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PROVERBS 7-11 | Treasures from God’s Word: week starting October 10-16

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BIBLICAL TEXTS AND REFERENCES: TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD | PROVERBS 7-11

“DO NOT LET YOUR HEART TURN ASIDE”: (10 MIN.)

Jehovah’s standards can protect us. To benefit from them, however, we must treasure them in our heart. (Pr 7:3) When a servant of Jehovah allows his heart to turn aside, he becomes vulnerable to Satan’s smooth and deceptive tactics. Proverbs chapter 7 describes a young man who allowed his heart to deceive him. What can we learn from his mistakes?
Sight
7:10
Touch
7:13
Taste
7:14
Smell
7:17
Hearing
7:21
• Satan tries to draw us away from Jehovah by using our five senses to induce us to get involved in wrongdoing
• Wisdom and understanding will help us to perceive the devastating effects of wrongdoing and to stay far away from spiritual danger

Pr 7:6-12—Those lacking good sense often run into spiritual danger (w00 11/15 29-30)

• New World Translation Proverbs 7:6-12
6 From the window of my house,
Through my lattice, I looked down,
7 And as I observed the naive ones,
I discerned among the youths a young man lacking good sense.
8 He passed along the street near her corner,
And he marched in the direction of her house
9 In the twilight, in the evening,
At the approach of night and darkness.
10 Then I saw a woman meet him,
Dressed like a prostitute, with a cunning heart.
11 She is loud and defiant.
She never stays at home.
12 One moment she is outside, next she is in the public squares,
She lurks near every corner.
• The Watchtower (2000) “Keep My Commandments and Continue Living”
a need to treat such instructions “like the pupil of your eyes”—guarding them with utmost care. That is the way to avoid the deadly effect of ignoring Jehovah’s standards and thus to “continue living.”
“Tie them [my commandments] upon your fingers,” continues Solomon, “and write them upon the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:3) As fingers are prominently before our eyes and are vital in carrying out our purposes, the lessons learned from a Scriptural upbringing or the gaining of Bible knowledge are to be a constant reminder and guide in everything we do. We are to inscribe them upon the tablet of our heart, making them a part of our nature.
Not forgetting the importance of wisdom and understanding, the king exhorts: “Say to wisdom: ‘You are my sister’; and may you call understanding itself ‘Kinswoman.’” (Proverbs 7:4) Wisdom is the ability to put God-given knowledge to proper use. We should have affection for wisdom as for a dearly loved sister. What is understanding? It is the ability to see into a matter and get the sense of it by grasping the connections between its parts and the whole. Understanding must be as close to us as an intimate friend.
Why should we adhere to Scriptural training and cultivate closeness with wisdom and understanding? So as “to guard [ourselves] against the woman stranger, against the foreigner who has made her own sayings smooth.” (Proverbs 7:5) Yes, doing so will protect us from the smooth and persuasive ways of a stranger, or foreigner—an immoral person.
The Young Man Meets ‘a Cunning Woman’
The king of Israel next describes a scene that he himself has observed: “At the window of my house, through my lattice I looked down, that I might peer upon the inexperienced ones. I was interested in discerning among the sons a young man in want of heart, passing along on the street near her corner, and in the way to her house he marches, in the twilight, in the evening of the day, at the approach of the night and the gloom.”—Proverbs 7:6-9.
The window through which Solomon looks out has a lattice—apparently a framework with laths and perhaps elaborate carvings. As the twilight fades, the darkness of the night pours into the streets. He catches sight of a young man who is particularly vulnerable. Lacking discernment, or good sense, he is in want of heart. Likely, he is aware of the type of neighborhood he has entered and what could happen to him there. The young man comes near “her corner,” which is on the way to her house. Who is she? What is she up to?
The observant king continues: “Look! there was a woman to meet him, with the garment of a prostitute and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and stubborn. In her house her feet do not keep residing. Now she is outdoors, now she is in the public squares, and near every corner she lies in wait.”—Proverbs 7:10-12.
This woman’s manner of dress speaks volumes about her. (Genesis 38:14, 15) She is dressed immodestly, like a prostitute. Moreover, she is cunning of heart—her mind is “treacherous,” her intent “crafty.” (An American Translation; New International Version) She is boisterous and stubborn, talkative and headstrong, loud and self-willed, brazen and defiant. Rather than staying at home, she prefers to frequent public places, lurking on street corners to pick up her prey. She is waiting for someone like the young man.
An ‘Abundance of Persuasiveness’
A young man thus meets a loose woman with a crafty plan. How this must have caught the attention of Solomon! He relates: “She has grabbed hold of him and given him a kiss. She has put on a bold face, and she begins to say to him: ‘Communion sacrifices were incumbent upon me. Today I have paid my vows. That is why I have come out to meet you, to look for your face, that I may find you.’”—Proverbs 7:13-15.
The lips of this woman are smooth. Putting on a bold face, she utters her words confidently. Everything she says is carefully calculated to seduce the young man. By stating that she had made communion sacrifices that very day and paid her vows, she makes a display of righteousness, hinting that she is not lacking in spirituality. Communion sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem consisted of meat, flour, oil, and wine. (Leviticus 19:5, 6; 22:21; Numbers 15:8-10) Since the offerer could take part of the communion sacrifice for himself and his family, she thus suggests that there is plenty to eat and drink at her house. The implication is clear: The young man would have a good time there. She has come out of her house specifically to look for him. How touching—if anyone could swallow such a story. “It is true she was out looking for someone,” says one Bible scholar, “but did she really come looking just for this one special fellow? Only a fool—perhaps this one—would believe her.”
After making herself appealing by the sight of her attire, by the sound of her flattering words, by the touch of her embrace, and by the taste of her lips, the seductress enlists the sense of smell. She says: “With coverlets I have bedecked my divan, with many-colored things, linen of Egypt. I have besprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.” (Proverbs 7:16, 17) She has aesthetically prepared her bed with colorful linen from Egypt and perfumed it with choice fragrances of myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
“Do come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning,” she continues, “do let us enjoy each other with love expressions.” The invitation is to something much more than a pleasant dinner for two. Her promise is that of enjoying sexual intimacy. To the young man, the appeal is adventurous and exciting! As further inducement, she adds: “For the husband is not in his house; he has gone traveling on a way of some distance. A bag of money he has taken in his hand. On the day of the full moon he will come to his house.” (Proverbs 7:18-20) They would be perfectly safe, she assures him, for her husband is away on a business trip and is not expected back for some time. How talented she is at beguiling a young person! “She has misled him by the abundance of her persuasiveness. By the smoothness of her lips she seduces him.” (Proverbs 7:21) It would take a man of Joseph’s caliber to resist an appeal

Pr 7:13-23—Poor decisions can lead to disaster (w00 11/15 30-31)

• New World Translation Proverbs 7:13-23
13 She grabs hold of him and gives him a kiss;
With a bold face, she says to him:
14 “I had to offer communion sacrifices.
Today I paid my vows.
15 That is why I came out to meet you,
To look for you, and I found you!
16 I have spread fine covers upon my bed,
Colorful linen from Egypt.
17 I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning;
Let us enjoy passionate love together,
19 For my husband is not at home;
He has gone on a distant journey.
20 He took a bag of money with him,
And he will not return until the day of the full moon.”
21 She misleads him with great persuasiveness.
She seduces him with smooth speech.
22 Suddenly he goes after her, like a bull to the slaughter,
Like a fool to be punished in the stocks,
23 Until an arrow pierces his liver;
Like a bird rushing into a trap, he does not know that it will cost him his life.
• The Watchtower (2000) “Keep My Commandments and Continue Living”
what could happen to him there. The young man comes near “her corner,” which is on the way to her house. Who is she? What is she up to?
The observant king continues: “Look! there was a woman to meet him, with the garment of a prostitute and cunning of heart. She is boisterous and stubborn. In her house her feet do not keep residing. Now she is outdoors, now she is in the public squares, and near every corner she lies in wait.”—Proverbs 7:10-12.
This woman’s manner of dress speaks volumes about her. (Genesis 38:14, 15) She is dressed immodestly, like a prostitute. Moreover, she is cunning of heart—her mind is “treacherous,” her intent “crafty.” (An American Translation; New International Version) She is boisterous and stubborn, talkative and headstrong, loud and self-willed, brazen and defiant. Rather than staying at home, she prefers to frequent public places, lurking on street corners to pick up her prey. She is waiting for someone like the young man.
An ‘Abundance of Persuasiveness’
A young man thus meets a loose woman with a crafty plan. How this must have caught the attention of Solomon! He relates: “She has grabbed hold of him and given him a kiss. She has put on a bold face, and she begins to say to him: ‘Communion sacrifices were incumbent upon me. Today I have paid my vows. That is why I have come out to meet you, to look for your face, that I may find you.’”—Proverbs 7:13-15.
The lips of this woman are smooth. Putting on a bold face, she utters her words confidently. Everything she says is carefully calculated to seduce the young man. By stating that she had made communion sacrifices that very day and paid her vows, she makes a display of righteousness, hinting that she is not lacking in spirituality. Communion sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem consisted of meat, flour, oil, and wine. (Leviticus 19:5, 6; 22:21; Numbers 15:8-10) Since the offerer could take part of the communion sacrifice for himself and his family, she thus suggests that there is plenty to eat and drink at her house. The implication is clear: The young man would have a good time there. She has come out of her house specifically to look for him. How touching—if anyone could swallow such a story. “It is true she was out looking for someone,” says one Bible scholar, “but did she really come looking just for this one special fellow? Only a fool—perhaps this one—would believe her.”
After making herself appealing by the sight of her attire, by the sound of her flattering words, by the touch of her embrace, and by the taste of her lips, the seductress enlists the sense of smell. She says: “With coverlets I have bedecked my divan, with many-colored things, linen of Egypt. I have besprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.” (Proverbs 7:16, 17) She has aesthetically prepared her bed with colorful linen from Egypt and perfumed it with choice fragrances of myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
“Do come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning,” she continues, “do let us enjoy each other with love expressions.” The invitation is to something much more than a pleasant dinner for two. Her promise is that of enjoying sexual intimacy. To the young man, the appeal is adventurous and exciting! As further inducement, she adds: “For the husband is not in his house; he has gone traveling on a way of some distance. A bag of money he has taken in his hand. On the day of the full moon he will come to his house.” (Proverbs 7:18-20) They would be perfectly safe, she assures him, for her husband is away on a business trip and is not expected back for some time. How talented she is at beguiling a young person! “She has misled him by the abundance of her persuasiveness. By the smoothness of her lips she seduces him.” (Proverbs 7:21) It would take a man of Joseph’s caliber to resist an appeal this enticing. (Genesis 39:9, 12) Does this young man measure up?
‘Like a Bull to the Slaughter’
“All of a sudden he is going after her,” reports Solomon, “like a bull that comes even to the slaughter, and just as if fettered for the discipline of a foolish man, until an arrow cleaves open his liver, just as a bird hastens into the trap, and he has not known that it involves his very soul.”—Proverbs 7:22, 23.
The invitation proves to be irresistible to the young man. Throwing all good sense to the wind, he goes after her ‘like a bull to the slaughter.’ As a man in fetters cannot escape his punishment, so the young man is drawn into sin. He does not see the danger of it all until “an arrow cleaves open his liver,” that is, until he receives a wound that can cause his death. The death may be physical in that he exposes himself to death-dealing sexually transmitted diseases. The wound can also cause his spiritual death; “it involves his very soul.” His entire being and his life are seriously affected, and he has gravely sinned against God. He thus hastens into the grip of death like a bird into a trap!
“Do Not Wander Into Her Roadways”
Drawing a lesson from what he has seen, the wise king urges: “And now, O sons, listen to me and pay attention to the sayings of my mouth. May your heart not turn aside to her ways. Do not wander into her roadways. For many are the ones she has caused to fall down slain, and all those being killed by her are numerous. The ways to Sheol her house is; they are descending to the interior rooms of death.”—Proverbs 7:24-27.
Clearly, the counsel of Solomon is to turn aside from the death-dealing ways of an immoral person and “continue living.” (Proverbs 7:2) How timely this advice is for our day! Surely there is a need to avoid places frequented by those who are lying in wait to pick up prey. Why should you subject yourself to their tactics by going to such places? Indeed, why should you be the one “in want of heart” and wander into the roadways of a “foreigner”?
The “woman stranger” that the king saw enticed the young man with an invitation to “enjoy each other with love expressions.” Have not many youths—especially girls—been exploited in a similar way? But consider: When someone tries to draw you into sexual misconduct, is it true love or selfish lust? Why would a man who genuinely loves a woman pressure her into violating her Christian training and conscience? “May your heart not turn aside” to such ways, admonishes Solomon.
The words of a seducer are usually smooth and well-calculated. Keeping wisdom and understanding at our side will help us to see through them. Never forgetting what Jehovah has commanded will safeguard us. Therefore, may we always strive to ‘keep God’s commandments and continue living,’ even forever.—1 John 2:17.

Pr 7:4, 5, 24-27—Wisdom and understanding will safeguard us (w00 11/15 29, 31)

• New World Translation Proverbs 7:4, 5
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding “my relative,”
5 To guard you against the wayward woman,
Against the immoral woman and her smooth words.
• New World Translation Proverbs 7:24-27
24 And now, my sons, listen to me;
Pay attention to the words I speak.
25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways.
Do not stray onto her paths,
26 For she has caused many to fall down slain,
And those she has killed are numerous.
27 Her house leads to the Grave;
It goes down to the inner chambers of death.
• The Watchtower (2000) “Keep My Commandments and Continue Living”
a need to treat such instructions “like the pupil of your eyes”—guarding them with utmost care. That is the way to avoid the deadly effect of ignoring Jehovah’s standards and thus to “continue living.”
“Tie them [my commandments] upon your fingers,” continues Solomon, “and write them upon the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:3) As fingers are prominently before our eyes and are vital in carrying out our purposes, the lessons learned from a Scriptural upbringing or the gaining of Bible knowledge are to be a constant reminder and guide in everything we do. We are to inscribe them upon the tablet of our heart, making them a part of our nature.
Not forgetting the importance of wisdom and understanding, the king exhorts: “Say to wisdom: ‘You are my sister’; and may you call understanding itself ‘Kinswoman.’” (Proverbs 7:4) Wisdom is the ability to put God-given knowledge to proper use. We should have affection for wisdom as for a dearly loved sister. What is understanding? It is the ability to see into a matter and get the sense of it by grasping the connections between its parts and the whole. Understanding must be as close to us as an intimate friend.
Why should we adhere to Scriptural training and cultivate closeness with wisdom and understanding? So as “to guard [ourselves] against the woman stranger, against the foreigner who has made her own sayings smooth.” (Proverbs 7:5) Yes, doing so will protect us from the smooth and persuasive ways of a stranger, or foreigner—an immoral person.
The Young Man Meets ‘a Cunning Woman’
The king of Israel next describes a scene that he himself has observed: “At the window of my house, through my lattice I looked down, that I might peer upon the inexperienced ones. I was interested in discerning among the sons a young man in want of heart, passing along on the street near her corner, and in the way to her house he marches, in the twilight, in the evening of the day, at the approach of the night and the gloom.”—Proverbs 7:6-9.
The window through which Solomon looks out has a lattice—apparently a framework with laths and perhaps elaborate carvings. As the twilight fades, the darkness of the night pours into the streets. He catches sight of a young man who is particularly vulnerable. Lacking discernment, or good sense, he is in want of heart. Likely, he is aware of the type of neighborhood he has entered and

DIGGING FOR SPIRITUAL GEMS: (8 MIN.)

Pr 9:7-9—What does our response to counsel reveal about us? (w01 5/15 29-30)

• New World Translation Proverbs 9:7-9
7 The one who corrects a ridiculer invites dishonor,
And whoever reproves someone wicked will get hurt.
8 Do not reprove a ridiculer, or he will hate you.
Reprove a wise person, and he will love you.
9 Share with a wise person, and he will become wiser.
Teach someone righteous, and he will add to his learning.
• The Watchtower (2001) ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
—those “in want of heart,” or those lacking understanding, as well as those lacking experience. (Proverbs 9:4) And a promise of life is held out to them. Wisdom contained in God’s Word, including that in the book of Proverbs, is certainly available to nearly everyone. Today, as the messengers of true wisdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses are busy inviting people, wherever they are found, to study the Bible. Taking in this knowledge, indeed, can lead to everlasting life.—John 17:3.
Christians must humbly accept wisdom’s discipline. This is particularly true of young ones and those who have recently started to learn about Jehovah. Because of limited experience in God’s ways, they may be “in want of heart.” It is not that all of their motives are bad, but it takes time and effort to bring the heart into a condition that really pleases Jehovah God. This calls for bringing thoughts, desires, affections, and goals into harmony with what God approves. How vital that they “form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word.”—1 Peter 2:2.
In fact, should not all of us go beyond “the primary doctrine”? Surely we need to develop an interest in “the deep things of God” and draw nourishment from the solid food that belongs to mature people. (Hebrews 5:12–6:1; 1 Corinthians 2:10) “The faithful and discreet slave,” whom Jesus Christ directly supervises, diligently provides timely spiritual food for all. (Matthew 24:45-47) May we feast at wisdom’s table by diligently studying God’s Word and the Bible-based publications provided by the slave class.
“Do Not Reprove a Ridiculer”
The teachings of wisdom also include correction and reproof. This feature of wisdom is not welcomed by all. Hence, the closing of the first section of the book of Proverbs contains a warning: “He that is correcting the ridiculer is taking to himself dishonor, and he that is giving a reproof to someone wicked—a defect in him. Do not reprove a ridiculer, that he may not hate you.”—Proverbs 9:7, 8a.
A ridiculer builds up resentment and hatred for the one trying to help make his path straight. A wicked person lacks appreciation for the value of reproof. How unwise to try to teach the beautiful truth of God’s Word to someone who hates the truth or is simply seeking to ridicule it! When the apostle Paul was preaching in Antioch, he encountered a group of Jews who had no love for the truth. They tried to embroil him in an argument by blasphemously contradicting him, but Paul simply stated: “Since you are thrusting [the word of God] away from you and do not judge yourselves worthy of everlasting life, look! we turn to the nations.”—Acts 13:45, 46.
In our endeavor to reach honesthearted ones with the Kingdom good news, may we be careful not to get involved in debates and arguments with ridiculers. Christ Jesus instructed his disciples: “When you are entering into the house, greet the household; and if the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it; but if it is not deserving, let the peace from you return upon you. Wherever anyone does not take you in or listen to your words, on going out of that house or that city shake the dust off your feet.”—Matthew 10:12-14.
A wise person’s response to reproof is opposite to that of a ridiculer. Solomon states: “Give a reproof to a wise person and he will love you. Give to a wise person and he will become still wiser.” (Proverbs 9:8b, 9a) A wise person knows that “no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) Although the counsel may seem painful, why should we retaliate or be defensive if accepting it is going to make us wiser?
“Impart knowledge to someone righteous and he will increase in learning,” continues the wise king. (Proverbs 9:9b) No one is too wise or too old to keep learning. What a delight it is to see even those in their twilight years accept the truth and make a dedication to Jehovah! May we also endeavor to retain the will to learn and keep the mind active.
“To You Years of Life Will Be Added”
Underscoring the main point of the subject under consideration, Solomon includes the essential prerequisite for wisdom. He writes: “The fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is.” (Proverbs 9:10) There can be no godly wisdom without profound, reverential awe for the true God. A person may have a mind well stocked with knowledge, but if he lacks the fear of Jehovah, he will fail to use that knowledge in a way that honors the Creator. He may even draw wrong conclusions from known facts, making himself look foolish. Moreover, the knowledge of Jehovah, the Most Holy One, is essential for gaining understanding, a notable characteristic of wisdom.
What fruitage does wisdom bear? (Proverbs 8:12-21, 35) The king of Israel says: “By me your days will become many, and to you years of life will be added.” (Proverbs 9:11) Length of days and years of life are the result of keeping company with wisdom. Yes, “wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.”—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
Putting forth effort to gain wisdom is our personal responsibility. Emphasizing this fact, Solomon states: “If you have become wise, you have become wise in your own behalf; and if you have ridiculed, you will bear it, just you alone.” (Proverbs 9:12) The wise one is wise to his own benefit, and the ridiculer alone is to blame for his own suffering. Indeed, we reap what we sow. May we, then, “pay attention to wisdom.”—Proverbs 2:2.
“A Woman of Stupidity Is Boisterous”
By way of contrast, Solomon next says: “A woman of stupidity is boisterous. She is simplemindedness itself and has come to know nothing whatever. And she has seated herself at the entrance of her house, upon a seat, in the high places of the town, to call out to those passing along the way, those who are going straight ahead on their paths: ‘Whoever is inexperienced, let him turn aside here.’”—Proverbs 9:13-16a.
Stupidity is portrayed as a loud, undisciplined, and ignorant woman. She too has built a house. And she has taken upon herself the task of calling out to whoever is inexperienced. So the passersby have a choice. Will they accept wisdom’s invitation or that of stupidity?
“Stolen Waters Themselves Are Sweet”
Both wisdom and stupidity invite listeners to “turn aside here.” The appeal, however, is different. Wisdom invites people to a feast of wine, meat, and bread. The attraction that stupidity holds out reminds us of the ways of a loose woman. Solomon says: “Whoever is in want of heart—she has also said to him: ‘Stolen waters themselves are sweet, and bread eaten in secrecy—it is pleasant.’”—Proverbs 9:16b, 17.

Pr 10:22—What does Jehovah’s blessing include in our day? (w06 5/15 26-30 ¶3-16)

• New World Translation Proverbs 10:22
22 It is the blessing of Jehovah that makes one rich,
And He adds no pain with it.
• The Watchtower (2006) The Joys of Walking in Integrity
3. On what will we focus our attention in this article?
3 “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it,” states Proverbs 10:22. Is not the spiritually prosperous condition of the modern-day servants of Jehovah a blessing to rejoice over? Let us consider some aspects of our spiritual prosperity and see what they mean to us personally. Taking time to reflect on the favors that Jehovah has showered upon ‘the righteous one walking in his integrity’ will indeed strengthen our resolve to continue serving our heavenly Father joyfully.—Proverbs 20:7.
‘Blessings That Make Us Rich’ Now
4, 5. Which Bible teaching do you especially appreciate, and why?
4 An accurate knowledge of Bible teachings. The religions of Christendom generally claim to believe the Bible. However, they fail to agree on what it teaches. Even members of the same religious group often differ in their views of what the Scriptures really teach. How different their condition is from that of Jehovah’s servants! Regardless of our national, cultural, or ethnic background, we worship the God we know by name. He is not some mysterious triune god. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 83:18; Mark 12:29) We are also aware that the paramount issue of God’s universal sovereignty is due for settlement and that by maintaining our integrity to him, each one of us is personally involved in that issue. We know the truth about the dead and are free of the morbid fear of a God who is said to torment humans in hellfire or consign them to purgatory.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.
5 Moreover, what a joy it is to know that we are not an accidental product of blind evolution! Rather, we are God’s creation, made in his own image. (Genesis 1:26; Malachi 2:10) “I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made,” sang the psalmist to his God. “Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.”—Psalm 139:14.
6, 7. What changes in your life or in the life of others you know have proved to be a blessing?
6 Release from detrimental habits and practices. Warnings about the dangers of smoking, excessive drinking, and sexual promiscuity abound in the media. For the most part, these warnings go unheeded. What happens, though, when a sincere person learns that the true God condemns such things and is saddened by those who practice them? Why, that person is moved to exclude such practices from his life! (Isaiah 63:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:30) While he does this primarily to please Jehovah God, he also receives additional benefits—better health and peace of mind.
7 Breaking bad habits is very difficult for many. Still, each year tens of thousands are doing so. They dedicate themselves to Jehovah and submit to water baptism, thus making it public that they have eliminated from their lives the practices that displease God. What an encouragement that is to all of us! Our determination to remain free from enslavement to sinful and hurtful conduct is reinforced.
8. What Bible-based counsel contributes to family happiness?
8 Happy family life. In numerous countries family life is faltering. Many marriages end in divorce, often leaving behind painfully scarred children. In some European countries, one-parent families make up close to 20 percent of all households. How has Jehovah helped us walk in the way of integrity in this regard? Please read Ephesians 5:22–6:4, and note the fine counsel that God’s Word gives to husbands, wives, and children. Applying what is stated there and elsewhere in the Scriptures certainly strengthens the marriage bond, helps parents to bring up children properly, and contributes to a happy family life. Is that not a blessing to rejoice over?
9, 10. How does our outlook for the future differ from that of the world?
9 Assurance that world problems will soon be solved. Despite scientific and technological know-how and the sincere efforts of certain leaders, serious problems of present-day life remain unsolved. Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, recently noted that “the list of challenges facing the world grows ever longer and the time to address them grows shorter.” He spoke of “dangers that transcend national boundaries like terrorism, environmental degradation and financial instability.” Schwab concluded: “Now, more than ever, the world is faced with realities that call for collective and decisive action.” As the 21st century moves forward, the overall outlook for mankind’s future remains bleak.
10 How gratifying to know that Jehovah has instituted an arrangement that is capable of solving all of mankind’s problems—the Messianic Kingdom of God! By means of it, the true God will ‘make wars to cease’ and bring about ‘abundant peace.’ (Psalm 46:9; 72:7) The anointed King, Jesus Christ, ‘will deliver the poor one, the afflicted one, and the lowly one from oppression and from violence.’ (Psalm 72:12-14) Under Kingdom rule, there will be no food shortage. (Psalm 72:16) Jehovah “will wipe out every tear from [our] eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) The Kingdom has already been established in heaven and will shortly take the necessary action to affect every affair on the earth.—Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15.
11, 12. (a) Does pursuit of pleasure bring lasting happiness? Explain. (b) What brings true happiness?
11 Knowing what brings true happiness. What does bring true happiness? One psychologist said that happiness has three components—pleasure, engagement (involvement in such activities as work and family), and meaning (working toward a larger end or goal than self). Of the three, he listed pleasure as the least consequential and observed: “This is newsworthy because so many people build their lives around pursuing pleasure.” What is the Bible’s view in this regard?
12 King Solomon of ancient Israel stated: “I said, even I, in my heart: ‘Do come now, let me try you out with rejoicing. Also, see good.’ And, look! that too was vanity. I said to laughter: ‘Insanity!’ and to rejoicing: ‘What is this doing?’” (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 2) Scripturally, whatever happiness pleasure offers is at best temporary. What about involvement in work? We have the most meaningful work to get involved in—the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) By sharing with others the message of salvation outlined in the Bible, we engage in a work that can result in our own salvation and in that of those who listen to us. (1 Timothy 4:16) As “God’s fellow workers,” we experience that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (1 Corinthians 3:9; Acts 20:35) This work adds meaning to our life and provides the Creator with an answer for his taunter, Satan the Devil. (Proverbs 27:11) Indeed, Jehovah has shown us that godly devotion brings genuine and lasting happiness.—1 Timothy 4:8.
13. (a) In what way is the Theocratic Ministry School a blessing for us to rejoice over? (b) How have you benefited from the Theocratic Ministry School?
13 An important and effective training program. Gerhard serves as an elder in a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Recalling his youth, he says: “As a young person, I had great problems speaking. When under pressure, I could scarcely articulate and would begin to stutter. I felt inferior and developed a complex. My parents arranged for me to take a speaking course, but their efforts were to no avail. My problem was psychological, not physical. There was, though, a wonderful provision from Jehovah—the Theocratic Ministry School. Enrolling in this school gave me renewed courage. I tried my best to practice what I learned. And it worked! I became freer, lost my complex, and became more courageous in the ministry. Now I even deliver public talks. I am truly grateful to Jehovah, who gave me a new life through this school.” Is not the way Jehovah trains us to do his work a reason to be joyful?
14, 15. In times of distress, what help is readily available? Illustrate.
14 A personal relationship with Jehovah and support from the united international brotherhood. Katrin, who lives in Germany, was greatly dismayed upon hearing reports of a severe earthquake and resultant tsunami in southeast Asia. Her daughter was visiting Thailand when the catastrophe hit. For 32 hours this mother did not know whether her daughter was alive or was among the casualties that mounted hour by hour. How relieved Katrin was finally to receive a telephone call that assured her of her daughter’s safety!
15 What helped Katrin during those hours of anxiety? She writes: “I spent almost all of this time in prayer to Jehovah. I noticed over and over again how much strength and peace of mind this gave me. Moreover, loving spiritual brothers visited me and stood by my side.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) How much worse her situation would have been if she had had to spend those agonizing hours without the benefit of prayer to Jehovah and the comfort of a loving spiritual brotherhood! Our intimate relationship with Jehovah and his Son along with our close association with the Christian brotherhood is a unique blessing, too precious to be taken for granted.
16. Give an experience that illustrates the value of the resurrection hope.
16 The hope of seeing dead loved ones again. (John 5:28, 29) A young man named Matthias was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unaware of his blessings, however, he drifted away from the Christian congregation when he was a teenager. He now writes: “I never really had deep discussions with my father. Over the years, we had many arguments. Still, my father always wanted the best for me. He loved me dearly, something I failed to realize at the time. In 1996, as I sat at his bedside, holding his hand and crying bitterly, I told him how sorry I was for all that I had done and that I loved him so much. But he could not hear me. After a short illness, he slipped away in death. If I live to see my father in the resurrection, we will make up for the past. And he will surely be happy to hear that I now serve as an elder and that my wife and I are privileged to serve as pioneers.” What a blessing the resurrection hope is to us!

