Proverbs 18:21-24
Prov 18:21 (KJB)
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
This verse is teaching that words can have serious effect upon those who hear them. Words can be used to help encourage and heal a person and on the other hand, words, when used by a fool or an evil person, can have the opposite effect and can destroy a person. How many people have we met in our lives that have been discouraged by another and therefore do not attempt to do anything. On the other hand, how many have we met that were encouraged and attempted to do things and have accomplished them. Words can bring a person down or raise a person up, especially when they are spoken by someone that we love or trust. The second half of this verse speaks of the person uses words continually and they will eat the fruit, that is, they will suffer the consequences or reap the results of the words spoken. Words spoken do not only affect the hearer but also the one who is speaking. Sometimes we Christians can be more negative than positive. What I mean by that is let us say somebody comes to the average Christian and says they want to start a business. The average Christian will go into super-spiritual mode and say things like, “oh that is worldly and you shouldn’t get involved in worldly things” or something to that effect. Instead we should be saying, “if you believe the Lord wants you to start a business, then do it, but do not forget the Lord when the profits start coming in and give out of those profits and the Lord will bless that business.” We need to encourage the brethren and not always discourage them.
This verse also has a spiritual meaning. Death and life are in the words of the person bringing the Gospel. There are going to be those who hear the Word of God and joyfully accept the words because they have been qualified to hear them. There will be those who hear the Word of God and will reject it wanting nothing to do with it. (2 Cor 2:16 KJV) To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:16 states that to some we bring life but to others we bring death. The second part of that verse is important because the speaker must be bringing the true Gospel, if they are not, then that is evidence they are unsaved and their own words will condemn them at the last day. (Mat 12:37 KJV) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. So they will eat the fruit of salvation or condemnation.
Prov 18:22 (KJB)
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Here the counsel given is that a man who finds a wife does find a good thing simply because they have received the wife from the Lord. In other words, the man did not go out and date a hundred women in hopes to find one that is compatible with him. The godly man waits upon the Lord to bring him a wife and if the Lord does not, then the Lord wants that man to remain single. If the Lord brings him a wife, then they will be totally compatible and that is how one obtains favor. If a man marries the wrong woman, then there will be much hostility in that marriage. This is why dating is such a dangerous game to play because a man might marry a woman because of her beauty but underneath lies a beast. This verse also speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ. When He went to the cross to pay for the sins of His people, He was purchasing a bride and this was favour from the LORD, which is Jehovah, His Father. (John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. The Lord Jesus Christ is still gathering His bride today and when the last day comes with the choosing of the last one, then comes the end and the glorification of His Saints, the bride.
Prov 18:23 (KJB)
The poor useth entreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
Entreaties - Supplication or an outpouring of a troubled soul
Roughly - Harsh or be strong
Poor people normally have to seek help with their lives and they use supplications or entreaties to make their case or plight known. They do not come with an arrogance because they know it will work against them. However, the rich people can have all the arrogancy they want simply because they are rich and people pander to the rich no matter how nasty they get. The rich people think their riches are a license to treat others with contempt but they too will realize that error. (Col 4:1 KJV) Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven. The rich do not realize it yet, but they too have a master in Heaven that they must give an account to.
Prov 18:24 (KJB)
A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
A little technical stuff first. The word "lehithro'ea'" for “must show himself friendly” means "to be broken" but it was a very hard word to translate because one of the words it is constructed of is ra'a' and it could be attached to many different verb stems and that is why it was hard for them to translate it. It is a "hithpael" mood verb which shows a reflexive action. The man who has friends must show himself to be friendly. So the reflexive action coming back on him is the requirement of being friendly and that is probably why they translated it that way.
1901 ASV - He that maketh many friends doeth it to his own destruction; But there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
NIV - A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
The reflexive action would not line up with the first part of that verse. It would be like if I looked in the mirror and saw Brad Pitt staring back at me, that would not be a proper reflection because I am better looking than him.
This verse give a practical aspect of the golden rule. (Mat 7:12 KJV) Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. If a person is going to show themselves friendly, then in turn, they will have many friends. How many would like to befriend a person who is nasty and treats others with contempt? Normally, people flee from those attitudes and are not drawn to them. What draws people is the friendship that is true and if a person shows themselves friendly, even in times of trouble, then they will have many friends. There is no such thing is Scripture as a fair weather friend. A fair weather friend is one who is your friend as long as everything is good and you can do things for them but when you run into hard times, then they start running, in the opposite direction. The friend that sticks closer than a brother is the Lord Jesus Christ. (Mark 3:35 KJV) For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother. As His children, He also sees us as brethren, in other words, he uses the family setting where there should be more closeness than that of a friendship from the outside. Jesus is closest to us during the times of hardship, when others are running out the door, He is coming in.