Proverbs 22

The Word Made Fresh

1A good name is more valuable than wealth,
and better than silver and gold.
2Both the rich and the poor have this one thing in common:
the LORD made them all.
3Those who are alert see danger and find protection;
those who are simple continue on their way and suffer for it.
4Humility and respect for the LORD
bring success and honor to one’s life.
5Traps and thorns stand in the way of the careless;
but those who are cautious avoid them.
6Teach children the right way to live,
and when they are older, they will not depart from it.
7The rich rule the poor;
the borrower is at the mercy of the lender.
8Those who cheat will get what they deserve,
and anger’s rod will fall upon them.
9Those who give generously are blessed
because they share with the poor.
10If scoffers are driven out, scoffing will be as well;
quarreling and harmful ways will come to an end.
11Those whose hearts are pure and whose speech is gracious
will have their king as a friend.
12The LORD keeps watch over knowledge,
and does away with faithless words.
13The lazy one says, “Oh, no! There is a lion out there!
I’ll be killed if I go into the street!”
14The enticements of a cheating woman are like a deep pit;
those with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it.
15The heart of a young person is wrapped in foolishness,
but can be set free by the rod of discipline.
16If you oppress the poor to make yourself rich,
and then give to the rich, you’ll just lose.
17Here are more saying from those who are wise:
Listen to what I have to say,
and study my teachings.
18Keep them with you and you will be rewarded
if they are at the ready on your lips.
19In order that you may trust in the LORD
I have given them to you today.
20I have written for you thirty wise sayings
full of knowledge and advice
21so you will know what is right, and what is true,
and will be able to return a right answer to those who sent you.
22Don’t rob the poor because they are poor,
and don’t take advantage of those troubled ones at the gate.
23The LORD takes their side,
and punishes those who harm them.
24Don’t make friends with those who have a bad temper,
and don’t associate with hotheaded people.
25You might fall into their ways
and become entangled in their snares.
26Don’t be like those who make promises
and then have to stand behind promises made to others.
27If you don’t have anything with which to pay,
why let your bed be taken?
28Don’t replace any of the ancient landmarks
that were put there by your ancestors.
29Look at those who have great skill in their work;
they will not serve common people, but only kings.


1-2: Good and bad reputations go a long way; the LORD makes them all.

3-5: Remember that, in Proverbs, “clever” is a synonym for intelligent and careful, and the opposite of humility and the fear of the LORD.

6: You will recognize this as the old “train up a child in the way he should go” proverb.

7: One of the many warnings against borrowing.

8: Sometimes there is a reason to be angry, but seldom a good one.

9: Generosity is the way God has given us to bless one another.

10: Avoid strife by avoiding those who bring it.

11: …and this is why the king encourages pure hearts and gracious speech.

12: God protects knowledge by disregarding the faithless.

14: The “loose woman” gets a lot of press – of course, Solomon was an expert, with his seven hundred plus wives.

15: This proverb seems to take it for granted that boys will be boys.

16: Oppress the poor and give to the rich? What folly!

17-21: Solomon’s words ended, we begin a section called “The words of the wise,” perhaps intended as a general collection gathered from various sources. This section supposedly contains 30 proverbs, but it is difficult to delineate the next 70 verses into precisely 30 sayings.

22-23: Putting down those who are poor only results in God’s intervention. The LORD “pleads their cause” for them and punishes those who mistreat them. This is a rather simple view of things, but it does reveal the heart of God.

24-27: Stay away from people who have a temper – it never goes well.

28-29: The chapter ends with these two notes we have seen already numerous times.


Be kind. Be fair. Treat the poor and others beneath you with respect.