How wonderful is understanding? She can save you from a beating.

Understanding is one of the most highly sought after virtues in Proverbs, ranking up there with wisdom. Those with understanding are blessed and those without it are cursed.

What is Solomon referring to when he talks about understanding? It’s clear that this virtue has a lot to do with the things of God and who God is. It’s very closely linked to the search for wisdom; in getting wisdom, you receive understanding and knowledge (8:12-14).


13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, but a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.”

We see here the words that come out of a man with understanding are wise. This is because he knows God (as much as a finite human can) and how he should respond to Him.

For the man who despises understanding and is devoid of it, judgement is upon him. He rejects all the rules of God; he even spits on the fair rule of man on earth. Although ultimately he will find God as his judge, earthly court systems will also find him guilty and have him punished.


14 Wise people store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.”

Who writes libraries of books? Not really anyone, but people do accumulate authors’ knowledge about any topic. While some books are more worthy than others, the picture of the wise is that they are searchers fro knowledge, and stockpile it. They gather good things about God, how to live, the issue of suffering, and so on, into their mind. They consume it in order to further their understanding of God. There is also a great opportunity to then share it.

Unfortunately, the foolish would have none of that stored up wisdom. They would profess to be wise one moment, and reject God’s wisdom the next. This is what it is to be near destruction! Live like a wise-cracker, instead like a wise person, and you’ll be dancing, balancing precariously, on the edge of folly. It can’t be safe living like that.


15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the destruction of the poor is their poverty.”

What keeps the rich man safe? His wealth does. He can make risks with some of his money for profit and still have plenty to fall back on if that venture goes downhill. He build layers of protection with insurance for his house, his car, his income, himself, etc. He is in very relative safety, but it can seem very secure for this life.

The poor person’s situation is the polar opposite. His lack of money and advantage is his downfall. While it often is not his fault for being in the predicament of having extremely little, he has to deal with how to survive without much. Each day is a struggle to live, both physically and mentally.

Both men in those situations are equal in the sight of God, but are defined by their wealth here on earth. While not necessarily a moral proverb, it highlights the way the abundance or lack of finance affects the way a person lives. Let’s trust God that He doesn’t have us in our positions in life without a reason. Let’s do our best to honour Him in the situations we live in. Amen.


Thoughts or questions? Write them down in the comment section below!

 Note: All scripture is taken from and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.

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