Prov 22.1-29 is made up of two sections. Prov 22.1-16 are various sayings on various subjects, and Prov 22.17 through 24.22 begins a series of warnings that tell us to pursue wisdom, called the “Words of the Wise.”
v 1…A name (“good” is not in the Hebrew but implied) is to be more desired that great riches, favor is better (with God and man) than silver and gold.
v 2…The rich and the poor have a common bond, Yehovah is the maker of them all (and their status can reverse-Luke 16.19-25).
v 3…The prudent sees the evil and hides himself (they know when to hide and let the trouble pass by, being cautious, careful), but the naive (simple) go on, and are punished for it (suffer the consequences).
v 4…The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, honor and life (blessings that come to the wise).
v 5…Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse (their way is hard-Prov 13.15); he who guards himself (and follows the Torah, the true moral guide) will be far from them (nothing to snare or hinder them).
v 6…Train up a child (literally “train to a child” or according to his way, keeping in mind his talents, gifts and dispositions) in the way he should go (his inclination), even when he is old (a zekan, elder) he will not depart from it.
v 7…The rich rules over the poor (money gives them a measure of power) and the borrower becomes the lenders slave (being in debt interferes with freedom).
v 8…He who sows iniquity (wickedness) will reap vanity (sorrow, calamity), and the rod of his fury will perish (the staff he used on others will vanish, and his tyranny will end).
v 9…He who is generous (has a good eye=”ein tov”=Ruth 2.9; Matt 6.22) will be blessed (empowered to succeed), for he gives some of his food to the poor (distributes his blessings).
v 10…Drive out the scoffer (that mocks and scorns) and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease).
v 11…He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend (will make friends with those high in government).
v 12…The eyes of Yehovah preserve knowledge (protects the true knowledge of God in others) be he overthrows the words of the treacherous man (liars, false teachers, etc).
v 13…The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside (gives an excuse to not work), I will be slain in the streets” (won’t take any risks so he can continue to be lazy).
v 14…The mouth of the adulteress (the harlot) is a deep pit (a trap); he who is cursed of Yehovah will fall into it (as just punishment for his foolishness).
v 15…Foolishness (defiance) is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him (it will curb the self-will that stands in the place of God. The rod is a branch or switch and a term for the Messiah. In other words, the chastisement is seen as coming from the branch, or Messiah. Revenge or anger have no place in discipline, and there is no place for inconsistency. We must love our child but don’t look to be loved by them. You can also discipline by praise, rebuke, and by teaching).
v 16…He who oppresses the poor to make much for himself (increase his riches) or who gives to the rich (who don’t need it) will only come to poverty (it is all in vain, no purpose).
Prov 22.17 through 24.22 begins a new section called the Words of the Wise.
v 17…Incline (bow down, lean over) your ear and hear the words of the wise and apply your mind (pay attention) to my knowledge;
v 18…For it will be pleasant if you keep them with you that they may be ready on your lips(living there).
v 19…So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today (made you know) today, even you.
v 20…I have written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge,
v 21…To make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you (now equipped) may correctly answer to him who sent you (to them that ask you to instruct them).
v 22…Do not rob the poor because he is poor (helpless), or crush the afflicted at the gate (the afflicted are the “poor” who come to the courts for judgment).
v 23…For Yehovah will plead their case (conducting their case as their lawyer) and take the life of those who rob them (so wisdom tells us not to oppress them).
v 24…Do not associate with a man given to anger; or go with a hot-tempered man (they show bad character).
v 25…Lest you learn his ways (infected by him) and find a snare for yourself (because sooner or later their temper will fall upon you).
v 26…Do not be among those who give a pledge (to pay the debt of another), among those who become a surety for debts (of another).
v 27…If you have nothing with which to pay (when they call upon you to pay another’s debt), why should he take your bed from under you.
v 28…Do not move the ancient boundary (of an estate because you are covetous) which your fathers have set (in agreement with the neighbors).
v 29…Do you see a man skilled in his work (this will take time and moving from job to job won’t accomplish this)? He will stand before kings (to give his counsel); he will not stand before obscure men (ordinary people, his counsel is too valuable).