Proverbs Devotional Experience
Solomon continues to place his Proverbs in bookends so the subject matter may e considered in the light of the introduction and conclusion.
In verse 1, an abominable or disgraceful false weight is contrasted; in verse 20, with an abominable or disgraceful, crooked heart. The subjects between these two bookends are weighed in the light of keeping one's heart honest before God.
In verse 2, pride is disgraceful and humility delights; in verse 3, crookedness is disgraceful and integrity is what delights; and in verse 4, trust in riches is disgraceful while righteousness delights. So goes the following verses as Solomon contrasts what is an abomination to God with what delights Him.
In verses 5 through 8, the fate of what is disgraceful is contrasted with the fate of what is delighted in.
In verses 9 and 12, we see the disgraceful practice of slandering one's neighbor and the delightful practice of care in what one says.
In verses 10 and 11, we find what delights the city and what disgraces it.
In verse 13, we discover the disgraceful practice of slander; in 14, we find the graceful practice of counselors; and in verse 15, we find the disgrace in co-signing a loan. All three verses express issues that bring disgrace into our lives: slander, decisions made without advice, and co-signing for a debt.
In verses 15 and 16, a delightful, gracious woman and kind man are contrasted with the disgrace of violence and cruelty.
In verses 18, 19, and 20, the proverbs end with the disgrace of being deceptive with billing, pursuing evil ends, and being of crooked heart, contrasted with the delight of righteousness and the blameless way.
The next bookends we find in verse 21 contrast the evil, who will not go unpunished, and the righteous, who will be delivered, with verse 31 where the righteous will not only be delivered but also repaid, and the wicked sinner will be much more repaid.
The first verse in this section, 22, appears to stand alone as a humorous axiom about beauty when put on something ugly, so it appears completely out of place.
Next, verses 23 and 27 appear to parallel as they discuss the conclusion of desire and searching. Verses 24 through 26 center on a similar theme of generosity, hoarding, and basic selfishness. All of this is being considered in the light of consequence.
Verses 28 through 30 deal with the catastrophic repayment on the home of one who does not capture his soul and the soul of his family but instead troubles them with building a life on poor decisions and principles.
While all of this may seem complicated, the goal of the poetry is to contrast what happens between two different kind of people and actions so one can be wise.