Sunday, October 23, 2016

PROVERBS 17-21 | Treasures from God’s Word: week starting October 24-30

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BIBLICAL TEXTS AND REFERENCES: TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD | PROVERBS 17-21

“PURSUE PEACE WITH OTHERS”: (10 MIN.)

Peace among Jehovah’s people is no accident. When disagreements arise, emotions may be very strong, but counsel from God’s Word is stronger still.
When facing difficulties, faithful Christians pursue peace by . . .
19:11
• remaining calm
18:13, 17
• making sure they have all the facts before responding
17:9
• lovingly forgiving the transgression

Pr 19:11—Remain calm if you are offended (w14 12/1 12-13)

New World Translation Proverbs 19:11
11 The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger,
And it is beauty on his part to overlook an offense.
• The Watchtower (2014) “The Insight of a Man Certainly Slows Down His Anger”
“The Insight of a Man Certainly Slows Down His Anger”
A college basketball coach is fired because of his uncontrolled anger.
A child throws a temper tantrum for not getting his way.
A mother gets into a shouting match with her son because of his messy room.
ALL of us have seen people get angry, and no doubt we ourselves have become irate at one time or another. While we may view anger as a negative emotion that should be suppressed, we often feel that we have a valid reason to be upset, especially when someone appears to overstep our sense of justice. An article by the American Psychological Association even suggests that “anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion.”
Such a view may seem plausible when we consider what the Christian apostle Paul wrote under divine inspiration. Acknowledging that there may be times when people become angry, he said: “Be wrathful, but do not sin; do not let the sun set while you are still angry.” (Ephesians 4:26) In view of this, should we vent our anger, or should we do what we can to control it?
SHOULD YOU GET ANGRY?
When Paul gave that counsel about anger, he apparently had in mind the words of the psalmist who wrote: “Be agitated, but do not sin.” (Psalm 4:4) What, though, was the intent of Paul’s inspired admonition? He went on to explain: “Put away from yourselves every kind of malicious bitterness, anger, wrath, screaming, and abusive speech, as well as everything injurious.” (Ephesians 4:31) Paul was in fact encouraging Christians to avoid giving vent to anger. Interestingly, the American Psychological Association article goes on to say: “Research has found that ‘letting it rip’ with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you . . . resolve the situation.”
How, then, can we “put away” anger and all its bad effects? Wise King Solomon of ancient Israel wrote: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11) How does “the insight of a man” help when rage wells up within him?
HOW INSIGHT SLOWS DOWN ANGER
Insight is the ability to see into a situation. To have insight means to see beyond the surface of a matter. How does that help when we are offended or provoked?
When we see an injustice, we may well become indignant. However, if we follow our emotions and react violently, we may end up hurting ourselves or someone else. Just as an uncontrolled fire can burn down a house, the flare of anger may destroy our reputation and our relationships with others, even with God. So when we feel anger welling up inside us, it is time to take a deeper look into the situation. Seeing a more complete picture of what is happening will surely help us to control our emotions.
Solomon’s father, King David, narrowly escaped incurring bloodguilt in connection with a man named Nabal, thanks to David’s being helped to see into the situation. David and his men protected Nabal’s sheep in the Judean wilderness. When the time came for shearing the flock, David asked Nabal for some provisions. At that, Nabal answered: “Do I have to take my bread and my water and the meat that I butchered for my shearers and give it to men who come from who knows where?” What an insult! When David heard those words, he, with some 400 men, set out to annihilate Nabal and his household.—1 Samuel 25:4-13.
Nabal’s wife, Abigail, learned about the incident and went out to see David. Upon meeting David and his men, she fell at his feet and said: “Let your servant girl speak to you, and listen to the words of your servant girl.” Then, she explained to David how senseless Nabal was and pointed out that David would regret taking revenge and shedding blood.—1 Samuel 25:24-31.
What insight did David gain from Abigail’s words that helped to defuse the tense situation? First, he saw that Nabal was a senseless man by nature, and second, David saw that he could incur bloodguilt if he avenged himself. Like David, you may be infuriated by something. What should you do? “Take a few moments to breathe deeply and count to 10,” suggests a Mayo Clinic article on anger management. Yes, stop and think what the cause of the problem is and what the consequences of your intended action might be. Let insight slow down your anger—even dispel it.—1 Samuel 25:32-35.
In a similar way, many today have been helped to control their anger. Sebastian explained how, as a 23-year-old inmate in a Polish prison, he learned to control his temper and strong emotions through a study of the Bible. “First, I think about the problem,” he said. “Then, I try to apply the Bible’s counsel. I found that the Bible is the best guidebook.”
Setsuo followed basically the same tactic. He said: “I used to shout at others when I was irritated by them at work. Now that I’ve studied the Bible, instead of shouting I ask myself: ‘Who is at fault anyway? Am I not the one causing the problem?’” Thinking about such questions slowed down his anger, and he was able to contain the strong feelings that welled up in his heart.
The emotion of anger may be very strong, but counsel from God’s Word is stronger still. By applying the Bible’s wise counsel and praying for God’s help, you too can let your insight slow down or control your anger.

Pr 18:13, 17; 21:13—Make sure you have all the facts (w11 8/15 30 ¶11-14)

New World Translation Proverbs 18:13
13 When anyone replies to a matter before he hears the facts,
It is foolish and humiliating.
New World Translation Proverbs 18:17
17 The first to state his case seems right,
Until the other party comes and cross-examines him.
New World Translation Proverbs 21:13
13 Whoever stops up his ear to the cry of the lowly one
Will himself call and not be answered.
The Watchtower (2011) Pursue Peace
11. What care should an elder exercise if a Christian wants to talk to him about a dispute with a fellow believer?
11 What if a Christian wants to talk to an elder about a problem he or she is having with a relative or with a fellow believer? Proverbs 21:13 states: “Anyone stopping up his ear from the complaining cry of the lowly one, he himself also will call and not be answered.” An elder would certainly not ‘stop up his ear.’ However, another proverb warns: “The first to state his case seems right, until his opponent begins to cross-examine him.” (Prov. 18:17, New English Translation) An elder should listen kindly, but he needs to be careful not to take sides with the one reporting the offense. After listening to the matter, he would likely ask whether the offended party has spoken to the one who caused the upset. The elder may also review Scriptural steps that the offended one can take to pursue peace.
12. Cite examples showing the danger of acting hastily after hearing a complaint.
12 Three Biblical examples underscore the danger of acting hastily after hearing only one side of a controversy. Potiphar believed his wife’s story that Joseph had tried to rape her. With unjustified anger, Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison. (Gen. 39:19, 20) King David believed Ziba, who said that his master, Mephibosheth, had sided with David’s enemies. “Look! Yours is everything that belongs to Mephibosheth” was David’s hasty response. (2 Sam. 16:4; 19:25-27) King Artaxerxes was told that the Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and were about to rebel against the Persian Empire. The king believed the false report and ordered that all rebuilding in Jerusalem cease. As a result, the Jews stopped work on God’s temple. (Ezra 4:11-13, 23, 24) Christian elders wisely follow Paul’s counsel to Timothy to avoid making premature judgments.—Read 1 Timothy 5:21.
13, 14. (a) All of us have what limitations respecting the disputes of others? (b) What help do elders have in making correct judgments respecting fellow believers?
13 Even when it seems that both sides of a dispute have come to light, it is important to realize that “if anyone thinks he has acquired knowledge of something, he does not yet know it just as he ought to know it.” (1 Cor. 8:2) Do we really know all the details that led up to the dispute? Can we fully understand the backgrounds of the individuals involved? When called upon to judge, how vital it is that elders not let themselves be deceived by falsehood, clever tactics, or rumors! God’s appointed Judge, Jesus Christ, judges righteously. He does not “judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears.” (Isa. 11:3, 4) Rather, Jesus is guided by Jehovah’s spirit. Christian elders likewise have the benefit of being guided by God’s holy spirit.
14 Before they make judgments respecting fellow believers, elders need to pray for the help of Jehovah’s spirit and depend on its guidance by consulting God’s Word and the publications of the faithful and discreet slave class.—Matt. 24:45.

Pr 17:9—Lovingly forgive the transgression (w11 8/15 31 ¶17)

New World Translation Proverbs 17:9
9 Whoever forgives a transgression seeks love,
But the one who keeps harping on a matter separates close friends.
The Watchtower (2011) Pursue Peace
17. All Christians play what part in pursuing peace?
17 Most disputes between brothers do not involve serious wrongdoing that requires judicial action. How good it is, therefore, lovingly to cover over the mistakes of others. “The one covering over transgression is seeking love,” says God’s Word, “and he that keeps talking about a matter is separating those familiar with one another.” (Prov. 17:9) Complying with those words will help all of us to preserve peace in the congregation and maintain a good relationship with Jehovah.—Matt. 6:14, 15.

DIGGING FOR SPIRITUAL GEMS: (8 MIN.)

Pr 17:5—What is one reason why we must choose our entertainment wisely? (w10 11/15 6 ¶17; w10 11/15 31 ¶15)

New World Translation Proverbs 17:5
5 Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker,
And whoever rejoices over another’s disaster will not go unpunished.
The Watchtower (2010) Young Ones—Be Guided by God’s Word
17. What questions could you ask yourself when choosing entertainment?
17 To remain loyal to God when you are by yourself, you must develop your “perceptive powers . . . to distinguish both right and wrong” and then train those powers “through use” by acting on what you know is right. (Heb. 5:14) For example, when choosing the music you listen to, the movies you watch, or the Internet sites that you visit, here is what will help you choose what is right and avoid what is wrong. Ask yourself the following questions: ‘Will this material encourage me to be tenderly compassionate or will it influence me to rejoice “at another’s disaster”?’ (Prov. 17:5) ‘Will it help me to “love what is good” or will it make it difficult for me to “hate what is bad”?’ (Amos 5:15) What you do when you are alone reveals the values you really treasure.—Luke 6:45.
The Watchtower (2010) We Shall Walk in Our Integrity!
15. Why is it wrong to rejoice when calamity befalls someone hating us?
15 Upright Job never rejoiced if calamity befell someone hating him. A later proverb warns: “When your enemy falls, do not rejoice; and when he is caused to stumble, may your heart not be joyful, that Jehovah may not see and it be bad in his eyes and he certainly turn back his anger from against him.” (Prov. 24:17, 18) Since Jehovah can read the heart, he knows if we are secretly rejoicing over another person’s calamity and surely does not approve of such an attitude. (Prov. 17:5) God may deal with us accordingly, for he says: “Vengeance is mine, and retribution.”—Deut. 32:35.

Pr 20:25—How does this principle apply to courtship and marriage? (w09 5/15 15-16 ¶12-13)

New World Translation Proverbs 20:25
25 It is a snare for a man to cry out rashly, “Holy!”
And only later to give consideration to what he vowed.
The Watchtower (2009) Youths—Make Your Advancement Manifest
12. Why should a Christian considering marriage apply the principle found at Proverbs 20:25?
12 Some young adults have rushed into marriage, believing that it is the solution to unhappiness, loneliness, boredom, and problems at home. However, the exchanging of marriage vows is a serious matter. Some in Bible times rashly made a sacred, or holy, vow without carefully analyzing what was involved. (Read Proverbs 20:25.) At times, young adults do not seriously consider the demands of marriage. Later, they find that much more is involved than they had realized.
13. What questions should those contemplating courtship consider, and what helpful advice is available to them?
13 So before pursuing a courtship, ask yourself: ‘Why do I want to get married? What expectations do I have? Is this the right person for me? What can I bring to a marriage?’ To help you make an insightful examination, “the faithful and discreet slave” has published very specific articles. (Matt. 24:45-47) View such material as advice that Jehovah is giving you. Carefully evaluate what is stated there and apply it. Never allow yourself to become “like a horse or mule without understanding.” (Ps. 32:8, 9) Become full-grown in your understanding of the demands of marriage. If you feel that you are ready to pursue a courtship, always remember to be “an example . . . in chasteness.”—1 Tim. 4:12.

What does this week’s Bible reading teach me about Jehovah?

What points from this week’s Bible reading can I use in the field ministry?

PROVERBS 17-21 | SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR PERSONAL COMMENTS

