Proverbs 27:17–27 (NKJV)
17 As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
18 Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit;
So he who waits on his master will be honored.
19 As in water face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man.
20 Hell and Destruction are never full;
So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
21 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.
22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds;
24 For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
25 When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
26 The lambs will provide your clothing,
And the goats the price of a field;
27 You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,
For the food of your household,
And the nourishment of your maidservants.
The wisdom of this passage is varied. Relationships, hard work, cravings, and diligence all come to the table for discussion. Friends–good friends–should press one another to greatness. They should sharpen one another like two hard substances. Those who work a fruit tree or serve their supervisor well will be fed and honored. A man’s heart will betray his true intentions and feelings. The cravings of a man are endless, never fulfilled to the point of satisfaction. Wise men should be refined by the critique of others. Foolishness can be an undeniable and indelible trait, never leaving an individual, no matter how many warnings or punishments try to thwart the foolishness of the fool. Finally, the writer encourages businessmen, farmers, and even homeowners to be diligent, careful, and hardworking. Riches are not forever, so lay up for the future and plan wisely. Just as food comes in its season, and then you need to rely on your stores and your lamb and goats, a man or woman needs to plan for their future and not be caught short-handed or short-funded. Be wise and live off the good of your labors all your days. Wisdom will make you whole. Live well!