A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (2) From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good, but the desire of the treacherous is for violence. (3) Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (4) The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. (5) The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace. (6) Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked. (7) One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. (8) The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat. (9) The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (10) By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom. (11) Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. (12) Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. (13) Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. (14) The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. (15) Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin. (16) In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly. (17) A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing. (18) Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. (19) A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools. (20) Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (21) Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good. (22) A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. (23) The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice. (24) Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him. (25) The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want. (ESV)
John Gills commentary on some verses :
He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life,…. He that keeps his mouth shut keeps it as with a bridle; keeps it from speaking things of other persons, particularly of such as are in high places, of kings and princes, and civil magistrates: he keeps himself quiet and comfortable; keeps himself from many troubles, which otherwise he would come into; keeps his life from danger, to which it would be exposed, should he speak evil of dignities, or give himself the freedom, as some do, whereby they are brought to an untimely end; see Pro_18:21; besides, persons ought to be careful of their words, since by them a man will either be justified or condemned hereafter, Mat_12:37;
but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction; or “consternation” (x): he that is rash and inconsiderate, hasty with his lips, a talkative man; that speaks freely everything that comes into his mind, regardless of the characters of men, or consequences of things; is often brought into frights and fears, through the menaces and threatenings of men in power, whose characters he has made too free with, and oftentimes is brought to ruin and destruction: so he, whose throat is as an open sepulchre, belching out filthy words, horrid oaths, curses, and imprecations, destruction is near him, even in all his ways; and the man of sin, that opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, and his tabernacle, and his saints, shall go into perdition, Rev_13:5.
The law of the wise is a fountain of life,…. Or “doctrine” (n); the doctrine of those who are taught by the word, and are wise unto salvation; the words or doctrines of the wise, which are given forth by one Shepherd; the instructions of such who are like Scribes, well instructed themselves unto the kingdom of heaven: these are as a fountain of living water; which are the means of quickening dead sinners, and of reviving and refreshing the souls of weary saints; and bring life and immortality to light, and point and lead to eternal life: and so direct souls
to depart from the snares of death; the snares of sin, Satan, and the world, to shun and avoid them; with which men being entangled, are brought to destruction and death.
Good understanding giveth favour,…. A good understanding in things natural and civil gives favour among men; and so a good understanding in divine and spiritual things gives a man favour among religious people, makes him taken notice of by them, and acceptable to them: and such an understanding no man has, unless it be given him; and such appear to have one that do the commandments of God, Psa_111:10. The Israelites, for having and keeping the statutes of the Lord, were accounted by others a wise and an understanding people; and Christ, as man, when he increased in wisdom, grew in favour with God and men. It may be rendered, “good doctrine”, as the Vulgate Latin version, or “right doctrine”, as the Arabic version, “gives grace” (o); is the means of conveying grace into the hearts of men, and of increasing it. What if it should be rendered, “grace gives a good understanding” (p)? since it is certain, that an understanding to know God and Christ is a gift of grace, 1Jo_5:20;
but the way of transgressors is hard; ungrateful and unpleasant to themselves and others; it is a rough and rugged way, in which they stumble and fall; and cannot walk with pleasure themselves, when their consciences are awakened, and they are loaded with guilt, and filled with terror; and must be very disagreeable to those who have seen the evil of them.
Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge,…. In order to get more, and with men of knowledge for the same purpose; all he does is with knowledge and discretion; he does not meddle with things, nor has he to do with persons, he knows nothing of; he both acts and speaks with knowledge, cautiously, wisely, considering well time, place, and persons: and every wise and good man deals with evangelical knowledge, and studies to grow in the knowledge of the Gospel, and the mysteries of it; in the knowledge of Christ, and of God in Christ; the issue of which is life eternal;
but a fool layeth open his folly; or “spreads” (q) it; and exposes it to the view of everyone, by his foolish talk and indiscreet actions.
A wicked messenger falleth into mischief,…. That does not do his errand right, nor deliver his message faithfully; such an one falls from the degree of honour in which he was into disgrace; he loses his master’s favour that sent him; he is degraded from his post and office: he falls “by evil”, or “into evil” (r); by the evil of sin, into the evil of punishment. So wicked ministers and false teachers, such who transform themselves into the apostles of Christ and into angels of light, who corrupt the word of God, and handle it deceitfully; these shall receive their just condemnation; since they do a deal of mischief to the souls of men, and therefore shall fall into mischief themselves, even into everlasting perdition;
but a faithful ambassador is health; or, “an ambassador of truths” (s); one that performs his embassy well and truly, he is salutary, useful, and profitable to himself, and to them that send him: the word for ambassador is translated an “hinge”, Pro_26:14; and he is so called, because upon his negotiations abroad the hinge of political affairs turn at home. An ambassador of Christ, who does his work faithfully, keeps back nothing that is profitable, but declares the whole counsel of God; the sound doctrines he delivers are health to the souls of men; as well as he is approved of God and Christ; and so it turns to his own health and advantage, who will hear one day said unto him, “Well done, good and faithful servant”, Mat_25:23.