Proverbs 14 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Proverbs 14)

Verse 1

[1] Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

Buildeth — Maintains and improves her family and estate.

Her hands — By her idleness or sin.

Verse 3

[3] In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.

A rod — His insolent speeches as they are like a rod, offensive to others, so, they make a rod for their own backs.

Verse 4

[4] Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

The crib — The stable is empty of food for cattle, and much more for man. In the same sense cleanness of teeth is put for famine, Amos 4:6.

The strength — By their labours, or by diligence in husbandry, which then was principally managed by oxen.

Verse 6

[6] A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.

Findeth it not — Because he doth not seek it aright.

That understandeth — That is honest and pious.

Verse 8

[8] The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.

His way — Consists not in vain speculations, but in a diligent study of his duty, and of the way to eternal happiness.

The folly — The wit of ungodly men, which is really their folly, is employed only in finding out ways of deceiving.

Verse 9

[9] Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.

Favour — They find favour both with God and men.

Verse 10

[10] The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

Bitterness — The inward griefs and joys of mens hearts, are not known to any but a man's self.

Verse 12

[12] There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

Right — There are some evil courses which men may think to be lawful and good.

The end — The event shews that they were sinful and destructive.

Verse 13

[13] Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

In laughter — The outward signs of joy are often mixed with real sorrow.

Verse 14

[14] The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

In heart — He who departs from God inwardly.

Filled — With the fruit of his ways, the punishment of his sins.

Satisfied — From the pious temper of his own heart, which cleaves to the Lord, he shall receive unspeakable comfort.

Verse 15

[15] The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

The simple — A foolish man.

Looketh — He orders his dealings in the world with due circumspection, not considering so much what other men say as what he ought to do.

Verse 16

[16] A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.

Feareth — Trembles at God's judgments when they are either inflicted or threatened.

Rageth — Frets against God; or is enraged against his messengers.

Confident — Secure and insensible of his danger.

Verse 17

[17] He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Foolishly — His passion hurries him into foolish speeches and actions.

Wicked devices — One who suppresses his passion, but meditates revenge.

Hated — Both by God and men.

Verse 18

[18] The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

Inherit — They possess it as their inheritance, holding it fast, and glorying in it.

Knowledge — The saving knowledge of God and of their own duty.

Verse 19

[19] The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

The evil — Good men shall have the pre-eminency over the wicked.

Verse 20

[20] The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.

Hated — Despised and abandoned.

Verse 21

[21] He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Despiseth — That does not pity and relieve the poor.

Verse 23

[23] In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.

The talk — Idle talking will bring a man to poverty.

Verse 24

[24] The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.

Riches — They are a singular advantage and ornament to them.

But — As for rich fools, their folly is not cured, but made worse and more manifest by their riches.

Verse 25

[25] A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.

Souls — Such as are innocent, from false accusations.

Verse 27

[27] The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

To depart — To preserve men from destructive courses.

Verse 29

[29] He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.

Exalteth — Heb. lifteth up, like a banner, makes it known and visible to all men.

Verse 30

[30] A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

A sound heart — Free from envy and inordinate passions.

Is life — Procures and maintains the health and vigour of the body.

Verse 31

[31] He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

His maker — Whose image the poor man bears, by whose providence he is made poor, and who hath declared himself to be their protector and avenger.

Verse 32

[32] The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.

Driven away — In his death, from God's favour and presence.

Death — In his greatest dangers and distresses, yea even in death itself.

Verse 33

[33] Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.

Resteth — Is laid up and hid there.

In the midst — In the heart.

Made known — They will publish in all times and companies.

Verse 35

[35] The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.

Shame — Both to himself, by his foolish management of the king's affairs, and to the king who made so foolish a choice of a servant.