proverbs 28:10 ¶ Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
This proverb begins with an important truth—the righteous person can be led astray into sin. The lust of the flesh and pride fuel powerful temptations, and the addition of peer pressure multiplies the lure of sin exponentially. The righteous person, the one who has chosen to placed his/her faith in the LORD with the desire to honor and obey Him has to constantly be on the alert and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit to avoid straying from the path of right living before the LORD. The person that is responsible for leading the righteous person into a path of sin and wickedness will no doubt fall victim to the consequences of his action. The righteous person that is sincere before the LORD will repent and turn back to the path of obedience; he will not lose his eternal inheritance.
Proverbs 28:11 ¶ The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
The NIV is clearer: “A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.”
Once again we learn that one’s place in society has no bearing on his standing before God. Many that are poor have the wisdom and discernment that are characteristic of those that fear God and seek to obey His word, while many that are rich are full of pride and rebel against God’s authority and the truth of His word. I am reminded of the words of Isaiah.
Isaiah 5:21 & 24 “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!…Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.”
In verse 24, the words go up also carry the meaning “cause to burn” in the Hebrew. The word rottenness includes the meanings “melting, stink.” The comparisons paint a picture to me of burning in hell.
Ironside: “Pride and conceit often accompany great wealth. Riches give the wealthy a certain sense of security and independence of God, an environment that is ruinous to the prideful soul. But understanding is of far more value than great possessions. The poor one who has discernment is superior to his well-to-do neighbor. It is not the great, the rich, the mighty, or the noble that God has chosen, but 'the poor of this world rich in faith.’”
James 2:5 “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”
Proverbs 28:12 ¶ When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
Why do people rejoice when the righteous are triumphant? Because they know that he will rule or lead with wisdom, integrity and justice. When the wicked triumph, it is always a threat to the righteous because he sees them as his enemy and to other wicked men because he sees them as threats. He will always rule or lead so as to serve his selfish agenda with no regard for wisdom, integrity or justice.
Trapp: “Thus the man Moses fled and hid himself from Pharaoh, David from Saul, Eliah from Ahab, Obadiah’s clients from Jezebel, Jeremiah from Jehoiakim, Joseph and the child Jesus from Herod; those worthies, of whom the world was not worthy, [Hebrews 11:38] from Antiochus, that little Antichrist, and other persecutors….”
Proverbs 28:13 ¶ He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
When we refuse to confess our sins before the LORD, it only serves to continue to feed your guilt and eat at your soul. When we humbly confess our sins before the LORD in faith and repentance, we will experience His mercy and the blessed benefits of restored fellowship.
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Trapp worded it a bit more vividly: “Confession is the soul’s vomit, and those that use it shall not only have ease of conscience, but God’s best comforts and cordials to restore them again.”
Ironside: “Confession is the divinely-appointed method of securing a clear conscience, not confession to some human mediator, but to God Himself….True confession involves genuine repentance and self-judgment….The repentant man no longer hugs the chains that bind him but longs for full deliverance from them. He comes to God with real concern about his unholy ways, thoughts, and words, earnestly seeking grace to cease from them and to walk uprightly before the Lord. But he cannot do this in himself. Only when he rests in simple faith in the finished work of Christ and yields himself to God as one now alive from the dead is he able to rise above the sins that have blighted his life and almost damned his soul. “
Proverbs 28:14 ¶ Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
I like the NIV: “Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”
I couldn’t help but think of the words of Solomon’s father.
Psalm 1:1–2 & 6 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night….For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
The person that has hardened his heart and rejected the LORD has condemned himself; he has no hope for the future unless in some way he is brought to his knees in faith and repentance before the LORD.
John 3:17–18 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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.”
Proverbs 28:15 ¶ As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
A roaring lion or a ranging bear that is hungry is dangerous as it seeks its prey. Solomon paints this word picture and compares it to a wicked ruler that rules over poor people. His sole focus is to fulfill his own desires and purposes at the expense of his subjects.
Proverbs 28:16 ¶ The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
To “want understanding” is to lack wisdom. The ruler that lacks wisdom is one that rejects the source of wisdom—God and His word. Such a ruler is always focused on selfish agendas and will treat his subjects cruelly to get what he wants. In contrast, the ruler that is not covetous and does not treat his subjects cruelly is more likely to have a longer reign. Implication being that the tyrant is ever in danger of being overthrown or killed.
Proverbs 28:17 ¶ A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
Simply put—A murderer will be forever on the run until he dies, and no one should reach out to help him.
