Proverbs 22 begins a section known as “Thirty Sayings of the Wise,” which are a group of scriptures teaching us about God’s ways and the proper ways to act.
People generally understand the need to learn from others. This is why they send their children to school to learn academic skills. This is why they send their children to piano lessons, and take tennis lessons. This is why folks go to college to learn a profession, or tech school to learn a trade.
But when it comes to character, morals, and spiritual salvation many abandon the notion that they need to learn from others. They come up with their own moral standards, their own ideas of right and wrong, and their own notions about God and salvation. How wrong they are! Claiming to be wise, they become fools by trusting in their own ways, and not the ways of the Lord.
1 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
2 Rich and poor have this in common:
The Lord is the Maker of them all.
3 The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.
4 Humility is the fear of the Lord;
its wages are riches and honor and life.
5 In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,
but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.
6 Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
7 The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is slave to the lender.
8 Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity,
and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.
9 The generous will themselves be blessed,
for they share their food with the poor.
10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults are ended.
11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace
will have the king for a friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.
13 The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside!
I’ll be killed in the public square!”
14 The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit;
a man who is under the Lord’s wrath falls into it.
15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.
16 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth
and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.
Thirty Sayings of the Wise
17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
apply your heart to what I teach,
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
and have all of them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I teach you today, even you.
20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,
sayings of counsel and knowledge,
21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth,
so that you bring back truthful reports
to those you serve?
22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court,
23 for the Lord will take up their case
and will exact life for life.
24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
do not associate with one easily angered,
25 or you may learn their ways
and get yourself ensnared.
26 Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge
or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
your very bed will be snatched from under you.
28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone
set up by your ancestors.
29 Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings;
they will not serve before officials of low rank.