Proverbs 13 with BAC (Brit-Am Commentary) Explanations.
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Proverbs 13:1-7 You Are What You Do.
[Proverbs 13:1] A wise son heeds his father's instruction,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
A wise son heeds his father's instruction. In Hebrew it says,
Ben chacham [A wise son]- MUSAR [instruction, reproof]- Av [father].
MUSAR can mean instruction or reproof.
The Commentators say the word means,
A wise son [heeds] MUSAR [of his] father.
A wise son [inquires of and loves] MUSAR [of his] father,
A wise son [has become that way due to the ] MUSAR [of his] father (Rashi).
[Proverbs 13:2] A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth,
But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.
How you talk may often determine what will become of you.
[Proverbs 13:3] He who guards his mouth preserves his life,
But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
[Proverbs 13:4] The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing;
But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
a lazy man desires. A person may want things and need them but if they do not do anything to acheive them they are unlikely to receive them.
the diligent. Hebrew "charutzim" which the Commentary Metsudat David explains to mean "zarizim" i.e. who act with alacrity.
charutzim is the plural of charutz which is cognate with charat (cHRT) meaning to engrave.
charutz implies not only alacrity but also diligence, sharpness, determination. It is not only a matter of working hard. We can all do that sometimes. It is necessary to apply oneself and to set a correct order of priorities as to what is to be done. Very often all this will seem quite obvious but putting it into practice may be difficult at first.
shall be made rich. in Hebrew "tedushan" literally "shall be made satisfied".
[Proverbs 13:5] A righteous man hates lying,
But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.
This verse just about sums up an important principle. You may sometimes not be able to tell all the truth but you should hate lying.
is loathsome and comes to shame. In our opinion the Hebrew may alternately (or preferably) be understood to say, "will cause rottenness and dishonor".
A person is sometimes faced with extra strong temptation. One may think to succumb and then get back to routine living and put the bad thing behind oneself. It does not work that way. It stays with oyu until you get rid of it. It exists alongside of you and within you. With free will you may have sinned but after that a result corruption and shame is liable to pounce on you against your will and as a result of what you did back then. If we repent and correct ourselves we may yet earn our freedom from this subjection.
Return to Me, and I will return to you,€ Says the LORD of Hosts (Malachi 3:7). You have to make a beginning, that is all. Whether we feel genuine or not we just have to start and God will help us the rest of the way.
[Proverbs 13:6] Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
But wickedness overthrows the sinner.
Righteousness is a correct translation of the Hebrew word used here, "Tsadokah". This word has a secondary meaning in Later Hebrew as connoting "the giving of charity".
Both meanings are applicable.
[Proverbs 13:7] There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing;
And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.
One may get rich by not putting out money for things that should be paid for.
Someone else will pay for things he could have gotten away with by not paying.
Whoever paid the money is the 7owner of what he has and has a portion in what may have been achieved.
[Proverbs 13:8] The ransom of a man's life is his riches,
But the poor does not hear rebuke.
A poor man learns not to pay heed when he is being insulted. Life is too important and too precarious to worry over matters that are superfluous.
A rich man however can assert himself and if things get complicated his money will help him. He can always hire a lawyer or otherwise use his influence, etc.
A person could perhaps use this advice in his personal life. Avoid fighting with your spouse or with other members of your family.
Direct negative energies towards your justified struggle with the outside world and your endeavors to make a living etc.
You are not so rich in emotional energy that you may successfully struggle on all fronts.
Try not to fight at all but if you must avoid losing battles.
[Proverbs 13:9] The light of the righteous rejoices,
But the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
When the righteous do something it lasts and has an enduring self-perpetuating good effect.
[Proverbs 13:10] By pride comes nothing but strife,
But with the well-advised is wisdom.
We are often proud of things we deserve to be proud of and consider ourselves worthy of respect that really should be given to us. Nevertheless if we insist that others see ourselves the way we do
they are liable to start thinking in the opposite direction. This causes strife and confusion. Try and keep things in perspective. Everyone needs to be honored but we should keep our expectations as low as possible.
[Proverbs 13:11] Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished,
But he who gathers by labor will increase.
by dishonesty. In Hebrew "me-havel" out of foolishness.
[Proverbs 13:12] Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
Success breeds success. It is psychologically invigorating.
[Proverbs 13:13] He who despises the word will be destroyed,
But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
Respect the Bible and learn what you can from it.
[Proverbs 13:14] The law of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.
Good, wise people give good advice. We should listen to them.
[Proverbs 13:15] Good understanding gains favor,
But the way of the unfaithful is hard.
There are different ways of understanding this verse, all of them are pertinent and correct.
Rabbeinu Yonah (Yonah ben Abraham Gerondi, died 1263, cousin of Nachmanides, northeast Spain), says it means that a correct understanding of a particular matter or in general will find favor. It will be accepted. Words of truth ring true. When something is correct it will often be accepted at once and will not need many words of persuasion.
On the other hand when an argument is not true but devious the audience will instinctively reject it.
[Proverbs 13:16] Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool lays open his folly.
[Proverbs 13:17] A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
But a faithful ambassador brings health.
We are all messengers in a sense. We all have a message in this life.
health. In Hebrew "healing". Do what you have to do as well as you can and in the end you will be rewarded. Not only that but others will be invigorated and made happy because of you.
You will make things better. This is bringing healing.
We are all human. We all have different needs. We all have to live. We should seek to do what we have to do as well as we can and also that it should be good for others.
[Proverbs 13:18] Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction,
But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.
We all make mistakes. Not only do we make mistakes but sometimes we act as we should have done. We slip up. If our conduct is noticed or we get caught and someone tells us of we should take notice. It may be a little difficult and even embarrassing to heed a rebuke. Nevertheless we should listen to criticism of ourselves and correct matters if we can. If we do this in the end we shall be respected.
[Proverbs 13:19] A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,
But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Stupid people do not want to make themselves better. The beginning of all progress is the will to make things better. This should be what we think about and what we want. This should be our desire.
[Proverbs 13:20] He who walks with wise men will be wise,
But the companion of fools will be destroyed.
This is true at the simple literal level. Keep away from bad people and from fools who act wrongly. Strife to join up with good men.
It is also correct in our days concerning with whom we spend our time i.e. TV shows and Internet activities etc. Do things that will help make you a better person.
[Proverbs 13:21] Evil pursues sinners,
But to the righteous, good shall be repaid.
Bad goes to bad, good to the good.
[Proverbs 13:22] A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
[Proverbs 13:23] Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor,
And for lack of justice there is waste.
A lot of potential is wasted because it is not developed. This also applies to ourselves. We all have more than we put out. At least part of what we fail to do is our own fault.
[Proverbs 13:24] He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Teach your children. When your offspring need disciplining discipline them. This will give them life and the ability to go on living.
[Proverbs 13:25] The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul,
But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.
Do what you can and rejoice in what you have.