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”

Chapter 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”

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

Chapter 13

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Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

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