During Hezekiah’s days as king of Judah, he instructed his men to copy a series of Solomon’s proverbs. Those proverbs reflected the king’s righteous life and wisdom. Lessons on humility, patience, forbearance, moderation, reliability and self-control are presented in the first of those proverbs. Jesus also quoted from them during His ministry.
In the next series of proverbs, Solomon pointed out the follies of foolish living and of trying to speak wisdom with a fool. Most of the time, it is best to ignore a fool, but at other times, it is better to correct him. Wisdom allows one to choose the best action. Laziness was spoken against in those proverbs as well as in other parts of the Scriptures. Many years later, the apostle Paul stated that a man who would not work should not eat. Gossiping and tale bearing were strongly condemned. Much strife is caused by the unwise use of the tongue, either by spreading lies or even speaking truth that is no one else’s business. Deceit was also condemned. “A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, And a flattering mouth works ruin.”
Solomon continued to list a vast variety of proverbs that should be taken seriously by those who hear them. One of the greatest annoyances to God is a boastful and haughty person. “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. Let another man praise you and not your own mouth…” The primary sin that had led to the downfall of Israel and would eventually crush Judah was that of looking to self and false gods instead of to the true God in providing for their daily needs and protection from their enemies. Women AND men must exercise restraint when angry and expressing displeasure. Many hearts have been broken and souls placed in jeopardy by the contentious use of the tongue. Care and diligence are necessary in the cultivating of friendships as well as fulfilling one’s responsibilities at home and in his occupation.