What does Proverbs 13:13 mean?
ESV: Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
NIV: Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded.
NASB: One who despises the word will do badly, But one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
CSB: The one who has contempt for instruction will pay the penalty, but the one who respects a command will be rewarded.
NLT: People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed.
KJV: Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
Verse Commentary:
Ever the teacher, Solomon instructs his readers to hold their instructors' lessons. Doing so brings reward or blessing. The person who laughs off such teaching brings ruin on himself. This is a recurring theme in the book of Proverbs. Those who follow good advice, coming from godly wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), put themselves on a path to success (Proverbs 10:17). The person who "despises" instruction is the scoffer depicted in other verses as a fool (Proverbs 9:7–12; 13:1).

Various translations use the phrase "the word," "instruction," or "advice" here. The Hebrew term is dā'bār, which implies a message, commandment, or instruction. This is not an explicit reference to Scripture, though what's written in the Bible is certainly included in the wisdom that a godly person will pursue (Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 1:1–2).

Blessing for following wisdom, versus ruin for disobedience, appears in Jesus' story about two builders. A wise builder constructed his house on a rock, and it survived heavy winds, torrential rains, and rising floods. A foolish man built his house on sand, and it collapsed under strong wind, heavy rain, and swirling floods. Jesus compared the wise builder to whoever hears and obeys His words and the foolish builder to whoever hears His words but fails to obey them. (Read Matthew 7:24–27). In Luke 8:18 we find this exhortation given by Jesus: "Take care then how you hear." When Jesus addressed the churches of Asia Minor, He commanded, "He who has an ear, let him hear," and He included a promise for obedient hearing (Revelation 2:11, 17, 26–29; 3:5–6, 12–13, 20–22).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 13:12–25 emphasizes the value of wisdom as true wealth. Solomon writes that whoever reveres God's Word will be rewarded, and he describes how wisdom obtained from the Word applies to several areas of life.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter of Proverbs continues Solomon's wise sayings. He counsels his readers to be sensible and hardworking, as well as honest. This allows a person to be content with what they have, to enjoy life, and to bless their descendants. Laziness leads to trouble and ruin, as does a lack of discipline.
Chapter Context:
Starting in chapter 10, the book of Proverbs records a long series of wise sayings from Solomon. These continue for several chapters. Through chapter 15, a major focus is on issues such as godly living, mostly given in contrast with examples of ungodliness. This chapter emphasizes themes such as work ethic, honesty, and discipline.
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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