PROVERBS 17:3)
“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But Jehovah is the examiner of hearts.”
it-2 p. 764 Refine, Refiner
Gold frequently has silver with it in varying amounts. How these were separated in Bible times is not known, but a distinction in the methods of treating the two seems to be noted in Proverbs 17:3 and 27:21: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold.” Nitric acid was evidently not discovered until the ninth century C.E.; so, previously gold was purified by other means. For example, if lead was present with the gold, the impurities could be fluxed off as a slag while the gold would be held by the lead. Then by slowly boiling off the lead (an operation known as cupelling) pure gold would remain behind. This process requires considerable skill, for if the temperature is too high or the boiling off too rapid, the gold is carried away with the lead. The operator learns to judge and control the refining by the color of the molten metal. (Compare Ps 12:6; Jer 6:28-30; Eze 22:18-22.) The use of lye in the refining of silver is alluded to in the Scriptures.—Mal 3:2, 3.
g90 8/8 p. 12 How Can I Pick a Decent Movie?
Do you want to be clean in the eyes of the Examiner of hearts, Jehovah God? (Proverbs 17:3) Then be careful of what you take into your heart. Avoid unnecessarily exposing yourself to uncalled-for violence, to sexual exploitation, or to filthy language; these can only dull your sense of what is right and corrupt your heart.
PROVERBS 17:9)
“Whoever forgives a transgression seeks love, But the one who keeps harping on a matter separates close friends.”
it-1 p. 990 Gossip, Slander
It may be someone’s faults and mistakes that the gossiper is talking about. But even if the things said are true, the gossiper is in the wrong and reveals lack of love. The proverb says: “The one covering over transgression is seeking love, and he that keeps talking about a matter is separating those familiar with one another.”—Pr 17:9.
PROVERBS 17:10)
“A rebuke makes a deeper impression on one having understanding Than striking a stupid person a hundred times.”
it-2 p. 1141 Understanding
Because he is an understanding person, he is ready to listen, discerns the basis for the reproof, and benefits by it more than a stupid one would from a hundred strokes.—Pr 17:10; compare 29:19.
PROVERBS 17:14)
“Beginning a fight is like opening a floodgate; Before the quarrel breaks out, take your leave.”
g02 2/8 p. 24 What Is Provoking the Age of Rage?
Frank Donovan, in his book Dealing With Anger—Self-Help Solutions for Men, recommends: “Escaping anger—or, more specifically, escaping the scene and other people in your angry episode—is a strategy which has special importance and value at the higher levels of anger.”
Proverbs 17:14 “The beginning of contention is as one letting out waters; so before the quarrel has burst forth, take your leave.”
ba p. 26 A Practical Book for Modern Living
“The beginning of contention is as one letting out waters; so before the quarrel has burst forth, take your leave.” (Proverbs 17:14) It is wise to remove yourself from a volatile situation before you lose your temper.
PROVERBS 17:17)
“A true friend shows love at all times, And is a brother who is born for times of distress.”
w11 7/1 p. 8 A Meaningful Life—Now and Forever
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.”—PROVERBS 17:17.
Shared troubles can be much easier to bear. English essayist Francis Bacon wrote that for those without true friends, “the world is but a wilderness.” Having true friends—and being a good friend—can make life more bearable for you; it can be beautiful and satisfying.
w05 8/1 pp. 6-7 The Bible Can Help You Find Joy
“A true companion is loving all the time, and is a brother that is born for when there is distress.” (Proverbs 17:17) Confiding in a loved one or in a trusted counselor can help us get a grip on negative feelings and put them out of the way before they overwhelm us. Speaking with others can help us to see things from a balanced, positive viewpoint. “Talking things out helps a lot,” admits Simone. “You need to tell someone how you’re feeling. Often just getting it out is all that’s needed.” Doing so will help you experience the truthfulness of the proverb that says: “Anxious care in the heart of a man is what will cause it to bow down, but the good word is what makes it rejoice.”—Proverbs 12:25.
PROVERBS 17:18)
“A man lacking good sense shakes hands and agrees To put up security in the presence of his neighbor.”
it-1 p. 217 Attitudes and Gestures
Agreement, Sharing Together. Handshaking and striking the palms of the hands were gestures employed to express agreement, ratification, or confirmation of a contract or bargain. (Ezr 10:19) The Scriptures warn against doing this in guaranteeing security of a loan for another person. (Pr 6:1-3; 17:18; 22:26)
it-1 p. 1058 Heart
Another proverb says: “A man that is wanting in heart [“lacking sense,” Ro] shakes hands [a gesture used to ratify an agreement], going full surety before his companion.” (Pr 17:18) Perhaps swayed by sentimentality, such a man enters an agreement that could well result in loss of money and serious economic hardship for him. Though he may be well-intentioned or have praiseworthy motives, he nonetheless betrays a lack of good judgment.
PROVERBS 17:19)
“The one who loves conflict loves transgression. Anyone who makes his entryway high invites a crash.”
w93 5/15 p. 30 Avoid a Haughty Spirit!
Avoid a Haughty Spirit!
A wise Bible proverb says: “Anyone making his entryway high is seeking a crash.” (Proverbs 17:19) What is wrong with a high entryway? And what is the main point of this proverb?
IN ancient times individuals and marauding bands on horseback were not uncommon. Unprotected homes in open country were vulnerable to thieves. To prevent the theft of their possessions, some homeowners built a wall with a special gate. The wall was high, but the gateway was low. In fact, some were no more than three feet [1 m] high—too low for entry by a horse and its rider. Those who did not make the entryway to their courts low risked having men on horseback ride in and plunder their goods.
In cities courtyard entryways were generally low and unattractive, giving no indication of wealth that might lie within a walled compound. However, in Persia a lofty gate was one of the signs of royalty, which some subjects tried to imitate at great risk. Anyone that made a high gate for his house was inviting robbery because of his show of prosperity.
Proverbs 17:19 thus shows that those making their entryway high are courting disaster by prizing themselves above their real worth. This proverb could also allude to the mouth as an entryway raised high by boastful and arrogant speech. Such talk fosters strife and can eventually lead the proud person to disaster. How wise it is, then, to avoid a haughty spirit!
[Picture Credit Line on page 30]
Picturesque Palestine, Sinai and Egypt, Volume 1, by Colonel Wilson (1881)
w87 5/15 p. 29 Fear Jehovah and You Will Be Happy
♦ 17:19—What is wrong with a high entryway?
Those who did not make the doors to their houses and courts low risked having men on horseback ride in and take their goods. This proverb could also allude to the mouth as an entryway raised high by arrogant speech and boasting. Such talk fosters strife and eventually leads to disaster.
PROVERBS 17:22)
“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a crushed spirit saps one’s strength.”
it-1 pp. 632-633 Diseases and Treatment
The Scriptures recognize the psychosomatic principle, though only in relatively recent times have medical researchers in general become aware that there is some connection between pathological conditions in the body and a person’s emotional state. Proverbs 17:22 states: “A heart that is joyful does good as a curer, but a spirit that is stricken makes the bones dry.” Such emotions as envy, fear, greed, hate, and selfish ambition are injurious, whereas good and sometimes remedial effects are produced through cultivating and displaying love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, and self-control, the fruitage of God’s spirit. (Ga 5:22, 23)
g 8/11 p. 29 Wisdom for Heart and Health
Similar positive effects spring from a joyful heart. Dr. Derek Cox, a health official in Scotland, stated in a BBC News report: “If you are happy you are likely in the future to have less in the way of physical illness than those who are unhappy.” The same report stated: “Happier people also have greater protection against things like heart disease and stroke.”
g 8/11 p. 29 Wisdom for Heart and Health
“A heart that is joyful does good as a curer.”—PROVERBS 17:22.
g00 8/8 p. 8 When Chemicals Make You Sick
Also important are a good mental disposition and a sense of humor, along with being loved and showing love to others. In fact, “love and laughter” is the prescription one doctor gives all her MCS patients. Yes, “a heart that is joyful does good as a curer.”—Proverbs 17:22.
g97 6/22 p. 25 How Can I Cope With Being So Sick?
Proverbs 17:22 says: “A heart that is joyful does good as a curer.” Some might feel that laughter is inappropriate in the face of serious illness. But good-natured humor and pleasant company refresh your mind and increase your will to live. In fact, joy is a godly quality, one of the fruits of God’s spirit. (Galatians 5:22) That spirit can help you feel joy even though you are fighting an illness.—Psalm 41:3.
g94 5/22 pp. 26-27 Put Humor Into Your Life
Humor and Your Health
Properly used, humor has much value. In fact, evidence is slowly accumulating that laughter may even serve as a therapeutic tool. It is known that the act of laughing gives a healthy massage to one’s internal organs. Furthermore, according to American Health magazine, some “researchers think laughter may empower the immune system.” The magazine then quotes immunologist Lee S. Berk as saying: “Negative emotions can manipulate the immune system, and it now seems positive ones can do something similar.” This underscores the wisdom of the Bible’s words: “A heart that is joyful does good as a curer.”—Proverbs 17:22.
w93 3/15 p. 22 Why a Complainer’s Lot Is Not a Happy One
As wise King Solomon once observed, “a heart that is joyful does good as a curer, but a spirit that is stricken makes the bones dry.” (Proverbs 17:22) A complaining spirit drains us emotionally and takes away our joy. It reflects pessimism, not optimism. But those who learn to think and speak about ‘praiseworthy things’ have a joyful heart, which may even make them feel better.—Philippians 4:8.
g91 3/8 p. 9 Visiting a Patient—How to Help
Do not come with a gloomy or solemn face, even if it seems that the patient’s condition is not good. “A heart that is joyful does good as a curer,” says the wise writer of Proverbs, “but a spirit that is stricken makes the bones dry.” (Proverbs 17:22)
w90 3/1 p. 4 You Can Find Joy in a Depressing World!
Since ‘a stricken spirit makes the bones dry,’ or undermines one’s very being, feelings of low self-esteem are often at the root of serious depression. (Proverbs 17:22) Pain of heart might also be brought on by too great a concern about how others view us, perfectionism, unresolved anger, resentment, unsettled conflicts with others, or guilt (real or exaggerated).
PROVERBS 17:23)
“A wicked man will take a bribe in secret To pervert the course of justice.”
it-1 p. 366 Bribe
The expressions “a bribe from the bosom” and “a bribe in the bosom” can be better understood when considering that in Hebrew the word “bosom” may also refer to the fold of a garment above the belt. Therefore, these expressions indicate that the bribe apparently was hidden in the upper fold of the garment and then given in secrecy to another who, in turn, likewise concealed it.—Pr 17:23; 21:14; see GIFTS, PRESENTS.
PROVERBS 17:24)
“Wisdom is directly in front of the discerning person, But the eyes of the stupid wander to the ends of the earth.”
it-1 p. 790 Eye
The stupid one is said to have his eyes “at the extremity of the earth,” wandering here and there without any fixed object, his thoughts being everywhere except where they ought to be. (Pr 17:24)
it-2 p. 1140 Understanding
The person who is rightly motivated seeks understanding, not out of mere curiosity or to exalt himself, but for the very purpose of acting in wisdom; ‘wisdom is before his face.’ (Pr 17:24; see WISDOM.)
w06 9/15 p. 19 par. 10 Highlights From the Book of Proverbs
17:24. Unlike “the stupid one,” whose eyes and mind wander instead of being focused on important matters, we should seek understanding so that we can act in wisdom.
PROVERBS 17:27)
“A man of knowledge restrains his words, And a discerning man will remain calm.”
w97 3/15 p. 14 par. 9 Incline Your Heart to Discernment
9 If we do become angry, discernment may indicate that we should keep quiet so as to avoid a conflagration. Proverbs 17:27 says: “Anyone holding back his sayings is possessed of knowledge, and a man of discernment is cool of spirit.” Discernment and brotherly love will help us to see the need to control an urge to blurt out something hurtful. If an outburst of anger has already occurred, love and humility will move us to apologize and make amends. But suppose someone has offended us. Then let us speak to him alone in a mild and humble way and with the principal objective of promoting peace.—Matthew 5:23, 24; 18:15-17.
w90 9/15 pp. 21-22 Control Your Spirit!
Be Cool of Spirit
Another proverb says: “Anyone holding back his sayings is possessed of knowledge, and a man of discernment is cool of spirit.” (Proverbs 17:27) A person possessing knowledge of God’s Word ‘holds back his sayings’ and does not let his words fly freely, in a torrent, especially when he is perturbed. Aware of his relationship with Jehovah and his proper place in God’s organization, he will not let the heat of anger overpower him. Instead, “a man of discernment” endeavors to keep cool and balanced in thought. With such a spirit, you too can master circumstances that would drive a foolish person into sin.
PROVERBS 18:1)
“Whoever isolates himself pursues his own selfish desires; He rejects all practical wisdom.”
it-2 p. 1194 Wisdom
The person who isolates himself, pursuing his own narrow, restricted view of life and his own selfish desires, eventually goes off on a tangent contrary to all practical wisdom.—Pr 18:1.
w12 6/1 p. 8 Practical Today
A ten-year study in Australia found that elderly people who had “better social networks with friends and confidants” were more likely to live longer.
w12 6/1 p. 8 Practical Today
The Bible also warns: “One isolating himself will seek his own selfish longing; against all practical wisdom he will break forth.” (Proverbs 18:1)
w86 11/1 p. 19 par. 11 Youths—Your Part in a Happy, United Family
11 So be willing to talk with your parents about even painful matters. Express your fears and failures as well as your joys and successes. Talk about your goals in life and your prayers. Resist the urge to ‘isolate yourself.’ (Proverbs 18:1) Regularly try to spend some private time with a parent, so that you can share such intimacies. Some young people have found that they can do this between calls while working with a parent in the preaching work, while taking long walks together, or even while engaging in some forms of family recreation.
PROVERBS 18:9)
“Whoever is lazy in his work Is a brother to the one who causes ruin.”
it-1 p. 369 Brother
Companions having similar natures and dispositions, even when such are bad, are properly called brothers.—Pr 18:9.
PROVERBS 18:10)
“The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous one runs and receives protection.”
it-1 p. 867 Fortifications
Symbolic Uses. Since the towers in the wilderness were the safest places of refuge for miles around, we can see the appropriateness of Proverbs 18:10: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.”
it-2 p. 467 Name
Jehovah’s assurance at Psalm 91:14, therefore, applies to such persons: “I shall protect him because he has come to know my name.” The name itself is no magical charm, but the One designated by that name can provide protection for his devoted people. Thus the name represents God himself. That is why the proverb says: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” (Pr 18:10) This is what persons do who cast their burden on Jehovah. (Ps 55:22)
it-2 p. 706 Proverbs, Book of
One ‘taking refuge’ in Jehovah’s name (understanding and acknowledging that name for all that it represents) will find it to be like a strong tower, a place to which, in ancient times, people fled for safety from the enemy.—Pr 18:10; 29:25.
w14 11/1 p. 6 Should We Fear Satan?
Proverbs 18:10 reads: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous one runs and receives protection.” Of course, that does not mean that God’s personal name is some kind of good-luck charm. Rather, it means that those who truly revere God’s name can call on him for protection at any time.
cl chap. 7 p. 70 par. 8 Protective Power—“God Is for Us a Refuge”
Proverbs 18:10 states: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” In Bible times, towers were sometimes built in the wilderness as safe places of refuge. But it was up to the one in danger to flee to such a tower to find safety. It is similar with finding refuge in God’s name. This involves more than just repeating God’s name; the divine name itself is no magic charm. Rather, we need to know and trust the Bearer of that name and live in harmony with his righteous standards. How kind of Jehovah to reassure us that if we turn to him in faith, he will be a tower of protection for us!
w04 8/15 pp. 17-18 par. 4 Jehovah, Our ‘Fortress in Times of Distress’
4 In harmony with Jesus’ prayer, Jehovah is indeed watching over us. He is our “fortress in the time of distress.” (Psalm 37:39) The book of Proverbs uses similar language when it says: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” (Proverbs 18:10) This scripture reveals a basic truth about Jehovah’s tender concern for his creatures. God offers protection especially to righteous ones who actively seek him, as if we were running into a strong tower for shelter.
be p. 274 par. 6-p. 275 par. 2 The Message We Must Proclaim
God’s Name—“A Strong Tower.” People who truly come to know Jehovah enjoy great protection. This is not simply because they use his personal name or can list some of his qualities. It is because they put their trust in Jehovah himself. Regarding them, Proverbs 18:10 states: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.”
Make good use of opportunities to urge others to trust in Jehovah. (Ps. 37:3; Prov. 3:5, 6) Such trust shows faith in Jehovah and his promises. (Heb. 11:6) When people ‘call on the name of Jehovah’ because they know that he is the Universal Sovereign, love his ways, and fully believe that true salvation can come only from him, then—God’s Word assures us—they will be saved. (Rom. 10:13, 14) As you teach others, help them to build up that sort of faith in connection with every aspect of life.
Many people face overwhelming personal problems. They may not see a way out. Urge them to learn Jehovah’s ways, to trust in him, and to apply what they learn. (Ps. 25:5) Encourage them to pray earnestly for God’s help and to thank him for his blessings. (Phil. 4:6, 7) When they come to know Jehovah, not simply by reading certain statements in the Bible but also by experiencing the fulfillment of his promises in their own lives, they will begin to enjoy the security that comes with truly appreciating what the name of Jehovah represents.—Ps. 34:8; Jer. 17:7, 8.
