1. Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity
than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. – integrity (+poverty) v crooked speech (of a fool).
2. Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. – hasty chasing after one’s desires, causes one to fall off the best way.
3. When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,
his heart rages against the LORD. – I’m ruined because of my foolishness but I rant at God!
4. Wealth brings many new friends,
but a poor man is deserted by his friend. – money buys friends but need drives them away, they don’t want to get involved!
5. A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will not escape. – the false witness and the liar in the end face judgement!
6. Many seek the favour of a generous man,
and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. – do gifts buy real friendship?
7. All a poor man’s brothers hate him;
how much more do his friends go far from him!
He pursues them with words, but does not have them. Does poverty deserve desertion? Neither brothers nor ‘friends’ are prone to come to the aid of a poor man. So often they see the others poverty as a means to gaining more wealth for themselves!
8. Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;
he who keeps understanding will discover good. – getting yourself sorted out leads to a good life!
9. A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will perish. – being truthful, even if it hurts, is by far the best way to live!
10. It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
much less for a slave to rule over princes. – maybe ‘not fitting’ but it happens and frequently leads to a mess.
11. Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offence. – This is so true! To some it comes relatively easily to be calm and forgive – for others it is a lifelong struggle for self-control. Nevertheless it is well worth the struggle.
12. A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion,
but his favour is like dew on the grass. – One hopes to live under a just king or you are walking on egg shells!
13. A foolish son is ruin to his father,
and a wife’s quarrelling is a continual dripping of rain. – living with a quarrelsome wife and foolish kids makes life a hell on earth. Not always, by any means, but you wonder if sometimes the man has lived in such a way that he is reaping the rewards of his own mistakes!
14. House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
but a prudent wife is from the LORD. – you can’t choose those from whom you are going to inherit, but it pays to chose your life’s partner well.
15. Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,
and an idle person will suffer hunger. – we can be thankful for government assistance but slothfulness and idleness do not deserve help, but a good kick in the backside! Can’t work and won’t work are different.
Comment: In relation to no 12 it is worth noting that kings were often over very small groups. Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was titled ‘King of kings’ because he was King over many tribes each of which had their own head called their king. So may be we can think as teachers as if the Head Master is the king of our school etc.