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(PART 2)

A detailed study of some great "linking verses" of the Old Testament Book of Wisdom!  Preachers, these texts make great expository messages!



Dr. Bagwell holds an original 1613 King James Bible!


PROVERBS 17:27-28 ...

It is only a two verse paragraph.

But it's a powerful one!

"He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."  Proverbs 17:27-28

There is so much in Proverbs about one's tongue!

Here is an example.

The opening words are even unique!  "He that hath" translates a form of the verb "yada."  And "knowledge" (a noun in Hebrew = "daath") also is derived from a form of "yada!"  So we have a double expression of the same root word ... likely for emphasis!

It is formed something like this:  "He that knows knowledge."  (If one is really intelligent! Or ... for those who are surely knowledgeable!  Or even ... he who is not stupid!)

But what does this brilliant man do (or not do)?

He "spareth his words!"

The verb "spareth" translates "chasak" in Hebrew and means to withhold or to refrain or to reserve or to hinder.  (All these are different ways our King James Version translates "chasak.")  It is even rendered "punished" once!  The verb stem and "time" sense suggest he spares his words every day!

In Proverbs 10:19 "chasak" is translated "refraineth."  "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." 

A "man of understanding" is a man with "tabun."  It means to separate things (spiritually or mentally).  He is one who has the ability to discern according to the Word of God and the Spirit of God!  (From "biyn" = to distinguish!)

And the adjective "excellent" is taken from the Hebrew "yaqar" meaning precious, costly, bright, clear or honourable!  (The root word means to be chilled!  To be cooled!  Then it came to mean to be quiet!)  Here's an Old Testament implication of a quiet spirit!  Peter talks about "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."  1 Peter 3:4

The noun "fool" is that little word again which means spiritually stupid!

To "hold one's peace" is a translation of "charash" and means to scratch, to engrave or to plough!  But ... again in the King James Bible ... it is translated in these ways too:  to cease!  To conceal!  Deaf!  Or to hold the tongue (5 times)!  This is a Hiphil participle.  It demands a CAUSE behind the action!  That cause is by now in Proverbs godly Wisdom!

"Counted" means reckoned or esteemed (root verb = to plait, to interpenetrate ... suggesting the "weaving" of thoughts)!  This is a simple passive verb.  Others consider him to be wise!

"Wise" is the normal Hebrew word for wisdom ("chakam").  Skill in living life from God's point of view!

To "shut" is to make something narrow (narrow lips can not open)!  Or to stop something!  Again, habitual action is being described.

"Lips" is translated "speech" 6 times and "language" 7 times in the King James Bible!

"Understanding" is from "biyn" which we studied earlier in this lesson.  (To be able to see precise levels of meaning in different life situations as guided by the Spirit of God and the Word of God!)


This verse is a Tongue Tamer!

Speak less!

Be quieter!

Folks will think you are wise!

Thank you Solomon (and Holy Spirit) for this Paragraph from Proverbs today!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 18:1-2 ...

The inspired "paragraph" in Proverbs 18 that touched my heart is found in its two opening verses.

"Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.  A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself."  Proverbs 18:1-2

Sister Norma and I also found what we believe is another "paragraph" in chapter 18.

"A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.  A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly."  Proverbs 18:6-8

So ... we can talk about "Wisdom" this Thursday or we can again study "The Tongue."

My heart is drawn toward the first passage.

It answers the great question:  "HOW does one get Wisdom?

It also teaches us that two kinds of people live on this earth.  Those who hunger for Wisdom ... and those who long to "expose" their own hearts!  That means "knowing" not the Wisdom of God ... but the emptiness and vanity of one's self!  (At a most basic level those two longings characterize the godly man ... and the fool!)

Watch the verse again:  "Through DESIRE a man ... intermeddleth with all wisdom." God is telling us that to get wisdom ... one has to desire it strongly!  The noun "desire" is elsewhere in the King James Bible translated (in its verbal root) "lust exceedingly" and "covet greedily!"  That is taking about wanting something pretty intensely!

No Christian will get mega-doses of Wisdom without craving it deeply!