w98 9/1 p. 10 pars. 9-10 Keep Safe as Part of God’s Organization
9 Jehovah’s visible organization is also a protection. How? At Proverbs 18:10, we read: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” This does not imply that merely repeating God’s name provides protection. Rather, our taking refuge in God’s name signifies that we trust in Jehovah himself. (Psalm 20:1; 122:4) It means supporting his sovereignty, upholding his laws and principles, and having faith in his promises. (Psalm 8:1-9; Isaiah 50:10; Hebrews 11:6) It includes giving Jehovah exclusive devotion. Only those who worship Jehovah in this way can say with the psalmist: “In [Jehovah] our heart rejoices; for in his holy name we have put our trust.”—Psalm 33:21; 124:8.
10 Now all in God’s visible organization say with Micah: “We, for our part, shall walk in the name of Jehovah our God to time indefinite, even forever.” (Micah 4:5) The modern-day organization is gathered around “the Israel of God,” which is called in the Bible “a people for his name.” (Galatians 6:16; Acts 15:14; Isaiah 43:6, 7; 1 Peter 2:17) Hence, to be part of Jehovah’s organization means to be part of a people who seek, and receive, protection in God’s name.
w98 12/15 p. 30 Do You Remember?
In what way can it be said that “the name of Jehovah is a strong tower”? (Proverbs 18:10)
Taking refuge in God’s name signifies trusting in Jehovah himself. (Psalm 20:1; 122:4) It means supporting his sovereignty, upholding his laws and principles, having faith in his promises, and giving him exclusive devotion. (Isaiah 50:10; Hebrews 11:6)—9/1, page 10.
w94 2/1 p. 19 “The Name of Jehovah Is a Strong Tower”
Kingdom Proclaimers Report
“The Name of Jehovah Is a Strong Tower”
WE LIVE in unstable times. Our apparently stable lives can change overnight, and without warning some have found themselves in great peril before they realized it. Danger may come from political upheaval, a violent assailant, a natural disaster, or a serious illness. Whatever the case, where should a Christian turn when his life is in danger?
David, a missionary living at one of the Watch Tower Society’s branches, learned the answer to that question from a frightening experience. An assigned driver, he set out early one morning to pick up some commuter Bethelites (volunteers who live outside the branch). It was still dark. He had picked up Rosalía and was passing a police station when he heard the first shot.
Then things happened quickly. He heard a noise like a large firecracker and realized that air was hissing out of one of the tires. Suddenly he saw a soldier standing in the middle of the road aiming a rifle straight at him. Three things happened almost simultaneously: A volley of shots riddled the side of the Jeep, shattering the windows; David and Rosalía ducked; the soldier fired through the windshield at eye level.
As the Jeep was being peppered with bullets, David braked as best he could while still bent down. Both David and Rosalía thought they were going to die. They prayed aloud to Jehovah, asking him to watch over them. Rosalía later said that in those moments she wondered how her family would react when they heard of her death!
Still Alive!
The noise of shots and shattering glass finally stopped, and David glanced over at Rosalía. When he saw a small, round bloodstain on her back, his heart almost stopped. But a piece of flying glass, not a bullet, had embedded itself there. Her knees were bleeding from cuts made by falling glass, but otherwise she seemed all right.
Men in military uniforms with white armbands came up to the Jeep and ordered them to get out with their hands up. One, who seemed to be of higher rank, turned to a soldier and said: “You were told not to shoot at civilians.” The soldier made excuses, claiming that he heard shots and thought they came from the Jeep.
When David identified Rosalía and himself as Jehovah’s Witnesses, the reaction was favorable. He explained what he had been doing, but the soldiers still wanted to detain them. Apparently, in the early hours of the morning, a military faction had staged a coup d’état, and these soldiers had been in the process of taking over the police station as David and Rosalía passed in the Jeep.
Rosalía was badly shaken but bravely kept calm as David pleaded for them to be released. Eventually they were allowed to leave—without the Jeep. They had to walk to a nearby avenue and catch a bus to the branch, where the infirmary attended to Rosalía.
The Power of Prayer
David learned something from the experience—never underestimate the power of earnest prayer, and never forget that courageously identifying oneself as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is often a protection. It may literally be true that “the name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.”—Proverbs 15:29; 18:10; Philippians 4:6.
[Picture Credit Line on page 19]
Fotografía de Publicaciones Capriles, Caracas, Venezuela
rs p. 388 par. 3 Spiritism
Prov. 18:10: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” (This does not mean that use of God’s personal name serves as a charm to ward off evil. The “name” of Jehovah represents the Person himself. We are protected when we come to know him and put our full trust in him, submitting to his authority and obeying his commands. If we do this, then when we call out to him for help, using his personal name, he provides the protection that he has promised in his Word.)
w87 5/15 p. 20 Listening to Jehovah as the End Draws Near
‘Running’ to Jehovah
17 Proverbs 18:10 states: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” Are you ‘running’ to Jehovah? Remember what Jesus said about people in Noah’s day. They were “eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.” (Matthew 24:38, 39) What was wrong was their preoccupation with everything else to the exclusion of listening to God when he spoke through his servant Noah, “a preacher of righteousness.” (2 Peter 2:5) Because they did not listen, when the Flood came it “swept them all away” into destruction.
18 Many of those who died in the Flood no doubt considered themselves “nice” people, not being involved in the violence that filled society in those days. But just being “nice” did not save them. By their apathy they condoned the evil of their day. The crucial thing was that they did not ‘run’ to Jehovah; they did not listen when God’s servant spoke. So they did not take the proper steps for survival. On the other hand, those who did listen survived.
19 Today God is speaking peace to those who listen to him. With what result to them? Isaiah 54:13 states: “All your sons will be persons taught by Jehovah, and the peace of your sons will be abundant.” Yes, “Jehovah himself will bless his people with peace.” (Psalm 29:11) Thus, in the midst of this violent world, Jehovah’s Witnesses have true, unbreakable peace among themselves. They have a loving international brotherhood that world leaders, their nations, and their religions cannot duplicate. Why not? Because these do not really listen when God speaks. So they do not act on what he says. But Jehovah’s Witnesses do listen to God. They take seriously the words at Ecclesiastes 12:13: “Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.”
20 That is what every person—yes, all who want to live in God’s new world—must do. They must ‘run’ to Jehovah without delay. Indeed, they must be guided by God-given wisdom that is represented as saying: “Listen to me; yes, happy are the ones that keep my very ways. Listen to discipline and become wise, and do not show any neglect. Happy is the man that is listening to me . . . For the one finding me will certainly find life.”—Proverbs 8:32-35.
PROVERBS 18:11)
“The wealth of the rich is his fortified city; It is like a protective wall in his imagination.”
g 4/09 p. 6 ‘I Have Too Much to Do!’
AN IMAGINARY WALL OF PROTECTION
“The valuable things of the rich [man] are his strong town, and they are like a protective wall in his imagination.” (Proverbs 18:11) In ancient times, people depended on high walls for protection against attack. But think of living in a city surrounded by a wall that only existed in your mind. As hard as you tried to convince yourself otherwise, that wall would provide no defense against your enemies.
Like people living in such an exposed place, young ones who pursue riches are headed for disappointment. Are you a parent? You would do well to help your child avoid the trap of materialism and not take up life in a city with an imaginary wall.
w01 6/15 p. 8 How Can You Keep a Balanced View of Money?
God’s Word says: “The valuable things of the rich are his strong town, and they are like a protective wall in his imagination.” (Proverbs 18:11) Yes, the security that riches can provide is in the end only imagined and is actually deceptive. It is wrong to center our lives on them rather than on gaining God’s approval.
w92 7/15 p. 15 par. 7 Reject Worldly Fantasies, Pursue Kingdom Realities
7 Material riches can easily deceive us. That is why we are told: “The valuable things of the rich are his strong town, and they are like a protective wall in his imagination.” (Proverbs 18:11) Yes, only “in his imagination,” for material wealth offers little protection in times of runaway inflation, economic collapse, political upheaval, or terminal illness. Jesus Christ warned against the folly of putting our trust in material riches. (Luke 12:13-21) We also have the apostle Paul’s warning words: “The love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.”—1 Timothy 6:10.
w86 6/15 p. 7 Your Hope—God or Riches?
We need to remind ourselves of the relative worth of material things. God’s Word says: “The valuable things of the rich are his strong town, and they are like a protective wall in his imagination.” (Proverbs 18:11) Yes, the security that riches can provide is sheer imagination, a deception. It is not that the material things in themselves are bad. What is wrong is the centering of our lives around them rather than on gaining God’s approval. Jesus, who is recognized as one of history’s wisest teachers, pointedly said: “Even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.”—Luke 12:15.
PROVERBS 18:12)
“Before a crash a man’s heart is lofty, And before glory there is humility.”
it-1 p. 1158 Humility
Humility will guide a person in the proper path and will bring him into glory, for it is God who exalts one and puts down another. (Ps 75:7) “Before a crash the heart of a man is lofty, and before glory there is humility.” (Pr 18:12; 22:4) So, one seeking glory by haughtiness will fail, as did King Uzziah of Judah, who became presumptuous and unlawfully usurped priestly duties: “As soon as he was strong, his heart became haughty even to the point of causing ruin, so that he acted unfaithfully against Jehovah his God and came into the temple of Jehovah to burn incense upon the altar of incense.” When he became enraged at the priests for correcting him, he was stricken with leprosy. (2Ch 26:16-21) Lack of humility caused Uzziah to be misguided, to his downfall.
it-1 p. 1161 Humility
False humility can actually result in developing haughtiness in the individual, for he may tend to think he is righteous on his own merit; or he may feel that he is accomplishing his ends, not realizing that he cannot deceive Jehovah. If haughtiness develops, he will in time be humbled in a way that he will not enjoy. He will be brought low, and it may be to his own destruction.—Pr 18:12; 29:23.
w89 6/15 pp. 25-27 “Before Glory There Is Humility”
“Before Glory There Is Humility”
A CERTAIN young man was in an Egyptian prison on a trumped-up charge. He had suffered much humiliation, and there seemed to be no hope of release from prison. Then he was ordered to appear before Pharaoh. Prison guards quickly brought him out. He shaved, changed his mantles, and then appeared before the monarch.
A surprise awaited Joseph. With Jehovah’s help Joseph correctly interpreted two of Pharaoh’s dreams. Pharaoh said: “See, I do place you over all the land of Egypt.” (Genesis 41:41) What an incredible experience—from prison to palace all in one day! Joseph’s experience could illustrate what King Solomon was later inspired to write: “For he has gone forth from the prison house itself to become king.” Appropriately, Solomon twice wrote: “Before glory there is humility.”—Ecclesiastes 4:14; Proverbs 15:33; 18:12.
So as to benefit from that divine truth, ask yourself: What sustained Joseph during his humiliating experience? How did this faithful servant of Jehovah cope with the false charge that put him in prison? What glory did Jehovah have in mind for Joseph? What kind of glory awaits those who down through the centuries have faithfully and courageously suffered persecution and humiliation? Above all, what helps us to keep a balanced attitude when we are suffering humiliation?
Joseph must have meditated often on the two earlier prophetic dreams that indicated that his brothers and even his parents would “bow down” before him. In fact, his brothers, on hearing of the first dream, said: “Are you going to be king over us?”—Genesis 37:8-10.
Joseph’s jealous brothers nearly murdered him! But under Jehovah’s direction, the 17-year-old lad was sold to traveling merchants, who, in turn, sold him to Potiphar, chief of Pharaoh’s bodyguard.
Eventually, Joseph became steward over the household of Potiphar, whose wife tried to seduce the handsome young man. Yet Joseph was loyal to Jehovah and escaped. The wily wife lyingly accused Joseph of attempting to rape her, and Potiphar believed her, so poor Joseph was put in prison.
However, he remained loyal to Jehovah, who, as already mentioned, arranged that he be taken to Pharaoh to interpret dreams. Pharaoh thereafter appointed Joseph to the glorious privilege of organizing Egypt’s food supply. When a famine spread to Canaan, Joseph’s brothers did indeed bow down to him to fetch food for the family.
Others Who Went From ‘Humility to Glory’
Another faithful servant of Jehovah whose life pattern proves the divine truth that “before glory there is humility” was Moses. Raised in the sumptuous court of Pharaoh, Moses had an admirable future before him. Then events seemed to take a turn for the worse. Moses acted out of faith in Jehovah and loving concern for his people, so that he had to flee for his life from an angry Pharaoh. All alone he traveled to Midian. For 40 years he showed his humility by living a simple shepherd’s life, serving his father-in-law Jethro. How encouraging it must have been for Moses during his 40 years of personality-molding to ponder over Jehovah’s way of humbling him and to contemplate what might yet be in store for him!
Then came glory. Jehovah assigned Moses to be His messenger to Pharaoh and to bring His people out of Egypt. What glorious privileges Moses had when he was directly involved in the ten plagues and led Israel through the Red Sea! Later, Moses received the Law from Jehovah on Mount Sinai. When he descended, the people “could not gaze intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face.”—2 Corinthians 3:7.
Consider also Job, the greatest of all the Orientals. He was “a man blameless and upright, fearing God and turning aside from bad.” (Job 1:2, 3, 8) Then, suddenly, he lost his ten children and all his thousands of sheep, camels, cattle, and she-asses.
That was not all. Job came to be completely covered with malignant boils, causing him to be physically nauseating. His own wife mocked him: “Are you yet holding fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9) Job was being severely tried and humiliated, but he was completely unaware of the heavenly confrontation between Jehovah and the archrebel, Satan. The situation was not improved by the lengthy discussion with Job’s three “friends.” However, Job maintained his integrity. He even humbly accepted wise counsel from Elihu—a much younger man.—Job 32:4.
Was Job rewarded? Yes. Jehovah restored Job, doubled the size of his flocks, and gave him seven sons and three daughters—the prettiest in all the land! What a glorious outcome of Job’s humility! How true it proved to be—“before glory there is humility.”—Job 42:12-15.
Different Kinds of Glory
Obviously there are many different kinds of glory—from the glory of a woman’s hair to the glory of Moses’ face as he descended Mount Sinai. (1 Corinthians 11:15; 2 Corinthians 3:7) Spectacular sunsets have a splendid glory, and stars have another glory.—1 Corinthians 15:41.
Different forms of the word “glory” are used hundreds of times in the Bible. Upon examining these references and their context, it is clear that Jehovah is the source of all glory. His faithful servants and his masterpieces of creation can but reflect this glory in many ways and to different degrees.
In our 20th century, we have much evidence of the humiliations suffered by those with the glorious hope of heavenly life. During World War I, leading members of the Watch Tower Society in Brooklyn, New York, were sentenced to 20 years in prison on false charges. About that same time, persecution erupted in many places. For example, J. B. Siebenlist was jailed three days without warrant and without food, except for three pieces of spoiled cornbread. He was taken from jail by the mob, stripped, tarred with hot tar, and whipped with a buggy whip having a wire at its end. At one trial the prosecuting attorney said: “To hell with your Bible; you ought to be in hell with your back broken; you ought to be hung.”
During World War II, some of Jehovah’s faithful servants suffered incredibly in Nazi concentration camps. One was Martin Poetzinger, an anointed Witness who survived to become a member of the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. He described Dachau as a “madhouse of demons.” In the camp at Mauthausen, the “Gestapo tried every method to induce us to break our faith in Jehovah. Starvation diet, deceitful friendships, brutalities, having to stand in a frame day after day, being hung from a ten-foot post by the wrists twisted around the back, whippings—all these and others . . . were tried.”
What Sustained These Faithful Christians?
Under such deplorable and degrading conditions, they were helped to endure by their faith in the eventual outcome, including the prospect of the glorious future for those who maintain their integrity. For the “little flock” of anointed Witnesses, this is a heavenly inheritance. (Luke 12:32) A special kind of glory on earth is reserved for other faithful humans. Some of them, such as Joseph and Moses, are referred to in Hebrews chapter 11. Please read verses 32-40 and meditate on the humiliations endured by some of these faithful ones. Further, “a great crowd” is serving Jehovah on earth today. (Revelation 7:9, 15) What is their future?
A rich future awaits them. The heavenly government under Jesus Christ will have earthly representatives who will apply the instruction written in the scrolls referred to at Revelation 20:12. Such ones will have glorious privileges, not as kings, but “as princes in all the earth,” and along with them, unnumbered humble, faithful humans, including resurrected ones, will attain to eternal life in a glorious paradise earth.—Psalm 45:16.
