Avoid Being Hard Headed
(29:1 and 2) Making the same mistake over and over is an invitation to disaster. Eventually people have to face the consequences of refusing to learn. If their mistake is refusing God’s invitations or rejecting his commands, the consequences will be especially serious. In the end, God may have to turn them away. Verse 2 reminds us that when a society is good, society is happy; when evil rules, society is miserable.
Losing Wealth and Nation
29:3–4 This pair of proverbs creates a parallel between the son who squanders his family’s money and a ruler who squanders the wealth of his nation through corruption. In both cases lust or greed destroys a good thing.
Beware of the Traps
29:5–6 The idea of the trap or snare links these proverbs together. Flattery is a trap, but it is one the righteous can see and avoid.
Concern for the Poor
29:7 The righteous recognize the rights of the poor.
Order in the Court and in Society
29:8–11 Verses 8, 10 describe how mockers and the bloodthirsty try to destroy communities. They inflame others (v. 8a) and use violence (v. 10a). The wise, however, restore order to the streets and the justice system (vv. 8b, 10b). The point here, as in v. 8b, is that the just set things right. The setting of v. 9 is the court, in which the recklessness of the fool is given full vent. In v. 11 the wise man controls himself in any confrontation with a fool.
Leading with Righteousness
29:12–14 A king, a president, or any chief executive officer must set a high standard and rigorously maintain it or face the consequences of corruption running rampant in his administration (v. 12). The proverb should be read with an emphasis on the duty of the powerful to respect and protect the rights of the weak. “The LORD gives sight to the eyes of both” means that everyone depends on God for sight. Both the oppressor and the poor have the gift of sight from the same God. God sees and judges both, and his judgment falls on those whose greed or power drives them to oppress the poor
Discipline at Home and in the Nation
29:15–18 Discipline must be maintained at home and in society at large. Verses 15, 17 set up a simple contrast: those who do not discipline their children suffer embarrassment; those who do will be at ease (able to trust their children) and delighted with the children’s growth and accomplishments.
Verse 16a, repeats the idea that as ruthless people come to the forefront, society begins to experience widespread moral decay. Verse 16b, however, gives the assurance that those who stay in the right way will see the fall of evildoers. A contrast between immoral society and the moral individual is more pronounced in v. 18, which establishes the need for people to submit to the word of God. Verse 18 pronounces a blessing on whoever keeps God’s word.
Words and Self Control
29:19–22 Verses 19, 21, reveal that words aren’t enough in correcting some situations in dealing with servants or employees. Workers can become undisciplined and unreliable if some kind of authority and discipline procedure is not established.
People who are quick to speak and lose their tempers are all but hopeless cases. They also cause problems wherever they go (vv. 20, 22).
The First Shall Be Last
29:23 The arrogant will be brought down, and the humble will be lifted up. This recalls Jesus’ saying that the first shall be last and the last first (Matt 19:30; and see Prov 30:21–23 ).
We Can’t Keep Crime a Secret
29:24 According Leviticus 5:1, if someone has direct knowledge of the circumstances of a crime, and is called give testimony about that crime, but fails to do so, then the silent witness will be guilty. This proverb is saying that a thief’s accomplice won’t tell the truth when under oath. So, by his perjury, he will hurt himself.
Fear God and Seek Justice
29:25–26. Someone might be afraid to oppose the unethical actions of a superior out of fear of losing a job. This verse tells the reader to do what is right and trust the outcome to God. Verse 26 does not forbid seeking relief from injustice through the legal system, but it does state that one should place more faith in God than in human institutions.
The Righteous and the Wicked
29:27 This proverb sums up the whole chapter. One must follow one way or the other (Jeremiah 6:16).
Until tomorrow, Darrell