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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 22

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Omit “good.” The word is an insertion. To the Hebrew, “name” by itself conveyed the idea of good repute, just as “men without a name” (compare Job 30:8 margin) are those sunk in ignominy. The margin gives a preferable rendering of the second clause of this verse.

Verse 2

Compare the margin reference. Another recognition of the oneness of a common humanity, overriding all distinctions of rank.

Verse 4

Better, (compare the margin) The reward of humility (is) the fear of the Lord, “riches, and honor, and life.

Verse 6

Train - Initiate, and so, educate.

The way he should go - Or, according to the tenor of his way, i. e., the path especially belonging to, especially fitted for, the individual’s character. The proverb enjoins the closest possible study of each child’s temperament and the adaptation of “his way of life” to that.

Verse 8

The rod of his anger - That with which he smites others (compare Isaiah 14:6). The King James Version describes the final impotence of the wrath of the wicked.

Verse 9

He that hath a bountiful eye - literally, as in the margin, contrasted with the “evil eye” of Proverbs 28:22.

Verse 11

More literally, “He that loveth pureness of heart, his lips are gracious, the king is his friend.”

Verse 13

The point of the satire is the ingenuity with which the slothful man devises the most improbable alarms. He hears that “there is a lion without,” i. e., in the broad open country; he is afraid of being slain in the very streets of the city.

Verse 14

The fall of the man into the snare of the harlot seems to be the consequence of the abhorrence or wrath of Yahweh. That abhorrence is, however, the result of previous evil. The man is left to himself, and sin becomes the penalty of sin.

Verse 16

Better, He who oppresses the poor for his own profit gives. (i. e., will, in the common course of things, be compelled to give) to a rich man, and that only to his own loss. Ill-gotten gains do not prosper, and only expose the oppressor to extortion and violence in his turn.

Verse 17

This is the commencement of a new and entirely distinct section, opening, after the fashion of Proverbs 3:1, Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 4:1; Proverbs 7:1; with a general exhortation Proverbs 22:17-21 and passing on to special precepts. The “words of the wise” may be a title to the section: compare Proverbs 24:23. The general characteristics of this section appear to be

(1) a less close attention to the laws of parallelism, and

(2) a tendency to longer and more complicated sentences. Compare the Introduction to Proverbs.

Verse 18

What is “pleasant” in the sight of God and man is the union of two things, belief passing into profession, profession resting on belief.

Verse 19

Even to thee - The wide general character of the teaching does not hinder its being a personal message to every one who reads it.

Verse 20

Excellent things - A meaning of the word derived from “the third,” i. e., “the chief of three warriors in a chariot” (compareExodus 14:7; Exodus 14:7 note). Another reading of the Hebrew text gives “Have I not written to thee long ago?” and this would form a natural antithesis to “this day” of Proverbs 22:19. The rendering of the Septuagint is: “write them for thyself three times;” that of the Vulgate, “I have written it (i. e., my counsel) In threefold form;” the “three times” or “threefold form” being referred either to the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, or to the division of the Old Testament into the Law, the prophets, and the Hagiographa.

Verse 21

To them that send unto thee - Better as in the margin; compare Proverbs 10:26. The man who has learned the certainty of the words of truth will learn to observe it in all that men commit to him.

Verse 22

i. e., “Do not be tempted by the helplessness of the poor man to do him wrong:” some prefer, “Refrain from doing him wrong through pity for his helplessness.”

The gate - The place where the rulers of the city sit in judgment. The words point to the special form of oppression of which unjust judges are the instruments.

Verse 26

Strike hands - i. e., Bind themselves as surety for what another owes (compare the margin reference).

Verse 27

He - i. e., The man to whom the surety has been given. The practice of distraining for payment of a debt, seems, though prohibited Exodus 22:27, to have become common.

Verse 28

A protest against the grasping covetousness Isaiah 5:8 which is regardless of the rights of the poor upon whose inheritance men encroach (compare the margin reference). The not uncommon reference of the words to the “landmarks” of thought or custom, however, natural and legitimate, is foreign to the mind of the writer.

Verse 29

The gift of a quick and ready intellect is to lead to high office, it is not to be wasted on a work to which the obscure are adequate.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 22". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/proverbs-22.html. 1870.
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