Today there are millions who have demonstrated their humility by abandoning false religion and by gladly sharing in the house-to-house preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many of these have been ridiculed by family members and friends, but they have stuck to true worship. They have humbly accepted correction and discipline so as to serve the true God, Jehovah. Their hope is to live in the restored Paradise, when “the earth will be filled with the knowing of the glory of Jehovah as the waters themselves cover over the sea.”—Habakkuk 2:14.
These are days of testing for Jehovah’s people. It is almost as if we were strangers in an alien land. The gulf between true worship and false is getting deeper and wider. All of us suffer humiliation to some degree. But just as Jesus was comforted and strengthened by the joy set before him, so we too can overcome tests by remembering the final outcome.
The Bible advises us: “Humble yourselves in the eyes of Jehovah, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10) Whenever you are put to a severe test, think of these words: “Before glory there is humility.” Remember, too, that Jehovah cannot fail!
PROVERBS 18:13)
“When anyone replies to a matter before he hears the facts, It is foolish and humiliating.”
w99 3/15 p. 16 par. 4 Teach With Insight and Persuasiveness
4 It is particularly important that Christian elders be good listeners. Only then can they truly “know how [they] ought to give an answer to each one.” (Colossians 4:6) Proverbs 18:13 warns: “When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears it, that is foolishness on his part and a humiliation.” Two well-intentioned brothers once gave a sister counsel on worldliness because she had missed some meetings. The sister was deeply hurt that they did not ask her why she had not been present. She was recovering from recent surgery. How important, then, that we listen before giving counsel!
g88 9/8 p. 20 Should I Tell On My Friend?
Proverbs 18:13 warns, however: “When anyone is replying to a matter before he hears it, that is foolishness on his part.” Perhaps some misunderstanding has occurred. On the other hand, your friend may be relieved to have his problem out in the open and to have someone to talk to and confide in. So be a good listener. (James 1:19) Do not stifle the free flow of his feelings by using judgmental expressions such as, “You shouldn’t have . . . ” or, “If it had been me, I would have . . . ” These only accentuate the friend’s feelings of guilt and helplessness. Likewise, expressions of shock such as, “How could you!” only make a bad situation worse.
PROVERBS 18:14)
“A person’s spirit can sustain him through illness, But who can bear a crushed spirit?”
g97 6/22 p. 25 How Can I Cope With Being So Sick?
A Positive Mental Attitude
Coping successfully with any illness involves a positive mental attitude. The Bible says: “The spirit of a man can put up with his malady; but as for a stricken spirit, who can bear it?” (Proverbs 18:14) Dark, pessimistic thoughts and feelings make healing more difficult. Jason found this to be true.
At first, Jason had to fight negative feelings, such as anger, which were dragging him down. What helped? He explains: “The articles in The Watchtower and Awake! on depression really helped me to maintain a positive attitude. Now I try to take just one day at a time.”
Seventeen-year-old Carmen likewise learned to look on the bright side of things. Although she suffers from sickle-cell anemia, she counts her blessings. “I think about the others who are worse off than I am and who can’t do the things I can do,” she says. “And I feel grateful and not so sorry for myself.”
g91 11/22 p. 6 The Bible Fought Disease Before Science Did
Chapter 18, verse 14, of Proverbs is worthy of pondering: “The spirit of a man can put up with a malady; but as for a stricken spirit, who can bear it?” This scripture suggests that one’s ability to withstand a given degree of physical sickness (malady) may be enhanced by drawing on one’s spiritual forces.
PROVERBS 18:15)
“The heart of the understanding one acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks to find knowledge.”
w04 10/15 p. 14 par. 4 “Go About in the Land”
4 God’s Word comments: “The heart of the understanding one acquires knowledge, and the ear of wise ones seeks to find knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15) There are many subjects about which one might gain knowledge, yet accurate knowledge related to Jehovah God and his dealings is of key importance. Certainly, what we read in the Bible is central to that. (2 Timothy 3:16) Note, though, that understanding is involved. That is the ability to see into a matter, to discern or grasp the connections between its parts and the whole.
PROVERBS 18:17)
“The first to state his case seems right, Until the other party comes and cross-examines him.”
w11 8/15 p. 30 pars. 11-12 Pursue Peace
However, another proverb warns: “The first to state his case seems right, until his opponent begins to cross-examine him.” (Prov. 18:17, New English Translation) An elder should listen kindly, but he needs to be careful not to take sides with the one reporting the offense. After listening to the matter, he would likely ask whether the offended party has spoken to the one who caused the upset. The elder may also review Scriptural steps that the offended one can take to pursue peace.
12 Three Biblical examples underscore the danger of acting hastily after hearing only one side of a controversy. Potiphar believed his wife’s story that Joseph had tried to rape her. With unjustified anger, Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison. (Gen. 39:19, 20) King David believed Ziba, who said that his master, Mephibosheth, had sided with David’s enemies. “Look! Yours is everything that belongs to Mephibosheth” was David’s hasty response. (2 Sam. 16:4; 19:25-27) King Artaxerxes was told that the Jews were rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls and were about to rebel against the Persian Empire. The king believed the false report and ordered that all rebuilding in Jerusalem cease. As a result, the Jews stopped work on God’s temple. (Ezra 4:11-13, 23, 24) Christian elders wisely follow Paul’s counsel to Timothy to avoid making premature judgments.—Read 1 Timothy 5:21.
PROVERBS 18:19)
“A brother offended is more unyielding than a fortified city, And there are disputes like the bars of a fortress.”
it-2 p. 1040 Strife
Contentions between those who at one time enjoyed a brotherly relationship may present an almost insurmountable barrier to reconciliation. “A brother who is transgressed against is more than a strong town; and there are contentions that are like the bar of a dwelling tower.”—Pr 18:19.
w06 9/15 p. 18 par. 11 Highlights From the Book of Proverbs
18:19—How is ‘a brother who is transgressed against more than a strong town’? Like a strong town under siege, such a person may rigidly refuse to make concessions. Contentions between him and the transgressor can easily become as much of a barrier as “the bar of a dwelling tower.”
w94 2/1 p. 32 “More Than a Strong Town”
“More Than a Strong Town”
“AT CURRENT rates, about 40% of U.S. children will witness the breakup of their parents’ marriages before they reach 18.” (Science, June 7, 1991) What a frightening statistic! Why does this happen?
Family and probate court judge Edward M. Ginsburg, in an interview with The Boston Globe, gave his view. He said: “We are a selfish society. We want for ‘me.’ We ask, ‘What’s in it for me now?’ We want instant gratification.”
Such immature selfishness leads to bitterness and conflict in marriage. Judge Ginsburg says that when couples finally reach the divorce court, husband and wife want vindication. They want someone to tell them that they’re right and that their partner is wrong. They want someone to say: “You’ve won the battle.”
His words remind us of the inspired proverb: “A brother who is transgressed against is more than a strong town.” (Proverbs 18:19) Yes, when strife breaks out in a marriage, the warring parties can be unreasonable and rigid. Often, they adamantly refuse to make concessions, like “a strong town” under siege.
Do things have to be this way? No, there is an alternative. Marriages are strong and enduring when both parties, right from the start, heed the apostle Paul’s words: “Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, freely forgiving one another just as God also by Christ freely forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Is it easy to cultivate such qualities? Not always. But how easy is divorce? How painful are the emotional and financial burdens of a broken marriage? And what of the children, who often carry the scars of their parents’ divorce into adult life?
It is far better for both partners to work to preserve a marriage and not to be intransigent toward each other, like “a strong town.” Paul’s counsel to Christians applies especially to married couples: “Clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:14.
[Picture Credit Line on page 32]
The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration/J. G. Heck
PROVERBS 18:21)
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue; Those who love to use it will eat its fruitage.”
it-2 p. 250 Life
In safeguarding one’s life by guarding the heart, the tongue must be controlled. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and he that is loving it will eat its fruitage.” (Pr 18:21) The reason was explained by Jesus: “The things proceeding out of the mouth come out of the heart, and those things defile a man.” (Mt 15:18; Jas 3:5-10) But by proper use of the tongue to praise God and to speak right things, one continues in the way of life.—Ps 34:12-14; 63:3; Pr 15:4.
w00 3/1 p. 17 “Search for Jehovah and His Strength”
The Power to Hurt and the Power to Heal
14 Not all the power we possess comes directly from God. The tongue, for example, has the power to hurt as well as to heal. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” warns Solomon. (Proverbs 18:21) The results of Satan’s brief conversation with Eve show how much havoc can be wrought by words. (Genesis 3:1-5; James 3:5) We too can do much damage with the tongue. Disparaging remarks about a young girl’s weight could launch her on the road to anorexia. A thoughtless repetition of some slander might ruin a lifelong friendship. Yes, the tongue needs to be controlled.
PROVERBS 18:24)
“There are companions ready to crush one another, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
g96 2/8 p. 7 To Trust or Not to Trust
The writer of the Bible book of Proverbs acknowledges that “there exist companions disposed to break one another to pieces”—that is, people who will try to exploit your trust. The world is full of them. But give others the time and the opportunity to demonstrate that they are trustworthy, and you will find friends who will, in fact, ‘stick closer than a brother.’—Proverbs 18:24.
PROVERBS 19:3)
“It is a man’s own foolishness that distorts his way, And his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah.”
w13 8/15 pp. 10-14 Never Become “Enraged Against Jehovah”
Never Become “Enraged Against Jehovah”
“It is the foolishness of an earthling man that distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.”—PROV. 19:3.
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER?
What might cause us to become “enraged against Jehovah”?
What are five factors that can help us to avoid becoming enraged against God?
We should remember what when faced with difficult problems?
LET us say that you have been a happily married man for many years. But one day when you return home, you find that everything in your house has been turned upside down. The furniture has been smashed, the crockery shattered, the carpet ruined beyond repair. Your treasured home has become a disaster zone. Would you blurt out, “Why did my wife do this?” Or would you be more likely to ask, “Who did this?” No doubt the second question would immediately come to your mind. Why? Because you know that your cherished mate would not be the cause of such a wanton act of vandalism.
2 Today, we see mankind’s home marred by pollution, violence, and immorality. As Bible students, we know that Jehovah cannot possibly be the cause of all these problems. He created this planet to be a delightful paradise. (Gen. 2:8, 15) Jehovah is a God of love. (1 John 4:8) Our study of the Scriptures has helped us to identify the real cause of many of the world’s difficulties. It is none other than Satan the Devil, “the ruler of the world.”—John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4.
3 However, we cannot blame Satan for all our woes. Why not? Because some of our problems are the result of our own mistakes. (Read Deuteronomy 32:4-6.) Even though we might admit that fact, our imperfect nature can distort our thinking and cause us to go down a path that eventually leads to disaster. (Prov. 14:12) In what way? Instead of blaming ourselves or Satan for a problem, we could start to blame Jehovah. We might even become “enraged against Jehovah himself.”—Prov. 19:3.
4 Is it really possible that we could become “enraged against Jehovah”? Surely to do so would be futile. (Isa. 41:11) What would we hope to gain? A poet once said: “Your arm’s too short to box with God.” We may never go so far as to vocalize a complaint against Jehovah. But Proverbs 19:3 says that a man’s foolishness “distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.” Yes, a person can become enraged against God in his heart. This attitude could manifest itself in subtle ways. An individual could, as it were, hold a grudge against Jehovah. As a result, that person might withdraw from the congregation or not fully support arrangements for Jehovah’s worship.
5 What could prompt us to be “enraged against Jehovah”? How can we avoid that trap? It is vital that we know the answers to these questions. Why, our very relationship with Jehovah God is involved!
WHAT COULD PROMPT US TO BECOME “ENRAGED AGAINST JEHOVAH”?
6 What could cause the heart of a faithful servant of Jehovah to start to complain about his God? Let us consider five factors and analyze Bible examples that highlight how some in the past fell into this trap.—1 Cor. 10:11, 12.
7 The negative speech of others can influence us. (Read Deuteronomy 1:26-28.) The Israelites had just been delivered from slavery in Egypt. Jehovah had miraculously brought ten plagues on that oppressive nation and thereafter destroyed Pharaoh and his military force in the Red Sea. (Ex. 12:29-32, 51; 14:29-31; Ps. 136:15) God’s people were poised to enter the Promised Land. Yet, at that crucial moment, the Israelites started to complain about Jehovah. What caused this lack of faith? Their hearts melted because of the negative report of some who had been sent to spy out the land. (Num. 14:1-4) What resulted? A whole generation was not allowed to enter into that “good land.” (Deut. 1:34, 35) Could we at times allow the negative speech of others to weaken our faith and cause us to grumble about Jehovah’s dealings with us?
8 Hardships and difficulties may discourage us. (Read Isaiah 8:21, 22.) In Isaiah’s day, the nation of Judah found themselves in dire straits. They were surrounded by enemies. Food was scarce. Many were hungry. But more important, there was a spiritual famine. (Amos 8:11) Instead of looking to Jehovah for help in dealing with these hardships, however, they started to “call down evil” on their king and on their God. Yes, they blamed Jehovah for their problems. If we are beset by tragedy or personal problems, might we likewise say in our heart, ‘Where was Jehovah when I needed him?’
9 We do not know all the facts. Because of not having all the facts, the Israelites in Ezekiel’s day felt that Jehovah’s way was “not adjusted right.” (Ezek. 18:29) It was as if they had set themselves up as judges of God, putting their own standards of justice above Jehovah’s and judging him based on their own limited understanding of events. If we at times do not fully understand a Bible account or the way events develop in our own life, could we perhaps feel in our heart that the way of Jehovah is unfair, “not adjusted right”?—Job 35:2.
10 We shift the blame for our own sins and mistakes. Right at the beginning of human history, Adam blamed God for his own sin. (Gen. 3:12) Although Adam deliberately and with full knowledge of the consequences broke God’s law, he blamed Jehovah. In effect, he said that Jehovah had given him a bad wife. Since that time, others have followed Adam’s example of blaming God for their own mistakes. We do well to ask, ‘Could disappointment and frustration over my mistakes cause me to be dissatisfied with Jehovah’s standards?’
11 We become too self-centered. The prophet Jonah had a problem with Jehovah’s merciful decision regarding Nineveh. (Jonah 4:1-3) Why? He apparently became too concerned about losing face when his proclamation of destruction did not come true. Jonah allowed concern over his reputation to overshadow any compassion he should have felt for the repentant Ninevites. Could we likewise become so self-centered that we become “enraged against Jehovah” for not bringing the end sooner? If we have been preaching for decades that Jehovah’s day is close, could we start to become impatient with Jehovah when others criticize us for proclaiming what the Bible says?—2 Pet. 3:3, 4, 9.
HOW TO AVOID BECOMING “ENRAGED AGAINST JEHOVAH”
12 What can we do if our sinful heart starts to question some of Jehovah’s activities? Remember that it is unwise to do so. Another translation of Proverbs 19:3 says: “A man’s ignorance muddles his affairs and he flies out against Jehovah.” (Byington) With that in mind, let us now consider five factors that will help us never to allow the frustrations of life to make us blame Jehovah.
13 Do not neglect your relationship with Jehovah. We can avoid the imperfect tendency to become enraged against God if we maintain a close relationship with him. (Read Proverbs 3:5, 6.) We need to trust in Jehovah. We also need to avoid becoming wise in our own eyes or becoming self-centered. (Prov. 3:7; Eccl. 7:16) We will then be less likely to blame Jehovah when bad things happen.
14 Do not allow negative speech to affect you. The Israelites in Moses’ day had ample reason to believe that Jehovah would successfully usher them into the Promised Land. (Ps. 78:43-53) But when faced with the negative report of the ten unfaithful spies, they did not “remember his hand.” (Ps. 78:42) If we meditate on Jehovah’s activities, remembering all the good things he has done for us, we will strengthen our relationship with him. As a result, we will not allow the negative ideas of others to drive a wedge between us and Jehovah.—Ps. 77:11, 12.
15 What if we have a negative attitude toward our fellow worshippers? Under such circumstances, our relationship with Jehovah can be affected. (1 John 4:20) When the Israelites questioned Aaron’s appointment and position, Jehovah viewed that action as murmuring against Him. (Num. 17:10) Similarly, if we were to start grumbling and murmuring about those whom Jehovah is using to direct the earthly part of his organization, we could by inference be complaining about Jehovah.—Heb. 13:7, 17.
16 Remember that Jehovah does not cause our problems. Though the Israelites in Isaiah’s day had turned away from Jehovah, He still wanted to help them. (Isa. 1:16-19) No matter what problem we may face, we can find comfort in knowing that Jehovah cares for us and wants to help us. (1 Pet. 5:7) In fact, he promises to provide us with the strength needed to keep on enduring.—1 Cor. 10:13.
