1. This is the title of this chapter
the prophecy--literally, "the burden" (compare Isaiah 13:1 , Zechariah 9:1 ), used for any divine instruction; not necessarily a prediction, which was only a kind of prophecy ( 1 Chronicles 15:27 , "a song"). Prophets were inspired men, who spoke for God to man, or for man to God ( Genesis 20:7 , Exodus 7:14 Exodus 7:15 Exodus 7:16 ). Such, also, were the New Testament prophets. In a general sense, Gad, Nathan, and others were such, who were divine teachers, though we do not learn that they ever predicted.
the man spake--literally, "the saying of the man"; an expression used to denote any solemn and important announcement (compare 2 Samuel 23:1 , Psalms 36:1 , 110:1 , Isaiah 1:24 , &c.). Ithiel and Ucal were perhaps pupils.
2-4. brutish-- stupid, a strong term to denote his lowly self-estimation; or he may speak of such as his natural condition, as contrasted with God's all-seeing comprehensive knowledge and almighty power. The questions of this clause emphatically deny the attributes mentioned to be those of any creature, thus impressively strengthening the implied reference of the former to God (compare Deuteronomy 30:12-14 , Isaiah 40:12 , Ephesians 4:8 ).
6. Add . . . words--implying that his sole reliance was on God's all-sufficient teaching.
reprove thee--or, "convict thee"--and so the falsehood will appear.
7-9. A prayer for exemption from wickedness, and the extremes of poverty and riches, the two things mentioned. Contentment is implied as desired.
9. be full . . . deny-- that is, puffed up by the pride of prosperity.
take the name . . . vain-- This is not (Hebrew) the form (compare Exodus 20:7 ), but "take" rather denotes laying violent hold on any thing; that is lest I assail God's name or attributes, as justice, mercy, &c., which the poor are tempted to do.
10. Accuse not--Slander not ( Psalms 10:7 ).
curse . . . guilty--lest, however lowly, he be exasperated to turn on thee, and your guilt be made to appear.
11-14. Four kinds of hateful persons--(1) graceless children, (2) hypocrites, (3) the proud, (4) cruel oppressors (compare on Proverbs 30:14 , Psalms 14:4 , 52:2 )--are now illustrated; (1) Proverbs 30:15 Proverbs 30:16 , the insatiability of prodigal children and their fate; (2) Proverbs 30:17 , hypocrisy, or the concealment of real character; (3 and 4) Proverbs 30:18-20 , various examples of pride and oppression.
15, 16. horse leech--supposed by some to be the vampire (a fabulous creature), as being literally insatiable; but the other subjects mentioned must be taken as this, comparatively insatiable. The use of a fabulous creature agreeably to popular notions is not inconsistent with inspiration.
There are three . . . yea, four--(Compare Proverbs 6:16 ).
17. The eye--for the person, with reference to the use of the organ to express mockery and contempt, and also as that by which punishment is received.
the ravens . . . eagles . . . eat-- either as dying unnaturally, or being left unburied, or both.
18-20. Hypocrisy is illustrated by four examples of the concealment of all methods or traces of action, and a pertinent example of double dealing in actual vice is added, that is, the adulterous woman.
20. she eateth . . . mouth--that is, she hides the evidences of her shame and professes innocence.
23. heir . . . mistress--that is, takes her place as a wife ( Genesis 16:4 ).
24-31. These verses provide two classes of apt illustrations of various aspects of the moral world, which the reader is left to apply. By the first ( Proverbs 30:25-28 ), diligence and providence are commended; the success of these insignificant animals being due to their instinctive sagacity and activity, rather than strength. The other class ( Proverbs 30:30 Proverbs 30:31 ) provides similes for whatever is majestic or comely, uniting efficiency with gracefulness.
26. conies--mountain mice, or rabbits.
28. spider--tolerated, even in palaces, to destroy flies.
taketh . . . hands--or, uses with activity the limbs provided for taking prey.
33. or other ills, as surely arise from devising evil as natural effects from natural causes.