Study Guide

Proverbs Chapter 19

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Chapter 19

"If I Was a Rich Man"

  • Continuing with yet more favorite themes, Proverbs states that it's better to be poor and have integrity than to be a fool.
  • One of the aspects of being a fool is desiring things without having any knowledge—letting your wants lead you by the nose, essentially, with no reflection.
  • Even though people's only folly brings them down, they still rage against God, like he's responsible.
  • Wealth earns friends, but poverty makes people dislike you or stay away (though Proverbs says nothing about whether wealth earns you real friends).
  • Proverbs proceeds to re-tread old (and some new) territory: false witnesses, foolish children, and quarrelsome wives are bad; slaves shouldn't rule over princes; it's good to overlook offenses; and kings are pretty great when they're in a good mood.

Stuck in the Candy Dish 

  • Proverbs repeats advice (that, for the most part, it's already repeated): be kind to the poor, beat your kids to discipline them, listen to good advice.
  • There's no point in trying to save someone from their own violent temper: you'll just need to do it all over again.
  • Lazy people are so lazy that they'll stick their hand in a dish (of Werther's Originals, or the ancient equivalent) and won't even have the willpower to take it out.
  • Even though Proverbs said there's no point in rebuking the wicked, here it says that if someone strikes a scoffer it helps simple people know what's up.
  • The chapter ends by repeating a couple of Proverbs' classic stand-bys: listen to Mom and Dad and don't be a scoffer or fool, because you'll end up getting flogged.

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