Verse 1 Those who have grace, will delight in the instructions given them. Those that stifle their convictions, are like brutes. Verse 2 . The man who covers selfish and vicious designs under a profession of religion or friendship, will be condemned. Verse 3 . Though men may advance themselves by sinful arts, they cannot settle and secure themselves. But those who by faith are rooted in Christ, are firmly fixed. Verse 4 . A wife who is pious, prudent, and looks well to the ways of her household, who makes conscience of her duty, and can bear crosses; such a one is an honour and comfort to her husband. She that is the reverse of this, preys upon him, and consumes him. Verse 5 . Thoughts are not free; they are under the Divine knowledge, therefore under the Divine command. It is a man's shame to act with deceit, with trick and design. Verse 6 . Wicked people speak mischief to their neighbours. A man may sometimes do a good work with one good word. Verse 7 . God's blessing is often continued to the families of godly men, while the wicked are overthrown. Verse 8 . The apostles showed wisdom by glorying in shame for the name of Christ. Verse 9 . He that lives in a humble state, who has no one to wait upon him, but gets bread by his own labour, is happier than he that glories in high birth or gay attire, and wants necessaries. Verse 10 . A godly man would not put even an animal to needless pain. But the wicked often speak of others as well used, when they would not endure like treatment for a single day. Verse 11 . It is men's wisdom to mind their business, and follow an honest calling. But it is folly to neglect business; and the grace of God teaches men to disdain nothing but sin. Verse 12 . When the ungodly see others prosper by sin, they wish they could act in the same way. But the root of Divine grace, in the heart of the righteous, produces other desires and purposes. Verse 13 . Many a man has paid dear in this world for the transgression of his lips. Verse 14 . When men use their tongues aright, to teach and comfort others, they enjoy acceptance through Christ Jesus; and the testimony of their conscience, that they in some measure answer the end of their being. Verse 15 . A fool, in the sense of Scripture, means a wicked man, one who acts contrary to the wisdom that is from above. His rule is, to do what is right in his own eyes. Verse 16 . A foolish man is soon angry, and is hasty in expressing it; he is ever in trouble and running into mischief. It is kindness to ourselves to make light of injuries and affronts, instead of making the worst of them. Verse 17 . It is good for all to dread and detest the sin of lying, and to be governed by honesty. Verse 18 . Whisperings and evil surmises, like a sword, separate those that have been dear to each other. The tongue of the wise is health, making all whole. Verse 19 . If truth be spoken, it will hold good; whoever may be disobliged, still it will keep its ground. Verse 20 . Deceit and falsehood bring terrors and perplexities. But those who consult the peace and happiness of others have joy in their own minds. Verse 21 . If men are sincerely righteous, the righteous God has engaged that no evil shall happen to them. But they that delight in mischief shall have enough of it. Verse 22 . Make conscience of truth, not only in words, but in actions. Verse 23 . Foolish men proclaim to all the folly and emptiness of their minds. Verse 24 . Those who will not take pains in an honest calling, living by tricks and dishonesty, are paltry and beggarly. Verse 25 . Care, fear, and sorrow, upon the spirits, deprive men of vigour in what is to be done, or courage in what is to be borne. A good word from God, applied by faith, makes the heart glad. Verse 26 . The righteous is abundant; though not in this world's goods, yet in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, which are the true riches. Evil men vainly flatter themselves that their ways are not wrong. Verse 27 . The slothful man makes no good use of the advantages Providence puts in his way, and has no comfort in them. The substance of a diligent man, though not great, does good to him and his family. He sees that God gives it to him in answer to prayer. Verse 28 . The way of religion is a straight, plain way; it is the way of righteousness. There is not only life at the end, but life in the way; all true comfort.
Proverbs 12:1-28 .
1. loveth knowledge--as the fruit of instruction or training ( Proverbs 1:2 ).
hateth reproof--( Proverbs 10:17 ).
brutish--stupid, regardless of his own welfare ( Psalms 49:10 , 73:22 ).
3. Wickedness cannot give permanent prosperity.
root . . . not be moved--firm as a flourishing tree--( Psalms 1:3 , 15:5 , Jeremiah 17:8 ).
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.
9. despised--held in little repute, obscure ( 1 Samuel 18:23 , Isaiah 3:5 ).
hath a servant--implying some means of honest living.
honoureth himself--is self-conceited.
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.
11. The idler's fate is the result of indolence and want of principle ( Proverbs 6:32 , 7:7 ).
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.
15. The way . . . eyes--The fool is self-conceited (compare Proverbs 12:1 , 1:32 , 10:17 , 3:17 ).
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 ).
21. no evil--(as in Psalms 91:10 ), under God's wise limitations ( Romans 8:28 ).
mischief--as penal evil.
22. deal truly--or, "faithfully," that is, according to promises (compare John 3:21 ).
23. concealeth--by his modesty ( Proverbs 10:14 , 11:13 ).
heart . . . proclaimeth--as his lips speak his thoughts (compare Ecclesiastes 10:3 ).
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 ).
28. (Compare Proverbs 8:8 Proverbs 8:20 , &c.). A sentiment often stated; here first affirmatively, then negatively.