The Word Made Fresh
1Gentle words turn away anger;
harsh words only inflame it.
2Words spoken in wisdom increase knowledge,
while words spoken by fools only dispense foolishness.
3The LORD sees in every place
and watches over both evil and good.
4Gentle speech is like a live tree,
while pigheadedness brings one’s spirits low.
5A parent’s instructions are disregarded by the foolish child,
but the child who accepts correction is wise.
6The good home contains much valuable treasure,
while the wealth of the wicked is always threatened.
7The voice of the wise dispenses knowledge,
but not the thoughts of fools.
8The LORD refuses the sacrifices of those who are wicked,
but is delighted in the prayers of those who are obedient.
9The path followed by wicked people is disgusting,
but the LORD loves those who do well.
10Those who leave the right path are disciplined severely,
but those who refuse correction are lost.
11Death and the grave lie open to the LORD,
but the human heart is more open still.
12The haughty do not like to be corrected
and will refuse to listen to the wise.
13A glad heart is displayed on a cheerful face,
but a sorrowful heart breaks the spirit.
14The understanding mind searches for knowledge
while fools focus on silly things.
15The poor have to struggle each day,
but those with a cheerful heart have a constant reprieve.
16It is better to have little and fear the LORD,
than to possess great treasures with all the trouble they bring.
17It is better to have a simple meal with loved ones
than a fat ox in the company of grumblers.
18Those who are hot-tempered continually stir up dissent,
but those who are slow to anger can bring calm.
19The paths of the lazy are overgrown with briers,
while the paths of those who live right are straight and level.
20A wise child makes its parents glad
while the foolish child despises its parents.
21Foolishness brings delight to those who have no sense,
but the one who has understanding walks at a steady pace.
22Plans fail when no counsel is sought,
but succeed with many advisors.
23A wise answer is joyfully received by everyone,
and a good word at the right time is good indeed!
24Life’s paths lead always upward for those who have wisdom,
and the grave below is avoided.
25The LORD will demolish the home of the one who is proud,
but protect the widow’s boundaries.
26The LORD hates evil plans,
but embraces kind words.
27Those who seek unearned rewards bring trouble to their homes,
while those who hate crooked deals will thrive.
28Those who seek to live right ponder their responses,
but the wicked mouth off without thinking.
29The LORD stays away from the wicked
but always hears the prayers of the good.
30The heart is uplifted when the eyes are alight,
and good news is always refreshing.
31Those who pay attention to corrections
will live in a community of wisdom.
32Those who ignore advice only damage themselves,
while those who pay attention to correction grow in understanding.
33Instruction in wisdom produces respect for the LORD,
because honor always follows humility.
1, 2, 4, 7, 23: These verses contain advice about speech: speak softly with a gentle tone and only when you know what you’re talking about.
3: God watches over us (compare Psalm 139:7).
5: Parental instruction is still one of the keys to wisdom.
6: We might argue with this one, for the wicked are often seen to be wealthy. The difference is between the word “treasure” and “income.” “Treasure” as applied here means that which is gathered and stored over a period of time; “income” is that which is immediate but insecure.
8-9: No matter how extravagant the offering, it is the measure of the heart that provides the value of the gift, and because God loves those who strive to live by God’s law, their offering of prayer is more valuable than any sacrifice made by the one who ignores God’s law.
10: If you accept correction, you may suffer the consequences of your mistakes, but they won’t kill you.
11: Sheol and Abaddon are words that refer to the grave and death. If God knows the mysteries of life after death, it stands to reason that God would know what lies within the human heart as well.
12: It is a common foible of human character not to seek personal improvement, a process which requires having one’s mistakes revealed.
13: A self-evident observation.
14: A fool is someone who majors in minors.
15: Regardless of one’s economic status, a positive, cheerful attitude can make it seem better.
16: Wealth is no substitute for character.
17: A feast is not a feast without a spirit of love at the table.
18: The slow temper is again honored; it is a key ingredient in successfully dealing with conflict.
19: The sin of sloth is treated once again.
20: Honor your mother and your father will be pleased.
21: A better translation would be, “the person with understanding keeps walking.” One with character is not enticed to stop and enjoy foolish things.
22: This is especially good advice for one who has much responsibility; the king, for instance.
24: Onward and upward.
25: The proud, those who think too highly of themselves, will come to grief, but the lowly have a special place in God’s heart.
26: Evil plans are contrary to God’s very nature, but kindness to others as expressed in the way we speak is more like God.
27: In Israelite law a judge could be given a gift for rendering a favorable decision; the problem was that some judges allowed the promise of a gift to sway the decision.
28: The value of a carefully considered response is appreciated.
29: Regardless of how things sometimes appear, believers trust that God attends the faithful more closely than the wicked.
30-31: Eyes and ears are channels for God’s blessings to be perceived.
32: Compare verses 10 and 12.
33: Acquiring wisdom requires a proper respect and awe for God, and one cannot be honorable without being humble before God.
Chapter fifteen is filled with simple advice. Choose a verse or two to carry with you today. You will find it to be a blessing.