The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Proverbs 21

Pro 21:1

See Dan 4:17,35; Gen 20:6 / Psa 105:14,15; Gen 41:37-45; Ezr 1:1 / Neh 1:1; Isa 10:7; Est 6:1,2.

WATERCOURSE: Not a river, but a small irrigation channel -- easily diverted.

"This is another way of saying that God rules in the kingdoms of men, a doctrine found in all parts of Scripture. Even the wicked are used as the divine sword for the punishing of other wicked. The proverb, however suggests more than this. It gives us a glimpse of the process by which the hearts of kings may be turned. It is not by a direct influence such as would make a man into a machine. It is rather as we turn the course of water, placing obstacles here and removing them there to guide the stream as we desire. The Scriptures furnish many illustrations of this principle. The King of Egypt was influenced by that which he saw and heard. The partial success of his magicians hardened his heart. The Syrians were driven from Samaria by the sound as of a host approaching. It was not in the heart of the king of Assyria to perform any work for God, but he was lured by the prospect of spoil and the hope of power. There have been illustrations of this truth in our days, nations deterred by obstacles or encouraged by easy success have taken their proper places in the world; for the heart of the king is still in the hand of the Lord, turned like a stream of water into the channel designed for it" (PrPr).

Pro 21:3

Cp 1Sa 15:22; Isa 1:11; Jer 7:22; Hos 6:6; Mic 6:6-8.

Pro 21:4

LAMP: "Ploughing" in KJV. But by a vowel change, "lamp". Cp usage: Pro 13:9; 24:20. The outwardly bright prosperity of the wicked. Principle of Tit 1:15.

Pro 21:5

The diligent is usually contrasted with slothful, but here with hasty. Cp Heb 12:1; Mat 13:20,21.

Pro 21:6

Cp Judas; Jos 7:21-26; 2Ki 5:21-27.

FLEETING VAPOR: A desert mirage?

Pro 21:9

Better the tempest without than the "tempest" within! Importance of choosing a good wife: Pro 18:22; 19:14; 1Pe 3:4.

Alternate translation (LXX): "...than in plastered (white-washed) rooms with unrighteousness, and in a common (ie unclean) house." Allusion to Temple being unclean: cp Act 23:3.

Pro 21:10

Cp Mat 18:23-35: parable of debtors.

Pro 21:11

The simple must see a demonstration, but the wise will listen to a warning.

Pro 21:12

Ct Psa 73:2-14: an unwise consideration of the wicked. Cp Psa 73:16-22: A wise consideration of the wicked.

Pro 21:13

SHUTS HIS EARS TO THE CRY OF THE POOR: See Pro 29:7; Luk 10:30-32.

Pro 21:15

JOY: "Delight" (Psa 40:8; Joh 4:32-34), an easy yoke (Mat 11:28,29). Ct joy of ungodly, in sport (Pro 10:23; 26:18,19) and in sin (Pro 15:21).

Pro 21:16

COMES TO REST IN THE COMPANY OF THE DEAD: The permanent hold of death on the children of folly, without ref to the resurrection, a mere incident in the way (Xd 35:293). Ct 2Ti 3:14,15; cp 2Pe 2:21; Jam 1:24. Isa 53:6: we are ALL wanderers.

DEAD: "Rephaim": sw Job 26:5; Psa 88:10n; Pro 2:18; 9:18; Isa 14:9; 26:14,19.

Pro 21:17

HE WHO LOVES PLEASURE WILL BECOME POOR: "The way to enjoy pleasure is not to love it, but to live above it." Cp 1Co 7:30,31. "Earthly joys are vain indeed; they MAY leave us; we MUST leave them."

WHOEVER LOVES WINE AND OIL WILL NEVER BE RICH: Examples in Jdg 16:1-21; Luk 15:13-16.

Pro 21:18

RANSOM: Sw "sum of money" / "ransom" in Exo 21:30; 30:12,13. Cp word and usage in Isa 43:3.

Pro 21:20

AND OIL: Cp parable of 10 virgins (Mat 25:1).

Pro 21:21

See Mat 6:33; Phi 3:12-14; 1Ti 4:8; Rom 2:7; Gal 5:23; 2Pe 1:6.

Pro 21:22

A WISE MAN ATTACKS...: "Our warfare", as in 2Co 10:4; cp Luk 14:31,32. "Even in warfare, intelligence and counsel does more than brute strength."

Pro 21:23

Cp Jam 3:5-13; Mat 15:11-20.

Pro 21:25

Mental laziness kills, as does procrastination.

Pro 21:26

THE RIGHTEOUS GIVE: "Freely give" (Mat 10:8). Giving also in showing mercy to others: Mat 6:12; 18:23.

Pro 21:27

Cp 1Sa 15:22; 2Sa 15:7-13; Pro 7:14,15; Rom 6:1; Mat 23:14; Mal 1:7,8.

Pro 21:28

Examples of true witnesses: Rev 3:14; Joh 3:11.

Pro 21:29

See Deu 32:5. Examples: Gen 4:8,9; 2Ki 5:25; Mat 26:47-49; Pro 7:10-13.

Pro 21:30

See Pro 16:33; 19:21; Isa 54:17.

Pro 21:31

THE HORSE IS MADE READY FOR THE DAY OF BATTLE: Do not put confidence in horses: Deu 17:16; Psa 20:7,8; 33:17; 147:10; Isa 31:1; 2Ki 6:14-17. Cp 1Sa 17:45.

VICTORY RESTS WITH THE LORD: Or, as KJV, "Safety is of the LORD."

"Hold fast. All present things will pass. God never changes. The Truth never changes. All evil is temporary. All good is eternal. The present is but for a moment. The future is forever. Regardless of the sorrow, the disappointment, the griefs, the losses, the betrayal of those we trusted, the pettiness of those we respected, the antagonism of those we looked to for friendship, the weakness of those we looked to for strength -- still all is as it should be, all things are working together for good. All we need to do is hold fast in faith, in unwavering assurance, in calm confidence, yea, in thankful joy and cheerful rejoicing. The dross is a mountain: but the gold is but a handful. All we see at present is the mountain: the gold is there, and will endure when all else is gone. Just leave it all to God to work out in His time -- and labor and pray every moment that you may be part of that which at last endures" (GVG).

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