Proverbs Chapter 13
Proverbs 13:1 “A wise son [heareth] his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”
A wise son will take advantage of the knowledge his own father has already accumulated and will accept instruction from his father. A boy’s father cares what happens to his son. He wants only the best for him. In fact, he wants his son to have a better life than he has had himself. If a son could learn this and take instruction from the father, he would be very wise indeed.
In the Old Testament, a rebellious son was to be taken to the edge of the city and stoned to death. This was a drastic measure, but I believe we are to see in that lesson that a person who will not be instructed is headed for destruction. Loving parents rebuke their children when they are in error. If the child does not learn from the rebuke, they are headed for serious trouble. The rod of correction can drive rebellion far from a child.
Proverbs 13:2 “A man shall eat good by the fruit of [his] mouth: but the soul of the transgressors [shall eat] violence.”
We see here, once more, a contrast between the people who live good wholesome lives and those who live worldly lives. In the “eat good by the fruit of his mouth”, we see the words of a person can tell a whole lot about who and what they are.
In this and the next verse the parallels are implied. A man of good words prospers, but a man of evil words provokes violence against himself.
Proverbs 13:3 “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: [but] he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.”
Many times, the best thing to do is to just not say anything. It is much better to not say anything than it is to say something hurtful and then regret it forever. The tongue can be a deadly weapon.
Proverbs 13:4 “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and [hath] nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
The sluggard (lazy person) has plenty of time to sit around and wish for things that he or she is too lazy to work for and get. The diligent (worker who does not quit), will have the desires of his heart, because he will do enough work to acquire his needs.
Proverbs 13:5-6 “A righteous [man] hateth lying: but a wicked [man] is loathsome, and cometh to shame.” “Righteousness keepeth [him that is] upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.”
This “righteous man” (in right standing with God), is against all evil actions. Lying, cheating, stealing, and dealing falsely are all well associated. Usually if a person does one of these, he does all of these. People who are living for God despise all of these.
This loathsome person brings shame on himself and all who associate with him. These two verses are very similar in meaning. In verse 6, we see again that those who want to please God, and walk uprightly before Him. Wickedness brings no honor, just problems. If a person continues in wickedness, he will wind up in jail; or worse, out of touch with God.
Proverbs 13:7 “There is that maketh himself rich, yet [hath] nothing: [there is] that maketh himself poor, yet [hath] great riches.”
We see here someone who appears to be rich but is, in fact, poor and someone appearing to be poor who is rich. There are two ways to look at this. The first instance would be a man who really doesn’t have anything putting up a front and pretending to be rich. He might be trying to impress someone for selfish gain. We all know people like that.
Another way to look at this is someone who really has great wealth in this world but is greedy and never does any good for anyone. We could call him very poor, because he has not stored up anything in heaven. The second man could be someone who is always pretending to have nothing and all the time he is very rich. We commonly call him someone who “poor mouths”.
From the spiritual point, we see here a man who is constantly giving what he has to those less fortunate and actually gives all that he has away. This man has stored great wealth in heaven.
Proverbs 13:8 “The ransom of a man’s life [are] his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.”
I see in this Scripture that sometimes those who have worked hard and accumulated a little of this world’s wealth are hated by jealous people. The poor are never spoken evil of because there is nothing to be jealous of.
We could also see in this that riches can sometimes purchase a lawyer to help or can redeem us from some problem. Riches, if they are used in a godly way, can be a blessing to you and those around you. Sometimes a poor man would like to help, but doesn’t have the money.
Proverbs 13:9 “The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.”
Here, I see that those living upright lives love the light. They are not ashamed of the life they live. They rejoice in the Lord. The wicked are ashamed and need the cover of darkness to hide in.
This image of life, prosperity and joy is contrasted with adversity and then death.
Proverbs 13:10 “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised [is] wisdom.”
The proud spurn the advice given from others while the wise accept it.
“Contention” here means strife. Being too proud can cause us to take offense at what someone says when they really didn’t mean any harm. Pride is not pleasing to God when it hurts someone else. People with pride are not teachable. On the other hand, we see that the wise are eager to learn and become wiser for it.
Proverbs 13:11 “Wealth [gotten] by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increase.”
We see here, someone who quickly gains wealth by being crooked will not be able to keep his wealth, because God will not bless him in this. A modern saying of this is “easy come, easy go”. We see this so much in our society today with the drug peddlers. They may make a lot of money, but it is very seldom you see one of them who is able to keep it.
The best wealth is that which you work for and save a little here and a little there. You appreciate it and will be able to keep some of it, if you work for it and are generous to give to those in need. God will bless you and prosper you even more.
Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life.”
We see here, a person looking forward to something happening and it seems to be longer and longer in coming. This will cause you to be heart sick, because you feel it will never happen. Many of us have had this experience praying for people. We pray and pray and nothing happens. It seems our prayers have been futile. When the person does come to the Lord, we rejoice greatly.
When the desire of heart (whatever it is) comes about, it seems as though it gives us a brand new life.
Proverbs 13:13 “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”
The Word of God teaches us the way to have eternal life. Without the Word, there is only death facing us. Jesus is the Word of God. “Word … Commandment”, are terms referring to divine revelation.
John 1:1-4 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,” “The same was in the beginning with God.” “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” “In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
Really, to read about the Word bringing life, read all of John 1. There is no question that God speaks to us in His Word. There is no question that there is Life in His Word. There is no question that without the Word leading and guiding our lives, there lies ahead only death.
Proverbs Chapter 13 Questions
1. A scorner heareth not ___________.
2. What kind of life does a father want for his son?
3. In the Old Testament, a rebellious son was ____________.
4. What can drive rebellion from a child?
5. What is meant by the fruit of his mouth?
6. What is meant by “transgressors shall eat violence”?
7. In verse 3, we are told that a person who opens his lips wide shall see what?
8. What part of the body can be a deadly weapon?
9. What is a sluggard?
10. What can the diligent worker expect of life?
11. A righteous man hates what?
12. What overthroweth the sinner?
13. What other sins generally accompany lying?
14. This loathsome person brings shame to whom?
15. What is worse than being in jail?
16. In verse 7, who is the truly rich?
17. The ransom of a man’s life is what?
18. Why are the poor not rebuked?
19. What will happen to the lamp of the wicked?
20. Why do the righteous love the light?
21. What brings contention?
22. What does “contention” mean in verse 10?
23. What will happen to wealth gotten through vanity?
24. What two things are necessary for God to be pleased with your wealth?
25. What does hope deferred do to you?
26. When you receive the desire of your heart, what is it like to you?
27. What is a “hope deferred” that most Christians have experienced?
28. What happens to those who despise the Word?
29. Who will be rewarded in verse 13?
30. Who is the Word?
31. What does the Word bring us?