What does Proverbs 10:13 mean?
ESV: On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
NIV: Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.
NASB: On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who has no sense.
CSB: Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of the one who lacks sense.
NLT: Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding, but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.
KJV: In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
NKJV: Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding, But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.
Verse Commentary:
A major theme of the book of Proverbs is the danger of ignoring godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7, 19, 32–33; 6:12–15, 32). Listening to those who teach truth is a path to wisdom, and those teachings are worth following. Those who reject such wise advice are bound to suffer the consequences, eventually. A common English proverb echoes this by saying, "life is hard, but it's harder when you do stupid things." Whether through cause and effect, relationships, or government, those who lack sense can expect hardship.

When Jesus ministered on earth, He spoke wisely, and His words carried divine authority. Multitudes gathered to hear Him teach because He spoke with authority. Mark 1:22 relates that, when Jesus taught in the synagogue on the Sabbath, the people "were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes." Mark 12:37 reports that on another occasion, "the great throng heard him gladly." Those who follow Him recognize that His words are those that bring eternal life (John 6:66–69).

By contrast, in the last times "some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1). At His return, the Lord will punish those who have spoken harsh things against him (Jude 1:14–15). The eternal fate of those who ignore the Word of Life, Christ, will be tragic.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 10:11–32 contrasts the righteous and the wicked, focusing on their different speech patterns, their different lifestyles, their different attitudes, and their different destinies. Verses 21 through 27 are especially focused on the different results which can be expected from pursuing godliness, versus pursuing sin.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter begins 375 "proverbs," which are general-case lessons or observations. These wise remarks continue the discussion of wisdom and wickedness begun in chapters 1—9. Most of the verses in chapter 10 contain a sharp contrast, with the conjunction "but" separating the lines. Often, the subject changes from verse to verse. The contrasting subjects include sons, treasure, work ethic, reputation, relationships, success, and speech.
Chapter Context:
In Proverbs 7—9 Solomon contrasts wisdom and wickedness in the symbolic persons of Lady Wisdom and Woman Folly. He calls upon his sons, or students, to choose wisdom, and he points out the benefits of choosing wisdom and the disastrous results of choosing wickedness. Chapter 10 presents vivid contrasts between wisdom and wickedness in many of life's settings. These comparisons continue into chapter 11.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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