Proverbs 27

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

October 13, 2004

:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Don’t praise yourself for what is going to happen tomorrow. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

(James 4:13-17 NASB) Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." {14} Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. {15} Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that." {16} But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. {17} Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Illustration

Yesterday a good friend of ours passed away. Jon Osmundsen was only a couple of years older than me. He and his wife Pam were laying in bed Tuesday morning. Jon literally rolled over and died. They don’t know what the cause of death was.

You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

:2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

Verse 1 is about praising yourself for what you’re going to do, this is praising yourself for what you’ve already done.

(Pr 27:2 The Message) Don’t call attention to yourself; let others do that for you.

Illustration

From Mongolian folklore comes this helpful little fable of the boastful frog.

Two geese were about to start southward on their annual autumn migration, when they were entreated by a frog to take him with them. On the geese expressing their willingness to do so if a means of conveyance could be devised, the frog produced a long stalk of grass, got the two geese to take it one by each end, while he clung to it by his mouth in the middle. In this manner the three were making their journey when they were noticed from below by some men.

The men loudly expressed their admiration for the device and wondered who had been clever enough to discover it. Whereupon the vainglorious frog opened his mouth to say, “It was I,” lost his hold, fell to the earth, and was dashed to pieces.

Moral: When you have a good thing going, keep your mouth shut!

:3 …but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

(Prov 27:3 NLT) A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is heavier than both.

:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

envyqin’ah ardour, zeal, jealousy; jealous disposition (of husband); envy (of man); from qana– to envy, be jealous, be envious, be zealous

(Prov 27:4 NLT) Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but who can survive the destructiveness of jealousy?

Lesson

Jealousy

Sometimes jealousy is justified:
(Prov 6:32-35 NLT) But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys his own soul. {33} Wounds and constant disgrace are his lot. His shame will never be erased. {34} For the woman's husband will be furious in his jealousy, and he will have no mercy in his day of vengeance. {35} There is no compensation or bribe that will satisfy him.

A husband’s jealousy, if justified, can be dangerous. Don’t mess with my wife.

Sometimes jealousy isn’t justified. But it’s still dangerous. People do dangerous and foolish things out of the rage of jealousy.
The Bible teaches us to “deal” with jealousy.
The word for “envy” is the word used in the “Law of Jealousy”:

(Num 5:11-14 KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, {12} Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, {13} And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; {14} And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

This was going to be a ritual that a fellow was supposed to follow if he became “jealous” of his wife. It might be that he had something to be jealous over (his wife might have been unfaithful), it might be that he has nothing to be jealous over (she might be completely faithful, it’s the man that has the jealousy problem).

An interesting ritual followed where the priest would take holy water and mix some of the dust from the floor of the Tabernacle into it. Then the woman was presented before the Lord and asked to swear an oath. She was supposed to say that if she had been faithful to her husband, then nothing would happen when she drank this water mixture. If she had been unfaithful, then she would become cursed and her thigh would shrivel up and her stomach would swell up. Then the words of the curse were written on a scroll, and then washed off into the dusty-water mixture. Then the woman was to drink the water.

If she had been unfaithful, then it would become obvious as she would be obviously diseased. If she had not been unfaithful, then nothing would happen to her and her husband would need to get over his jealousy.

Deal with jealousy. Face the issue, but don’t bury it and let it corrupt your thoughts towards others.
(Prov 31:10-11 KJV) Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. {11} The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her…

:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.

(Prov 27:5 ICB) It is better to correct someone openly than to love him and not show it.

At least the person knows where you stand on things.

:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Lesson

Hard and nice

We can fall into a trap of thinking that people who say nice things to us must be our friends and people who say hard things to us must be our enemies.
I’ve found that sometimes the people who say the nicest things about you are really the ones who care the least about you. People will say things to flatter you and get close to you in order to use you.
Don’t forget that Judas betrayed Jesus with a “kiss”.
Norman Vincent Peale: “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
I know I don’t appreciate criticism. I get defensive. I can tend to try and find something to criticize the other person back. If you hurt my feelings, then I’m going to hurt yours.
It’s hardest when someone gives you criticism but instead of trying to help you, they just want to have a reason to leave you and hurt you.
It’s best when someone cares enough about you to be patient with you and wait for you to calm down and listen.
Illustration
Jay Leno’s first encounter with the man he would eventually replace was less than auspicious. “You seem like a very funny young man,” Johnny Carson told him after catching his act at The Comedy Store. “But you don’t have enough jokes.” Leno was devastated. He recalls:
When I watched the Carson show I saw him do 15 or 20 jokes. I realized I’d been doing only three and relying on clowning and gestures for the rest of the laughs. I resented what Johnny had said, but I took it to heart and began honing my material.
A few years later, Carson asked me on his show. I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me real advice—hard as it seemed at the time.

