The contrast of the upright and the wicked.



As we begin today, perhaps you will find it beneficial to understand the “big picture” of Proverbs.  The Book can be broken down into three divisions (II Tim. 2:15).  These divisions can be identified by the three times Solomon identifies himself as the author of Proverbs.


•Division One – Proverbs 1-9

•Division Two – Proverbs 10-24

•Division Three – Proverbs 25-31


As we find ourselves in today’s reading in that second “division” (Prov. 10-24), there are actually 375 actual Proverbs connected in one of three types of “couplets”:


      1. CONTRASTIVE (The “couplet” in these Proverbs is normally

           identified by the word “BUT”.)

         The intent is to catch your attention and present a truth

           by the compact presentation of some striking contrast, as

           in “The lips of the righteous feed many: BUT fools die for

           want of wisdom”(Prov. 10:21). 


      2. COMPLETIVE (The “couplet’ in these Proverbs is normally

           identified by the word “AND”.)

           The second line of the Proverb agrees with the first, and

           often adds to it, as in “In the fear of the Lord is strong

           confidence: AND his children shall have a place of

           refuge”  (Prov. 14:26).


      3. COMPARATIVE (The “couplet” in these Proverbs is normally

           identified by the word “THAN”.)

         The focus in these Proverbs is often to what actually is

           the more excellent of the two, as in “Better is  a little

           with righteousness, THAN great revenues with right”

           (Prov. 16:8).


Chapter 13 begins, “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction…”  Remember Solomon’s son was Rehoboam.  He had hoped, like any father, that his son would receive instruction.  Solomon longed for his own son to be “BRANDED” by:

   1. Proper living (13:2, 3)

   2. Honesty (13:5)

   3. His legacy (13:22)

   4. The Word of God (13:13,14)

   5. The desire to acquire knowledge (13:15,16)

   6. Love (13:24)


There are those times in Proverbs when a verse or a word seems to stand out more than others; vs. 13 in chapter 13 is such a verse.  “Whoso despised the word shall be destroyed: But he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded”.  This chapter has much to say about listening more than talking, “A man shall eat good by the by the fruit of his mouth” (vs. 2); “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life” (vs. 3).  If this son had been a good listener in verse 1, he would experience none of the negativity mentioned in the rest of the chapter.  If we would follow the admonition of verse 20, it alone would change the course of destiny:  “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:  but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”


Women are given good advice in the first verse of chapter fourteen. When her choice is to take matters into her own hands she has fallen for the tempter’s bait, much like Eve in the first confrontation with the god of all evil.  He still starts with a question, “hath God said, Ye shall not”— (remember, “Don’t answer a fool according to his folly”!) If you don’t know what God hath said on any given subject, that will be the area of temptation.  See Matt. 4; the example of Jesus. His response was, “It is written”... then He quoted the Word of God.  Verses 12 and 15 of this chapter would be great verses to hide in your heart!


Good advice for all of us to heed is found in 15:1. Oh, how much we could improve our daily situations with a “soft answer”.  The all-seeing eye of God (vs. 3), should be motivation enough.  How can anyone train themselves to answer softly in such a stressed environment?  The answer is closer than you may think! Look at first the verse in the next chapter for the answer!


If you are quick to answer, especially in anger, you might consider the first three verses in chapter 16, and commit them to memory.



As the ONE Who punishes the proud – Prov. 16:5.  (Luke 14:11)


As the FRIEND that sticks closer than a brother –  Prov. 18:24. (John 15:14-15; Heb. 13:5)