BUT not only will I have to desire Wisdom that much, I also shall have to "separate" myself from some things.  This verb is first used when the  river of Eden "parted" into 4 heads.  It is used in Genesis 10 and 13 when Abraham "parted" from Lot.  It is used in Psalm 22:14 when Jesus' bones are all "out of joint."  Would you have ever thought it?  Separation is a part of gaining real Wisdom!

Even the secondary verb "seeketh" is strong in meaning!  In the King James Bible it is once rendered "begging!"  Or to make "inquisition!"  Or even to "require" something (14 times)!  It's in the Piel stem also.  It pictures very intense action! Also the action (an "imperfect" verb) is not yet complete. This is similar to our present tense!  One must keep on seeking right up to the present moment!

The "intermeddleth" verb ("gala" in Hebrew) means to expose or to lay bare!  I believe the idea is that a wisdom seeker must "open" his heart and allow wisdom to saturate it in all its recesses!  Strip away all hypocrisies and pretensions!  Be sincere and honest and teachable. 

And the noun "wisdom" even is a bit different!  It actually means that which substantiates!  That which supports!  That which helps!  The very word (Hebrew = "tushiyah" --- found 12 times in the whole Bible and rendered "wisdom" 7 of those times) is used in Isaiah 28:20 of God's "workings!"  (Wisdom ... as learning how God works!  The "ways" of God!  Some of those ways are beyond man's finite mind! But some can be known through the Word of God!)

You can have wisdom ... IF you rally WANT it!  God gives it to the HUNGRY soul!

In contrast to the wise man is the fool!  He gets no pleasure ("delight" = "chaphetzs") in understanding (a "cousin" of wisdom)!  His only longing is that his heart may "discover" itself!  That verb (in Hebrew ="galah") also means to uncover, denude, reveal, show ... but often in a lewd ungodly sense!  See Exodus 20:26 or Genesis 9:21 or even Leviticus 18:6!  You will understand what I mean.

The wise man says:  Discover God!  Make Him your lifelong desire!

The fool says:  Discover thyself!  Make YOU your lifelong passion!

I do trust you clearly see the difference!

It also is the difference between Heaven and Hell!

(Knowing God leads to an old rugged Cross where the precious Son of God died for sinners to be saved!)

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 19:11-13 ...

We have been searching for paragraphs of linking verses in the great book of Proverbs.

Some of its 31 chapters are "loaded" with these paragraphs!  Others we have had to skip.  (I could find no linking verses!)

But today I think we've got another jewel!

See if you see a common point in these 3 verses:

"The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.  A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping." Proverbs 19:11-13

I want to show you 3 examples of "anger" in this brief passage.

First of all there is "deferred" anger!

Secondly there is "dangerous" anger!

Lastly there appears "daily" anger!

Let's study them together.

"The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression."  Proverbs 19:11

"Discretion" (in Hebrew = "sekel") means wisdom or prudence or sense!  (The verbal root means "to be circumspect ... therefore alert and intelligent!)

To "defer" (in Hebrew = "arak") means to tarry (to prolong its arrival)!  Its Hiphil stem means there is a cause behind the action!  (One's wisdom delays one's anger!)

And "anger" translates "anaph," meaning extreme rage!  (Its verbal background means to breathe hard!  That mad!)

"Glory" is the Hebrew word for an "ornament" (like the limbs and leaves and fruit) on a tree!  In the King James Version our word here is also translated as beauty, excellence and honor (plus bravery once)!

"Pass over" (in Hebrew = "abar") means to cross over or to march over something. The first time it is used in the Bible (Genesis 8:1) the wind is "passing over" the flood waters to dry them more quickly.

And "transgression" ("pesha") is a sin.  (Root:  To break away!  To revolt!)

Here anger is overlooked ... and the man who has done so is commended of God!

Our second verse today is:

"The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass." Proverbs 19:12

Here is "dangerous" anger!

Wrath (in Hebrew = "zaaph") means extreme indignation!  It is from a verbal background that means "to boil up!"  (It is only used 6 timers in the whole Bible!) Note that number: 6!

"Roaring" is associated with the verb "to growl!" 