-- Peter Swet, Parade Magazine, as reprinted in the Reader's Digest, September 1992, p. 31

:7 …but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

After sitting at the dinner table for an hour eating at Thanksgiving, it’s not hard to say “no” to a piece of pumpkin pie, at least not while you’re still stuffed.

But when you’ve been trying to go on a diet, sometimes even cardboard looks good.

God’s Word is described as:

(Psa 19:10 KJV) …sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Are we hungry for the things of God? Have we satisfied our cravings with the wrong things? Have we been eating too much spiritual “junkfood”?

:8 …so is a man that wandereth from his place.

Note: Solomon doesn’t really tell us if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I wonder if you couldn’t take it both ways:

In a positive light:

It could be a picture of following Jesus:
(Mat 8:19-20 KJV) And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. {20} And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
When Jesus calls us to follow Him, He calls us to put Him first, even if it isn’t comfortable for us.

In a negative light:

If a bird has eggs or young ones in it’s nest, it should be careful about leaving the nest.
While it is good to be willing to go wherever God would call us, some people like to “go” anywhere just for the sake of going. Don’t be quick to abandon your responsibilities.

:9 …so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.

heartynephesh – soul, self, life

(Pr 27:9 NASB95) Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.

We like to smell the fragrance of nice things.

The counsel from a friend’s heart is also sweet.

:10 Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not…

This is talking about the importance of friends, of cultivating friends.

(Pr 27:10 NLT) {10} Never abandon a friend—either yours or your father’s…

This is also talking about what to do in difficult times.

This isn’t saying that we abandon our family in difficult times, but that if our family is a long way off, you don’t have to run home, just go to your friends.

(Pr 27:10 The Message) {10} Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends and run home to your family when things get rough; Better a nearby friend than a distant family.

:11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

Solomon has talked in the past about the importance of a son learning wisdom:

(Prov 15:20 KJV) A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.

Apparently King Solomon had people that “reproached” him. He had his own “pet peeves”:

Illustration

KING SOLOMON'S PET PEEVES
7. Having people ask, “If you’re so smart, why haven’t you been on Jeopardy?”
6. Being asked the names of all his wives and children
5. Finding Christmas cards large enough for the names of everyone in his family
4. Signing Christmas cards
3. Being a tourist attraction (1 Kings 4:34)
2. Not being able to find the tune to “Song of Solomon”
1. Having all those mothers-in-laws

:12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself

This is identical to Prov. 22:3.

:13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger

This is identical to Prov. 20:16

(Pr 27:13 NLT) {13} Be sure to get collateral from anyone who guarantees the debt of a stranger. Get a deposit if someone guarantees the debt of an adulterous woman.

:14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

(Pr 27:14 NASB95) He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, It will be reckoned a curse to him.

Not every person is a “morning” person. Some people don’t like to be awakened in the morning, let alone with some person speaking loudly, even if it’s a “blessing”.

Lesson

Timing and Tact

You may think that just doing a “good” thing is good enough.
But there’s a place for “tact” and being “polite”.
Illustration
A woman went to the doctor’s office where she was seen by one of the new doctors, but after about 4 minutes in the examination room, she burst out, screaming as she ran down the hall. An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told Him her story. After listening, he had her sit down and relax in another room. The older doctor marched down the hallway to the back where the first Doctor was and demanded, “What’s the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 63 years old, she has four grown children and seven grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?!” The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said, “Does she still have the hiccups?”
Perhaps that wasn’t so tactful.
Perhaps that’s an important part of witnessing.  Some people are sooooo tactful that they never open their mouth to talk about Jesus.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  Other people are soooo obnoxious that they seem to go out of their way to make everyone uncomfortable and annoyed.

:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day …

Drip, drip, drip.  The complaining never stops.

:16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

bewrayethqara– to call, call out??

(Pr 27:15-16 NLT) {15} A nagging wife is as annoying as the constant dripping on a rainy day. {16} Trying to stop her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or hold something with greased hands.

Gals, do you get the idea that most men don’t like to be nagged?  I get the idea that Solomon felt that way.  Of course he may have had more than his share of nagging wives.

How do you change your husband’s behavior?  It’s easy to think that if you just reminded him one more time, he’d get the point.  He may not.  He may come to resent you.