17 If we are suffering some form of injustice—even as the faithful man Job did—we need to remind ourselves that Jehovah is not the cause of the unfairness. Jehovah hates injustice; he loves righteousness. (Ps. 33:5) May we, like Job’s friend Elihu, acknowledge: “Far be it from the true God to act wickedly, and the Almighty to act unjustly!” (Job 34:10) Rather than causing our problems, Jehovah gives us “every good gift and every perfect present.”—Jas. 1:13, 17.
18 Never doubt Jehovah. God is perfect, and his thoughts are higher than ours. (Isa. 55:8, 9) So humility and modesty should help us to admit that we are limited in our understanding. (Rom. 9:20) Rarely do we have all the facts about a certain situation. No doubt, you have experienced the truthfulness of this proverb: “The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.”—Prov. 18:17, New International Version.
19 If we have a trusted friend who does something that we might not at first understand or that we feel is unusual, will we be quick to accuse him of some wrongdoing? Or will we be inclined to give our friend the benefit of the doubt, especially if we have known that person for many years? If we deal with our imperfect friends in such a loving manner, how much more should we be inclined to trust our heavenly Father, whose ways and thoughts are much higher than ours!
20 Lay the blame where it belongs. Why should we do so? Well, we may be responsible for some of our problems. If we are, we need to acknowledge that fact. (Gal. 6:7) Do not try to blame Jehovah for the problems. Why would such a course be unreasonable? Consider this example: A car may be capable of traveling at a high speed. Imagine that a driver greatly exceeds the recommended speed limit when traveling around a sharp curve and he crashes. Should the manufacturer of the car be held accountable for the accident? No, of course not! Similarly, Jehovah has created us with free will. But he has also provided us with guidelines on how to make wise decisions. So why would we blame our Creator for our own mistakes?
21 Of course, not all our problems are a result of our personal mistakes and wrong actions. Some events take place as a result of “time and unforeseen occurrence.” (Eccl. 9:11) Ultimately, though, let us never lose sight of the fact that Satan the Devil is the primary cause of wickedness. (1 John 5:19; Rev. 12:9) He is the enemy—not Jehovah!—1 Pet. 5:8.
TREASURE YOUR PRECIOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH JEHOVAH
22 When you are undergoing hardship and difficulties, remember the example of Joshua and Caleb. Unlike the ten other spies, these two faithful men brought back a positive report. (Num. 14:6-9) They showed faith in Jehovah. Even so, they had to wander in the wilderness for 40 years along with the rest of the Israelites. Did Joshua and Caleb complain or become bitter, feeling that this was unfair? No. They trusted in Jehovah. Were they blessed? Absolutely! Whereas a whole generation died in the wilderness, both of these men eventually entered the Promised Land. (Num. 14:30) Similarly, we will receive Jehovah’s blessing if we do not “tire out” in doing his will.—Gal. 6:9; Heb. 6:10.
23 If you are discouraged because of problems, the imperfections of others, or your own imperfections, what should you do? Focus on Jehovah’s marvelous qualities. Visualize the hope that Jehovah has given you. Ask yourself, ‘Where would I be without Jehovah?’ Always remain close to him, and never allow your heart to become enraged against him!
w03 7/15 p. 23 Think Straight—Act Wisely
It is even possible to become “enraged against Jehovah himself.” (Proverbs 19:3) How? By blaming God for our problems and using them to justify doing things that are out of harmony with his laws and principles.
w98 8/1 p. 32 Who Is to Blame?
Who Is to Blame?
Many blame God for their troubles. A Bible proverb states: “A man’s own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:3, The New English Bible) Yet, holding God responsible for man’s woes is like blaming a car manufacturer for the prevalence of drunk-driving accidents.
w92 11/15 pp. 15-18 pars. 9-20 Jehovah Is Not to Blame
We should appreciate the divine help we receive, never blaming God for the predicaments and difficulties we bring upon ourselves. In this regard a wise proverb states: “It is the foolishness of an earthling man that distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.” (Proverbs 19:3) Another rendering says: “Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the LORD.” (Today’s English Version) Still another translation states: “A man’s ignorance muddles his affairs and he flies out against Jehovah.”—Byington.
10 In keeping with the principle of this proverb, Adam acted selfishly and his foolish thinking ‘distorted his way.’ His heart turned from Jehovah God, and he set out on his own selfish, independent course. Why, Adam became such an ingrate that he blamed his Creator and thus made himself an enemy of the Most High! Adam’s sin brought his own way and that of his family to ruin. What a warning there is in this! Those inclined to blame Jehovah for undesirable conditions might well ask themselves: Do I give God credit for the good things I enjoy? Am I thankful that I have life as one of his creations? Could it be that my own errors have brought hardship upon me? Do I merit Jehovah’s favor or help because of following his guidance, as set forth in his inspired Word, the Bible?
A Danger Even for God’s Servants
11 The Jewish religious leaders of the first century C.E. claimed to serve God but neglected his word of truth and leaned on their own understanding. (Matthew 15:8, 9) Because Jesus Christ exposed their wrong thinking, they put him to death. Later, they displayed great rage against his disciples. (Acts 7:54-60) So distorted was the way of those men that they actually became enraged against Jehovah himself.—Compare Acts 5:34, 38, 39.
12 Even some individuals in the Christian congregation have developed dangerous thinking, trying to hold God responsible for the difficulties they have encountered. For example, appointed elders in a certain congregation found it necessary to give one young married woman kind but firm Scriptural counsel against associating with a worldly man. During one discussion, she blamed God for not helping her to withstand the temptation that her continued association with the man brought upon her. She actually said that she was mad at God! Scriptural reasoning and repeated efforts to help her were of no avail, and an immoral course later led to her expulsion from the Christian congregation.
13 A complaining spirit can lead a person to blame Jehovah. “Ungodly men” who slipped into the first-century congregation had a bad spirit of that kind, and it was accompanied by other types of spiritually corrupt thinking. As the disciple Jude said, these men were “turning the undeserved kindness of our God into an excuse for loose conduct and proving false to our only Owner and Lord, Jesus Christ.” Jude also stated: “These men are murmurers, complainers about their lot in life.” (Jude 3, 4, 16) Loyal servants of Jehovah will wisely pray that they have an appreciative spirit, not a complaining attitude that might eventually embitter them to the point that they lose faith in God and jeopardize their relationship with him.
14 You may feel that this would not happen to you. Yet, things that go wrong because of our mistakes or those of others might ultimately cause us to blame God. For instance, a person may be offended by what a fellow believer says or does. The offended individual—perhaps one who has served Jehovah loyally for many years—may then say: ‘If that person is in the congregation, I will not attend meetings.’ An individual might become so upset that he says in his heart: ‘If things like this go on, I do not want to be part of the congregation.’ But should a Christian have that attitude? If offended by another imperfect human, why take it out on an entire congregation of people acceptable to God and serving him loyally? Why should anyone who has made a dedication to Jehovah stop doing the divine will and thus take it out on God? How wise is it to let an individual or a set of circumstances destroy one’s good relationship with Jehovah? Surely, it would be foolish and sinful to stop worshiping Jehovah God for any reason.—James 4:17.
15 Imagine that you were in the same congregation as the loving Christian Gaius. He was “doing a faithful work” in extending hospitality to visiting fellow worshipers—and strangers at that! But evidently in the same congregation, there was the proud man Diotrephes. He would accept nothing with respect from John, one of Jesus Christ’s apostles. In fact, Diotrephes even chattered about John with wicked words. The apostle said: “Not being content with these things, neither does [Diotrephes] himself receive the brothers with respect, and those who are wanting to receive them he tries to hinder and to throw out of the congregation.”—3 John 1, 5-10.
16 If John came to the congregation, he intended to call to remembrance what Diotrephes was doing. Meanwhile, how did Gaius and other hospitable Christians in that congregation react? There is no Scriptural indication that any of them said: ‘As long as Diotrephes is in the congregation, I do not want to be a part of it. You will not see me at the meetings.’ Doubtless Gaius and others like him stood firm. They let nothing cause them to stop doing the divine will, and they certainly did not become enraged against Jehovah. No, indeed, and they did not succumb to the crafty devices of Satan the Devil, who would have rejoiced if they had become unfaithful to Jehovah and had blamed God.—Ephesians 6:10-18.
Never Become Enraged Against Jehovah!
17 Even if some individual or situation in a congregation displeased or offended a servant of God, the one taking offense would really be distorting his own way if he stopped associating with Jehovah’s people. Such a person would not be putting his perceptive powers to proper use. (Hebrews 5:14) So be determined to face all adversities as an integrity keeper. Maintain loyalty to Jehovah God, Jesus Christ, and the Christian congregation. (Hebrews 10:24, 25) The truth that leads to eternal life can be found nowhere else.
18 Remember, too, that Jehovah never tries anyone with evil things. (James 1:13) God, who is the very epitome of love, does good, especially for those loving him. (1 John 4:8) Though we do not always understand divine dealings, we can be confident that Jehovah God will never fail to do what is best for his servants. As Peter said: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; while you throw all your anxiety upon him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6, 7) Yes, Jehovah really cares for his people.—Psalm 94:14.
19 Therefore, do not let anything or anybody stumble you. As the psalmist so well said, “abundant peace belongs to those loving [Jehovah God’s] law, and for them there is no stumbling block.” (Psalm 119:165) All of us experience trials, and these may cause us to become somewhat depressed and disheartened at times. But never let bitterness develop in your heart, especially against Jehovah. (Proverbs 4:23) With his help and on a Scriptural basis, handle the problems you can solve and endure those that persist.—Matthew 18:15-17; Ephesians 4:26, 27.
20 Never let your emotions cause you to react foolishly and thus distort your way. Speak and act in a manner that will make God’s heart rejoice. (Proverbs 27:11) Call upon Jehovah in fervent prayer, knowing that he really cares for you as one of his servants and will give you the understanding needed to remain on the path of life with his people. (Proverbs 3:5, 6) Above all, do not become enraged against God. When things go wrong, always remember that Jehovah is not to blame.
PROVERBS 19:8)
“Whoever acquires good sense loves himself. Whoever treasures discernment will find success.”
it-1 p. 1059 Heart
In contrast to being in “want of heart,” the proverbs also speak of a person’s “acquiring heart.” As Proverbs 19:8 says: “He that is acquiring heart is loving his own soul. He that is guarding discernment is going to find good.” He is a person who gives serious attention to what he really is deep down inside. He uses his mind to acquire accurate knowledge of God and of his ways; he meditates on these things and seeks to apply them. He carefully molds his desires, affections, emotions, and goals in life in harmony with what he realizes will be approved by God. So doing, he benefits himself, demonstrating that he ‘loves his own soul.’ By thus building up the inner person, he ‘guards discernment,’ because he fortifies in wholesome ways those factors that powerfully influence his own ability to think clearly and act wisely.
lv chap. 9 p. 108 “Flee From Sexual Immorality!”
‘ACQUIRE GOOD SENSE’
24 The Bible speaks of a person “lacking good sense” and of one who “acquires understanding.” (Proverbs 7:7) Because of spiritual immaturity and inexperience in God’s service, someone “lacking good sense” may lack discernment and good judgment. Like the young man described at Proverbs 7:6-23, he may more readily fall victim to serious sin. However, “whoever acquires good sense” gives serious attention to the inner person by means of regular, prayerful study of God’s Word. And to the extent possible in his imperfect state, he harmonizes his thoughts, desires, emotions, and goals in life with what God approves. Thus he “loves himself,” or blesses himself, and “will find success.”—Proverbs 19:8.
25 Ask yourself: ‘Am I fully convinced that God’s standards are right? Do I firmly believe that adherence to them results in the greatest happiness?’ (Psalm 19:7-10; Isaiah 48:17, 18) If you have even a tiny doubt, address the situation. Meditate on the consequences of ignoring God’s laws. In addition, “taste and see that Jehovah is good” by living the truth and by filling your mind with wholesome thoughts—things that are true, righteous, chaste, lovable, and virtuous. (Psalm 34:8; Philippians 4:8, 9) You can be sure that the more you do so, the more you grow to love God, to love what he loves, and to hate what he hates. Joseph was no superman. Yet, he was able to “flee from sexual immorality” because he allowed Jehovah to mold him over many years, to give him good sense. May the same be true of you.—Isaiah 64:8.
w99 7/1 p. 19 pars. 4-5 Families, Praise God as Part of His Congregation
Perhaps not all his motives are bad, but it takes time to bring one’s heart into a condition that will really please God. This involves bringing one’s thoughts, desires, affections, emotions, and goals in life into harmony with what God approves, to the extent that this is possible for imperfect humans. When someone does such molding of the inner person in a godly way, he is “acquiring heart.”—Proverbs 9:4; 19:8.
5 Can parents help their children to ‘acquire heart’? True, no human can put a good condition of heart into another person. Each one of us is endowed with free will, and much depends on what we allow ourselves to think about. With discernment, however, parents can often draw their child out, learning what is in the heart and where help is needed. Use such questions as ‘How do you feel about this?’ and ‘What would you really like to do?’ Then, listen patiently. Do not overreact. (Proverbs 20:5) An atmosphere of kindness, understanding, and love is important if you want to reach the heart.
PROVERBS 19:11)
“The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, And it is beauty on his part to overlook an offense.”
w14 12/1 pp. 12-13 “The Insight of a Man Certainly Slows Down His Anger”
Wise King Solomon of ancient Israel wrote: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11) How does “the insight of a man” help when rage wells up within him?
HOW INSIGHT SLOWS DOWN ANGER
Insight is the ability to see into a situation. To have insight means to see beyond the surface of a matter. How does that help when we are offended or provoked?
When we see an injustice, we may well become indignant. However, if we follow our emotions and react violently, we may end up hurting ourselves or someone else. Just as an uncontrolled fire can burn down a house, the flare of anger may destroy our reputation and our relationships with others, even with God. So when we feel anger welling up inside us, it is time to take a deeper look into the situation. Seeing a more complete picture of what is happening will surely help us to control our emotions.
Solomon’s father, King David, narrowly escaped incurring bloodguilt in connection with a man named Nabal, thanks to David’s being helped to see into the situation. David and his men protected Nabal’s sheep in the Judean wilderness. When the time came for shearing the flock, David asked Nabal for some provisions. At that, Nabal answered: “Do I have to take my bread and my water and the meat that I butchered for my shearers and give it to men who come from who knows where?” What an insult! When David heard those words, he, with some 400 men, set out to annihilate Nabal and his household.—1 Samuel 25:4-13.
Nabal’s wife, Abigail, learned about the incident and went out to see David. Upon meeting David and his men, she fell at his feet and said: “Let your servant girl speak to you, and listen to the words of your servant girl.” Then, she explained to David how senseless Nabal was and pointed out that David would regret taking revenge and shedding blood.—1 Samuel 25:24-31.
What insight did David gain from Abigail’s words that helped to defuse the tense situation? First, he saw that Nabal was a senseless man by nature, and second, David saw that he could incur bloodguilt if he avenged himself. Like David, you may be infuriated by something. What should you do? “Take a few moments to breathe deeply and count to 10,” suggests a Mayo Clinic article on anger management. Yes, stop and think what the cause of the problem is and what the consequences of your intended action might be. Let insight slow down your anger—even dispel it.—1 Samuel 25:32-35.
In a similar way, many today have been helped to control their anger. Sebastian explained how, as a 23-year-old inmate in a Polish prison, he learned to control his temper and strong emotions through a study of the Bible. “First, I think about the problem,” he said. “Then, I try to apply the Bible’s counsel. I found that the Bible is the best guidebook.”
Setsuo followed basically the same tactic. He said: “I used to shout at others when I was irritated by them at work. Now that I’ve studied the Bible, instead of shouting I ask myself: ‘Who is at fault anyway? Am I not the one causing the problem?’” Thinking about such questions slowed down his anger, and he was able to contain the strong feelings that welled up in his heart.
cl chap. 18 p. 187 par. 22 Wisdom in “the Word of God”
22 God’s Word offers this wise counsel: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11) Insight is the ability to see beneath the surface, to look beyond the obvious. Insight nurtures understanding, for it can help us to discern why another person spoke or acted in a certain way. Endeavoring to grasp his genuine motives, feelings, and circumstances may help us to dispel negative thoughts and feelings toward him.
w07 12/1 pp. 18-20 Teach Your Child to Be Peaceable
Be Slow to Anger
