Proverbs 17:  Testing of the Hearts

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests the hearts.  Proverbs 17:3


 

17:3 The refining of silver and gold is an exacting process, involving skill and considerable heat and stress.  The refining work of God on His people often requires stress too.

17:4 This proverb presents the evildoer and the liar as a parody of the wise.  As the righteous person listens with care to the instruction of a teacher, so the wicked person listens with care to the ruinous speech of the unrighteous.

4  An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.

17:7 It is a contradiction in terms for a fool to speak well or for a prince to be a liar.  It is not becoming for such inappropriateness to exist.

7  Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, Much less lying lips to a prince.

17:15 abomination to the Lord:  Since God is a God of justice, He detests those who pervert justice – both those who declare the innocent guilty and those who declare the guilty innocent.

15  He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

17:17 This proverb lauds faithfulness.  Unlike fickle friends, a true friend is constant, and a real brother helps in times of stress.

17  A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

17:23 Like false weights, skewed justice destroys a culture.  A bribe is literally a “gift.”  In v. 8, the same Hebrew word is translated positively as present, but in this verse the meaning is negative because the purpose of the gift is to pervert justice.

23  A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back To pervert the ways of justice.

17:24 Wisdom produces a satisfied life.  The fool continues searching without finding any satisfaction.

24  Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

17:26 Only a perverse population would punish the righteous.  Like several other proverbs, this one describes what is to be recognized as an outrage.

26  Also, to punish the righteous is not good, Nor to strike princes for their uprightness.

 

** This proverb talks about friendship, perversion of justice and a fool.  The Bible clearly presents the way of life for us.  Choosing the right way is an easy task because there is only one.  There are no better or worse ways.  All others are wrong.  Once we find the way and place ourselves on it, then we become capable of recognizing those who are true friends, the wicked who pervert justice and fools.  We don’t have to worry about the latter two because we have Christ who became a friend and a brother of all who accept Him.  Test the hearts and lean on the ones that love.


17 1  Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife.

2  A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame, And will share an inheritance among the brothers.

3  The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests the hearts.

4  An evildoer gives heed to false lips; A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.

5  He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

6  Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.

7  Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, Much less lying lips to a prince.

8  A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; Wherever he turns, he prospers.

9  He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.

10  Rebuke is more effective for a wise man Than a hundred blows on a fool.

11  An evil man seeks only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.

12  Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly.

13  Whoever rewards evil for good, Evil will not depart from his house.

14  The beginning of strife is like releasing water; Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.

15  He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.

16  Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, Since he has no heart for it?

17  A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

18  A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, And becomes surety for his friend.

19  He who loves transgression loves strife, And he who exalts his gate seeks destruction.

20  He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.

21  He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, And the father of a fool has no joy.

22  A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.

23  A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back To pervert the ways of justice.

24  Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.

25  A foolish son is a grief to his father, And bitterness to her who bore him.

26  Also, to punish the righteous is not good, Nor to strike princes for their uprightness.

27  He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. 28  Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.

 

 

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