“Chapter 17: Harmony and Restraint”

“Chapter 17: Harmony and Restraint”

Read: Proverbs 17

The proverbs are so good! Check out the first verse in this chapter about household harmony: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” Solomon gets it–whether you’re a father, son, brother, friend, old or young, harmony is always more favorable than strife.

How do we foster harmony? Because harmony comes from exercising restraint, these proverbs really emphasize self-control. Look at the chapter’s design: the first 14 proverbs end with a compelling image about self-control (“Strife is like the letting out of water, so quit before it breaks out”), while another 14 proverbs end with even more wisdom on self-control over our words. The self-control at the end is about how we use our words. Words can get us into a lot of trouble, and Solomon reminds us that less is often more.

Much of the wisdom in this chapter is directed at the fool, particularly the foolish son. It would seem, from Chapter 17, that the household is the natural place where fools learn and grow. Let’s instead make our homes laboratories of wisdom! As you read Chapter 17, think about your home and how you can make it a place that embodies self-control.

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