Proverbs 19:11 says: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger.” How can you help your children cultivate such insight? David describes a practical approach that he and his wife, Mariann, find helpful with their son and daughter. He says: “When they get upset with someone who says or does something hurtful, we help them to have fellow feeling. We ask them such simple questions as: ‘Did the person have a hard day? Could he be jealous? Has someone hurt him?’” Mariann adds, “This tends to calm the children instead of allowing them to dwell on negative thoughts or to debate who is right or wrong.”
Such training can yield marvelous results. Note how Nicole, mentioned at the beginning of this article, was helped by her mother, Michelle, in a way that went beyond simply mending the rift with her friend Gabrielle. “Nicole and I read chapter 14 of the book Learn From the Great Teacher,” says Michelle. “Then I explained what Jesus meant when he said that we should forgive someone ‘up to seventy-seven times.’ After I carefully listened to Nicole as she expressed her feelings, I helped her to feel Gabrielle’s sadness and frustration because her best friend was moving so far away.”—Matthew 18:21, 22.
Nicole’s newfound insight into what might have led to Gabrielle’s outburst helped her to develop fellow feeling and motivated her to phone Gabrielle to apologize. “Since that time,” says Michelle, “Nicole finds happiness in being considerate of others’ feelings and in doing nice things for them to make them feel better.”—Philippians 2:3, 4.
Help your children to avoid becoming agitated by mistakes and misunderstandings. Perhaps you will have the satisfaction of seeing your youngsters express genuine goodwill and tender affection to others.—Romans 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:25.
Encourage the Beauty of Forgiveness
“It is beauty . . . to pass over transgression,” states Proverbs 19:11. Jesus, in his most agonizing moment, imitated his Father and displayed a forgiving attitude. (Luke 23:34) Your children can learn the beauty of forgiveness when they personally feel the comfort of your forgiveness.
For example, five-year-old Willy loves to color pictures with his grandmother. On one occasion, Grandma suddenly stopped, gave Willy a sharp rebuke, and walked away. Willy was distressed. His father, Sam, said: “Willy’s grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. So we explained this to Willy in language that he could understand.” After reminding Willy that he had been forgiven on numerous occasions and that he should do the same to others, Sam was amazed at Willy’s reaction. “Can you imagine how my wife and I felt,” says Sam, “as we watched our little son go to his 80-year-old grandmother, talk to her in an apologetic tone, and then lead her by the hand back to the table?”
It is beauty indeed when children learn to “continue putting up with” the shortcomings and mistakes of others and to forgive them. (Colossians 3:13) Even when people purposely behave in disruptive ways, assure your child that a peaceful response can be powerful, for “when Jehovah takes pleasure in the ways of a man he causes even his enemies themselves to be at peace with him.”—Proverbs 16:7.
g05 2/22 pp. 19-20 How Can I Control My Emotions?
Again it comes down to controlling your thoughts. At Proverbs 19:11, the Bible says: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.” When someone upsets you, try to understand why he or she behaved that way. Was that person deliberately trying to hurt you? Could it be that he or she was acting impulsively or out of ignorance? Making allowances for the mistakes of others reflects God’s own mercy, and it can help slow down your feelings of anger.
ba p. 26 A Practical Book for Modern Living
The Bible also contains sensible advice for managing anger. For example, Proverbs 19:11 says: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.” The Hebrew word for “insight” is derived from a verb that draws attention to a “knowledge of the reason” for something.14 The wise advice is: “Think before you act.” Endeavoring to grasp the underlying reasons why others talk or act in a certain way can help a person to be more tolerant—and less prone to anger.—Proverbs 14:29.
w95 7/15 p. 22 You Can Break Through These Barriers!
“The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression,” says Proverbs 19:11. How much better it is to forgive than to allow anger and resentment to fester! Salvador, an elder known for his loving spirit, said: “When a brother treats me badly or says something unkind, I ask myself: ‘How can I help my brother? How can I avoid losing my precious relationship with him?’ I am always conscious of how easy it is to say the wrong thing. If someone speaks thoughtlessly, the ideal solution would be for him to take back what he said and start all over again. But that is impossible, so I take the next best course and ignore the comment. I just put it down to an outburst of the imperfect flesh rather than to a reflection of my brother’s true self.”
kl chap. 17 p. 166 par. 12 Find Security Among God’s People
How will you react if someone offends you? A Bible proverb says: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11) To have insight means to see beneath the surface of a situation, to grasp underlying factors that cause a person to talk or act in a certain way. Most of us use much insight in excusing our own mistakes. Why not also use it to understand and cover the imperfections of others?—Matthew 7:1-5; Colossians 3:13.
g88 4/22 p. 22 How Can I ‘Honor My Father and My Mother’?
“The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger, and it is beauty on his part to pass over transgression,” states Proverbs 19:11. The original Hebrew word for “insight” draws attention to the “knowledge of the reason” for something. So having insight will cause you to look beyond the immediate confrontation.
For instance, if a parent refuses to let you go somewhere, ask yourself, ‘Is my parent thinking of my best interests? What difference will it really make if I don’t go? Is it mainly my pride or ego that’s hurting?’ While the situation may be frustrating, is it the end of the world? After thinking it over, you may see good reasons to keep your mouth in check and not make a bad situation much worse by talking back.—Proverbs 10:19; 16:23.
Insight nurtures understanding, for it enables you to draw in knowledge of another’s circumstances or background. (Proverbs 21:11) For example, one girl explained: ‘It used to get on my nerves to spend time with my family. But when my dad’s mother got very sick, we had to spend a lot of time with her. She talked to my father like he was a boy, and I never thought of him as being my age. So I started to think that he must have had a hard life, and I felt less selfish. Now I don’t get that mad at him when he asks me to do things.’
Also, insight helps you to see the beauty in ‘passing over transgressions.’ Yes, even if you feel that you have a legitimate cause for complaint, be willing to put up with others and freely forgive them. (Colossians 3:13) When you are hurt, it is natural to think of revenge. But by really forgiving, you stop a vicious cycle that usually ends in disrespectful speech or actions.
g87 5/8 pp. 22-23 How Can I Control My Temper?
‘Slowing Down Anger’
Proverbs 19:11 says: “The insight of a man certainly slows down his anger.” (Compare Proverbs 14:29.) Insight is the act or power of seeing into a situation, having all the facts of a matter before taking action. By exercising insight, you may find that there is little reason for you to take offense in the first place.
For example, imagine that your friends are late picking you up for a movie. You begin thinking about all the other times this has happened to you. The more you think, the more irritated you become! When they finally arrive, what will you do? Give them a piece of your mind—or find out what happened that made them so late? Likely there is a good reason. Having insight may thus prevent a temper explosion.
Insight could also include taking the time to weigh the consequences of angry retaliation. Consider a Bible account involving King David. When a man named Nabal snubbed David’s kindness, David impulsively planned retaliation—murder! Nabal’s wife, Abigail, however, implored David to consider the consequences of shedding innocent blood. David halted in his tracks. “Blessed be your sensibleness,” said David to Abigail, “and blessed be you who have restrained me this day from entering into bloodguilt.”—1 Samuel 25:2-33.
Considering the consequences of an angry outburst could similarly protect you from needlessly escalating a disagreement with someone in authority, such as a teacher or an employer. “If the spirit of a ruler should mount up against you, do not leave your own place, for calmness itself allays great sins,” said Solomon. (Ecclesiastes 10:4) And even where retaliation is aimed at a peer, remember that the Bible says: “Do not say: ‘Just as he did to me, so I am going to do to him.’”—Proverbs 24:29.
Another way to slow down anger is to watch what you feed your mind. Many television shows are violence packed. True, many think that TV and movie violence affects only those already inclined that way. One research team, however, claims that “all viewers tend to be affected.”—How to Live With—And Without—Anger, by Albert Ellis.
PROVERBS 19:13)
“A stupid son brings adversity on his father, And a quarrelsome wife is like a roof that never stops leaking.”
it-1 p. 1155 House
Smaller wooden rafters were placed across these beams and, in turn, were covered with branches, reeds, and the like. Next came a layer of earth several inches thick that was coated with a thick plaster of clay or of clay and lime. An opening could easily be dug through such an earthen roof, as was done by men who were endeavoring to get a paralytic into Jesus’ presence so that he might be healed. (Mr 2:4) The beams of the roof often were supported by a row of upright wooden posts resting on stone bases. Grass could sprout from these roofs (Ps 129:6), and it was difficult to keep them from leaking. (Pr 19:13; 27:15; Ec 10:18) Probably before the rainy season began, roofs were repaired and rolled smooth to allow a better runoff of water.
PROVERBS 19:17)
“The one showing favor to the lowly is lending to Jehovah, And He will repay him for what he does.”
cl chap. 20 p. 207 par. 19 “Wise in Heart”—Yet Humble
Note what Proverbs 19:17 says: “He that is showing favor to the lowly one is lending to Jehovah.” Clearly, only a good and reasonable master would take note of every act of kindness performed in behalf of lowly ones. More than that, this scripture suggests that the Creator of the universe, in effect, views himself as indebted to the mere humans who perform such deeds of mercy! Here is humility of the most profound kind.
w10 10/15 p. 19 Do You Take the Lead in Honoring Fellow Believers?
Honor “the Lowly Ones”
15 When showing honor, whom in the congregation should we not overlook? God’s Word states: “He that is showing favor to the lowly one is lending to Jehovah, and his treatment He will repay to him.” (Prov. 19:17) How should the principle found in those words affect us as we endeavor to take the lead in showing honor?
16 You will agree that most people manage to show honor to their superiors, but these same people may treat those whom they consider to be their inferiors with little or no respect. However, Jehovah is not like that. He states: “Those honoring me I shall honor.” (1 Sam. 2:30; Ps. 113:5-7) Jehovah shows honor to all those who serve and honor him. He does not ignore “the lowly ones.” (Read Isaiah 57:15; 2 Chron. 16:9) Of course, we wish to imitate Jehovah. Thus, if we want to measure how we fare in showing genuine honor, we do well to ask ourselves, ‘How do I treat those who have no prominent, or responsible, position in the congregation?’ (John 13:14, 15) The answer to that question reveals much about the degree of heartfelt respect we have for others.—Read Philippians 2:3, 4.
w87 5/15 p. 29 Fear Jehovah and You Will Be Happy
♦ 19:17—Why is helping the lowly like lending to Jehovah?
Lowly ones belong to God, and what we do to them is counted as done to him. (Proverbs 14:31) If love and generosity prompt us to show favor to the lowly or give gifts to the poor, expecting no return from them, Jehovah considers such giving as loans to him that he repays with favor and blessings.—Luke 14:12-14.
PROVERBS 19:20)
“Listen to counsel and accept discipline, In order to become wise in your future.”
w02 10/15 p. 32 “Become Wise in Your Future”
“Become Wise in Your Future”
“The greatest part of mankind employ their first years to make their last miserable.” So said Jean de La Bruyère, a 17th-century French essayist. Indeed, an indecisive young person may vacillate, experiencing discontent and regrets. On the other hand, a headstrong youth may persist in an unwise course, robbing him of joy later in life. Either way, sins of omission or commission can lead to considerable misery.
How can such an eventuality be avoided? In warning against youthful indecisiveness, God’s Word advises young people: “Remember, now, your Grand Creator in the days of your young manhood, before the calamitous days proceed to come, or the years have arrived when you will say: ‘I have no delight in them.’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1) If you are a youth, take positive steps to learn about “your Grand Creator” while you are young.
How, then, does the Bible help young people to avoid youthful folly? It says: “Listen to counsel and accept discipline, in order that you may become wise in your future.” (Proverbs 19:20) The Bible also clearly shows that rejection of godly wisdom as a result of neglect or rebellion in youth, or at any age, bears bitter fruit. (Proverbs 13:18) Conversely, heeding divine directives results in “length of days and years of life and peace,” a satisfying and fulfilling life.—Proverbs 3:2.
PROVERBS 19:25)
“Strike the ridiculer, so that the inexperienced one may become shrewd, And reprove the understanding one, so that he will increase in knowledge.”
it-2 p. 1141 Understanding
The person with true understanding does not think he knows everything; hence Proverbs 19:25 says, “There should be a reproving of the understanding one, that he may discern knowledge.” (Compare Job 6:24, 25; Ps 19:12, 13.)
PROVERBS 20:1)
“Wine is a ridiculer, alcohol is unruly; Whoever goes astray by them is not wise.”
it-1 p. 656 Drunkenness
Prohibited in the Christian Congregation. The drunkard is prone to boisterousness or rough, unrestrained noisiness and to ridiculous actions, bringing reproach. (Pr 20:1; Ps 107:27; Isa 19:14)
w04 12/1 p. 20 par. 10 Maintain a Balanced View of the Use of Alcohol
10 Immoderate drinking hurts people not only physically but also spiritually. “Wine and sweet wine are what take away good motive,” states the Bible. (Hosea 4:11) Alcohol affects the mind. “When someone has a drink,” explains a publication by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, “the alcohol is absorbed through the digestive system into the bloodstream and reaches the brain quickly. It begins to slow down the parts of the brain that control thinking and emotion. The person feels less inhibited, freer.” In such a state, we are more likely to ‘go astray,’ to take liberties, and to be exposed to many temptations.—Proverbs 20:1.
w04 12/1 pp. 19-20 pars. 2-6 Maintain a Balanced View of the Use of Alcohol
“Wine is a ridiculer,” warns the Bible, “intoxicating liquor is boisterous, and everyone going astray by it is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1) What, though, constitutes going astray by alcohol? How much is too much? What is a balanced view in this regard?
“Going Astray” by Alcohol—How?
3 In ancient Israel, a son who was an unrepentant glutton and a drunkard was to be stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) The apostle Paul admonished Christians: “Quit mixing in company with anyone called a brother that is a fornicator or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even eating with such a man.” Clearly, drinking to the point of drunkenness is condemned in the Scriptures.—1 Corinthians 5:11; 6:9, 10.
4 Describing the symptoms of drunkenness, the Bible states: “Do not look at wine when it exhibits a red color, when it gives off its sparkle in the cup, when it goes with a slickness. At its end it bites just like a serpent, and it secretes poison just like a viper. Your own eyes will see strange things, and your own heart will speak perverse things.” (Proverbs 23:31-33) Excessive drinking bites like a poisonous serpent, causing sickness, mental confusion, even unconsciousness. A drunkard may see “strange things” in that he may hallucinate or fantasize. He may also be less inhibited in expressing perverse thoughts and desires that are normally suppressed.
5 What if one uses alcohol but is careful not to drink to the point of being visibly drunk? Some individuals show very little sign of drunkenness even after consuming a number of drinks. However, to think that such a practice is harmless is to engage in a form of self-deception. (Jeremiah 17:9) Gradually, progressively, one may develop a dependency on alcohol and become “enslaved to a lot of wine.” (Titus 2:3) Concerning the process of becoming an alcoholic, author Caroline Knapp says: “It’s a slow, gradual, insidious, elusive becoming.” What a deadly trap overindulgence in alcohol is!
6 Consider also Jesus’ warning: “Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare. For it will come in upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth.” (Luke 21:34, 35) Drinking does not have to reach the level of drunkenness before it makes a person drowsy and lazy—physically as well as spiritually. What if Jehovah’s day catches him in such a condition?
w00 5/1 p. 19 Joyful Weddings That Honor Jehovah
The Bible warns that “intoxicating liquor is boisterous.” (Proverbs 20:1) The Hebrew word translated “boisterous” means to “make a loud noise.” If alcohol can make one person noisy, imagine what it can do to a large crowd of people who get together and drink too much!
w87 5/15 p. 29 Fear Jehovah and You Will Be Happy
♦ 20:1—How is wine “a ridiculer”?
Wine can cause one overindulging in it to act in a ridiculous and boisterous way. Since heavy drinking produces such bad effects, Christians must avoid it.—1 Timothy 3:2, 3, 8; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Proverbs 23:20, 21.
w87 8/1 p. 4 Alcohol—What Is the Christian View of It?
“Not Wise”—For Whom?
Does this mean that alcohol is absolutely forbidden to Christians? What of the clergyman’s claim, mentioned in the preceding article, supposedly based on Proverbs 20:1, that “wise men do not drink wine at all.” The King James Version renders this verse: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Again, the Bible does not chastise those who drink wine but, rather, those who are deceived by it! “Those staying a long time with the wine” and “heavy drinkers of wine”—these are the ones who are “not wise.”
w87 8/1 p. 3 Questions People Are Asking About Alcohol
Some are even arguing for abstinence. The above-quoted Nigerian clergyman claims: “Proverbs 20:1 says specifically that those who drink wine are not wise.”
g86 3/8 p. 10 Drinking and Driving—What Can Be Done?
A Bible proverb says: “Wine is a ridiculer, intoxicating liquor is boisterous, and everyone going astray by it is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1) That recommends having a responsible attitude toward the use of alcoholic beverages, acting in such a way that you never have to feel sorry for what happened when you were drinking.