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 7-11 | SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR PERSONAL COMMENTS

PROVERBS 7:1)
“My son, keep my sayings, And treasure up my commandments.”
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7:1, 2—What is included in “my sayings” and “my own commandments”? In addition to Bible teachings, these include family rules, or regulations, set by parents for the good of the family members. Young ones need to abide by these as well as by the Scriptural teachings they receive from their parents.
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Proverbs 7:1, 2.
Parents, particularly fathers, have the God-given responsibility of teaching their children God’s standards of good and bad. Moses exhorted fathers: “These words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.” (Deuteronomy 6:6, 7) And the apostle Paul wrote: “You, fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.” (Ephesians 6:4) Hence, a parent’s instructions that are to be treasured up, or highly valued, certainly include the reminders, the commandments, and the laws found in God’s Word, the Bible.
Parental teaching may also include other regulations—family rules. These are for the good of the family members. True, depending on the needs, the rules may vary from one family to another. Parents, though, have the job of deciding what is best for their own family. And the rules they make are usually an expression of their genuine love and concern.
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The king begins with the fatherly advice: “My son, keep my sayings, and may you treasure up my own commandments with you.
PROVERBS 7:2)
“Keep my commandments and live; Guard my instruction like the pupil of your eye.”
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The eye is extremely tender and sensitive; even a small hair or speck of dust between the lid and eyeball is quickly noticed. The transparent part of the eye (the cornea) covering the pupil must be guarded and cared for, because if this portion is scarred by injury or becomes cloudy through disease, distorted vision or blindness can result. With force and yet with delicacy of expression the Bible uses “the pupil of your eyes” in speaking of that which is to be guarded with utmost care. God’s law is to be so treated. (Pr 7:2)
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The counsel to young ones is that they abide by these rules along with the Scriptural teachings received from their parents. Yes, there is a need to treat such instructions “like the pupil of your eyes”—guarding them with utmost care. That is the way to avoid the deadly effect of ignoring Jehovah’s standards and thus to “continue living.”
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Keep my commandments and continue living, and my law like the pupil of your eyes.”—Proverbs 7:1, 2.
PROVERBS 7:3)
“Tie them around your fingers; Write them on the tablet of your heart.”
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Because the fingers are prominently before a person’s eyes and are vital in carrying out one’s purposes, God’s people were figuratively to ‘tie his commandments upon their fingers’ as a constant reminder and guide in everything they did.—Pr 7:2, 3; compare Ps 144:1.
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“Tie them [my commandments] upon your fingers,” continues Solomon, “and write them upon the tablet of your heart.” (Proverbs 7:3) As fingers are prominently before our eyes and are vital in carrying out our purposes, the lessons learned from a Scriptural upbringing or the gaining of Bible knowledge are to be a constant reminder and guide in everything we do. We are to inscribe them upon the tablet of our heart, making them a part of our nature.
PROVERBS 7:4)
“Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding “my relative,””
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Figurative Use. Closeness to wisdom is encouraged by the wise writer Solomon when he stresses the importance of Jehovah’s commandments. “Say to wisdom: ‘You are my sister’; and may you call understanding itself ‘Kinswoman.’”—Pr 7:4.
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Not forgetting the importance of wisdom and understanding, the king exhorts: “Say to wisdom: ‘You are my sister’; and may you call understanding itself ‘Kinswoman.’” (Proverbs 7:4) Wisdom is the ability to put God-given knowledge to proper use. We should have affection for wisdom as for a dearly loved sister. What is understanding? It is the ability to see into a matter and get the sense of it by grasping the connections between its parts and the whole. Understanding must be as close to us as an intimate friend.
PROVERBS 7:5)
“To guard you against the wayward woman, Against the immoral woman and her smooth words.”
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The word “stranger” was also applied to those who turned aside from what was in harmony with the Law and so were alienated from Jehovah. Thus the prostitute is referred to as a “strange woman.” (Pr 2:16; 5:17; 7:5)
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The word “stranger” was applied to those who alienated themselves from Jehovah by turning away from the Law. Thus, an immoral female, such as a prostitute, is referred to as a “woman stranger.”
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Why should we adhere to Scriptural training and cultivate closeness with wisdom and understanding? So as “to guard [ourselves] against the woman stranger, against the foreigner who has made her own sayings smooth.” (Proverbs 7:5) Yes, doing so will protect us from the smooth and persuasive ways of a stranger, or foreigner—an immoral person.
PROVERBS 7:6)
“From the window of my house, Through my lattice, I looked down,”
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The window through which Solomon looks out has a lattice—apparently a framework with laths and perhaps elaborate carvings.
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The king of Israel next describes a scene that he himself has observed: “At the window of my house, through my lattice I looked down,
PROVERBS 7:7)
“And as I observed the naive ones, I discerned among the youths a young man lacking good sense.”
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12 Note that the young man in the account was “in want of heart.” This expression tells us that his thoughts, desires, affections, emotions, and goals in life were not in harmony with what God approves. His moral weakness led to tragic consequences.
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that I might peer upon the inexperienced ones. I was interested in discerning among the sons a young man in want of heart,
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As the twilight fades, the darkness of the night pours into the streets. He catches sight of a young man who is particularly vulnerable. Lacking discernment, or good sense, he is in want of heart.
PROVERBS 7:8)
“He passed along the street near her corner, And he marched in the direction of her house”
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The young man is “passing along on the street near her [a prostitute’s] corner, and in the way to her house he marches, in the twilight, in the evening of the day.” There is his first mistake. In the twilight hours, his “heart” has directed him, not to just any street, but to one where he knows a prostitute can usually be found.
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Likely, he is aware of the type of neighborhood he has entered and what could happen to him there. The young man comes near “her corner,” which is on the way to her house. Who is she? What is she up to?
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passing along on the street near her corner, and in the way to her house he marches,
PROVERBS 7:9)
“In the twilight, in the evening, At the approach of night and darkness.”
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The young man is “passing along on the street near her [a prostitute’s] corner, and in the way to her house he marches, in the twilight, in the evening of the day.” There is his first mistake. In the twilight hours, his “heart” has directed him, not to just any street, but to one where he knows a prostitute can usually be found.
PROVERBS 7:10)
“Then I saw a woman meet him, Dressed like a prostitute, with a cunning heart.”
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10 Next we read: “Look! there was a woman to meet him, with the garment of a prostitute and cunning of heart.” Now he sees her! He could turn around and go home, but this is more difficult than before, especially since he is morally weak.
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This woman’s manner of dress speaks volumes about her. (Genesis 38:14, 15) She is dressed immodestly, like a prostitute. Moreover, she is cunning of heart—her mind is “treacherous,” her intent “crafty.” (An American Translation; New International Version)
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The observant king continues: “Look! there was a woman to meet him, with the garment of a prostitute and cunning of heart.
PROVERBS 7:11)
“She is loud and defiant. She never stays at home.”
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She is boisterous and stubborn, talkative and headstrong, loud and self-willed, brazen and defiant.
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She is boisterous and stubborn. In her house her feet do not keep residing.
PROVERBS 7:12)
“One moment she is outside, next she is in the public squares, She lurks near every corner.”
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Rather than staying at home, she prefers to frequent public places, lurking on street corners to pick up her prey. She is waiting for someone like the young man.
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Now she is outdoors, now she is in the public squares, and near every corner she lies in wait.”—Proverbs 7:10-12.
PROVERBS 7:13)
“She grabs hold of him and gives him a kiss; With a bold face, she says to him:”
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The lips of this woman are smooth. Putting on a bold face, she utters her words confidently. Everything she says is carefully calculated to seduce the young man.
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A young man thus meets a loose woman with a crafty plan. How this must have caught the attention of Solomon! He relates: “She has grabbed hold of him and given him a kiss. She has put on a bold face, and she begins to say to him:
PROVERBS 7:14)
““I had to offer communion sacrifices. Today I paid my vows.”
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This prostitute puts on a display of being righteous by saying that she had made communion sacrifices that very day (implying that there would be food on which to feast, inasmuch as the offerer regularly took part of the communion sacrifice for himself and his family).—Pr 7:6-21.
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Having accepted a kiss, he now listens to her seductive persuasion: “Communion sacrifices were incumbent upon me,” she says. “Today I have paid my vows.” Communion sacrifices included meat, flour, oil, and wine. (Leviticus 19:5, 6; 22:21; Numbers 15:8-10) By mentioning them, she may have been hinting that she did not lack spirituality and, at the same time, may have been letting him know that there were plenty of good things to eat and drink at her house.
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‘Communion sacrifices were incumbent upon me. Today I have paid my vows.
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By stating that she had made communion sacrifices that very day and paid her vows, she makes a display of righteousness, hinting that she is not lacking in spirituality. Communion sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem consisted of meat, flour, oil, and wine. (Leviticus 19:5, 6; 22:21; Numbers 15:8-10) Since the offerer could take part of the communion sacrifice for himself and his family, she thus suggests that there is plenty to eat and drink at her house. The implication is clear: The young man would have a good time there.
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Lesson for Us: By mentioning her “communion sacrifices” and “vows,” the immoral woman of Proverbs chapter 7 may have been hinting that she did not lack spirituality. Communion sacrifices consisted of meat, flour, oil, and wine. (Leviticus 19:5, 6; 22:21; Numbers 15:8-10) So she was indicating that there was plenty to eat and drink at her house, and the “young man in want of heart” would have a good time there. This is typical of how a wrongly motivated person is led into immorality. How important to heed this warning and avoid such sin against God!—Genesis 39:7-12.
PROVERBS 7:15)
“That is why I came out to meet you, To look for you, and I found you!”
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That is why I have come out to meet you, to look for your face, that I may find you.’”—Proverbs 7:13-15.
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She has come out of her house specifically to look for him. How touching—if anyone could swallow such a story. “It is true she was out looking for someone,” says one Bible scholar, “but did she really come looking just for this one special fellow? Only a fool—perhaps this one—would believe her.”
PROVERBS 7:16)
“I have spread fine covers upon my bed, Colorful linen from Egypt.”
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After making herself appealing by the sight of her attire, by the sound of her flattering words, by the touch of her embrace, and by the taste of her lips, the seductress enlists the sense of smell. She says: “With coverlets I have bedecked my divan, with many-colored things, linen of Egypt. I have besprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.” (Proverbs 7:16, 17) She has aesthetically prepared her bed with colorful linen from Egypt and perfumed it with choice fragrances of myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
PROVERBS 7:17)
“I have sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.”
it-1 pp. 79-80 Aloe, Aloeswood
ALOE, ALOESWOOD
[Heb., ʼaha•limʹ (plural) and ʼaha•lohthʹ (plural); Gr., a•loʹe].
A name applied to a variety of tree containing a fragrant, or aromatic, substance used as a perfume in the Biblical period. (Ps 45:8; Pr 7:17; Ca 4:14) Most commentators consider the aloe tree of the Bible to be the Aquilaria agallocha, sometimes called the eaglewood tree and now found principally in India and neighboring regions. The tree is large and spreading, at times reaching a height of 30 m (c. 100 ft). The inner core of the trunk and of branches is impregnated with resin and an odoriferous oil, from which comes the highly prized perfume. Apparently attaining its most aromatic state when in decay, the wood is sometimes buried in the ground to hasten the decaying process. In a finely powdered condition it is then sold commercially as “aloes.”
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The Bible says that aloes were used to perfume garments and beds. (Psalm 45:8; Proverbs 7:17; Song of Solomon 4:14) The aloes of the Bible likely came from Agarwood (a species of Aquilaria). As the wood decays, it secretes fragrant oil and resin. The wood was ground into a powder, which was then sold as “aloes.”
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After making herself appealing by the sight of her attire, by the sound of her flattering words, by the touch of her embrace, and by the taste of her lips, the seductress enlists the sense of smell. She says: “With coverlets I have bedecked my divan, with many-colored things, linen of Egypt. I have besprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.” (Proverbs 7:16, 17) She has aesthetically prepared her bed with colorful linen from Egypt and perfumed it with choice fragrances of myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
PROVERBS 7:18)
“Come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning; Let us enjoy passionate love together,”
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“Do come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning,” she continues, “do let us enjoy each other with love expressions.” The invitation is to something much more than a pleasant dinner for two. Her promise is that of enjoying sexual intimacy. To the young man, the appeal is adventurous and exciting!
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The “woman stranger” that the king saw enticed the young man with an invitation to “enjoy each other with love expressions.” Have not many youths—especially girls—been exploited in a similar way? But consider: When someone tries to draw you into sexual misconduct, is it true love or selfish lust? Why would a man who genuinely loves a woman pressure her into violating her Christian training and conscience?
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Is It Love?
Consider the Bible’s account in Proverbs chapter 7, which tells of the seduction of a young man by a prostitute. That immoral woman told the young man: “Do come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning; do let us enjoy each other with love expressions.” The idea of being loved no doubt sounded attractive to this youth. But in reality the prostitute “misled him by the abundance of her persuasiveness. By the smoothness of her lips she [seduced] him.” No, she had no real love for the young man; he was merely a customer. She exploited him to the limit.—Proverbs 7:18-21.
PROVERBS 7:19)
“For my husband is not at home; He has gone on a distant journey.”
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As further inducement, she adds: “For the husband is not in his house; he has gone traveling on a way of some distance. A bag of money he has taken in his hand. On the day of the full moon he will come to his house.” (Proverbs 7:18-20) They would be perfectly safe, she assures him, for her husband is away on a business trip and is not expected back for some time.
PROVERBS 7:20)
“He took a bag of money with him, And he will not return until the day of the full moon.””
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As further inducement, she adds: “For the husband is not in his house; he has gone traveling on a way of some distance. A bag of money he has taken in his hand. On the day of the full moon he will come to his house.” (Proverbs 7:18-20) They would be perfectly safe, she assures him, for her husband is away on a business trip and is not expected back for some time.
PROVERBS 7:21)
“She misleads him with great persuasiveness. She seduces him with smooth speech.”
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How talented she is at beguiling a young person! “She has misled him by the abundance of her persuasiveness. By the smoothness of her lips she seduces him.” (Proverbs 7:21) It would take a man of Joseph’s caliber to resist an appeal this enticing. (Genesis 39:9, 12) Does this young man measure up?
g94 2/8 p. 17 Toying With Immorality—What’s the Harm?
Is It Love?
Consider the Bible’s account in Proverbs chapter 7, which tells of the seduction of a young man by a prostitute. That immoral woman told the young man: “Do come, let us drink our fill of love until the morning; do let us enjoy each other with love expressions.” The idea of being loved no doubt sounded attractive to this youth. But in reality the prostitute “misled him by the abundance of her persuasiveness. By the smoothness of her lips she [seduced] him.” No, she had no real love for the young man; he was merely a customer. She exploited him to the limit.—Proverbs 7:18-21.
PROVERBS 7:22)
“Suddenly he goes after her, like a bull to the slaughter, Like a fool to be punished in the stocks,”
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Now that the young man is enticed to this point, Solomon shows, he is irresistibly drawn into sin with her, throwing all good sense to the wind, going ahead ‘like a bull to the slaughter,’ as a man who is in fetters and cannot escape the discipline he will get. “Until,” says Solomon, “an arrow cleaves open his liver,” that is, until he gets the wound that causes death, both spiritually and physically, for not only has he exposed his body to death-dealing sexually transmitted disease (in advanced cases of syphilis, bacterial organisms overwhelm the liver), but also “he has not known that it involves his very soul.” His entire being and his life are seriously affected, and he has sinned seriously against God. Solomon concludes his account saying: “The ways to Sheol her house is; they are descending to the interior rooms of death.”—Pr 7:22, 23, 27; compare Pr 2:16-19; 5:3-14.
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Proverbs 7:22, 23.
The invitation proves to be irresistible to the young man. Throwing all good sense to the wind, he goes after her ‘like a bull to the slaughter.’ As a man in fetters cannot escape his punishment, so the young man is drawn into sin.
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‘Like a Bull to the Slaughter’
“All of a sudden he is going after her,” reports Solomon, “like a bull that comes even to the slaughter, and just as if fettered for the discipline of a foolish man,
PROVERBS 7:23)
“Until an arrow pierces his liver; Like a bird rushing into a trap, he does not know that it will cost him his life.”
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King Solomon’s account of the inexperienced youth who succumbs to the enticement of the immoral woman concludes: “All of a sudden he is going after her, . . . until an arrow cleaves open his liver, . . . and he has not known that it involves his very soul.” (Pr 7:21-23) This is a very appropriate description, for medical doctors have found that in advanced stages of syphilis (as is true of many other diseases), bacterial organisms overwhelm the liver. The organism (gonococcus) responsible for gonorrhea, another sexually transmitted disease, also in some cases causes severe inflammation of the liver. Severe damage to the liver can, of course, result in death. The liver’s vital role to life is acknowledged in that it is used figuratively in depicting profound sorrow.—La 2:11.
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Now that the young man is enticed to this point, Solomon shows, he is irresistibly drawn into sin with her, throwing all good sense to the wind, going ahead ‘like a bull to the slaughter,’ as a man who is in fetters and cannot escape the discipline he will get. “Until,” says Solomon, “an arrow cleaves open his liver,” that is, until he gets the wound that causes death, both spiritually and physically, for not only has he exposed his body to death-dealing sexually transmitted disease (in advanced cases of syphilis, bacterial organisms overwhelm the liver), but also “he has not known that it involves his very soul.” His entire being and his life are seriously affected, and he has sinned seriously against God. Solomon concludes his account saying: “The ways to Sheol her house is; they are descending to the interior rooms of death.”—Pr 7:22, 23, 27; compare Pr 2:16-19; 5:3-14.
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Solomon concludes with the sobering words: “He has not known that it involves his very soul.” His soul, or life, is involved because “God will judge fornicators and adulterers.” (Hebrews 13:4)
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Some sexually transmitted diseases damage the liver. In advanced cases of syphilis, for example, bacterial organisms overwhelm the liver. And the organism responsible for gonorrhea can cause inflammation of the liver.
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He does not see the danger of it all until “an arrow cleaves open his liver,” that is, until he receives a wound that can cause his death. The death may be physical in that he exposes himself to death-dealing sexually transmitted diseases. The wound can also cause his spiritual death; “it involves his very soul.” His entire being and his life are seriously affected, and he has gravely sinned against God. He thus hastens into the grip of death like a bird into a trap!
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until an arrow cleaves open his liver, just as a bird hastens into the trap, and he has not known that it involves his very soul.”—Proverbs 7:22, 23.
PROVERBS 7:25)
“Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways. Do not stray onto her paths,”
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17 How could the young man have avoided this disastrous mistake? By heeding the warning: “Do not wander into her roadways.” (Prov. 7:25) There is a lesson for us: If we want God’s spirit to lead us, we need to avoid placing ourselves in the path of temptation. One way a person could wander into the foolish course of the “young man in want of heart” is by aimlessly flipping through television channels or surfing the Internet. Whether intentionally or not, he might well chance upon sexually stimulating scenes. He could gradually develop the unclean habit of viewing pornography, with devastating consequences to his conscience and his relationship with God. It could involve his very life.—Read Romans 8:5-8.
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May your heart not turn aside to her ways. Do not wander into her roadways.
w00 11/15 p. 31 “Keep My Commandments and Continue Living”
Clearly, the counsel of Solomon is to turn aside from the death-dealing ways of an immoral person and “continue living.” (Proverbs 7:2) How timely this advice is for our day! Surely there is a need to avoid places frequented by those who are lying in wait to pick up prey. Why should you subject yourself to their tactics by going to such places? Indeed, why should you be the one “in want of heart” and wander into the roadways of a “foreigner”?
The “woman stranger” that the king saw enticed the young man with an invitation to “enjoy each other with love expressions.” Have not many youths—especially girls—been exploited in a similar way? But consider: When someone tries to draw you into sexual misconduct, is it true love or selfish lust? Why would a man who genuinely loves a woman pressure her into violating her Christian training and conscience? “May your heart not turn aside” to such ways, admonishes Solomon.
PROVERBS 8:1)
“Is not wisdom calling out? Is not discernment raising its voice?”
it-2 pp. 52-53 Jesus Christ
Wisdom personified. What is recorded concerning the Word in the Scriptures fits remarkably the description given at Proverbs 8:22-31. There wisdom is personified, represented as though able to speak and act. (Pr 8:1) Many professed Christian writers of the early centuries of the Common Era understood this section to refer symbolically to God’s Son in his prehuman state. In view of the texts already considered, there can be no denying that that Son was “produced” by Jehovah “as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago,” nor that the Son was “beside [Jehovah] as a master worker” during earth’s creation, as described in these verses of Proverbs. It is true that in Hebrew, which assigns gender to its nouns (as do many other languages), the word for “wisdom” is always in the feminine gender. This would continue to be the case even though wisdom is personified and so would not rule out wisdom’s being used figuratively to represent God’s firstborn Son. The Greek word for “love” in the expression “God is love” (1Jo 4:8) is also in the feminine gender but that does not make God feminine. Solomon, the principal writer of Proverbs (Pr 1:1), applied the title qo•heʹleth (congregator) to himself (Ec 1:1) and this word is also in the feminine gender.
Wisdom is manifest only by being expressed in some way. God’s own wisdom was expressed in creation (Pr 3:19, 20) but through his Son. (Compare 1Co 8:6.) So, too, God’s wise purpose involving mankind is made manifest through, and summed up in, his Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, the apostle could say that Christ represents “the power of God and the wisdom of God” and that Christ Jesus “has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom.”—1Co 1:24, 30; compare 1Co 2:7, 8; Pr 8:1, 10, 18-21.
g 5/14 p. 16 ‘Wisdom Is Calling Out’—Can You Hear It?
‘Wisdom Is Calling Out’—Can You Hear It?
“Is not wisdom calling out? Is not discernment raising its voice? On the heights along the road, it takes its position at the crossroads. . . . At the entrances of the doorways, it keeps crying out loudly.”—PROVERBS 8:1-3.
WISDOM is invaluable. Without it we would make one foolish mistake after another. But where can true wisdom be found? The writer of the book of Proverbs had in mind the unmatched wisdom of our Creator. Moreover, His wisdom is available to virtually all mankind by means of a very special book, the Bible. Consider the following:
▪ The Bible is “the most widely distributed book in history,” says The World Book Encyclopedia. “It has been translated more times, and into more languages, than any other book.” In whole or in part, the Bible is now available in nearly 2,600 languages, making it accessible to over 90 percent of the human family.
▪ Wisdom also “keeps crying out loudly” in a more literal sense. At Matthew 24:14, we read: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end [of the present world] will come.”
That “good news” is true wisdom because it points to God’s wise solution to mankind’s problems—His Kingdom. That Kingdom is a government by God that will rule over the entire earth—one world, one government. (Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14) Hence, Jesus Christ prayed: “Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.”—Matthew 6:9, 10.
Jehovah’s Witnesses count it a privilege to announce God’s Kingdom in 239 lands! Yes, wisdom—divine wisdom—really is “crying out,” even “at the entrances of the doorways.” Can you hear it?
w01 3/15 pp. 25-26 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“It Keeps Crying Loudly”
Chapter 8 of Proverbs begins with a rhetorical question: “Does not wisdom keep calling out, and discernment keep giving forth its voice?” Yes, wisdom and discernment keep calling out, but quite unlike the immoral woman who lurks in dark places and whispers seductive words in the ears of a solitary and inexperienced youth. (Proverbs 7:12) “On top of the heights, by the way, at the crossing of the roadways it has stationed itself. At the side of the gates, at the mouth of the town, at the going in of the entrances it keeps crying loudly.” (Proverbs 8:1-3) The strong and bold voice of wisdom is heard loud and clear in public places—at the gates, at the crossroads, at the entrances of a city. People can easily hear that voice and respond.
Who can deny that godly wisdom recorded in the inspired Word of God, the Bible, is available to nearly everyone on earth who desires to gain it? “The Bible is the most widely read book in history,” says The World Book Encyclopedia. It adds: “More copies have been distributed of the Bible than of any other book. The Bible has also been translated more times, and into more languages, than any other book.” With the complete Bible or portions of it available in more than 2,100 languages and dialects, over 90 percent of the human family have access to at least part of God’s Word in their own language.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are publicly declaring the message of the Bible everywhere. In 235 lands, they are actively preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom and teaching people the truths found in God’s Word. Their Bible-based journals The Watchtower, published in 140 languages, and Awake!, printed in 83 languages, have a circulation of more than 20 million each. Wisdom certainly keeps crying loudly in public places!
w01 3/15 p. 25 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
The Hebrew word for “wisdom” is in the feminine gender. Hence, some translations use feminine pronouns when referring to wisdom.
PROVERBS 8:2)
“On the heights along the road, It takes its position at the crossroads.”
w01 3/15 pp. 25-26 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“It Keeps Crying Loudly”
Chapter 8 of Proverbs begins with a rhetorical question: “Does not wisdom keep calling out, and discernment keep giving forth its voice?” Yes, wisdom and discernment keep calling out, but quite unlike the immoral woman who lurks in dark places and whispers seductive words in the ears of a solitary and inexperienced youth. (Proverbs 7:12) “On top of the heights, by the way, at the crossing of the roadways it has stationed itself. At the side of the gates, at the mouth of the town, at the going in of the entrances it keeps crying loudly.” (Proverbs 8:1-3) The strong and bold voice of wisdom is heard loud and clear in public places—at the gates, at the crossroads, at the entrances of a city. People can easily hear that voice and respond.
Who can deny that godly wisdom recorded in the inspired Word of God, the Bible, is available to nearly everyone on earth who desires to gain it? “The Bible is the most widely read book in history,” says The World Book Encyclopedia. It adds: “More copies have been distributed of the Bible than of any other book. The Bible has also been translated more times, and into more languages, than any other book.” With the complete Bible or portions of it available in more than 2,100 languages and dialects, over 90 percent of the human family have access to at least part of God’s Word in their own language.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are publicly declaring the message of the Bible everywhere. In 235 lands, they are actively preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom and teaching people the truths found in God’s Word. Their Bible-based journals The Watchtower, published in 140 languages, and Awake!, printed in 83 languages, have a circulation of more than 20 million each. Wisdom certainly keeps crying loudly in public places!
PROVERBS 8:3)
“Next to the gates leading into the city, At the entrances of the doorways, It keeps crying out loudly:”
g 5/14 p. 16 ‘Wisdom Is Calling Out’—Can You Hear It?
‘Wisdom Is Calling Out’—Can You Hear It?
“Is not wisdom calling out? Is not discernment raising its voice? On the heights along the road, it takes its position at the crossroads. . . . At the entrances of the doorways, it keeps crying out loudly.”—PROVERBS 8:1-3.
WISDOM is invaluable. Without it we would make one foolish mistake after another. But where can true wisdom be found? The writer of the book of Proverbs had in mind the unmatched wisdom of our Creator. Moreover, His wisdom is available to virtually all mankind by means of a very special book, the Bible. Consider the following:
▪ The Bible is “the most widely distributed book in history,” says The World Book Encyclopedia. “It has been translated more times, and into more languages, than any other book.” In whole or in part, the Bible is now available in nearly 2,600 languages, making it accessible to over 90 percent of the human family.
▪ Wisdom also “keeps crying out loudly” in a more literal sense. At Matthew 24:14, we read: “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end [of the present world] will come.”
That “good news” is true wisdom because it points to God’s wise solution to mankind’s problems—His Kingdom. That Kingdom is a government by God that will rule over the entire earth—one world, one government. (Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14) Hence, Jesus Christ prayed: “Let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth.”—Matthew 6:9, 10.
Jehovah’s Witnesses count it a privilege to announce God’s Kingdom in 239 lands! Yes, wisdom—divine wisdom—really is “crying out,” even “at the entrances of the doorways.” Can you hear it?
w01 3/15 pp. 25-26 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“It Keeps Crying Loudly”
Chapter 8 of Proverbs begins with a rhetorical question: “Does not wisdom keep calling out, and discernment keep giving forth its voice?” Yes, wisdom and discernment keep calling out, but quite unlike the immoral woman who lurks in dark places and whispers seductive words in the ears of a solitary and inexperienced youth. (Proverbs 7:12) “On top of the heights, by the way, at the crossing of the roadways it has stationed itself. At the side of the gates, at the mouth of the town, at the going in of the entrances it keeps crying loudly.” (Proverbs 8:1-3) The strong and bold voice of wisdom is heard loud and clear in public places—at the gates, at the crossroads, at the entrances of a city. People can easily hear that voice and respond.
