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Proverbs 23:1-16

Talks for Growing Christians

Wisdom in Integrity

Proverbs 23:1-16

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Lesson Number 37

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Proverbs are wise advice for everyday living.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t have one without the other!

Questions

  1. Verses 1-3 form one wise saying. Should the direction given in verse 2 be taken literally? What is the overall lesson for us in these 3 verses?
  2. Does the wise saying of verses 4 and 5 instruct us to avoid trying to become rich?
  3. In the first phrase of verse 10, “Do not remove the ancient landmark,” what unjust action is prohibited? As part of this same prohibition, what is the likely meaning of the second phrase, “. . . nor enter the fields of the fatherless”?
  4. Verse 11 continues the wise saying begun in verse 10. What connection does the “Redeemer” have with the injustice mentioned in verse 10?

Answers

  1. In verse 2, a figure of speech called hyperbole is used. This is a statement that is purposefully exaggerated to get a point across. The wise saying does not intend to teach us to literally put a knife to our throat when accepting a meal from someone who has authority, but rather to exercise extreme caution when offered this special invitation because the person in authority may have ulterior motives in his invitation.
  2. Yes, the wise saying in verses 4 and 5 does instruct us to avoid trying to become rich. The Bible gives us several reasons why this is good instruction. Jesus said in Matthew 6:24 that we cannot serve God and money during our earthly life. 1 Timothy 6:7 tells us that we cannot take material riches with us into eternity. And here in verse 5 of this chapter of Proverbs, we are told that material riches are not secure. They can literally disappear overnight.
  3. The unjust action warned against in the first phrase of verse 10 is the moving or removing of stones which marked the boundaries of someone’s property in order to enlarge one’s own. It would be a form of stealing. The second phrase of this wise saying likely warns against the specific action of moving the boundary stones after the property owner died, and before the children who inherited the property had a chance to inspect the boundaries.
  4. In verse 11, the Hebrew word that is used for “redeemer” is “goel,” which can be translated “defender.” This is the same word used for the “kinsman redeemer” in the Old Testament. The kinsman redeemer had the responsibility to protect the property rights of a near relative. Verse 11 states that God Himself will be the Kinsman Redeemer for those who can’t defend themselves, and He will plead their cause!

Discuss/Consider

  1. Discuss the challenge of determining when a person to whom you are teaching or witnessing is no longer “worthy” of your time and effort. Consider responses from that person which may be good indications that he or she “is despising the wisdom of your words.”

Challenge

  1. When you search your heart and your habits, do you find a good balance between your desire and diligence to serve the Lord with zeal, and your desire and diligence to continually grow in the knowledge of God’s Word? Be sure you are seeking and taking the time to study the Word of God both individually and under the teaching of others.

Key Verses

  • “Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.” Proverbs 23:12

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