What does Proverbs 27 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
Chapter 25 began a series of wise sayings attributed to Solomon (Proverbs 25:1), collected from other sources by Hezekiah's men. This list continues through the end of chapter 29. This passage includes several references to truthful, tactful communication and the value of good stewardship.

The chapter begins with a famous warning about the uncertainties of life. Much of this chapter extols the virtue of planning for the future. However, it's unwise to brag about something that has not yet been accomplished. Similar ideas are echoed in the New Testament (James 4:13–15). Arrogance of any kind is risky. Solomon notes how difficult it is to endure attacks from foolish, persistent people. In contrast, genuine love is shown by speaking the truth (Proverbs 27:1–6).

Further wisdom explains the value of close friends, who can be even more helpful than blood relatives in a time of crisis. Other notes speak about the sensibility of avoiding danger, maintaining a good reputation, the misery of a nagging spouse, and the frustrating way foolish people seem to cling to their errors (Proverbs 27:7–22).

The final segment of this chapter highlights the value of good stewardship. This uses the examples of livestock and farming. A diligent farmer cares for his flock, doing his best to ensure a prosperous future. Current wealth does not guarantee future wealth, so it's wise to plan ahead. Such efforts are more likely than not to lead to success. A lazy or irresponsible person risks falling behind and failing to provide for their family (Proverbs 27:23–27).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 27:1–6 discusses the uncertainty of life and the danger of overconfidence. Comments on relationships include those with fools (Proverbs 1:7), friends, and enemies. This continues a series of Solomon's wise sayings as collected by later scribes (Proverbs 25:1).
Proverbs 27:7–22 continues Solomon's wise sayings (Proverbs 25:1). He reflects on wealth, poverty, friendship, the wisdom of staying away from danger, good neighborly relationships, a nagging spouse, responsibility, and the tendency of foolish people to cling to their errors.
Proverbs 27:23–27 teaches using imagery from farming. Solomon (Proverbs 25:1) stresses the necessity of work in the present to set up success in the future. This repeats the sentiment of prior Scriptures (Proverbs 20:4; 21:5; 27:18). Diligence in tending to flocks and herds is more likely to provide for a family than being careless. The terminology in these verses is about livestock, but the principles apply to any area of work or life.
Chapter Summary:
Wise sayings from this chapter warn about overconfidence and bragging. Solomon also encourages positive friendships and the wisdom they provide. He offers several notes about self-examination and the need for personal accountability. Many of the proverbs in this passage touch on the concept of speaking truth in love, even if it's not what the other person would like to hear. The end of the chapter uses the example of livestock to make a point about good stewardship.
Chapter Context:
This continues a collection of approximately one hundred proverbs associated with Solomon. King Hezekiah's men, probably his scribes, copied these from other scrolls (Proverbs 25:1). This chapter includes references to overconfidence, the value of friendships, and the importance of good stewardship. The assembly of Solomon's wise teachings continues through the end of chapter 29.
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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