Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 13:1-13 (ESV)
13 A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. 2 From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good, but the desire of the treacherous is for violence. 3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied. 5 The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace. 6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked. 7 One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. 8 The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat. 9 The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 10 By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom. 11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. 13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
This week as we continue our reading of the proverbs of Solomon, we are entering several chapters that have a random quality. Proverbs about wealth are set next to proverbs about wise speech, which are mixed with proverbs about right living. This can be frustrating to modern listeners. As you read or listen to these chapters this week, think of it like putting your hand into a grab bag of mixed candy — lots of delightful treats, all mixed together, whatever you pick is an interesting surprise.
Today’s delightful treats include a powerful teaching about being careful about what we say (vv. 2-3). This teaches that speaking wisely produces good fruits in our lives. Meanwhile, holding our tongue when we are tempted to say something angry or hurtful can preserve our lives, while failing to do this can kill us. Several of today’s proverbs offer insight on wealth. Verse 7 says that you cannot tell who is wealthy by appearances. For instance, your neighbor with a big house and fancy car make be near bankruptcy. Verse 8 says people with money are vulnerable to blackmail, something the poor don’t have to worry about. Verse 11 teaches that quick wealth rarely helps people. We know this is true from the bad outcomes of most of the people who win big in the lottery. Finally, we finish in verse 13 with a reminder that hearing and following God’s word is the best advice of all.