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Observations on fools,]


11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the


14 As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

15 The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.

16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. 18 As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death;

[sluggards, and busy bodies.

goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

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

23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

24 He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

25 When he speaketh fair, believe him not for there are seven abominations in his heart.

26 Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

19 So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in 28 A lying tongue hateth those that sport? are afflicted by it; and a flattering 20 Where no wood is, there the fire mouth worketh ruin. (D)



(D) Sundry observations upon foo's, and sluggards, and busy bodies.-The first is easy of exposition. "Snow in summer, and rain in harvest," are unexpected and injurious; so is "honour" conferred upon a fool. The next is more difficult: we conceive it to mean -as the sparrow is made to wander, and the swallow (or dove) to fly, so is it the nature of a malediction to fall upon the head at which it is aimed: but as neither can the sparrow, nor any other bird, either fly or fall without our heavenly Father's knowledge, (Matt. x. 29-31.) so neither can the curse of an enemy alight upon us, without his permission.

The 4th and 5th verses have been supposed contradictory, but are only enigmatical. To" answer a fool according to his folly." is, in the first instance, to give a foolish answer, and make ourselves like him; but, in the second case proposed, to

answer a fool according to his folly, is to give such an answer as his question deserves, in order to convict him of folly, and prevent his being "wise in his own couceit."

In the subsequent parts of the chapter occur several pithy remarks on the conduct of the fool, the idler, and the sluggard; characters very nearly allied, and almost equally detestable. The slothful, in particular, stays away from his work under the pretence of some imaginary danger, and turus from side to side, like a door upon its hinges, without resolution to rise. When he is up, his first concern is to eat yet when he dips his hand into the dish, so idle is he, that it grieves fo wearies) him to put it to his mouth. (Se chap. xix. 24.) Yet so opinionated is he that he fancies himself "wiser than seve men that can render a reason:" and whe he is enraged, he acts the madman, an "throws about firebrands, arrows, an death," in pretended sport.


Ver. 17. A dog by the ears-that is, a strange dog; for dogs in the East run wild, and are not domesticated, as with us.

Ver. 18. Firebrands-Heb. "Flames, or sparks." Ver. 20. Where no wood is-Heb. "Without wood." Ver. 22. Innermost parts.-See chap. xviii. 8.

XXVI. Con.

Ver. 23. Burning lips. - Professing the most a dent friendship.

Ver. 25. Speaketh fair-Heb. "Graiusly." Ver. 26. Hatred, &c.-Marg. "Hatred is cover in secret;" (but) "his wickedness," &c.

Cautions against]




OAST not thyself of to-morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.

6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.

10 Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off. 11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

[presumption, &c.

14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

16 Whoso hideth her, hideth the wind; and the ointment of his right hand which bewrayeth itself.

17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.

19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.

26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food


CHAP. XXVII.Ver. 4. Outrageous-Heb. " OverBowing "Before enty-Marg. "Jealousy." The Hebrew includes both.


Vet. 6. Deceitful-Marg. " Earnest, or frequent." Ver. 7. Loatheth-Heb. " Trampleth upon." Ver. 9. By hearty counsel - Heb. "From the counsel of the soul."

Ver. 21. So is a man to his praise—that is, “as the fining pot and the furnace test the precious metals, so is a uno tried by the praises bestowed on him. If he can bear them without injury, his character may be pronounced sterling,

Ver 22. Though thou shouldest bray (or pound) a fool in a mortar.-We learn from Knolls' History

of the Turks, that such a barbarous punishment has been employed among that cruel people; but we have no proof of its high antiquity, and much doubt its being here referred to.

Ver. 23. Look well-Heb. "Set thy heart to." The state-Heb. "The face;" i. e. the appearance. Ver. 24. To everu generation-Heb. “To generation and generation.'

Ver. 25. The hay-Boothroyd, "The grass shooteth," &c.

Ver. 27. Goats' milk-is in some cases preferred to cow's milk. Orient. Cust, No. 1033.-Maintenance-Heb. "Life,"

The advantages of the]


of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. (E)


THE wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. :

3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked but such as keep the law contend with them.

5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.


[righteous over the wicked,

6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.

9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in po5


11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.


(E) Cautions against presumption, selfconceit, &c.-The first maxim is a most excellent admonition against vain confidence, and is beautifully amplified by St. James, (chap. iv. 13-15.) who shows the folly of anticipating futurity.

Forsake not thy father's friend," is a maxim of such worth, that Solomon's own son, Rehoboam, lost five-sixths of his kingdom by neglecting it. (1 Kings xii. 6-14.) Friendship is undoubtedly a Christian, as well as a moral virtue: but why does Solomon advise, "Go not into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity?" obviously because a neighbour that is nigh at hand, is better to apply to than a distant relative. But there is a friendship much to be suspected. When men make a great ado with the public profession of their attachment, there is much reason to question their sincerity; and to consider it rather as a curse than as a blessing. And "a contentious woman" is like an ostentatious friend: whosoever attempts to silence her, may as well hush the wind, or stop the spreading of perfume which he grasps within his hand. Yet many are the advantages of society; for " as iron sharpeneth iron," (two knives, for instance, whetted against each other) so doth the


countenance of a man his friend. There are advantages in familiar and instructive conversation, even beyond the study of books themselves: it tends to sharpen the wits and to brighten the countenance of both parties.

