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(1) A wise son heareth his father’s instruction.—Or, is his father’s instruction, i.e., the result and embodiment of it.
A scorner.—See above on Proverbs 1:22.
(2) A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth.—See above on Proverbs 12:14.
Shall eat violence.—Comp. Proverbs 1:31; Proverbs 26:6.
(3) He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life.—Comp. above, on Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 12:13.
(5) A wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.—Or it may signify, “disgraceth and putteth to shame” (by his calumnies), or “acts basely and shamefully.”
(6) Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way.—See above on Proverbs 11:5.
(7) There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing.—Comp. Luke 12:21, and the advice given in Revelation 3:17.
There is that maketh himself poor.—Comp. Luke 12:33.
(8) The ransom of a man’s life are his riches.—In times of trouble he may have to give them all to save his life. For the spiritual sense comp. Luke 16:9.
But the poor heareth not rebuke.—Or, threatening. (Comp. Job 3:18; Job 39:7.) He has no need to regard it; his poverty and insignificance are his protection.
(9) The light of the righteous rejoiceth—i.e., burns joyously, as the sun “rejoiceth as a giant to run his course” (Psalms 19:5). A distinction may be drawn between the “light” of the righteous and “lamp” of the wicked. The one walks in the “light” of God’s truth, and so his path becomes continually more plain (see above on Proverbs 6:23); the other walks by the glimmer of his own “lamp,” the “fire” and “sparks” of his own kindling (Isaiah 50:11), the fancies of his own devising, and so his end is darkness. But this distinction is not always observed (comp. Job 18:5-18.18.6, where “light” and “lamp” are both applied to the wicked.)
(10) Only by pride cometh contention.—Rather, by pride cometh nothing but contention. A man who is too proud to receive counsel is sure to fall out with others; they are wise who suffer themselves to be advised.
(11) Wealth gotten by vanity.—As we should say, “in an unsatisfactory manner,” that is to say, by dishonesty.
(12) A tree of life.—See above, on Proverbs 11:30.
(13) Shall be destroyed.—Literally, brings ruin on himself. Or the sense may be, “is (still) bound to it,” even although he may contemptuously neglect it. Comp. the advice (Matthew 5:25), to “agree with our adversary quickly,” that is, satisfy the requirements of the law of God while there is time, lest it appear as our adversary at the day of judgment.
(14) The law of the wise.—Or, rather, his instruction. (Comp. Proverbs 10:11.)
Snares of death.—Set by the devil (2 Timothy 2:26).
(15) Good understanding giveth favour.—Comp. the union of “wisdom” and “favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
The way of transgressors is hard.—Rough and barren as the valley described in Deuteronomy 21:4, in contrast to the green “pastures” and “waters of comfort” of Psalms 23:2.
(17) Falleth into mischief.—And brings those also who sent him into trouble; but “a faithful messenger is health” both to himself and his employers.
(19) But it is abomination to fools . . .—That is, though their clinging to evil prevents the attainment of such objects as are worth desiring. If the verse be interpreted “therefore it is abomination,” &c, the sense will be, “because the satisfaction of desire is pleasant, therefore fools will not give up anything, though evil, on which they have set their minds.”
(20) Shall be destroyed—i.e., morally ruined.
(21) Evil pursueth sinners.—The “snares, fire, and brimstone,” of Psalms 11:6; while the “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38), awaits the righteous.
(22) A good man.—As this corresponds to the “just” man in the next line, who is one who “renders to all their due” (see above on Proverbs 10:2), it probably has the meaning here of “liberal,” “unselfish;” such a one gains the promise given in Proverbs 11:25.
(23) Tillage.—Properly, the newly-made field, on which much labour has been expended. The poor hardworking man, by God’s blessing, gains an abundant living, while many (rich persons) are ruined for their neglect of what is right.
(24) Betimes.—While he may yet be influenced rightly, and before faults are rooted in him.
(25) The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul—i.e., has enough for his wants. (See above on Proverbs 10:3.)
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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/
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