Who can deny that godly wisdom recorded in the inspired Word of God, the Bible, is available to nearly everyone on earth who desires to gain it? “The Bible is the most widely read book in history,” says The World Book Encyclopedia. It adds: “More copies have been distributed of the Bible than of any other book. The Bible has also been translated more times, and into more languages, than any other book.” With the complete Bible or portions of it available in more than 2,100 languages and dialects, over 90 percent of the human family have access to at least part of God’s Word in their own language.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are publicly declaring the message of the Bible everywhere. In 235 lands, they are actively preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom and teaching people the truths found in God’s Word. Their Bible-based journals The Watchtower, published in 140 languages, and Awake!, printed in 83 languages, have a circulation of more than 20 million each. Wisdom certainly keeps crying loudly in public places!
PROVERBS 8:4)
““To you, O people, I am calling; I raise my voice to everyone.”
w01 3/15 p. 26 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“My Voice Is to the Sons of Men”
Personified wisdom begins to speak, saying: “To you, O men, I am calling, and my voice is to the sons of men. O inexperienced ones, understand shrewdness; and you stupid ones, understand heart.”—Proverbs 8:4, 5.
The call of wisdom is universal. It extends its invitation to all mankind. Even inexperienced ones are invited to gain shrewdness, or prudence, and foolish ones, understanding. Indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible is a book for all people and endeavor impartially to encourage everyone they meet to peer into it to find the words of wisdom it contains.
PROVERBS 8:5)
“You inexperienced ones, learn shrewdness; You stupid ones, acquire an understanding heart.”
w01 3/15 p. 26 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“My Voice Is to the Sons of Men”
Personified wisdom begins to speak, saying: “To you, O men, I am calling, and my voice is to the sons of men. O inexperienced ones, understand shrewdness; and you stupid ones, understand heart.”—Proverbs 8:4, 5.
The call of wisdom is universal. It extends its invitation to all mankind. Even inexperienced ones are invited to gain shrewdness, or prudence, and foolish ones, understanding. Indeed, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Bible is a book for all people and endeavor impartially to encourage everyone they meet to peer into it to find the words of wisdom it contains.
PROVERBS 8:10)
“Take my discipline instead of silver, And knowledge rather than the finest gold,”
w01 3/15 p. 26 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
Fittingly, wisdom urges: “Take my discipline and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.” This plea is sensible, “for wisdom is better than corals, and all other delights themselves cannot be made equal to it.” (Proverbs 8:10, 11) But why? What makes wisdom more precious than riches?
“My Fruitage Is Better Than Gold”
The gifts that wisdom bestows upon its listener are more precious than gold, silver, or corals.
PROVERBS 8:11)
“For wisdom is better than corals; All other desirable things cannot compare to it.”
nwt p. 1696 Glossary of Bible Terms
Coral. A hard, stonelike substance that is formed from the skeletons of tiny sea animals. It is found in the ocean in a variety of colors, including red, white, and black. Corals were especially plentiful in the Red Sea. In Bible times, red coral was highly prized and was made into beads and other ornaments.—Pr 8:11.
w01 3/15 p. 26 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
Fittingly, wisdom urges: “Take my discipline and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.” This plea is sensible, “for wisdom is better than corals, and all other delights themselves cannot be made equal to it.” (Proverbs 8:10, 11) But why? What makes wisdom more precious than riches?
“My Fruitage Is Better Than Gold”
The gifts that wisdom bestows upon its listener are more precious than gold, silver, or corals.
PROVERBS 8:12)
“I, wisdom, dwell together with shrewdness; I have found knowledge and thinking ability.”
w01 3/15 pp. 26-27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
Stating what these gifts are, wisdom says: “I, wisdom, I have resided with shrewdness and I find even the knowledge of thinking abilities. The fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad. Self-exaltation and pride and the bad way and the perverse mouth I have hated.”—Proverbs 8:12, 13.
Wisdom gives shrewdness and thinking abilities to its possessor. The man having godly wisdom also has reverence and awe for God, since “the fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) Hence, he hates what Jehovah hates. Haughtiness, arrogance, immoral behavior, and perverse speech are far removed from him. His hatred for what is bad shields him from the corruptive effect of power. How important it is that those in responsible positions in the Christian congregation, as well as family heads, seek wisdom!
PROVERBS 8:13)
“The fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad. I hate self-exaltation and pride and the evil way and perverse speech.”
w07 7/15 p. 8 “Wisdom Is for a Protection”
Wisdom personified is portrayed as saying: “Self-exaltation and pride . . . I have hated.” (Proverbs 8:13) Pride and wisdom are poles apart. We need to act with wisdom and be careful not to develop a haughty, or arrogant, disposition. Especially should we be on guard if we have enjoyed success in some areas of life or are entrusted with a position of responsibility in the Christian congregation.
w01 3/15 pp. 26-27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
Stating what these gifts are, wisdom says: “I, wisdom, I have resided with shrewdness and I find even the knowledge of thinking abilities. The fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad. Self-exaltation and pride and the bad way and the perverse mouth I have hated.”—Proverbs 8:12, 13.
Wisdom gives shrewdness and thinking abilities to its possessor. The man having godly wisdom also has reverence and awe for God, since “the fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) Hence, he hates what Jehovah hates. Haughtiness, arrogance, immoral behavior, and perverse speech are far removed from him. His hatred for what is bad shields him from the corruptive effect of power. How important it is that those in responsible positions in the Christian congregation, as well as family heads, seek wisdom!
w01 12/1 pp. 19-20 Fear Jehovah and Keep His Commandments
Turn Away From Bad
4 The Bible explains that “the fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad.” (Proverbs 8:13) A Bible lexicon describes this hatred as “an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship.” So godly fear includes an inner aversion or disgust toward all that is bad in Jehovah’s eyes. (Psalm 97:10)
w92 1/1 pp. 21-22 Fear Jehovah and Glorify His Holy Name
Love the Good, Hate the Bad
13 Jehovah is altogether good. Hence, “the fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad.” (Proverbs 8:13) It is written of Jesus: “You loved righteousness, and you hated lawlessness. That is why God, your God, anointed you with the oil of exultation.” (Hebrews 1:9) If we, like Jesus, desire Jehovah’s blessing, we must detest the badness, the immorality, the violence, and the greed of Satan’s proud world. (Compare Proverbs 6:16-19.) We must love what Jehovah loves and hate what he hates. We must fear to do anything that would displease Jehovah. “In the fear of Jehovah one turns away from bad.”—Proverbs 16:6.
14 Jesus left us a model that we should follow his steps closely. “When he was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:21-23) In the fear of Jehovah, we too can endure the reproaches, the scoffings, the persecutions, that Satan’s world heaps upon us.
15 At Matthew 10:28, Jesus admonishes us: “Do not become fearful of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; but rather be in fear of him that can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Even if one who fears Jehovah should be killed by the enemy, the pangs of death are but momentary. (Hosea 13:14) Upon being resurrected, that one will be able to say: “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?”—1 Corinthians 15:55.
16 Jesus himself provides a splendid example for all who love Jehovah’s righteousness and hate what is bad. His fear of Jehovah is reflected in his final words to his disciples, as found at John 16:33: “I have said these things to you that by means of me you may have peace. In the world you are having tribulation, but take courage! I have conquered the world.” John’s account continues: “Jesus spoke these things, and, raising his eyes to heaven, he said: ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, that your son may glorify you . . . I have made your name manifest to the men you gave me out of the world.’”—John 17:1-6.
Fear Jehovah and Praise Him
17 Can we today imitate Jesus’ courageous example? Surely we can in the fear of Jehovah! Jesus has made known to us Jehovah’s illustrious name and qualities. Fearing Jehovah as our Sovereign Lord, we exalt him far above all other gods, including the nameless, mystic Trinity of Christendom. Jesus served Jehovah with a healthy fear, refusing to be entrapped in the snare of fear of mortal man. “In the days of his flesh Christ offered up supplications and also petitions to the One who was able to save him out of death, with strong outcries and tears, and he was favorably heard for his godly fear.” Like Jesus, may we too fear Jehovah as we continue to learn obedience from the things we suffer—always with everlasting salvation as our goal.—Hebrews 5:7-9.
18 Later in that letter to the Hebrew Christians, Paul exhorts anointed Christians: “Seeing that we are to receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us continue to have undeserved kindness, through which we may acceptably render God sacred service with godly fear and awe.”
w87 12/1 p. 11 par. 6 Fear of God—Can It Benefit You?
6 Would you like to avoid what is bad? “The fear of Jehovah means the hating of bad.” (Proverbs 8:13) Yes, this proper fear can keep you from many bad habits that God condemns, such as smoking, drug abuse, drunkenness, and sexual immorality. Besides pleasing Jehovah, you are protecting yourself against the horrible things that happen to people, including the fearsome diseases to which they expose themselves. (Romans 1:26, 27; 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8) Fear of God not only will help you to guard against what is bad and perverse but will lead you to what is pure and wholesome, for we are told that “the fear of Jehovah is pure.”—Psalm 19:9.
PROVERBS 8:14)
“I possess good advice and practical wisdom; Understanding and power are mine.”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“I have counsel and practical wisdom,” continues wisdom. “I—understanding; I have mightiness. By me kings themselves keep reigning, and high officials themselves keep decreeing righteousness. By me princes themselves keep ruling as princes, and nobles are all judging in righteousness.” (Proverbs 8:14-16) The fruitage of wisdom includes insight, understanding, and mightiness—factors very much needed by rulers, high officials, and nobles. Wisdom is indispensable to those who are in a position of power and those who counsel others.
PROVERBS 8:15)
“By me kings keep reigning, And high officials decree righteousness.”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“I have counsel and practical wisdom,” continues wisdom. “I—understanding; I have mightiness. By me kings themselves keep reigning, and high officials themselves keep decreeing righteousness. By me princes themselves keep ruling as princes, and nobles are all judging in righteousness.” (Proverbs 8:14-16) The fruitage of wisdom includes insight, understanding, and mightiness—factors very much needed by rulers, high officials, and nobles. Wisdom is indispensable to those who are in a position of power and those who counsel others.
PROVERBS 8:16)
“By me princes keep ruling, And nobles judge in righteousness.”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“I have counsel and practical wisdom,” continues wisdom. “I—understanding; I have mightiness. By me kings themselves keep reigning, and high officials themselves keep decreeing righteousness. By me princes themselves keep ruling as princes, and nobles are all judging in righteousness.” (Proverbs 8:14-16) The fruitage of wisdom includes insight, understanding, and mightiness—factors very much needed by rulers, high officials, and nobles. Wisdom is indispensable to those who are in a position of power and those who counsel others.
PROVERBS 8:17)
“I love those loving me, And those seeking me will find me.”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
True wisdom is readily available to all, but not all find it. Some reject it or avoid it, even when it is at their doorstep. “Those loving me I myself love,” says wisdom, “and those looking for me are the ones that find me.” (Proverbs 8:17) Wisdom is accessible only to those who seek it in earnest.
PROVERBS 8:18)
“Riches and glory are with me, Lasting wealth and righteousness.”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
The ways of wisdom are just and righteous. It rewards its seekers. Wisdom says: “Riches and glory are with me, hereditary values and righteousness. My fruitage is better than gold, even than refined gold, and my produce than choice silver. In the path of righteousness I walk, in the middle of the roadways of judgment, to cause those loving me to take possession of substance; and their storehouses I keep filled.”—Proverbs 8:18-21.
Along with such excellent qualities and traits as prudence, thinking ability, humility, insight, practical wisdom, and understanding, wisdom’s gifts include riches and honor. A wise person may well gain wealth by righteous means, and he will prosper spiritually. (3 John 2) Wisdom also brings a person honor. Moreover, he gains satisfaction from what he acquires, and he has peace of mind and a clean conscience toward God. Yes, happy is the man that has found wisdom. The fruitage of wisdom is indeed better than refined gold and choice silver.
How timely this advice is for us, since we live in a materialistic world where the emphasis is on gaining wealth by any means and at any cost! May we never lose sight of how valuable wisdom is or resort to unrighteous means for gaining wealth. Let us never neglect the very provisions that impart wisdom—our Christian meetings and our personal study of the Bible and the publications provided by “the faithful and discreet slave”—simply for the sake of gaining riches.—Matthew 24:45-47.
PROVERBS 8:19)
“My fruitage is better than gold, even refined gold, And what I produce is better than the finest silver.”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
The ways of wisdom are just and righteous. It rewards its seekers. Wisdom says: “Riches and glory are with me, hereditary values and righteousness. My fruitage is better than gold, even than refined gold, and my produce than choice silver. In the path of righteousness I walk, in the middle of the roadways of judgment, to cause those loving me to take possession of substance; and their storehouses I keep filled.”—Proverbs 8:18-21.
Along with such excellent qualities and traits as prudence, thinking ability, humility, insight, practical wisdom, and understanding, wisdom’s gifts include riches and honor. A wise person may well gain wealth by righteous means, and he will prosper spiritually. (3 John 2) Wisdom also brings a person honor. Moreover, he gains satisfaction from what he acquires, and he has peace of mind and a clean conscience toward God. Yes, happy is the man that has found wisdom. The fruitage of wisdom is indeed better than refined gold and choice silver.
How timely this advice is for us, since we live in a materialistic world where the emphasis is on gaining wealth by any means and at any cost! May we never lose sight of how valuable wisdom is or resort to unrighteous means for gaining wealth. Let us never neglect the very provisions that impart wisdom—our Christian meetings and our personal study of the Bible and the publications provided by “the faithful and discreet slave”—simply for the sake of gaining riches.—Matthew 24:45-47.
PROVERBS 8:20)
“I walk in the path of righteousness, In the middle of the pathways of justice;”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
The ways of wisdom are just and righteous. It rewards its seekers. Wisdom says: “Riches and glory are with me, hereditary values and righteousness. My fruitage is better than gold, even than refined gold, and my produce than choice silver. In the path of righteousness I walk, in the middle of the roadways of judgment, to cause those loving me to take possession of substance; and their storehouses I keep filled.”—Proverbs 8:18-21.
Along with such excellent qualities and traits as prudence, thinking ability, humility, insight, practical wisdom, and understanding, wisdom’s gifts include riches and honor. A wise person may well gain wealth by righteous means, and he will prosper spiritually. (3 John 2) Wisdom also brings a person honor. Moreover, he gains satisfaction from what he acquires, and he has peace of mind and a clean conscience toward God. Yes, happy is the man that has found wisdom. The fruitage of wisdom is indeed better than refined gold and choice silver.
How timely this advice is for us, since we live in a materialistic world where the emphasis is on gaining wealth by any means and at any cost! May we never lose sight of how valuable wisdom is or resort to unrighteous means for gaining wealth. Let us never neglect the very provisions that impart wisdom—our Christian meetings and our personal study of the Bible and the publications provided by “the faithful and discreet slave”—simply for the sake of gaining riches.—Matthew 24:45-47.
PROVERBS 8:21)
“I give a rich inheritance to those who love me, And I fill up their storehouses.”
w01 3/15 p. 27 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
The ways of wisdom are just and righteous. It rewards its seekers. Wisdom says: “Riches and glory are with me, hereditary values and righteousness. My fruitage is better than gold, even than refined gold, and my produce than choice silver. In the path of righteousness I walk, in the middle of the roadways of judgment, to cause those loving me to take possession of substance; and their storehouses I keep filled.”—Proverbs 8:18-21.
Along with such excellent qualities and traits as prudence, thinking ability, humility, insight, practical wisdom, and understanding, wisdom’s gifts include riches and honor. A wise person may well gain wealth by righteous means, and he will prosper spiritually. (3 John 2) Wisdom also brings a person honor. Moreover, he gains satisfaction from what he acquires, and he has peace of mind and a clean conscience toward God. Yes, happy is the man that has found wisdom. The fruitage of wisdom is indeed better than refined gold and choice silver.
How timely this advice is for us, since we live in a materialistic world where the emphasis is on gaining wealth by any means and at any cost! May we never lose sight of how valuable wisdom is or resort to unrighteous means for gaining wealth. Let us never neglect the very provisions that impart wisdom—our Christian meetings and our personal study of the Bible and the publications provided by “the faithful and discreet slave”—simply for the sake of gaining riches.—Matthew 24:45-47.
PROVERBS 8:22)
“Jehovah produced me as the beginning of his way, The earliest of his achievements of long ago.”
it-2 pp. 52-53 Jesus Christ
Wisdom personified. What is recorded concerning the Word in the Scriptures fits remarkably the description given at Proverbs 8:22-31. There wisdom is personified, represented as though able to speak and act. (Pr 8:1) Many professed Christian writers of the early centuries of the Common Era understood this section to refer symbolically to God’s Son in his prehuman state. In view of the texts already considered, there can be no denying that that Son was “produced” by Jehovah “as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago,” nor that the Son was “beside [Jehovah] as a master worker” during earth’s creation, as described in these verses of Proverbs. It is true that in Hebrew, which assigns gender to its nouns (as do many other languages), the word for “wisdom” is always in the feminine gender. This would continue to be the case even though wisdom is personified and so would not rule out wisdom’s being used figuratively to represent God’s firstborn Son. The Greek word for “love” in the expression “God is love” (1Jo 4:8) is also in the feminine gender but that does not make God feminine. Solomon, the principal writer of Proverbs (Pr 1:1), applied the title qo•heʹleth (congregator) to himself (Ec 1:1) and this word is also in the feminine gender.
Wisdom is manifest only by being expressed in some way. God’s own wisdom was expressed in creation (Pr 3:19, 20) but through his Son. (Compare 1Co 8:6.) So, too, God’s wise purpose involving mankind is made manifest through, and summed up in, his Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, the apostle could say that Christ represents “the power of God and the wisdom of God” and that Christ Jesus “has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom.”—1Co 1:24, 30; compare 1Co 2:7, 8; Pr 8:1, 10, 18-21.
cf chap. 13 pp. 130-131 pars. 6-7 “I Love the Father”
In verses 22 through 31, we find an inspired description of wisdom personified. How do we know that these words refer to God’s Son?
7 In verse 22, wisdom says: “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago.” More than just wisdom must be involved here, for that quality never was “produced.” It never began to exist because Jehovah has always existed and he has always been wise. (Psalm 90:2) God’s Son, however, was “the firstborn of all creation.” He was produced, or created; he was the earliest of all of Jehovah’s achievements. (Colossians 1:15) The Son existed before the earth and the heavens, as described in Proverbs. And as the Word, God’s own Spokesman, he was the perfect expression of Jehovah’s wisdom.—John 1:1.
w06 8/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers
Questions From Readers
How do we know that the description of wisdom at Proverbs 8:22-31 applies to Jesus Christ in his prehuman existence?
The inspired description of wisdom found in the book of Proverbs reads: “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. . . . Before the mountains themselves had been settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labor pains . . . When he prepared the heavens I was there; . . . then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time, . . . and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.”
This passage cannot be speaking merely about divine wisdom or wisdom in the abstract. Why not? Because the wisdom that is here described was “produced,” or created, as the beginning of Jehovah’s way. Jehovah God has always existed and has always been wise. (Psalm 90:1, 2) His wisdom had no beginning; it was neither created nor produced. It was not “brought forth as with labor pains.” Furthermore, this wisdom is said to speak and act, representing a person.—Proverbs 8:1.
w01 3/15 pp. 27-28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“From Time Indefinite I Was Installed”
The personification of wisdom found in the 8th chapter of Proverbs is not merely a device to explain the characteristics of an abstract quality. It also symbolically refers to Jehovah’s most important creation. Wisdom goes on to say: “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth. When there were no watery deeps I was brought forth as with labor pains, when there were no springs heavily charged with water. Before the mountains themselves had been settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labor pains, when as yet he had not made the earth and the open spaces and the first part of the dust masses of the productive land.”—Proverbs 8:22-26.
How well the foregoing description of wisdom personified matches what is stated concerning “the Word” in the Scriptures! “In the beginning the Word was,” wrote the apostle John, “and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (John 1:1) Personified wisdom figuratively represents God’s Son, Jesus Christ, in his prehuman existence.
Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible.” (Colossians 1:15, 16)
ti p. 14 What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus?
Notice how closely those references to the origin of Jesus correlate with expressions uttered by the figurative “Wisdom” in the Bible book of Proverbs: “Yahweh created me, first-fruits of his fashioning, before the oldest of his works. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I came to birth; before he had made the earth, the countryside, and the first elements of the world.” (Proverbs 8:12, 22, 25, 26, NJB) While the term “Wisdom” is used to personify the one whom God created, most scholars agree that it is actually a figure of speech for Jesus as a spirit creature prior to his human existence.
w87 5/15 p. 28 Fear Jehovah and You Will Be Happy
♦ 8:22-31—Is this merely a description of wisdom?
No, for wisdom has always existed as an attribute of the eternal God. (Job 12:13) Here, though, it is said that wisdom was “produced” and was “beside [Jehovah] as a master worker” during earth’s creation. Identifying wisdom personified as God’s Son fits the fact that “carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.”—Colossians 1:15, 16; 2:3.
PROVERBS 8:23)
“From ancient times I was installed, From the start, from times earlier than the earth.”
w01 3/15 pp. 27-28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“From Time Indefinite I Was Installed”
The personification of wisdom found in the 8th chapter of Proverbs is not merely a device to explain the characteristics of an abstract quality. It also symbolically refers to Jehovah’s most important creation. Wisdom goes on to say: “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago. From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth. When there were no watery deeps I was brought forth as with labor pains, when there were no springs heavily charged with water. Before the mountains themselves had been settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labor pains, when as yet he had not made the earth and the open spaces and the first part of the dust masses of the productive land.”—Proverbs 8:22-26.
How well the foregoing description of wisdom personified matches what is stated concerning “the Word” in the Scriptures! “In the beginning the Word was,” wrote the apostle John, “and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” (John 1:1) Personified wisdom figuratively represents God’s Son, Jesus Christ, in his prehuman existence.
Jesus Christ is “the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible.” (Colossians 1:15, 16)
PROVERBS 8:27)
“When he prepared the heavens, I was there; When he marked out the horizon on the surface of the waters,”
it-1 p. 491 Commander’s Staff
COMMANDER’S STAFF
A long rod serving as a symbol of a commander’s right to issue orders. The expression “commander’s staff” appears four times in the New World Translation, translating the participle mecho•qeqʹ, which is from the Hebrew root cha•qaqʹ, meaning “inscribe” or “engrave” and hence “decree” or “enact.” (Isa 30:8; Eze 4:1; Pr 8:27; Isa 10:1) In ancient times, laws that were enacted were inscribed or engraved on stone or metal tablets.
PROVERBS 8:29)
“When he set a decree for the sea That its waters should not pass beyond his order, When he established the foundations of the earth,”
w98 11/1 pp. 8-9 par. 4 Will Your Work Withstand the Fire?
Jesus knew all about the importance of foundations. He was present when Jehovah founded the very earth. (Proverbs 8:29-31)
w98 11/1 p. 9 Will Your Work Withstand the Fire?
The ‘foundation of the earth’ may refer to the physical forces that hold it—and all heavenly bodies—firmly in place. Additionally, the earth itself is constructed in such a way that it will never “totter,” or suffer destruction.—Psalm 104:5.
PROVERBS 8:30)
“Then I was beside him as a master worker. I was the one he was especially fond of day by day; I rejoiced before him all the time;”
it-1 pp. 101-102 Amusements
AMUSEMENTS
As expressed by the writer of Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about.” (Ec 3:1, 4) The word “laugh” here translates the Hebrew verb sa•chaqʹ. Though the basic meaning is “laugh,” this word and the related word tsa•chaqʹ are also translated by expressions such as “celebrate,” “play,” “make sport,” ‘offer amusement,’ and “have a good time.” (2Sa 6:21; Job 41:5; Jg 16:25; Ex 32:6; Ge 26:8) Forms of the verb sa•chaqʹ are used at Proverbs 8:30, 31 with regard to the “master worker” as “being glad” before Jehovah following the earth’s creation, as well as to describe the “play” of the animal creation in the sea and in the fields.—Ps 104:26; Job 40:20.
it-2 pp. 52-53 Jesus Christ
Wisdom personified. What is recorded concerning the Word in the Scriptures fits remarkably the description given at Proverbs 8:22-31. There wisdom is personified, represented as though able to speak and act. (Pr 8:1) Many professed Christian writers of the early centuries of the Common Era understood this section to refer symbolically to God’s Son in his prehuman state. In view of the texts already considered, there can be no denying that that Son was “produced” by Jehovah “as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago,” nor that the Son was “beside [Jehovah] as a master worker” during earth’s creation, as described in these verses of Proverbs. It is true that in Hebrew, which assigns gender to its nouns (as do many other languages), the word for “wisdom” is always in the feminine gender. This would continue to be the case even though wisdom is personified and so would not rule out wisdom’s being used figuratively to represent God’s firstborn Son. The Greek word for “love” in the expression “God is love” (1Jo 4:8) is also in the feminine gender but that does not make God feminine. Solomon, the principal writer of Proverbs (Pr 1:1), applied the title qo•heʹleth (congregator) to himself (Ec 1:1) and this word is also in the feminine gender.
Wisdom is manifest only by being expressed in some way. God’s own wisdom was expressed in creation (Pr 3:19, 20) but through his Son. (Compare 1Co 8:6.) So, too, God’s wise purpose involving mankind is made manifest through, and summed up in, his Son, Jesus Christ. Thus, the apostle could say that Christ represents “the power of God and the wisdom of God” and that Christ Jesus “has become to us wisdom from God, also righteousness and sanctification and release by ransom.”—1Co 1:24, 30; compare 1Co 2:7, 8; Pr 8:1, 10, 18-21.
it-2 p. 120 Joy
He also had great love for and joy in mankind. The Scriptures, personifying him in his prehuman existence as wisdom, represent him as saying: “Then I came to be beside [Jehovah] as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time, being glad at the productive land of his earth, and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.”—Pr 8:30, 31.
cf chap. 13 pp. 130-132 “I Love the Father”
The Oldest and Strongest Bond of Love
6 Have you ever worked on a project with a friend and found that the two of you became better, closer friends as a result? That pleasant experience may provide some insight into the love that developed between Jehovah and his only-begotten Son. We have referred more than once to Proverbs 8:30, but let us take a closer look at that verse in its context. In verses 22 through 31, we find an inspired description of wisdom personified. How do we know that these words refer to God’s Son?
7 In verse 22, wisdom says: “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago.” More than just wisdom must be involved here, for that quality never was “produced.” It never began to exist because Jehovah has always existed and he has always been wise. (Psalm 90:2) God’s Son, however, was “the firstborn of all creation.” He was produced, or created; he was the earliest of all of Jehovah’s achievements. (Colossians 1:15) The Son existed before the earth and the heavens, as described in Proverbs. And as the Word, God’s own Spokesman, he was the perfect expression of Jehovah’s wisdom.—John 1:1.
8 How was the Son occupied during the vast expanse of time before he came to earth? Verse 30 tells us that he was beside God as “a master worker.” What does that mean? Colossians 1:16 explains: “By means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth . . . All other things have been created through him and for him.” So Jehovah, the Creator, worked through his Son, the Master Worker, to bring every other creation into existence—from the spirit creatures in the heavenly realm to the immense physical universe, to the earth with its wondrous variety of plant and animal life, to the pinnacle of earthly creation: humankind. In some respects, we might liken this cooperation between Father and Son to that of an architect working with a builder, or contractor, who specializes in bringing the architect’s ingenious designs to reality. When we are awed by any facet of creation, we are actually giving credit to the Great Architect. (Psalm 19:1) However, we may also call to mind the long and happy collaboration between the Creator and his “master worker.”
9 When two imperfect humans work closely together, they sometimes have a difficult time getting along. Not so with Jehovah and his Son! The Son worked for aeons with the Father and was “glad before him all the time.” (Proverbs 8:30) Yes, he delighted in his Father’s company, and the feeling was mutual. Naturally, the Son grew ever more like his Father, learning to imitate God’s qualities. No wonder, then, that the bond between Father and Son became so strong! It can rightly be called the oldest and strongest bond of love in the whole universe.
w06 8/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers
The book of Proverbs says that long ago wisdom was beside Jehovah, the Creator, as “a master worker.” That certainly applies to Jesus. Long before he came to earth, Jesus worked so closely with Jehovah that God’s Word says: “He is before all other things and by means of him all other things were made to exist.”—Colossians 1:17; Revelation 3:14.
w06 9/15 p. 17 par. 4 Highlights From the Book of Proverbs
8:30—Who is the “master worker”? Personified wisdom calls itself a master worker. More than serving as a literary device to explain the characteristics of wisdom, this personification figuratively refers to God’s firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, in his prehuman existence. Long before his birth as a human on earth, he was ‘produced as the beginning of God’s way.’ (Proverbs 8:22) As “a master worker,” he actively worked with his Father during the creation of all things.—Colossians 1:15-17.
w01 3/15 p. 28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time, being glad at the productive land of his earth, and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.” (Proverbs 8:27-31) Jehovah’s firstborn Son was there beside his Father, actively working with him—the peerless Creator of the heavens and the earth. When Jehovah God created the first human, His Son was associated with him in the project as Master Worker. (Genesis 1:26) No wonder God’s Son is very much interested in, even fond of, mankind!
w00 2/15 p. 11 par. 6 Getting to Know “the Mind of Christ”
6 According to some scientific estimates, the physical universe has existed for at least 12 billion years. If those estimates are anywhere near correct, God’s firstborn Son enjoyed close association with his Father for aeons before the creation of Adam. (Compare Micah 5:2.) A tender and deep bond thus developed between the two of them. As wisdom personified, this firstborn Son in his prehuman existence is represented as saying: “I came to be the one [Jehovah] was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time.” (Proverbs 8:30) Surely spending countless ages in intimate association with the Source of love had a profound effect on God’s Son! (1 John 4:8) This Son came to know and reflect his Father’s thoughts, feelings, and ways as no one else could.—Matthew 11:27.
ti p. 14 What Does the Bible Say About God and Jesus?
As “Wisdom” in his prehuman existence, Jesus goes on to say that he was “by his [God’s] side, a master craftsman.” (Proverbs 8:30, JB) In harmony with this role as master craftsman, Colossians 1:16 says of Jesus that “through him God created everything in heaven and on earth.”—Today’s English Version (TEV).