It is not safe to confront a roaring lion!

Some kinds of anger are just as dangerous also!

"Favour" (in Hebrew = "ratzson") means delight or pleasure or acceptance!  (To be pleased with!  To satisfy a debt!)  Wow!

"Dew" (in Hebrew = "tal") is translated "dew" all 31 times it appears in Scripture.  It is derived from a verb that means "to strew!"  (To cover with mist!)  In Scripture dew is a symbol of the Holy Spirit of God!

And "grass" comes from the Hebrew term that means to "glisten" or to be green (as is grass or many herbs).

This verse describes an anger that is deadly!

And a grace that is precious!

I believe that there are "salvation" overtones here!

A KING who has satisfied a debt!

WRATH to be avoided!

GRACE to be enjoyed!

Appropriated by the DEW (Holy Spirit)!

Yes ... there can be typology in Proverbs too!

Lastly, we see our third verse with "daily" anger:

"A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping."  Proverbs 19:13

The word for son (in Hebrew = "ben") is from the verb that means "to build!" (To build a family!)

But a "foolish" son is not good building material!  The word means stupid or arrogant in Hebrew (proud)!

"Calamity" translates "havah" and means  mischief or naughtiness or even wickedness.  (One dictionary says it means the "ruin" of something!)

But here comes the anger!

The "contentions" of a wife are (in Hebrew = "midyan") contests or quarrels. (From a verbal root meaning "to sail a straight course!"  Not to be flexible ... not go "give and take" with one's mate!  Stubborn!)

Behind these "fights" are constant bouts of anger!  (Daily mad at something or someone!)

"Wife" is "ishah," the normal Hebrew noun for "woman" also.  (In Hebrew and in Greek the same word is used for woman and for wife.  In their cultures to be a woman was to be a wife.  That's why she was created!  This is a fact that drives feminists today crazy!)

"Continual" comes from a word that means to follow closely or to drive on (constant).  (To pursue or to chase!)

And "dropping" is from the verb "to drip."   It pictures the ultimately nerve wracking "drip ... drip ... drip .... drip ... drip" of a leaking faucet or a roof that is allowing a leak on a rainy day!  (Never ceasing!)

Ladies, pleas note that in the very next verse Solomon mentions a "prudent" wife! Most godly ladies fit into that category.  Thank the Lord!

STAY AWAY from those kinds of anger, dear friend!

WHY, Preacher?

In closing, let's let Solomon answer that too.

"Make no friendship with an angry man (or woman); and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul."  Proverbs 22:24-25

Lord, deliver us from anger!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 20:5,15 AND 27 ...

Once when analyzing the Book of Proverbs I came across a statement that fits so well.

The author (whose name or title I do not remember) said that many of the Proverbs just cannot be grouped into any kind of "paragraph" structure at all.  Instead, he believed, they were arranged like a "string of pearls!"  Just one precious "nugget" after another!  Often with very little topical continuity at all!

But ... I have noticed on many necklaces a "pattern" of some sort.  For example, there may be all white "stones" with an added "red" stone at the beginning, middle and end of the string!

(Not grouped all together necessarily ... but symmetrically arranged in a "pattern!")


Well, I think the Lord has shown me some Proverbs chapters with similar patters!  (Just like that Preacher said:  "A string of pearls!")

Let me try to illustrate.

Proverbs 20 presents a good example.  This "string of Bible pearls" has 30 precious pure white little "pearls" (verses)!  BUT ... verses 5 and 15 and 27 have similarities! Notice that they are near the beginning, the middle and the end of the "string!"  I think I've found 3 "rubies" in a string of "pearls" of Holy Spirit wisdom!

See if you can see any traits shared by all 3 verses.

"Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out."  Proverbs 20:5  (Near the beginning of the chapter!)

"There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel."  Proverbs 20:15  (Near the middle of the chapter!)

"The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly."  Proverbs 20:27  (Near the end of the chapter!)

