Mishle 17

1 7 Better is a dry crust, and quietness therewith, than a bais full of zevakhim (sacrificial religious meals) with strife.
2 An eved maskil (wise servant) shall have rule over a ben that causeth shame, and shall have a share of the nachalah among the achim.
3 The crucible is for kesef, and the furnace for zahav, but Hashem is the testor of hearts.
4 An evildoer giveth heed to false sfatayim (lips), and a sheker (liar) giveth ear to a spiteful lashon.
5 He who mocketh the poor showeth contempt for his Oseh (Maker), and he that gloats at calamities shall not go unpunished.
6 Bnei banim are the ateret of zekenim; and the tiferet of banim are their avot.
7 Eloquent speech becometh not a naval (fool), much less do lying sfatayim (lips) a ruler.
8 A shochad (gift, bribe) is like a charm in the eynayim of him that hath it: wherever he turneth, he prospereth.
9 He that covereth a peysha (transgression) seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth the best of friends.
10 Ge’arah (scolding) goeth deeper into a meiven than a hundred blows into a kesil (fool).
11 A rah seeketh only rebellion; therefore a merciless malach shall be sent to him.
12 Let an ish meet a dov robbed of her cubs rather than a kesil in his folly.
13 He who rewardeth ra’ah for tovah, ra’ah shall not depart from his bais.
14 The beginning of madon (strife) is like releasing mayim, therefore stop contention before a quarrel begins.
15 He that justifieth the rashah, and he that condemneth the tzaddik, even they both are to’evah to Hashem.
16 Why is there the purchase price in the yad of a kesil (fool) to acquire chochmah, seeing he hath no lev for it?
17 The re’a (friend) loveth at all times, and a brother is born for tzarah (adversity).
18 Adam devoid of lev [of understanding] shaketh hands in pledge, and becometh the security deposit for his neighbor.
19 He loveth peysha (transgression, sin) that loveth strife, and he that maketh his threshold high seeketh shever (fracture).
20 He that hath a crooked mind findeth no tov, and he that hath a deceitful lashon falleth into ra’ah.
21 He that begetteth a kesil doeth it to his sorrow, and the avi naval hath no simchah.
22 A lev same’ach doeth tov like a medicine, but a downcast ruach drieth up the bones.
23 A rasha accepts a shochad (bribe) out of the kheyk (bosom, i.e., secretly) to pervert the orkhot mishpat (paths of justice).
24 Chochmah is before the meiven (discerning one); but the eynayim of a kesil are on the ends of ha’aretz.
25 A ben kesil is a ka’as (grief) to aviv (his father), and bitterness to her that bore him.
26 Also to punish the tzaddik is not tov, nor to flog officials for their yashar (uprightness, integrity).
27 He that hath da’as spareth his words, and an ish tevunah (man of understanding) is of a calm ruach.
28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted chacham, and he that shutteth his sfatayim (lips) is esteemed a man of understanding.

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Mishle 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

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.

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of some buildings of Solomon for himself, 1Ki 7:1-12; and of other things for the use of the temple; of two pillars of brass, 1Ki 7:13-22; of the molten sea, 1Ki 7:23-26; and of ten bases, and ten layers on them, 1Ki 7:27-39; with other utensils and ornaments, 1Ki 7:40-51.

Mishle 17 Commentaries

The Orthodox Jewish Bible fourth edition, OJB. Copyright 2002,2003,2008,2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International. All rights reserved.