1. Does a wise man gain more from reproof than a fool would gain from a serious beating?
Yes: “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool” (Proverbs 17:10).
- Wise individuals want to be corrected (Proverbs 9:8-9, Proverbs 15:31, and Hebrews 12:5; cf. II Timothy 3:15-17).
- A fool just doesn’t learn no matter what you do to them (Proverbs 15:5, Proverbs 27:22, Isaiah 1:5, Jeremiah 2:30, and Jeremiah 5:3).
2. Are evil people rebellious?
Yes: “An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him” (Proverbs 17:11).
- Rebellion is departing from God’s word (Ezekiel 20:13 and Daniel 9:5).
3. How bad is it for a fool to meet his folly [foolishness; lack of good sense]?
Bad, as is identified by the comparison drawn: “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly” (Proverbs 17:12).
- A fool returning to his folly or meeting his folly is just a sure situation of apostasy (Proverbs 5:23).
- The illustration of a bear meeting a man in defense of her young is powerful (Hosea 13:8).
4. Is it good for a person to reward evil for good?
No, for evil shall not depart from their house: “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house” (Proverbs 17:13).
- Psalms 38:20 and Psalms 109:3-17; cf. Matthew 27:24-25.
5. Is it good to allow strife to begin?
No, it’s like flood waters: “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with” (Proverbs 17:14).
- Strife grows: Proverbs 26:21
- Therefore, steer clear of contention (Proverbs 20:3).
6. How does the Lord view those who justify the wicked and/or condemn the just?
They both are an abomination to Him: “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:15).
- Deuteronomy 25:1, Isaiah 5:20; 23, Malachi 2:17, and Luke 23:18-25.
7. Does it make any sense for a fool to appear as though he’s trying to obtain wisdom when his heart is not set on it?
No: “Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it” (Proverbs 17:16)?
- The heart of a fool is not set on gaining knowledge from God (Psalms 14:1, Proverbs 12:23, Proverbs 15:14, Proverbs 18:2, Proverbs 19:3, and Proverbs 28:26).
- This does not mean one cannot go from being foolish to being a wise servant of God (Titus 3:3).
- Additionally, one who has served God can turn back to foolishness (Galatians 3:1-3).
8. What are signs of a true friend and a good brother?
When they’re there through the tough times: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).
- I Samuel 18:3; 19:2, Proverbs 18:24, John 15:13-14, and Galatians 6:2.
9. Does a wise man become a surety [one taking responsibility for the debt of another] for another?
No: “A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend” (Proverbs 17:18).
- See also: Proverbs 6:1-5, Proverbs 11:15-18, and Proverbs 22:26-27.
- If it is a brother in need, we should give rather than lend (Acts 20:35, Romans 15:25-27, and I John 3:15-18).