So it was by means of this master worker, his junior partner, as it were, that Almighty God created all other things. The Bible summarizes the matter this way: “For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things . . . and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things.” (Italics ours.)—1 Corinthians 8:6, RS, Catholic edition.
It no doubt was to this master craftsman that God said: “Let us make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26)
PROVERBS 8:31)
“I rejoiced over his habitable earth, And I was especially fond of the sons of men.”
it-1 pp. 101-102 Amusements
AMUSEMENTS
As expressed by the writer of Ecclesiastes: “For everything there is an appointed time, . . . a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to wail and a time to skip about.” (Ec 3:1, 4) The word “laugh” here translates the Hebrew verb sa•chaqʹ. Though the basic meaning is “laugh,” this word and the related word tsa•chaqʹ are also translated by expressions such as “celebrate,” “play,” “make sport,” ‘offer amusement,’ and “have a good time.” (2Sa 6:21; Job 41:5; Jg 16:25; Ex 32:6; Ge 26:8) Forms of the verb sa•chaqʹ are used at Proverbs 8:30, 31 with regard to the “master worker” as “being glad” before Jehovah following the earth’s creation, as well as to describe the “play” of the animal creation in the sea and in the fields.—Ps 104:26; Job 40:20.
it-2 p. 120 Joy
He also had great love for and joy in mankind. The Scriptures, personifying him in his prehuman existence as wisdom, represent him as saying: “Then I came to be beside [Jehovah] as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time, being glad at the productive land of his earth, and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men.”—Pr 8:30, 31.
w08 2/15 p. 14 par. 11 Jesus Christ—The Greatest Missionary
During his prehuman existence, Jesus discerned God’s attitude toward humans by observing Jehovah’s dealings with them. God’s love for mankind was reflected in the Son to such an extent that as wisdom personified, he could say: “The things I was fond of were with the sons of men.”—Prov. 8:22, 31.
PROVERBS 8:32)
“And now, my sons, listen to me; Yes, happy are those who keep my ways.”
w01 3/15 p. 28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“Happy Is the Man That Is Listening to Me”
As wisdom personified, the Son of God says: “Now, O sons, 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 by keeping awake at my doors day by day, by watching at the posts of my entrances. For the one finding me will certainly find life, and gets goodwill from Jehovah. But the one missing me is doing violence to his soul; all those intensely hating me are the ones that do love death.”—Proverbs 8:32-36.
Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of God’s wisdom. “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3) Let us, then, listen to him without neglect and follow his steps closely. (1 Peter 2:21) To reject him is to do violence to our own soul and to love death, for “there is no salvation in anyone else.” (Acts 4:12) Indeed, let us accept Jesus as the one whom God has provided for our salvation. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16) Thus we will experience the happiness that comes from ‘finding life and getting Jehovah’s goodwill.’
PROVERBS 8:33)
“Listen to discipline and become wise, And never neglect it.”
w01 3/15 p. 28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“Happy Is the Man That Is Listening to Me”
As wisdom personified, the Son of God says: “Now, O sons, 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 by keeping awake at my doors day by day, by watching at the posts of my entrances. For the one finding me will certainly find life, and gets goodwill from Jehovah. But the one missing me is doing violence to his soul; all those intensely hating me are the ones that do love death.”—Proverbs 8:32-36.
Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of God’s wisdom. “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3) Let us, then, listen to him without neglect and follow his steps closely. (1 Peter 2:21) To reject him is to do violence to our own soul and to love death, for “there is no salvation in anyone else.” (Acts 4:12) Indeed, let us accept Jesus as the one whom God has provided for our salvation. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16) Thus we will experience the happiness that comes from ‘finding life and getting Jehovah’s goodwill.’
w87 10/1 p. 17 par. 6 Discipline Yields Peaceable Fruit
6 Discipline may at times involve spanking, but often it does not. Proverbs 8:33 does not say, “feel” discipline but, “listen to discipline and become wise.” Many times discipline comes in the form of words, not spankings: “The reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” “Take hold on discipline; do not let go. Safeguard it, for it itself is your life.” (Proverbs 4:13; 6:23) When Jehovah’s servant Job needed to be disciplined, it was accomplished by reproving words, first by Elihu and then by Jehovah himself. (Job, chapters 32-41) Job accepted the reproof and said to Jehovah: “I make a retraction, and I do repent in dust and ashes.”—Job 42:6.
PROVERBS 8:34)
“Happy is the man who listens to me By coming early to my doors day by day, By waiting next to my doorposts;”
w01 3/15 p. 28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“Happy Is the Man That Is Listening to Me”
As wisdom personified, the Son of God says: “Now, O sons, 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 by keeping awake at my doors day by day, by watching at the posts of my entrances. For the one finding me will certainly find life, and gets goodwill from Jehovah. But the one missing me is doing violence to his soul; all those intensely hating me are the ones that do love death.”—Proverbs 8:32-36.
Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of God’s wisdom. “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3) Let us, then, listen to him without neglect and follow his steps closely. (1 Peter 2:21) To reject him is to do violence to our own soul and to love death, for “there is no salvation in anyone else.” (Acts 4:12) Indeed, let us accept Jesus as the one whom God has provided for our salvation. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16) Thus we will experience the happiness that comes from ‘finding life and getting Jehovah’s goodwill.’
PROVERBS 8:35)
“For the one finding me will find life, And he receives approval from Jehovah.”
w01 3/15 p. 28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“Happy Is the Man That Is Listening to Me”
As wisdom personified, the Son of God says: “Now, O sons, 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 by keeping awake at my doors day by day, by watching at the posts of my entrances. For the one finding me will certainly find life, and gets goodwill from Jehovah. But the one missing me is doing violence to his soul; all those intensely hating me are the ones that do love death.”—Proverbs 8:32-36.
Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of God’s wisdom. “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3) Let us, then, listen to him without neglect and follow his steps closely. (1 Peter 2:21) To reject him is to do violence to our own soul and to love death, for “there is no salvation in anyone else.” (Acts 4:12) Indeed, let us accept Jesus as the one whom God has provided for our salvation. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16) Thus we will experience the happiness that comes from ‘finding life and getting Jehovah’s goodwill.’
PROVERBS 8:36)
“But the one who ignores me harms himself, And those who hate me love death.””
it-2 p. 962 Sin, I
The common Hebrew term translated “sin” is chat•taʼthʹ; in Greek the usual word is ha•mar•tiʹa. In both languages the verb forms (Heb., cha•taʼʹ; Gr., ha•mar•taʹno) mean “miss,” in the sense of missing or not reaching a goal, way, mark, or right point. At Judges 20:16 cha•taʼʹ is used, with a negative, to describe the Benjamites who were ‘slingers of stones to a hairbreadth and would not miss.’ Greek writers often used ha•mar•taʹno with regard to a spearman missing his target. Both of these words were used to mean missing or failing to reach not merely physical objects or goals (Job 5:24) but also moral or intellectual goals or marks. Proverbs 8:35, 36 says the one finding godly wisdom finds life, but the ‘one missing [from Heb., cha•taʼʹ] wisdom is doing violence to his soul,’ leading to death.
w01 3/15 p. 28 “Happy Is the Man That Has Found Wisdom”
“Happy Is the Man That Is Listening to Me”
As wisdom personified, the Son of God says: “Now, O sons, 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 by keeping awake at my doors day by day, by watching at the posts of my entrances. For the one finding me will certainly find life, and gets goodwill from Jehovah. But the one missing me is doing violence to his soul; all those intensely hating me are the ones that do love death.”—Proverbs 8:32-36.
Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of God’s wisdom. “Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3) Let us, then, listen to him without neglect and follow his steps closely. (1 Peter 2:21) To reject him is to do violence to our own soul and to love death, for “there is no salvation in anyone else.” (Acts 4:12) Indeed, let us accept Jesus as the one whom God has provided for our salvation. (Matthew 20:28; John 3:16) Thus we will experience the happiness that comes from ‘finding life and getting Jehovah’s goodwill.’
PROVERBS 9:1)
“True wisdom has built its house; It has carved out its seven pillars.”
w01 5/15 p. 28 ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
The 9th chapter of the Bible book of Proverbs opens with the words: “True wisdom has built its house; it has hewn out its seven pillars.” (Proverbs 9:1) The term “seven pillars,” suggests one scholar, is “indicative of a mansion built around a court-yard, the structure being supported by three pillars on each side and one in the centre on the third side facing the open space which was the entrance.” In any case, true wisdom has built a sturdy house for the reception of many guests.
PROVERBS 9:2)
“It has fully prepared its meat; It has mixed its wine; It has also arranged its table.”
w01 5/15 p. 28 ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
Everything is ready for a feast. The meat is there, as is the wine. Wisdom has given personal attention to the preparation of the meal and to the setting of the table. “It has organized its meat slaughtering; it has mixed its wine; more than that, it has set in order its table.” (Proverbs 9:2) Spiritually enlightening food for thought is evidently available on this figurative table.—Isaiah 55:1, 2.
PROVERBS 9:3)
“It has sent out its female servants To call out from the heights above the city:”
w01 5/15 p. 28 ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
“It has sent forth its lady attendants, that it may call out on top of the heights of the town:
w01 5/15 p. 28 ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
Wisdom has sent out its maidens to issue an invitation. They have gone to public places from where they can call out to the largest number of people.
w01 5/15 p. 28 ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
Proverbs 9:3
PROVERBS 9:4)
““Whoever is inexperienced, let him come in here.” She says to the one lacking good sense:”
w01 5/15 p. 29 ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
Christians must humbly accept wisdom’s discipline. This is particularly true of young ones and those who have recently started to learn about Jehovah. Because of limited experience in God’s ways, they may be “in want of heart.” It is not that all of their motives are bad, but it takes time and effort to bring the heart into a condition that really pleases Jehovah God. This calls for bringing thoughts, desires, affections, and goals into harmony with what God approves.
w01 5/15 p. 28 ‘By Wisdom Our Days Will Become Many’
‘Whoever is inexperienced, let him turn aside here.’ Whoever is in want of heart—she has said to him:
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All are invited—those “in want of heart,” or those lacking understanding, as well as those lacking experience. (Proverbs 9:4)
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4 What does Jehovah find when he examines the hearts of our children? Most of them would say that they love God, and that is commendable. Yet, one who is young or who is newly learning about Jehovah has limited experience in Jehovah’s ways. Because he is inexperienced, he may be “in want of heart,” as the Bible expresses it. 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.
PROVERBS 9:5)
““Come, eat my bread And share in drinking the wine that I have mixed.”
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And a promise of life is held out to them. Wisdom contained in God’s Word, including that in the book of Proverbs, is certainly available to nearly everyone. Today, as the messengers of true wisdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses are busy inviting people, wherever they are found, to study the Bible. Taking in this knowledge, indeed, can lead to everlasting life.—John 17:3.
Christians must humbly accept wisdom’s discipline. This is particularly true of young ones and those who have recently started to learn about Jehovah. Because of limited experience in God’s ways, they may be “in want of heart.” It is not that all of their motives are bad, but it takes time and effort to bring the heart into a condition that really pleases Jehovah God. This calls for bringing thoughts, desires, affections, and goals into harmony with what God approves. How vital that they “form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word.”—1 Peter 2:2.
In fact, should not all of us go beyond “the primary doctrine”? Surely we need to develop an interest in “the deep things of God” and draw nourishment from the solid food that belongs to mature people. (Hebrews 5:12–6:1; 1 Corinthians 2:10) “The faithful and discreet slave,” whom Jesus Christ directly supervises, diligently provides timely spiritual food for all. (Matthew 24:45-47) May we feast at wisdom’s table by diligently studying God’s Word and the Bible-based publications provided by the slave class.
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‘Come, feed yourselves with my bread and share in drinking the wine that I have mixed. Leave the inexperienced ones and keep living, and walk straight in the way of understanding.’”—Proverbs 9:3-6.
PROVERBS 9:6)
“Leave behind your inexperience and live; Walk forward in the way of understanding.””
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And a promise of life is held out to them. Wisdom contained in God’s Word, including that in the book of Proverbs, is certainly available to nearly everyone. Today, as the messengers of true wisdom, Jehovah’s Witnesses are busy inviting people, wherever they are found, to study the Bible. Taking in this knowledge, indeed, can lead to everlasting life.—John 17:3.
Christians must humbly accept wisdom’s discipline. This is particularly true of young ones and those who have recently started to learn about Jehovah. Because of limited experience in God’s ways, they may be “in want of heart.” It is not that all of their motives are bad, but it takes time and effort to bring the heart into a condition that really pleases Jehovah God. This calls for bringing thoughts, desires, affections, and goals into harmony with what God approves. How vital that they “form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word.”—1 Peter 2:2.
In fact, should not all of us go beyond “the primary doctrine”? Surely we need to develop an interest in “the deep things of God” and draw nourishment from the solid food that belongs to mature people. (Hebrews 5:12–6:1; 1 Corinthians 2:10) “The faithful and discreet slave,” whom Jesus Christ directly supervises, diligently provides timely spiritual food for all. (Matthew 24:45-47) May we feast at wisdom’s table by diligently studying God’s Word and the Bible-based publications provided by the slave class.
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‘Come, feed yourselves with my bread and share in drinking the wine that I have mixed. Leave the inexperienced ones and keep living, and walk straight in the way of understanding.’”—Proverbs 9:3-6.
PROVERBS 9:7)
“The one who corrects a ridiculer invites dishonor, And whoever reproves someone wicked will get hurt.”
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“Do Not Reprove a Ridiculer”
The teachings of wisdom also include correction and reproof. This feature of wisdom is not welcomed by all. Hence, the closing of the first section of the book of Proverbs contains a warning: “He that is correcting the ridiculer is taking to himself dishonor, and he that is giving a reproof to someone wicked—a defect in him. Do not reprove a ridiculer, that he may not hate you.”—Proverbs 9:7, 8a.
A ridiculer builds up resentment and hatred for the one trying to help make his path straight. A wicked person lacks appreciation for the value of reproof. How unwise to try to teach the beautiful truth of God’s Word to someone who hates the truth or is simply seeking to ridicule it! When the apostle Paul was preaching in Antioch, he encountered a group of Jews who had no love for the truth. They tried to embroil him in an argument by blasphemously contradicting him, but Paul simply stated: “Since you are thrusting [the word of God] away from you and do not judge yourselves worthy of everlasting life, look! we turn to the nations.”—Acts 13:45, 46.
In our endeavor to reach honesthearted ones with the Kingdom good news, may we be careful not to get involved in debates and arguments with ridiculers. Christ Jesus instructed his disciples: “When you are entering into the house, greet the household; and if the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it; but if it is not deserving, let the peace from you return upon you. Wherever anyone does not take you in or listen to your words, on going out of that house or that city shake the dust off your feet.”—Matthew 10:12-14.
PROVERBS 9:8)
“Do not reprove a ridiculer, or he will hate you. Reprove a wise person, and he will love you.”
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Do not reprove a ridiculer, that he may not hate you.”—Proverbs 9:7, 8a.
A ridiculer builds up resentment and hatred for the one trying to help make his path straight. A wicked person lacks appreciation for the value of reproof. How unwise to try to teach the beautiful truth of God’s Word to someone who hates the truth or is simply seeking to ridicule it! When the apostle Paul was preaching in Antioch, he encountered a group of Jews who had no love for the truth. They tried to embroil him in an argument by blasphemously contradicting him, but Paul simply stated: “Since you are thrusting [the word of God] away from you and do not judge yourselves worthy of everlasting life, look! we turn to the nations.”—Acts 13:45, 46.
In our endeavor to reach honesthearted ones with the Kingdom good news, may we be careful not to get involved in debates and arguments with ridiculers. Christ Jesus instructed his disciples: “When you are entering into the house, greet the household; and if the house is deserving, let the peace you wish it come upon it; but if it is not deserving, let the peace from you return upon you. Wherever anyone does not take you in or listen to your words, on going out of that house or that city shake the dust off your feet.”—Matthew 10:12-14.
A wise person’s response to reproof is opposite to that of a ridiculer. Solomon states: “Give a reproof to a wise person and he will love you. Give to a wise person and he will become still wiser.” (Proverbs 9:8b, 9a) A wise person knows that “no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11)
PROVERBS 9:9)
“Share with a wise person, and he will become wiser. Teach someone righteous, and he will add to his learning.”
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Give to a wise person and he will become still wiser.” (Proverbs 9:8b, 9a) A wise person knows that “no discipline seems for the present to be joyous, but grievous; yet afterward to those who have been trained by it it yields peaceable fruit, namely, righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) Although the counsel may seem painful, why should we retaliate or be defensive if accepting it is going to make us wiser?
“Impart knowledge to someone righteous and he will increase in learning,” continues the wise king. (Proverbs 9:9b) No one is too wise or too old to keep learning. What a delight it is to see even those in their twilight years accept the truth and make a dedication to Jehovah! May we also endeavor to retain the will to learn and keep the mind active.
PROVERBS 9:10)
“The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom, And knowledge of the Most Holy One is understanding.”
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Proverbs 9:10, in saying that “knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is,” shows that true understanding of anything involves appreciation of its relation to God and his purposes.
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Of course, the most important knowledge that one can acquire is about God himself. “The knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is,” says Proverbs 9:10. This knowledge goes beyond the mere fact of God’s existence and his creatorship, even beyond the knowledge of many facts about his dealings. To “know” him denotes a deep appreciation of his fine qualities and his great name, and a close relationship with him.
Jesus Christ said to Jews who had knowledge about God: “No one fully knows the Son but the Father, neither does anyone fully know the Father but the Son and anyone to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.” (Mt 11:27) A knowledge of Jehovah’s qualities will deepen one’s proper fear of God, and it will bring the realization that Jehovah is deserving of all worship and service and that to know and obey him is the way of life. “The fear of Jehovah is a well of life, to turn away from the snares of death,” and, “The fear of Jehovah tends toward life.”—Pr 14:27; 19:23.
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Knowledge of Jehovah God and discernment of his will combined with faith and trust therefore form the foundation of all true understanding on the part of his intelligent creatures. “Knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is,” and this includes understanding “righteousness and judgment and uprightness, the entire course of what is good.” (Pr 9:10; 2:6-9; 16:20) No matter of real importance can be fully understood unless all the factors are viewed from Jehovah’s standpoint and seen in relation to his standards, qualities, and eternal purpose.
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Divine Wisdom. Wisdom in the absolute sense is found in Jehovah God, who is “wise alone” in this sense. (Ro 16:27; Re 7:12) Knowledge is acquaintance with fact, and since Jehovah is the Creator, who is “from time indefinite to time indefinite” (Ps 90:1, 2), he knows all there is to know about the universe, its composition and contents, its history till now. The physical laws, cycles, and standards upon which men rely in their research and invention, and without which they would be helpless and have nothing stable upon which to build, are all of His making. (Job 38:34-38; Ps 104:24; Pr 3:19; Jer 10:12, 13) Logically, his moral standards are even more vital for stability, sound judgment, and successful human living. (De 32:4-6; see JEHOVAH [A God of moral standards].) There is nothing beyond his understanding. (Isa 40:13, 14) Though he may allow things that are contrary to his righteous standards to develop and even temporarily prosper, the future ultimately rests with him and will conform precisely to his will, and the things spoken by him “will have certain success.”—Isa 55:8-11; 46:9-11.
For all these reasons it is evident that “the fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom.” (Pr 9:10) “Who should not fear you, O King of the nations, for to you it is fitting; because among all the wise ones of the nations and among all their kingships there is in no way anyone like you.” (Jer 10:7) “He is wise in heart and strong in power. Who can show stubbornness to him and come off uninjured?” (Job 9:4; Pr 14:16) In his mightiness he can intervene at will in human affairs, maneuvering rulers or eliminating them, making his prophetic revelations prove infallible. (Da 2:20-23) Biblical history recounts the futile efforts of powerful kings with their astute counselors to pit their wisdom against God, and it highlights the way he has triumphantly vindicated his servants who loyally proclaimed his message.—Isa 31:2; 44:25-28; compare Job 12:12, 13.
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Godly fear is also the start of wisdom because there can be no wisdom without knowledge. Moreover, a person who lacks the fear of Jehovah will not use whatever knowledge he has to honor the Creator.
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9:10—In what way is the fear of Jehovah “the beginning of knowledge” and “the start of wisdom”?
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Underscoring the main point of the subject under consideration, Solomon includes the essential prerequisite for wisdom. He writes: “The fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Most Holy One is what understanding is.” (Proverbs 9:10) There can be no godly wisdom without profound, reverential awe for the true God. A person may have a mind well stocked with knowledge, but if he lacks the fear of Jehovah, he will fail to use that knowledge in a way that honors the Creator. He may even draw wrong conclusions from known facts, making himself look foolish. Moreover, the knowledge of Jehovah, the Most Holy One, is essential for gaining understanding, a notable characteristic of wisdom.
PROVERBS 9:11)
“For by me your days will be many, And years will be added to your life.”
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What fruitage does wisdom bear? (Proverbs 8:12-21, 35) The king of Israel says: “By me your days will become many, and to you years of life will be added.” (Proverbs 9:11) Length of days and years of life are the result of keeping company with wisdom. Yes, “wisdom itself preserves alive its owners.”—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
PROVERBS 9:12)
“If you become wise, you are wise to your own advantage, But if you are a ridiculer, you alone will bear it.”
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Putting forth effort to gain wisdom is our personal responsibility. Emphasizing this fact, Solomon states: “If you have become wise, you have become wise in your own behalf; and if you have ridiculed, you will bear it, just you alone.” (Proverbs 9:12) The wise one is wise to his own benefit, and the ridiculer alone is to blame for his own suffering. Indeed, we reap what we sow. May we, then, “pay attention to wisdom.”—Proverbs 2:2.
PROVERBS 9:13)
“A stupid woman is loud. She is ignorant and knows absolutely nothing.”
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“A Woman of Stupidity Is Boisterous”
By way of contrast, Solomon next says: “A woman of stupidity is boisterous. She is simplemindedness itself and has come to know nothing whatever. And she has seated herself at the entrance of her house, upon a seat, in the high places of the town, to call out to those passing along the way, those who are going straight ahead on their paths: ‘Whoever is inexperienced, let him turn aside here.’”—Proverbs 9:13-16a.
Stupidity is portrayed as a loud, undisciplined, and ignorant woman. She too has built a house. And she has taken upon herself the task of calling out to whoever is inexperienced. So the passersby have a choice. Will they accept wisdom’s invitation or that of stupidity?
PROVERBS 9:14)
“She sits at the entrance of her house On a seat in the high places of the city,”
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“A Woman of Stupidity Is Boisterous”
By way of contrast, Solomon next says: “A woman of stupidity is boisterous. She is simplemindedness itself and has come to know nothing whatever. And she has seated herself at the entrance of her house, upon a seat, in the high places of the town, to call out to those passing along the way, those who are going straight ahead on their paths: ‘Whoever is inexperienced, let him turn aside here.’”—Proverbs 9:13-16a.
Stupidity is portrayed as a loud, undisciplined, and ignorant woman. She too has built a house. And she has taken upon herself the task of calling out to whoever is inexperienced. So the passersby have a choice. Will they accept wisdom’s invitation or that of stupidity?
PROVERBS 9:15)
“Calling out to those passing by, To those walking straight ahead on their way:”
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“A Woman of Stupidity Is Boisterous”
By way of contrast, Solomon next says: “A woman of stupidity is boisterous. She is simplemindedness itself and has come to know nothing whatever. And she has seated herself at the entrance of her house, upon a seat, in the high places of the town, to call out to those passing along the way, those who are going straight ahead on their paths: ‘Whoever is inexperienced, let him turn aside here.’”—Proverbs 9:13-16a.
Stupidity is portrayed as a loud, undisciplined, and ignorant woman. She too has built a house. And she has taken upon herself the task of calling out to whoever is inexperienced. So the passersby have a choice. Will they accept wisdom’s invitation or that of stupidity?
PROVERBS 9:16)
““Whoever is inexperienced, let him come in here.” She says to those lacking good sense:”
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‘Whoever is inexperienced, let him turn aside here.’”—Proverbs 9:13-16a.
Stupidity is portrayed as a loud, undisciplined, and ignorant woman. She too has built a house. And she has taken upon herself the task of calling out to whoever is inexperienced. So the passersby have a choice. Will they accept wisdom’s invitation or that of stupidity?
“Stolen Waters Themselves Are Sweet”
Both wisdom and stupidity invite listeners to “turn aside here.” The appeal, however, is different. Wisdom invites people to a feast of wine, meat, and bread. The attraction that stupidity holds out reminds us of the ways of a loose woman. Solomon says: “Whoever is in want of heart—she has also said to him:
PROVERBS 9:17)
““Stolen waters are sweet, And food eaten in secret is pleasant.””
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9:17—What are “stolen waters,” and why are they “sweet”? Since the Bible likens enjoying sexual intimacy within marriage to drinking refreshing water drawn out of a well, stolen waters represent secretive immoral sexual relations. (Proverbs 5:15-17) The idea of getting away with something gives such waters their apparent sweetness.
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“Stolen Waters Themselves Are Sweet”
Both wisdom and stupidity invite listeners to “turn aside here.” The appeal, however, is different. Wisdom invites people to a feast of wine, meat, and bread. The attraction that stupidity holds out reminds us of the ways of a loose woman. Solomon says: “Whoever is in want of heart—she has also said to him: ‘Stolen waters themselves are sweet, and bread eaten in secrecy—it is pleasant.’”—Proverbs 9:16b, 17.
Rather than mixed wine, “the woman Folly” offers stolen waters. (Proverbs 9:13, New International Version) In the Scriptures, experiencing sexual enjoyment with a beloved wife is likened to drinking refreshing water. (Proverbs 5:15-17) Stolen waters, then, represent immoral sexual relations carried out in secret. Such waters are made to appear sweet—better than wine—because they are stolen and carry the idea of getting away with something. The clandestine bread is given the appearance of being more delicious than the bread and meat of wisdom strictly because it is gained by unjust means. To view what is forbidden and secret as attractive is a mark of stupidity.
PROVERBS 9:18)
“But he does not know that those powerless in death are there, That her guests are in the depths of the Grave.”
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While wisdom’s invitation includes the promise of life, a woman of stupidity makes no reference to the consequences of following her ways. But Solomon warns: “He has not come to know that those impotent in death are there, that those called in by her are in the low places of Sheol.” (Proverbs 9:18) “Lady Folly’s house is not a home but a mausoleum,” writes one scholar. “If you enter it you will not leave it alive.” Following an immoral life-style is not wise; it is death dealing.
PROVERBS 10:1)
“Proverbs of Solʹo•mon. A wise son makes his father rejoice, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.”
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A Fine Incentive
The opening words of the chapter leave no doubt as to the identity of the writer of the next section of the book of Proverbs. They read: “Proverbs of Solomon.” Identifying a fine incentive to follow the right course, King Solomon of ancient Israel says: “A wise son is the one that makes a father rejoice, and a stupid son is the grief of his mother.”—Proverbs 10:1.
What grief parents experience when one of their offspring forsakes the worship of the true and living God! The wise king singles out the mother’s grief, perhaps to suggest that she grieves more deeply. That indeed proved to be true for Doris. She relates: “When our 21-year-old son left the truth, my husband, Frank, and I were heartbroken. The emotional pain has been more intense for me than for Frank. The passing of 12 years has not healed the wound.”
Children can affect their father’s happiness and can cause their mother heartache. May we show wisdom and bring joy to our parents. And by all means, let us make glad the heart of our heavenly Father, Jehovah.
PROVERBS 10:2)
“The treasures gained by wickedness will be of no benefit, But righteousness is what rescues from death.”
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“The treasures of the wicked one will be of no benefit,” says the king, “but righteousness is what will deliver from death.” (Proverbs 10:2) To true Christians living deep in the time of the end, these words are indeed precious. (Daniel 12:4) The destruction of the ungodly world is in the offing. No man-made means of security—material, financial, or military—will provide protection during the oncoming “great tribulation.” (Revelation 7:9, 10, 13, 14) Only “the upright shall dwell on earth and blameless men remain there.” (Proverbs 2:21, The New English Bible) May we, then, keep on “seeking first the kingdom and [God’s] righteousness.”—Matthew 6:33.
PROVERBS 10:3)
“Jehovah will not cause the righteous one to go hungry, But he will deny the wicked what they crave.”
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Servants of Jehovah do not have to wait until the promised new world to experience God’s blessings. “Jehovah will not cause the soul of the righteous one to go hungry, but the craving of the wicked ones he will push away.” (Proverbs 10:3) Jehovah has provided abundant spiritual food through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45) The righteous one certainly has reasons to “cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart.” (Isaiah 65:14) Knowledge is pleasurable to his soul. Searching for spiritual treasures is his delight. The wicked one knows no such pleasures.
PROVERBS 10:5)
“The son acting with insight gathers the crop in summer, But the son acting shamefully is fast asleep during the harvest.”
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The son acting with insight is gathering during the summertime; the son acting shamefully is fast asleep during the harvest.”—Proverbs 10:4, 5.
Particularly meaningful are the king’s words to workers during the harvest. The harvest season is not a time for slumber. It is a time for diligence and long hours. Indeed, it is a time of urgency.
Having in mind the harvest, not of grain, but of people, Jesus told his disciples: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest [Jehovah God] to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38) In the year 2000, over 14 million attended the Memorial of Jesus’ death—more than twice the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Who, then, can deny that ‘the fields are white for harvesting’? (John 4:35) True worshipers ask the Master for more workers while exerting themselves vigorously in the disciple-making work in harmony with their prayers. (Matthew 28:19, 20) And how richly Jehovah has blessed their efforts! During the 2000 service year, over 280,000 new ones were baptized. These also endeavor to become teachers of God’s Word. May we experience joy and satisfaction in this harvest season by having a full share in the disciple-making work.
