Proverbs 27:17

17 Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.

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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 contentious wife are alike;
16 to restrain her is to restrain the wind or to grasp oil in the right hand.
17 Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.
18 Anyone who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and anyone who takes care of a master will be honored.
19 Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another.

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Footnotes 1

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.