Proverbs 13

The Word Made Fresh

1A wise child accepts discipline;
A foolish child does not listen.
2Good people will have good things to eat because of their words.
Untrustworthy people want nothing but ill gain.
3Those who guard their words prolong their lives.
Those who blabber constantly come to ruin.
4The lazy person craves everything and gains nothing.
The industrious person gains much while craving little.
5Good people hate lies,
but the wicked live by them.
6Righteousness protects the one who lives right,
but sin trips up the wicked.
7Some people pretend to be rich even though they have nothing.
Some people pretend to be poor even though they are quite wealthy.
8Wealth might serve as a ransom for some,
but those who are poor are not threatened.
9The lamp of the righteous dances for joy,
but the lamp of the wicked will die.
10The careless bring on strife through their stubbornness;
but those who accept advice have wisdom.
11Ill gotten gain disappears quickly,
but those who gather a little here and there will increase.
12Hope postponed saddens the heart,
but a desire that is granted is a tree in full bloom.
13Those who hate God’s word bring ruin on themselves,
but those who hold the commandments dear are rewarded.
14Wise teaching is the fountain of life
that helps us avoid the traps set by death.
15A level head gains respect,
but the way of the faithless brings them ruin.
16Those who are clever act with intelligence
while fools only display their foolishness.
17An untrustworthy messenger brings trouble,
but a faithful messenger brings healing.
18Poverty and disgrace await the one who shuns instruction,
while the one who accepts correction gains honor.
19A desire that is granted is sweet,
but fools can’t turn away from evil.
20The one who keeps company with the wise becomes wise,
but the fool’s companion comes to ruin.
21Sinners are pursued by misfortune
while the righteous are rewarded with prosperity.
22Good people leave an inheritance to their children’s children
while the sinner’s wealth is lost to the righteous.
23The fields of the poor produce a good yield
but are often swept away through injustice.
24To spare the rod is to hate the child.
To love the child is to submit them to discipline.
25Those who are good always have enough to eat,
but the stomach of the wicked never has enough.


Most of this chapter follows the “a, but b” format, comparing one kind of life to its opposite.

1: This verse echoes 12:1. Seeing your mistake and appreciating the one who points it out to you is indeed a sign of wisdom. Ignoring good advice is the way of the scoffer.

2-3: Don’t be a loudmouth or talk too much.

4: Moving cleverly from what comes out of the mouth to what goes in it, the reader is advised once again that diligence is the key to prosperity.

5-6: The righteous and the wicked are again compared.

7: The rich don’t always look the part. You can’t judge a book by its cover.

8: On the other hand, being poor has its benefits.

9: The righteous compared to the wicked again.

10: See verse 1.

11: Easy come, easy go.

12: It’s a good day when things go your way.

13-14: Take my advice: take my advice.

15: Hmmm… the opposite of good sense is faithlessness. Interesting.

16: A = A’; B = B’.

17: Ditto.

18: Once again, take my advice.

19: This is an odd pairing, but each one stands alone nicely.

20: “You can tell a man who boozes by the company he chooses.” Or, “Birds of a feather flock together.”

21: Go right and you’ll never go wrong.

22: This is why grandparents are so special.

23: This is the way of the world, unfortunately.

24: Contemporary parenting gurus hate this verse. I won’t argue with them, but corporal punishment was one of my best teachers.

25: Good people are content with what they have. Bad people are never satisfied.


For the most part, Solomon’s proverbs follow a simple pattern – do this, not that. A chapter here would make a boring sermon, but also made a practical guide for the youngsters of the day.