The Wisdom of a Nation (Proverbs 14:20 – 35)

This passage continues the litany of comparisons between the wise and the evil.

20 The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor,
But the rich has many friends. 

21 He who despises his neighbor sins;
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. 

22 Do they not go astray who devise evil?
But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good. 

23 In all labor there is profit,
But idle chatter leads only to poverty. 

24 The crown of the wise is their riches,
But the foolishness of fools is folly. 

25 A true witness delivers souls,
But a deceitful witness speaks lies. 

26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence,
And His children will have a place of refuge. 

27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death. 

28 In a multitude of people is a king’s honor,
But in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince. 

29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding,
But he who is impulsive exalts folly. 

30 A sound heart is life to the body,
But envy is rottenness to the bones. 

31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker,
But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

32 The wicked is banished in his wickedness,
But the righteous has a refuge in his death. 

33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding,
But what is in the heart of fools is made known. 

34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people. 

35 The king’s favor is toward a wise servant,
But his wrath is against him who causes shame. 

Here, we see the writer discuss the king quite a bit.  The king is blessed, and the king blesses, in the midst of wisdom.  He again discusses the wisdom in hard work, aqnd foolishness of laziness.  He also utters the well-known words in verse 27, calling the fear of the Lord a fountain of life.  One especially poignant line is found in verse 34, stating that wisdom exalts a nation.  God, help us to exalt wisdom, righteousness, restraint, and hard work as virtues to be pursued.  Let us again seek your face so that we may be healed and rise up as a bastion of Godliness among the nations!

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