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Miscellaneous proverbs]



titute of wisdom: but a man of under- spiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

standing walketh uprightly.

22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed but in the multitude of counsellors they are established. 23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

25 The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.

26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words. 27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.

28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.

29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart and a good report maketh the bones fat.

31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. 32 He that refuseth instruction de


33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. (P)


THE preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. 4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. 9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.


(P) More general observations.-This chapter opens with wise counsels as to the use and government of the tongue-an art of no little difficulty and importance. Some excellent instructions are then given relative to public worship. "The sacrifice of the wicked," however large, however costly, "is an abomination to the Lord,' because the offerer himself, while a wicked man, cannot be accepted. Nor is there any possibility of deceiving the Almighty: "For hell and destruction are before the

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Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men!" (Comp. Ps. cxxxix.)

When" a merry heart" is recommended, we must not understand it of a giddy or a thoughtless heart, but a cheerful and contented one, in opposition to that " sorrow of heart" which breaks and overwhelms the spirit. To whom "folly is joy," (ver. 21.) he "is destitute of wisdom."

"A word spoken in due season," may be either a word of admonition or of consolation the former may save from ruin, the latter from despair. (See chap. xxv. 11.)


Ver. 21. Destitute of wisdom-Void of heart. Ver. 23. In due season-Heb. "In its season;" opportunely, pertinently.

Ver. 24. The way of life is above-that is, elevated as a causey. See ver. 19.

Ver. 25. Pleasant words-Heb. "Words of pleasantness.

Ver. 27. Greedy of gain. See chap. i. 19. & Note. Ver. 30. Maketh the bones fat-that is, makes a man cheerful and content.

Ver.32. Instruction.-See Note on ver. 10,——He

that heareth-Marg." Obeyeth the truth, possesseth an heart," the heart being understood to be the seat of knowledge.

CHAP. XVI. Ver. 1. The preparations-Marg. "The disposings" of the heart. See Exposition.

Ver. 3. Commit-Heb. " Roll." So Ps. xxxvii. 5. Ver. 4. The Lord hath made-Not "created," but prepared, provided, appointed;" as Exod. xv. 17; Ps. xxxi. 19. Gill's Cause of God, vol. i. p. 224. Ver. 5. Unpunished Heb. "Held innocent." Chap. xi. 21.

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10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.

11 A just weight and balance are the LORD's: all the weights of the bag are his work.

12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

15 In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold? and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver?

17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better it is to be of an humble

spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.



22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.

26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.

30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD. (Q)


(Q) Miscellaneous proverbs continued.— The first apothegm, though it admits of a pious interpretation, is not an accurate

"Toman (belongeth) the dispositions of the heart;
But to Jehovah the answer of the tongue:"

The Hebrew runs literally

NOTES-Chap. XVI. Con.

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Ver. 23. Teacheth - Heb. "Maketh wise" his mouth.

Ver. 26. He that laboureth-Heb. "The soul of the labourer laboureth for himself; for his mouth boweth unto him." Holden, "Layeth this burden on him." So Boothroyd.

Ver. 27. An ungodly man--Heb. "A son of Belial," diggeth up evil; i, e, studies and labours_to find some ground of contention or revenge. See Bp. Patrick.

Ver. 30. Moving his lips that is, muttering


Ver. 33. The whole disposing thereof--Bp. Lonth, "The determination of it," &c.

Farther miscellaneous]





BETTER is a dry morsel, quietness therewith, than house full of sacrifices with strife. 2 A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.

3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

5 Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.

6 Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince. 8 A gift is as a precious stone in of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.




9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.

11 An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.

12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

13 Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.

14 The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.

16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?

17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

18 A man void of understanding

EXPOSITION-Chap. XVI. Continued.

And this exactly corresponds to the doctrine of the 9th verse;

"A man's heart deviseth his way; But the Lord directe th his steps." The Scriptures would furnish many facts illustrative of this, one of which we shall quote. Balaam's heart was disposed to curse Israel for reward; but his tongue was not under his own control. "How can I curse whom God hath not cursed?" (See Num. xxiii. 35; xxiv. 5—8.) The maxims in the former part of this chapter belong chiefly to the doctrine of providence, and their practical tendency, is comprised in this verse,

"Commit thy works unto the Lord, And thy thoughts shall be established." This we consider as exactly parallel to

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Psalm xxxvii. 5. "Commit thy way," &c.; the doctrine is, that after all due prudence and consideration, we must leave the result of all our affairs in the hand of God, who alone can insure success.

The 4th verse, hath, indeed, stirred up some angry controversy, foreign to the text, of which, to us the meaning appears, in harmony with the context-" that the Lord hath wrought (or disposed) all things for his own glory," and even the wicked for the day of evil; whereby we may understand either present affliction or future judgment; the evils of this world or of the next, to which the impenitent are certainly appointed, as it is much more strongly expressed, both by the patriarch Job, and by St. Peter. (Job xxi. 30; 2 Peter ii. 9.)


