4. A virtuous woman--in the wide sense of well-disposed to all moral duties ( Proverbs 31:10 ).
maketh ashamed--that is, by misconduct.
rottenness--an incurable evil.
5. thoughts--or, "purposes."
are right--literally, "are judgment," that is, true decisions.
counsels--(Compare Proverbs 11:14 ).
deceit--contrary to truth and honesty.
6. The words--or, "expressed designs" of the wicked are for evil purposes.
the mouth--or, "words" of the righteous delivering instead of ensnaring men.
7. Such conduct brings a proper return, by the destruction of the wicked and well-being of the righteous and his family.
8. despised--as opposed to commended ( Proverbs 11:12 ).
perverse heart--or, "wicked principles," as opposed to one of wisdom.
10. regardeth--literally, "knoweth" ( Psalms 1:6 ).
mercies . . . cruel--as acts of compassion ungraciously rendered to the needy. The righteous more regards a beast than the wicked a man.
12. the wicked . . . evil--They love the crafty arts of deception.
the root . . . fruit--their own resources supply them; or, it may be rendered: "He (God) giveth, or, sets ( Ezekiel 17:22 ) the root of the righteous," and hence it is firm: or, the verb is impersonal; "As to the root . . . it is firm" ( Proverbs 17:19 ).
13, 14. The wicked is snared, &c.--The sentiment expanded. While the wicked, such as liars, flatterers, &c., fall by their own words, the righteous are unhurt. Their good conduct makes friends, and God rewards them.
16. prudent . . . shame--He is slow to denounce his insulters ( James 1:19 ).
18. speaketh--literally, "speaketh hastily," or indiscreetly ( Psalms 106:33 ), as an angry man retorts harsh and provoking invectives.
tongue . . . health--by soothing and gentle language.
19. Words of truth are consistent, and stand all tests, while lies are soon discovered and exposed.
20. that imagine--or, "plan" ( Proverbs 3:29 ). They design a deceitful course, to which, with all its evils and dangers to others and themselves, the happiness of peace-makers is opposed (compare Matthew 5:9 , Romans 12:18 ).
22. deal truly--or, "faithfully," that is, according to promises (compare John 3:21 ).
24. slothful--(Compare Margin), so called because he fails to meet his promises.
under tribute--not denoting legal taxes, but the obligation of dependence.
25. a good word--one of comfort.
26. more excellent--(Compare Margin); or, "more successful," while the wicked fail; or, we may read it: "The righteous guides his friend, but," &c., that is, The ability of the righteous to aid others is contrasted with the ruin to which the way of the wicked leads themselves.
27. (Compare Proverbs 12:24 ).
took in hunting--or, "his venison." He does not improve his advantages.
the substance . . . precious--or, "the wealth of a man of honor is being diligent," or "diligence."
precious--literally, "honor" ( Ecclesiastes 10:1 ).