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Pro 28:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues; but the righteous are as bold as a lion-
This was the situation promised for Israel if they were obedient to the covenant. But they were not at Hezekiah's time; the victory was by grace, but he gives no space for that consideration. This is a Hezekiah Proverb (see on Prov. 25:1), and the allusion would be to the remaining Assyrians fleeing after the Angel slew 185,000 of them. The lion was a symbol of Assyria, but as the remnant raced out of Jerusalem to gather their spoil, they were the bold lions. But Hezekiah likes to think that the Assyrians are the wicked, and the Jews were the righteous. He has the same overly simplistic worldview which Solomon also had, whose Proverbs are now being reused by him. For the prophets condemn the Jews at that time; there was only a tiny righteous minority, and the whole salvation of Zion at this time was by grace and not their own righteousness. See on :12.

Pro 28:2 In rebellion, a land has many rulers, but order is maintained by a man of understanding and knowledge-
When Solomon laments that a sinful land has many rulers, but stability comes from a wise ruler, he is stating an inspired truth; but it is inevitable that he framed it in such terms as justified his own dictatorial rule, as if his wisdom justified him in crushing any opposition leaders. It was really Solomon's self-justification. And in the Hezekiah context (see on Prov. 25:1), this becomes a prophecy of how his descendants were to indeed be "many princes" (AV) just before the Babylonian overthrow of the kingdom.

Pro 28:3 A needy man who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain which leaves no crops-
Oppression seems to have been a characteristic of the reigns of Saul and Absalom. See on Ps. 62:10. This was the equivalent of how Saul oppressed David (Ps. 119:121,122,134). Samuel's insistence that he has not oppressed the people is in the context of his warning that Saul would do this (1 Sam. 12:3,4). When Solomon later condemns the 'oppressors' (s.w. Prov. 14:31; 22:16; 28:3,24), he has in view a wishing of judgment upon the house of Saul. "The poor" whom they had oppressed would easily refer to David (1 Sam. 18:23; Ps. 34:6). But Solomon failed to personalize all this, so obsessed was he with justifying his father. For Solomon ended his reign oppressing his own people.

Pro 28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked; but those who keep the law contend with them-
Solomon condemns those who "forsake the law" (Prov. 4:2; 28:4), and he likely has the house of Saul in view as his father David did when using this phrase (Ps. 119:53). But he speaks in Prov. 4:2 of those who forsook his law; as if he was playing God, considering any inattention to himself as inattention to God. David by contrast continually emphasizes the need not to forsake God's law. 

Pro 28:5 Evil men don’t understand justice; but those who seek Yahweh understand it fully-
This is true, but Solomon had established himself as the judge of Israel, and considered that his judgments were ultimately just and beyond criticism. He condemns any who did criticize him as not seeking Yahweh and evil.

Pro 28:6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity, than he who is perverse in his ways, and he is rich-
This must be placed alongside Solomon's common theme that the wise are blessed with riches, and the poor are poor because they are foolish. So he admits that some wicked people do get rich, but comparing it with the other Proverbs, he sees this as only temporary.

Pro 28:7 Whoever keeps the law is a wise son; but he who is a companion of gluttons shames his father-
This desperate avoidance of shame at all costs is a major theme in Solomon's Proverbs, and reflects his overall focus upon the external rather than the internal. He does indeed talk about the heart, but on balance I would conclude that he is more concerned about appearances before men than before God. And this led to his own spiritual downfall. The Lord's parable of the prodigal son appears to deconstruct Solomon's approach here. For the prodigal was a companion of sinners and didn't keep the law; but his father wasn't unduly worried about the shame on him, and didn't therefore disown the son. Instead he watched constantly for his return, and when he sees him, he runs out [it was shameful for an older man to run in public] through the streets, in order to escort his son home and protect him from shame in the village. And the elder son who claimed to have kept the law was the one who finally rejected himself from the Father's house.

