Lectionary Calendar
Friday, May 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 29

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Shall be destroyed - literally, “shall be broken” Proverbs 6:15. Stress is laid on the suddenness in such a case of the long-delayed retribution.

Verse 3

Spendeth ... - The laws of parallelism would lead us to expect “troubleth his father,” but that is passed over as a thing about which the profligate would not care, and he is reminded of what comes home to him, that he is on the road to ruin.

The king - The ruler, as the supreme fountain of all justice, and as the ideal judge, is contrasted with the taker of bribers.

Verse 6

While the offence of the wicked, rising out of a confirmed habit of evil, becomes snare for his destruction; the righteous, even if he offend, is forgiven and can still rejoice in his freedom from condemnation. The second clause is taken by some as entirely contrasted with the first; it expresses the joy of one whose conscience is void of offence, and who is in no danger of falling into the snare.

Verse 8

Scornful men - The men who head political or religious revolutions, who inflame (literally as in the margin) the minds of the people against the powers that be.

Verse 9

All modes of teaching - the stern rebuke or the smiling speech - are alike useless with the “foolish” man; there is “no rest.” The ceaseless cavilling goes on still.

Verse 10

Seek his soul - i. e., “Care for, watch over, his life” (compare Psalms 142:4).

Verse 11

Mind - The Hebrew word is used sometimes for “mind” or “reason,” sometimes for “passion,” or “wrath.” The reticence commended would include both; but the verb “keepeth it in” (rendered “stilleth,” in Psalms 65:7) is slightly in favor of the second of the two senses.

Verse 12

All his servants are wicked - They know what will please, and they become informers and backbiters.

Verse 13

Better, The poor and the oppressor. “Usurer,” as in the margin expresses the special form of oppression from which the poor suffer most at the hands of the rich. God has made them both and bestows His light equally on both.

Verse 15

Left to himself - The condition of one who has been pampered and indulged. The mother who yields weakly is as guilty of abandoning the child she spoils, as if she cast him forth; and for her evil neglect, there shall fall upon her the righteous punishment of shame and ignominy.

Verse 18

Vision - The word commonly used of the revelation of God’s will made to prophets. Compare Isaiah 1:1; Nahum 1:1.

When prophetic vision fails, obedience to the Law is the best or only substitute for it, both being forms through which divine wisdom is revealed. Very striking in the midst of ethical precepts is this recognition of the need of a yet higher teaching, without which morality passes into worldly prudence or degenerates into casuistry. The “wise man,” the son of David, has seen in the prophets and in their work the condition of true national blessedness. The darkest time in the history of Israel had been when there “was no open vision 1 Samuel 3:1; at such a time the people “perish,” are let loose, “are left to run wild.”

Verse 19

Servant - i. e., A slave, whose obedience is reluctant. He may “understand” the words, but they produce no good effect. There is still lacking the true “answer” of obedience.

Verse 21

Son - The Hebrew word occurs here only and is therefore of doubtful meaning. The favored slave, petted and pampered from boyhood, will claim at last the privilege, perhaps the inheritance, of sonship.

Verse 23

Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit - Better: The lowly in spirit shall lay hold on honor.

Verse 24

On the first discovery of the theft, the person wronged Judges 17:2, or the judge of the city (marginal reference), pronounced a solemn curse on the thief and on all who, knowing the offender, were unwilling to give evidence against him. The accomplice of the thief hears that curse, and yet is silent, and so falls under it, and “destroys his own soul.”

Verse 25

The confusion and wretchedness in which the fear of what men can do entangles us, is contrasted with the security of one, who not only “fears” the Lord, so as to avoid offending Him, but trusts in Him as his protector and guide.

Verse 26

To trust in the favor of princes is to build upon the sands. The judgment which will set right all wrong will come from the Lord. It is better to wait for that than to run here and there, canvassing, bribing, flattering.

Verse 27

The words point out not only the antagonism between the doers of good and evil, but the instinctive antipathy which the one feels toward the other.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 29". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/proverbs-29.html. 1870.
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