That is not to suggest that the Bible endorses prohibition. In no way does it condemn the moderate use of alcohol. (Psalm 104:15; 1 Timothy 3:2, 3, 8)
PROVERBS 20:4)
“The lazy one does not plow in winter, So he will be begging during the harvest when he has nothing.”
it-1 p. 279 Beggar, Begging
On the other hand, Proverbs 20:4 portrays the lazy man as “begging in reaping time,” and Psalm 109:10 describes the execution of punishment on the wicked as obliging “his sons [to] go wandering about; and they must do begging, and they must look for food from their desolate places.” In these two latter texts the word “begging” translates the Hebrew sha•ʼalʹ, which term basically means “ask” or “request” (Ex 3:22; 1Ki 3:11); however, in these two cases the implication is that the asking is done in the active, and perhaps public, manner characterizing begging.
it-2 p. 227 Laziness
He has no consideration or respect for his fellowman, but he is willing to let someone else do his work, even to let another person provide him with the things he desires.—Pr 20:4.
it-2 pp. 648-649 Plowing
Colder days or times of uncertain weather or threatening clouds would not deter a manly person from work in the plowing season, but a lazy farmer would seize upon such as excuse to avoid work. His neighbors would have no reason to sympathize with him when he had no harvest because of his laziness at plowing time. (Pr 20:4; Ec 11:4) Even in plowing time, though, Israelite farmers were to keep the Sabbath.—Ex 34:21.
PROVERBS 20:5)
“The thoughts of a man’s heart are like deep waters, But the discerning man draws them out.”
w05 11/15 p. 12 The Art of Listening With Love
“Counsel in the heart of a man is as deep waters,” says Proverbs 20:5, “but the man of discernment is one that will draw it up.” If a wise and experienced person is not inclined to give unsolicited advice, we may have to draw him out to get his counsel. The situation is similar when we listen with love. It takes discernment to draw a person out. Asking questions helps, but we must be careful that our questions do not pry into private matters. It may be helpful to suggest that the one speaking start with matters he feels comfortable mentioning. For example, a wife who wants to talk about problems in her marriage may find it easier to start by talking about how she and her husband met and got married. A person who has become inactive in the Christian ministry may find it easier to begin by explaining how he learned the truth.
g04 12/8 pp. 9-10 Good Friends—Bad Friends
Getting to know someone’s true character requires patience and skill, as well as time to observe the person in real life. The Bible states: “Counsel in the heart of a man is as deep waters, but the man of discernment is one that will draw it up.” (Proverbs 20:5) We need to talk to potential friends about serious subjects—those that reveal their true personality, motivations and, yes, values. What sort of people are they? Are they kind or cold? Basically positive and cheerful or negative and cynical? Unselfish or self-serving? Trustworthy or disloyal? If a person talks critically about others to you, what will prevent him from talking negatively about you behind your back? “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” said Jesus. (Matthew 12:34) When it does, we should listen.
w03 9/15 p. 14 Spiritual Conversations Build Up
Some wells in Israel were very deep. In Gibeon, archaeologists have discovered a reservoir some 80 feet [25 m] deep. It has steps, which enabled people to descend to the bottom in order to draw up water.
w03 9/15 p. 14 par. 20 Spiritual Conversations Build Up
Show understanding to those who are shy. “Counsel in the heart of a man is as deep waters, but the man of discernment is one that will draw it up.” (Proverbs 20:5)
w97 11/1 p. 32 Drawing Up “Deep Waters”
Drawing Up “Deep Waters”
A BIBLE proverb states: “Counsel in the heart of a man is as deep waters, but the man of discernment is one that will draw it up.” (Proverbs 20:5) In Bible times it was much harder to get water than it is in many lands today. When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, she was hauling up water from Jacob’s fountain, a well that was some 75 feet [23 m] deep!—John 4:5-15.
As Proverbs 20:5 indicates, the discernment needed to elicit the deep thoughts and feelings harbored in a person’s heart is much like the effort required to draw water from a well. This is true in most areas of life. For example, likely you know individuals who over many years have built up a wealth of knowledge and experience. If these are not inclined to volunteer unsolicited advice, you may need to draw them out. By showing interest, asking questions, and tactfully probing, you will, as it were, be letting down your bucket into a deep well of wisdom.
The counsel of Proverbs 20:5 also holds true in the family. Often, wives are heard to say: “My husband doesn’t tell me how he feels!” A husband might say: “My wife just gives me the silent treatment!” In such situations, discernment is needed to draw up the thoughts that are deep in a spouse’s heart. Tactful questions (Did you have a hard day? What happened? How can I help?) can often initiate heart-to-heart communication. Showing such discernment will strengthen the marriage bond, to the benefit of both husband and wife.
g89 4/22 pp. 21-22 How Can I Carry On a Successful Courtship?
Yet, ‘drawing up’ the intentions of another’s heart takes effort. (Proverbs 20:5) Plan activities that will help you see your partner’s inner self. While going to a movie or a concert may do at the start, engaging in activities that lend themselves to conversation (such as skating, bowling, visiting zoos and museums) makes it easier to become better acquainted.
To get a glimpse of your partner’s feelings, use open-ended questions, such as, “How do you spend your free time?” “If money were no object, what would you like to do?” “What feature of our worship of God do you like the best? Why?” These allow in-depth responses so that you can learn what your partner treasures.
w88 5/1 p. 5 How to Be a Successful Parent
For example, consider Diane. When her 14-year-old son, Eric, was younger, he was “an intense child, hard to talk with,” she says. It was at that point that she discovered the wisdom behind this Bible proverb: “Counsel [one’s purpose or intention] in the heart of a man is as deep waters, but the man of discernment is one that will draw it up.” (Proverbs 20:5) For some children, their feelings and thoughts—their real intentions—lie in their heart like waters at the bottom of a deep well. Eric was like that. It takes hard work by the parent to draw those intentions out. “When he would come home from school, he would not be bubbling over with things to tell,” remembers Diane. “So I took the time to find out what he was facing at school. At times I would talk literally for hours with Eric before he would reveal what he was really thinking deep in his heart.”
PROVERBS 20:7)
“The righteous one is walking in his integrity. Happy are his children who come after him.”
it-1 p. 1211 Integrity
Children privileged to have such a person for a parent are to be counted happy (Pr 20:7), receiving a splendid legacy in their father’s life example, enjoying a share in his good name and the respect he gained.
PROVERBS 20:11)
“Even a child is known by his actions, Whether his behavior is pure and right.”
g97 8/22 p. 20 How Can I Stop Getting Blamed All the Time?
Why, though, are some parents prone to jump to wrong conclusions about their children in the first place? To be frank, sometimes young ones give their parents reason to be suspicious. Says Proverbs 20:11: “Even by his practices a boy makes himself recognized as to whether his activity is pure and upright.” What reputation have you established with your folks? Have your “practices” shown you to be “upright” and serious or careless and irresponsible? If the latter is the case, don’t be surprised if they often jump to wrong conclusions about you. “I had to be honest with myself,” admitted Ramon, the young man previously mentioned, about his parents’ criticism. “Sometimes there was a grain of truth in their suspicions.”
w86 11/1 p. 20 par. 18 Youths—Your Part in a Happy, United Family
18 Never forget that your home environment alone does not determine your personal worth or how your life will turn out. Rather, “by his practices a boy [or, girl] makes himself recognized as to whether his activity is pure and upright.” (Proverbs 20:11) Your own upright practices will endear you to God and give your life meaning and worth.
PROVERBS 20:12)
“The hearing ear and the seeing eye —Jehovah has made both of them.”
it-2 p. 704 Proverbs, Book of
Jehovah the Creator. Jehovah, in matchless wisdom, is the Creator of all things and the Decreer of the laws governing these things; so he deserves the worship of all creatures. (Pr 3:19, 20) He made the hearing ear and the seeing eye, both literally and in a moral sense. Accordingly, one must look to Him in order to see and hear with true understanding. And a person must realize his accountability to the One who sees and hears all.—20:12.
PROVERBS 20:15)
“There is gold, also much coral, But the lips of knowledge are something precious.”
g 5/11 p. 19 Are Your Lips “Precious Vessels”?
Are Your Lips “Precious Vessels”?
● “There exists gold, also an abundance of corals; but the lips of knowledge are precious vessels,” wrote King Solomon of old. (Proverbs 20:15) Gold has always been highly valued, and in Solomon’s day, corals too were prized. Yet, our lips can be even more precious than these. How? Not because of their physical appearance, but because of the thoughts they express.
Precious lips radiate goodness, kindness, and love. And as “lips of knowledge,” they speak the truth about God as recorded in the Bible. Yes, this ancient book is filled with wisdom and truth about our Creator, as well as excellent advice for life.—John 17:17.
Sadly, many people misuse their lips by saying things about God that are untrue. For example, some blame him for the injustice and suffering in the world, much of which is mankind’s own doing. In this regard, Proverbs 19:3 states: “Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the Lord.”—Today’s English Version.
Others cheapen the value of their lips through insincere speech, hurtful gossip, or even slander. Using powerful imagery, Proverbs 26:23 reads: “As a silver glazing overlaid upon a fragment of earthenware are fervent lips along with a bad heart.” Like “silver glazing” that conceals the underlying earthenware, “fervent lips,” which convey strong feelings and even sincerity, may in fact conceal “a bad heart.”—Proverbs 26:24-26.
Of course, such badness is not hidden from God. He sees what we really are! Accordingly, Jesus Christ said: “Cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the dish, that the outside of it also may become clean.” (Matthew 23:26) How true! Moreover, internal cleanness, or purity, along with a heart filled with spiritual truth, will be reflected in our words. The result? Our lips will be “precious vessels,” especially in the eyes of God.
[Picture on page 19]
The lips of the wise are “precious vessels”
PROVERBS 20:16)
“Take a man’s garment if he has given security for a stranger; Seize the pledge from him if he did so for a foreign woman.”
it-2 p. 648 Pledge
In the Hebrew Scriptures advice is repeatedly given against going surety for a stranger, thereby promising to pay that person’s debt if he failed to do so. (Pr 11:15; 22:26, 27; see SURETY.) Thus, Proverbs 20:16 speaks of ‘taking the garment’ of the one going surety for a stranger. This is in direct contrast to the sympathetic consideration to be shown the poor man who is obliged to become debtor to another because of his own misfortune. The one going surety for a stranger is not simply unfortunate but is stupid; the proverb evidently says to ‘let him suffer the consequences.’ The latter part of the verse calls for ‘seizing a pledge’ in “the instance of a foreign woman.” The man entering into relationship with such a woman may become impoverished (compare Pr 5:3, 8-10), and so he may have to pledge his remaining possessions as security for his debts. The proverb apparently says that he merits no pity, inasmuch as he acted contrary to all sound advice in having dealings with the “foreign woman.”
PROVERBS 20:17)
“Bread gained by deceit tastes good to a man, But afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.”
it-1 p. 995 Gravel
GRAVEL
Small stones or pebbles. In the Scriptures, “gravel” is used in an illustrative sense. The injurious aftereffects of gaining bread by falsehood are compared to having one’s mouth filled with gravel. (Pr 20:17)
PROVERBS 20:18)
“By consultation, plans will succeed, And by skillful direction wage your war.”
w12 6/15 p. 31 Be Wise—Seek “Skillful Direction”
Interestingly, the term rendered “skillful direction” is also used with reference to warfare. We read: “By skillful direction [“by skillful strategy,” The Revised English Bible] you will carry on your war, and in the multitude of counselors there is salvation.”—Prov. 20:18; 24:6.
Like a strategist organizing a battle, we do well to anticipate potential dangers to our spirituality. (Prov. 22:3)
PROVERBS 20:25)
“It is a snare for a man to cry out rashly, “Holy!” And only later to give consideration to what he vowed.”
it-2 p. 1122 Trap
An individual must carefully examine and be cautious about what he vows or guarantees to do so that he does not find himself trapped in a situation from which escape may be difficult or virtually impossible. (Pr 6:1-3; 20:25)
g89 2/22 p. 21 A Successful Courtship—Just How Important?
A husband and wife make a sacred vow before God to be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives. The Bible warns that making a vow is a serious matter, saying: “It is a snare when earthling man has rashly cried out, ‘Holy!’ and after vows he is disposed to make examination.” (Proverbs 20:25) On an impulse a person may make a solemn promise but later realize that more is involved than was bargained for. But the time “to make examination” is before making the vow, not afterward.
Courtship gives a couple the opportunity to make such an examination or investigation. When utilized properly, courtship not only can help a couple determine whether they are really suited for each other but can also prime them for the challenges of married life.
PROVERBS 20:26)
“A wise king sifts out the wicked And drives the threshing wheel over them.”
it-2 p. 1180 Wheel
Illustrative and Figurative Use. According to the Hebrew Masoretic text, Proverbs 20:26 reads: “A wise king is scattering wicked people, and he turns around upon them a wheel.” This seems to allude to an action of a king comparable to the use of the wheel in threshing grain. (Compare Isa 28:27, 28.) The metaphor appears to indicate that the wise king acts promptly in separating wicked persons from righteous ones and in punishing the wicked. Thereby evil is suppressed in his domain. (Compare Pr 20:8.) However, by a slight alteration, this verse says that a wise king turns around upon the wicked “their own hurtfulness.”
PROVERBS 20:27)
“The breath of a man is the lamp of Jehovah, Searching through his innermost being.”
it-2 p. 196 Lamp
According to Proverbs 20:27, “the breath of earthling man is the lamp of Jehovah, carefully searching all the innermost parts of the belly.” By what a person “breathes out,” or gives vent to, whether good or bad expressions, he reveals, or sheds light on, his personality or inmost self.—Compare Ac 9:1.
PROVERBS 20:29)
“The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”
it-1 p. 995 Gray-headedness
The Bible recognizes both the beauty of youth and the splendor of old age. “The beauty of young men is their power, and the splendor of old men is their gray-headedness.” (Pr 20:29) Especially is the latter true if such ones are found worshiping and serving Jehovah.
w93 3/15 pp. 27-30 The Splendor of Gray-Headedness
The Power of Youth
The Bible recognizes youthful strength and its advantages, stating: “The beauty of young men is their power.” (Proverbs 20:29) In ancient Israel the power of young Levites was employed at the temple, often for many of the heavier tasks. Today, much of the work in factories, in Bethel homes, and on construction projects of the Watch Tower Society is done by young men and women who have offered their strength and abilities to advance Kingdom interests. (Matthew 6:33) They thus enjoy fine privileges in God’s service.
The proverb just quoted concludes with the words, “and the splendor of old men is their gray-headedness.” When youthful strength is combined with the experience and wisdom of years, a very strong combination is formed.
To illustrate: A young apprentice carpenter who has been asked to install some paneling seeks to fulfill the assignment with youthful vigor. An older, more experienced carpenter notices that in spite of his strength, the young helper strikes a nail several times before it is driven in. The older workman recommends that the young man hold the hammer at the end of the handle, rather than close to its metal head. This enables the young person to strike the nails with greater force, saving time and energy.
Similarly, a young, energetic woman may learn from trial and error that some fabrics will be ruined if they are not washed according to instructions. An experienced woman, though, knows the value of taking time to sort the clothes and wash some garments separately. She has also learned that she can avoid doing some ironing by folding clothes as she takes them off the line or out of the dryer.
Learning from experienced people can make life easier. Nevertheless, there comes a time when even the more experienced person cannot handle some jobs that he or she easily accomplished a few years earlier. One writer aptly observed: “If youth but knew, and old age only could.” But how good it is when older people appreciate the strength of younger ones and patiently share with them experience acquired over the years—and youths humbly accept suggestions! In this way, both age groups are benefited.
Acquiring Splendor
Mere age is not enough. “It is not those merely abundant in days that prove wise, nor those just old that understand judgment,” said the young man Elihu. (Job 32:9; Ecclesiastes 4:13) To be truly valued because of gray-headedness, an older person would have to have done more with his life than lazily spending his days watching television, attending sports events, or otherwise just having a good time. And even in later years, the elderly need to continue learning.
Some people brag about doing things their way, or they say: “Experience is the best teacher.” Yet, God’s Word counsels: “A wise person will listen and take in more instruction, and a man of understanding is the one who acquires skillful direction.” (Proverbs 1:5; compare 1 Corinthians 10:11.) Experience is not always the best teacher, for we can learn from the mistakes of others without having to make the same errors ourselves. Moreover, a Christian would want to keep in mind that “gray-headedness is a crown of beauty when it is found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31) A life spent in faithful service to Jehovah is beautiful from his standpoint and merits the respect of others as a good example. Of course, learning about God and acquiring experience “in the way of righteousness” can start early in life and should be a never-ending process.—Romans 11:33, 34.
