Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 29th, 2023
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 20

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verse 16

Solomon advised that a person who takes on the obligations of another person who is a stranger or a foreigner to him-is not very wise (cf. Proverbs 27:13). Such a stranger is a bad risk. If you lend to him, make sure you have some collateral, such as his garment or some other pledge, so he will repay you. The proverb encourages us to hold people to their obligations. Much more than simply giving a pledge for a prostitute must be in view. [Note: M. Dahood, "To Pawn One’s Cloak," Biblica 42 (1961):359-66, argued for this limited meaning.]

Verse 21

The inheritance in view evidently comes prematurely-by request or by dishonesty (cf. Proverbs 19:26; Luke 15:12). In either case, the consequence is often lack of divine blessing.

"Such wealth may be squandered and often squelches initiative and work." [Note: Buzzell, p. 949.]

Verse 25

The situation in view here is that of a person who impulsively pledges something to God and then, upon reconsidering, wishes that he had not done so (cf. Ecclesiastes 5:5; Mark 7:11). It is better to wait to make the pledge, until one thinks through the implications of the decision carefully. In a larger application, we should avoid all unconsidered action. [Note: Whybray, The Book . . ., p. 116.]

"Too many people will make promises under the inspiration of the hour only later to realize that they have strapped themselves; they then try to go back on their word." [Note: Ross, p. 1047.]

Verse 27

God searches out our innermost thoughts and feelings. Solomon compared our "spirit" (lit. "breath," Heb. nishmat, cf. Genesis 2:7) to a lamp God uses to investigate all the darkened crannies of our being in this very graphic proverb. Here the spirit is almost equivalent to the conscience (God’s Word also searches, cf. Hebrews 4:12).

"Breath typically goes in and comes out of a person, giving life; but it also comes out as wisdom and words." [Note: R. C. Van Leeuwen, "The Book of Proverbs," in the New Interpreter’s Bible, 5:188.]

Verse 30

". . . moral evil must be put away by severe chastisement." [Note: Toy, p. 397.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 20". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/proverbs-20.html. 2012.
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