Solomon didn’t pull any punches in v. 1! It convicts me of the many times that pride keeps me from wanting correction.
V. 4 emphasizes character as the trait of a wife (or, presumably, a husband). It is more important than fleeting beauty. What could be worse than a decay in your bones?
12 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid.
2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
but the Lord condemns a crafty man.
3 A man cannot be established through wickedness,
but the righteous cannot be uprooted.
4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
5 The plans of the righteous are just,
but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the speech of the upright rescues them.
7 Wicked men are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous stands firm.
8 A man is praised according to his wisdom,
but men with warped minds are despised.
Sadly, our culture has turned v. 8 upside down, where warped things like most rap music are admired and promoted.
9 Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
10 A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal,
but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
There are many pro-animal passages in the Bible.
11 He who works his land will have abundant food,
but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.
Chasing your dreams it good, but tempering them with a little reality is important.
12 The wicked desire the plunder of evil men,
but the root of the righteous flourishes.
13 An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk,
but a righteous man escapes trouble.
14 From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things
as surely as the work of his hands rewards him.
15 The way of a fool seems right to him,
but a wise man listens to advice.
16 A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
I’m always glad when I overlook insults and take the high road . . . I just need to do it a higher percentage of the time now.
17 A truthful witness gives honest testimony,
but a false witness tells lies.
18 Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
20 There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but joy for those who promote peace.
21 No harm befalls the righteous,
but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
22 The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in men who are truthful.
23 A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself,
but the heart of fools blurts out folly.
24 Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in slave labor.
25 An anxious heart weighs a man down,
but a kind word cheers him up.
No matter how much progress I make spiritually, some kind words always make a difference. I try to be intentional and specific in encouraging others as well. When I do prison ministry visits I always look for ways to encourage the believers individually and as a group.
26 A righteous man is cautious in friendship,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 The lazy man does not roast his game,
but the diligent man prizes his possessions.
28 In the way of righteousness there is life;
along that path is immortality.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.