“A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.”
Guard all your friendships and relationships carefully. Keep peace with great diligence. Discuss, debate, and challenge your family and close friends … but be respectful and don’t give offense.
Strong cities are seldom taken, and castle bars are of the strongest sort. This illustrates that it can be difficult to reconcile an offended brother. It can be very challenging to recover once a close relationship has been damaged.
Because family and close friends give affection, loyalty and trust, an offense strikes deeper in their soul and requires more repair than if done by merely an acquaintance or stranger. So be extra careful with those closest to you. If you have offended a brother, it is your duty to be reconciled as quickly as possible (see Matthew 5.22-26).
“He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”
"It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him." These were the words of God in the garden before the Lord made Eve. This is why it is a good thing - and by the way, a God thing, that a man get married and find a wife. When he finds one - he has found a good thing - and has obtained favor from God.
The Hebrew word for "finds" in this opening sentence is "masa" which means not just to find, but also to obtain. The word means more than just stumbling upon something. The idea is someone searching for something. In this case the search is for a wife from the Lord.
Proverbs does not say that any wife will do. It warns against self-centered and contentious women (Proverbs 30.21-23). It warns against promiscuous women (Proverbs 6.26; 7.18-20). Solomon knew a bad wife was worse than being alone (Proverbs 12.4; 19.13), for though he tried 1000 women (1 Kings 11.3), he found them more bitter than death in the pain they caused him (Ecclesiastes 7.26-29).
Think about the kind of wife God would have for us. This woman would be of the Proverbs 31 kind - she would be a godly woman - and one who delights in God and his standards. This is why finding her is a good thing!
These principles also apply to a woman finding a godly husband.
A central message here is that we must not adopt the fallen world’s standards for choosing a spouse. The world looks almost exclusively to outward appearance and emotion; it’s all about how someone looks and how they make you feel. While physical appearance and how you feel are factors you need to take into account, they should not be the central or deciding factors in choosing a spouse.
You will pay a high price if you ignore God’s standards and marry for appearance, emotion, or convenience. “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” (Proverbs 21.19). Again, this applies equally to a quarrelsome and nagging husband. Appearance and emotion should be subordinate to the man/woman’s character and alignment with God’s call on your life.
“The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly.”
In the fallen world, poor people ask gently and wealthy people give orders harshly. Because they have no power or authority, poor people try to ask for what they need in a mellow, non-threatening way. They don’t want to lose the benevolence or good will of the people who control the money. The wealthy, on the other hand, can fall into the trap of becoming arrogant and conceited, and they can sometimes look down upon and deal harshly with the poor (Proverbs 14:20; 22:7; 28:11).
The next chapter of Proverbs makes this observation about the fallen world’s approach to rich and poor: “Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.” (Proverbs 19:4). This is not, of course, the way of the kingdom of God.
The book of James has this to say about the
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:1-5)
Neither wealth nor poverty should affect how we live our lives for Christ. God’s principles — not our social status — should be our guide for how we treat people.