Proverbs Chapter 18

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PROVERBS Chapter 18

Doggedly Out Of Step 18:1 “We have all met people like those in 18:1; social misfits reveal themselves by playing devil’s advocate or taking opposite views on issues, not because they really believe it, but because they want attention focused on themselves. Their primary motive, says this proverb, is not the free exchange of ideas and opinions, which might profit everyone. It is, instead, merely selfishness; grabbing center stage for their own glory” (Alden pp. 137-138). This text is similar to Romans 16:17-18. There are people who simply love to stir up the pot, seek opportunities to quarrel, and object merely for the sake of objecting. The verse also takes a good honest look at the antisocial individual. It informs us that often people withdraw from society, not because of some great noble motive, but rather because they are selfish and unreasonable.

Closed Mind, Open Mouth 18:2 One is on the path of becoming a fool when they no longer have a love for the truth. When a desire for learning fades, foolishness happens. Here is the person who is in love with his own ideas and enjoys spewing them out. “This is the kind of person who would ask questions to show how clever he is rather than to learn” (Gaebelein p. 1023). Alden notes, “this kind of person sabotages any meaningful discussion with extraneous facts and irrelevant arguments because he is too foolish to want to settle anything. He’s the one who interrupts meaningful Bible study with offbeat questions like where did Cain get his wife or how did Noah get all those animals on his ark? He doesn’t really want to learn anything important because he’s much more concerned about showing how clever he is” (p. 138).

Sin’s Traveling Companions


18:3 If one is going to live apart from God, then they need to be prepared to accept shame and disgrace as part of the package. The verse also might be teaching that it is impossible to remain in sin, without becoming a person who holds others with contempt. The sinner not only loses his reputation, but he also learns to despise all that is good and true. “The rule is, those who deserve no honor themselves are sure to dishonor others, and those who themselves are good are the last to suspicion others of evil” (Hunt p. 231). How many former faithful Christians have you encountered who have developed a contempt for God, His word, truth, and especially other Christians? When an apostate arrives—watch out, for he or she will try to spread their cynicism and contempt.

Wisdom’s Sparkling Flow 18:4 “are deep waters”-if this proverb is expressing the same truth in both lines, then the meaning could be that deep thoughts are also wise thoughts. But if the two lines are antithetical, then: 1. “Is the sage suggesting the man who would be wise should draw from the brook of wisdom rather than the stale, tired cistern of his own mind?” (Alden p. 138). 2. “the proverb is contrasting our human reluctance….to give ourselves away, with the refreshing candor and clarity of the true wisdom” (Kidner p. 128). The imagery of a “bubbling brook”, suggests that a wise man as a continuous source of refreshing and beneficial ideas” (Gaebelein p. 1024).

Favoritism 18:5 Compare with 28:21 and 17:26. This is especially important when it comes to those who operate in the legal system. “A nation’s principles are either maintained or crucified by its judicial officials” (Hunt p. 231). But how many of our recent famous court cases in this country have become more preoccupied with whom the defendant is rather than the principles of justice?

Talking Oneself Into Trouble 18:6 The fool is almost in trouble as soon as he opens his or her mouth. The fool’s speech brings him into controversies, and since he is wrong, he ends up being punished by a father or the community. “His words are so stupid, so careless, and so provocative that others become angry enough to come after him with fists” (Alden p. 139).


18:7 Basically the same truth as found in the above verse. “The argument he deludes himself into believing is so riddled with flaws that it ends up destroying him” (Alden p. 139). What a terrible state to find yourself in, deceived by your own foolish arguments! Yet, how many people do we encounter who are exactly in this condition? Be quick to repent, quick to accept rebuke, quick to change, and quick to believe and accept the truth, for who wants to be the slave of their own prejudices? Compare with 2 Thess. 2:10-12.

Spicy Bits Of Gossip 18:8 Gossip is called a “dainty morsel”, because such words are unforgettable as soon as relished. “like food being digested, gossiped news is assimilated in one’s inmost parts, i.e. is retained and remembered” (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 944). Listening to gossip is also very addictive. Such bits of juicy information stimulate the unhealthy desire for more. This proverb expresses a very important truth. Gossip is so dangerous, because long after the gossip is revealed as untrue, people refuse to believe the truthful account. A simple apology or retraction can’t undo the effects of gossip. Something is wrong with our heart if we have a desire to hear bad things about others. Oh, that we had a heart that gulped down the truth---and would never forget!