That is a true statement in most instances; the murderer will seek to flee to a place that he thinks offers safety. There are some murders, however, that seem to have no conscience or fear of being caught, e.g. serial killers that hide in plain sight. I tend to think such people are demon-possessed. And then there are others, such as Muslim fathers and brothers in other countries, that will kill their own daughters or sisters with impunity and no guilty conscience in the name of their religion. The comforting truth is that no one escapes the notice of the Righteous Judge to whom vengeance belongs.
Romans 12:19 “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
Proverbs 28:18 ¶ Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
The person that walks uprightly in accordance with the word of God will experience salvation. The person that is “perverse,” that is wicked and turns away from what is right (Webster), will perish altogether (from the Hebrew for “fall at once”).
Proverbs 28:19 ¶ He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
Proverbs 28:20 ¶ A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
This is yet another set of proverbs extolling the man that is faithful and committed to his choice to work hard to plant and bring in his harvest; he will have plenty to eat. The man that always wants to take short cuts and fellowship with worthless men will find himself poor and in trouble.
Proverbs 28:21 ¶ To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
In this verse Solomon warns against being prejudiced for any reason. All people—no matter their economic status, their ethnicity, their gender, their political leanings, etc.— are created in the image of God and should be valued accordingly. This truth is affirmed in many scriptures.
Leviticus 19:15 “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.”
Deuteronomy 16:19 “Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.”
2 Chronicles 19:7 “Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”
Romans 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.”
James 2:9 “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin….”
Sad to note, however, some people can be bribed with as little as a piece of bread.
Proverbs 28:22 ¶ He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
This is basically a warning against greed that leads one to embrace “get rich quick” schemes. Such schemes usually require that you squander what little wealth you possess for the possibility of converting it into much more.
Our mindset should be to work hard in this life to provide for what we need and in the process to accrue heavenly rewards that will last for eternity. Any wealth that we accumulate in this lifetime cannot be taken with you.
Matthew 6:19–20 “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:”
Ecclesiastes 5:15 “As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.”
Proverbs 28:23 ¶ He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
My paraphrase: Rebuke or constructive criticism will end up being appreciated far more than insincere flattery.
Proverbs 25:12 “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”
Ironside: “No kindness is done for a person when his faults are glossed over, and he is made to feel comfortable in his sin. He who goes to a wrongdoer, meekly and in the fear of the Lord, desiring him to consider his unholy ways, may arouse anger and indignation at first; but time and conscience are on his side. The end result will be that he will be appreciated more than the flatterer.”
Proverbs 28:24 ¶ Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
There are sadly some people who think it not wrong to rob from their parents; they consider it part of their legal inheritance. Solomon tells us that such a person is just as guilty of sin as a blood-thirsty person (from the Hebrew root for “destroyer”).
Jesus referenced this principle when rebuking the Pharisees for this very sin. The robbery in this instance was to deprive the parents of financial help by declaring one’s money “Corban,” or dedicated to God.
Mark 7:9–13 “And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
Proverbs 28:25 ¶ He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
A person with a proud of heart often provokes discord in their desire to get attention; their actions are motivated by selfishness. A person that puts his trust in the LORD will be satisfied and have no cause to provoke discord; he is content and accepts who he is before the LORD.
1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
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.”
1 Timothy 6:7–8 “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”
Proverbs 28:26 ¶ He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Simply put—Only a foolish person considers himself wiser than God. Scripture is clear in telling us that the heart is deceitful and cannot be trusted.
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
Guzik: “There is a strong urge – promoted to us by the world, the flesh, and the devil – to trust our own heart and to “follow our heart” instead of humbly receiving our values, morals, and wisdom from God’s word. This trusting in our own heart leads one to be a fool. For answers, values, and guidance we should not look within, but look to the Lord.”
Proverbs 28:27 ¶ He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
Simply put—Generous giving to those in need will be rewarded generously. This is a principle from the law of Moses.
Deuteronomy 15:9–10 “Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.”
Jesus taught this same truth.
Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
The person that ignores the needs of others will incur cursing because of his selfish stinginess.
Maybe it was this proverb that inspired Dickens to write, “A Christmas Carol.”
Proverbs 28:28 ¶ When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
This proverb goes hand-in-hand with verse 12. When wicked men rise to power, most men want to hide and avoid the trouble they inflict as much as possible. When they die, the opportunity arises for the righteous to prosper without being threatened.