All 3 verses talk about what's hidden deep in the heart of a wise man or woman! (In his heart ...in his lips ... and in his inward parts!  And Jesus said that even what's in our lips was first in our heart!  "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."  Matthew 12:34)

Let's glance quickly at each verse:

"Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out."  Proverbs 20:5

"Counsel" means advice.  A prudent man will linger around truly wise men and "draw" (bring up) from their hearts and minds treasures of truth as they fellowship! Think how Timothy must have felt as he traveled with Paul!  Young preachers, stay around that godly old saint of the Lord all you can!  He will teach you some things!

"There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel."  Proverbs 20:15 

The word "multitude" means abundance!  The adjective "precious" means honorable or of great price!  When God allows you to be near a man (or woman) of true wisdom ... don't talk a lot!  Listen!  Just listen!  (Or if he's a preacher ... drive a hundred miles if you have to ... to hear him expound the precious Word of God!)  From his lips fall nuggets of truth!  (Note that the "middle" verse DOES contain the word "rubies!")

Lastly, "The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly."  Proverbs 20:27

The word "spirit," means to blow or (as a noun) a wind or a breath.  Your spirit is that inner part of you that can have God consciousness.  The noun "candle" is from a verb that means "to glisten" ... as a lamp does!  "Searching" means to make diligent inquiry, to seek intently!  (God's Holy Spirit uses man's human spirit to commune and examine that man's heart and soul!  I think Romans 8:16 might be an example of this:  "The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.")

Therefore if my spirit is God's tool (via His Holy Spirit) to search me ... I MUST keep my spirit "clean" before God!  (Psalm 51 mentions a broken spirit, a free spirit and a right spirit!) 

Today notice with whom your spirit is communicating!  Be sure It's the Holy Spirit of God!  (Listen to Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:14 ---"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.")

Three short verses.  All tell us where to find some of the precious things of God! Let's go hunting today!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 22:20-21 ...

Study with me another "Paragraph in Proverbs." With the end of the month approaching, we only have a few Proverbs days left!

"Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge.  That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?"  Proverbs 22:20-21

These are the words of a wise father to his son. He has sought to instruct the boy in wisdom and understanding.

But WHY?

And here is the beauty of this text!

It gives us 2 reasons why we are to learn the "words of truth!"

(Just as this earthly father wishes to impart wisdom to his child for these 2 reasons ... the implication here is that our heavenly Father also desires to grant true Wisdom to His children for similar reasons!)

We can "prove" that assumption by consulting other portions of Scripture.

The verb "written" means to inscribe or even to engrave!  (It is a "perfect" verb.  This means the "time" sense here is one of completed action.  The writing is done!  How very true that is of the precious Word of God!  It is a completed Book!  Do not be looking for a new "Psalm" or "Epistle" to appear!)

The word used for "excellent" is unusual.  It's the Hebrew word ("shaliysh") that means three!  (Triple!)  It could be I believe a hint of a Triune Authorship of the dear Word of God!  (The liberals would say that I'm reading too much into the text!  But that IS what the word means!)  "Shaliysh" is translated in our King James Bibles as: captain (11 times), lord (4 times), great measure (1 time), prince (1 time) and even "instrument of music" (1 time)!  This does not include our "excellent" term here (1 time)!  It's a high and noble word!

"Counsels" is a noun ("moetzsah") that means purposes or plans or advice!  It is only found 7 times in the whole Old Testament!  Six of those times the wicked are walking in their own counsels!  Only here it is used in a godly sense! (See Psalm 5:11 and 81:13 plus Proverbs 1:31 and Jeremiah 7:24 and Hosea 11:6 and Micah 6:16!)

And "knowledge" is a noun ("daath" from "yada") which comes from a verb meaning to have perception or awareness!  It can mean anything from casual knowledge to intimate thorough knowledge.  Jesus said this to His Father in John 17:3 --- "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Now here are the two purposes of such teaching ("writing"): 

1.  That the student might be made to know the certainty of the words of truth!

2.  And that he might be able to answer (with words of truth) those who have questions (concerning his belief)!


That's almost exactly what Peter later said in 1 Peter 3:15 --- "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."

Let's notice a few "key" words!

