Through the whole of the Proverbs, we are to look for somewhat beyond the first sense the passage may imply, and this we shall find to be Christ. He is the Wisdom so often spoken of in this book.
Verse 1 The comfort of parents much depends on their children; and ( proverbs 10:2-3 ) the righteous may be poor, the Lord will not suffer him to want what is needful for spiritual life. Verse 4 . Those who are fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, are likely to be rich in faith, and rich in good works. Verse 5 . Here is just blame of those who trifle away opportunities, both for here and for hereafter. Verse 6 . Abundance of blessings shall abide on good men; real blessings. Verse 7 . Both the just and the wicked must die; but between their souls there is a vast difference. Verse 8 . The wise in heart puts his knowledge in practice. Verse 9 . Dissemblers, after all their shuffling, will be exposed. Verse 10 . Trick and artifice will be no excuse for iniquity. Verse 11 . The good man's mouth is always open to teach, comfort, and correct others. Verse 12 . Where there is hatred, every thing stirs up strife. By bearing with each other, peace and harmony are preserved. Verse 13 . Those that foolishly go on in wicked ways, prepare rods for themselves. Verse 14 . Whatever knowledge may be useful, we must lay it up, that it may not be to seek when we want it. The wise gain this wisdom by reading, by hearing the word, by meditation, by prayer, by faith in Christ, who is made of God unto us wisdom. Verse 15 . This refers to the common mistakes both of rich and poor, as to their outward condition. Rich people's wealth exposes them to many dangers; while a poor man may live comfortably, if he is content, keeps a good conscience, and lives by faith. Verse 16 . Perhaps a righteous man has no more than what he works hard for, but that labour tends to life. Verse 17 . The traveller that has missed his way, and cannot bear to be told of it, and to be shown the right way, must err still. Verse 18 . He is especially a fool who thinks to hide anything from God; and malice is no better. Verse 19 . Those that speak much, speak much amiss. He that checks himself is a wise ( proverbs 10:20-21 ) the just is sincere, freed from the dross of guile and evil design. Pious discourse is spiritual food to the needy. Fools die for want of a heart, so the word is; for want of thought. Verse 22 . That wealth which is truly desirable, has no vexation of spirit in the enjoyment; no grief for the loss; no guilt by the abuse of it. What comes from the love of God, has the grace of God for its companion. Verse 23 . Only foolish and wicked men divert themselves with doing harm to others, or tempting to sin. Verse 24 . The largest desire of eternal blessings the righteous can form, will be granted. Verse 25 . The course of prosperous sinners is like a whirlwind, which soon spends itself, and is gone. Verse 26 . As vinegar sets the teeth on edge, and as the smoke causes the eyes ( proverbs 10:27-28 ) is he that loves life? Let him fear God, and that will secure to him life enough in this world, and eternal life in the other. Verse 29 . The believer grows stronger in faith, and obeys with increased delight. Verse 30 . The wicked would be glad to have this earth their home for ever, but it cannot be so. They must die ( proverbs 10:31-32 ) wisely for the benefit of others. But it is the sin, and will be the ruin of a wicked man, that he speaks what is displeasing to God, and provoking to those he converses with. The righteous is kept by the power of God; and nothing shall be able to separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus.
Proverbs 10:1-32 . Here begins the second part of the book, Proverbs 10:1-22:16', which, with the third, Proverbs 22:16-25:28', contains series of proverbs whose sense is complete in one or two verses, and which, having no logical connection, admit of no analysis. The parallelisms of Proverbs 10:1-15:33' are mostly antithetic; and those of Proverbs 16:1-22:16', synthetic. The evidences of art in the structure are very clear, and indicate, probably, a purpose of facilitating the labor of memorizing.
1. wise [and] foolish--as they follow or reject the precepts of wisdom.
maketh . . . father--or, "gladdens a father."
2. Treasures . . . nothing--that is, Ill-gotten gains give no true happiness (compare Proverbs 4:17 , Matthew 6:19 ).
righteousness--especially beneficence ( Psalms 112:9 ).
death--the greatest of all evils.
