Proverbs 27:17

17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.[a]

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Proverbs 27:17 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 27:17

Iron sharpeneth iron
A sword or knife made of iron is sharpened by it; so butchers sharpen their knives; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend;
by conversation with him; thus learned men sharpen one another's minds, and excite each other to learned studies; Christians sharpen one another's graces, or stir up each other to the exercise of them, and the gifts which are bestowed on them, and to love and to good works. So Jarchi and Gersom understand it of the sharpening of men's minds to the learning of doctrine; but Aben Ezra, takes it in an ill sense, that as iron strikes iron and sharpens it, so a wrathful man irritates and provokes wrath in another. Some render the words, "as iron delighteth in iron, so a man rejoiceth the countenance of his friend", F9: by his company and conversation.


F9 (dxy) "laetatur", a (hdx) "laetari; ferrum in ferro laetatur, et virum laetificant ora socii ejus", Gussetius, p. 242. "ferrum ferro hiluratur, et vir exhilarat vultum sodalis sui", Schultens.

Proverbs 27:17 In-Context

15 A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
16 to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in one's right hand.
17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
18 Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who guards his master will be honored.
19 As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man.

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Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew sharpens the face of another
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.