Verse 1 The believer, perceiving that the Lord rules every heart as he sees fit, like the husbandman who turns the water through his grounds as he pleases, seeks to have his own heart, and the hearts of others, directed in his faith, fear, and love. Verse 2 . We are partial in judging ourselves and our actions. Verse 3 . Many deceive themselves with a conceit that outward devotions will excuse unrighteousness. Verse 4 . Sin is the pride, the ambition, the glory, the joy, and the business of wicked men. Verse 5 . The really diligent employ foresight as well as labour. Verse 6 . While men seek wealth by unlawful practices, they seek death. Verse 7 . Injustice will return upon the sinner, and will destroy him here and for ever. Verse 8 . The way of mankind by nature is froward and strange. Verse 9 . It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. Verse 10 . The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. Verse 11 . The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. Verse 12 . Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. Verse 13 . Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. Verse 14 . If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? Verse 15 . There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. Verse 16 . Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. Verse 17 . A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. Verse 18 . The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. Verse 19 . Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. Verse 20 . The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. Verse 21 . True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. Verse 22 . Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. Verse 23 . It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. Verse 24 . Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, ( proverbs 21:25-26 ) misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. Verse 27 . When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. Verse 28 . The doom of a false witness is certain. Verse 29 . A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What ( proverbs 21:30-31 ) after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Proverbs 21:1-31 .
1. rivers--irrigating channels ( Psalms 1:3 ), whose course was easily turned (compare Deuteronomy 11:10 ). God disposes even kings as He pleases ( Proverbs 16:9 , Psalms 33:15 ).
2. (Compare Proverbs 14:2 , 16:2-25 ).
3. (Compare Psalms 50:7-15 Isaiah 1:11 Isaiah 1:17 ).
4. high look--(Compare Margin; Psalms 131:1 ).
proud heart--or, "heart of breadth," one that is swollen (compare Psalms 101:5 ).
ploughing--better "lamp," a frequent figure for prosperity ( Proverbs 20:20 ); hence joy or delight.
5. The contrast is between steady industry and rashness (compare Proverbs 19:2 ).
6. The getting--or, "what is obtained" (compare Job 7:2 , Jeremiah 22:13 , Hebrew).
vanity . . . to and fro--as fleeting as chaff or stubble in the wind (compare Proverbs 20:17-21 Psalms 62:10 ). Such gettings are unsatisfactory.
them . . . death--act as if they did ( Proverbs 8:36 , 17:19 ).
7. robbery--or, "destruction," especially oppression, of which they are authors.
shall destroy--literally, "cut with a saw" ( 1 Kings 7:9 ), that is, utterly ruin them. Their sins shall be visited on them in kind.
to do judgment--what is just and right.
8. of man--any one; his way is opposed to truth, and also estranged from it. The pure proves himself such by his right conduct.
9. corner--a turret or arbor on the roof.
wide house--literally, "house of fellowship," large enough for several families.
10. So strongly does he desire to do evil ( Psalms 10:3 , Ecclesiastes 8:11 ), that he will not even spare his friend if in his way.
11. (Compare Proverbs 19:25 ). That which the simple learn by the terrors of punishment, the wise learn by teaching.
12. (Compare Psalms 37:35-38 , Psalms 73:17 Psalms 73:20 ).
house--family or interests.
overthroweth--either supply "God" (compare Proverbs 10:24 ), or the word is used impersonally.
13. The principles of retribution, often taught (compare Psalms 18:26 Matthew 7:1-12 ).
14. The effect of bribery ( Proverbs 17:23 ) is enhanced by secrecy, as the bribed person does not wish his motives made known.
15. But the just love right and need no bribes. The wicked at last meet destruction, though for a time happy in concealing corruption.
16. the way of understanding--(Compare Proverbs 12:26 , 14:22 ).
remain--that is, rest as at a journey's end; death will be his unchanging home.
17. Costly luxuries impoverish.
18. (Compare Proverbs 11:8 ). By suffering what they had devised for the righteous, or brought on them, the wicked became their ransom, in the usual sense of substitutes (compare Joshua 7:26 , Esther 7:9 ).
19. (Compare Proverbs 21:9 ).
wilderness--pasture, though uninhabitable ground ( Psalms 65:12 ).
20. The wise, by diligence and care, lay up and increase wealth, while fools
spend--literally, "swallow it up," greedily.
21. He who tries to act justly and kindly ( Psalms 34:14 ) will prosper and obtain justice and honor.
22. "Wisdom is better than strength" ( Ecclesiastes 7:19 , 9:15 ).
strength . . . thereof--that in which they confide.
23. (Compare Proverbs 13:2 Proverbs 13:3 , 3:6-10 ).
24. The reproachful name is deserved by those who treat others with anger and contempt.
25. desire--that is of ease and idleness brings him to starvation.
26. The sin of covetousness marks the sluggard, as the virtue of benevolence the righteous.
27. God regards the heart, and hypocrisy is more odious than open inconsistency.
wicked mind--or, "design" ( Proverbs 1:4 ).
28. (Compare Proverbs 19:5 ).
that heareth--or heeds instruction, and so grows wise.
speaketh constantly--or sincerely (compare Habakkuk 1:5 ), and hence is believed ( Proverbs 12:19 , 1:19 ).
29. hardeneth his face--is obstinate.
directeth . . . way--considers it, and acts advisedly.
30, 31. Men's best devices and reliances are vain compared with God's, or without His aid ( Proverbs 19:21 , Psalms 20:7 , 33:17 ).