Brit-Am/Hebrew Nations Notes and Commentary
Proverbs 22:1-3 Goodness Has Much Value!
1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favour is better than silver or gold.
We need to live with other people. We need them. What they think of us influences our moods and self-esteem. This really is more important than money.
2 The rich and the poor have this in common:
the Lord is the maker of them all.
God made the rich and HE made us and those poorer than us.
There is a reason for everything.
God can take away from us what we have or add onto it.
3 The clever see danger and hide;
but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
One does not have to live in fear all the time. Nevertheless it is best to keep your eyes open and take care.
Proverbs 22:4-6 The Straight and Narrow is a Fast Track Forward
4 The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honour and life.
Metsudat David understands the Hebrew as saying
that Fear of the LORD is a result of humility following which comes riches and honour and life.
The Hebrew does read that way.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
the cautious will keep far from them.
The word translated here as "perverse" is akesh which may also mean crooked.
In Modern Hebrew "akesh" means stubborn but it may also connote twisted or contrary as translated here.
Thorns and snares are obstacles. Someone who goes out of their way not to go in the straight path may encounter all kinds obstructions that otherwise could have been avoided.
6 Train children in the right way,
and when old, they will not stray.
The word translated as "the right way" in Hebrew is "darko" literally meaning "his way".
Ideally the child should know that the training is for his sake and it should take account of his individuality.
Translation used: NRSV
Proverbs 22:7-9 The Coins Win but Be Careful
Translation used: NRSV
7 The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
This is simple. It is the law of reality. They who have money usually possess the power of decision.
They who borrow feel submissive to those they owe.
Rashi takes this as an allegory or a general rule for other matters.
The ignorant, says Rashi, have need of a Torah Scholar i.e. one who is rich in Biblical wisdom and knowledge should be respected by those who are not.
8 Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.
After having declared above (Proverbs 22:7) A Law of Nature being that they who have money will also come to power they are warned not to abuse it.
If Divine Providence has given you authority over others be just and you will avoid disaster. Do not rule with anger and irritability lest you come to a short end.
9 Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.
This may also be linked to the above situation. If Divine Providence has given you authority over others and money, behold them with a good generous eye.
Do not think badly of others. Do not suppose that because it goes well for you that those in a worse situation are less worthy than yourself.
Give generously to those in need.
These are guidelines for your own continued prosperity.
Proverbs 22:10-12 Positivity and Faithfulness Versus Perfidy and Negation
10 Drive out a scoffer, and strife goes out;
so quarrelling and abuse will cease.
11 Those who love a pure heart and are gracious in speech
will have the king as a friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the faithless.
10 Expel a mocker to make an end to quarrelling;
contention and shame will be stopped.
11 The Lover of a pure heart, by the grace of his lips has a king for companion.
12 The eyes of the LORD record awareness, and warps the words of a traitor.
22:10 Expel a mocker. Metsudat David: Cast out the scorner for quarrels to cease. It is the practice of mockers to arouse contention.
22: 11 The Lover of a pure heart. he who strives to have a pure heart will speak well of others and help them. He will be like a king in his surroundings.
22:12 record awareness. We have translated the Hebrew word "daat" here as awareness.
This word is in effect the source of the English term "thought". Here it means right thought or correct attitude.
Metsudat David: The Almighty will watch over they who think correctly. HE will also twist and confound the counsel of the traitor. The treacherous will say things in order to entrap the Righeous who think properly. The agents of perfidy however will not succeed in their nefarious designs.
Proverbs 22:13-15. Self-Deception, Deceit, and Admonishment
13 Says the lazy person, 'There is a lion outside!
I shall be murdered in the streets!"
Someone who does not want to do something will find excuses not to do it.
They will fool themselves and try to mislead others with feeble transparent excuses.
14 A deep pit is the mouth of the reprobate.
They whom the LORD is angry with shall fall in it.
Bad negative personages deceive others and cause them harm. It comes naturally to them. The victims of their deceit may well deserve what they get and are being punished by Heaven for other matters.
15 irresponsible foolishness is bound up in the heart of the youth,
the rod of correction shall distance it.
We all make mistakes.
When we see our children acting as badly as we once did or worse we should reprove them.
Nine times out of ten it is better to admonish rather than keep silent.
Proverbs 22:16-18 Wisdom Has Value and Should be Treasured!
16 An oppressor of the poor to increase his own,
Gives to the rich only for loss.
Someone who hold back from giving to those whoa re in need, such as members of his own family, may end up bequeathing to this who already have plenty.
This will be to his detriment.
17 Incline your ear and harken to words of the wise
and set your heart to my knowing;
Wisdom and good knowledge are very valuable. They need to be valued and pursued after.
The Bible has much to teach us. We should endeavor to learn from Scripture what we can while we are able.
18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
Have them all ready together on your lips.
Something worth knowing is often very useful in social encounters or in solving life-situation problems.
Proverbs 22: 19-21 Receive the Truth and Make it Known!
19 So that your trust may be in the LORD,
I have made them known to you today, even to your very self!
We need to trust in God and learn HIS will.
This message applies to each and every one of us.
Each one of us is personally obligated to learn the will of the Almighty.
This is not a task we can commit to others and forget about it.
20 Have I not written for you Directives of counsel and knowledge?
Some translations instead of "Directives" have "thirty sayings".
The Hebrew is here written as ShLShom which looks like ShaLoShIM meaning thirty but according to tradition is to be read as ShaLiShiM from the word Shalish meaning ruler, executive, official.
21 To Make known unto you the veracity of truthful words
to answer they who sent you with words of truth.
People who ask you questions in good faith make you their emissary to find the answer.
Proverbs 22: 22- 29 Show Self-Respect through Consideration of Others
22 Do not steal from the lowly man because he is lowly
And no not oppress the poor in the gate.
Do not take advantage of the vulnerable just because you can do so.
If you do, it is liable to come back at you.
23 For the LORD will quarrel their quarrel
And will re-appropriate the life of they who misappropriate from them.
The word translated here as life in Hebrew in "nefesh" which also connotes mental health.
They who do wrong to others afflict the sanity of their own minds.
24 Do not become a companion to an angry person
And with a man given to rage enter not.
25 Lest you learn his ways
and take a snare against your life.
Here too, the word translated as life in Hebrew in "nefesh" which also connotes mental health or control of your mind.
People who allow anger to take control of them do and think things that work against them at several levels.
26 Do not be one of those who shake hands [give pledges],
who become surety for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
why should your bed be taken from under you?
28 Do not push back the ancient landmark
that your ancestors set up.
29 Have you seen a man expert in his work?
He will stand before kings
He will not serve the reprobate.
(Translated by Yair)