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Maxims of justice]
FALSE balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame but with the lowly is wisdom. 3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness. 7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.
8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.
9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
10 When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.
11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
12 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
15 He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretyship is sure.
16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
19 As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
21 Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.
22 As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
EXPOSITION-Chap. X. Continued. dom and folly, virtue and vice; and point out the preference of the former, both in itself and in its consequences. As these Iroverbs are mostly detached from each her, it will be impossible for us to notice em individually. We can only offer a brief remark on some of the most striking, and remove difficulties in our Notes.
Long life and prosperity were the sanc tions of the Old Testament dispensation;
yet the hopes of believers were not confined to the present life, for "the righteous hath an everlasting foundation," (verse 25.) to which it is very difficult to attach any meaning without admitting the hope of everlasting life." The days of the wicked, in the present life, are often shortened by their vices, and of "another and better world" they have no prospect. (Comp. chap. xi. 7.)
CHAP. XI. Ver. 1. A false balance-Heb. "Balances of deceit."A just weight-Heb. "A perfect stone;" stones were undoubtedly used originaly as weights.
Ver. 4. Righteousness delivereth.-See chap. x. 2. Ver. 5. Shall direct (Heb." rectify") his way. Ver. 7. When u wicked man, &c.-This assertion strongly implies that "the righteous hath hope in his. death," as in chap. xiv. 32.
Ver. 12. Void of wisdom-ban Heb. "Destitute of heart."
Ver. 13. A tale bearer revealeth, &c.- Heh. "He that walketh, being a tale-bearer;" or rather, as Dr. Hodgson renders it, "A tale-bearer, walking about, revealeth secrets."
Ver. 15. Shall smart for it-Heb. "Shall be sore broken," or alieted.Suretyship-Heb." Thuse that strike hands." See chap. vi. I, &c.
Ver. 16. A gracious woman-that is, a benevolent, kind hearted woman. Compare next verse.
Ver. 21. Though hand join in hand - that is, though wicked mea combine their power and interest.
23 The desire of the righteous is only good but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be Iwatered also himself.
26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
28 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner. (L)
WHOSO loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth
reproof is brutish.
2 A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
7 The wicked are overthrown, and are not but the house of the righteous shall stand.
8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
9 He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
(L) Maxims of justice and equity.-This chapter contains many general observations on these topics, and on the means of happiness. It begins with an admonition concerning justice in our dealings with each other, without which society cannot be preserved. In the next place, the wise man gives a caution against pride, as a certain forerunner of ruin this, showing itself in forgetfulness of God, confidence in themselves, and despising others, naturally leads men to destruction.
Solomon next commends sincerity and
charity, and represents the vast difference there is between virtue and vice, both in order to men's private safety, and to the public security. After which follow many wise and pithy observations, with such remarks on sundry virtues and vices, as are calculated to invite to the one, and deter from the other. Among the most striking is, (ver. 22.) "A fair woman who has departed from discretion (or virtue) is compared to a ring of gold in a swine's snout. That is, beauty sunk into licentiousness is perverted from its just end, as a golden ring routing in the filth of a pigstye.
Ver. 25. The liberal soul (Heb. “the soul of blessing") shall be made fat-that is, enriched with blessings.
Ver. 29. He that troubleth his own house (probably by bis penuriousness) shall inherit the wind-that is, he shall get nothing by it. See ver. 24.
Ver. 30. The fruit of the righteous. -This we apprehend to be an elliptical expression, "the fruit of the righteous is like the fruit of the tree of life." See chap. iii. 18.He that winneth-catcheth, or taketh; an aliusion to hunters.
·Ver. 31. Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth; much more-This does not imply that the Almighty is more just to one class
than another; but as the just shall be rewarded or chastened according to his conduct, so assuredly the wicked shall not go unpunished! So the LXX, "If the righteous scarcely be saved," that is, not without chastisement for his sins, "where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?" And this appears to be, quoted by an apostle, I Pet. iv. 18.
CHAP. XII. Ver. 4. A virtuous wife is a crown.— This alludes to the ancient custom of wearing chaplets, and nuptial crowns. See Sol. Song, iii. 11.
Ver. 9. He that is despised and hath a servantHeb. "Is servant to himself," or "his own servant."
10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
12 The wicked desireth the net of evil men but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.:
14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.
blished for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.
21 There shall no evil happen to the just but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
24 The hand of the diligent shall * bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
(M) Farther miscellaneous proverbs. — "This chapter (says Bishop Patrick) begins with an admonition, often inculcated in this book, concerning the affection wherewith a man that would be wise and good, ought to receive charitable reproofs. And there are several things repeated concerning the providence of Almighty God, in punishing (bad) men according to their wickedness, and delivering good men from
those who seek their destruction; which are notably expressed in ver. 5-7, where he observes how the wicked, labouring to compass their ends, by cozenage, or by violence, even by blood, not only miscarry in their designs, but are unexpectedly overturned and subverted out of their places, wherein they behaved with such injustice and cruelty.
"There are divers instructions also repeated about several virtues and vices,
NOTES-Chap. XII. Con.
Ver. 10. Tender mercies-Heb. "bowels.” Ver. 12. Desireth the net Marg. Fortress." The Hebrew bears both senses, but we prefer the former, as meaning that the wicked man desires a dishonest (or unlawful) net, that he may take advantage of his neighbours.
Ibid. The root of the righteous-Meaning, their riches have a root in their industry. A Spanish arabassador being shown, in the treasury of Venice, a great quantity of gold, turned up some from the bottom: and on being asked why he did so, he replied, To see if it had any root; for his master's riches had a root in his gold mines."
Ver. 13. The wicked is snared, &c.-Heb. "The snare of the wicked is the transgression of his lips." See chap. xvii. 7,
Ver. 16. Presently known-Heb. "In the same day;" intimating that a wise man will pause before he shows his anger.
Ver. 18. There is that speaketh, &c. -See Ps, lvii. 4. Ver. 19. But for a moment-that is, he is soon confuted.
Ver. 21. No evil.... to the just-that is, eventu ally all shall be overruled for good.
Ver. 26. The righteous is more excellent → Marg. abundant;" i. e. "more successful;" be. cause the way,'' i, e. the course of life adopted by the wicked," seduceth them" into extravagance and crime.
Ver. 27. The slothful roasteth not-that is, even when he gets food gratis, he is too idle to dress it.
More general maxims]
WISE son heareth his father's instruction but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
2 A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.
3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
5 A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
6 Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh poor, yet hath great riches.
8 The ransom of a man's life are his riches but the poor heareth not rebuke.
[on various subjects.
9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
10 Only by pride cometh contention but with the well advised is wisdom.
11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. :
12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
especially those of the tongue; among which Alelancthon commends this to the remembrance of the reader, (ver. 22.) Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, who recommends to us, (says he,) the love and care of truth, both in doctrines concerning himself, and in arts and in all honest covenants and contracts. For truth being among the chief and most conspienous virtues, the contrary vice is condemned by a terrible word—abomination.” Lord Bacon upon another passage in this chapter, (ver. 10.) observes, "That there is implanted in man's nature, a noble and excellent affection of pity and compasston (called here Mercy,) which extends itself even unto brute creatures, that are by divine ordination subject to his coinmand. Nay, further, it is most certain that the worthier any soul is, (i. e. the better its disposition,) the larger is its compas
sion. For contracted and degenerate minds, imagine these things appertain not to them; but the mind that looks upon itself as a nobler portion of the universe, is kindly affected towards inferior creatures out of the communion there is between them; therefore, we see, that under the old law there were many precepts concerning this, which were not so much cerenionial, as institutions of mercy." (See Exod. xxxiii 5, 19; Deut. v. 4, &c.)
Without sanctioning every expression of this great man, we may freely admit the importance of this moral duty of compassion to the brute creation. "A righteous man regardéth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked," even their pretended kindnesses, are, in fact, cruel. And if their kindness be cruel, what, then, can we think of their severity?
CHAP. XIII. Ver.2. Eat violence.-This expression appears to us elliptical; the latter clause, fully expressed, would be," But the soal of transgressors by the fruit of their mouth) shall eat violence." Compare chap. xii. 14.
Ver. 11. Gathereth by labour — Heb." With the hand."
Ver. 13. Shall be rewarded-Marg, "Shall be in Fesce."
Ver. 14. To depart-Heb. "To turn him." So Boothroyd, &c.
Ver. 17. A wicked messenger falleth into mischief, (or evil, and involves others with him,) but a faithful ambassador (the class of messengers here intended) is health-Holden, “A healing medicine;" it being his office to heal differences, and promote peace.
19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
21 Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repaid.
22 A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
23 Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
25 The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want. (N)
EVERY wise woman buildeth her house but the foolish plucketh
it down with her hands.
2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
the merchandize to good account, (chap. iii. 14,) but "the fool layeth open (Marg. spreadeth out) his folly," as travelling merchants do their goods, but to no effect; for who will purchase folly?
Again, ver. 22. We learn that a good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children," which may, in the first place, intimate that he does not forfeit his inheritance, either by extravagance or crime: yet this inheritance does not always consist of lands and tenements; but the character of a good man is often a portion to his children; and his blessing and prayers their best inheritance. Thus Bishop Hall esteemed the prayers and admonitions of his pious mother; and the excellent Mr. Flavel says, "I bless God for a religious tender father, who often poured out his soul to God for me; and this stock of prayers I esteem above the fairest inheritance on earth."
Ver. 23. There is that is destroyed-Or, “There (it is) destroyed," or perishes, for want of judgment in cultivation. See chap. xii. 11.
Ver. 24. He that spareth his rod.-See Note on chap. iii. 12.
HAP. XIV. Ver. 3. Is a rod or branch) of --According to the language or character of
persons, the Hebrews represent a sword, or a rod, or branch, as it were, growing out of the mouth. The former intends spiteful and malicious words; this, probably, vapouring and boasting language. See Expos. chap. v.
Ver. 6. To him that understandeth - - Rather, "To him that bath understanding;" (Holden) i. e. who hath been divinely taught.