PROVERBS 10:6)
“Blessings are on the head of the righteous one, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
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10:6; footnote—How does ‘the mouth of the wicked ones cover up violence’? This may be so in the sense that by sweet talk the wicked cover up their malicious intent to harm others. Or it could be that since the wicked are generally treated with animosity, the hostility they receive from others silences them.
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‘Blessings Are for His Head’
“Blessings are for the head of the righteous one,” Solomon continues, “but as regards the mouth of the wicked ones, it covers up violence.”—Proverbs 10:6.
The one who is pure and righteous at heart gives ample evidence of his righteousness. His speech is kind and upbuilding, his actions positive and generous. Others receive him favorably. Such a person wins their appreciation—their blessings—in that they speak well of him.
A wicked person, on the other hand, is hateful or malicious and is basically intent on doing harm to others. His speech may be sweet and may ‘cover up violence’ concealed in his heart, but eventually he gives in to physical or verbal attacks. (Matthew 12:34, 35) Or alternatively, “violence will cover [or shut] the very mouth of wicked people.” (Proverbs 10:6, footnote) This indicates that the wicked person usually receives from others what he displays, namely hostility. This, as it were, covers, or shuts, his mouth and silences him. What blessings can such a person expect from others?
PROVERBS 10:7)
“The memory of the righteous one is due for a blessing, But the name of the wicked will rot.”
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“The very name of the wicked ones will rot,” or become an odious stench. (Pr 10:7)
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“The remembrance of the righteous one is due for a blessing,” writes the king of Israel, “but the very name of the wicked ones will rot.” (Proverbs 10:7) The righteous one is favorably remembered by others, most important by Jehovah God. By his faithfulness until death, Jesus “inherited a name more excellent” than that of the angels. (Hebrews 1:3, 4) Faithful pre-Christian men and women are remembered today by true Christians as examples worthy of imitation. (Hebrews 12:1, 2) How this differs from the name of the wicked ones, which becomes something sickening and putrid! Yes, “a name is to be chosen rather than abundant riches; favor is better than even silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) May we make a favorable name with Jehovah and our fellowman.
PROVERBS 10:8)
“The wisehearted person will accept instructions, But the one speaking foolishly will be trodden down.”
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Contrasting the wise and the foolish, Solomon states: “The one wise in heart will accept commandments, but the one foolish with his lips will be trodden down.” (Proverbs 10:8) A wise person well knows that “it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) He recognizes the need to seek guidance from Jehovah and readily accepts God’s commandments. The one foolish with his lips, on the other hand, fails to understand this basic fact. His senseless babbling brings him to ruin.
PROVERBS 10:9)
“The one walking in integrity will walk in security, But the one making his ways crooked will be found out.”
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A righteous person also enjoys a type of security that eludes the wicked. “He that is walking in integrity will walk in security, but he that is making his ways crooked will make himself known. The one winking his eye will give pain, and the one foolish with his lips will be trodden down.”—Proverbs 10:9, 10.
A man of integrity is honest in his dealings. He earns the respect and trust of others. An honest person is a valued employee and is often trusted with greater responsibility. His reputation for honesty can keep him employed even when jobs are scarce. Moreover, his honesty contributes to a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere at home. (Psalm 34:13, 14) He feels secure in his relationship with the members of his family. Security is indeed a fruit of integrity.
The situation is different with the person who gives in to dishonesty for selfish gain. A deceiver may try to mask his untruthfulness with crookedness of speech or with body language. (Proverbs 6:12-14) The winking of his eye with malicious or deceptive intent may cause victims of his deception much mental anguish. But sooner or later, the crookedness of such a person becomes known. The apostle Paul wrote: “The sins of some men are publicly manifest, leading directly to judgment, but as for other men their sins also become manifest later. In the same way also the fine works are publicly manifest and those that are otherwise cannot be kept hid.” (1 Timothy 5:24, 25) Regardless of who is involved—whether a parent, a friend, a marriage mate, or an acquaintance—dishonesty eventually gets exposed. Who can trust a man who has a reputation for dishonesty?
PROVERBS 10:10)
“The one who slyly winks his eye causes grief, And the one who speaks foolishly will be trodden down.”
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10:10—How does “the one winking his eye” cause pain? “A good-for-nothing man” may not only resort to “crookedness of speech” but also try to hide his motives with body language, such as “winking his eye.” (Proverbs 6:12, 13) This kind of deception can become a source of much mental distress to his victim.
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The situation is different with the person who gives in to dishonesty for selfish gain. A deceiver may try to mask his untruthfulness with crookedness of speech or with body language. (Proverbs 6:12-14) The winking of his eye with malicious or deceptive intent may cause victims of his deception much mental anguish. But sooner or later, the crookedness of such a person becomes known. The apostle Paul wrote: “The sins of some men are publicly manifest, leading directly to judgment, but as for other men their sins also become manifest later. In the same way also the fine works are publicly manifest and those that are otherwise cannot be kept hid.” (1 Timothy 5:24, 25) Regardless of who is involved—whether a parent, a friend, a marriage mate, or an acquaintance—dishonesty eventually gets exposed. Who can trust a man who has a reputation for dishonesty?
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The one winking his eye will give pain, and the one foolish with his lips will be trodden down.”—Proverbs 10:9, 10.
PROVERBS 10:11)
“The mouth of the righteous one is a source of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.”
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‘His Mouth Is a Source of Life’
“The mouth of the righteous one is a source of life,” Solomon says, “but as regards the mouth of the wicked ones, it covers up violence.” (Proverbs 10:11) Words from the mouth can heal or hurt. They can refresh and enliven a person, or they can tear him down.
PROVERBS 10:12)
“Hatred is what stirs up contentions, But love covers over all transgressions.”
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Identifying the motivation behind spoken words, the king of Israel states: “Hatred is what stirs up contentions, but love covers over even all transgressions.” (Proverbs 10:12) Hatred produces contentions in human society, stirring up strife. Lovers of Jehovah must eradicate hatred from their lives. How? By replacing it with love. “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) Love “bears all things,” that is “all things it is covering.” (1 Corinthians 13:7; Kingdom Interlinear) Godly love does not expect perfection from imperfect people. Rather than advertising the mistakes of others, such love helps us to overlook their errors unless a serious wrongdoing is involved. Love even bears mistreatment in the field ministry, at our place of employment, or at school.
PROVERBS 10:13)
“Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning person, But the rod is for the back of one lacking good sense.”
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The wise king continues: “On the lips of the understanding person wisdom is found, but the rod is for the back of one in want of heart.” (Proverbs 10:13) The wisdom of an understanding person guides his steps. Upbuilding words on his lips help others walk in the way of righteousness. Neither he nor those who listen to him have to be led in the right direction by force—the rod of chastisement.
PROVERBS 10:14)
“Those who are wise treasure up knowledge, But the mouth of the fool invites ruin.”
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“Treasure Up Knowledge”
What helps our words to be ‘a bubbling torrent of wisdom’ instead of a babbling brook of trivialities? (Proverbs 18:4) Solomon answers: “The wise are the ones that treasure up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish one is near to ruin itself.”—Proverbs 10:14.
The first requirement is that our mind should be filled with the upbuilding knowledge of God. There is only one source of that knowledge. The apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) We must treasure up knowledge and dig into God’s Word as if searching for a hid treasure. How exciting and rewarding a search that is!
For wisdom to be found on our lips, the knowledge of the Scriptures must also reach into our heart. Jesus told his hearers: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) Therefore, we must habitually meditate on what we are learning. True, study and meditation require effort, but how spiritually enriching such study is! There is no reason for anyone to follow the ruinous course of a mere chatterer of thoughtless words.
PROVERBS 10:15)
“The wealth of a rich man is his fortified city. The ruin of the poor is their poverty.”
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“The valuable things of a rich man are his strong town. The ruin of the lowly ones is their poverty.
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Proverbs 10:15,
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Riches can serve as a protection against some uncertainties in life, just as a fortified town provides a degree of security to those who reside in it. And poverty can be ruinous when there are unexpected developments. (Ecclesiastes 7:12) However, the wise king could also be hinting at a danger involving both wealth and poverty. A rich man may be inclined to put his complete trust in his wealth, imagining that his valuable things are “like a protective wall.” (Proverbs 18:11) And a poor person may mistakenly take the view that his poverty makes his future hopeless. Thus, both fail to make a good name with God.
w87 9/15 pp. 30-31 Dangers of Wealth and of Poverty
DOES the Bible disparage wealth and encourage poverty? Many people think so. But two related proverbs help to clarify this.
Proverbs 10:15 states: “The valuable things of a rich man are his strong town. The ruin of the lowly ones is their poverty.” Then verse 16 adds: “The activity of the righteous one results in life; the produce of the wicked one results in sin.” Note how these two complement each other.
Verse 15 testifies that wealth has its advantages, poverty its disadvantages. Riches may help to protect a person from some of the uncertainties of life. The poor person, though, may have added problems because of being financially unable to cope with unexpected developments. In this the Bible is realistic.—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
However, verse 15 can also be understood as hinting at a danger involving wealth or poverty. Many a rich man puts his complete trust in his money; he views it as all the protection he needs. (Proverbs 18:11) Yet, riches cannot help him to get a good name with God or ensure his lasting happiness. In fact, riches can make that more difficult. Jesus’ illustration of the rich man who built bigger storehouses but was not rich toward God bears this out. (Luke 12:16-21; 18:24, 25) On the other hand, many poor people mistakenly take the view that their poverty makes their future hopeless.
PROVERBS 10:16)
“The activity of the righteous one leads to life; But the produce of the wicked one leads to sin.”
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The activity of the righteous one results in life; the produce of the wicked one results in sin.”—Proverbs 10:15, 16.
w01 9/15 p. 25 Walk in ‘the Path of Uprightness’
On the other hand, whether a righteous person has much or little materially, his upright activity leads to life. How? Well, he is content with what he has. He does not allow his financial situation to interfere with his good standing with God. Whether rich or poor, a righteous man’s course of life brings him happiness now and hope of everlasting life in the future. (Job 42:10-13) The wicked one does not benefit even if he gains wealth. Instead of appreciating its protective value and living in accord with God’s will, he uses his riches to promote a life of sin.
w87 9/15 pp. 30-31 Dangers of Wealth and of Poverty
DOES the Bible disparage wealth and encourage poverty? Many people think so. But two related proverbs help to clarify this.
Proverbs 10:15 states: “The valuable things of a rich man are his strong town. The ruin of the lowly ones is their poverty.” Then verse 16 adds: “The activity of the righteous one results in life; the produce of the wicked one results in sin.” Note how these two complement each other.
Verse 15 testifies that wealth has its advantages, poverty its disadvantages. Riches may help to protect a person from some of the uncertainties of life. The poor person, though, may have added problems because of being financially unable to cope with unexpected developments. In this the Bible is realistic.—Ecclesiastes 7:12.
However, verse 15 can also be understood as hinting at a danger involving wealth or poverty. Many a rich man puts his complete trust in his money; he views it as all the protection he needs. (Proverbs 18:11) Yet, riches cannot help him to get a good name with God or ensure his lasting happiness. In fact, riches can make that more difficult. Jesus’ illustration of the rich man who built bigger storehouses but was not rich toward God bears this out. (Luke 12:16-21; 18:24, 25) On the other hand, many poor people mistakenly take the view that their poverty makes their future hopeless.
Notice how verse 16 rounds out the matter. Whether a righteous person has much or little financially, his work can bring him pleasure. He does not let the financial gain from his labor interfere with his good standing before God. Rather, a righteous man’s efforts in life bring him, in addition to happiness now, assurance of everlasting life in the future. (Job 42:10-13) The wicked one, though, does not benefit even if he gains much money. Instead of appreciating money’s protective value and living in accord with God’s will, he uses his riches to promote a life of sin.
PROVERBS 10:17)
“The one who heeds discipline is a path to life, But the one who ignores reproof leads others astray.”
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“He that is holding to discipline is a path to life,” continues the king of Israel, “but he that is leaving reproof is causing to wander.” (Proverbs 10:17) One Bible scholar suggests that this verse can be understood in two ways. One possibility is that the person who submits to discipline and pursues righteousness is on the path to life, whereas the one leaving reproof wanders off that path. The verse could also mean that “he who heeds discipline shows the way to life [to others because his good example benefits them], but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” (Proverbs 10:17, New International Version) In either case, how vital it is that we hold fast to discipline and do not forsake reproof!
PROVERBS 10:18)
“The one who conceals his hatred speaks lies, And the one spreading malicious reports is stupid.”
it-1 p. 33 Absalom
Two years passed. Sheepshearing time came, a festive occasion, and Absalom arranged a feast at Baal-hazor about 22 km (14 mi) NNE of Jerusalem, inviting the king’s sons and David himself. When his father begged off from attending, Absalom pressed him to agree to send Amnon, his firstborn, in his stead. (Pr 10:18) At the feast, when Amnon was in “a merry mood with wine,” Absalom ordered his servants to slay him.
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Replace Hatred With Love
Solomon next presents a two-part proverb carrying a similar idea, the second part reinforcing the first. He says: “Where there is one covering over hatred there are lips of falsehood.” If a man has hatred in his heart for another and is concealing it behind sweet words or flattery, he is being deceitful—he has “lips of falsehood.” To this the wise king adds: “The one bringing forth a bad report is stupid.” (Proverbs 10:18) Rather than conceal their hatred, some people make false accusations or spread disparaging comments concerning the one they hate. This is foolish because the slanderous report does not really change what that person is. And a perceptive listener will come to see the malice and will think less of the slanderer. Thus the one spreading a bad report hurts himself.
The righteous course is to resort neither to deception nor to slander. God told the Israelites: “You must not hate your brother in your heart.” (Leviticus 19:17) And Jesus counseled his listeners: “Continue to love [even] your enemies and to pray for those persecuting you; that you may prove yourselves sons of your Father who is in the heavens.” (Matthew 5:44, 45) How much better it is to fill our heart with love rather than hate!
PROVERBS 10:19)
“When words are many, transgression cannot be avoided, But whoever controls his lips acts discreetly.”
g 11/10 p. 19 Wisdom for the Tongue
● “In the abundance of words there does not fail to be transgression, but the one keeping his lips in check is acting discreetly.” (Proverbs 10:19) The more we talk, the greater the risk that we will say something foolish or even harmful. Indeed, the unbridled tongue can be like a fire, rapidly spreading hurtful gossip and slander. (James 3:5, 6) However, when we ‘keep our lips in check,’ or think before we speak, we take into consideration the effect our words may have. In this way, we become known for discretion, and we gain the respect and confidence of others.
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‘Keep Lips in Check’
Emphasizing the need to control the tongue, the wise king states: “In the abundance of words there does not fail to be transgression, but the one keeping his lips in check is acting discreetly.”—Proverbs 10:19.
“The foolish one speaks many words.” (Ecclesiastes 10:14) His mouth “bubbles forth with foolishness.” (Proverbs 15:2) This is not to say that every talkative person is a fool. But how easy it is for an individual who talks too much to be a channel for spreading harmful gossip or rumor! A ruined reputation, hurt feelings, strained relationships, and even physical harm can often be attributed to foolish speech. “Where words abound, sin will not be wanting.” (Proverbs 10:19, An American Translation) Moreover, it is irritating to be around a person who has something to say on every matter. May we not abound in words.
More than merely avoiding falsehood, the one keeping his lips in check is acting discreetly. He thinks before he speaks. Motivated by love for Jehovah’s ways and a genuine desire to help his fellowman, he takes into consideration the effect of his words on others. His statements are loving and kind. He meditates on how to make what he says appealing and helpful. His words are like “apples of gold in silver carvings”—artful and dignified at all times.—Proverbs 25:11.
w89 3/15 p. 13 par. 6 Look to Jehovah for Insight
6 Thus, “the one keeping his lips in check” is said to be “acting discreetly,” or with insight. (Proverbs 10:19) He thinks before he speaks, taking into account how others will understand what he says, also whether what he might say about another person would be wise, loving, or necessary. (Proverbs 12:18; James 1:19) Because he is motivated by love for Jehovah’s ways and a genuine desire to help his fellowman, what he says is upbuilding to others.—Proverbs 16:23.
w89 10/15 p. 11 par. 7 Guard Against Harmful Gossip!
Indeed, it is wise not to talk too much because “in the abundance of words there does not fail to be transgression, but the one keeping his lips in check is acting discreetly.” (Proverbs 10:19) So we should guard against gossip, even if it does not seem harmful. We have no need to talk about people all the time, since we have a fine selection of topics if we consider righteous, chaste, lovable, virtuous, and praiseworthy things.—Philippians 4:8.
PROVERBS 10:20)
“The tongue of the righteous one is like the finest silver, But the heart of the wicked one is worth little.”
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“The tongue of the righteous one is choice silver,” Solomon goes on to say, “the heart of the wicked one is worth little.” (Proverbs 10:20) What the righteous say is pure—like choice, refined silver, free of dross. This certainly is true of Jehovah’s servants as they dispense the life-saving knowledge of God’s Word to others. Their Grand Instructor, Jehovah God, has educated them and ‘given them the tongue of the taught ones, that they may know how to answer the tired one with a word.’ (Isaiah 30:20; 50:4) Indeed, their tongue is like choice silver as it speaks forth Bible truth. How infinitely more valuable their utterances are to the honesthearted ones than are the intentions of the wicked one! Let us be eager to speak about God’s Kingdom and the wonderful works of God.
PROVERBS 10:21)
“The lips of the righteous one nourish many, But the foolish die for lack of sense.”
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The righteous one is a blessing to those around him. “The very lips of the righteous one keep pasturing many,” continues Solomon, “but for want of heart the foolish themselves keep dying.”—Proverbs 10:21.
How does “the righteous one keep pasturing many”? The Hebrew word that is used here conveys the idea of “shepherding.” (Proverbs 10:21, footnote) It carries the thought of guiding as well as nourishing, much as a shepherd of ancient times cared for his sheep. (1 Samuel 16:11; Psalm 23:1-3; Song of Solomon 1:7) The righteous person guides or leads others to the way of righteousness, his speech nourishing his listeners. As a result, they lead happier, more satisfying lives, and may even receive everlasting life.
What, though, of the foolish one? Being in want of heart, he shows a lack of good motive or concern about the consequences of his course. Such a person does whatever he wants to, oblivious of the results. Hence, he suffers the penalties of his actions. While the righteous one helps to keep others alive, the person in want of heart cannot even keep himself alive.
PROVERBS 10:22)
“It is the blessing of Jehovah that makes one rich, And He adds no pain with it.”
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Jehovah Blessing Humans. “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Pr 10:22) Jehovah blesses those whom he approves by protecting, prospering, guiding, giving success, and supplying their needs, with a beneficial outcome for them.
w06 5/15 pp. 26-30 pars. 3-18 The Joys of Walking in Integrity
3 “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it,” states Proverbs 10:22. Is not the spiritually prosperous condition of the modern-day servants of Jehovah a blessing to rejoice over? Let us consider some aspects of our spiritual prosperity and see what they mean to us personally. Taking time to reflect on the favors that Jehovah has showered upon ‘the righteous one walking in his integrity’ will indeed strengthen our resolve to continue serving our heavenly Father joyfully.—Proverbs 20:7.
‘Blessings That Make Us Rich’ Now
4 An accurate knowledge of Bible teachings. The religions of Christendom generally claim to believe the Bible. However, they fail to agree on what it teaches. Even members of the same religious group often differ in their views of what the Scriptures really teach. How different their condition is from that of Jehovah’s servants! Regardless of our national, cultural, or ethnic background, we worship the God we know by name. He is not some mysterious triune god. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Psalm 83:18; Mark 12:29) We are also aware that the paramount issue of God’s universal sovereignty is due for settlement and that by maintaining our integrity to him, each one of us is personally involved in that issue. We know the truth about the dead and are free of the morbid fear of a God who is said to torment humans in hellfire or consign them to purgatory.—Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10.
5 Moreover, what a joy it is to know that we are not an accidental product of blind evolution! Rather, we are God’s creation, made in his own image. (Genesis 1:26; Malachi 2:10) “I shall laud you because in a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made,” sang the psalmist to his God. “Your works are wonderful, as my soul is very well aware.”—Psalm 139:14.
6 Release from detrimental habits and practices. Warnings about the dangers of smoking, excessive drinking, and sexual promiscuity abound in the media. For the most part, these warnings go unheeded. What happens, though, when a sincere person learns that the true God condemns such things and is saddened by those who practice them? Why, that person is moved to exclude such practices from his life! (Isaiah 63:10; 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:30) While he does this primarily to please Jehovah God, he also receives additional benefits—better health and peace of mind.
7 Breaking bad habits is very difficult for many. Still, each year tens of thousands are doing so. They dedicate themselves to Jehovah and submit to water baptism, thus making it public that they have eliminated from their lives the practices that displease God. What an encouragement that is to all of us! Our determination to remain free from enslavement to sinful and hurtful conduct is reinforced.
8 Happy family life. In numerous countries family life is faltering. Many marriages end in divorce, often leaving behind painfully scarred children. In some European countries, one-parent families make up close to 20 percent of all households. How has Jehovah helped us walk in the way of integrity in this regard? Please read Ephesians 5:22–6:4, and note the fine counsel that God’s Word gives to husbands, wives, and children. Applying what is stated there and elsewhere in the Scriptures certainly strengthens the marriage bond, helps parents to bring up children properly, and contributes to a happy family life. Is that not a blessing to rejoice over?
9 Assurance that world problems will soon be solved. Despite scientific and technological know-how and the sincere efforts of certain leaders, serious problems of present-day life remain unsolved. Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, recently noted that “the list of challenges facing the world grows ever longer and the time to address them grows shorter.” He spoke of “dangers that transcend national boundaries like terrorism, environmental degradation and financial instability.” Schwab concluded: “Now, more than ever, the world is faced with realities that call for collective and decisive action.” As the 21st century moves forward, the overall outlook for mankind’s future remains bleak.
10 How gratifying to know that Jehovah has instituted an arrangement that is capable of solving all of mankind’s problems—the Messianic Kingdom of God! By means of it, the true God will ‘make wars to cease’ and bring about ‘abundant peace.’ (Psalm 46:9; 72:7) The anointed King, Jesus Christ, ‘will deliver the poor one, the afflicted one, and the lowly one from oppression and from violence.’ (Psalm 72:12-14) Under Kingdom rule, there will be no food shortage. (Psalm 72:16) Jehovah “will wipe out every tear from [our] eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) The Kingdom has already been established in heaven and will shortly take the necessary action to affect every affair on the earth.—Daniel 2:44; Revelation 11:15.
11 Knowing what brings true happiness. What does bring true happiness? One psychologist said that happiness has three components—pleasure, engagement (involvement in such activities as work and family), and meaning (working toward a larger end or goal than self). Of the three, he listed pleasure as the least consequential and observed: “This is newsworthy because so many people build their lives around pursuing pleasure.” What is the Bible’s view in this regard?
12 King Solomon of ancient Israel stated: “I said, even I, in my heart: ‘Do come now, let me try you out with rejoicing. Also, see good.’ And, look! that too was vanity. I said to laughter: ‘Insanity!’ and to rejoicing: ‘What is this doing?’” (Ecclesiastes 2:1, 2) Scripturally, whatever happiness pleasure offers is at best temporary. What about involvement in work? We have the most meaningful work to get involved in—the Kingdom-preaching and disciple-making work. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20) By sharing with others the message of salvation outlined in the Bible, we engage in a work that can result in our own salvation and in that of those who listen to us. (1 Timothy 4:16) As “God’s fellow workers,” we experience that “there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.” (1 Corinthians 3:9; Acts 20:35) This work adds meaning to our life and provides the Creator with an answer for his taunter, Satan the Devil. (Proverbs 27:11) Indeed, Jehovah has shown us that godly devotion brings genuine and lasting happiness.—1 Timothy 4:8.
13 An important and effective training program. Gerhard serves as an elder in a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Recalling his youth, he says: “As a young person, I had great problems speaking. When under pressure, I could scarcely articulate and would begin to stutter. I felt inferior and developed a complex. My parents arranged for me to take a speaking course, but their efforts were to no avail. My problem was psychological, not physical. There was, though, a wonderful provision from Jehovah—the Theocratic Ministry School. Enrolling in this school gave me renewed courage. I tried my best to practice what I learned. And it worked! I became freer, lost my complex, and became more courageous in the ministry. Now I even deliver public talks. I am truly grateful to Jehovah, who gave me a new life through this school.” Is not the way Jehovah trains us to do his work a reason to be joyful?
14 A personal relationship with Jehovah and support from the united international brotherhood. Katrin, who lives in Germany, was greatly dismayed upon hearing reports of a severe earthquake and resultant tsunami in southeast Asia. Her daughter was visiting Thailand when the catastrophe hit. For 32 hours this mother did not know whether her daughter was alive or was among the casualties that mounted hour by hour. How relieved Katrin was finally to receive a telephone call that assured her of her daughter’s safety!
15 What helped Katrin during those hours of anxiety? She writes: “I spent almost all of this time in prayer to Jehovah. I noticed over and over again how much strength and peace of mind this gave me. Moreover, loving spiritual brothers visited me and stood by my side.” (Philippians 4:6, 7) How much worse her situation would have been if she had had to spend those agonizing hours without the benefit of prayer to Jehovah and the comfort of a loving spiritual brotherhood! Our intimate relationship with Jehovah and his Son along with our close association with the Christian brotherhood is a unique blessing, too precious to be taken for granted.
16 The hope of seeing dead loved ones again. (John 5:28, 29) A young man named Matthias was raised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Unaware of his blessings, however, he drifted away from the Christian congregation when he was a teenager. He now writes: “I never really had deep discussions with my father. Over the years, we had many arguments. Still, my father always wanted the best for me. He loved me dearly, something I failed to realize at the time. In 1996, as I sat at his bedside, holding his hand and crying bitterly, I told him how sorry I was for all that I had done and that I loved him so much. But he could not hear me. After a short illness, he slipped away in death. If I live to see my father in the resurrection, we will make up for the past. And he will surely be happy to hear that I now serve as an elder and that my wife and I are privileged to serve as pioneers.” What a blessing the resurrection hope is to us!
“He Adds No Pain With It”
17 Concerning his heavenly Father, Jesus Christ said: “He makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) If Jehovah God bestows blessings upon even the unrighteous and the wicked, how much more so upon those who walk in the way of integrity! “Jehovah himself will not hold back anything good from those walking in faultlessness,” states Psalm 84:11. When we meditate on the special care and concern he has shown for those who love him, how our hearts swell with gratitude and joy!
18 “The blessing of Jehovah”—that is what has given spiritual prosperity to his people. And we are assured that “he adds no pain with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) Why, then, do tests and trials befall many of God’s loyal ones, causing them much pain and suffering? Difficulties and distress come our way for three main reasons. (1) Our own sinful inclination. (Genesis 6:5; 8:21; James 1:14, 15) (2) Satan and his demons. (Ephesians 6:11, 12) (3) The wicked world. (John 15:19) While Jehovah permits bad things to happen to us, he is not the originator of them. In fact, “every good gift and every perfect present is from above, for it comes down from the Father of the celestial lights.” (James 1:17) Jehovah’s blessings are without pain.
g03 9/8 pp. 26-27 Does God Bless Us With Riches?
The Bible’s Viewpoint
Does God Bless Us With Riches?
“The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”—PROVERBS 10:22.
DOES the above-quoted Bible scripture mean that God blesses his servants with material riches? Some people believe so. Consider the claim of one Australian Pentecostal preacher and author: “In [my] book I am going to tell you why you need more money and secondly how you can get more money . . . If you can change your thinking and develop a healthy attitude to money, I believe you will walk in the blessing and prosperity of God and never have a problem with money again.”
Such a claim, however, implies that poor people are not favored by God. Is material prosperity really a sign of God’s blessing?
Blessed for a Purpose
The Bible record includes cases where God blessed faithful servants with riches. Jacob, for instance, left his home with just his staff but returned 20 years later with enough sheep, cattle, and asses to form two camps. According to the Bible, Jacob’s prosperity was a gift from God. (Genesis 32:10) Another example: Job lost all his possessions, yet Jehovah later blessed him with “fourteen thousand sheep and six thousand camels and a thousand spans of cattle and a thousand she-asses.” (Job 42:12) Jehovah gave King Solomon wealth so great that its fame endures to modern times.—1 Kings 3:13.
On the other hand, the Bible contains numerous accounts of faithful, obedient worshipers of God who were poor. Surely, God was not punishing some with poverty while blessing others with prosperity. What, then, was God’s purpose in bestowing riches in some cases?
The answer is different in each case. Jacob’s material blessings formed a foundation for building a nation, in preparation for the coming of the promised Seed. (Genesis 22:17, 18) Job’s prosperity dispelled any doubt about who had brought calamity on Job, thus sanctifying Jehovah’s name. (James 5:11) And Solomon used much of his divinely provided wealth to build a magnificent temple. (1 Kings 7:47-51) Interestingly, Jehovah also used Solomon to write from personal experience about the limited value of riches.—Ecclesiastes 2:3-11; 5:10; 7:12.
How God Blesses Us