"Make thee to know" is "yada" again!  But here it's in the Hiphil stem.  That is the "causative" stem for verbs in Hebrew.  God will not MAKE US TO KNOW anything without a reason!  No doubt one of those reasons is the relationship He shares with us via the Blood of Jesus!  He is our FATHER!  We are His CHILDREN!  Another reason is His amazing Grace!  He does not HAVE to teach us anything!  He does so through love and mercy and kindness!

"Certainly" translates "qoshet" and is derived from a verb that means to balance.  It's only found 2 times in the whole Bible!  Here it is translated "certainty" and in Psalm 60:4 it is translated "truth!"  Here we have perfectly "balanced" truth!  (Just the right emphasis in every area!)

"Words of Truth" translate "emer emeth" in Hebrew.  "Emer" is from the key verb "amar" meaning to speak or to talk.  It usually emphasizes the act of speaking rather that just the content of what is expressed!  This then is communicated truth! Living Truth!  Holy Spirit enlivened and illuminated Truth!  Truth is a noun that has three letters.  (tma)  Again, it is "emeth."  It starts with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and ends with the last letter!  Whoever Truth is ... He's the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega!  Praise God, I know Him!  He is Jesus the Son of God!  (Truth in Hebrew is that which builds up and supports one in every situation!)  It can even mean faithfulness or stability too!

"That thou mightest answer"  is of course a verb.   "Shub" means to turn  or deliver or render back to someone (here an answer to a question)!  The word is translated "answer" 18 times in the King James Version.  It is another Hiphil (a "cause" is behind the action) infinitive.  The infinitive suggests that the action is on-going in nature.  It is not a completed thing yet!  (We are to spend our lives knowing Truth and answering others who wish to know It!)

"Words of truth" is again "emer emeth."  What a great Title for the Bible!  ("Turn in the Word of Truth to ...!)  Daniel once calls it the "Scripture of Truth!"  See Daniel 10:21.

"Send" is a verb meaning to send away for!  To send out for!  (Its first use is in Genesis 3:22 where God feared that now fallen mankind might "put forth" his hand and eat of the tree of life!  Lost man has been reaching out ever since!)  BUT here he is reaching out for the right thing!  For the Words of Truth!  And we Christians had best be able to give that Truth back to the seeking sinner! 

We know Truth that we might make Truth known to others!  To others who ask for it!

What a paragraph on the purpose of Godly leaning and knowledge!

Christian friends, today ask God to make you more CERTAIN than ever of His precious Word!

Then ask Him to bring someone to you this week ... someone who is seeking that very Truth of which you are so sure!

Then answer them clearly!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 24:13-14 ...

Are you getting tired of Proverbs yet? 

I never dreamed that we would stay in this great Old Testament Book of Wisdom for so long!

This is the twentieth (20th) Paragraph we have studied together! 

Since the month of August is nearly over, we are about to the end of Proverbs!  (Sister Norma and I have a "study project" each month.)

Today the Lord has laid Proverbs 24:13-14 on my heart.

"My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off."

The verses present to us an analogy (a comparison) between honey and wisdom!

The noun "honey" (in Hebrew = "dabash") means originally "gummy" or sticky!  The first honey mentioned in the Bible was a gift from Jacob to his son Joseph in Egypt! See Genesis 43:11.  Canaan is a land flowing with "milk and honey!" 

The verb "eat" (in Hebrew = "akal") means to consume or to devour!  Here it is in the Qal stem (active voice) and the imperative mood (expressing a command from God)! No one can enjoy the sweetness and derive the strength from honey without internalizing it!  One must eat it!

"Because" is in Hebrew "kiy" which is a preposition indicating a "causal" relationship. 

The parallel noun "honeycomb" is "nopheth" and is only found 5 times in the whole Bible!  It is initially from a verb that means to quiver or to shake ... then to drip or drop.  It likely pictures honey that is flowing from some rock or out of the honeycomb itself!  This is "moving" honey!  This could be similar to the fact that in Scripture there is "still" (not in motion) water and "moving" (or "springing") water!

Both the honey and the honeycomb are described also.  One is "good" and the other is "sweet." 