Pro 28:8 He who increases his wealth by excessive interest gathers it for one who has pity on the poor-
Solomon on one hand teaches pity towards the poor (Prov. 14:21,31; 19:17; 28:8). But on the other, he mocks the poor as being poor because of their unwisdom, believing that wealth is given in response to wisdom. He is very conflicted in his attitude to the poor. The Divine revelation of truth to him was clearly that he should be generous to the poor. But he fences against this in other places by saying that the poor are being punished for their unwisdom. So like us when we encounter need that requires our generosity, he hedges his position very carefullly; rather than accepting the simple force of the wisdom given to him, that pity to the poor as it were transfers our wealth from earth to heaven, and we will receive it back in due time (Prov. 19:17). And he is quite obsessive about not being collateral for the poor. Solomon had not known need, neither material nor spiritual, and it shows in his attitude to so obsessively forbidding the giving of collateral to guarantee a loan (Prov. 6:1-3; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26; 27:13- all quite some emphasis). It makes hollow all Solomon's exhortations to be generous to your poor neighbour and to be a brother in adversity to your neighbour (Prov. 14:21; 17:17). Solomon is here reasoning from the viewpoint of secular wisdom. The law of Moses didn't forbid giving or taking collateral for loans, it accepted this would happen (Ex. 22:25-27). 

Another approach is to understand Solomon's positive comments about helping the poor as historical allusion to his father David.  "The poor" would easily refer to David (1 Sam. 18:23; Ps. 34:6).

Pro 28:9 He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination-
Abomination" is the common word for idols (e.g. Dt. 7:25,26). Idoltary is here interpreted as things like pride and telling lies (:17). These seven things are the essence of idolatry. There is a recurring nature to them, just as idols got a grip on the mind of the worshipper. Solomon often uses the word for quiet, secret sins, words and the matters of the heart, internal attitudes and judgments (Prov. 11:1,20; 12:22; 13:19; 15:26; 16:5; 17:15; 20:10,23; 24:9; 26:25; 28:9; 29:27). And this of course is the essence of idolatry in our age; this is the practical force to us of all Biblical teaching about idolatry.

Pro 28:10 Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he will fall into his own trap; but the blameless will inherit good-
Both Solomon and Hezekiah (see on Prov. 25:1) doubtless had individuals in view, who were the subtext of this wisdom. But to describe the wise as "blameless" is an example of their over simplistic worldview. All have sinned, none are blameless (Rom. 3:23), as David reflected in his Bathsheba Psalms. But Solomon had whitewashed his parents' sin, and knew nothing of the grace David had discovered at that time. The Lord's parables of the lost in LK. 15 may be seeking to deconstruct Solomon's attitude. The self righteous older son, who considered himself blameless, connects with the 99 sheep who "need no repentance". But "all we like sheep have gone astray", those 99 only thought they needed no repentance, and being so snug in their sheepfold actually only enhanced their sense of self righteousness, and that they were not in fact the lost. The phrase "inherit good" is only found again in 1 Chron. 28:8, where David says that this is to be the outcome for those who "seek" for obedience to God's ways. But 'seeking' is not being "blameless". None are blameless, but the spiritually minded seek for God's ways and will therefore "inherit good". Solomon totally lacked this humility and spiritual reality of David. And so did Hezekiah (see on Prov. 25:1), who never seems repentant for any of his failures [such as giving the gold of the temple to buy off invaders].

Pro 28:11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes; but the poor who has understanding sees through him-
Not being 'wise in our own eyes' is a major theme of Solomon's Proverbs (Prov. 3:7; 12:15; 26:12,16; 28:11). We are to recognize that there is no inherent wisdom in man; it must be taught to us from God's word. And yet we live in a postmodern world, where what seems or feels good to our own gut is taken to be the highest personal truth. This was what led Judah to condemnation (s.w. Is. 5:21), because trusting in their own opinions and gut feelings left them insensitive to God's word. Paul quotes the idea in Rom. 12:16; to be wise in our own eyes means that we ignore those whom we naturally consider worthy of being ignored. But that is not necessarily the way of the Spirit. But when Solomon lost his faith, he comments that whether a man has wise eyes or not (s.w.) is irrelevant in the face of death (Ecc. 2:14). He clearly conceived wisdom as only helpful for this life; he had no real personal faith in the resurrection of the dead or the establishment of the future Kingdom of God. And this led him to ultimately despise his own wisdom as futile.   

Pro 28:12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory; but when the wicked rise, men hide themselves-
The allusion was to the way that Saul "rose up" against David (s.w. 1 Sam. 25:29), and David hid himself from Saul. The same word is used in :28. But this is a Hezekiah Proverb (see on Prov. 25:1). The reference would be the glorious triumph over the Assyrians, after the 'arising' of the wicked Assyrians which had led the Jews to "hide themselves". But Hezekiah likes to think that the Assyrians are the wicked, and the Jews were the righteous. He has the same overly simplistic worldview which Solomon also had, whose Proverbs are now being reused by him. For the prophets condemn the Jews at that time; there was only a tiny righteous minority, and the whole salvation of Zion at this time was by grace and not their own righteousness. The "triumph" and "glory" was God's and not that of the Jews. See on :1.

