111-131 Proverbs Chapter 19
Verse 1 is saying that it is better to be poor and honest then crooked and a fool. We see here a subtle inconsistency in the logic of the wise about poverty. On one side God blesses the righteous with wealth and good health and on the other the poor and honest is honored also in Proverbs.
In verse 2 we see the importance of knowledge. If one runs off without knowing all the facts of the matter of the situation he is inviting his own ruin. Such a person may blame the Lord for the outcome but it is his own folly that brought on his misfortune.
In verse 4 and 6 we see companion statements acknowledging a common observation that wealth buys friends, if such associations can be called friends. Let us not forget the prodigal son in the far country before his money ran out. (Luke 15:13)
Verse 5 is an admonition against lying. Proverbs cast a dim view of bearing false witness. Verse 7 deplores the human act of deserting the person whose poverty leaves him powerless and therefore unable to be helpful. Verse 8 makes the analysis that one who acquires wisdom is helping himself. This could sound self-serving, but the truth is that we are responsible for ourselves more than we are for others. One should want to know as much as possible in order to be a blessing to others. In the process of doing that they help themselves.
Verse 10 holds up absurdity of a fool living in a life of luxury or a slave to rule over a Nobel. Both are to be seen as outlandish situations and scarcely conceived as a possibility. Verse 11 honors the quality of patience and a steady temper, it is a mark of maturity to overlook an offense.
Verse 12 states that the king is a powerful person whose attitude towards his subjects can either destroy them or bring favor to them. In verse 13 the burden of a foolish son is placed alongside of the curse of a quarreling wife. It is as annoying as the steady drip of rain. The obverse side of the wife is given in verse 14. One may inherit wealth but the blessing of a good wife is the blessing of the Lord.
In verse 15 we see another rebuke for laziness. This is a common theme in Proverbs. Verse 17 suggest that kindness to the poor is more that an act of charity. Giving to the poor is also a gift to the Lord. The Lord will remember that kindness you have shown to one of His own. (Matthew 25:40)
Verse 18 invokes a principle of Hebrew thought that neglect of discipline in child rearing is not an act of love but of lovelessness. Only through discipline can you guide a child to the right path for life. To neglect discipline of a child will set him adrift to go astray and self-destruction.
Verse 19 states that if you rescue a person who lets his temper get the worst of him you will only have to do it again and again. That person will not exercise self-control as long as you are there to bail them out. Verse 20 points to the goal of life, which is wisdom, and that it only comes through the teaching of a teacher or parent. In verse 21 the sovereignty of God is emphasized. A man may make all sorts of plans, but their fulfillment is contingent upon God. (James 4:13-15)
Verse 22 speaks of the importance of covenant loyalty. (Micah 6:8) The two lines of this Proverb are related by the contrast of loyalty to one’s commitments and being an untrustworthy person. Poverty is nothing to desire but it is more desirable than being a liar about commitments. Verse 23 emphasizes the reverence to the Lord theme and its blessedness. The promise here is freedom from harm.
In verse 24 we take a humorous look at laziness. The lazy person is so slothful that he will not even feed himself. Proverbs is a strong recommendation for thriftiness and being industrious. How do we learn? Verse 25 says that the simple minded, the unlearned, may require the use of punishment. The intelligent person does not require physical force in order for him to learn. The intelligent learn by instruction, tell them and they will get the point.
Verse 26 speaks of the abhorrence to violence against parents. It is a reflection of the Hebrews respect for the aged. Parent abuse is as disgusting as child abuse. In verse 27 we are to be doers of the word and not hearers only. (James 1:22)
In reading Provers we will notice that a lying witness is held in contempt. Proverbs is a book of old fashioned morality. Things are either right or wrong, black or white. In verse 28 the second line of the Proverb is a metaphor describing the hunger of the wicked to consume iniquity, he is as a thirsty man gulping down cold water. Verse 29 states the inevitability of punishment for those who make light of the Word of God.