Proverbs 29:1 ¶ He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
A person that has to be continually corrected and rebuked will become stiff-necked and refuse to listen. Being stiff-necked is the same as being hard-hearted; they are terms describing attitudes of prideful rebellion and a seared conscience. They are the type of people about which Paul warned Timothy.
1 Timothy 4:1–2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron….”
Ironside: “God is gracious and long-suffering, slow to anger, and does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men. Yet even His patience with the unrepentant will one day come to an end. He will plead, and strive, and warn until it is clear that the heart is fully set on having its own way. Then He leaves the hardened soul to its doom, giving it up to sudden destruction.”
Proverbs 29:2 ¶ When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
This is another of many repeated words of wisdom from Solomon. Righteous rulers cause the people to rejoice; wicked rulers cause the people to mourn. Why? Righteous rulers care about the people they govern; wicked rulers are selfish, caring nothing for the people except for how they can be used to their benefit.
Henry: “If the righteous be in authority, sin will be punished and restrained, religion and virtue will be supported and kept in reputation; but, if the wicked get power in their hands, wickedness will abound, religion and religious people will be persecuted, and so the ends of government will be perverted.”
Proverbs 29:3 ¶ Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
I look at this as another proverb of contrast. A wise son brings joy to his father; he knows that inheritance is in good hands. A foolish son that consorts with prostitutes grieves his father; he will waste his inheritance.
Again, this goes right along with Paul’s words of warning to Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Proverbs 29:4 ¶ The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
A kingdom is made stable when ruled in justice before the LORD. A kingdom is ruined, however, when the ruler is greedy and seeks bribes or imposes exorbitant taxes for his own profit and purposes.
Proverbs 29:5 ¶ A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.
This verse can be read two ways. A man that flatters someone is setting a trap for the person he flatters or for himself. The person he flatters is susceptible to falling into the trap of his deceit. The flatterer is susceptible to falling into a trap of overconfidence that will lead to his downfall.
Proverbs 29:6 ¶ In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.
I liked the NIV translation: “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.”
In context, this would seem to strengthen the thought in the previous verse that the flatterer is falling into a trap that will lead to his downfall. It is a fact that sin is a trap of evil consequences for the sinner. The righteous man has nothing to fear; he can rejoice and sing over his blessings from the LORD.
Proverbs 29:7 ¶ The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
The righteous person that wants to honor the LORD will care about and want to help those that are less fortunate. The wicked, however, do not care about the needs for others; they are selfish.
Ironside: The righteous “recognizing his own indebtedness to God’s sustaining and preserving grace, is quick to show compassion to the indigent who cry for help. In his benevolence he becomes an imitator of Christ who always “went about doing good”
Proverbs 29:8 ¶ Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.
People that scorn and mock others for whatever reason can “fan a fire” (from the Hebrew) and cause turmoil in a city. Wise men always seek to defuse anger and promote peace and calm.
There are many examples of this truth in the news today. It seems that there are so many in the media and in government today that are scorners that are always provoking unrest and discord among the people. In comparison, there are relatively few that seek to look at matters using wisdom and urging people to use reason and respect for others in making decisions that affect us all. Scorners are only focused on attaining their selfish goals without regard to anyone else; wise men are concerned about the welfare of others as well as themselves.
Proverbs 29:9 ¶ If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
This proverb really connects to the truth of the previous one. The wise person that governs with justice will never be able to please the foolish man. The wise person is intent on justice, while the foolish person is intent on his wickedness.
Again, this is in evidence in the news in America today (2019). Even when one of their own has issued a judgment based on a finding of a committee composed almost entirely of their own ideology declaring our President innocent of collusion, those that are foolish rage on declaring his guilt and determined to get their way in spite of the findings.
Proverbs 29:10 ¶ The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
Over and over again, Solomon has pointed out how the wicked (from root for “bloodthirsty”), those that reject the LORD, hate the upright, those that fear and honor the LORD.
The word “seek” states, “to search out (by any method, specifically in worship or prayer).” This is a beautiful truth. The truly just person grieves over the soul of the wicked person and prays for him to turn to God in faith and repentance.
Ironside: “This concern for the blessing of others is one of the first and strongest evidences that a man has been born of God.”
Again, there is a connection to Paul’s words to Timothy.
2 Timothy 2:24–26 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
Proverbs 29:11 ¶ A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
The Hebrew seems to indicate that the fool is speaking rashly in anger; he is venting for everyone to hear. The wise man will take the time to consider his words before speaking his mind in any given situation.
I am reminded of the words of James.
James 1:19–20 “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Proverbs 29:12 ¶ If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
If a ruler honors liars, it stands to reason that he will surround himself with servants and advisers that are wicked.
EBC Abridged: “Once a ruler begins to listen to lies, his court will be corrupted. The point is that courtiers adjust themselves to the prince—when they see that deception and court flattery win the day, they learn how the game is played.”
Proverbs 29:13 ¶ The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.
All men, including the poor and the deceiver, have one thing in common—the LORD is the source of light to their eyes. The most obvious application is to the light of vision that allows them to see the world around them, referencing the LORD as their Creator. Spiritually speaking, He is the source of the light of understanding that leads to salvation and eternal life.
John 8:12 “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Proverbs 29:14 ¶ The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.
I am reminded again that Solomon is speaking wisdom that assumes a kingdom in which the LORD is honored. A king that is known for giving righteous judgment and not showing prejudice is likely to have a long reign; he strengthens the throne for his son to succeed him. His subjects will respect and honor him.
Proverbs 29:15 ¶ The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Children are born with a sin nature. Without the benefit of godly reproof and correction, he will bring shame to his parents. I believe the mother is singled out because she is the one who is more involved in the instruction of a child, especially in his younger years, since the father is usually occupied more outside the home in providing for his family.
Proverbs 29:16 ¶ When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
Solomon warns that the more the wicked increase in numbers and authority (from the Hebrew), the more sin is nourished and increased (from the Hebrew). The righteous can be assured that the downfall of the wicked is certain.
Sadly, this truth is on display in America and throughout the world today. Immorality and rejection of the word of God are flourishing and more and more people are accepting immorality as the norm. They either do not understand or do not believe that the LORD, the Righteous Judge, is going to hold them accountable for their sin.
John 5:26–29 “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Revelation 20:11–15 “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Proverbs 29:17 ¶ Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
I liked the wording of the NLT: “Discipline your children, and they will give you happiness and peace of mind.”
The truth of this proverb is so evident in the public arena. Children that have been lovingly disciplined are a joy to be around. Children that through lack of discipline have been allowed to rule the roost are anything but enjoyable to be around.
Ironside: “Perhaps nothing so causes one to realize his own failures and shortcomings as to see them duplicated in his children; and nothing, therefore, makes one feel more keenly the need of divine grace and wisdom in dealing with their children. But God’s Word is sure. Let the father and mother exercise a firm but kindly discipline, and God has promised that their efforts will bear good fruit.”
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
And the New Testament version: Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
Proverbs 29:18 ¶ Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
After looking at the Hebrew, I like the CJB translation: “Without a prophetic vision, the people throw off all restraint; but he who keeps Torah is happy.”
In other words, people need to hear the revelation of God’s word, the preaching and teaching of His will as revealed in His word. Without that, people are subject to the lure of sin and the pleasure it affords for a season. Yes, the scripture acknowledges that sin pleases the flesh.
Hebrews 11:24–25 “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season….”
When people are taught the law, God’s will as revealed in His word, and choose to obey it, they will be blessed. They cannot make this choice without knowing there is a choice to make.
Romans 10:14 & 17 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?…So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Proverbs 29:19 ¶ A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.
The plain reading implies that a servant will not learn by mere verbal correction, he requires physical discipline to get the proper response. I’m struggling with this one because I don’t think that would be true of servants living in a society where most people honored the LORD.
