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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Proverbs 22

Verse 1

XXII.

(1) Loving favour.—Or, favour is better than silver and gold. “Favour” may signify the grace which wins love, as well as the favour gained thereby.

Verse 2

(2) The rich and poor meet together.—Are thrown together in the world in order to aid each other in the path through life, remembering that they are brethren, sons of one Father. (Comp. 1 Corinthians 12:27.)

Verse 3

(3) A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself, as the Israelites hid themselves within their houses from the destroying angel, Noah within the Ark, the Christians before the fall of Jerusalem (Luke 21:21) in Pella. (Comp. Isaiah 26:20.)

Verse 4

(4) By humility and the fear of the Lord.—Rather, by (or, the reward of) humility is the fear of the Lord. He guides the humble and teaches them His fear. (Comp. Psalms 25:9.)

Honour, and life.—Comp. Proverbs 21:21.

Verse 5

(5) Thorns.—Comp. note on Proverbs 15:19.

Verse 8

(8) Vanity—i.e., calamity, trouble.

The rod of his anger shall fail.—When his time comes, and his iniquity is full, he shall himself suffer the punishment he brought on others, as Babylon did (Isaiah 14:6), Assyria (Isaiah 30:31).

Verse 10

(10) The scorner.—See above on Proverbs 1:22.

Verse 11

(11) For the grace of his lips.—Rather, who has grace of lips; one who loves the truth and can speak it pleasantly.

Verse 12

(12) The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledgei.e., men who know and speak the truth. (See above on Proverbs 21:28.)

He overthroweth the words of the transgressor—i.e., the deceitful; He brings his lies to light.

Verse 13

(13) The slothful man saith, There is a lion without . . .—No excuses are too absurd for him, he fears to meet a lion in the open country, or, he might be murdered in the streets.

Verse 14

(14) Strange women.—See above on Proverbs 2:16.

Verse 15

(15) Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child.—Self-will is meant. (See above on Proverbs 1:7.) Children have to be taught to yield their wills to others.

Verse 16

(16) He that oppresseth the poor . . .—Rather, he that does so is (thereby) giving to the rich, only to (his own) loss. That is, he shall be none the better for the act of oppression, but shall have to disgorge his prey to some one richer and more powerful than himself, and thereby be reduced to poverty.

Verse 17

4.

AN INTRODUCTION, CONTAINING AN EXHORTATION TO “HEAR THE WORDS OF THE WISE,” SERVING AS A HEADING TO Proverbs 22:22 to Proverbs 24:22 (Proverbs 22:17-21).

(17) Hear the words of the wise.—Comp. chap 1:6. As “wise” is in the plural number, it would seem as if the following section contained proverbs written by others than Solomon, though they may have been collected by him. (Comp. Proverbs 24:23.)

Verse 18

(18) They shall withal be fitted in thy lips.—Rather, if they be established (dwell constantly) upon thy lips. They are to be as a watch, and “keep the door of his lips” against sin (Psalms 141:3), to teach him what to say in difficulty (Mark 13:11), how to speak without fear even before kings (Psalms 119:46); by them the “praises of God” will ever be in his mouth (Psalms 149:6).

Verse 19

(19) I have made known to thee this day, even to thee these counsels of the wise. The words, “this day,” recall the warning of Hebrews 3:13, and the emphatic “to thee, even to thee,” imply that the message of God, though it may be [general in its form, yet is addressed to each individual soul among His people (comp., “Ho, every one that thirsteth,” Isaiah 55:1); each being well known, and an object of love on the part of his Redeemer.

Verse 21

(21) That thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?—This rendering is somewhat doubtful, but seems to give the best sense to the passage. The scholar is to be instructed not for his own profit alone, but in order that he may be able to teach others also. (Comp. 1 Peter 3:15.)

Verse 22

5. FIRST APPENDIX TO THE “PROVERBS OF SOLOMON” (Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16), CONTAINING PROVERBS OF DIFFERENT LENGTHS, FROM THE DISTICH TO THE LENGTHENED DIDACTIC POEM (Proverbs 22:22 to Proverbs 24:22).

(22) Neither oppress the afflicted in the gate.—The place of business (Genesis 34:20) and of judgment (Deuteronomy 21:19; Amos 5:15). (Comp. the title, “the Sublime Porte.”) This, with the following Proverbs 22:23, forms a tetrastich or verse of four lines, as do also Proverbs 22:24-25.

Verse 25

(25) Lest thou . . . get a snare to thy soul—i.e., lose thy life.

Verse 26

(26) Be not thou one of them that strike hands.—Another warning against suretiship. (See above, on Proverbs 6:1.)

Verse 27

(27) Why should he take away thy bed from under thee?—If the mantle was taken in pledge, it had to be restored before sundown for the poor man to sleep in; but this merciful provision of the Law was evidently evaded. (Comp. Ezekiel 18:12.)

Verse 28

(28) Remove not the ancient landmark.—The stones marking the boundaries of the fields: evidently a not uncommon crime, from the earnestness with which it is forbidden. (Comp. Proverbs 23:10; Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 27:17.)

Verse 29

(29) He shall stand before kings.—Shall attend upon them as their minister. (Comp. Genesis 41:46.) This verse is a tristich, containing three lines.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/proverbs-22.html. 1905.