Slacker And Wrecker 18:9 “The sage teaches that he who leaves a work undone is next of kin to him to destroys it” (Kidner p. 128). “A poor or unfinished job differs little from a project that someone demolished; both projects are valueless” (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 944). “Lazy people look for short cuts; they don’t use the level and square as often as they should and don’t tighten bolts as much as they should. The end product is not only inferior but potentially dangerous; think of a car with faulty brakes or a house with inferior wiring” (Alden p. 139). Not taking care of what you have, is in the same category as the person with no ambition.

Strong Tower/Castle In The Air 18:10 “The world thinks that the unseen is the unreal. But it is not the man of God (10) but the man of property, who must draw on his imagination (11) to feel secure” (Kidner pp. 128-129). 1. The Lord is fully able to protect those who trust in Him! 2. Money cannot bring ultimate security (Psalm 49). Compare with 1 Timothy 6:17. In our time of affluence, do we trust in the Lord or are we


trusting more in the stock market, social security, a pension plan, a good job, etc?

Pride And Humility 18:12 Compare with 15:33; 16:18,19. “Outward appearances are so often deceptive; people whose hearts are proud are not really superior, while those who are humble are not necessarily inferior….How thankful we should be for a God who looks past our public image in order to deal with what is in our hearts. What does he find there, humility or arrogance?” (Alden p. 140). The verse also should remind us that arrogant people aren’t as strong as they appear, and that the humble or meek person is much stronger than they appear.

Jumping To Conclusions 18:13 “A special snare for the self-important” (Kidner p. 129). “Poor listening reveals that the person has a low regard for what the other is saying or is too absorbed in self-importance” (Gaebelein p. 1026). Compare with James 1:19 and John 7:24.

The Mainspring 18:14 “Short of outward resources, life is hard; short of inward, it is insupportable” (Kidner p. 129). “Tells us something medical experts are just beginning to give credence to: people who want to be healthy heal more quickly than those who are too depressed to want to get well. Some people almost wish themselves into dying” (Alden p. 140). “Points out that one’s attitude, for good or ill, is the single most important factor in confronting adversity” (Garrett p. 165).

A Mind With An Appetite 18:15 Note the emphasis on “acquires” and “seeks”. Wisdom must be sought, for truth cannot be cheaply obtained, because one must be willing to pay the price (23:23). “the paradox that those who know most know best how little they know” (Kidner p. 129). One must also continually seek knowledge to remain wise. Seeking knowledge means being ready and quick to listen, even to truths


which may not sound comforting or convenient the first time that we hear them (Acts 2:36).

Paving The Way 18:16 One may gain influence through gifts. This proverb simply says that a gift can expedite matters. But this book also warns against the temptation of giving such gifts for the purpose of bribery (15:27). Many feel that this proverb is simply making an observation without making a moral judgment. The gift might be appropriate or inappropriate. “Gifts to the right people do open doors, that’s simply a fact. Is it right? Probably not; if buying your way in is the only way to get anywhere in life, then the poor will never achieve anything. If the great are only accessible through gifts, then they will become like the corrupt judges of 17:23” (Alden p. 140).

Hear Both Sides 18:17 Here is another warning against forming hasty opinions (2,13). But witnesses in court aren’t the only people whose testimony ought to be examined closely for accuracy. An old maxim is so true: “One story is good till the other is told”. The proverb infers that the truth can be known, but we first need to listen to all the information. The verse also infers that many people are prejudiced when it comes to retelling history or what happened. Christians really need to keep this verse in mind when someone makes an accusation against the elders, or when someone in the congregation approaches them with complaints against a spouse.

In His Will Is Our Peace 18:18 The thrust of the verse is that serious disputes can be settled if both parties are willing to accept Divine arbitration. No matter how strong the opponents, if both parties accepted the fact that God’s providence ruled the casting of the lot, the issue could be settled. Today, the word of God and spiritual leaders figure prominently in divine arbitration (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). The intent of casting lots was to give the controversy over to God and allow Him to settle it. The verse also tells us that we should accept such decisions, even when they are not in our favor, with good grace. If we agree to allow the elders or a spiritual man to arbitrate between us and someone we are at odds with, then we must learn to be a good sport if the verdict isn’t in our favor. Righteous


men and women honor their agreements. If we agree to the system, then we don’t have any right to complain if the system doesn’t rule in our favor.

