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2. Peacemakers and troublemakers ch. 17
The owner of the bribe is the person who gives it. A bribe is an effective tool. It works like a charm. This proverb is not advocating bribery, only acknowledging that money talks. God’s view of bribery becomes clear in Proverbs 17:15; Proverbs 17:23. [Note: Toy, p. 341.]
The idea here is that it is foolish for a fool to try to buy wisdom when he does not have the sense to comprehend it, [Note: McKane, p. 505.] or does not intend to follow that wisdom. Why go to school and pay good money for tuition if you do not plan to put into practice what you are learning?
"It is possible to be educated and to have no heart for truth, for truth has a moral dimension which education cannot provide." [Note: Larsen, p. 189.]
"Raising the door" does not mean opening it, but building a higher, more splendid door for the sake of impressing others. Just as a person who loves transgression thereby sets himself up for strife, so the person who loves to display his wealth is setting himself up for destruction. His door publicizes his wealth and attracts the interest of burglars. Some interpreters take the gate figuratively.
". . . the gate is the mouth, and so to make it high is to say lofty things-he brags too much (see 1 Samuel 2:3; Proverbs 18:12; Proverbs 29:23)." [Note: Ross, p. 1019.]
A man of understanding concentrates on wisdom, but a fool lacks concentration. His mind roams everywhere.
"The eyes of the mebin [discerning man] are riveted on the teacher, for he is fascinated by her instruction and is a picture of unbroken concentration. The kesil [fool] has the wandering eye and the vacant distracted mind, and his condition is expressed by a hyperbole. As a student who is hearing nothing of what his teacher says might let his eyes rove to every corner of the classroom, so the fool who is inattentive to the instruction of Wisdom is said to have his eyes on the ends of the earth." [Note: McKane, p. 504.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 17". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany