Boast not thyself of tomorrow,.... Or, "of tomorrow day"
for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth; time is like a teeming woman, to which the allusion is, big with something; but what that is is not known till brought forth: as a woman, big with child, knows not what she shall bring forth till the time comes, whether a son or a daughter, a dead or a living child; so the events of time, or what is in the womb of time, are not known till brought forth; these are the secret things which belong to God, which he keeps in his own breast; the times and seasons of things are only in his power, Acts 1:6. We know not what the present day, as the Targum renders it, will bring forth; and still less what tomorrow will do, what changes it will produce in our circumstances, in our bodies and in our minds; so that we cannot be certain what we shall be, what we shall have, or what we shall do, on the morrow, even provided we have one.
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth,.... Men should do those things which are praiseworthy; and should do them openly, that they may be seen and praised for them: for it is honourable to have such a character as Demetrius had, who had a good report of all men; and as the brother had, whose praise in the Gospel was in all the churches. To be commended by others, by any but a man's self, is to his credit and reputation; but nothing more hurtful to it than self-commendation; see 2 Corinthians 10:18; in some cases it is right for a man indeed to commend himself, when the glory of God, the credit of religion, the cause of truth and self-vindication, require it; as the prophet Samuel, the Apostle Paul, and others, have been obliged to do, 1 Samuel 12:3, &c.
a stranger, and not thine own lips; a stranger means any other than a man's self; and if it is one that he knows not, or has little acquaintance with; or if a foreigner, that does not personally know him, only has good testimonies of him, or has read his works; and especially if in other respects an enemy; it is greatly to his honour to be praised by him: and such a commendation comes with much better grace than from himself, and from whom indeed it would not come with any.
A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty,.... As was the stone which was at the well's mouth, where Laban's flocks were watered, which could not be rolled away till all the shepherds were gathered together, Genesis 29:2; and like the burdensome stone Jerusalem is compared to Zechariah 12:3; and as that at the sepulchre of Christ, rolled away by the angel, Matthew 28:2. And sand is a very ponderous thing; difficult to be carried, as the Septuagint render it, as a bag of it is; and to which heavy afflictions are sometimes compared, Job 6:2;
but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both; it cannot be removed, it rests in his bosom; it is sometimes intolerable to himself; he sinks and dies under the weight of it, as Nabal did: "wrath killeth the foolish man", Job 5:2; and it is still more intolerable to others, as Nebuchadnezzar's wrath and his fiery furnace were.
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous,.... Or "an inundation"
but who is able to stand before envy? which is secret in a man's heart, and privately contrives and works the ruin of another, and against which there no guarding. All mankind in Adam fell before the envy of Satan; for it was through the envy of the devil that sin and death came into the world, in the Apocrypha:
"Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.' (Wisdom 2:24)
Abel could not stand before the envy of Cain; nor Joseph before the envy of his brethren; nor Christ before the envy of the Jews, his bitter enemies; and, where it is, there is confusion and every evil work, James 3:14. An envious man is worse than an angry and wrathful man; his wrath and anger may be soon over, or there may be ways and means of appeasing him; but envy continues and abides, and works insensibly.
Open rebuke is better than secret love. This is to be understood, not of rebuke publicly given; though Aben Ezra thinks public reproof is meant, which, arising from love, is better than that which is done in secret, though in love, as being more effectual; for rebuke among friends should be given privately, according to our Lord's direction, Matthew 18:15; but it signifies reproof given faithfully and plainly, with openness of heart, and without mincing the matter, and palliating the offence; but speaking out freely, and faithfully laying before a person the evil of his sin, in all the circumstances of it, as the Apostle Paul did to Peter, when he withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed, Galatians 2:11. Now such kind of reproof is better than such love to a person as will not suffer him to tell him of his faults, for fear of grieving him, or losing his friendship; or than such love as does not show itself in deeds, and particularly in faithful reproofs; for so to act is to hate a person, and suffer sin to be upon him, Leviticus 19:17.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend,.... That is, friendly reproofs; which, though they may be severe, at least thought so, and may grieve and wound, and cause pain and uneasiness for the present, yet, proceeding from a spirit of love, faithfulness, and integrity, and designed for the good of the person reproved, ought to be kindly received; see Psalm 141:5;
but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful; flow from a deceitful heart, and not to be confided in, as the kisses of Joab and Judas. It may be rather rendered, "are to be deprecated"
"reckon them faithful, not who praise everything thou sayest or doest, but those that reprove what is amiss.'