Pro 28:13 He who conceals his sins doesn’t prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy-
"Mercy" is the word for "compassion". But the basis for that compassion was to be Israel's repentance (s.w. Dt. 30:13 etc.). But God's compassion / mercy was often given to His people anyway, because they were His children, by grace. His compassion is therefore on the basis of His mercy and grace, rather than a proportionate response to steel willed human repentance and self reformation (s.w. Ps. 116:5). His compassion is actually always there for His children, even when they are in exiled punishment from Him (s.w. Jer. 31:20; 33:26). Solomon failed to perceive this grace, instead focusing solely upon the aspect of God showing compassion to those who are repentant (s.w. Prov. 28:13). He may have in view his father's confession of sins. For David uses the same phrase about how God had covered his sins (Ps. 32:1,5). But it was confession of personal sin which was so lacking in Solomon and Hezekiah, and was the basis for their spiritual undoing. It's one thing to know the theory of grace and repentance, another to actually personalize it and live and feel by it. 

Pro 28:14 Blessed is the man who always fears; but one who hardens his heart falls into trouble-
This may be true, but Solomon ended up terrorizing his own people, allowing no opposition, beating them into submission (1 Kings 12:11), and thereby inculcating a culture of fear. And he was abusing wisdom such as this to justify that climate he wished to create for his own ends. Both Solomon and Hezekiah hardened their hearts in that they decided that they would maintain a set psychological attitude to spiritual things until their deaths. And so they did, as witnessed by Ecclesiastes and Is. 39:8.    

Pro 28:15 As a roaring lion or a charging bear, so is a wicked ruler over helpless people-
The book of Proverbs has in view a bad ruler (s.w. Prov. 28:15; 29:2,12,26; Ecc. 9:17). And this bad ruler offers deceitful food (Prov. 23:3), which Solomon in Prov. 23 advises against eating. We need to recall that eating together was seen as a sign of fellowship and acceptance of each other within the same cause. Solomon may have in view Jeroboam, who clearly sought to usurp Solomon as king. Or he may be alluding back to the various people like Absalom and Adonijah who had feasted to celebrate their apparent usurping of David's throne. The LXX in Prov. 23:1-8 reads rather differently to the Masoretic Text, and speaks much of the evil of the ruler in view.

Pro 28:16 A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment. One who hates ill-gotten gain will have long days-
"What hath  the wise  more than the fool?" (Ecc. 6:8) shows how effectively Solomon despised his wisdom; he lost sight of the Kingdom which  it  led to ultimately, and the God manifestation which it could  enable in this life. He had written in his Proverbs that the ruler who lacks wisdom will oppress his people (28:16 AV); and although his wisdom remained with him right to the end, in terms of knowledge (Ecc. 2:9; 12:10), yet at the end of his reign Solomon was the ruler who did oppress his people. And he had gone on in Prov. 28:16 to warn against covetousness in a ruler, even though he went ahead with practicing every conceivable form of it in Ecc. 2. See on Prov. 8:6.

In the same way as Solomon criticized flirting with Gentile girls but then went and did this himself, so he said many other things in his wisdom which actually condemned himself. Thus “the prince that lacketh understanding is also a great oppressor” (Prov. 28:16 AV). Yet Solomon did oppress the people (1 Kings 12:11)- despite possessing wisdom. He insists that throughout his life, his wisdom had remained with him (Ecc. 2:9 RVmg.). So what does this indicate? Surely that the wisdom which he had did not affect his life practically, and thus it was as if he lacked wisdom completely. Mere possession of truth leads to great temptations- for like Solomon, we can reason that this alone justifies us in any behaviour.

