Study Guide

Proverbs Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

No Lost Weekends

  • The author begins by attacking excessive wine drinking, stating that it'll lead you into all manner of aggressive shenanigans.
  • Despite this brief digression into supporting moderation in alcohol consumption, the author returns to yet more comfortably familiar topics: don't provoke kings, don't quarrel, don't be lazy, don't be disloyal, don't use false weights and measures to cheat people.
  • The author also picks up some fresh points, as well: the purposes in the human mind are really hard to figure out. But wise people (like Freud or Jung or whoever) can tease them out.
  • Also, Proverbs goes on to say: look, nobody's perfect. Everyone has a heart stained somewhat with sin.
  • Kids reveal their own inner natures by their good and bad acts (Proverbs argues for Nature over Nurture, in this case), and God has fashioned human senses, allowing humans to perceive reality.

"It Builds Character" 

  • Again, the author treads over ground that he or she has covered earlier: don't lend money to strangers or foreigners, use deceit to gain food or riches, don't gossip or babble, don't make rash vows, and always consult wise advisors.
  • A dishonest buyer pretends he's getting cheated to haggle his or her way into a better deal.
  • If you quickly acquire some property in the beginning, it's not going to last. Proverbs favors gradual hard work as the best method.
  • Also, don't take vengeance on your own initiative—God's the real pro at these things (like Uma Thurman in a Tarantino flick, we suppose).
  • The human spirit is like a lamp God uses to search the inner reaches of the human heart and mind.
  • Young people have the glory of being strong, and old people have the glory of having lived long enough to earn their gray hair, wearing it as a crown of honor.
  • The beatings that life gives you, says Proverbs, actually help purify you and remove evil from you. Like people say today, "It builds character."

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