CHAP. XVII. Ver. 1. Full of sacrifices--Holden, "Sacrificial banquets," meaning peace offerings. See chap, vii. 14.

Ver. 5. Unpunished-Heb. "Held innocent." Ver. 7. Excellent speech-Heb. "A lip of excellency."Lying lips-Heb." A lip of lying." Ver. 8. A gift is as a precious stone-Heb. "A stone of grace," or favour.

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striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.

20 He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.

21 He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow and the father of a fool hath no joy.

22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.

24 Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.

26 Also to punish the just is not



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(R) Farther miscellaneous proverbs.— Having, in our Notes, explained the more difficult passages, we shall here notice only two or three striking figures.-Ver. 8. A gift is a precious stone, it is (or ought) always to be viewed with a degree of satisfaction; so the possessor of a well-cut diamond views it, and admires its brilliancy on every side, as it reflects the light. But it is generally supposed that the wise man had reference to the bribes frequently presented to judges, and to which, often, more attention was paid than to the justice of the cause. The admonition to avoid strife and contention, ver. 14. is beautifully explained, in allusion to the cutting open a dyke for the purpose of watering land, when it often rushes with such im

petuosity as to flood the country, and carry away the cottages. Such is the case with contentions and litigations; the wise man, therefore, advises to pause beforehand, and, as Mr. Holden well expresses it, "Before contention be meddled with, dismiss it." When Solomon asks, ver. 16, "Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?" he strongly expresses the folly of rich men, who, instead of seeking wisdom, spend all their energies in folly and extravagance. Lastly, he gives the true character of friendship, in its perpetuity; "A friend loveth at all times:" and the proper characteristic of a brother is, that he was born a friend, and born for seasons of adversity. "A friend in need (says the English proverb) is a friend indeed."


Ver. 19. Exalteth his gate. He that makes a splendid entrance to his house, is likely to excite


Ver. 20. He that hath a froward heart-Heb. "The froward of heart."

Ver. 22. A merry heart.-See ch. xv. 13, and Note. Ver. 23. Out of the bosom-that is, his bosom. Ver. 24. Wisdom is before him· Holden, "Is present to him."

Ver. 26. Nor to strike (or smite) princes (nobles, or judges) for equity-For acting uprightly and independently.

Ver. 27. An excellent spirit — Marg. "A cool spirit." Compare with the verse preceding.

XVII. Con.

CHAP. XVIII. Ver. 1. Through desire, a man, &c. Marg." He that separateth himself, seeketh according to (his) desire; (and) intermeddleth in every business." But this version, though better than the common text, is too wordy. Mr. Holden's is: "He that separate th himself, seeketh (his) desire; He dealeth in all sound wisdom." So the word here used is rendered, chap. ii. 7. See the Note there.

Ver. 2. But that his heart may discover itself.Here we prefer the version of Dr. Boothroyd: "In discovering (the thoughts of) his own heart." This may be explained by an allusion to chap. xiii. 16. See Exposition.

Ver. 4. As deep waters.-See chap. xx. 5.


Miscellaneous proverbs]


son of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

6 A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.

7 A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.

8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

9 He also, that is slothful in his work, is brother to him that is a great


10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

11 The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.

12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.

13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity: but a wounded spirit who can bear?

15 The heart of the prudent get

[continued. teth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.

16 A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great


17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.

18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.

19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.

20 A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.

23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (S)



(S) Miscellaneous proverbs continued.— Having explained, in the Notes below, the chief difficulties in the early part of this chapter, we shall here confine our remarks to some of the concluding verses, upon two of the chief blessings of human lifematrimony and friendship.

Ver. 22. Whoso findeth a wife, findeth a good thing" that is, matrimony is in itself good; "honourable in all, with the bed undefiled." (Heb. xiii. 4.) "And he that obtaineth a wife, obtaineth favour;" or rather," a favour from the Lord," who said at the first institution of marriage, "It is not good for man to be alone." (Gen. ii. 18.) It is true, that by the fault

of either party, the blessing may be turned into a curse, and so may all the blessings of the present life.

In our last chapter we noticed Solomon's description of a friend and a brother, and here it is added, that friendship sometimes exceeds the love of kindred; and though the wise man might not at the time have any farther reference, it seems impossible for a true Christian to read this remark without recollecting Him who "loved and died for"-not his friends, but his enemies; for "Christ died for the ungodly." Rom. v. 8-10.

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Ver. 13. Answereth a matter-Heb. "Returneth a word."

Ver. 20, 21, A man's belly shall be satisfied, &c.— The subject here considered, is the power of the tongue, which may not only, by its eloquence, fill the belly, but save the life.They that love it (that love to talk) will eat the fruit of their own words, whether wise or foolish, good or evil.

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