As we have studied, the word “whoso” appears 27 times in Proverbs, half of all its appearances in Scripture (KJV). The study of this word has generated a number of lessons applicable to modern man, and especially for Christians today.
Solomon revealed, “Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father” (Prov. 28:7). Obviously, the law under consideration by Solomon is the law given by Moses. However, the same principle is true regarding the law of the land and, especially, the law of Christ. Obedience to God is required of all who would please Him (Mt. 7:24-27; Lk. 6:46; Heb. 5:8, 9). Not only will God be pleased with every individual who keeps His law, but as Solomon implies in this statement, it also makes for pleased parents. A “wise son” is always a source of pride and pleasure to his parents.
In contrast to the “wise son” who “keepeth the law” is the one who is “a companion of riotous men.” The word translated “riotous” is the Hebrew word zalal, and means to be loose morally, worthless, a prodigal. The one who chooses to associate with such a character or characters is obviously not bent on serving God and living by His standards. Hence, he is put in contrast to the wise son who keeps God’s law.
In a similar warning, Paul told those of Corinth, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (I Cor. 15:33). How many are those whose lives have taken turns in the wrong direction because of their association with the wrong kind of people? How many jail cells, nursing home beds, and premature graves are filled with those who “ran with the wrong crowd?” Far too often such mistakes are known only after the consequences of such a relationship are brought to bear, and tragedy is left in the wake. In commenting about this passage, Albert Barnes stated, “We have less horror at vice by becoming familiar with it; we look with less alarm on error when we hear it often expressed; we become less watchful and cautious when we are constantly with the frivolous, the worldly, the unprincipled, and the vicious.” Indeed, “whoso” is a keeper of God’s law will watch his associates carefully, lest they bring him shame.