Proverbs Picture

Ralph Wardlaw


Lectures on the Book of Proverbs

Scottish Preacher and Theologian




Ralph Wardlaw was an eloquent preacher, one of the most eminent ministers in the Scottish Congregationalist church. He was also an able theologian and prolific writer. His commentary on Proverbs is one that all readers will find most uplifting.

His commentary was published in two volumes. These excerpts are from volume one, which has 482 pages and ends with Proverbs 14:24. We have selected sections that are particularly helpful and practical, and will continue posting selected proverbs until the table is complete.

The full bibliographic information is as follows: Ralph Wardlaw, Lectures on the Book of Proverbs, vol. I (A. Fullarton & Co., 1869).

Click the link to read Wardlaw's comments on the specified proverb. Note: The text has not been modified, except for some condensation and light paraphrasing for clarity. Also, punctuation and KJV ­era pronouns and verb forms have been modernized, long paragraphs have been divided, and the NKJV has been used for most quotations.

Chapter 1

1:5 -- "A wise man will hear and increase learning"
1:7 -- "The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of knowledge"
1:9 -- "Honor Yahweh with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase"
1:10-16 -- "If sinners entice you, do not consent"
1:24-31 -- "Then they will call on me, but I will not answer"

Chapter 2

2:1-5 -- "If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of Yahweh"

Chapter 3

3:3-4 -- "Let not mercy and truth forsake you"
3:11-12 -- "Do not despise the chastening of Yahweh"
3:16 -- "Length of days is in her right hand"

Chapter 4

4:12 -- "When you walk, your steps will not be hindered"
4:14-15 -- "Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil"

Chapters 5, 7

5:3-11 -- "For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. . . . Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one; lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner; and you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed"

Chapter 6

6:6-11 -- "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise"
6:16-19 -- "These six things Yahweh hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren"

Chapter 8

8:1 -- "Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice?"
8:24 -- "When there were no depths I was brought forth"
8:30,31 -- "Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was daily His delight"

Chapter 9

9:7-12 -- "He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself, and he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself. Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you; rebuke a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. . . . If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, and if you scoff, you will bear it alone"

Chapter 10

10:1 -- "A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother"
10:14 -- "The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near"
10:15 -- "The rich man's wealth is his strong city; the destruction of the poor is their poverty"

Chapter 11

11:12 -- "He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace"
11:13 -- "A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter"
11:29 -- "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart"

Chapter 12

12:15-16 -- "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise"
12:23 -- "A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness"
12:28 -- "In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death"

Chapter 13

13:7 -- "There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; and one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches"
13:10 -- "By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom"
13:22-23 -- "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous"

Chapter 14

14:12 -- "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death"
14:17 -- "A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated"
14:24 -- "The crown of the wise is their riches, but the foolishness of fools is folly"
14:30 -- "A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones"
14:35 -- "The king's favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame"

Chapter 15

15:3 -- "The eyes of Yahweh are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good"
15:19 -- "The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway"
15:26 -- "The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to Yahweh, but the words of the pure are pleasant"

Chapter 16

16:4 -- "Yahweh has made all things for himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of evil"
16:12 -- "It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established by righteousness"
16:20 -- "He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in Yahweh, happy is he"
16:32 -- "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city"

Chapter 17

17:12 -- "Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly"
17:17 -- "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity"
17:22 -- "A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones"
17:24 -- "Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth"

Chapter 18

18:19 -- "A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a castle"
18:24 -- "A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother"

Chapter 19

19:2 -- "Also it is not good for a soul to be without knowledge, and he sins who hastens with his feet"
19:21 -- "There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless Yahweh's counsel--that will stand"
19:22 -- "What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar"

Chapter 20

20:1 -- "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whososever is deceived thereby is not wise"

Chapter 20 (continued)

20:3 -- "It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel"
20:17 -- "Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel"

Chapter 21

21:1 -- "The king's heart is in the hand of Yahweh, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes"
21:4 -- "A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin"
21:12 -- "The righteous man wisely considers the house of the wicked, but God overthrows the wicked for their wickedness"
21:18 -- "The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright"
21:23 -- "Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles"

Chapter 22

22:3 -- "A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished"
22:24-25 -- "Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul"

Chapter 23

23:5 -- "Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven"
23:6-8 -- "Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies"
23:9 -- "Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words"
23:23 -- "Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding"

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