Jesus taught his followers to have a healthy attitude toward money when he told them to “stop being anxious” about possessions. He reasoned with them that not even Solomon in all his glory was dressed as well as the lilies of the field. Yet, Jesus said: “If, now, God thus clothes the vegetation of the field, . . . will he not much rather clothe you, you with little faith?” Jesus assured Christians that if his followers would seek first the Kingdom and God’s righteousness, then food, clothing, and shelter would be added to them. (Matthew 6:25, 28-33) How is that promise fulfilled?
When followed, the Bible’s counsel results especially in spiritual blessings. (Proverbs 10:22) However, it brings other benefits. For example, God’s Word instructs Christians: “Let the stealer steal no more, but rather let him do hard work.” (Ephesians 4:28) It also states that “the one working with a slack hand will be of little means, but the hand of the diligent one is what will make one rich.” (Proverbs 10:4) Honest, hardworking Christians who follow this advice are often preferred as employees. This can be a blessing.
The Bible also teaches Christians to avoid the greedy pastime of gambling, the defiling practice of smoking, and the debilitating habit of drunkenness. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:5) Those who follow this advice find their expenditures reduced and their health improved.
More Valuable Than Silver or Gold
Still, material prosperity cannot be relied upon as a sole indicator of God’s approval and blessing. For example, Jesus exposed the spiritually poor condition of some Christians in Laodicea when he told them: “You say: ‘I am rich and have acquired riches and do not need anything at all,’ but you do not know you are miserable and pitiable and poor and blind and naked.” (Revelation 3:17) Conversely, to the materially poor but spiritually healthy Christians in Smyrna, Jesus said: “I know your tribulation and poverty—but you are rich.” (Revelation 2:9) These Christians likely suffered financially at the hands of persecutors because of their faithfulness, yet they possessed riches far more valuable than silver or gold.—Proverbs 22:1; Hebrews 10:34.
Jehovah God blesses the efforts of those who strive to do his will. (Psalm 1:2, 3) He provides them with the strength and the resources to cope with trials, to provide for their families, and to seek first his Kingdom. (Psalm 37:25; Matthew 6:31-33; Philippians 4:12, 13) Hence, rather than viewing material things as God’s main blessing, true Christians strive to be “rich in fine works.” By developing a close relationship with the Creator, Christians are “safely treasuring up for themselves a fine foundation for the future.”—1 Timothy 6:17-19; Mark 12:42-44.
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Jehovah’s Blessing Makes Us Rich
“The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”—PROVERBS 10:22.
MATERIALISTIC pursuits govern the lives of millions today. But do material things make them happy? “I can’t remember a time when people have been so gloomy about their lot,” says The Australian Women’s Weekly. It adds: “It’s a paradox. We’re told that Australia is in excellent shape economically, that life has never been better. . . . Still pessimism is rife across the nation. Men and women alike sense that something is missing from their lives but aren’t able to define what it is.” How true the Scriptures are in pointing out that neither happiness nor life results from the things we possess!—Ecclesiastes 5:10; Luke 12:15.
2 The Bible teaches that the greatest happiness comes from God’s blessing. In this regard, Proverbs 10:22 states: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” Pain often results from greedy acquisition of material riches. Fittingly, the apostle Paul warned: “Those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and hurtful desires, which plunge men into destruction and ruin. For 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 6:9, 10.
3 On the other hand, painless blessings overtake all who “keep listening to the voice of Jehovah.” (Deuteronomy 28:2) Yet, some may ask, ‘If no pain is added to Jehovah’s blessing, why do many of God’s servants suffer?’ The Bible reveals that our trials are permitted by God but actually originate with Satan, his wicked system, and our own imperfect nature. (Genesis 6:5; Deuteronomy 32:4, 5; John 15:19; James 1:14, 15) Jehovah is the source of “every good gift and every perfect present.” (James 1:17) Hence, his blessings never cause pain.
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Jehovah’s Blessing Makes Us Rich
1 A person’s success is often measured by the size of his paycheck. That is why many people view those with money as being the happiest and most fulfilled. However, people who feel that money can buy happiness are sadly mistaken. (Eccl. 5:12) There is no lasting joy for those “determined to be rich” in a material way. (1 Tim. 6:9) In contrast, Jehovah’s servants are truly joyful and are the richest people in the world. (Prov. 10:22; Rev. 2:9) How so?
2 Evidence of Our Riches: We possess rich spiritual insight and an understanding of God’s Word, the Bible. Through his earthly organization, Jehovah continually teaches us about himself and his Son, to our lasting benefit. Accurate understanding makes it possible for us to draw close to Jehovah and enjoy an intimate relationship with him. (Jas. 4:8) Discerning good from bad and following God’s laws shields us from certain diseases and dangers. We have confidence that Jehovah will provide for us, resulting in godly contentment and peace of mind.—Matt. 6:33.
3 We enjoy peace and unity within our spiritual brotherhood because we cultivate the fruitage of God’s spirit. United by a strong bond of love, we need never feel abandoned by God or by our brothers when we face calamity.—Gal. 6:10.
4 Our lives have real meaning and purpose. We count it a marvelous privilege to share in the global preaching of the good news. This brings lasting joy as we help others to come into a good relationship with God and serve unitedly with us in pure worship. Our priceless treasure of the ministry brings honor to Jehovah and gives us the satisfaction of contributing toward the sanctification of his name. We maintain a positive mental attitude, knowing that our hope for the future will soon be realized.
5 Showing Our Appreciation: May we be ever appreciative of Jehovah’s blessings, which make us truly the richest people on earth. (Prov. 22:4) Taking time each day to meditate on what we have moves us to thank Jehovah for his generous love and to continue giving him our exclusive devotion.
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The Most Important Prosperity
4 In addition to material prosperity, the Bible speaks of spiritual prosperity. This is clearly the better kind. (Matthew 6:19-21) Spiritual prosperity entails a satisfying relationship with Jehovah that can last for eternity. (Ecclesiastes 7:12) Moreover, spiritually rich servants of God do not lose out on wholesome material blessings. In the new world, spiritual wealth will be linked with material prosperity. Faithful ones will enjoy a material security that is not gained by bitter competition or the sacrifice of health and happiness, as is so often the case today. (Psalm 72:16; Proverbs 10:28; Isaiah 25:6-8) They will find that in every way “the blessing of Jehovah . . . makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”—Proverbs 10:22.
5 Even today those who value spiritual things feel a certain tranquillity as far as material things are concerned. True, they work to pay their bills and feed their families. Or some might even lose their jobs in times of recession. But they are not overwhelmed by such concerns. Rather, they believe Jesus’ promise when he said: “Never be anxious and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or, ‘What are we to drink?’ or, ‘What are we to put on?’ . . . For your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.”—Matthew 6:31-33.
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Jehovah’s Blessing Has Made Me Rich
As told by Elsie Meynberg
“THE blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) I have personally experienced the truthfulness of this Bible proverb. Allow me to tell you how.
When I was only six, I listened in on my mother’s discussions with a Bible teacher who visited us, and I noted how enthralled my mother was by what she was learning. One cold winter night, I went downstairs for a glass of water and found Mother reading next to the open oven door. Instead of scolding me as I expected, she put her arm around me and explained that God’s name is Jehovah. The warmth in her voice told me that what she had learned was very important to her.
After a few more discussions with the Bible teacher, Mother set out on foot to share with the neighbors the good news she had learned. However, she was not always well-received. We lived in the country near Beatty, Saskatchewan, Canada, and our neighbors were mostly relatives of ours, staunch Lutherans or Evangelists. Nevertheless, Mother continued to visit them.
I would watch through frosty windows as Mother struggled to bring the horses from the barn, knowing that she was not accustomed to hitching them up. At other times she would go off to the meetings or the field ministry despite Father’s complaints. He was not in agreement with Mother’s new faith, but she was determined. She would always return with an inner happiness that was evident to all. “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich,” she would say. I used to wonder what she meant by that. Although I was only six, I too wanted to serve Jehovah.
One day I was on the roof with my father, where he was repairing the shingles. Mother and my sister Eileen were leaving with a group in a Model T Ford to take part in an “information march.” They were going to parade through the town with placards advertising a Bible talk.
“You will never be so foolish, will you?” Father asked me. But even though I was a girl who just delighted in climbing, I would much rather have been in that information march than up on the roof. However, they said I was too short to carry a placard.
Meeting the Challenge of the Ban
Finally, my first opportunity to share in Kingdom preaching came in November 1940. What excitement! Since the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses was banned in Canada at the time, we went out in the middle of the night and left the booklet End of Nazism at the door of every house.
When I was nine years old, I determined to dedicate my life to Jehovah and be baptized. Because of the persecution, we were not told the location of the meeting, but we were led to a place in the forest where a large group of Witnesses were enjoying a “picnic.” There my older sister Eleanor and I were among the many who were baptized in the cold waters of a nearby lake.
School in those days began with the class saluting the flag and singing the national anthem. Despite the accusing stares of our classmates, we would respectfully refuse to participate because of the Bible’s teaching on idolatry. (Daniel, chapter 3) My cousin Elaine Young, who was also a Witness, had to walk four miles [6 km] to school, but each day she would be dismissed for not saluting the flag. Afterward she would walk all the way home again. She did this for half the school year so that she would not be marked absent and fail the course.
After leaving school, I worked in a bank. But a test came when I was denied my request to attend the international convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in New York in 1950. I had some savings and decided to quit and start in the full-time ministry. So Elaine and I moved to the city of Regina. “She will be home begging by spring,” taunted some. However, I was able to provide for myself by working as a part-time housemaid. The richness of Jehovah’s blessings has kept me in his full-time ministry ever since.
Achieving Our Goal
In 1955 Elaine and I were thrilled to be invited to the 26th class of Gilead and later to receive assignments to Bolivia, South America. There were only about 160 Witnesses in the whole country at the time. Eventually, we headed for Tarija to join two other missionaries in our first assignment.
Tarija was a beautiful town. It was so interesting to see the women in their traditional dress carrying burdens on their heads. The people were pleasant and would never tell us they were not interested. They evidently felt that it was more polite to tell us to call again at a time when they knew they would not be at home. It took a while to get used to that.
One day we were talking to a man at his door when a jeep stopped and out leaped a furious, red-faced priest. “If you don’t stop talking to those girls, you will be excommunicated!” he yelled at the man. Turning to us, he threatened: “You have no right to preach here. If you don’t stop, I’ll take further measures.” By this time many neighbors had come out to watch. So we simply went on with our work, placing many books and Bibles with the curious onlookers.
Having spent two years in this pretty valley where peaches, peanuts, and grapes thrive, we were not at first happy to receive a change of assignment to Potosí, a bitterly cold mining city situated at an elevation of over 13,000 feet [4,000 m]. We were used to the frigid Canadian winters, but the difference was that in Potosí the homes normally had no heat. However, in Potosí there was the warm association of a Christian congregation, whereas no congregation had yet been formed in Tarija.
Opening Up New Territory
Next, Elaine and I were assigned to Villamontes to open up the preaching work there. The truck we took was loaded with contraband sugar, so to avoid problems with the police at the toll bars, the driver did not set out until nightfall. How we wished that we had brought a flashlight along, for suddenly something stirred beside us under the canvas! It was the truck driver’s helper.
At five in the morning, we stopped. Sick from the exhaust fumes and laden with dust, we crawled out. A landslide had blocked our way. Finally, after four hours of hard work, the owner had his helper take the vehicle across the narrow ledge that had been cleared. The owner would not even look as the truck edged its way across with the outer of its dual wheels turning in midair above the seemingly bottomless abyss at the side of the road. Elaine and I crossed on foot. As we continued toward Villamontes in the truck, the hairpin turns on the mountain passes were so tight that the driver was repeatedly forced to back up and maneuver around them. Finally, after 35 exhausting hours, we arrived.
It was a new experience for Elaine and me to be completely on our own. Also new to us were the tropical insects. Large hardshell beetles would drop on us after crashing into the light above our heads. Tiny flies would give us painful bites, causing itchy lumps that oozed a clear liquid. The first night in our new home, I went out to use the outdoor toilet. But when I turned on my flashlight, the whole floor seemed to come alive with cockroaches. Lizards scuttled away, and huge toads eyed me from the corners. I decided I could wait till morning.
Later, we were by the river and thought that we would rest on a log we saw there. However, we decided we would first make a return visit nearby. When we returned, the log was gone. Excited passersby told us that a massive snake had been there. I’m glad we didn’t try to sit on that “log”!
What we enjoyed most about Villamontes was visiting people in the evening. We would find them sitting on wicker chairs out on the sidewalks, sipping an herbal drink called maté. We spent many a happy hour explaining the Kingdom promises in such surroundings. But more difficult times came after Elaine married and I was reassigned to Vallegrande with a new partner.
Like the Wild West
To reach Vallegrande, another exhausting trip of three days was required, and this time I was alone. The narrow dirt roads seemed to wind on forever into the wilderness. At last I arrived as the sun was setting. The bus disturbed the tranquillity of a town where horses were more common than motor vehicles. People stared from under the eaves, which projected over the sidewalks and were supported by posts. Some of the men who leaned against the posts wore gun belts with revolvers. Almost everyone seemed to be wearing black. I thought: ‘Why this is just like the wild West!’
And it was, in effect. Disputes were settled with the gun. Even though it was a town of just ten thousand people, murder and violence were common at that time. The population was dominated by a gang that took over the toll bar at the entrance of town. The gang members made their living by stopping the buses and robbing them. Farmers were also robbed as they brought their produce into town. Young girls were raped at gunpoint before their parents’ eyes. Mothers would not even let their daughters go alone to the corner to shop.
Imagine our thoughts when the gang leader entered the Kingdom Hall one day. He was drunk. The circuit overseer, who was giving the talk, grew pale. “I believe!” yelled the gang leader as he thumped the back of the bench with such force that it broke. Then he grabbed the circuit overseer. But suddenly he calmed down, and an old school friend of his in the audience was able to lead him away.
Eventually, an army general challenged the gang leader to a duel. The general had a dead dog hung up in the plaza with a sign saying: “Get out of town, or the same will happen to you.” The gangster left, and conditions improved in Vallegrande.
Sometimes we traveled for 12 hours on horseback to preach in outlying villages. A schoolteacher in one of the villages received us hospitably and later became one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. One time I borrowed a mule to go out there, but every time it passed the home of one of its former owners, it headed there, and they had to lead us out onto the trail again.
Challenges—But Still Rich
As is true of many other missionaries, I have found that the greatest challenge may not be the heat or the insects, the cold or the altitude, or even the disease and the poverty. Rather, it can be personality conflicts. ‘Why do such difficulties arise in Jehovah’s organization?’ I wondered, and I even began to doubt that Jehovah was making me rich with blessings. Then I recalled the scripture about Jehovah’s blessing at Proverbs 10:22. The second part of the verse says, “And he adds no pain with it.” So we should not blame Jehovah for these difficulties. I came to realize that they are part of what Adam passed on to us and are included in what Paul describes at Romans 8:22: “All creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together.”
I had been corresponding with Walter Meynberg of the Canadian Bethel, and while I was on vacation in Canada in 1966, we were married and were assigned to La Paz, the principal city of Bolivia. What a blessing it has been to see the congregations here multiply from just one when I arrived in Bolivia to 24, in every corner of the city. It has been similar in other cities of the country. Indeed, the group of about 160 publishers who were preaching the good news in Bolivia when I first arrived in 1955 has grown to some 7,000!
My mother’s determined example that she set so long ago has resulted in more than ten of my immediate family being in the full-time service. I am delighted to say that my father became a dedicated Witness, and over 30 persons with whom I was privileged to study the Bible have been baptized. Are these not riches? Yes, I believe they are. Indeed, ‘the blessing of Jehovah—that is what has made me rich.’
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The Blessing of Jehovah Makes Rich
“It will be a difficult thing for a rich man to get into the kingdom of the heavens.”—MATTHEW 19:23.
WHAT if someone notified you, “You have become rich”? Many would be thrilled to be told this if it meant that they were rich with money, land, or luxury possessions. But consider the matter of riches from this standpoint: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.”—Proverbs 10:22.
2 As God dealt with the ancient patriarchs and the nation of Israel, he blessed their faithfulness with prosperity. (Genesis 13:2; Deuteronomy 28:11, 12; Job 42:10-12) King Solomon was one so blessed. He became immensely wealthy. Yet he learned by experience that a life centered on material riches “was vanity and a striving after wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11; 1 Kings 3:11-13; 9:14, 28; 10:10) So when Solomon wrote, “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich,” he was not stressing material riches. He was stating the truth that if you have God’s blessing, your life is incomparably richer than that of those not serving him. How so?
3 If you are a Christian, you can enjoy Jehovah’s approval now and receive from him blessings such as godly wisdom. You can be accepted into a familylike congregation of Christians who are basically happy, trusting, and interested in you. God’s laws shield you from many diseases and dangers. You also have reason to hope for divine protection through the “great tribulation” that lies ahead for this wicked system—and then for life in the endless Paradise to follow on earth. So, you see, with such marvelous blessings and prospects, you can truly say, “I am rich!”—Matthew 24:21, 22.
4 Your being “rich” with Jehovah’s blessings could, though, be jeopardized by other riches—money or material wealth. Few of us (whether financially secure or of limited means) would readily admit, ‘I face a real danger of being led astray by the love of money.’ Recall, however, the warning: “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) That was written at a time when all approved Christians were anointed with God’s spirit as a token that they could become heavenly rulers with Christ. Likely many had personally met apostles and others who had walked with Jesus. If money “led astray” some of them, how great the danger is for us!—2 Corinthians 5:5; Romans 8:17, 23.
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Continue to Be Rich—God’s Way
17 Evidence is coming in from all over the world that by far the majority of God’s servants are taking to heart counsel such as that found at Matthew 19:16-24. Many young Christians are resolving that once they complete the normal amount of public schooling, they will pursue the full-time ministry. Wives who could do secular work to increase the family income are, instead, devoting more time to Christian activities, making themselves and others richer spiritually. Even some men who have the Scriptural responsibility to provide materially for their families are finding ways to have a greater share in the ministry.
18 One elder in his mid-30’s admits that “being a full-time minister was always just words that rolled from my lips.” He was earning over $25,000 a year, besides which he had an expense account and use of a company car. Then he was asked to deliver the 1983 convention talk “Setting and Reaching Proper Goals.” He confesses: “As I eagerly read over the material, I was so embarrassed and ashamed that my conscience was just killing me.” Before the convention arrived, he and his wife discussed their situation. Soon he got a part-time job and joined his wife as a pioneer. They are still pioneering, happily enjoying many spiritual blessings.
19 Others have moved from areas where financial possibilities abound to places where they could expand their spiritual activities. A Canadian couple wrote concerning their pioneering in Latin America: “Although there is much poverty here among the brothers, they have a marvelous zeal for the truth. They may be poor in a worldly way, but spiritually they are millionaires. We have 38 publishers, 10 of whom are regular pioneers. Double meetings are necessary because there are so many attending—from 110 to 140 on the average. The two elders and three ministerial servants have to take care of all these meetings. We are relearning from our humble brothers here what it means really to put Jehovah first in our lives. They show us that Jehovah can be served whole-souled no matter what our circumstances might be.”
20 Such Christians have no valid reason to envy a rich person, whether outside or inside the congregation, or to be preoccupied with materialistic ambitions. They realize that some money is needed for normal life. (Ecclesiastes 5:3; 7:12) But they appreciate also that Jesus told the truth—the wealthy face many spiritual obstacles, challenges, and dangers. One difficult challenge is for “those who are rich in the present system of things not to be high-minded, and to rest their hope, not on uncertain riches, but on God.”—1 Timothy 6:17.
21 Sadly, the young ruler who spoke with Jesus failed to meet that challenge. Others like him have served God for a time but have later suffered pain and spiritual failure related to their wealth. In contrast are the millions of loyal Christians who continue to prove that “the blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” (Proverbs 10:22) Their lives have meaning; they have valuable goals and a sense of accomplishment. Their good works will last forever, providing them with intense joy now and in the future. Let each of us strive to be rich in that way.—Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20.
PROVERBS 10:23)
“Engaging in shameful conduct is like a game to the stupid one, But wisdom is for the man of discernment.”
w01 9/15 pp. 26-27 Walk in ‘the Path of Uprightness’
Shun Loose Conduct
The personality of an individual is often revealed by his likes and dislikes. Stating this fact, the king of Israel says: “To the stupid one the carrying on of loose conduct is like sport, but wisdom is for the man of discernment.”—Proverbs 10:23.
Some view loose conduct as a sport, or a game, and engage in it just for “fun.” Such people discount God as the one to whom all must render an account, and they remain blind to the wrongness of their course. (Romans 14:12) They become perverted in their reasoning to the point of assuming that God does not see their wrongdoing. By their actions, they in effect say: “There is no Jehovah.” (Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 29:15, 16) How foolish!
The man of discernment, on the other hand, realizes that loose conduct is not a sport. He knows that it displeases God and can destroy a person’s relationship with him. Such conduct is foolish because it robs people of self-respect, ruins marriages, harms both mind and body, and leads to loss of spirituality. We are wise to shun loose conduct and cultivate affection for wisdom as for a dearly loved sister.—Proverbs 7:4.
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Discernment and Our Conduct
5 Bible proverbs help us to use discernment and avoid improper conduct. For example, Proverbs 10:23 says: “To the stupid one the carrying on of loose conduct is like sport, but wisdom is for the man of discernment.” Those to whom loose conduct is “like sport” are blind to the wrongness of their course and discount God as the one to whom all must render an account. (Romans 14:12) Such ‘stupid ones’ become perverted in their reasoning to the point of assuming that God does not see their wrongdoing. By their actions, they in effect say: “There is no Jehovah.” (Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 29:15, 16) Not being guided by godly principles, they lack discernment and cannot judge matters correctly.—Proverbs 28:5.
6 “The man of discernment” realizes that loose conduct is not “sport,” a game. He knows that it displeases God and can destroy our relationship with him. Such conduct is stupid because it robs people of self-respect, ruins marriages, harms both mind and body, and leads to loss of spirituality. Let us therefore incline our heart to discernment and avoid loose conduct or immorality of any kind.—Proverbs 5:1-23.
PROVERBS 10:24)
“What the wicked one fears will come upon him; But the desire of the righteous will be granted.”
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Build on the Right Foundation
Pointing to the value of building one’s life on a proper foundation, Solomon states: “The thing frightful to the wicked one—that is what will come to him; but the desire of the righteous ones will be granted. As when the storm wind passes over, so the wicked one is no more; but the righteous one is a foundation to time indefinite.”—Proverbs 10:24, 25.
The wicked one may cause much fright to others. In the end, however, what he dreads comes upon him. Lacking a foundation in righteous principles, he is like an unstable building that collapses in a violent storm. He caves in under pressure. On the other hand, the righteous one is like the man who acts in harmony with Jesus’ sayings. He is “a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass.” “And,” said Jesus, “the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass.” (Matthew 7:24, 25) Such a person is stable—his thinking and actions are solidly founded upon godly principles.
PROVERBS 10:25)
“When the storm passes by, the wicked one will be no more, But the righteous one is a foundation forever.”
w01 9/15 p. 27 Walk in ‘the Path of Uprightness’
Build on the Right Foundation
Pointing to the value of building one’s life on a proper foundation, Solomon states: “The thing frightful to the wicked one—that is what will come to him; but the desire of the righteous ones will be granted. As when the storm wind passes over, so the wicked one is no more; but the righteous one is a foundation to time indefinite.”—Proverbs 10:24, 25.
The wicked one may cause much fright to others. In the end, however, what he dreads comes upon him. Lacking a foundation in righteous principles, he is like an unstable building that collapses in a violent storm. He caves in under pressure. On the other hand, the righteous one is like the man who acts in harmony with Jesus’ sayings. He is “a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass.” “And,” said Jesus, “the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass.” (Matthew 7:24, 25) Such a person is stable—his thinking and actions are solidly founded upon godly principles.
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♦ 10:25—Why is reference made to a “storm wind”?
Lacking a foundation in righteous principles, the wicked are like unstable buildings that collapse in violent storms. But the righteous are stable because their thinking is solidly founded upon godly principles. Like a structure having a good foundation, they do not cave in under pressure.—Matthew 7:24-27.
PROVERBS 10:26)
“Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, So the lazy person is to the one who sends him.”
it-2 p. 227 Laziness
Whoever hires the lazy person, or whoever he represents, is bound to be disappointed and vexed and will suffer loss, for, “as vinegar to the teeth and as smoke to the eyes, so the lazy man is to those sending him forth.”—Pr 10:26.
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“As vinegar to the teeth and as smoke to the eyes, so the lazy man is to those sending him forth,” says the proverb. Just as smoke causes the eyes to sting and smart, so the one who employs a lazy man does so to the injury of his own purposes.—Pr 10:26.
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Before going further with the contrast between the wicked and the righteous, the wise king presents a concise but important warning. He says: “As vinegar to the teeth and as smoke to the eyes, so the lazy man is to those sending him forth.” (Proverbs 10:26) Vinegar is a source of discomfort to the teeth. The acetic acid contained in it produces a sour taste in the mouth and can cause one’s teeth to feel sensitive. Smoke makes the eyes sting and smart. Accordingly, whoever hires a lazy person or uses him as a representative is bound to be vexed and will suffer loss.
PROVERBS 10:27)
“The fear of Jehovah prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be cut short.”
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The king of Israel continues: “The very fear of Jehovah will add days, but the years themselves of the wicked ones will be cut short. The expectation of the righteous ones is a rejoicing, but the very hope of the wicked ones will perish.”—Proverbs 10:27, 28.
The righteous one is guided by godly fear and tries to please Jehovah by his thoughts, words, and deeds. God cares for him and fulfills his righteous expectations. However, the wicked one lives a godless life. His hopes may at times appear to be fulfilled but only temporarily, for his days are often cut short by violence or an ailment resulting from his life-style. On the day of his death all his hopes are shattered.—Proverbs 11:7.
PROVERBS 10:28)
“The expectation of the righteous brings joy, But the hope of the wicked will perish.”
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But besides the minor, common, normal human hopes there are bad ones. There are hopes that are wickedly entertained. In some instances these may appear to be fulfilled, but in actuality they are realized only in a temporary sense, for a proverb states: “The expectation of the righteous ones is a rejoicing, but the very hope of the wicked ones will perish.” (Pr 10:28) Additionally, “When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; and even expectation based on powerfulness has perished.” (Pr 11:7) So, selfish hopes, and those based on a false foundation of materialism, on lies, on wrong dealings, or on the power or promises of men, are sure to be frustrated.
w01 9/15 p. 27 Walk in ‘the Path of Uprightness’
The king of Israel continues: “The very fear of Jehovah will add days, but the years themselves of the wicked ones will be cut short. The expectation of the righteous ones is a rejoicing, but the very hope of the wicked ones will perish.”—Proverbs 10:27, 28.
The righteous one is guided by godly fear and tries to please Jehovah by his thoughts, words, and deeds. God cares for him and fulfills his righteous expectations. However, the wicked one lives a godless life. His hopes may at times appear to be fulfilled but only temporarily, for his days are often cut short by violence or an ailment resulting from his life-style. On the day of his death all his hopes are shattered.—Proverbs 11:7.
PROVERBS 10:29)
“The way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the blameless one, But it means ruin for evildoers.”
w06 9/15 p. 18 par. 7 Highlights From the Book of Proverbs
10:29—What is “the way of Jehovah”? The reference here is to the way Jehovah deals with mankind and not to the course of life we should follow. God’s dealings with humans spell security for the blameless but ruin for the wicked.
w01 9/15 pp. 27-28 Walk in ‘the Path of Uprightness’
“The way of Jehovah is a stronghold for the blameless one,” says Solomon, “but ruin is for the practicers of what is hurtful.” (Proverbs 10:29) The way of Jehovah here refers, not to the path of life in which we should walk, but to God’s way of dealing with mankind. “The Rock, perfect is his activity,” said Moses, “for all his ways are justice.” (Deuteronomy 32:4) God’s just ways mean security for the righteous and ruin for the wicked.
PROVERBS 11:1)
“Dishonest scales are detestable to Jehovah, But an accurate weight brings pleasure to him.”
w02 5/15 pp. 24-25 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Integrity Leads to Honesty in Business
Highlighting the principle of honesty, using poetic words rather than legal terms, King Solomon of ancient Israel says: “A cheating pair of scales is something detestable to Jehovah, but a complete stone-weight is a pleasure to him.” (Proverbs 11:1) This is the first of four occurrences in the book of Proverbs where scales and weights are used to denote that Jehovah desires his worshipers to be honest in their business dealings.—Proverbs 16:11; 20:10, 23.
The prosperity of those resorting to a cheating pair of scales—or to dishonesty—may be enticing. But would we really want to forsake God’s standards of good and bad by engaging in unethical business practices? Not if we are guided by integrity. We shun dishonesty because a complete stone-weight, a just weight signifying honesty, delights Jehovah.
PROVERBS 11:2)
“When presumptuousness comes, dishonor will follow, But wisdom is with the modest ones.”
w15 6/1 pp. 8-9 How to Age Gracefully
BE MODEST: “Wisdom is with the modest ones.” (Proverbs 11:2) In this context, “the modest ones” can refer to elderly ones who recognize and come to terms with the limitations of their age, not trying to deny or ignore them. Charles, 93, in Brazil, is realistic when he says: “If you live long, you will have to age. There is no way to turn back the clock.”
Being modest, however, in no way means adopting the defeatist attitude “I am old, and there is nothing more for me.” Such an attitude can sap one of enthusiasm. “If you become discouraged in the day of distress, your strength will be meager,” says Proverbs 24:10. Instead, a modest person shows wisdom, making the best of a situation.
