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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Proverbs 27

 

 

Verse 1

XXVII.

(1) Boast not thyself of to-morrow.—This is forbidden also in James 4:13, sqq.; but there on the higher ground that it argues a want of submission to the will of Almighty God. This temper of mind, as well as the opposite one of too great anxiety for the morrow (Matthew 6:34), proceed from the same cause, too much dependence upon self, and are only to be met by learning to realise the love of God for His children (ibid., 26, 30, 33), and looking up to Him daily for protection, guidance, and support.


Verse 2

(2) Let another man (zar) praise thee . . . a stranger (nokhrî).—As to the difference between these words, see above on Proverbs 2:16. A higher consideration than this is suggested in 2 Corinthians 10:18.


Verse 3

(3) But a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both—i.e., harder to bear. (Comp. Sirach 12:15.) The “fool” here (evil) is the headstrong, self-willed person. who has never learned to control himself, but bursts out into the maddest rage when crossed.


Verse 4

(4) But who is able to stand before envy?—Rather, jealousy. (Comp. Proverbs 6:34.) “Wrath” and “anger” rage for awhile like a storm, and then subside; but jealousy can never be completely set at rest.


Verse 5

(5) Secret love—i.e., that never discloses itself in acts of kindness, not even in “open rebuke” when such is needed.


Verse 6

(6) Faithful are the wounds of a friend—i.e., the “open rebuke” of the previous verse, the “smiting” and “reproof” of Psalms 142:5.

The kisses of an enemy are deceitful.—Rather, plentiful, showered upon one, but all meaningless.


Verse 7

(7) The full soul loatheth an honeycomb.—So the moderate use of the good things of this life increases our enjoyment of them. But in spiritual things, the less we content ourselves with, the less hunger we feel, and less enjoyment do we derive from them.


Verse 8

(8) A man that wandereth from his place.—That wandereth forth as an exile that has lost his home. Comp. Genesis 12:4, and, on the contrary, Job’s hope that he would “die in his nest” (Proverbs 29:18). For the spiritual sense comp. Luke 15:13, sqq.


Verse 9

(9) Ointment and perfume.—Comp. Proverbs 7:17 and note on Proverbs 21:17.


Verse 10

(10) Better is a neighbour that is near.—See above on Proverbs 17:17; Proverbs 18:24. “Near” and “far off”—i.e., in feeling.


Verse 11

(11) My son.—The address of a father to his son, or master to pupil.

That I may answer him that reproacheth me for having brought you up badly when he sees you ignorant or ill-behaved. So Christians are exhorted to let their “light so shine before men” that their Father in heaven may be thereby glorified (Matthew 5:16).


Verse 12

(12) A prudent man foreseeth the evil.—See above on Proverbs 22:3.


Verse 13

(13) Take a pledge of him for a strange woman.—See above on Proverbs 20:16; and for “strange woman” comp. note on Proverbs 2:16.


Verse 14

(14) He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice . . .—If gratitude is to be acceptable, the time, place, and manner of shewing it must all be well chosen. A man who is so eager to express his thanks that he begins early in the morning, and in so loud a voice as to draw upon his patron the attention of all the bystanders, is looked upon as a nuisance; any one would as soon be cursed as blessed by him. So God loves heartfelt gratitude offered in secret. (Comp. Matthew 6:5-6.)


Verse 15

(15) A continual dropping in a very rainy day.—See above on Proverbs 19:13.


Verse 16

(16) Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind—i.e., you might as well try and stop the wind from blowing as seek to restrain her.

And the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.—Rather, perhaps, and oil meeteth his right hand—i.e., if he puts out his hand to stop her she slips through it like oil.


Verse 17

(17) So a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend—i.e., the play of wit with wit sharpens and brightens up the face.


Verse 18

(18) Whoso keepeth the fig-tree—i.e., tends it carefully year after year, “shall eat the fruit thereof” when it has come to perfection.

So he that waiteth on his master—i.e., attends to him, observes and follows out his wishes, “shall be honoured” for his good service. (Comp. Matthew 25:21.)


Verse 19

(19) So the heart of man (answereth) to man.—What is in our own hearts we find in others also. Whatever are the distinguishing features of our own characters we discover and elicit the same in others. The merciful, the generous, the devout, the pure, recognise the same qualities in others, and themselves feel and receive sympathy from such persons. So the evil, too, find themselves in harmony with those of like disposition.


Verse 20

(20) Hell and destruction.—See above on Proverbs 15:11.

The eyes of man are never satisfied.—Comp. Ecclesiastes 1:8; Ecclesiastes 4:8. God would thus teach us that in Himself only can man find complete satisfaction. (Comp. Psalms 36:8-9; 1 Corinthians 2:9.)


Verse 21

(21) So is a man to his praise—i.e., as the fining-pot and furnace test the metals put into them, so does that on which a man prides or boasts himself. Observe what this is—e.g., wealth, or show, or popularity, or duty—and you will see what sort of a man he is. Or it may mean, praise—i.e., popularity, is as great a trial to a man as the fining-pot to silver; he must be of good metal if he comes unhurt out of this. Or, again, it may signify, let a man test his praise—i.e., examine by whom and for what he is praised, and be sure it is genuine and well deserved


Verse 22

(22) Though thou shouldest bray (i.e., pound) a fool (a self-willed, headstrong person) in a mortar among wheat with a pestle.—This would separate completely the husks from the wheat; but obstinacy has become a part of such a man’s nature, and cannot be got rid of even by such violent measures.


Verse 23

(23) Be thou diligent to know the state of thy herds. . . .—In the last five verses of this chapter the peace and security of the pastoral life are described as being far superior to the uncertainty attending other sources of wealth and the regal power. For the spiritual sense of this passage comp. 1 Peter 5:2-4


Verse 24

(24) For riches are not for ever.—Comp. Proverbs 23:5. So it is well to have a sure source of income, like husbandry or cattle-feeding, upon which to fall back.


Verse 25

(25) The hay appeareth.—Or perhaps better, is gone. The quiet succession of the crops and seasons is here described.

Herbs of the mountains—i.e., pasturage.


Verse 26

(26) And the goats are the price of the field—i.e., you can purchase a field from the profit of your goats.


Verse 27

(27) For the maintenance for thy maidens, who tend the cattle.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 27:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-27.html. 1905.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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