Verse 1 These words recommend family love and peace, as needful for the comfort of human life. Verse 2 . The wise servant is more deserving, and more likely to appear one of the family, than a profligate son. Verse 3 . God tries the heart by affliction. He thus has often shown the sin remaining in the heart of the believer. Verse 4 . Flatterers, especially false teachers, are welcome to those that live in sin. Verse 5 . Those that laugh at poverty, treat God's providence and precepts with contempt. Verse 6 . It is an honour to children to have wise and godly parents continued to them, even after they are grown up and settled in the world. Verse 7 . A fool, in Solomon's Proverbs, signifies a wicked man, whom excellent speech does not become, because his conversation contradicts it. Verse 8 . Those who set their hearts upon money, will do any thing for it. What influence should the gifts of God have on our hearts! Verse 9 . The way to preserve peace is to make the best of every thing; not to notice what has been said or done against ourselves. Verse 10 . A gentle reproof will enter, not only into the head, but into the heart of a wise man. Verse 11 . Satan, and the messengers of Satan, shall be let loose upon an evil man. Verse 12 . Let us watch over our own passions, and avoid the company of furious men. Verse 13 . To render evil for good is devilish. He that does so, brings a curse upon his family. Verse 14 . What danger there is in the beginning of strife! Resist its earliest display; and leave it off, if it were possible, before you begin. Verse 15 . It is an offence to God to acquit the guilty, or to condemn those who are not guilty. Verse 16 . Man's neglect of God's favour and his own interest is very absurd. Verse 17 . No change of outward circumstances should abate our affection for our friends or relatives. But no friend, except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. In Him this text did receive, and still receives its most glorious fulfilment. Verse 18 . Let not any wrong their families. Yet Christ's becoming Surety for men, was a glorious display of Divine wisdom; for he was able to discharge the bond. Verse 19 . If we would keep a clear conscience and a quiet mind, we must shun all excitements to anger. And a man who affects a style of living above his means, goes the way to ruin. Verse 20 . There is nothing got by ill designs. And many have paid dear for an unbridled tongue. Verse 21 . This speaks very plainly what many wise and good men feel very strongly, how grievous it is to have a foolish, wicked child. Verse 22 . It is great mercy that God gives us leave to be cheerful, and cause to be cheerful, if by his grace he gives us hearts to be cheerful. Verse 23 . The wicked are ready to part with their money, though loved, that they may not suffer for their crimes. Verse 24 . The prudent man keeps the word of God continually in view. But the foolish man cannot fix his thoughts, nor pursue any purpose with steadiness. Verse 25 . Wicked children despise the authority of their father, and the tenderness of their mother. Verse 26 . It is very wrong to find fault ( proverbs 17:27-28 ) wise man, by the good temper of his mind, and by the good government of his tongue. He is careful when he does speak, to speak to the purpose. God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound there; therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment as men may be.
Proverbs 17:1-28 .
1. sacrifices--or, "feasts" made with part of them (compare Proverbs 7:14 , Leviticus 2:3 , 7:31 ).
strife--its product, or attendant.
2. (Compare Proverbs 14:35 ).
causeth shame--( Proverbs 10:5 ).
shall . . . inheritance--that is, share a brother's part (compare Numbers 27:4 Numbers 27:7 ).
3. God only knows, as He tries ( Psalms 12:6 , 66:10 ) the heart.
4. Wicked doers and speakers alike delight in calumny.
5. (Compare Proverbs 14:31 ).
glad at calamities--rejoicing in others' evil. Such are rightly punished by God, who knows their hearts.
6. Prolonged posterity is a blessing, its cutting off a curse ( Proverbs 13:22 , Psalms 109:13-15 ), hence children may glory in virtuous ancestry.
7. Excellent speech--(Compare Margin). Such language as ill suits a fool, as lying (ought to suit) a prince ( Proverbs 16:12 Proverbs 16:13 ).
8. One so corrupt as to take a bribe evinces his high estimate of it by subjection to its influence ( Proverbs 18:16 , 19:6 ).
9. seeketh love--(Compare Margin). The contrast is between the peace-maker and tale-bearer.
10. Reproof more affects the wise than severe scourging, fools.
11. Such meet just retribution ( 1 Kings 2:25 ).
a cruel messenger--one to inflict it.
12. They are less rational in anger than wild beasts.
13. (Compare Psalms 7:4 , 35:12 ).
evil--injury to another ( Proverbs 13:21 ).
14. letteth . . . water--as a breach in a dam.
before . . . meddled with--before strife has become sharp, or, by an explanation better suiting the figure, before it rolls on, or increases.
15. abomination . . . Lord--as reversing His method of acting ( Proverbs 3:32 , 12:2 ).
16. Though wealth cannot buy wisdom for those who do not love it, yet wisdom procures wealth ( Proverbs 3:16 , 14:24 ).
17. To the second of these parallel clauses, there is an accession of meaning, that is, that a brother's love is specially seen in adversity.
18. (Compare Proverbs 6:1-5 , 11:15 ).
in the presence, &c.--that is, he either fails to consult his friend, or to follow his advice.
19. strife--contention is, and leads to, sin.
he that exalteth his gate--gratifies a vain love of costly building.
seeketh--or, "findeth," as if he sought (compare "loveth death," Proverbs 8:36 ).
20. The second clause advances on the first. The ill-natured fail of good, and the cavilling and fault-finding incur evil.
21. (Compare Proverbs 23:24 ). Different words are rendered by "fool," both denoting stupidity and impiety.
22. (Compare Proverbs 14:30 , 15:13 ). The effect of the mind on the body is well known.
medicine--or, "body," which better corresponds with "bone."
drieth--as if the marrow were exhausted.
23. a gift . . . bosom--Money and other valuables were borne in a fold of the garment, called the bosom.
to pervert--that is, by bribery.
24. Wisdom . . . him--ever an object of regard, while a fool's affections are unsettled.
25. a grief--or cross, vexation (compare Proverbs 17:21 , Proverbs 10:1 ).
26. Also--that is, Equally to be avoided are other sins: punishing good subjects, or resisting good rulers.
27, 28. Prudence of speech is commended as is an excellent or calm spirit, not excited to vain conversation.