"Good" translates "tob" in Hebrew and has a very wide range of Biblical meaning!  It, being an adjective, has a property that's called in English "degree."  (Positive, comparative and superlative!)  Hence "tob" is translated in the King James Bible "good and better and best!"  It is also rendered:  well, merry, fair, prosperous, precious, wealthy, beautiful, favourable and glad!  (Wow!)

While "sweet" translates "mathoq" and means (in its original stem ... a verb) to suck or to relish!  This is picturing one who licks a candy "sucker" for example.  (12 Bible occurrences ... all translated as sweet or sweetness in some fashion)

"Taste" is a noun the Jews used to describe the inside (palate) of the mouth.  It is "roof of the mouth" 5 times in the Old Testament.

"So" is another adverb ("ken" in Hebrew) that means therefore or thus or so or just so.

The "knowledge of wisdom" (Hebrew = "yada chakmah") suggests knowing something out of admiration or respect (not like having to know the square roots of certain numbers in math for example)!  And wisdom is skill at living a godly life! (Seeing life from God's point of view!)

The text obviously portrays wisdom as something that must be sought!  For it says "when thou has found it!"  To "find" translates "matzsa" and means to befall or to get or to hold or even to hit upon!  It's a simple active verb (Qal stem) and has a "perfect" sense of timing ... a completed action is being described!  For example when one gets saved ... he or she finds Wisdom!  When one learns the Bible he also finds Wisdom! 

With wisdom comes a "reward!"  This noun ("achariyth") means the end or the hindermost of something.  (The after part)  It suggests the last or posterity of something.  Its first Bible use is in Genesis 49:1 where it is rendered as "last days."

(Is he saying the longer one is around wisdom ... the better it gets?)

"Expectation" means "hope" (23 times) in the Bible and is worded "the thing that I long for" once!

And "cut off" means destroyed or hewed to pieces!

Real wisdom will not disappoint! 

One reason these promises are so sure is this.  Real Wisdom is Jesus!  Once one is saved by the Grace of God ("washed in the Blood of the Lamb") he will go to Heaven when he dies!  That alone is Reward!  And, if truly saved, one can know his eternal destiny for sure!

We've noticed yet another paragraph with the promises of wisdom dripping from it everywhere! 

Praise the Lord!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 25:6-7, 8, 9-10 and 21 ...

Let's look at Proverbs chapter 25 for a while.

It just may be the most important chapter in the whole Book!

Now why would a preacher say that?

Because Jesus either quoted to referred to it more than any other chapter in Proverbs!  (The Book has 31 chapters in total!)

Let me explain.

I'll begin by showing you Proverbs 25:6-7.

"Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen."

Now listen to Jesus in Luke 20:46 --- "Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts."

Both situations talk about folks who put themselves into prominent places! (Egotism!)  Both put a "negative" emphasis upon self assertion!  Both either openly or by inference recommend humility.

Not convinced?  Here's more.

In Luke 14:8-10 Jesus also says:  "When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.   But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee."

Now that's a direct reference to Proverbs 25:6-7!

Now let's look at Proverbs 25:8.  "Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame."

Listen to Jesus in Matthew 5:25 --- "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison."

I say there is agreement between those two words of advice (Solomon in Proverbs and Jesus in Matthew!)

Or read Proverbs 25:9-10.  "Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away." 

Now again listen to Jesus.  "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother."  Matthew 18:15

Jesus is re-wording the Proverbs text to fit a precise situation!

And listen to Proverbs 25:21.  "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink."  

Is Jesus not referring to this when He teaches:  "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."  (Matthew 5:43-44)  Or notice Luke 6:27-28.  "But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you."

And Paul the Apostle (who may be quoting Jesus) says:  "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."  Romans 12:20

We have just found 4 different times Jesus quoted or alluded to Proverbs 25 in His short public ministry!

Therefore I can say this:  Perhaps Proverbs 25 was one of the Bible's most influential chapters in the life of our Lord!  (Based on frequency of usage!)

(By His words we can also tell that Jesus loved Deuteronomy, Psalms and Isaiah too!)

Our dear Lord was a "Bible" Man!