Pro 28:17 A man who is tormented by having taken life blood will be a fugitive until death; no one will support him-
David's prayer of repentance and request to be saved from "blood guiltiness" (Ps. 51:14) is literally 'from blood'. He was a man of blood and was guilty of Uriah's innocent blood. David had asked for 'men of blood' to be slain (Ps. 55:23 s.w.), those who had taken the blood of the innocent (Ps. 94:21), and for 'men of blood' to be expelled from his presence (Ps. 139:19). And it is not at all clear whether all those Psalms were written before his sin with Bathsheba. God was trying to teach David that he was the type of person whom he condemned. And yet it is unclear if he learned that lesson. Solomon liberally condemns the man who sheds innocent blood (Prov. 6:17; 28:17), refusing to recognize that his much lauded father had done just this, and was only saved by grace and not by any obedience to wisdom. There is so little grace in the book of Solomon's Proverbs because Solomon had failed to perceive the grace shown to his father.

Pro 28:18 Whoever walks blamelessly is kept safe; but one with perverse ways will fall suddenly-
We wonder at the possible arrogance in assuming that he or any man can walk blamelessly. Only the Lord Jesus fits this. And yet this is the phrase used in God's command to Abraham and his seed (Gen. 17:1). It was only possible for Abraham to do so by his faith in imputed righteousness, by grace through faith. David only realized that after he had to learn it through reflection upon the wonder of how God had counted him righteous after the sin with Bathsheba.

Pro 28:19 One who works his land will have an abundance of food; but one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty-
Solomon speaks often of how hard work will "satisfy with bread" (Prov. 12:11; 20:13; 28:19). David his father uses the phrase in the context of saying that being 'satisfied with bread' is part of God's gracious blessing (Ps. 132:15). We see here how Solomon became focused upon works, rather than faith in the blessings which come from Divine grace. And yet he uses the words his father had used; but he interprets them as justification of works rather than acceptance of grace.

Solomon repeatedly sees poverty as being the fault of the poor, and their refusal of his teaching of wisdom (s.w. Prov. 6:11; 10:4,15; 13:7,8,18,23; 24:34; 28:19; 31:7). Many of these passages are effectively mocking the poor, which Solomon condemns in Prov. 17:5. He fails to take his own wisdom, as we also see in his behaviour with foreign women. Again we see Solomon's works based approach to righteousness, and lack of grace; refusing to accept that we are all poor men before God, as David himself exemplified when he cried to God as a poor man (Ps. 34:6). But his much beloved father David was unashamed to say he was a materially "poor man" (1 Sam. 18:23); and Uriah, whom he wronged, is described also as a "poor man" (2 Sam. 12:1). The poor were to be defended and given to (Ps. 82:3), and the Bible is clear that poverty isn't necessarily a result of sin or unwisdom. But Solomon fails to appreciate this, so obsessed is he with works, and the idea that obedience to his anthology of Proverbs will make the poor prosperous, as if God's truth is a kind of wealth creation scheme. 

Pro 28:20 A faithful man is rich with blessings; but one who is eager to be rich will not go unpunished-
This states clearly Solomon's position that the faithful are blessed in this life [note "is rich"], and the blessings for faith are riches. But this is simply not true to spiritual reality. The righteous are often poor, and the wicked prosper. And the blessings promised to Abraham were of forgiveness of sins and a future eternal inheritance of the earth at the resurrection of the body. And the patriarchs died without having received what God promised in this life. These most basic aspects of the Gospel of the Kingdom were not at all appreciated by Solomon nor Hezekiah. Hezekiah was blessed with wealth after his sickness, as was Solomon at the start of his reign; but hee is wrong to thereby deduce that he wasa "faithful" and the wealth was some kind of reward for that.  

Pro 28:21 To show partiality is not good; yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread-
See on :22. Solomon was famous for his wise judgment of the two prostitutes. He showed no partiality in that judgment. And so again, whilst what he says is true, he is using Divine truths to justify himself. And he is also having a swipe at his competitor Absalom, who set himself up as the judge of Israel and yet showed partiality towards his potential supporters (2 Sam. 15:5,6).

Pro 28:22 A stingy man hurries after riches, and doesn’t know that poverty waits for him-
Both Solomon and Hezekiah [after his deliverance from the Assyrians] were suddenly given great riches by God. They didn't have to seek wealth, because it was just given to them. And yet here they criticize those who seek wealth and are "stingy" in order to attain it. It's easy to criticize people in situations which we haven't been in, and to moralize against them. So whilst the Proverbs warning against seeking to become rich are true enough, they were clearly used by Solomon and Hezekiah as self-justification.

