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Proverbs 14-24

Proverbs 14-24…Choosing friends.

Cultural proverbs are a storehouse of community wisdom. For example, here are several proverbs about friendship: “It is better to be in chains with friends, than to be in a garden with strangers” (Persian). “Hold a true friend with both your hands” (Nigerian). “The death of a friend is equivalent to the loss of a limb” (German). And, “When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends” (Japanese).

Proverbs 13 likewise advises, “walk with the wise and become wise” (Pr 13:20). Friendship is a key area in which wisdom can be seen. To choose the right friend both shows character and develops it. Another area in which wisdom can be seen is in how a person responds to friendly advice and instruction. To fail to heed correction is proud (Pr 13:1). To take offense or start a quarrel is foolish (v. 10). The wise do not make these mistakes.

The content of Proverbs covers every area of life. Similarly, the literary form of the proverb is quite broad. A proverb might be a general maxim, such as the comment that righteousness tends to be blessed and wickedness is not (Pr 13:25). It might be explicit moral instruction—a wise person acts one way, a fool another (Pr 13:16). It might be an observation on a psychological or emotional event: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” (Pr 13:12).

More than a few proverbs offer practical economic counsel, such as that the best way to save is slowly but surely (Pr 13:11). Many offer consequences-based moral exhortations or warnings, as in Pr 13:3: “Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.”


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