So ... dear Christian friend, do NOT let the devil tell you that the Proverbs are unimportant!  No!  No!  If they were important to Jesus ... they should be important to us!  (And if Jesus preached from them ... so should we!)

(Let's all re-read Proverbs 25 today or tomorrow!) 

You will be glad you did!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 26:3-12 ...

See if you can see a "theme" in this paragraph of Scripture from the great Book of Proverbs.

"A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.  Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.  He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.  The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.  As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.  As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.  The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.  As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.  Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him."  Proverbs 26:3-12

Ten times in one paragraph we see the "fool" mentioned!

And in each case, the Hebrew word is the same, "kaciyl." 

Well, there's "proof" for the existence of groups of verses, even in the section of Proverbs that mostly consists of individual nuggets of precious Bible truth!

That noun for "fool" is derived from a verb that means "to be fat."  (This is not a weight situation in the physical sense however.)  It is a spiritual sluggishness, a laziness in the realm of the divine.  In Scripture the word seems to imply the man or woman who lacks spiritual understanding.  I believe you can see what I mean in Psalm 92:5-6.   "O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this."  Or see Psalm 94:8 which says:  "Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?"

But really the two verses that have caught my eye today are:

"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."  (Proverbs 26:4-5)

How many of us have been asked about these?

They pose one of the problems of Bible interpretation.

It appears that they are contradictory.

BUT they are not.

Each verse presents and beautifully handles a different purpose regarding the fool and the wise man.

Verse 4:  "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him."

There are occasions when it is unwise to even be around a fool!  Don't even talk to Him!  He might unduly influence you!  (The "angry" man can so impact you too!  "Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:  lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul."  Proverbs 22:24-25  See the danger?)

Hezekiah refused to answer the foolish Assyrians!  "For the king's commandment was, saying, Answer him not."  2 Kings 18:36

Jeremiah refused to answer the false prophets of his day (at least on this occasion)! "And Hananiah spake in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon from the neck of all nations within the space of two full years. And the prophet Jeremiah went his way."  Jeremiah 28:11

And Jesus absolutely refused to speak to wicked King Herod!  "And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.  Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing."  Luke 23:8-9

However, the time may come when one is forced to answer the fool.  Then do so ...

"Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."  (Verse 5)

Job's answer to his discouraged wife may be an example.  "But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."  Job 2:9-10

Or John the Baptist's answer to the hypocrites of his day!  ("He said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" Matthew 3:7)

Or Jesus' sermon to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:27-28.  "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

Fools must be stoutly rebuked or they will never be "shaken" out of their silliness and their sinfulness!  They NEED to be accosted!

Dear Lord, give us wisdom to know WHEN to speak ... and WHEN to be silent! Teach us how to give that "word fitly spoken" mentioned in Proverbs 25:11.  Give us the "tongue of the learned" that Jesus had!  (Isaiah 50:4)

"Let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer."  Psalm 19:14

The rest of today's verses say ...

Verse 3 --- "A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back."  Just like an animal needs a whip or a bridle to handle its natural rebellion ... so does a fool need a rod to control his sinful ways of life!

Verse 6 --- "He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage."  You can't really trust a fool to deliver accurate information.  He will twist or "spin" it to his own liking!

Verse 7 --- "The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools."  Neither can a fool handle symbolic and analytical material ... especially in the area of God's precious Word!  Are there some fools in the pulpits of America today?  If so, we may be sure that no real truth is being preached!  They are incapable of it!

Verse 8 --- "As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool."  Just as tying a rock in the sling (of a sling-shot) will cause it to "backfire" on the shooter ... so will he that honors a fool get harm!

Verse 9 --- "As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools."  Just like a fool (now intoxicated) will hurt himself (and not even know it) with a sharp instrument ... so will the lost religious man when armed with a little pointed (Bible) truth!  Many dangerous "points" have wrongly been lifted from the Bible!  Here's a classic example of twisting the Scriptures!  Peter speaks of this crown in 2 Peter 3:16 where he mentions:  "Which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

Verse 10 --- "The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors."  While it may seem that fools go unpunished (in fact ... are rewarded), God will judge them some day!

