Proverbs 22:24-25

Beware of Angry Men


1. This is the second of the thirty sayings in this section of Proverbs.

2. This proverbial saying consists of two verses and is a word of warning to beware of angry men.

24a Make no friendship with an angry man…

1. The angry man: Anger defined:

a. The word for anger is a picture word. It is the word for nostril.

b. Sometimes it speaks of the breath that comes out of the nostril.

c. Sometimes it speaks anger or wrath that can be seen in the nostril – either the nose gets red when angry… or the nostrils flare.

d. Thus, the term came to be used as a common word for anger… wrath…

e. Gen. 27:45 – “Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him.” (It was assumed that you could SEE anger go away from his face by observing the nose.)

f. In the context of our proverb, the term is a graphic way of describing anger that could be seen on one’s face.

g. He is easily provoked, touchy, and irritable.

2. The angry man described in Proverbs:

a. Prov.14:17 – An angry man often does foolish things… because he is controlled by anger rather than by reason or common sense.

b. Prov. 15:18 – A wrathful man stirs up strife.

c. Prov. 27:4 – Wrath is cruel—and does cruel things… and says cruel things that he usually regrets once his anger subsides.

3. Make no friendship with…

a. The verb “make friendship” is an interesting word too.

b. The first listed definition is: To pasture; tend; graze; feed.
• One can picture cows or sheep grazing together in a field.
• They are all in one big herd or flock… all hanging out in the same field… and are all eating the same grass.
• Obviously, this is not the meaning of the verb in the context of Prov. 22:24.

c. The secondary meaning is: To associate with, be a friend of, to be companions.
• Listing the first meaning helps us to get a “picture” of the secondary meaning.
• To the Hebrew mind, making a friend of someone was likened to becoming part of a flock or herd… hanging out together like sheep in a field… and involved in the same activities as… like grazing together on the grass.
• This is the meaning of the term in Prov. 22:24: to associate with; to be a friend or companion of.

d. The command here was NOT to be the friend of such a man.
• This is a clear command… not just a helpful suggestion.
• The command is not to hang out together… (like sheep in a pasture) and not to be involved in the same activities as he is (like sheep grazing the same grass)… and not to be associated with his circle of friends if possible (graze somewhere else).
• Stay away—whenever possible.
• Of course, this is not always possible. He may be your classmate in school. He may work in the cubicle next to you at work. He may be your older brother.
• You may not be able to avoid him altogether, but the command still stands: to the best of your ability—graze elsewhere. Seek someone else to hang out with… to associate with.
• For a businessman, don’t go into business with an angry man, no matter HOW good he is at sales or how talented he is crunching numbers or how talented he is at making widgets. Find somebody else!
• For a young lady looking for a husband – consider yourself warned. Don’t fall in love with an angry man—no matter how good looking he is or how adamantly he insists he won’t get angry AGAIN. If he is an angry man, it is his character to be angry. Once you get married, and the honeymoon is over, you will have to deal with his anger the rest of your life. And for some women, that anger turns into violence. Make no friends with an angry man.
• For students at school—don’t try to be a friend of the angry man. He may be in the in crowd. Everyone might think he’s cool because of his big mouth and his rebellion. He might be the tough guy that everyone looks up to—but the Bible says, stay away. Sooner or later his lack of self control and anger will get YOU in trouble.
• This can and should be applied to any number of circumstances and situations in life. It is good, old fashioned, hearty counsel… good advice. Take it!

24b And with a furious man thou shalt not go:

1. This is just another way of saying virtually the same thing as was mentioned in the first part of the proverb.

a. Furious: Heat; rage; hot displeasure; indignation; anger; wrath.

b. This term is a bit more intense – a man who is prone to fly into a rage over nothing… a hothead.

c. This is just a further description of the angry man.

d. He’s a hothead who cannot control his spirit.

e. According to the Dictionary of Biblical Languages, the term speaks of one who is “emotionally worked up and in strife and turmoil.”

f. This man has no self control.

g. Prov. 25:28 – He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
• Uncontrolled anger is the result of a lack of self control.
• He has no self discipline. He has no self control.
• He is like a city without walls: Meaning, he is wide open for the enemy to attack. He is weak and vulnerable… defenseless.
• He might appear to be strong – self confident, self assertive, bold and brash.
• But in fact, he is weak internally. He cannot control his own spirit. He flies off the handle at the littlest agitation or irritation.