Corrado, 77, in Italy, wisely says: “When you drive uphill, you just change gears and avoid stalling the engine.” Yes, adjustments need to be made when someone grows older. Corrado and his wife have developed a balanced approach to domestic chores, following a moderately relaxed schedule to avoid feeling completely drained of energy at the end of the day. Marian, 81, in Brazil, also has a down-to-earth approach to aging. “I have learned to pace myself,” she says. “I take short breaks between tasks when necessary. I sit down or lie down to read or listen to music. I have learned to recognize and respect my limits.”
it-2 p. 422 Modesty
The Hebrew root verb tsa•naʽʹ is rendered “be modest” in Micah 6:8, its only occurrence. The related adjective tsa•nuʹaʽ (modest) occurs in Proverbs 11:2, where it is contrasted with presumptuousness. Although some modern scholars believe that the sense of this root is “be cautious, careful, judicious,” many take it to mean “be modest.” For example, A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament (by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, p. 857) says that the root conveys the idea of one who is retiring, modest, or humble.
w02 5/15 p. 25 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
“Wisdom Is With the Modest Ones”
King Solomon continues: “Has presumptuousness come? Then dishonor will come; but wisdom is with the modest ones.” (Proverbs 11:2) Presumptuousness—whether it manifests itself as pride, disobedience, or envy—brings disgrace. On the other hand, humble recognition of our limitations is the course of wisdom. How well Scriptural examples illustrate the truth of this proverb!
An envious Levite, Korah, led a rebellious mob against the authority of Jehovah’s appointed servants Moses and Aaron. What was the outcome of that presumptuous act? ‘The earth opened its mouth and proceeded to swallow up’ some of the rebels, while others, including Korah, were consumed by fire. (Numbers 16:1-3, 16-35; 26:10; Deuteronomy 11:6) What dishonor! Consider also Uzzah, who presumptuously reached out and grabbed hold of the ark of the covenant to prevent it from falling. He was struck dead on the spot. (2 Samuel 6:3-8) How vital that we shun presumptuousness!
A humble and modest person does not suffer dishonor even when he errs. Job, though exemplary in many ways, was imperfect. His trials revealed a serious flaw in some of his thinking. In defending himself against his accusers, Job became somewhat unbalanced. He even implied that he was more righteous than God. (Job 35:2, 3) How did Jehovah correct Job’s thinking?
Pointing to the earth, the sea, the starry heavens, some of the animals, and other marvels of creation, Jehovah gave Job a lesson in man’s littleness compared with God’s greatness. (Job, chapters 38-41) Nowhere in his speech did Jehovah state why Job was suffering. He did not need to. Job was modest. He humbly recognized the great difference between him and God, between his own imperfection and weaknesses and Jehovah’s righteousness and power. “I make a retraction,” he said, “and I do repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6) Job’s integrity led him to accept the reproof readily. What about us? Led by integrity, would we readily accept reproof or correction when needed?
Moses too was modest and humble. When he was wearing himself out in caring for the problems of others, his father-in-law, Jethro, offered a practical solution: Share some responsibility with other qualified men. Recognizing his own limitations, Moses wisely accepted the suggestion. (Exodus 18:17-26; Numbers 12:3) A modest man is not reluctant to delegate authority to others, nor does he fear that he somehow loses control by sharing appropriate responsibilities with other qualified men. (Numbers 11:16, 17, 26-29) Rather, he is eager to help them to progress spiritually. (1 Timothy 4:15) Should that not be true of us also?
w00 8/1 Presumptuousness Leads to Dishonor
Presumptuousness Leads to Dishonor
“Has presumptuousness come? Then dishonor will come; but wisdom is with the modest ones.”—PROVERBS 11:2.
AN ENVIOUS Levite leads a rebellious mob against Jehovah’s appointed authorities. An ambitious prince concocts a devious scheme to usurp his father’s throne. An impatient king disregards the explicit instructions of God’s prophet. These three Israelites share a common trait: presumptuousness.
2 Presumptuousness is a characteristic of the heart that poses a serious threat to all. (Psalm 19:13) The presumptuous person boldly takes liberties without having the authorization to do so. Often, this leads to disaster. In fact, presumptuousness has ruined kings and toppled empires. (Jeremiah 50:29, 31, 32; Daniel 5:20) It has even ensnared some servants of Jehovah and led them to their ruin.
3 For good reason the Bible states: “Has presumptuousness come? Then dishonor will come; but wisdom is with the modest ones.” (Proverbs 11:2) The Bible provides us with examples confirming the truthfulness of this proverb. An examination of some of these will help us to see the danger of overstepping due bounds. Hence, let us consider how envy, ambition, and impatience caused the three men mentioned at the outset to act presumptuously, leading to their dishonor.
Korah—An Envious Rebel
4 Korah was a Kohathite Levite, a first cousin of Moses and Aaron. Apparently, he was loyal to Jehovah for decades. Korah was privileged to be among those who were miraculously delivered through the Red Sea, and he likely shared in executing Jehovah’s judgment against the calf-worshiping Israelites at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 32:26) Eventually, however, Korah became the ringleader in an uprising against Moses and Aaron that included the Reubenites Dathan, Abiram, and On, along with 250 Israelite chieftains. “That is enough of you,” they said to Moses and Aaron, “because the whole assembly are all of them holy and Jehovah is in their midst. Why, then, should you lift yourselves up above the congregation of Jehovah?”—Numbers 16:1-3.
5 After years of faithfulness, why did Korah rebel? Surely Moses’ leadership of Israel was not oppressive, for he was “by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground.” (Numbers 12:3) Yet, it seems that Korah envied Moses and Aaron and resented their prominence, and this led him to say—wrongly—that they had arbitrarily and selfishly lifted themselves up above the congregation.—Psalm 106:16.
6 Part of Korah’s problem very likely was that he did not cherish his own privileges in God’s arrangement. True, the Kohathite Levites were not all priests, but they were teachers of God’s Law. Some also carried the furniture and utensils of the tabernacle when these had to be transported. That was no insignificant task, for the holy utensils could be handled only by individuals who were religiously and morally clean. (Isaiah 52:11) Hence, when Moses confronted Korah, he was, in effect, asking, Do you view your assignment as something so trivial that you must also secure the priesthood? (Numbers 16:9, 10) Korah failed to realize that the greatest honor is serving Jehovah faithfully according to his arrangement—not the attaining of some special status or position.—Psalm 84:10.
7 Moses invited Korah and his men to gather the following morning at the tent of meeting with fire holders and incense. Korah and his men were not authorized to offer incense, since they were not priests. If they came with fire holders and incense, this would clearly indicate that these men still felt that they had a right to act as priests—even after having had an entire night to reconsider the matter. When they presented themselves the next morning, Jehovah rightly expressed his wrath. As for the Reubenites, “the earth opened its mouth and proceeded to swallow them up.” The rest, including Korah, were consumed by fire from God. (Deuteronomy 11:6; Numbers 16:16-35; 26:10) Korah’s presumptuousness led to the ultimate dishonor—God’s disapproval!
Resist the “Tendency to Envy”
8 The account of Korah is a warning to us. Since “a tendency to envy” is present in imperfect humans, it can manifest itself even in the Christian congregation. (James 4:5) For example, we might be position conscious. Like Korah, we might envy those who have privileges that we desire. Or we could become like the first-century Christian named Diotrephes. He was highly critical of apostolic authority, evidently because he wanted to be in charge. Indeed, John wrote that Diotrephes “likes to have the first place.”—3 John 9.
9 Of course, it is not wrong for a Christian man to reach out for congregation responsibilities. Paul even encouraged such a course. (1 Timothy 3:1) However, we should never view privileges of service as badges of merit, as though by attaining them, we have moved up a rung on some so-called ladder of advancement. Remember, Jesus said: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.” (Matthew 20:26, 27) Clearly, it would be wrong to envy those who have greater responsibilities, as if our value to God depended upon our “rank” in his organization. Jesus said: “All you are brothers.” (Matthew 23:8) Yes, whether publisher or pioneer, newly baptized or longtime integrity keeper—all who serve Jehovah whole-souled have a valuable place in his arrangement. (Luke 10:27; 12:6, 7; Galatians 3:28; Hebrews 6:10) It is truly a blessing to work shoulder to shoulder with millions who are striving to apply the Bible’s counsel: “Gird yourselves with lowliness of mind toward one another.”—1 Peter 5:5.
Absalom—An Ambitious Opportunist
10 The life course of King David’s third son, Absalom, provides a study in ambition. This scheming opportunist tried to curry the favor of those who came to the king for judgment. First he insinuated that David was indifferent to their needs. Then he dropped the subtlety and got right to the point. “O that I were appointed judge in the land,” Absalom intoned, “that to me every man might come that happens to have a legal case or judgment! Then I should certainly do justice to him.” Absalom’s crafty politicking knew no bounds. “When a man drew near to bow down to him,” states the Bible, “he thrust his hand out and grabbed hold of him and kissed him. And Absalom kept doing a thing like this to all Israelites that would come in for judgment to the king.” With what result? “Absalom kept stealing the hearts of the men of Israel.”—2 Samuel 15:1-6.
11 Absalom was determined to usurp his father’s kingship. Five years earlier, he had David’s eldest son, Amnon, murdered, ostensibly in revenge for the rape of Absalom’s sister Tamar. (2 Samuel 13:28, 29) However, even then Absalom might have had his sights on the throne, viewing Amnon’s murder as a convenient way to eliminate a rival. In any event, when the time was ripe, Absalom made his move. He had his kingship proclaimed throughout the land.—2 Samuel 15:10.
12 For a while, Absalom had success, for “the conspiracy kept getting stronger, and the people were continually growing in number with Absalom.” In time, King David was forced to flee for his life. (2 Samuel 15:12-17) Soon, though, Absalom’s career was cut short when he was slain by Joab, pitched into a hollow, and covered with stones. Imagine—this ambitious man who wanted to be king did not even receive a decent burial upon his death! Presumptuousness truly led to Absalom’s dishonor.—2 Samuel 18:9-17.
Shun Selfish Ambition
13 Absalom’s rise to power and his subsequent fall serve as a lesson for us. In today’s cutthroat world, it is common for people to fawn over their superiors, trying to ingratiate themselves to them simply to make an impression or perhaps to gain some type of privilege or promotion. At the same time, they might make bragging assertions to their subordinates, hoping to curry their favor and support. If we are not careful, such an ambitious spirit can take root in our heart. Apparently, this happened among some in the first century, making it necessary for the apostles to give strong warnings against such ones.—Galatians 4:17; 3 John 9, 10.
14 Jehovah has no place in his organization for self-aggrandizing schemers who try to “search out their own glory.” (Proverbs 25:27) Indeed, the Bible warns: “Jehovah will cut off all smooth lips, the tongue speaking great things.” (Psalm 12:3) Absalom had smooth lips. He spoke swelling things to those whose favor he needed—all to acquire a coveted position of authority. In contrast, how blessed we are to be amid a brotherhood that follows Paul’s counsel: “[Do] nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with lowliness of mind [consider] that the others are superior to you.”—Philippians 2:3.
Saul—An Impatient King
15 At one time Saul, who later became king of Israel, was modest. Consider, for example, what happened in his younger years. When God’s prophet Samuel spoke favorably of him, Saul humbly replied: “Am I not a Benjaminite of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the most insignificant of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? So why have you spoken to me a thing like this?”—1 Samuel 9:21.
16 Later, however, Saul’s modesty vanished. While at war with the Philistines, he withdrew to Gilgal, where he was expected to wait for Samuel to come and make entreaty to God with sacrifices. When Samuel did not come at the appointed time, Saul presumptuously offered the burnt sacrifice himself. Just as he finished, Samuel arrived. “What is it you have done?” Samuel asked. Saul replied: “I saw that the people had been dispersed from me, and you—you did not come within the appointed days . . . So I compelled myself and went offering up the burnt sacrifice.”—1 Samuel 13:8-12.
17 At first glance, Saul’s actions might seem justifiable. After all, God’s people were “in sore straits,” “hard pressed,” and trembling because of their desperate situation. (1 Samuel 13:6, 7) Certainly, it is not wrong to take the initiative when circumstances warrant it. Remember, though, that Jehovah can read hearts and perceive our innermost motives. (1 Samuel 16:7) Hence, he must have seen some factors about Saul that are not directly stated in the Bible account. For example, Jehovah may have seen that Saul’s impatience was stirred by pride. Perhaps Saul was deeply irritated that he—the king of all Israel—had to wait for someone he viewed as an old, procrastinating prophet! In any event, Saul felt that Samuel’s tardiness gave him the right to take matters into his own hands and to disregard the explicit instructions he had been given. The result? Samuel did not praise Saul’s initiative. On the contrary, he chastised Saul, saying: “Your kingdom will not last . . . because you did not keep what Jehovah commanded you.” (1 Samuel 13:13, 14) Once again, presumptuousness led to dishonor.
Guard Against Impatience
18 The account of Saul’s presumptuous act has been recorded in God’s Word for our benefit. (1 Corinthians 10:11) It is so easy for us to become annoyed at the imperfections of our brothers. Like Saul, we may become impatient, feeling that if matters are to be handled properly, we must take them into our own hands. Suppose, for example, that a brother excels at certain organizational skills. He is punctual, up-to-date on congregation procedures, and gifted in speaking and teaching. At the same time, he senses that others do not measure up to his meticulous standards, and they are not nearly as efficient as he would like. Does this give him license to express impatience? Should he criticize his brothers, perhaps implying that were it not for his efforts nothing would get done and the congregation would falter? This would be presumptuous!
19 Really, what holds a congregation of Christians together? Management skills? efficiency? depth of knowledge? Granted, these things are advantageous to the smooth operation of a congregation. (1 Corinthians 14:40; Philippians 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18) However, Jesus said that his followers would primarily be identified by their love. (John 13:35) That is why caring elders, while orderly, realize that the congregation is not a business that needs rigid management; instead, it is made up of a flock that needs tender care. (Isaiah 32:1, 2; 40:11) Presumptuous disregard for such principles often results in contention. In contrast, godly order produces peace.—1 Corinthians 14:33; Galatians 6:16.
20 The Bible accounts of Korah, Absalom, and Saul clearly show that presumptuousness leads to dishonor, as stated at Proverbs 11:2. However, that same Bible verse adds: “Wisdom is with the modest ones.” What is modesty? What examples from the Bible can help to shed light on this quality, and how can we show modesty today? These questions will be considered in the following article.
[Footnotes]
Since Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn, those of his descendants who were swayed by Korah to rebel might have resented that Moses—a descendant of Levi—had administrative authority over them.
Chileab, David’s second son, is not mentioned after his birth. Possibly he died sometime before Absalom’s uprising.
In Bible times the interment of the body of a deceased individual was an act of considerable importance. Hence, to be deprived of a burial was calamitous and was often an expression of God’s disfavor.—Jeremiah 25:32, 33.
For example, Phinehas took quick action to halt a scourge that killed tens of thousands of Israelites, and David encouraged his famished men to join him in eating the showbread in “the house of God.” Neither course was condemned by God as presumptuous.—Matthew 12:2-4; Numbers 25:7-9; 1 Samuel 21:1-6.
w00 8/1 “Wisdom Is With the Modest Ones”
“Wisdom Is With the Modest Ones”
“What is Jehovah asking back from you but to . . . be modest in walking with your God?”—MICAH 6:8.
A PROMINENT apostle refuses to draw attention to himself. A courageous Israelite judge calls himself the smallest in his father’s house. The greatest man who ever lived acknowledges that he does not have unlimited authority. Each of these men displays modesty.
2 Modesty is the opposite of presumptuousness. The person who is modest has a sober estimate of his abilities and worth and is free of conceit or vanity. Rather than being proud, boastful, or ambitious, the modest person is ever aware of his limitations. Hence, he respects and gives due consideration to the feelings and views of others.
3 For good reason the Bible states: “Wisdom is with the modest ones.” (Proverbs 11:2) The modest person is wise because he follows a course that God approves, and he avoids a presumptuous spirit that results in dishonor. (Proverbs 8:13; 1 Peter 5:5) The wisdom of modesty is confirmed by the life course of a number of God’s servants. Let us consider the three examples cited in the opening paragraph.
Paul—A ‘Subordinate’ and a ‘Steward’
4 Paul was a prominent figure among early Christians, and understandably so. In the course of his ministry, he traveled thousands of miles on sea and land, and he established numerous congregations. In addition, Jehovah blessed Paul with visions and the gift of speaking in foreign tongues. (1 Corinthians 14:18; 2 Corinthians 12:1-5) He also inspired Paul to write 14 letters that are now part of the Christian Greek Scriptures. Clearly, it can be said that Paul’s labors exceeded those of all the other apostles.—1 Corinthians 15:10.
5 Since Paul was in the forefront of Christian activity, some might expect to find him reveling in the limelight, even flaunting his authority. Not so, however, for Paul was modest. He called himself “the least of the apostles,” adding: “I am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the congregation of God.” (1 Corinthians 15:9) As a former persecutor of Christians, Paul never forgot that it was only by undeserved kindness that he could have a relationship with God at all, much less enjoy special privileges of service. (John 6:44; Ephesians 2:8) Hence, Paul did not feel that his extraordinary accomplishments in the ministry made him superior to others.—1 Corinthians 9:16.
6 Paul’s modesty was particularly evident in his dealings with the Corinthians. Apparently, some of them were enamored of those whom they thought to be prominent overseers, including Apollos, Cephas, and Paul himself. (1 Corinthians 1:11-15) But Paul neither solicited the praise of the Corinthians nor exploited their admiration. When visiting them, he did not present himself “with an extravagance of speech or of wisdom.” Instead, Paul said regarding himself and his companions: “Let a man so appraise us as being subordinates of Christ and stewards of sacred secrets of God.”—1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 4:1.
7 Paul even displayed modesty when he had to give strong counsel and direction. He entreated his fellow Christians “by the compassions of God” and “on the basis of love” rather than by the weight of his apostolic authority. (Romans 12:1, 2; Philemon 8, 9) Why did Paul do this? Because he truly viewed himself as a ‘fellow worker’ of his brothers, not as a ‘master of their faith.’ (2 Corinthians 1:24) No doubt it was Paul’s modesty that helped to make him especially dear to the first-century Christian congregations.—Acts 20:36-38.
A Modest View of Our Privileges
8 Paul set a fine example for Christians today. No matter what responsibilities have been entrusted to us, none of us should feel that we are superior to others. “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing,” Paul wrote, “he is deceiving his own mind.” (Galatians 6:3) Why? Because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23; 5:12) Yes, we should never forget that all of us have inherited sin and death from Adam. Special privileges do not elevate us from our lowly sinful condition. (Ecclesiastes 9:2) As was true in Paul’s case, it is only by undeserved kindness that humans can come into a relationship with God at all, much less serve him in some privileged capacity.—Romans 3:12, 24.
9 Realizing this, a person who is modest neither gloats over his privileges nor boasts of his accomplishments. (1 Corinthians 4:7) When giving counsel or direction, he does so as a fellow worker—not as a master. Certainly, it would be wrong for one who excels in certain tasks to solicit praise from or exploit the admiration of fellow believers. (Proverbs 25:27; Matthew 6:2-4) The only praise that is worth anything comes from others—and it should come unsolicited. If it does come, we should not let it cause us to think more of ourselves than is necessary.—Proverbs 27:2; Romans 12:3.
10 When we are entrusted with a measure of responsibility, modesty will help us to avoid putting undue emphasis on ourselves, creating the impression that the congregation is thriving solely because of our efforts and abilities. For example, we might be especially gifted at teaching. (Ephesians 4:11, 12) In all modesty, however, we must recognize that some of the greatest lessons learned at a congregation meeting are not delivered from the platform. Are you not encouraged when you see, for example, the single parent who regularly comes to the Kingdom Hall with children in tow? Or the depressed soul who faithfully comes to meetings despite persistent feelings of worthlessness? Or the youth who steadily makes spiritual advancement in spite of bad influences in school and elsewhere? (Psalm 84:10) These individuals may not be in the limelight. The tests of integrity they face go largely unnoticed by others. Yet, they may be as “rich in faith” as those who have more prominence. (James 2:5) After all, in the end it is faithfulness that wins Jehovah’s favor.—Matthew 10:22; 1 Corinthians 4:2.
Gideon—“The Smallest” in His Father’s House
11 Gideon, a stalwart young man of the tribe of Manasseh, lived during a turbulent time in Israel’s history. For seven years, God’s people had suffered under Midianite oppression. However, the time had now come for Jehovah to deliver his people. Hence, an angel appeared to Gideon and said: “Jehovah is with you, you valiant, mighty one.” Gideon was modest, so he did not bask in the glory of this unexpected compliment. Instead, he respectfully said to the angel: “Excuse me, my lord, but if Jehovah is with us, then why has all this come upon us?” The angel clarified matters and told Gideon: “You will certainly save Israel out of Midian’s palm.” How did Gideon respond? Instead of hungrily seizing the assignment as an opportunity to make himself a national hero, Gideon replied: “Excuse me, Jehovah. With what shall I save Israel? Look! My thousand is the least in Manasseh, and I am the smallest in my father’s house.” What modesty!—Judges 6:11-15.
12 Before sending Gideon into battle, Jehovah tested him. How? Gideon was told to demolish his father’s altar to Baal and to cut down the sacred pole that stood alongside it. This assignment would take courage, but Gideon also showed modesty and discretion in the way he carried it out. Instead of making a public spectacle of himself, Gideon worked under cover of night when he would most likely pass unnoticed. Furthermore, Gideon approached his assignment with due caution. He took along ten servants—perhaps so that some could stand guard while the rest helped him to destroy the altar and the sacred pole. In any event, with Jehovah’s blessing, Gideon carried out his assignment, and in time he was used by God to liberate Israel from the Midianites.—Judges 6:25-27.
Displaying Modesty and Discretion
13 There is much we can learn from Gideon’s modesty. For example, how do we respond when a privilege of service is extended to us? Do we think first of the prominence or prestige that will result? Or do we modestly and prayerfully consider whether we can fulfill the demands of the assignment? Brother A. H. Macmillan, who finished his earthly course in 1966, set a fine example in this regard. C. T. Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, once asked Brother Macmillan for his thoughts on who might take charge of the work in his absence. In the discussion that followed, Brother Macmillan did not once promote himself, though it would have been quite convenient for him to do so. In the end, Brother Russell invited Brother Macmillan to consider accepting the assignment. “I stood there half dazed,” Brother Macmillan wrote years later. “I did think it over, very seriously, and prayed about it for some time before I finally told him I would be happy to do all that I could do to assist him.”
14 Not long afterward, Brother Russell passed away, leaving the office of the Watch Tower Society’s presidency vacant. Since Brother Macmillan was in charge during Brother Russell’s final preaching tour, a brother remarked to him: “Mac, you have a strong chance of getting in yourself. You were Brother Russell’s special representative when he was gone, and he told all of us to do as you say. Well, he went away and never did return. It looks like you’re the man to carry on.” Brother Macmillan responded: “Brother, that’s not the way to look at this matter. This is the Lord’s work and the only position you get in the Lord’s organization is what the Lord sees fit to give you; and I am sure I’m not the man for the job.” Then Brother Macmillan recommended someone else for the position. Like Gideon, he had a modest view of himself—a view we do well to adopt.
15 We too should be modest in the manner in which we carry out our assignment. Gideon was discreet, and he strove not to anger his opposers unnecessarily. Similarly, in our preaching work, we should be modest and discreet about how we talk to others. True, we are engaged in a spiritual warfare to overturn “strongly entrenched things” and “reasonings.” (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5) But we should not talk down to others or give them any valid cause for taking offense at our message. Instead, we should respect their views, emphasize what we may hold in common, and then focus on the positive aspects of our message.—Acts 22:1-3; 1 Corinthians 9:22; Revelation 21:4.
Jesus—The Supreme Example of Modesty
16 The finest example of modesty is that of Jesus Christ. Despite his intimate relationship with his Father, Jesus did not hesitate to acknowledge that some matters were beyond the scope of his authority. (John 1:14) For instance, when the mother of James and John requested that her two sons sit beside Jesus in his kingdom, Jesus said: “This sitting down at my right hand and at my left is not mine to give.” (Matthew 20:20-23) On another occasion, Jesus freely admitted: “I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative . . . I seek, not my own will, but the will of him that sent me.”—John 5:30; 14:28; Philippians 2:5, 6.
17 Jesus was superior to imperfect humans in every way, and he possessed unmatched authority from his Father, Jehovah. Nevertheless, Jesus was modest in his dealings with his followers. He did not overwhelm them with an impressive display of knowledge. He showed sensitivity and compassion and took their human needs into consideration. (Matthew 15:32; 26:40, 41; Mark 6:31) Thus, although Jesus was perfect, he was not a perfectionist. He never demanded more of his disciples than they could give, and he never put upon them more than they could bear. (John 16:12) No wonder so many found him to be refreshing!—Matthew 11:29.
Imitate Jesus’ Example of Modesty
18 If the greatest man who ever lived showed modesty, how much more so should we. Imperfect humans are often reluctant to admit that they simply do not possess absolute authority. In imitation of Jesus, however, Christians strive to be modest. They are not too proud to give responsibility to those who are qualified to have it; nor are they haughty and unwilling to accept direction from those who are authorized to give it. Showing a cooperative spirit, they allow all things in the congregation to take place “decently and by arrangement.”—1 Corinthians 14:40.
19 Modesty will also move us to be reasonable in our expectations of others and to be considerate of their needs. (Philippians 4:5) We may possess certain abilities and strengths that others may lack. Yet, if we are modest, we will not always expect others to perform as we would like them to. Knowing that each person has his own limitations, we will in all modesty make allowances for the shortcomings of others. Peter wrote: “Above all things, have intense love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”—1 Peter 4:8.
20 As we have learned, wisdom is indeed with the modest ones. What, though, if you find that you have inclinations toward immodesty or presumptuousness? Do not be discouraged. Instead, follow the example of David, who prayed: “From presumptuous acts hold your servant back; do not let them dominate me.” (Psalm 19:13) By imitating the faith of men like Paul, Gideon, and—above everyone else—Jesus Christ, we will personally come to experience the truth of the words: “Wisdom is with the modest ones.”—Proverbs 11:2.
[Footnotes]
The Greek word translated “subordinates” can refer to a slave who rowed in the lower bank of oars on a large ship. In contrast, “stewards” might be entrusted with more responsibilities, perhaps caring for an estate. Nonetheless, in the eyes of most masters, the steward was as much in servitude as the galley slave.
Gideon’s discretion and caution should not be misinterpreted as a sign of cowardice. On the contrary, his courage is confirmed by Hebrews 11:32-38, which includes Gideon among those who “were made powerful” and who “became valiant in war.”
Since modesty includes an awareness of one’s limitations, Jehovah cannot rightly be spoken of as being modest. However, he is humble.—Psalm 18:35.
w95 12/1 p. 13 par. 16 Do Not Give Up!
“Wisdom is with the modest ones,” says Proverbs 11:2. To be modest means to recognize and accept your limitations. A modest man is not reluctant to delegate to others, nor does he fear that he somehow loses control by sharing appropriate responsibilities with other qualified men. (Numbers 11:16, 17, 26-29) Instead, he is eager to help them to progress.—1 Timothy 4:15.
w90 3/1 p. 7 Winning the Battle Against Depression
“Wisdom is with the modest ones,” or with those who recognize and accept their limitations. (Proverbs 11:2) Each of us is a unique soul with differing circumstances, physical stamina, and abilities. As you serve Jehovah whole-souled, doing what you can, he is pleased. (Mark 12:30-33) God is not one who is never satisfied with the efforts of his devoted worshipers. Leora, a Christian who successfully fought her depression, said: “I do not do as well as everybody else in some things, such as presentations in the field ministry. But I am trying. What I do is my best.”
w90 12/15 p. 23 Equipped for Missionary Service in the 1990’s
Next, another instructor, Ulysses V. Glass, spoke on the theme “Wisdom Is With the Modest Ones.” (Proverbs 11:2) He used a wristwatch with a solar-powered battery to illustrate that the light of God’s Word can keep us “charged.” “But,” he pointed out, “knowledge alone does not give wisdom. Modesty is also required by God.” (Micah 6:8) Modesty will lead us to fear God, and “the fear of Jehovah is the start of wisdom.” (Proverbs 9:10) True, we must think something of ourselves; self-condemnation can be destructive. Jehovah has granted special ability to some, as he did during the construction of the tabernacle, but faithfulness in modesty must be worked at. “During the term,” Brother Glass told the class, “you gave evidence of dependability and respect. Display this same faithfulness in your assignment, and God will bless you.”
w88 3/15 pp. 19-20 pars. 15-17 Serving as Jehovah’s Trusting Fellow Workers
15 ‘Placing a moderate estimate on our abilities or worth’ is the apparent meaning we should attach to the Hebrew word rendered “modest” at Micah 6:8. This is evident from the way the word is used in its only other occurrence in the Hebrew Scriptures. At Proverbs 11:2 it is contrasted not with sexual uncleanness but with presumptuousness, which results from thinking too highly of oneself. There we read: “Has presumptuousness come? Then dishonor will come; but wisdom is with the modest ones.” Being modest goes hand in hand with having the fear of Jehovah, which is also associated with wisdom. (Psalm 111:10) A modest person has the fear of Jehovah because he realizes what a great difference there is between him and God, between Jehovah’s righteousness and power and his own imperfection and weaknesses. Therefore, the modest person works out his salvation with fear and trembling.—Philippians 2:12.
16 There are ever so many reasons why Jehovah’s fellow workers should be modest! Regardless of the wisdom we may have, the physical strength we may be endowed with, or how much material wealth we may possess, we have no grounds for boasting. (Jeremiah 9:23) Why not? Because of the principle stated at 1 Corinthians 4:7: “Who makes you to differ from another? Indeed, what do you have that you did not receive? If, now, you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as though you did not receive it?” We also do not have any reason for boasting because of the fruits of our ministry, for what do we read at 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7? There Paul said: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept making it grow; so that neither is he that plants anything nor is he that waters, but God who makes it grow.” Jesus’ words at Luke 17:10 should also help to keep us modest, for he said: “When you have done all the things assigned to you, say, ‘We are good-for-nothing slaves. What we have done is what we ought to have done.’”
17 Being modest truly is the course of wisdom. Modesty enables us to be content wherever we are privileged to serve. If we are modest, we will not ambitiously try to shine but will be content to conduct ourselves as “a lesser one.” (Luke 9:48) Then, too, we will have the attitude of the psalmist, who declared: “A day in your courtyards is better than a thousand elsewhere. I have chosen to stand at the threshold in the house of my God rather than to move around in the tents of wickedness.” (Psalm 84:10) Moreover, if we are modest, we will have the love that will move us to take the lead in showing honor to others.—Romans 12:10.
PROVERBS 11:3)
“The integrity of the upright is what guides them, But the deviousness of the treacherous will destroy them.”
w02 5/15 p. 26 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Recognizing that integrity does not always shield the upright from danger or calamity, Solomon states: “The integrity of the upright ones is what leads them, but distortion by those dealing treacherously will despoil them.” (Proverbs 11:3) Integrity indeed guides the upright to do what is right in God’s eyes, even under difficult circumstances, and brings benefits in the long run. Job refused to abandon his integrity, and Jehovah “blessed the end of Job afterward more than his beginning.” (Job 42:12) Those who deal treacherously may feel that they are bettering themselves at the expense of someone else and may even seem to prosper for a time. But sooner or later their own deceit will destroy them.
