Verse 1 Sin makes men cowards. Whatever difficulties the righteous meet in the way of duty, they are not daunted. Verse 2 . National sins disturb the public repose. Verse 3 . If needy persons get opportunities of oppressing, their extortion will be more severe than that of the more wealthy. Verse 4 . Wicked people strengthen one another in wicked ways. Verse 5 . If a man seeks the Lord, it is a good sign that he understands much, and it is a good means of understanding more. Verse 6 . An honest, godly, poor man, is better than a wicked, ungodly, rich man; has more comfort in himself, and is a greater blessing to the world. Verse 7 . Companions of riotous men not only grieve their parents, but shame them. Verse 8 . That which is ill got, though it may increase much, will not last long. Thus the poor are repaid, and God is glorified. Verse 9 . The sinner at whose prayers God is angry, is one who obstinately refuses to obey God's commands. Verse 10 . The success of ungodly men is their own misery. Verse 11 . Rich men are so flattered, that they think themselves superior to others. Verse 12 . There is glory in the land when the righteous have liberty. Verse 13 . It is folly to indulge sin, and excuse it. He who covers his sins, shall not have any true peace. He who humbly confesses his sins, with true repentance and faith, shall find mercy from God. The Son of God is our great atonement. Under a deep sense of our guilt and danger, we may claim salvation from that mercy which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Verse 14 . There is a fear which causes happiness. Faith and love will deliver from the fear of eternal misery; but we should always fear offending God, and fear sinning against him. Verse 15 . A wicked ruler, whatever we may call him, this scripture calls a roaring lion, and a ranging bear. Verse 16 . Oppressors want understanding; they do not consult their own honour, ease, and safety. Verse 17 . The murderer shall be haunted with terrors. None shall desire to save him from deserved punishment, nor pity him. Verse 18 . Uprightness will give men holy security in the worst times; but the false and dishonest are never safe. Verse 19 . Those who are diligent, take the way to live comfortably. Verse 20 . The true way to be happy, is to be holy and honest; not to raise an estate suddenly, without regard to right or wrong. Verse 21 . Judgment is perverted, when any thing but pure right is considered. Verse 22 . He that hastens to be rich, never seriously thinks how quickly God may take his wealth from him, and leave him in poverty. Verse 23 . Upon reflection, most will have a better opinion of a faithful reprover than of a soothing flatterer. Verse 24 . Here is the wickedness of those who think it no sin to rob their parents, by wheedling them or threatening them, or by wasting what they have, and running into debt. Verse 25 . Those make themselves always easy, that live in continual dependence upon God and his grace, and live by faith. Verse 26 . A fool trusts to his own strength, merit, and righteousness. And trusts to his own heart, which is not only deceitful above all things, but which has often deceived him. Verse 27 . A selfish man not only will not look out for objects of compassion, but will look off from those that call for his attention. Verse 28 . When power is put into the hands of the wicked, wise men decline public business. If the reader will go diligently over this and the other chapters, in many places where at first he may suppose there is least of Christ, still he will find what will lead to him.
Proverbs 28:1-28 .
1. A bad conscience makes men timid; the righteous are alone truly bold ( Proverbs 14:26 , Psalms 27:1 ).
2. Anarchy producing contending rulers shortens the reign of each.
but by a man . . . prolonged--or, "by a man of understanding--that is, a good ruler--he who knows or regards the right, that is, a good citizen, shall prolong (his days)." Good rulers are a blessing to the people. Bad government as a punishment for evil is contrasted with good as blessing to the good.
3. A poor man, &c.--Such, in power, exact more severely, and so leave subjects bare.
4. They that forsake . . . wicked--Wrongdoers encourage one another.
5. (Compare John 7:17 ). Ignorance of moral truth is due to unwillingness to know it.
6. (Compare Proverbs 10:6 ). Riches cannot compensate for sin, nor the want of them affect integrity.
7. (Compare Proverbs 17:25 ).
riotous men--or, "gluttons" ( Proverbs 23:20 Proverbs 23:21 ).
8. usury . . . unjust gain--(Compare Margin). The two terms, meaning nearly the same, may denote excessive interest. God's providence directs the proper use of wealth.
9. (Compare Proverbs 15:8 , 21:27 ).
hearing--that is, obeying. God requires sincere worshippers ( Psalms 66:18 , John 4:24 ).
10. (Compare Proverbs 26:27 ).
11. A poor but wise man can discover (and expose) the rich and self-conceited.
12. great glory--or, cause for it to a people, for the righteous rejoice in good, and righteousness exalts a nation ( Proverbs 14:34 ).
a man . . . hidden--that is, the good retire, or all kinds try to escape a wicked rule.
13. (Compare Psalms 32:3-5 ). Concealment of sin delivers none from God's wrath, but He shows mercy to the humble penitent ( Psalms 51:4 ).
14. feareth--that is, God, and so repents.
hardeneth his heart--makes himself insensible to sin, and so will not repent ( Proverbs 14:16 , 29:1 ).
15. The rapacity and cruelty of such beasts well represent some wicked men (compare Psalms 7:2 , 17:12 ).
16. The prince . . . understanding--that is, He does not perceive that oppression jeopards his success. Covetousness often produces oppression, hence the contrast.
17. doeth violence . . . blood, &c.--or, that is oppressed by the blood of life ( Genesis 9:6 ), which he has taken.
to the pit--the grave or destruction ( Proverbs 1:12 , Job 33:18-24 , Psalms 143:7 ).
stay him--sustain or deliver him.
18. (Compare Proverbs 10:9 , 17:20 ). Double dealing is eventually fatal.
19. (Compare Proverbs 10:4 , 20:4 ).
vain persons--idle, useless drones, implying that they are also wicked ( Proverbs 12:11 , Psalms 26:4 ).
20. maketh haste . . . rich--implying deceit or fraud ( Proverbs 20:21 ), and so opposed to "faithful" or reliable.
21. respect of persons--( Proverbs 24:23 ). Such are led to evil by the slightest motive.
22. (Compare Proverbs 28:20 ).
evil eye--in the general sense of Proverbs 23:6 , here more specific for covetousness (compare Proverbs 22:9 , Matthew 20:15 ).
poverty . . . him--by God's providence.
23. (Compare Proverbs 9:8 Proverbs 9:9 , 27:5 ). Those benefited by reproof will love their monitors.
24. (Compare Matthew 15:4-6 ). Such, though heirs, are virtually thieves, to be ranked with highwaymen.
25. of a proud heart--literally, "puffed up of soul"--that is, self-confident, and hence overbearing and litigious.
made fat--or, "prosperous" ( Proverbs 11:25 , 16:20 ).
26. (Compare Proverbs 3:6-8 ).
walketh wisely--that is, trusting in God ( Proverbs 22:17-19 ).
27. (Compare Proverbs 11:24-26 ).
hideth his eyes--as the face ( Psalms 27:9 , 69:17 ), denotes inattention.
28. The elevation of the wicked to power drives men to seek refuge from tyranny (compare Proverbs 28:12 , Proverbs 11:10 , Psalms 12:8 ).