Pro 28:23 One who rebukes a man will afterward find more favour than one who flatters with the tongue-
This may be Solomon justifying how David gave favour to Nathan who rebuked him, whilst rejecting those who merely flattered. The same phrase is used of Ahithophel (Ps. 55:21). And yet Solomon uses the phrase about the danger of Gentile women who flatter with the tongue (Prov. 2:16; 7:5). But he honoured exactly those women. He is a stellar example of assuming that truth possessed does not need to apply to me. It is beyond hypocrisy; it is a psychological situation whereby the person considers themselves beyond the truth which they themselves assent to and teach to others, even demanding it of them. It is pride and conceit in their worst form.   

Pro 28:24 Whoever robs his father or his mother and says, It’s not wrong is a partner with a destroyer-
See on :3 and Ps. 62:10. David likely has in view Absalom and other brothers of Solomon who were seeking to usurp Solomon. The "destroyer" uses the same word which is applied to the Assyrians in Hezekiah's time (2 Kings 18:25; 19:12; Is. 51:13; 54:16). The Assyrians become the epitomy of evil and foolishness in Hezekiah's Proverbs. But he fails to take on board the fact that the Jews were as wicked as them. His simplistic dichotomies take no account of this.

Pro 28:25 One who is greedy stirs up strife; but one who trusts in Yahweh will prosper-
AV "He that is of a proud heart". Perhaps Hezekiah has in view the Assyrians, with himself as the prospering one who trusted in Yahweh (2 Kings 18:5). Again he is using these truths to justify himself.

Solomon correctly implies here that pride is an outcome of lack of faith, and this was exactly true in Solomon's case. His lack of faith in the future kingdom led him to be proud. An example of indirect reference to Solomon's pride is found in the way the record points a similarity between Paul and Solomon. Each was given wisdom, and each was given a Satan to humble them because of the way wisdom bloats a man's ego. The fact that we have 'the truth' in basic doctrinal terms - plus a fair bit of other Divine wisdom - really will tempt us to be proud. This is the sort of thing we individually and collectively need to exhort ourselves strongly about.  Like us, Solomon knew theoretically the paramount danger of pride;  he lists it as the most fundamental of the seven things God hates (Prov. 6:17 cp. 16:5,18).

Pro 28:26 One who trusts in himself is a fool; but one who walks in wisdom is kept safe-
"Trusts" is s.w. "trusted" in Prov. 3:5. Hezekiah is commending himself again (2 Kings 18:5). Trust in God is indeed predicated upon some form of "understanding" or 'wisdom', for faith comes by hearing the word of God; although not necessarily of the abstract, academic type which Solomon had in view. Trusting and having wisdom are parallel; to trust in Yahweh requires "understanding" and 'having wisdom'. For faith must have some basis, there are things which need to be believed before "faith" can be faith. Thus David predicates "trust" (s.w.) upon knowing Yahweh's Name, His character (Ps. 9:10). But David's "trust" in God was connected with his trust or belief in God's mercy to him regarding his sins (Ps. 13:5; 21:7; 32:10 s.w.). But Solomon doesn't seem to have had any conscience of personal sin, and so trust in the Yahweh whose lead characteristic is grace and forgiveness was not elicited within him.

Pro 28:27 One who gives to the poor has no lack; but one who closes his eyes will have many curses-
David predicates "no lack" upon fearing Yahweh and simply trusting in Him (Ps. 34:8,9). Solomon picks up the idea of the righteous experiencing "no lack" but instead claims it is a reward for generosity (s.w. Prov. 28:27). This is a parade example of the difference between David and Solomon. Solomon picks up his father's words and conclusions, but reframes them to justify himself and works rather than faith.

Pro 28:28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; but when they perish, the righteous thrive
Saul 'rose up' against David (s.w. 1 Sam. 25:29; 26:2), and  then evil men 'rose up' against David out of his own family (2 Sam. 12:11 s.w.), especially Absalom who rose up against his father (2 Sam. 18:31,32 s.w.). But David has a tendency to assume that all who rose up against him were arising against God. It's not always so that our enemy is God's enemy. Relationships and the hand of God in human affairs and relationships is more complex than that. And David in Ps. 139:21 goes further, to assume that his hatred of people is justified, because they must, he assumes, hate God because they are against him. Solomon seems to make the same mistake when he alludes to such 'risings up' in Prov. 28:28. We must note that "all in Asia" turned away from Paul personally (2 Tim. 1:15), and yet according to the letters to the seven churches of Asia in Rev. 2,3, there were many faithful individuals amongst them.