Verse 11 --- "As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly."  Fools become addicted to their own evil ways and filthy habits!  It becomes second nature to them!  They, even if reformed, will not stay faithful!

And verse 12 --- "Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him."  Yet even with all this ... there still can be "hope" for a fool.  God can change him!  (Even more easily that a vainly proud man can be changed!  In fact proud people can't even be saved!  One has to be humbled to bow before God and trust Him for salvation!)

What an amazing array of verses ... all from one chapter ... even all from one paragraph ... and all about the fool!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



PROVERBS 30:18-20 ...

We have all enjoyed reading those "lists" at the end of Proverbs.

Here's one of them for an example:

"There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:  The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.  Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness."  Proverbs 30:18-20

I needed to include verse 20 because its opening words "Such is the way of ..." prove linkage to the earlier 2 verses.

The verb translated "are too wonderful" is derived from the Hebrew word "pala."  It means marvelous, surpassing, or even hard (to understand)! 

What was so thrilling to Solomon?

Now for the answer to that ... let's  notice this "list" in our paragraph.

"An eagle in the air" uses the common Hebrew term for each word.  The noun for "air" is translated "heaven or heavens" 398 times and "air" only 21 times in the King James Bible.  This eagle is somehow associated with the heavens!

"A serpent on a rock" is again grammatically plain.  The noun for "rock" however is twice translated as "God" in the King James Old Testament!

"A ship in the midst of the sea" is another sublime sight to Solomon.  The word "midst" is "leb" in Hebrew and means the "heart" of something.

And "a man with a maid" uses the noun "geber" which means  a strong man, a warrior, a victor!  The noun for "maid" is "almah" ... the Old Testament Hebrew word for "virgin!"

(Amazingly, we may have here a veiled reference to the coming Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ!)

The EAGLE is a picture of Jesus!  He is in the heavens!  He has keen eyesight!  He has excessive strength!  The storms just help him soar.  He is associated with long life!  His home is lofty and secure!

The SERPENT AND THE ROCK picture Him too!  (Now, don't get mad.  Wait just a second!)  The serpent in the wilderness ... on a brass pole ... is a picture of Jesus being made sin for us ... so we could be made the righteousness of God in Him!  See Numbers 21 and 2 Corinthians 5:21.  And the ROCK is a favorite Bible type of Jesus!  Strike the Rock, Moses ... and water flowed forth! 

The SHIP in the sea symbolizes Jesus too.  He is our ark of safety!  He will get us home!  Those old ships navigated by keeping their eyes on the heavens too!  And the "wind" is all that moved them!  (Wind = a type of the Holy Spirit!)

Then the MAN (a warrior, a victor) is Jesus for sure!  The "maid" (a virgin") is the Church, the Bride of Christ!  Think of what Christ did to woo and win His bride!

Truly wonderful!

BUT there is another truth embedded in these verses.

We must analyze verse 20 also.  It is grammatically associated with our verses. "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness." 

"Such" ("ken") is a Hebrew adverb but is here serving as what we would call in English a conjunction, a connecting word.

Our verse teaches us that just as the flight of an eagle is natural to him and just as the serpent habitually suns on the rock for warmth and just as the ship regularly sails the seas and a man passionately pursues a maid ... so the adulterous woman casually sins and believes her escapades to be no more than ... eating another meal! Just second nature to her!  She "wipes her mouth" and declares her innocence!

Think of the comparison between eating a meal and committing adultery! 

Listen to this woman again in Proverbs 9:17 as she talks of her last affair:  "Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant."  Again, adultery is like a delicious meal!

This surely reveals a light, trivial attitude toward sin!

But I had best be careful!

How dare I compare verses that so clearly picture Jesus with a concluding verse that accents sin?

I'll tell you how!

JESUS the sinless Saviour came to die for sin and sinners!

He came to give this poor old adulteress (and her adulterating partner, the man) a MEAL that so far surpasses their "stolen morsels" they will forget them!

Rib Eye steak makes one tend to forget bologna!


What a paragraph from Proverbs today!

Solomon is a skilful writer (make that a Spirit led writer)!

We are glad you have visited us again today ... with a Bible open and in your hand!

What a Book we have to study!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




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