The full soul loatheth an honeycomb,.... Or "tramples upon" it
but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet; that is in want of provision, has an appetite for it; anything, though ever so mean and disrelishing to others, is sweet to such an one; as was barley bread to Artaxerxes king of Persia, and country bread made of bran to Ptolemy Lagus king of Egypt, when in great distress for food
As a bird that wandereth from her nest,.... To seek for food for herself and her young; or that leaves it without returning to it, and so her eggs or her young are exposed, and she herself liable to fall into the hands of birds of prey, or of the fowler, when she would be safe in her nest; as there was a law in Israel in her favour, Deuteronomy 22:6; or as one that is forced out and obliged to wander from place to place, Isaiah 16:2;
so is a man that wandereth from his place; who, in time of famine and distress, goes into other parts for bread, as Jacob's sons went down into Egypt; and such are they in a spiritual sense who leave all, and follow Christ for food for their souls; or who are forced to flee from place to place, and wander about in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth, because of the persecution of their enemies; or rather it is to be taken in an ill sense and applied to such who abide not in the calling whereunto they are called; dislike, and are unsatisfied with, their present business of life, and seek new employments, which oftentimes is to the hurt and detriment of themselves and families; and also to such who wander from the way of spiritual understanding, from the place of divine worship, from the word, ordinances, and commandments of the Lord; see Proverbs 21:16.
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart,.... Meaning not the holy anointing oil for sacred use, or the perfume or incense offered on the altar of incense; but common oil or ointment used at entertainments, poured on the heads of the guests; and incense in censing of rooms, which were very delightful, pleased the senses, and so exhilarated the heart;
so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel; so the sweet and pleasant words, the wise and cordial counsel of a man's friend, rejoice his heart; he takes it well, he is highly delighted with it; he receives it kindly, and pursues it to advantage: or "by counsel of soul"
Thine own friend, and thy father's friend forsake not,.... Who have been long tried and proved, and found faithful; these should be kept to and valued, and not new ones sought; which to do is oftentimes of bad consequence. Solomon valued his father's friend Hiram, and kept up friendship with him; but Rehoboam his son forsook the counsel of the old men his father's friends and counsellors, and followed the young mien his new friends, and thereby lost ten tribes at once. Jarchi interprets this of God, the friend of Israel and of their fathers, who is not to be forsaken, and is a friend that loves at all times; and to forsake him is to forsake the fountain of living waters;
neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity; poverty and distress, to tell him thy case, expecting sympathy relief, and succour from him; but rather go to thy friend and father's friend, who sticks closer than a brother; see Proverbs 18:24;
for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off: a neighbour that is a fast and faithful friend, and who is not only near as to place but as to affections is more serviceable and, useful to a man in time of distress than a brother though near in blood, yet as far off in place, so much more in affection, and from whom a man can promise nothing, and little is to be expected. The phrase in the preceding clause signifies a cloudy day, and such a day of distress through poverty is; in which sense it is used by Latin
My son, be wise, and make my heart glad,.... That is, show thyself to be a wise man by thy words and actions; endeavour to get a good share of wisdom and knowledge, and make a good use of it, and that will rejoice my heart; as nothing more gladdens the heart of a parent than the wisdom and prudent behaviour of his son; see Proverbs 10:1;
that I may answer him that reproacheth me; with begetting a foolish son, or a wicked man; or making him such by ill examples; or through neglect of education; or by using too much severity in it.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil,.... See Gill on Proverbs 22:3; or "seeth the evil"
and hideth himself; not in secret places, that he may not be seen by the Lord; nor in his own works of righteousness, to secure him from the wrath of God: nor is it to he understood of his hiding himself from sinners and their company, and so escaping the pollutions of the world; but of his betaking himself to Christ, who is the city of refuge, the stronghold, the rock, in the clefts of which the people of God hide themselves; even in his wounds, or in him as a suffering crucified Saviour, and who is the hiding place from the wind, and covert from the storm of divine wrath; such are redemption by him, his sacrifice and satisfaction, his blood and righteousness, and intercession; see Isaiah 32:2; also See Gill on Proverbs 22:3;
but the simple pass on, and are punished; such who are thoughtless and foolish, have no sight nor sense of sin and danger, go on in their sinful course of life without any care or concern, without any fear or dread, till their feet stumble on the dark mountains of eternity; and they fall into the bottomless pit of perdition, from whence there is no recovery.
Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. See Gill on Proverbs 20:16, where the same proverb is, and is expressed in the same words as here.
He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice,.... So as not only to be heard by him, but by others; who is extravagant in his praises and commendations of him; who exceeds all bounds of modesty, truth, and decency; who affects pompous words, and hyperbolical expressions; and shows himself to be a real sycophant and flatterer, having some sinister end to serve by it;
rising early in the morning; lest any should be before him, and get the benefit he seeks by his flattery; or as if he had not time enough in the day to finish his encomium, unless he began early in the morning, and continued it all the day; and so it denotes his being incessant at this work, always harping on this string, or expressing himself in this adulatory way; or, as some think, this is mentioned as an aggravation of his sin, that he should be acting this low, mean, and criminal part, when he should be employed in devotion and prayer to God;
it shall be counted a curse to him; either to the flatterer, by his friend whom he blesses, and by all wise men that hear him, who will despise him all one as if he cursed him: the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it to this sense, that such an one nothing differs, or nothing seems to differ, from one that curses: or else to the person blessed, whom others will curse or however detract from his character, because of the profuse praises bestowed upon him; nay, sometimes God himself curses such a man, who listens to, is fond of, and receives the fulsome flatteries of wicked men, as in the case of Herod, Acts 12:22.
A continual dropping in a very rainy day,.... That is, through the roof of a house which is not well covered, or which lets in rain by one means or another; so that in a thorough rainy day it keeps continually dropping, to the great annoyance of those within, and which is very uncomfortable to them: it is observed
and a contentious woman are alike; troublesome and uncomfortable; as in a rainy day, a man cannot go abroad with any pleasure, and if the rain is continually dropping upon him in his house he cannot sit there with any comfort; and so a contentious woman, that is always scolding and brawling, a man has no comfort at home; and if he goes abroad he is jeered and laughed at on her account by others; and perhaps she the more severely falls upon him when he returns for having been abroad; see Proverbs 19:13.
Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind,.... Whoever attempts to stop her brawls and contentions, to repress and restrain them, and hinder her voice being heard in the streets, and endeavours to hide the shame that comes upon herself and family, attempts a thing as impossible as to hide the wind in the palm of a man's hand, or to stop it from blowing; for as that, by being restrained or pent up by any methods that can be used, makes the greater noise, so, by all the means that are used to still a contentious woman, she is but the more noisy and clamorous, and becomes more shameful and infamous;
and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself: or "will call" or "calls"
Iron sharpeneth iron,.... A sword or knife made of iron is sharpened by it; so butchers sharpen their knives;
so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend; by conversation with him; thus learned men sharpen one another's minds, and excite each other to learned studies; Christians sharpen one another's graces, or stir up each other to the exercise of them, and the gifts which are bestowed on them, and to love and to good works. So Jarchi and Gersom understand it of the sharpening of men's minds to the learning of doctrine; but Aben Ezra, takes it in an ill sense, that as iron strikes iron and sharpens it, so a wrathful man irritates and provokes wrath in another. Some render the words, "as iron delighteth in iron, so a man rejoiceth the countenance of his friend",
Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof,.... That takes care of a fig tree, either his own or another's, planted in his garden or vineyard; see Luke 13:6; who cultivates it, digs about and dungs it, and prunes it, and does everything necessary to it; when it brings forth fruit, and that is ripe and fit to eat, he eats of it, as it is but just he should; see 1 Corinthians 9:7;
so he that waiteth on his master; or "that keeps his master"
shall be honoured; as Joseph was in Potiphar's house, and elsewhere; and as all those are who observe the commandments of God, and are the servants of Christ; see 1 Samuel 2:30.
As in water face answereth to face,.... As water is as a looking glass, in which a man may behold his own face and another's; or as the face in the water answers to the face of a man, and there is a great likeness between them. All things through water appear greater, as Seneca
so the heart of man to man; one man's heart may be seen and discerned in some measure by another, as by his countenance; for though, as the poet
"as waters and as faces which are not like one to another, so the hearts of the children of men are not like one to another;'
and to the same sense are the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions.
Hell and destruction are never full,.... The grave, as the word used often signifies; and which may be called "destruction", because bodies laid in it are soon corrupted and destroyed; and though bodies are cast into it and devoured by it, it is ready for more; it is one of the four things which never have enough. The place where Gog is said to be buried is called Hamongog, the multitude of Gog, Ezekiel 39:11; and by the Septuagint there Polyandrion, which is the name the Greeks give to a burying place, because many men are buried there; and with the Latins the dead are called Plures
so the eyes of man are never satisfied; as not the eyes of his body with seeing corporeal objects, but still are desirous of seeing more, and indeed everything that is to be seen, and are never glutted, Ecclesiastes 1:8; so neither the eyes of the carnal mind, or the lusts of it, which are insatiable things, let the objects of them be what they will; as in an ambitious man, a covetous person, or an unclean one.
