This chapter as well as chapter 10, 12, and 13 begin with an admonition to the youth to listen to their elders. The whole system of education is built upon the aged passing on their knowledge to the succeeding generation. Verses 2 and three speak of the importance of words. The words we speak reflect the kind of person that we are. We see the same theme in verse 5 where the wicked man raises a stench with is speech and actions. In verse 7 we see a condemnation of two kinds of deception. The poor man who puts on airs and pretends to be rich and the rich man who poor mouths all the time.
We do not find a blanket endorsement of wealth in the book of Proverbs. In verse 11 we see wealth that is too easily obtained and perhaps through foul means and is condemned and judged temporary. Wealth that is obtained through hard work has a lasting quality. Many people have been ruined by obtaining wealth too fast, it turns the head and spoils his values.
We see a simple observation in verse 12 about common human characteristics. Disappointment is hard to take while a desire fulfilled is a source of refreshment. But it is true that we are to live most of our life with disappointments. Paul’s word in Romans 5:1-5 are helpful. We can suffer the disappointments of life because we have had a foretaste of the things to come by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
In verses 13-14 we are commended to respect both the teaching and the teacher. The person who does not learn from the lessons of the past is doomed to repeat his error in the future. Verse 18 has a similar message. By ignoring instruction you invite poverty and disgrace, but if we heed reproof we will gain honor, as we will become the kind of person receives honor. And in verse 20 we are told to watch the company that we keep, as we are known by the persons that we fellowship with. If we fellowship with the wise it will rub off onto us. if we travel with fools, then that will damage us.
Verses 21-22 repeats a favorite theme of Proverbs, the misfortune of the wicked and the prosperity of the righteous.
Verse 24 is a paradox in that punishment is not hate but love. If you love your son you will train him up in the way he should go.