With this we are disposed to connect the 19th verse, which has been variously interpreted. Our translators render it," As in water face (answereth) to face, so doth the heart of man to man." Le Clerc, Durell, and many others, understand this of a man's actions discovering his heart; but Boothroyd, explains it thus; that "there are the same natural powers and affections in one man as in another; and the same depravity is alike found in the hearts of all." This also accords with the remark of Bp. Patrick, that "a man may see himself while he looks at other men, as well as know other men by considering his own feelings." Now it is by conversation and friendly communion with each other, tha we find out that God hath fashioned ou hearts alike, (Ps. xxxiii. 13.) and that si has alike depraved them.

This chapter concludes with a stron recommendation to rear flocks, which from the time of the patriarchs, formed th favourite occupation of the Hebrews.(Gen. xlvii. 3.)


CHAP. XXVIII. Ver. 2. By a man-Heb. "By men of understanding," &c.

Ver.3. Which leaveth no food-Heb. "No bread;" i. e. which sweeps away all the crops.

Ver. 7. He that is a companion of-Heb. "He

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12 When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.

13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.

18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.

19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

20 A faithful man shall abound


[over bad ones.

with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

21 To have respect of persons is not good: for, for a piece of bread that man will transgress.

22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.

25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.

26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase. (F)


(F) General observations on the advantuges of the righteous over the wicked.The wicked man is a coward, "he fleeth when no man pursueth;" and yet, like most cowards, when he gets into power, he is a tyrant, like "a roaring lion and a raging bear:"yea, he is like a sweeping rain," which destroys the fruits of the earth, and leaveth no food." On the other hand, "the righteous is hold as a liou;" but his boldness groweth not to impiety; "he confesseth and forsaketh his sin, and feareth alway" to offend his Maker.

A great part of this chapter may be considered as referring to Scripture politics; "For (or by) the transgression of a land," that is, of a people, they become divided into many petty states, under separate chiefs; but by a man (or men) of understanding the state may (notwithstanding) be prolonged."


When it is said, (ver. 14.) "Happy is the man that feareth always," we must not consider it as a blessing either upon the timid or cowardly; but upon the prudent and cautious: uuless we apply it to the fear of God, and then it means a reverential fear of offending the Almighty.

Mr. Henry has some excellent remarks upon the 21st verse: "To have respect of persons is not good;" from which we shall extract the outline only. 1. "It is a fundamental error (says he) in the administration of judgment, to consider the parties concerned more than the merits of the cause; so as to favour one because he is a gentleman, or my countryman, or my friend, &c. 2. Those that are partial will be paltry. Having broken through the bounds of equity, at first, perhaps, for some great sum, they will at length stoop to receive any paltry bribe, here called contemptuously 66 a morsel of bread."


Ver. 12. A man is hidden-Parkhurst and Boothroud," Stript;" "Geseniusand Holden, "Concealed." Ver. 20. Not be innocent Heb." Not go unpunished."

Ver, 22. He that hasteth, &c.-Marg. "He that

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Observations on government,] PROVERBS.


HE, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his sub


4 The king by judgment establisheth the land but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

7 The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

8 Scornful men bring a city into a snare but wise men turn away wrath. 9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright but the just seek his soul.

11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

14 The king that faithfully judgeth

[on virtues and vices.

the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.


19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

20 Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child, shall have him become his son at the length.

22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

24 Whoso is partner with a thief, hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

26 Many seek the ruler's favour but every man's judgment comet from the LORD.

27 An unjust man is an abomina tion to the just; and he that is uprigh


CHAP. XXIX. Ver. 1. He that being often reproved-Heb. "A man of reproofs."-Hardeneth his neck.-See Isa. xlviii. 4.


Ver. 2. In authority-Marg. "Increased." Hebrew may refer to their increase either in number or in power.

Ver. 4. He that receiveth gifts-Heb. "A man of oblations." When causes were heard by the principal priests, it is probable they were sometimes bribed by the oblations offered at the tabernacle; and this term continued to be applied to bribes of the secular judges.

Ver. S. Bring a city into a snare-Marg. "Set a eity on fire" Bp. Lowth," Inflame a city;" i. e. the inhabitants, which appears to be the true sense.

Ver. 10. The blood thirsty-Heb. " Men of blood." Ver. 13. The deceitful-Marg, "The usurer;"' i. e.

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Ver. 19. A servant-that is, a wicked servant: Canaanitish slave, probably. Ver. 20. In his words - - Marg. "Matters;" Hebrew comprehends both words and things: an always in a hurry, speaks and nets before he thin Ver. 21. Become his son- that is, act with thority.

Ver. 24. He heareth cursing.-These banditti w bound together by oaths and imprecations.

Ver. 25. Shall be safe-Heb. Seton high." Ver. 26. The ruler's favor- Heb, "Face.”

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