The Righteous and the Wicked (Proverbs 10)

So far, the book of Proverbs may be broadly outlined as follows:

1:1-7 Introduction: Title, Goal, Motto - The fear of the Lord

1:8-9:18 Wisdom poems: A Father's Invitation to (Praise of) Widsom

10:1-29:27 Proverbs proper:
  • 10:1-22:16 From Solomon
  • 22:17-24:34 From Wise Men
  • 25:1-29:27 From Solomon collected by Hezekiah
Proverbs 10:1 opens this section of the proverbs of Solomon (10:1-22:16) with a proper response to the previous section's repeated appeals of a father and a mother (1:8) to be a wise son (1:8-9:18). Chapter 10 is SO LONG (but good); it may be divided into:

10:1-5 Pursue righteousness. "Righteousness" (2b) rather than "treasures" (2a) is the best security because "the Lord does not let the righteous go hungry" (3a). But even though God provides for the righteous, there is no excuse for laziness, for "lazy hands makes a man poor" (4a, NIV). Thus, while poverty is no disgrace, laziness or slackness is (5b). No wise person is ever lazy (5a).

10:6-32 Contrast the righteous and the wicked.

10:6-11 Blessing and "a fountain of life" (11a) is upon the righteous (6a,7a), the wise obey (8a), integrity brings security (9a), but with the wicked and his speech there is violence (6b,11b), rotting (7b), ruin (8b, 10b), shame (9b), and trouble (10a).

10:12 The wicked conceal violence (6b,11b) to deceive others for their own sinful purposes, while the wise in love seeks the good of others, even when personally offended. "Love covers (or conceals) all offenses" (ESV), or "Love covers over all wrongs" (NIV).

10:13 Man--God's mouthpiece or God's mule.

10:14 Proper reticence or reserve--what I need.

10:15 Don't despise money/wealth (in contrast to poverty from laziness). Although they are benefits to wealth, don't place your trust in money.

10:16 Earnings--their use and abuse. Poverty or wealth should not be blamed for the quality of one's life. A man uses money according to his character: as tools for good or ill.

10:17 Stay teacheable, you'll be progressive and not stuck.

10:18 Hatred never wins. The good man will not vent his hate.

10:19-21 Words, good and bad. Use words sparingly (19). Your words are worth what you are worth (20). The righteous get nourishment to feed others; the fool not enough even for himself (21).

10:22 Wealth without sorrow comes from God's blessing.

10:23-25 What no one wants to experience, the wicked do (24). Their basic error is to base everything on the temporal, which the righteous do not (25).

10:26 Lazy people are irritating because they can never be relied upon.

10:27-30 Massive certainty. "Life" (27), "joy" (28), and security (29,30) come from a righteous life, rooted in "the fear of the Lord" (27).

10:31,32 "The mouth (lips) of the righteous" (11,31,32) and "the mouth of the wicked" (6b,11b) frames this part (10:6-32) and concludes by drawing the contrast in focus.