PROVERBS 11:4)
“Wealth will be of no benefit on the day of fury, But righteousness is what will rescue from death.”
it-1 p. 939 Gifts of Mercy
Improper Views of Giving. In time, the giving of gifts of mercy came to be viewed by the Jews not only as meritorious in itself but also as possessing power to atone for sins. Proverbs 11:4, which says: “Valuable things will be of no benefit on the day of fury, but righteousness itself will deliver from death,” came to be expounded as meaning, in harmony with Talmudic conception: “Water will quench blazing fire; so doth almsgiving make atonement for sins.” (The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1976, Vol. I, p. 435)
w02 5/15 p. 26 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
“Valuable things will be of no benefit on the day of fury,” says the wise king, “but righteousness itself will deliver from death.” (Proverbs 11:4) How foolish to slave for material gain but fail to make room for personal study, prayer, meeting attendance, and the field ministry—the very activities that deepen our love for God and strengthen our devotion to him! No amount of wealth will bring deliverance through the upcoming great tribulation. (Matthew 24:21) Only the righteousness of the upright will. (Revelation 7:9, 14) We are wise, therefore, to take to heart Zephaniah’s entreaty: “Before there comes upon you the day of Jehovah’s anger, seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, who have practiced His own judicial decision. Seek righteousness, seek meekness.” (Zephaniah 2:2, 3) Meanwhile, let us make it our aim to ‘honor Jehovah with our valuable things.’—Proverbs 3:9.
PROVERBS 11:5)
“The righteousness of the blameless one makes his path straight, But the wicked one will fall because of his own wickedness.”
w02 5/15 p. 26 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Emphasizing further the value of pursuing righteousness, Solomon contrasts the outcome of the blameless with that of the wicked, saying: “The righteousness of the blameless one is what will make his way straight, but in his own wickedness the wicked one will fall. The righteousness of the upright ones is what will deliver them, but by their craving those dealing treacherously will themselves be caught. When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; and even expectation based on powerfulness has perished. The righteous is the one rescued even from distress, and the wicked one comes in instead of him.” (Proverbs 11:5-8) The blameless one neither falls in his own ways nor gets tangled up in his own dealings. His way is straight. In the end, the upright are rescued from distress. The wicked may seem powerful, but no such deliverance awaits them.
PROVERBS 11:6)
“The righteousness of the upright will rescue them, But the treacherous will be caught by their own desires.”
w02 5/15 p. 26 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Emphasizing further the value of pursuing righteousness, Solomon contrasts the outcome of the blameless with that of the wicked, saying: “The righteousness of the blameless one is what will make his way straight, but in his own wickedness the wicked one will fall. The righteousness of the upright ones is what will deliver them, but by their craving those dealing treacherously will themselves be caught. When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; and even expectation based on powerfulness has perished. The righteous is the one rescued even from distress, and the wicked one comes in instead of him.” (Proverbs 11:5-8) The blameless one neither falls in his own ways nor gets tangled up in his own dealings. His way is straight. In the end, the upright are rescued from distress. The wicked may seem powerful, but no such deliverance awaits them.
PROVERBS 11:7)
“When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; And expectations based on his power also perish.”
it-1 p. 1138 Hope
But besides the minor, common, normal human hopes there are bad ones. There are hopes that are wickedly entertained. In some instances these may appear to be fulfilled, but in actuality they are realized only in a temporary sense, for a proverb states: “The expectation of the righteous ones is a rejoicing, but the very hope of the wicked ones will perish.” (Pr 10:28) Additionally, “When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; and even expectation based on powerfulness has perished.” (Pr 11:7) So, selfish hopes, and those based on a false foundation of materialism, on lies, on wrong dealings, or on the power or promises of men, are sure to be frustrated.
w02 5/15 p. 26 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Emphasizing further the value of pursuing righteousness, Solomon contrasts the outcome of the blameless with that of the wicked, saying: “The righteousness of the blameless one is what will make his way straight, but in his own wickedness the wicked one will fall. The righteousness of the upright ones is what will deliver them, but by their craving those dealing treacherously will themselves be caught. When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; and even expectation based on powerfulness has perished. The righteous is the one rescued even from distress, and the wicked one comes in instead of him.” (Proverbs 11:5-8) The blameless one neither falls in his own ways nor gets tangled up in his own dealings. His way is straight. In the end, the upright are rescued from distress. The wicked may seem powerful, but no such deliverance awaits them.
PROVERBS 11:8)
“The righteous one is rescued from distress, And the wicked one takes his place.”
w02 5/15 p. 26 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Emphasizing further the value of pursuing righteousness, Solomon contrasts the outcome of the blameless with that of the wicked, saying: “The righteousness of the blameless one is what will make his way straight, but in his own wickedness the wicked one will fall. The righteousness of the upright ones is what will deliver them, but by their craving those dealing treacherously will themselves be caught. When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; and even expectation based on powerfulness has perished. The righteous is the one rescued even from distress, and the wicked one comes in instead of him.” (Proverbs 11:5-8) The blameless one neither falls in his own ways nor gets tangled up in his own dealings. His way is straight. In the end, the upright are rescued from distress. The wicked may seem powerful, but no such deliverance awaits them.
PROVERBS 11:9)
“By his mouth the apostate brings his neighbor to ruin, But by knowledge the righteous are rescued.”
w02 5/15 p. 26 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
The integrity of the upright and the wickedness of evildoers also have an effect on other people. “By his mouth the one who is an apostate brings his fellowman to ruin,” says the king of Israel, “but by knowledge are the righteous rescued.” (Proverbs 11:9) Who will deny that slander, harmful gossip, obscene talk, and idle chatter are damaging to others? A righteous one’s speech, on the other hand, is pure, well-thought out, and considerate. By knowledge he is rescued because his integrity furnishes him with the points of reasoning needed to show that his accusers are lying.
PROVERBS 11:10)
“The goodness of the righteous makes a city rejoice, And when the wicked perish, there is a joyful cry.”
w02 5/15 pp. 26-27 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
“Because of the goodness of the righteous ones a town is elated,” continues the king, “but when the wicked ones perish there is a joyful cry.” (Proverbs 11:10) The righteous generally are loved by others, and they make their neighbors feel elated—happy and joyful. No one is really fond of “wicked ones.” When the wicked die, they are not usually mourned by people in general. There certainly will be no sorrow when Jehovah ‘cuts off the wicked from the earth and tears away the treacherous from it.’ (Proverbs 2:21, 22) Rather, there will be joy because they have been removed from the scene. But what about us? We do well to consider if the way we conduct ourselves contributes to the joy of others.
PROVERBS 11:11)
“Because of the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But the mouth of the wicked tears it down.”
w08 11/15 p. 19 “Pursue the Things Making for Peace”
Concerning the improper use of the tongue, Proverbs 11:11 states: “Because of the mouth of the wicked ones [a town] gets torn down.” Similarly, unguarded speech about a fellow Christian can disturb the peace of a townlike congregation.
w02 5/15 p. 27 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
“A Town Is Exalted”
Further contrasting the effect of the upright and the wicked on a community, Solomon states: “Because of the blessing of the upright ones a town is exalted, but because of the mouth of the wicked ones it gets torn down.”—Proverbs 11:11.
Townspeople who follow an upright course promote peace and well-being and build up others in the community. Thus, a town is exalted—it prospers. Those who speak slanderous, hurtful, and wrong things cause unrest, unhappiness, disunity, and trouble. This is particularly so if these individuals are in a position of influence. Such a town suffers disorder, corruption, and moral and perhaps economic deterioration.
The principle stated at Proverbs 11:11 applies with equal force to Jehovah’s people as they associate with one another in their townlike congregations. A congregation in which spiritual people—upright ones led by their integrity—have influence is an assembly of happy, active, and helpful people, bringing honor to God. Jehovah blesses the congregation, and it prospers spiritually. Here and there, the few who may be disgruntled and dissatisfied, who find fault and speak bitterly about the way things are done, are like a “poisonous root” that can spread and poison others who initially were unaffected. (Hebrews 12:15) Such ones often want more authority and prominence. They stir up rumors that there is injustice, ethnic prejudice, or the like, in the congregation or on the part of the elders. Their mouth, indeed, can cause a division in the congregation. Should we not turn a deaf ear to their talk and strive to be spiritual people who contribute to peace and unity in the congregation?
PROVERBS 11:12)
“Whoever is lacking good sense shows contempt for his neighbor, But the man of true discernment remains silent.”
w09 5/15 pp. 4-5 “A Time for Silence”
A person of “broad discernment” does not betray a confidence. (Prov. 11:12) A true Christian will not divulge confidential matters through unguarded speech. Christian elders must be particularly circumspect in this regard so as to retain the trust of members of the congregation.
w02 5/15 p. 27 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Continuing, Solomon says: “The one in want of heart has despised his own fellowman, but the man of broad discernment is one that keeps silent. The one walking about as a slanderer is uncovering confidential talk, but the one faithful in spirit is covering over a matter.”—Proverbs 11:12, 13.
What great harm is caused by someone who lacks good judgment, or is “in want of heart”! He carries on his loose talk to the point of slander or reviling. The appointed elders must be quick to put an end to such an unwholesome influence. Unlike “the one in want of heart,” a man of discernment knows when to keep silent. Rather than betray a confidence, he covers over the matter. Knowing that an unguarded tongue can cause much harm, a discerning person is “faithful in spirit.” He is loyal to fellow believers and does not divulge confidential matters that might endanger them. What a blessing such integrity-keepers are to the congregation!
w97 3/15 pp. 12-13 Incline Your Heart to Discernment
Discernment and Our Speech
3 Discernment helps us to realize that there is “a time to keep quiet and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7) This quality also makes us careful about what we say. Proverbs 11:12, 13 states: “The one in want of heart has despised his own fellowman, but the man of broad discernment is one that keeps silent. The one walking about as a slanderer is uncovering confidential talk, but the one faithful in spirit is covering over a matter.” Yes, a man or a woman who despises another person is “in want of heart.” According to lexicographer Wilhelm Gesenius, such an individual is “void of understanding.” He or she lacks good judgment, and the use of the term “heart” shows that positive qualities of the inner person are deficient. If a professing Christian should carry his or her loose talk to the point of slander or reviling, appointed elders must act to put an end to this unwholesome situation in the congregation.—Leviticus 19:16; Psalm 101:5; 1 Corinthians 5:11.
4 Unlike those “in want of heart,” individuals of “broad discernment” keep silent when it is appropriate to do so. They do not betray a confidence. (Proverbs 20:19) Knowing that unguarded speech can cause harm, discerning ones are “faithful in spirit.” They are loyal to fellow believers and do not divulge confidential matters that might endanger them. If discerning Christians receive confidential information of any kind pertaining to the congregation, they keep it to themselves until Jehovah’s organization sees good to make it known by its own means of publication.
PROVERBS 11:13)
“A slanderer goes about revealing confidential talk, But the trustworthy person keeps a confidence.”
w02 5/15 p. 27 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
Continuing, Solomon says: “The one in want of heart has despised his own fellowman, but the man of broad discernment is one that keeps silent. The one walking about as a slanderer is uncovering confidential talk, but the one faithful in spirit is covering over a matter.”—Proverbs 11:12, 13.
What great harm is caused by someone who lacks good judgment, or is “in want of heart”! He carries on his loose talk to the point of slander or reviling. The appointed elders must be quick to put an end to such an unwholesome influence. Unlike “the one in want of heart,” a man of discernment knows when to keep silent. Rather than betray a confidence, he covers over the matter. Knowing that an unguarded tongue can cause much harm, a discerning person is “faithful in spirit.” He is loyal to fellow believers and does not divulge confidential matters that might endanger them. What a blessing such integrity-keepers are to the congregation!
w97 3/15 pp. 12-13 Incline Your Heart to Discernment
Discernment and Our Speech
3 Discernment helps us to realize that there is “a time to keep quiet and a time to speak.” (Ecclesiastes 3:7) This quality also makes us careful about what we say. Proverbs 11:12, 13 states: “The one in want of heart has despised his own fellowman, but the man of broad discernment is one that keeps silent. The one walking about as a slanderer is uncovering confidential talk, but the one faithful in spirit is covering over a matter.” Yes, a man or a woman who despises another person is “in want of heart.” According to lexicographer Wilhelm Gesenius, such an individual is “void of understanding.” He or she lacks good judgment, and the use of the term “heart” shows that positive qualities of the inner person are deficient. If a professing Christian should carry his or her loose talk to the point of slander or reviling, appointed elders must act to put an end to this unwholesome situation in the congregation.—Leviticus 19:16; Psalm 101:5; 1 Corinthians 5:11.
4 Unlike those “in want of heart,” individuals of “broad discernment” keep silent when it is appropriate to do so. They do not betray a confidence. (Proverbs 20:19) Knowing that unguarded speech can cause harm, discerning ones are “faithful in spirit.” They are loyal to fellow believers and do not divulge confidential matters that might endanger them. If discerning Christians receive confidential information of any kind pertaining to the congregation, they keep it to themselves until Jehovah’s organization sees good to make it known by its own means of publication.
w89 10/15 p. 14 par. 21 Guard Against Harmful Gossip!
21 A wise proverb says: “The one walking about as a slanderer is uncovering confidential talk, but the one faithful in spirit is covering over a matter.” (Proverbs 11:13) Does this mean that if you know that someone is secretly engaging in gross sin, it would be slanderous to say anything about it? No. Of course, you should not gossip about the matter. You should speak to the wrongdoer, urging him to seek the help of the elders. (James 5:13-18)
g89 7/8 p. 19 Gossip—What’s the Harm in It?
On the other hand, gossip can also backfire and damage the gossiper. Instead of winning listening ears, gossip can breed distrust. “No one who gossips can be trusted with a secret,” says Proverbs 11:13. (Today’s English Version)
PROVERBS 11:14)
“When there is no skillful direction, the people fall, But there is success through many advisers.”
w02 5/15 pp. 27-28 Integrity Leads the Upright Ones
To help us walk in the way of the blameless ones, Jehovah provides an abundant supply of spiritual food prepared under the direction of “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45) We also receive much personal assistance through Christian elders in our townlike congregations. (Ephesians 4:11-13) We are indeed grateful for these, for “when there is no skillful direction, the people fall; but there is salvation in the multitude of counselors.” (Proverbs 11:14) Come what may, let us be firmly determined to ‘walk in our integrity.’—Psalm 26:1.
PROVERBS 11:15)
“Whoever guarantees a loan for a stranger is sure to fare badly, But whoever avoids shaking hands in a pledge will be secure.”
it-2 p. 1046 Surety
As commerce increased in Israel, so did suretyship in mercantile affairs. The proverbs warned that this was a dangerous, foolish practice, especially when one could not afford it without risking the loss of essential items of living.—Pr 6:1-5; 11:15;
w02 7/15 p. 28 Sow Righteousness, Reap God’s Loving-Kindness
“ONE will positively fare badly because he has gone surety for a stranger, but the one hating handshaking is keeping carefree.” (Proverbs 11:15) How convincingly this concise proverb encourages responsible action! Cosign a loan for a risky borrower and invite trouble. Avoid handshaking—a gesture that served as a signature to an agreement in ancient Israel—and remain free of monetary entrapment.
PROVERBS 11:16)
“A gracious woman acquires glory, But ruthless men seize riches.”
w02 7/15 pp. 28-29 Sow Righteousness, Reap God’s Loving-Kindness
Sow “Charm,” Reap “Glory”
“A woman of charm is the one that takes hold of glory,” says the wise king, “but the tyrants, for their part, take hold of riches.” (Proverbs 11:16) This verse draws a contrast between the enduring glory that a woman of charm, “a gracious woman,” may obtain and the transitory riches that a tyrant acquires.—An American Translation.
How may one acquire charm that results in glory? “Safeguard practical wisdom and thinking ability,” counseled Solomon, “and they will prove to be . . . charm to your throat.” (Proverbs 3:21, 22) And the psalmist spoke of ‘charm being poured out upon the lips of a king.’ (Psalm 45:1, 2) Yes, practical wisdom, thinking ability, and proper use of the tongue contribute to a person’s value and charm. That certainly is true of a discreet woman. Abigail, the wife of foolish Nabal, is one example. She was “good in discretion and beautiful in form,” and King David praised her for her “sensibleness.”—1 Samuel 25:3, 33.
A godly woman who has true charm will surely receive glory. She will be well spoken of by others. If married, she will gain glory for herself in the eyes of her husband. In fact, she will bring glory to the entire family. And hers is not a fleeting glory. “A name is to be chosen rather than abundant riches; favor is better than even silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) The good name that she makes with God has permanent value.
The situation is the opposite with a tyrant, ‘a ruthless man.’ (Proverbs 11:16, New International Version) A tyrant is categorized with wicked men and those who are adversaries of Jehovah’s worshipers. (Job 6:23; 27:13) Such a man ‘does not set God in front of him.’ (Psalm 54:3) By suppressing and taking selfish advantage of the innocent, such a person may “pile up silver like dust itself.” (Job 27:16) Yet, at some point in time, he may lie down and not arise, and any day that he does open his eyes may be his last. (Job 27:19) All his wealth and accomplishments will then amount to nothing.—Luke 12:16-21.
What an important lesson Proverbs 11:16 teaches! By succinctly setting before us what charm and tyranny each will reap, the king of Israel urges us to sow righteousness.
PROVERBS 11:17)
“A kind man benefits himself, But the cruel person brings trouble on himself.”
w02 7/15 p. 29 Sow Righteousness, Reap God’s Loving-Kindness
“Loving-Kindness” Brings Rewards
Teaching yet another lesson in human relationships, Solomon says: “A man of loving-kindness is dealing rewardingly with his own soul, but the cruel person is bringing ostracism upon his own organism.” (Proverbs 11:17) “The point of the proverb,” says one scholar, “is that one’s behaviour towards others, whether good or bad, has unintended or unexpected consequences for oneself.” Consider a young woman named Lisa. Although well-meaning, she is always late for her appointments. It is not unusual for her to be 30 minutes or more late for her arrangements to meet other Kingdom proclaimers for preaching activity. Lisa is not dealing rewardingly with herself. Can she blame others if they tire of losing valuable time and avoid making further appointments with her?
A perfectionist—someone who sets excessively high standards of accomplishment—is also cruel to himself. Always tirelessly striving to meet unattainable goals, he is setting himself up for exhaustion and disappointment. On the other hand, we deal rewardingly with ourselves when we set realistic and reasonable goals. Perhaps we are not as quick as others to grasp ideas. Or it may be that sickness or old age has imposed restraints upon us. Let us never become exasperated at our spiritual progress, but always continue to manifest reasonableness in dealing with our limitations. Happy we are when we ‘do our utmost’ within our capabilities.—2 Timothy 2:15; Philippians 4:5.
w93 4/1 pp. 28-29 Be Happy and Organized
Do Not Be Cruel to Yourself
Consider the good advice recorded at Proverbs 11:17. First the inspired writer tells us that “a man of loving-kindness is dealing rewardingly with his own soul.” Then he says in contrast: “But the cruel person is bringing ostracism upon his own organism.” The New International Version puts it this way: “A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings himself harm.”
How might we inadvertently be cruel to ourselves? One way is by being well-intentioned but completely disorganized. With what results? Says one expert: “A slip of memory, a wrongly filed document, an order insufficiently understood, a telephone call inaccurately recorded—these are the minutiæ of failure, the worms that eat into the fabric of efficiency and lay waste the best intentions.”—Teach Yourself Personal Efficiency.
This agrees with the inspired writer who said: “The one showing himself slack in his work—he is a brother to the one causing ruin.” (Proverbs 18:9) Yes, disorganized, inefficient people can cause calamity and ruin to themselves and others. Because of this, others often shun them. As a result of their slackness, they bring ostracism on themselves.
A Live Dog or a Dead Lion?
But we can be cruel to ourselves also by setting excessively high standards. We can aim, says the above writer on efficiency, for “a standard of perfection impossible of full attainment.” The result, he says, is “to land ourselves ultimately in heartbreak and disillusionment.” A perfectionist may be well organized and efficient, but he will never be truly happy. Sooner or later he gets only heartbreak.
If we tend toward being a perfectionist, we do well to remember that “a live dog is better off than a dead lion.” (Ecclesiastes 9:4) We might not literally kill ourselves through an unrealistic striving for perfection, but we can seriously harm ourselves through burnout. This, says one authority, involves “physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and interpersonal exhaustion.” (Job Stress and Burnout) Exhausting ourselves by striving after unattainable goals is surely being cruel to ourselves and inevitably robs us of happiness.
Deal Rewardingly With Yourself
Remember: “A man of loving-kindness is dealing rewardingly with his own soul.” (Proverbs 11:17) We deal rewardingly with ourselves when we set realistic and reasonable goals, keeping in mind that the happy God, Jehovah, knows our limitations. (Psalm 103:8-14) We can be happy if we too recognize those limitations and then “do our utmost,” within our capabilities, to fulfill our obligations well.—Hebrews 4:11; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 1:10.
Of course, there is always the danger of swinging to the other extreme—being too kind to ourselves. Do not forget Jesus’ reply to the apostle Peter’s suggestion, “Be kind to yourself, Lord,” when, in fact, resolute action was needed. So dangerous was Peter’s thinking that Jesus said: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, because you think, not God’s thoughts, but those of men.” (Matthew 16:22, 23) Dealing rewardingly with our own soul does not allow for a careless, self-indulgent attitude. That could also rob us of all happiness. Reasonableness, not fanaticism, is what we need.—Philippians 4:5.
PROVERBS 11:18)
“The wicked one earns deceptive wages, But the one who sows righteousness receives a true reward.”
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The wicked one may resort to deception or gambling in order to get something for nothing. Since such wages are false, he may be in for disappointment. The one doing an honest day’s work brings in true earnings in that he has security.
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“The wicked one is making false wages, but the one sowing righteousness, true earnings.
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Proverbs 11:18
PROVERBS 11:21)
“Be assured of this: An evil person will not go unpunished, But the children of the righteous will escape.”
it-2 p. 1046 Surety
Evidently a person became surety for another when, in the presence of witnesses, he struck, clasped, or shook the hand of the creditor of the transaction and promised to assume the obligations of the debtor if he should fail to make payment. In the Orient this act of striking or touching hands meant that a bargain or covenant was sealed. (Pr 11:21)
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Though hand be to hand, a bad person will not go unpunished; but the offspring of the righteous ones will certainly escape.”—Proverbs 11:18-21.
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“Though hand be to hand” in scheming treachery, the wicked one will not escape punishment. (Proverbs 2:21, 22) What a fine exhortation to sow righteousness!
PROVERBS 11:22)
“Like a gold ring in the snout of a pig Is a beautiful woman who rejects good sense.”
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Real Beauty for the Sensible One
“As a gold nose ring in the snout of a pig, so is a woman that is pretty but that is turning away from sensibleness,” continues Solomon. (Proverbs 11:22) Nose rings were a popular adornment during Bible times. A gold nose ring inserted through the side of the nose or through the septum separating the nostrils would be a readily noticeable piece of jewelry on a woman. How inappropriate such an exquisite ornament would be in the snout of a pig! It is similar with an outwardly beautiful person who lacks “sensibleness.” Adornment just does not befit that one, whether female or male. It is out of place—not appealing at all.
Granted, concern over how we look to others is natural. But why be overly anxious or dissatisfied with our face or physical form? We have no control over many aspects of our features. And physical appearance is not everything. Is it not true that most of the people we like and admire are rather ordinary looking? Physical attractiveness is not the key to happiness. What really counts is the inward beauty of enduring godly qualities. May we then be sensible and cultivate such qualities.
w87 5/15 p. 29 Fear Jehovah and You Will Be Happy
♦ 11:22—How could a woman be like a nose ring in a pig’s snout?
A gold nose ring inserted through a side of the nose or the partition separating the nostrils suggested that the wearer was a cultured person. But the Israelites considered swine unclean and loathsome. So a pretty but senseless woman is like an inappropriate gold nose ring in a pig’s snout.
PROVERBS 11:24)
“One gives generously and ends up with more; Another withholds what should be given, but he comes to poverty.”
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“There exists the one that is scattering and yet is being increased; also the one that is keeping back from what is right, but it results only in want.”—Proverbs 11:23, 24.
As we diligently scatter—impart to others—the knowledge of God’s Word, we certainly improve our own grasp of its “breadth and length and height and depth.” (Ephesians 3:18) The one letting his knowledge remain idle, on the other hand, is in danger of losing what he has. Yes, “he that sows sparingly will also reap sparingly; and he that sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”—2 Corinthians 9:6.
PROVERBS 11:25)
“The generous person will prosper, And whoever refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”
it-1 p. 814 Fat
We are told that those who are generous, diligent, and reliant on Jehovah “will be made fat,” that is, prosper abundantly. (Pr 11:25; 13:4; 28:25)
it-1 p. 918 Generosity
Says the proverb: “The generous soul [literally, the soul with a blessing gift] will itself be made fat [prosperous], and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.” (Pr 11:25)
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“The generous soul will itself be made fat [prosperous],” continues the king, “and the one freely watering others will himself also be freely watered.” (Proverbs 11:25) When we generously use our time and resources to advance true worship, Jehovah is well pleased with us. (Hebrews 13:15, 16) He will ‘open the floodgates of the heavens and actually empty out upon us a blessing until there is no more want.’ (Malachi 3:10) Just look at the spiritual prosperity of his servants today!
PROVERBS 11:26)
“The people will curse the one who withholds grain, But they will bless the one who sells it.”
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Giving yet another example of the contrasting desires of the righteous and of the wicked, Solomon says: “The one holding back grain—the populace will execrate him, but there is a blessing for the head of the one letting it be bought.” (Proverbs 11:26) To buy up commodities when prices are low and hold them back till supplies shrink and prices soar can be profitable. Even though some good may result from limiting consumption and maintaining a reserve, people generally despise a person doing this because of his selfishness. On the other hand, the one who refrains from making large profits from an emergency wins people’s favor.
PROVERBS 11:28)
“The one trusting in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the foliage.”
g 9/15 p. 5 A Balanced View of Money
THE BIBLE SAYS: “The one trusting in his riches will fall.”—Proverbs 11:28.
Researchers cite money problems as a common factor in marital strife resulting in divorce. Money problems have also been a factor in suicide. For some people, money is more important than their marriage vows or even their life! In contrast, those who have a balanced view do not put their trust in money. Instead, they recognize the wisdom of Jesus’ words: “Even when a person has an abundance, his life does not result from the things he possesses.”—Luke 12:15.
PROVERBS 11:29)
“Anyone who brings trouble on his household will inherit the wind, And the fool will be a servant to the wisehearted one.”
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And the man who brings ostracism upon his house takes “possession of wind.” He gains nothing that is worth while or has real substance.—Pr 11:29.
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Illustrating how foolish action results in bad consequences, Solomon states: “As for anyone bringing ostracism upon his own house, he will take possession of wind.” (Proverbs 11:29a) Achan’s wrongdoing ‘brought ostracism upon him,’ and both he and members of his family were stoned to death. (Joshua, chapter 7) Today, the head of a Christian household and others in his family may get involved in wrongdoing that results in their being disfellowshipped from the Christian congregation. By personally failing to comply with God’s commandments and by tolerating serious wrongdoing within his family, a man brings ostracism upon his own house. He and perhaps others in his family are excluded from Christian association as unrepentant wrongdoers. (1 Corinthians 5:11-13) And what will he acquire? Only wind—something lacking any real substance or value.
“A foolish person will be a servant to the one wise in heart,” continues the verse. (Proverbs 11:29b) Since a foolish person lacks practical wisdom, he cannot be trusted with great responsibility. Moreover, his mismanagement of his personal affairs may cause him to become obligated to another individual in some way. Such an unwise one may well become “a servant to the one wise in heart.” Clearly, then, it is vital that we use good judgment and practical wisdom in all our dealings.
PROVERBS 11:30)
“The fruitage of the righteous one is a tree of life, And the one who wins souls is wise.”
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“The fruitage of the righteous one is a tree of life, and he that is winning souls is wise,” says another proverb. (Pr 11:30) The righteous person, by speech and example, wins souls, that is, by listening to him, persons get spiritual nourishment, are led to serve God, and receive the life that God makes possible.
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“The fruitage of the righteous one is a tree of life,” the wise king assures us, “and he that is winning souls is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30) How does this happen? Well, by his speech and conduct, a righteous person brings spiritual nourishment to others. They are encouraged to serve Jehovah and may eventually receive the life that God makes possible.
PROVERBS 11:31)
“If, indeed, the righteous one on earth is rewarded, How much more the wicked one and the sinner!”
it-2 p. 792 Resurrection
Peter writes to his brothers, pointing out that they, as “the house of God,” are under judgment, and he then quotes from Proverbs 11:31 (LXX) warning them of the danger of disobedience. He here implies that their present judgment could end with a judgment of everlasting destruction for them, just as Paul had written.—1Pe 4:17, 18.
w06 9/15 p. 18 par. 8 Highlights From the Book of Proverbs
11:31—Why should the wicked one be rewarded more than the righteous one? The reward here is measured in terms of the degree of chastisement each receives. When the righteous person errs, the reward he receives for his errors is discipline. The wicked one sins deliberately and refuses to turn to doing good. He therefore deserves and receives a severe punishment.
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‘The Sinner Will Be Rewarded Even More’
How persuasively the aforementioned proverbs exhort us to sow righteousness! Applying in yet another way the principle that “whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap,” Solomon states: “Look! The righteous one—in the earth he will be rewarded. How much more should the wicked one and the sinner be!”—Proverbs 11:31.
Even though a righteous person makes the effort to do what is right, he at times errs. (Ecclesiastes 7:20) And for his mistakes he will be “rewarded” by receiving discipline. What, though, of the wicked person who deliberately chooses a bad course and makes no effort to turn to the way of uprightness? Does he not deserve a greater ‘reward’—a severe punishment? “If the righteous man is being saved with difficulty,” wrote the apostle Peter, “where will the ungodly man and the sinner make a showing?” (1 Peter 4:18) Let us, therefore, be determined always to sow seed for ourselves in righteousness.

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