The comments from Ironside help: “The Septuagint reads, ‘a stubborn servant,’ which seems to convey the right thought. Correction by words alone would avail little with such an unprincipled and self-willed person. Therefore strict discipline would be required to make him render proper service, which is implied in the phrase ‘he will not answer’ (kjv).”
Proverbs 29:20 ¶ Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Simply put—A fool can expect a better response than someone who speaks rashly. One who speaks hastily often finds himself with the proverbial foot in his mouth.
Proverbs 29:21 ¶ He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.
Most of the translations are negative, e.g., the NIV: “If a man pampers his servant from youth, he will bring grief in the end.”
If I take the wording from the Hebrew at face value from the KJV, it seems to say that a child that is trained to be a family servant will grow up to be like a beloved son of the family.
I think the truth is conveyed no matter which way you read it.
Guzik quoting Morgan words it well: “An evil servant treated well assumes the position of a son in arrogance. A good servant treated well assumes the position of a son in devotion.”
Proverbs 29:22 ¶ An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.
Different Hebrew words are used for “angry” and “furious.” The word for “furious” makes reference to heated anger that is raging and poisonous. An angry person is quick to start a quarrel or a fight. A furious person causes sin exponentially in comparison. I think of the angry man as one that is provoked to anger for whatever reason and responding rashly. I think of the furious person as one who is calculating with an ever-growing anger that expresses himself in all kinds of wickedness.
Proverbs 29:23 ¶ A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
I like the wording of the CJB: “The proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.”
This reminds me of the words of Jesus: Matthew 23:12 “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”
And the words of James: James 4:6 “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”
Henry: “Those that think to gain respect by lifting up themselves above their rank, by looking high, talking big, appearing fine, and applauding themselves, will on the contrary expose themselves to contempt, lose their reputation, and provoke God by humbling providences to bring them down and lay them low…..Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit; their humility is their honour, and that shall make them truly and safely great, and recommend them to the esteem of all that are wise and good.
Proverbs 29:24 ¶ Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.
I liked the wording of the NIV: “The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy; he is put under oath and dare not testify.”
The partner of the thief is scared to testify because it will bring about his own conviction. He could also be afraid of the consequences he could face with their others partners in crime.
Proverbs 29:25 ¶ The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
My paraphrase: When the fear of man is stronger than your trust in the LORD, it is trap the enemy uses to weaken your faith. If we will but keep our mind stayed on the LORD and trust in Him, we will have perfect peace.
Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
The first part of the verse expresses the truth behind the powerful influence of peer pressure. It is the fear of not being accepted or considered weak or foolish by one’s peers that has resulted in many a teenager in particular giving in to temptation.
Guzik: “Many people of good heart but not enough courage live in bondage to the fear of man. They worry far too much about what people think, instead of first being concerned about what God and wisdom say, and what integrity would lead them to do.”
Smith: “The fear of man will cause even great men to do untoward things. Because of the fear of King Abimelech, Abraham tried to toss his wife off as a sister….My great hero David was afraid of King Achish who was the king of the Philistine city of Gath, and David suddenly became afraid that Achish would maybe imprison him or something. And so David began to act like a madman.”
Proverbs 29:26 ¶ Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.
Many seek to have the favor of the ruling authority, but every man will receive righteous judgment from the LORD.
I think the first part of the verse is a reference to gaining the ruler’s favor, possibly even by bribery, to get a judgment to his favor.
I think the last part of the verse has to reference the judgment of God that will rectify all things in the end. The judgment that determines one’s eternal welfare.
Guzik quoting Garrett: “Verse 26 does not forbid seeking relief from injustice through the legal system, but it does state that one should place more faith in Yahweh than in human institutions.”
Proverbs 29:27 ¶ An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.
This is a principle that has already been stated several times in Solomon’s writings. Simply put—The wicked person and the righteous person are disgusting to one another.
Gill: “He that is upright in the way, that makes conscience of what he says and does, is an abomination to the wicked, whose wickedness is restrained perhaps and suppressed, or, at least, shamed and condemned, by the uprightness of the upright.”