The Lot of the Simple (Proverbs 17:18 – 28)

18 A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes surety for his friend. 19 He who loves transgression loves strife,
And he who exalts his gate seeks destruction. 

20 He who has a deceitful heart finds no good,
And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil. 

21 He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool has no joy. 

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones. 

23 A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back
To pervert the ways of justice. 

24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. 

25 A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her who bore him. 

26 Also, to punish the righteous is not good,
Nor to strike princes for their uprightness. 

27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. 

28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.

This passage full of proverbs primarily discusses the plight of the wicked, or the results of foolish living.  There are a few bright spots, but most of this section of Scripture is doom and gloom.  Don’t co-sign a loan, or you are on the hook.  Sin and pride lead to strife and destruction.  You get the point, here, I am sure.  Deceit leads to trouble.  Living with a foolish family is murder!  Bribes pervert justice.  Foolish children will bring you grief.  The few words that comfort are found in verses 22 and 27-28, where the reader is told that laughter is good medicine, and to keep silent, or at lest spare your words, is wisdom.  The passage here is an argument against foolish, wicked living, and an encouragement to speak only when it makes sense, and be humble.  These simple instructions can save the reader much trouble and also help the believer to have joy and happiness, even in a world full of evil.  Laugh and be merry in the Lord, for He is good!

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