1 A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
As Wiersbe remarks, this verse reminds us of the parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-24).
4 By justice a king gives a country stability,
but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.
5 Whoever flatters his neighbor
is spreading a net for his feet.
6 An evil man is snared by his own sin,
but a righteous one can sing and be glad.
7 The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.
8 Mockers stir up a city,
but wise men turn away anger.
9 If a wise man goes to court with a fool,
the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
10 Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity
and seek to kill the upright.
11 A fool gives full vent to his anger,
but a wise man keeps himself under control.
12 If a ruler listens to lies,
all his officials become wicked.
It is important to ‘tune in’ to how such a proverb works. ‘It does not guarantee, for example, that if you are a government official, you have no choice but to become wicked if your boss (the governor, president, or whoever) listens to some people who do not tell him the truth. It intends to convey a different message: Rulers who want to hear lies instead of the truth will gather people around them who will say what they want to hear. And the end result can be a corrupt government. Thus the ruler who insists on hearing the truth, even though it is painful, helps keep the government honest. The words of the proverb point to this principle in a parabolic way rather than in a literal, technical sense.’ (Fee & Stuart, How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth)
13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common:
The LORD gives sight to the eyes of both.
14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
his throne will always be secure.
15 The rod of correction imparts wisdom,
but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.
16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
but the righteous will see their downfall.
17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace;
he will bring delight to your soul.
18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law.
In the AV: ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish…’ As Jared Wilson remarks, this verse is widely misunderstood and misapplied in the evangelical world. With it we baptise and bless our dreams, our plans, our ‘visions’.
Quoting the entire verse in the ESV helps us to see the true meaning and intent of this proverb: ‘Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.’ Put simply, ‘a nation’s well-being depends on obedience to divine revelation.’ (EBC)
19 A servant cannot be corrected by mere words;
though he understands, he will not respond.
20 Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 If a man pampers his servant from youth,
he will bring grief in the end.
22 An angry man stirs up dissension,
and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
23 A man’s pride brings him low,
but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.
24 The accomplice of a thief is his own enemy;
he is put under oath and dare not testify.
25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.
26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
but it is from the LORD that man gets justice.
27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
the wicked detest the upright