This can be illustrated by an experience involving a seven-year-old boy in Sweden. He asked the Theocratic Ministry School overseer in the congregation if he might join the school. The overseer asked, “Why?” At that, the youngster responded: “One cannot idle one’s whole life away!” (Ecclesiastes 12:1) What a positive example for young and old alike!
Honoring Gray-Headedness
A disturbing tendency in modern society is to put great value on physical fitness and athletic ability and to look down on the elderly. What should be the Christian’s attitude toward the gray-headed ones in the congregation?
Rather than overlooking elderly Christians, we should take them into consideration and spend time with them. For instance, at the weekly meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Kingdom Hall, do you make a point of greeting the older ones? They truly appreciate the greetings of the little ones and others. And how the elderly enjoy being present at social gatherings of fellow believers of different age groups! Though a younger married couple may have more in common with other married people of their age group, it would be rewarding to include older ones at such happy gatherings.—1 Thessalonians 3:12; 5:15.
How important it is to be considerate when talking to the elderly! When an older brother with 40 years of service to Jehovah once spoke to another elder about how he could be used in the congregation, the younger man said: “You have very little to offer.” What an unkind remark! The older brother had less energy than he once had, his share in the field ministry had diminished somewhat, and some privileges of oversight apparently were beyond his present abilities; yet, he had much to offer. He had years of accumulated wisdom and experience in the way of righteousness. Because such elderly ones worked hard as Kingdom preachers, endured persecution, carried heavy loads of Christian responsibility, and trained others, God’s people now enjoy a strong organization backed up by his spirit. May we, therefore, show these older ones respect as wise counselors, loving shepherds, and effective teachers.
There is also good reason to give serious consideration to suggestions made by older people. For example, an experienced brother suggested that the door of a certain Kingdom Hall not be placed on the west side of the building. Younger brothers more concerned about the supposed beauty of the structure did not follow his suggestion. After several years, however, the door had to be relocated because the constant wind and rain from the west had caused its deterioration. The practical wisdom of experience outweighed the aesthetic factors. If younger individuals honor older ones by listening to their opinions and practical wisdom, this may well save time and money. Even if the older person’s suggestion is not followed, he can be honored by letting him know that it was considered, but other factors led to another decision.—Compare Proverbs 1:8.
w86 11/1 p. 16 par. 3 Youths—Your Part in a Happy, United Family
Disagreements, coupled with the feeling that your point of view is ignored, can shut down communication. But why do these differences occur? Proverbs 20:29 suggests one reason. It reads: “The beauty of young men is their power, and the splendor of old men is their gray-headedness.” Because youthful “power” is untempered by the harsh realities of years of experience, you young people can overlook dangers, feeling that ‘nothing wrong can happen.’ Your parents, however, from wisdom gained as a result of age—or even from bitter personal experience—know differently. Though understanding your feelings, they may be aware of subtle hazards that you do not see.—Proverbs 29:15.
PROVERBS 20:30)
“Bruises and wounds purge away evil, And beatings cleanse one’s innermost being.”
it-1 p. 272 Beating
The Scriptures repeatedly emphasize the value of strokes as a disciplinary measure. Proverbs 20:30 shows that discipline can go very deep, resulting in good to the individual. It reads: “Bruising wounds are what scours away the bad; and strokes, the innermost parts of the belly.” The person being disciplined in this way should recognize that he has acted foolishly and should change. (Pr 10:13; 19:29)
PROVERBS 21:1)
“A king’s heart is like streams of water in Jehovah’s hand. He directs it wherever He pleases.”
it-2 p. 489 Nehemiah, Book of
Jehovah’s causing Artaxerxes to do His will by granting Nehemiah’s request to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem historically illustrates Proverbs 21:1: “A king’s heart is as streams of water in the hand of Jehovah. Everywhere that he delights to, he turns it.”—Ne 2:4-8.
PROVERBS 21:6)
“Gaining treasures by a lying tongue Is like a vanishing mist, a deadly snare.”
w87 4/15 p. 29 “Treasures by a False Tongue . . . an Exhalation”
“Treasures by a False Tongue . . . an Exhalation”
THESE days, lying and cheating are often viewed as legitimate—and eminently successful—business tactics. This was true in Bible times. The psalmist Asaph wrote of those who “have increased their means of maintenance,” evidently by fraudulent schemes. Such ones can appear to be “at ease indefinitely” because of the wealth their treachery has brought them.—Psalm 73:8, 12.
Christians today, however, must avoid ‘loving dishonest gain’ and resorting to shady or dishonest business maneuvers. (1 Peter 5:2) Warns Proverbs 21:6: “The getting of treasures by a false tongue is an exhalation driven away, in the case of those seeking death.” Yes, any “treasures” obtained by lying and fraud are bound to be as temporary as “an exhalation,” as evanescent as a vapor. “The treasures of the wicked one will be of no benefit” in the long run. (Proverbs 10:2) Really, the lying one is “seeking death” by pursuing a death-dealing course. His life could be cut short prematurely as his lying schemes backfire. (Compare Esther 7:10.) Or at the very latest, his life will be terminated on God’s day of judgment.
g87 10/8 p. 20 Is Lying All That Bad?
Yes, lying stirs up anger and resentment. And when the ones lied to are your parents—a serious dose of discipline can result.
No wonder the Bible says: “The getting of treasures by a false tongue is an exhalation driven away.” (Proverbs 21:6) In other words, any advantages a lie may bring are as short lived as vapor.
PROVERBS 21:11)
“When a ridiculer is punished, the inexperienced become wiser, And when a wise person receives insight, he gains knowledge.”
it-1 p. 1202 Insight
According to Proverbs 21:11, when a wise person obtains insight—that is, when he carefully considers available information and as a result acquires a clearer picture of a matter—he “gets knowledge,” that is, he knows what to do regarding the matter, what conclusions to draw, what counsel to give.
it-2 p. 1190 Wisdom
Proverbs 21:11 says that “by one’s giving insight to a wise person he gets knowledge.” The wise person is happy to get any information that will grant him a clearer view into the underlying circumstances, conditions, and causes of problems. Thereby he “gets knowledge” as to what to do regarding the matter and knows what conclusions to draw, what is needed to solve the existing problem.—Compare Pr 9:9; Ec 7:25; 8:1; Eze 28:3; see INSIGHT.
w88 6/1 p. 29 Made Wise by “the Laying of a Fine”
Made Wise by “the Laying of a Fine”
PROVERBS 21:11 says: “By the laying of a fine on the ridiculer the inexperienced becomes wise; and by one’s giving insight to a wise person he gets knowledge.”
An “inexperienced” one often has difficulty appreciating why a certain course of conduct is wrong. In time, though, he may observe a “ridiculer”—one who scoffs at the principles of God’s Word—become caught in his wickedness and suffer “distress and hard times.” (Proverbs 1:27) Under the Mosaic Law, appropriate ‘punishment’ (King James Version), or more literally “a fine,” could have been levied on the wrongdoer.—Compare Exodus 21:22; Deuteronomy 22:19.
The effect on the inexperienced one? Finally seeing the reward of wrongdoing, he could ‘become wise’ and determine not to follow such a course himself. (Compare Proverbs 19:25.) By way of contrast, “a wise person” already knows from past experience, observation, and knowledge of Bible principles that a certain course of conduct is unwholesome or destructive. He does not always need to observe the ruinous outcome of a certain act to be convinced of its wrongfulness. He can thus gain new ‘insights’ by mere instruction, rather than by bitter experience.
PROVERBS 21:13)
“Whoever stops up his ear to the cry of the lowly one Will himself call and not be answered.”
w93 3/15 p. 20 Why a Complainer’s Lot Is Not a Happy One
Proverbs 21:13 says: “As for anyone stopping up his ear from the complaining cry of the lowly one, he himself also will call and not be answered.” Rather than ignoring a legitimate complaint, elders should listen sympathetically. On the other hand, all of us can cooperate by directing serious complaints to the elders, instead of reciting them to everyone who will listen.
PROVERBS 21:14)
“A secret gift subdues anger, And a hidden bribe, fierce rage.”
it-1 p. 366 Bribe
The expressions “a bribe from the bosom” and “a bribe in the bosom” can be better understood when considering that in Hebrew the word “bosom” may also refer to the fold of a garment above the belt. Therefore, these expressions indicate that the bribe apparently was hidden in the upper fold of the garment and then given in secrecy to another who, in turn, likewise concealed it.—Pr 17:23; 21:14; see GIFTS, PRESENTS.
PROVERBS 21:17)
“The one who loves having a good time will come to poverty; The one who loves wine and oil will not grow rich.”
w97 10/1 p. 27 Is the Spirit of the World Poisoning You?
The Bible warns: “He that is loving merriment [“entertainment,” Lamsa] will be an individual in want.” (Proverbs 21:17) Having fun is not wrong, but loving it, or assigning it prime importance, will lead to spiritual want. Our spiritual appetite will inevitably be dulled, and we will have less time available for preaching the good news.
PROVERBS 21:18)
“The wicked one is a ransom for the righteous one, And the treacherous one will be taken in place of the upright.”
it-2 pp. 705-706 Proverbs, Book of
The judgments of Jehovah are shown to be altogether, in every respect, right and for the good of those who seek uprightness. In due time God will clear the wicked out of the land, their death being the price of freedom for the righteous ones. Accordingly, the proverb states: “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous one; and the one dealing treacherously takes the place of the upright ones.” (Pr 21:18)
it-2 p. 734 Ransom
Frequent reference is made to Jehovah’s redeeming the nation of Israel from Egypt to be his “private property” (De 9:26; Ps 78:42) and to his redeeming them from Assyrian and Babylonian exile many centuries later. (Isa 35:10; 51:11; Jer 31:11, 12; Zec 10:8-10) Here, too, the redemption involved a price, an exchange. In redeeming Israel from Egypt, Jehovah evidently caused the price to be paid by Egypt. Israel was, in effect, God’s “firstborn,” and Jehovah warned Pharaoh that his stubborn refusal to release Israel would cause the life of Pharaoh’s firstborn and the firstborn of all Egypt, human and animals, to be exacted. (Ex 4:21-23; 11:4-8) Similarly, in return for Cyrus’ overthrow of Babylon and his liberation of the Jews from their exiled state, Jehovah gave “Egypt as a ransom [form of koʹpher] for [his people], Ethiopia and Seba” in their place. The Persian Empire thus later conquered those regions, and so ‘national groups were given in place of the Israelites’ souls.’ (Isa 43:1-4) These exchanges are in harmony with the inspired declaration that the “wicked is [or serves as] a ransom [koʹpher] for the righteous one; and the one dealing treacherously takes the place of the upright ones.”—Pr 21:18.
it-2 p. 811 Righteousness
Eventual possession of the earth is promised to the righteous; the wicked are to be cleared out of the earth as “a ransom” for the righteous, for as long as the wicked are in control, the righteous cannot have peace. And the possessions of the wicked will go to the righteous, as the proverb states: “The wealth of the sinner is something treasured up for the righteous one.”—Pr 13:22; 21:18.
tp chap. 4 pp. 40-41 par. 18 World Destruction First—Then World Peace
18 The destruction of those who prefer this present system of things, then, is the price that must be paid to redeem from insecurity and suffering those who love what is right. This is in agreement with the Bible principle: “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous one.”—Proverbs 21:18; compare Isaiah 43:1, 3, 4.
PROVERBS 21:19)
“Better to dwell in the wilderness Than with a quarrelsome and irritable wife.”
w06 9/15 p. 28 par. 13 “Rejoice With the Wife of Your Youth”
A Bible proverb says: “Better is it to dwell in a wilderness land than with a contentious wife along with vexation.” (Proverbs 21:19) If you are a wife in such a marriage, ask yourself, ‘Is my disposition making it difficult for my husband to be around me?’
PROVERBS 21:21)
“Whoever pursues righteousness and loyal love Will find life, righteousness, and glory.”
w10 8/15 p. 25 par. 19 Let “the Law of Loving-Kindness” Safeguard Your Tongue
19 Proverbs 21:21 states: “He that is pursuing righteousness and loving-kindness will find life, righteousness and glory.” Among the blessings such a person will experience is that he will find life—not a brief existence but life without end. Jehovah helps him to “get a firm hold on the real life.” (1 Tim. 6:12, 19)
w91 7/15 p. 22 Always Pursue Loving-Kindness
Keep On Pursuing Loving-Kindness
17 All who desire God’s favor must pursue loving-kindness. “He that is pursuing righteousness and loving-kindness will find life, righteousness and glory,” says a wise proverb. (Proverbs 21:21) A godly person diligently pursues God’s righteousness, always being guided by divine standards. (Matthew 6:33) He continually shows loyal love, or loving-kindness, to others in material and especially spiritual ways. Thus, he finds righteousness, for Jehovah’s spirit helps him to live in a righteous way. In fact, he is ‘clothed with righteousness’ as the godly man Job was. (Job 29:14) Such a person does not seek his own glory. (Proverbs 25:27) Rather, he gets whatever glory Jehovah allows him to receive, perhaps in the form of respect from fellow humans moved by God to deal kindly with him because of his own loving-kindness toward them. Moreover, those loyally doing God’s will find life—not just for a few fleeting years but forever.
PROVERBS 21:23)
“The one guarding his mouth and his tongue Keeps himself out of trouble.”
g88 11/22 p. 23 Talking Raises Blood Pressure
“THE simple act of speaking—not necessarily in anger, or fright, but just plain old talking—seemed to throw a switch that immediately boosted blood pressure,” reports Aviation Safety magazine. It also points out that those who suffer from high blood pressure or are on medication to control it are especially susceptible. In fact, for all persons “the increase in pressure runs anywhere from 10 to 50 percent.” And what was most amazing was that “these same blood pressure relationships held true for deaf people who were doing their speaking via sign language.”
This means that, according to the report, even small talk while having a doctor take your blood pressure gives a higher reading. True, such talk “is meant to be friendly and relaxing,” but it ‘actually pushes the pressure dial up.’ On the other hand, “studies show that listening helps lower blood pressure.” Evidently, God’s advice at Proverbs 21:23 brings not only improved social relationships but also physical benefits.
PROVERBS 21:25)
“What the lazy man craves will put him to death, For his hands refuse to work.”
it-2 p. 227 Laziness
The slothful one’s laziness will eventually bring dire results to him, for “the very craving of the lazy will put him to death.” His craving is for things he does not deserve or that are wrong. He may come to ruin in trying to get them. At any rate, his craving with laziness turns him away from God the Source of life.—Pr 21:25.
PROVERBS 21:28)
“A lying witness will perish, But the man who listens will testify with success.”
w87 5/15 p. 29 Fear Jehovah and You Will Be Happy
Lesson for Us: “A lying witness” shows disrespect for God and could be put to death under the Law. Thus he could “perish” at the hands of men or Jehovah. (Proverbs 21:28; Deuteronomy 5:20; 19:16-21; compare Acts 5:1-11.) But ‘the man listening’ attentively spoke only when sure of what he had heard. His testimony stood “forever,” not later being rejected as falsehood. Moreover, he was not executed as a false witness. Those testifying at judicial hearings among Jehovah’s Witnesses should have listened carefully so as to be able to provide accurate information, for inaccurate or false testimony can be spiritually damaging.
PROVERBS 21:30)
“There is no wisdom, nor discernment, nor counsel in opposition to Jehovah.”
it-1 p. 516 Counsel, Counselor
This emphasizes that if counsel is to be beneficial, it must take Jehovah into consideration. Any advice that stands in opposition to the Most High is valueless. It is no counsel at all.—Pr 19:21; 21:30.
it-2 p. 704 Proverbs, Book of
Judgment and direction. One knowing Jehovah realizes through knowledge and experience that, as Proverbs 21:30 says, “there is no wisdom, nor any discernment, nor any counsel in opposition to Jehovah.” Therefore, though he may hear other plans or have them in his own heart, the sensible person will direct his way of life in harmony with the counsel of Jehovah, knowing that contrary counsel, no matter how seemingly wise or plausible, cannot stand against the word of Jehovah.—Pr 19:21; compare Jos 23:14; Mt 5:18.
it-2 p. 1139 Understanding
He knows his own invincible purpose and what he will do in the future. His righteous standards are fixed, unchangeable. Hence, “there is no wisdom, nor any discernment, nor any counsel in opposition to Jehovah.” (Pr 21:30; compare Isa 29:13, 14; Jer 23:20; 30:24.)
w97 3/15 pp. 15-16 par. 16 Incline Your Heart to Discernment
In fact, any advice that stands in opposition to him is valueless. Proverbs 21:30 states: “There is no wisdom, nor any discernment, nor any counsel in opposition to Jehovah.” (Compare Proverbs 19:21.) Only spiritual discernment, developed by a study of God’s Word with the help of publications provided through “the faithful and discreet slave,” will help us to pursue a proper course in life. (Matthew 24:45-47) Let us therefore direct our way of life in harmony with the counsel of Jehovah, knowing that no matter how plausible contrary advice may seem, it cannot stand against his Word.
PROVERBS 21:31)
“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But salvation belongs to Jehovah.”
w98 12/15 p. 10 par. 2 Salvation Belongs to Jehovah
2 David’s son Solomon also knew that Jehovah is the Source of salvation, for he said: “The horse is something prepared for the day of battle, but salvation belongs to Jehovah.” (Proverbs 21:31) In the ancient Middle East, oxen pulled the plow, asses carried burdens, people rode on mules, and horses were used in warfare. Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, however, God commanded that their future king “should not increase horses for himself.” (Deuteronomy 17:16) War horses would not be needed because Jehovah would save his people.

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