Hezekiah's Solomonic Collection Continued (Proverbs 29:3-14)
"(7) Squandering Wealth and Squandering a Nation (29:3-4)....TYPE: PARALLEL.... In both [of these proverbs]...lust or greed destroys a heritage" (NAC).
"(8) Beware of the Traps (29:5-6)....TYPE: THEMATIC" (NAC). Flattery in verse 5 refers to praising another, often falsely, when the real objective is to promote oneself. It is not clear from the wording of the second line if the flatterer entraps the one he flatters or himself, as both ideas would seem to be true (see also 26:28). Verse 6 is usually translated to mean that an evil person is snared by his own sin. However, The New American Commentary says it should be translated, "There is a snare in an evil man's iniquity..." This could refer to a wicked person's self-entrapment, but it could also be a warning to the righteous against joining the wicked in their sin—with the second colon in either case showing the joyful outcome of the righteous escaping the snare of evil.
"(9) Concern for Justice (29:7)....TYPE: INDIVIDUAL PROVERB....
"(10) Order in the Court and in Society (29:8-11)....TYPE: PARALLEL, CATCHWORD....Verse 7, since it concerns justice for the weak, may serve as a heading to this set of proverbs. The proverbs of this collection parallel each other as follows:
"The unity of this text is indicated by the presence of catchwords arranged in a chiastic sequence" (NAC)—compare "wise" and "foolish" (v. 9) to "fool" and "wise" (v. 11) as well as "men [enoshi] of scorn" (v. 8, The Interlinear Bible) to "men [enoshi] of blood" (v. 10, The Interlinear Bible).
"(11) The Throne Secured by Righteousness (29:12-14)....TYPE: THEMATIC, INCLUSIO....Two proverbs on integrity in royal government sandwich a proverb on the poor and their oppressors here. In turn there is a kind of progression. A proverb that mentions wicked officials is followed by one that refers to the oppressors of the poor, which in turn is followed by a third on the need of the king to protect the poor from oppression" (NAC).
The Expositor's Bible Commentary explains verse 12 this way: "Once a ruler begins to listen to lies, his court will be corrupted. The point is...that courtiers adjust themselves to the prince...—when they see that deception and court flattery win the day, they learn how the game is played" (note on verse 12). The contrast in verse 14 is the king who judges with truth.
Verse 13, which declares that God is the source of life and consciousness for both the poor and the oppressor, is identical in meaning to 22:2 in the major Solomonic collection. Besides making the point that all are equal before God, the words here are meant to comfort the downtrodden and alarm the oppressors. God naturally cares about those He has made—yet those who abuse His gift of life are still dependent on Him for existence and had better heed all that He has to say (or else!).