3. (Compare Psalms 37:16-20 ). The last clause is better: "He will repel the greedy desires of the wicked."
4. slack--literally, "deceitful," failing of its purpose (compare Hosea 7:16 ).
maketh rich--(compare Proverbs 10:22 ).
5. son--as Proverbs 1:8 Proverbs 1:10 , and often.
sleepeth--in indolence, and not for rest.
causeth shame--literally, "is base" (compare Proverbs 14:35 , 17:2 ).
6. Blessings--literally, "Praises." The last clause is better: "The mouth of the wicked covereth (or concealeth) violence (or mischievous devices)" to be executed in due time ( Psalms 5:9 , 10:7 , Romans 3:14 ), and hence has no praises (compare Proverbs 10:11 ).
7. blessed--literally, "for a blessing," or praise.
shall rot--literally, "be worm-eaten," useless and disgusting.
8. wise, &c.--(compare Proverbs 9:8 Proverbs 9:9 Proverbs 9:16 ), opposed to
prating fool--or, "fool of lips of wicked language."
9. perverteth his ways--acts deceitfully.
known--discovered and punished.
10. Two vices contrasted; hypocrisy, or insinuating evil against one ( Proverbs 6:13 , Psalms 35:19 ), and rashness of speech. In each case, the results are on the evildoers.
11. a well--or, "source" of good to himself and others ( John 7:37 John 7:38 ). On last clause,
12. strifes--or, "litigations."
covereth--by forgiveness and forbearance.
13. In the lips . . . found--hence, not beaten, as the wicked-speaking fool.
void of understanding--( Proverbs 6:32 , 7:7 ).
14. lay up knowledge--that is, as treasures for good use.
mouth . . . destruction--or, "as to the mouth," &c., destruction is near; they expose themselves to evil by prating.
15. Both by trusting in "uncertain riches" ( 1 Timothy 6:17 ), or by the evils of poverty ( Proverbs 30:9 ), men, not fearing God, fall into dangers.
16. The industry of the righteous is alone truly successful, while the earnings of the wicked tempt and lead to sin.
17. keepeth--observes ( Proverbs 3:18 , 4:22 ).
refuseth--or, "turns from reproof," which might direct him aright.
18. Both vices must one day be known and punished, and hence their folly.
19. Much speech involves risk of sin; hence the wisdom of restraining the tongue ( Psalms 39:1 , 1:26 ).
20. Right speech is the fruit of a good heart, but the wicked show theirs to be useless.
21. Fools not only fail to benefit others, as do the righteous, but procure their own ruin (compare Proverbs 10:11 Proverbs 10:17 , Hosea 4:6 ).
22. it maketh, &c.--"it" is emphatic. Riches from God are without the sorrow of ill-gotten wealth (compare Ecclesiastes 2:21-23 , 1 Timothy 6:9 1 Timothy 6:10 1 Timothy 6:17 ).
23. Sin is the pleasure of the wicked; wisdom that of the good.
24. it--the very thing. The wicked get dreaded evil; the righteous, desired good.
25. (Compare Psalms 1:4 , Psalms 37:9 Psalms 37:10 Psalms 37:36 ).
righteous . . . foundation--well laid and firm ( Matthew 7:24 Matthew 7:25 ).
26. that is, causes vexation.
27. (Compare Proverbs 9:11 , Psalms 55:23 ).
28. gladness--in confidence of realizing it.
expectation . . . perish--in disappointment.
29. The way, &c.--that is, God's providence sustains the righteous and overthrows the wicked ( Hosea 14:9 ).
30. (Compare Proverbs 12:3 , Psalms 37:9-11 , 102:28 ).
earth--or, "land of promise."
31. bringeth forth--literally, "germinates" as a plant.
froward--(Compare Proverbs 2:12 Proverbs 2:14 ).
cut off--as an unproductive plant.
32. know--regard and provide for ( Psalms 1:6 ).
frowardness--all kinds of deceit and ill-nature. The word is plural.