10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended. 11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. 12 The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful. 13 The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!” 14 The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit; a man who is under the LORD’s wrath falls into it. 15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. 16 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich– both come to poverty. (Prov. 22 10-16 NIV)
10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults are ended.
A mocker is a fool who has become hardened in his attitude, and he spurns anything that is wise and godly. The Teacher calls for such a person to be driven out. The NT repeats the same message:
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. (Tit. 3:10-11 NIV)
When churches fail to deal with such people those people are allowed to sap the energy out of the church. A mocker criticises every initiative that the church tries to take, and for the sake of peace the church will avoid dealing with the problem. The Teacher tells us that quarrels and insults will only end when that person is removed.
11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.
This proverb assumes that the king is a godly person and that the king loves what God loves. Any godly citizen who loves purity and wisdom and speaks from a godly heart gracious words that person will have the king as a friend.
12 The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge,
but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.
This proverb teaches us that God is omniscient. The eyes of the Lord keep a watch over those who live in the fear of the Lord and have gained knowledge and wisdom. The words ‘watching over’ suggests that the Lord is guarding and keeping His people. But God also watches the words spoken by the unfaithful wicked people, and He frustrates those words and schemes. As we watch the tide of evil legislation launched in our country, we can see that this evil has not been frustrated but that it has become law. In fact the words spoken by any Christian who dares to raise an objection are frustrated by a barrage of abuse and condemnation. History shows that it is just a matter of time. God is sovereign and faithful. God’s word will be fulfilled in God’s time.
13 The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside!
I’ll be killed in the public square!”
Here the lazy person is seen making ridiculous excuses for his laziness. He doesn’t want to go out and work and so he invents a tale of lions in the street that would kill him. The Teacher chooses a ridiculous example to make the point that these are just excuses. The excuses we come up with for not doing something are usually more plausible. When God calls us to serve Him, we make the excuse that we are not adequate. Of course, that is correct, you are not adequate. But when God calls us to a task, He equips us with all that we need to accomplish that task.
14 The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit;
a man who is under the LORD’s wrath falls into it.
We have not had any mention of the adulteress since we considered the prologue of the Proverbs (chs 1-9). In the prologue we saw how the adulterous woman lured her victims by her enticing words. We have seen the several warnings that have been given:
Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words, (Prov. 2:16 NIV)
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; (Prov. 5:3 NIV)
keeping you from your neighbour’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. (Prov. 6:24 NIV)
They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words. (Prov. 7:5 NIV)
From these earlier warnings we can see how the words of the adulterous woman are like a trap or pit that the naïve can easily fall into. The person who is under God’s wrath is the fool, and that foolish person who refuses to listen to the voice of wisdom walks straight into the trap.
15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
The Teacher reminds us how every child needs discipline. In previous generations, that discipline would involve corporal punishment. Corporal punishment is not wrong, but our society has said it is and there are many stories of how badly corporal punishment was used in an abusive way. The problem arises when society bans corporal punishment, parents may then neglect any form of discipline. There are many effective ways to discipline a child without using corporal punishment.
16 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth
and one who gives gifts to the rich— both come to poverty.
The use of money is a recurring them in Proverbs. In this proverb the Teacher draws our attention to the bad use of money. First is the oppressive way of acquiring money by exploiting the poor. This can be done by paying them low wages, charging them extortionate prices for essential goods or service, or simply not giving the poor the wages they are due. The second bad use is using money to bribe the wealthy. The bribe is with a view to win some favour, a contract or to cover up some injustice. The consequences of such use of money is poverty for the person engaged in such behaviour. The resulting poverty may not necessarily mean financial poverty, they may retain great wealth but a poverty of soul and the lack of ability or opportunity to enjoy such wealth.
Lord forgive us for making excuses to explain why we don’t pray, or why we don’t read Your word. Help us to be ready, whether we feel like it or not, to serve You each day, because we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.