Proverbs 15:16-20
Prov 15:16 (KJB)
Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
Trouble - Uproar, confusion, or dismay
(Rom 3:18 KJV) There is no fear of God before their eyes. The wicked have no fear of God and therefore the first part of this passage is speaking of the believer. This verse gives a principle the world will never understand. It is better to have little of the worlds goods and be at peace with God knowing that this life is only transitory. The peace the believer has with God is also evident in their life as they do not concern themselves with the accumulation of great wealth and material goods knowing that they are fleeting. The poor people of this world think that having great riches and power brings a sense of security and peace, when in reality, it brings just the opposite. There is hardly a family with wealth that does not have many problems. They seek to focus on the wealth as their security and their fear is not of God but it is of losing their wealth. It causes them to stay up nights and it is a never ending battle to remain in that state. (Psa 4:8 KJV) I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. David knew that it was God that gave security to him and not his wealth as king. Those who are believers, have a relationship with God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ and what possessions they have in this world will never affect that relationship. The less material goods we have, the simpler we can live and the more we can dedicate our lives to Christ. Great possessions are great hindrance to the great work of God in this world.
Prov 15:17 (KJB)
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
Stalled - Having been fattened
Here is another example building on verse 16. It is better to have a simple meal, even if it is just of herbs, with love present, that is, the family is together and all in harmony with each other. The rich household may have a fattened ox for supper, meaning a great feast, but if there is hatred, cynicism, sniping at each other, then it does not matter what great feast is laid before them, it will never be enjoyed as much as the simple meal of vegetables enjoyed by a Godly family with thanksgiving. A great feast can be but window dressing while the simple meal will be eaten with reality.
Prov 15:18 (KJB)
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
Appeaseth - Quiet or mollify
A man who has a nature of hatred and trouble making will always be there to stir up strife. The word stirreth in the Hebrew is in the Piel stem which makes this a very intensive word. He just does not stir up a simple argument, his wrath causes others to be enemies where there were no enemies before. This kind of a person in any setting is just a volcano of dissension waiting to erupt. He brings nothing to a situation that one can desire and should be avoided at all costs. (Eccl 7:9 KJV) Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools. Ecclesiastes 7:9 shows that anger rests, that is, it has a home or feels comfortable in the bosom of a fool and is ready to strike like a venomous viper. The one who does not explode like a striking match, one that is slow to anger, normally is a very rational person and is at peace with themselves and with God. Those who have a regenerated spirit will realize that they possess the ability to quiet down a situation before it gets out of hand. The one who is slow to anger shows much wisdom realizing that strife does not solve problems but only exacerbates the situation.
Prov 15:19 (KJB)
The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
Slothful - Sluggard or lazy
Made Plain - Built up or exalted
(Prov 24:30-31 KJV) I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; {31} And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Just as a field which is planted needs to be weeded or it will choke the plants, the sluggard refuses to do any more than he has to. The way or manner of the sluggard is like a hedge which has nothing but thorns on it. A thorn will stick a person and cause pain and bleeding. The sluggard sees his pathway as filled with them and refuses to do anything because he feels he will be pricked by the thorns. His anticipation of troubles is his excuse to remain lazy. On the other hand, the diligent man sets out with a goal and a plan in mind and continues to build on that plan. He may run into problems on the way but he does not let that deter him from achieving his goal. This is why compared to the sluggard, his way is exalted over the lazy, excuse ridden way of the sluggard.
Prov 15:20 (KJB)
A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
Despiseth - To regard with contempt
Here we read that a wise son is one who brings gladness to his father as his father sees him make wise decisions in his life and probably his family as this verse is possibly teaching about an adult son who learned wisdom from his parents, and is now using that wisdom to make wise decisions. The son who has lived a foolish life and made foolish decisions as a young man will continue to make those foolish decisions as an adult and as a result, somewhere along the way he learned to despise or treat his mother with contempt. The mother is normally the more gentle parent and for this man to hate her probably means he has double the contempt for his father. He is called a fool because in despising his mother, he is in violation of the fifth commandment. (Exo 20:12 KJV) Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. It also shows to harbor hatred for someone that a person does not have a regenerated heart.