2. “Thou shalt not go”

a. This verb means either to come or to go. It can refer to one’s comings and goings in general.

b. It also can mean “to associate with or to have intercourse with.”

c. Young people today might say, “to hang out with.”

d. You may have to GO to school with him, or GO to work with him.

e. But you don’t have to hang out with him. That’s the command here.

f. Watch your associations. Stay away from this guy.

g. Be kind and cordial, but stay away. He’s nothing but trouble.

25a Lest thou learn his ways

1. There are some serious consequences for NOT taking Solomon’s advice (or not obeying his command).

2. Ways = road; pathway; course of life; manner of life.

a. This speaks of the lifestyle of the angry, furious man.

b. It speaks of the pathway of life he is on… the direction his life is taking.

3. You could learn the WAYS of this angry, rash, hot-headed, undisciplined man.

a. One Old Testament dictionary said of the word learn: “The meaning apparently derives from a noun meaning association, familiarity, which leads to learning.”

b. Prov. 27:17 – “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”
• Friends influence one another. For good or evil, friends are very influential.

c. I Cor. 15:33 – “Be not deceived: evil communications (company; associations) corrupt good manners.

d. Sin is contagious. The flames of passion from the angry man easily spread. One fire lights another—and sin spreads like wildfire.

e. By walking with him, and observing him, and listening to him, you will become NUMB to his ways.

f. What at first seemed ungodly, unseemly, off base, and just plain WRONG, over time, begins to seem normal, expected, and ordinary. (When in fact, it is NOT normal or ordinary.)

g. Once you have grown accustomed to it, and it seems normal, you might find that his behavior is manifesting itself in YOUR life. You too will get angry and fly off the handle over little things. You too will not bother to be disciplined or self controlled…

4. Now perhaps someone here IS that angry man! What to do?

a. The Bible has a simple way of dealing with anger.

b. Psalm 37:8 – “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”

c. God doesn’t say VENT it out. He says “cease.”

d. Cease: To relax; withdraw; idle; to let drop; abandon; relax; refrain; forsake; to let go; to go limp; to be quiet.

e. God expects us to obey. Anger CAN be controlled… but not by taking the world’s anger management course… or through pure human grit.

f. There is only one right way to experience victory over anger: by dealing with the SOURCE – our fallen human nature. (Procedure is found in Romans six).

g. But it requires the power of the Holy Spirit. The arm of flesh will fail you.

h. The fruit of the Spirit is self control. This requires divine power to have victory over anger.

25b And get a snare to thy soul.

1. Associating with an angry man leads to learning his ways. Learning his ways brings a SNARE to your soul.

2. An uncontrolled, undisciplined spirit has built in consequences.

a. Prov. 19:19 – He will suffer punishment for his wrath and the foolish things his wrath leads him to do and say.

b. And being a “man of great wrath” indicates that this is not an occasional slip, but it is ingrained into his character.

c. This man’s character has become a snare or trap. He is imprisoned by his anger.

d. And there’s no point in delivering him from the all the messes he gets himself into because of his anger, because like a dog returning to his vomit, he will just turn around and make another mess. It is his nature… his character.

e. Until he deals with the SOURCE of his sin, he is a slave to his passion and wrath.

f. There is no point in trying to bail him out of his trouble. You are only dealing with the symptoms and ignoring the source: a fallen, rebellious, self centered heart that may need to be regenerated and then brought under the control of the Holy Spirit.

g. Refusing to bail him out is tough love—but necessary. If you start bailing him out, you will find it to be an endless revolving door…

3. The snares the angry man has to deal with become YOUR snares as well.

a. Prov.14:17 – Remember that an angry man often does foolish things… because he is controlled by anger rather than by reason or common sense.
• And he may do something foolish and harmful to YOU.
• He may drag YOU into his folly… and get you in trouble because of his lack of self control.
• Learning his ways means you too will do foolish things and pay a price for it.

b. Prov.15:18 – A wrathful man stirs up strife.
• He may stir up strife with you…
• Or, because of his anger, he may cause a brawl and cause people to be angry at YOU because you are with him.
• Wherever an angry man goes, he stirs up strife. If follows him like a gray cloud. If you associate yourself with him, that cloud may overshadow you too. You will be dragged into his strife.
• Or, learning his angry ways will cause YOU to stir up strife.

c. Prov. 27:4 – Wrath is cruel—and does cruel things… and says cruel things that he usually regrets once his anger subsides.
• Learning the ways of the angry man means that you will learn to be cruel too… mean spirited… saying hurtful things in your wrath that you will regret one day.

5. Prov.13:20 – “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

a. Walking with fools (and angry men are fools) results in falling into a trap… and destruction.

b. Solomon gives ample warning. Wise men will take heed.