13. If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
14. A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15. An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16. A man’s gift makes room for him
and brings him before the great.
17. The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
18. The lot puts an end to quarrels
and decides between powerful contenders.
19. A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarrelling is like the bars of a castle.
20.From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21. Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22. He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favour from the LORD.
23. The poor use entreaties,
but the rich answer roughly.
24. A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Comment: Do you ever wish that you had done some things differently as your family was growing up? Picking one or two proverbs after the evening meal and discussing them would have been very profitable. Not only helping the members to appreciate words but discovering the truths which often come at two levels. All our kids have left home and they have the responsibility of bringing up their own families, I only hope and pray that they have found a way to make learning foundational truths a pleasure for their own children.
- 13. If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. An earlier one reads something like ‘some think you’re a bit of a fool be careful not to open you mouth and prove you are.’ Obviously someone has to be the first in a discussion but lots of things can be gained by letting someone else speak first. There will be new facts which you might discover; you can see the character and attitudes of the others in the group which will guide you as to how to present what you have to say. You might even decide to play no part in the discussion. After all there is not much point in throwing pearls to pigs. That is a harsh saying but wise!
- 14. A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? My mother used to say ‘stick and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you.’ This may be a good saying to stop your kids responding to verbal abuse but in reality it is wrong. ‘Stick and stones can only break your bones but names will really hurt you’ – is the sad reality of life. How damaging is verbal bullying. Sadly there is a considerable incidence of suicide among youth today because of broken spirits.
- 21. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. This seems to be a follow on of no 14. A potentate can order a death sentence but a bully can do the same, as seen above! I wish that Solomon had explained a bit more about what he meant by ‘eating the fruit thereof’. You may have thoughts about ‘those who love it will eat its fruits’. I suspect that people can get to love the power of their tongues. Ordering death gives the taste of power and victory; Giving life brings an entirely different flavour – one of thankfulness and fulfilment.
- 24. A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. May I prove to be the friend who sticks closer than a brother. I have several like that and how I appreciate them!
Prayer: I still have lots to learn, please keep me teachable!