(1 Pet 3:1-6 ICB)  In the same way, you wives should accept the authority of your husbands. Then, if some husbands have not obeyed God's teaching, they will be persuaded to believe. You will not need to say a word to them. They will be persuaded by the way their wives live. {2} Your husbands will see the pure lives that you live with your respect for God. {3} It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. {4} No, your beauty should come from within you--the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit. This beauty will never disappear, and it is worth very much to God. {5} It was the same with the holy women who lived long ago and followed God. They made themselves beautiful in this way. They accepted the authority of their husbands. {6} Sarah obeyed Abraham, her husband, and called him her master. And you women are true children of Sarah if you always do what is right and are not afraid.

He will learn more from your actions than from your words.
He will pay attention if you pay more attention to the inside of you than the outside.  You don’t have to neglect the outside, just be sure your main focus is on your heart.
It’s a matter of trusting God.  This is how the “holy women” trusted God.

:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

countenancepaniym – face

friendrea– friend, companion, fellow, another person

(Prov 27:17 NASB)  Iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens another.

Iron can be sharpened by rubbing it with iron. 

Rubbing against people doesn’t always feel good.

Friends ought to sharpen you.

Without good friends we can grow dull.

:18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof

You do the work, you should be paid for it.

:19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

The Hebrew is obscure; literally it reads, “Like water face to face, so is the heart of man to a man.[1]

(Pr 27:19 NLT) As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the person.

(Prov 27:19 ICB)  As water shows you your face, so your mind shows you what kind of person you are.

:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Hell would always like to have a few more.  So would we.

Lesson

Contentment

They say that the difference between a man with six kids and a man with six million dollars is that the man with the money wants more.
We always want “more”.
Sometimes that craving for “more” leads us to “hell and destruction”.
Paul talked about learning the secret of being content in is circumstances.  He was writing to the Philippians, who had just sent him a financial gift to help him in his ministry.  He wrote,
(Phil 4:10-13 NLT)  How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn't have the chance to help me. {11} Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. {12} I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. {13} For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.

Contentment comes when we learn to be okay with what we have.  The problem is we usually just want a “little more”.

Illustration

A wealthy employer once overheard one of his workers exclaim, “Oh if I only had a hundred dollars, I would be perfectly content.”  Knowing that his own money had not given him inner peace, he told her, “Since I would like to see someone who is perfectly contented, I’m going to grant your desire.”  He gave her the money and left, but before he was out of earshot, he heard her remark almost bitterly, “Why on earth didn’t I say 200?”  The boss smiled, for he had made his point that money doesn’t make a person “perfectly contented.”

To illustrate the point that we always tend to live beyond our income, no matter how large that may be, someone quipped, “To figure the cost of living, just take your income and add 10 percent.”

Above all, we ought to learn to be content in our marriage.  We ought to be BLESSED in our marriage:
Illustration

Winston Churchill once attended a formal banquet in London. A number of dignitaries and celebrities were present. The question was asked, “If you could not be who you are, who would you like to be?”

Everyone was curious as to what Churchill would say. When it was his turn the old man stood to his feet and gave a classic answer. “If I could not be who I am, I would most like to be” here he paused to take his wife’s hand “Lady Churchill’s second husband.”

:21 As the fining pot for silver…so is a man to his praise.

Refining silver and gold over the heat shows them to be what they are.

How a person reacts when someone praises him/her also shows what they are like.

“Praise tests a person in a similar way in that his reaction to it shows what he is really like. If he gloats over it, he shows himself to be arrogant; he “knows” he is good. But if he accepts the praise modestly, he shows his humility.”[2]

(Pr 27:21 The Message) {21} The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; The purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame.

:22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

braykathash   (Qal) to pound, mix by pounding, pound fine, bray

fool eviyl – be foolish, foolish; of one who despises wisdom; of one who mocks when guilty; of one who is quarrelsome; of one who is licentious

Other words in Proverbs for:

fool[email protected] – fool, stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one

Pr 26:3  A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.

foolnabal – foolish, senseless, fool

It’s hard to get “foolishness” out of a this hardened kind of “fool”.

:23-27 Responsibility

:23-27 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds…

Lesson

Pay attention to your responsibilities

If you are a shepherd, you ought to be careful to know what kind of condition your flock is in.  A good shepherd knows what the needs of his sheep are.
If a shepherd takes good care of his flock, his flock will end up taking care of him.
We aren’t shepherds with physical sheep, but we have been given responsibility over various areas of our lives.
Do you know the “state of thy flocks”?  What are the kinds of “flocks” God has given to you?


[1]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[2]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.