Stubborn Defenses 18:19 The proverb warns us concerning the strength of the invisible walls of estrangement, so easy to build and so hard to demolish. There is also here a warning: Is this problem really worth sacrificing a friendship? You may win the case, but in the process you may lose many close friends. You may get everyone to see your side concerning a marriage problem, but in the process you may destroy any hopes for reconciliation or a happy marriage. So be careful what you say, for the price of “winning” might be “losing”.

Your Words Will Catch Up To You 18:20 For good or ill, we will eat the consequences of our speech. Productive speech is satisfying. But the verse may also contain a warning. “People have a sense of self-satisfaction about their own words. To put it another way, they delight in airing their own opinions. And yet the tongue can be highly dangerous. The purpose of these verses (20-21), is to warn against being too much in love with one’s own words. One should recognize the power of words and use them with restraint. Voicing one’s own views, here ironically described as eating the fruit of the tongue, can be an addictive habit with dangerous results” (Garrett p. 167). 18:21 We often forget that the tongue is a dangerous tool. Our society tends to feel that saying anything that you want is a harmless exercise. A popular sacred cow is the attitude, “This is my opinion and nobody can judge me for airing it”. This verse reminds us that people can be destroyed by mere words. Look at the wars that have been started because of mere words. Look at the damage done because many people simply believed the words of a certain ideology. Look at all the lost people in the world, lost because they are listening to the wrong words.

A Good Wife 18:22 The wording, especially in the Hebrew, strongly resembles that of 8:35, and suggests that after wisdom itself, the best of God’s blessings is a good wife. 31:10 makes a similar comparison, putting her price, like that of wisdom, far above rubies (8:11). It is very clear that not every wife is under consideration in 6

this passage (14:1; 21:9; Ecc. 7:26). “The Lord sanctions marriage for He states that finding a wife is a good thing and that God is pleased with marriage” (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 945). Points To Note: 1. Finding a good wife is finding something good! Such a wife is a tremendous asset to any man. 2. “Happiness is impossible without domestic tranquillity, and the wife is the anchor of that tranquillity (Proverbs 31:10-31)” (Garrett p. 170). 3. We need to make sure that God’s view of marriage and our view is the same. Worldly people often speak of being married as being tied down or restricted. 4. “When one marries, he is entering into something good and is carrying out God’s will for the human race in that regard. If somebody argues back that many marriages are anything but pleasant and good, it is not God’s fault but the people who have made their marriages that way. If they would follow God’s instructions for marriage (Eph. 5:22-33), they would find that it is good” (Hunt p. 236). 5. In addition, my observation is that some people are so determined to prove that God is wrong, that they would rather be disobedient and miserable, than give the Bible a try and find the happiness that it promises.

Harsh Realities 18:23 “Such detached reporting, with its pointed lack of comment, faces the reader with the ugliness of the world he lives in” (Kidner p. 130). The poor man pleads for mercy, because he has no choice, he has to ask. The rich man, however, often speaks harshly; he has hardened himself against such appeals because of relentless demands. The proverb simply is stating, “here is what the world is often like”. Points To Note: 1. Work hard, for it isn’t any fun being poor. 2. The poor man sometimes isn’t heard, because other’s have ripped off the rich man in the past. Your appeal may be reasonable and legitimate, but because of all the scams pulled by others, you may not be heard. 3. God doesn’t give the rich the right to become arrogant. “Men are never given license to answer harshly or with rudeness no matter how much money they have. Arrogance is no man’s prerogative” (Alden p. 142).


A Friend Worth The Name 18:24 It is better to have one good faithful friend, than to have many reliable professed friends. Unfortunately, some of us feel bad because we only have a couple of real good friends. “A man of many friends comes to ruin”-there are professed friends who in reality are detriments to our well-being. For a friend that stuck closer than a brother, consider the example of Jonathan (1 Samuel 18:1-4; 19:1-7; 20:17-42; 23:15-18). There is also a warning here about having too many indiscriminate friendships.


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