As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold,.... For the trying, proving, and purifying these metals; see Proverbs 17:3;
so is a man to his praise; or "according to the mouth of his praise"
Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle,.... As the manna was, Numbers 11:8; and as wheat beat and bruised in a mortar, or ground in a mill, retains its own nature; so, let a wicked man be used ever so roughly or severely, by words, admonitions, reproofs, and counsels; or by deeds, by corrections and punishment, by hard words or blows, whether publicly or privately; in the midst of the congregation, as the Targum and Syriac version; or of the sanhedrim and council, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions;
yet will not his foolishness depart from him; his inbred depravity and natural malignity and folly will not remove, nor will he leave his course of sinning he has been accustomed to; he is stricken in vain, he will revolt more and more, Isaiah 1:5. Anaxarchus the philosopher was ordered by the tyrant Nicocreon to be pounded to death in a stone mortar with iron pestles
Be thou diligent to know the state of flocks,.... In what condition they are; what health they enjoy; how fat and fruitful they be; what pasturage they have; and that they want nothing fitting for them that can be had and is necessary; and also the number of them. The calling of the shepherd is here particularly mentioned, because valiant, honourable, innocent, and useful; but the same diligence is to be used in all other callings and business men are employed in, that they may provide for themselves and their families. It is in the original text, "the face of thy flocks"
and look well to thy herds; or, "put thy heart"
For riches are not for ever,.... A man cannot be assured of the continuance of them; they are uncertain things, here today and gone tomorrow: wherefore, though a man has a considerable share of them, yet should follow one calling or another; particularly husbandry is recommended, or keeping sheep and cattle, which are increasing; by which means his substance will be continued and augmented, which otherwise is not to be depended on, but in a diligent attendance to business;
and doth the crown endure to every generation? the royal crown, that is not to be depended upon; a king that wears a crown is not sure he shall always wear it, or that it shall be continued to his family one generation after another. And it is suggested, that it is not even beneath such persons to have a regard to their flocks and herds, and the increase of their riches in this way: the Chinese kings, many of them, formerly employed themselves in husbandry, and set examples of industry and diligence to their subjects
The hay appeareth, and the tender grass showeth itself,.... Some think this is mentioned to illustrate the uncertainty of riches, which soon vanish away; as the tender grass shows itself, and is presently cut down and quickly appears hay, and that soon consumed; but rather this contains an argument to take to the pastoral life and calling, since it may be performed with so much ease; for the earth, the valleys and hills, are covered with grass for the cattle; so that there is no further trouble than to drive the flocks into the pastures, and feed them there; or to cut down the grass, and make hay of it, and lay it up against the winter for fodder for them. The first clause, I think, may be rendered, "the hay removes"
and herbs of the mountains are gathered; for the present use of the cattle; or being made hay of, are laid up for future use; or are gathered for medicine; many of this kind grow on mountains.
The lambs are for thy clothing,.... This is another argument, exciting to diligence in the pastoral calling, taken from the profit arising from it: the wool of the lambs, or rather "sheep", as many versions render it; of it cloth is made, and of that garments to be worn, to keep decent, warm, and comfortable; see Job 31:20;
and the goats are the price of thy field: these, being brought up and sold, furnish the husbandman with money to purchase more fields to feed his cattle on. The Targum is,
"the goats are for negotiation;'
with the price of them a man may purchase any of the necessaries of life for himself and family; these are negotiated, Ezekiel 27:21; the Syriac version is, "the goats are for thy food"; and so, between both the sheep and goats, man has both food and raiment; though his food is particularly mentioned in Proverbs 27:27.
And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food,.... The word for "goats", in Proverbs 27:26, signifies he goats, which were sold to buy fields, pay servants or rent, or purchase the necessaries of life; and this here signifies she goats, which were kept for their milk; and which was daily used for food in some countries, and is still in use for the same purpose in some parts of our kingdoms; and in medicine it has been preferred by some physicians above others, next to the milk of women
for the food of thy household; his wife and children:
and for maintenance for thy maidens: or "the lives"
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 27". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany