Pro 17:18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
Pro 17:19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
Pro 17:20 He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
Pro 17:21 He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
Pro 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
This is a big chunk of verses here, but I felt like it would be good to look at them all together. It's interesting that the first four verses are different from the majority of the proverbs we have discussed --- usually there are two parts to a proverb, and one will be positive while the other is negative. These four, however, are kinda "downers" in that they are completely negative; I think Solomon had a reason for that. I think that these are things that he thought were really important "don't do this" proverbs. We have had verses similar to them before, so he must have thought they were important enough to repeat them!
Here is the list of don'ts in modern-day language:
- Don't become legally liable for the debts of others.
- Don't get your kicks stirring up strife and conflict.
- Don't be proud of your wealth and fix up your house to "show up" all the neighbors.
- Don't be full of resentment and bitterness.
- Don't use spiteful and abusive language.
- Don't let a wayward child suck all the joy from your life.
Then we get to verse 22, and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel! After ending on a low note, with no joy in sight, Solomon cheers us up by reminding us that a cheerful spirit and outlook can make us happier and even impact our health.
You see, "merry" in the verse means "glad, merry, joyful, rejoicing." There it is! A rejoicing heart doeth good like a medicine . . . What do medicines do? My grandma used to say her tonic was "good for what ails you." I think Solomon's prescription is, too. A heart rejoicing in God, and in His blessings, and serving Him with gladness, will affect our own well-being, and the welfare of others, too! It will put a bounce in your step as you go about your day.