Proverbs 3 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Proverbs 3)

Verse 1

[1] My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:

My law — The law of God, which might be called his law, as the gospel is called Paul's gospel, 2 Timothy 2:8, because delivered by him.

Verse 3

[3] Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:

Mercy — Mercy denotes all benignity, charity, and readiness to do good to others: truth or faithfulness respects all those duties which we owe to God or man, which we have special obligation from the rules of justice.

Bind them — Like a chain, wherewith persons adorn their necks.

Table — In thy mind and heart, in which all God's commands are to be received and engraven.

Verse 4

[4] So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.

Understanding — Whereby to know thy duty, and to discern between good and evil.

Of God — Grace or favour with God, and that understanding which is good in God's sight.

Verse 5

[5] Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Trust — Wholly rely upon God's promises and providences.

Lean not — Under this one kind of carnal confidence, he understands all other confidence in bodily strength, wealth, or friends.

Verse 8

[8] It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Navel — To thy body, which is signified by one part of it.

Marrow — Which is the nourishment and strength of the bones.

Verse 9

[9] Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:

Substance — Lay out thy estate not to please thyself, but to glorify God.

First-fruits — Or, with the chief or best; which answers to the first-fruits under the law.

Verse 10

[10] So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.

So — This is not the way to diminish thy estate, but rather to increase it.

Verse 11

[11] My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:

Despise not — Either by making light of it, or not being duly affected with it; or by accounting it an unnecessary thing: but rather esteem it a privilege and favour from God.

Weary — Neither think it tedious or hard, but endure it with patience and chearfulness.

Verse 13

[13] Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

Findeth — Which supposes his diligent searching for it.

Verse 17

[17] Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Peace — Procure a blessed tranquility in a man's mind and conscience.

Verse 18

[18] She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

A tree — A pledge of everlasting life. He alludes to the tree of life, and intimates, that this is the only restorer of that life which we have lost by sin.

Verse 19

[19] The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.

Wisdom — Either by Christ, or by that Divine perfection of wisdom, which is the fountain of wisdom in man.

Verse 20

[20] By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

The depths — That great abyss contained in the bowels of the earth, breaks forth into fountains and rivers.

Verse 21

[21] My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:

Eyes — The eyes of thy mind. Constantly and seriously meditate upon them.

Verse 22

[22] So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.

Grace — Like a beautiful chain or ornament.

Verse 25

[25] Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

Be not — Thou shalt not be afraid.

Sudden — For sudden and unexpected evils are most frightful. And fear is here put for the evils feared.

Desolation — Which cometh upon the wicked.

Verse 26

[26] For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.

Shall be — A sure ground of confidence to thee.

Taken — In the snares either of sin or mischief.

Verse 27

[27] Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.

With-hold not — Do not deny it, but readily and chearfuly impart it.

Good — Any thing which is good, either counsel, comfort, reproof, or the good things of the present life.

Due — That is, to all men, by that great and sovereign law of love.

Verse 28

[28] Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.

Say not — The former verse forbad the denial, and this forbids the delay of this duty.

Verse 29

[29] Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.

Securely — Relying upon thine integrity.

Verse 31

[31] Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Envy not — For his impunity and success.

Verse 32

[32] For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.

Abomination — Therefore sooner or later he must be miserable.

The righteous — They are God's friends, to whom he imparts the favours and comforts to which other men are strangers.

Verse 33

[33] The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.

The house — Not only upon his own person, but also upon his posterity.

Verse 35

[35] The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.

Shame — Instead of that glory which they seek.