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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 20

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

A luxurious thing. Hebrew, "a scoffer." Chaldean, "renders one a scoffer." --- Drunkenness. Hebrew ssocor, any strong drink, particularly palm-wine. Intemperance places the strongest obstacles in the way of wisdom. It causes a person to mock at all sacred things, and to be quarrelsome, chap. xxiii. 29., and Ephesians v. 18.

Verse 3

Reproaches. It is better not to commence a lawsuit, even when we are in the right, chap. xvii. 11. (Calmet) --- Plena victoria est ad clamantem tacere. (Val. Max.)

Verse 5

Out. So David discovered the meaning of the Thecuite, 2 Kings xiv. 18. A wise politician carefully examines everything in a foreign court.

Verse 6

Faithful. Few continue steady to their engagements or friends, whom they will assist to a certain point. In God these two virtues always go together, Psalm lxxxiv. 11. But they are rarely found in men. (Calmet)

Verse 8

Look. It is the duty of kings to administer justice.

Verse 9

Sin. Protestants, "my sin?" We know not when it is remitted. (Haydock) --- Without a special revelation, no one can be secure, 1 John i. 8., and Ecclesiastes ix. 1. (Bayn.) (St. Augustine in Psalm cxlix.)

Verse 10

Measures. In commerce, (Calmet) as well as in judging. (St. Gregory in Ezechiel iv.)

Verse 11

Right. We may form some judgment of his future conduct, from the inclinations which he manifests in his infancy. Naturam expellas furca, tamen ipsa recurret,

Et mala perrumpet furtim fastidia victrix. (Horace)

Verse 12

Both. Consequently he will know all our actions, Psalm xciii. 9. We must refer all to him, as he gives us the means of learning. (Calmet)

Verse 13

Sleep. Septuagint, "back-biting, that thou mayst not be taken off." (Haydock)

Verse 14

Buyer. This is the common practice; yet it is not without exceptions. St. Augustine (Trin. xiii. 3.) observes, that the mountebank having promised to tell what every person had in his heart, many came to the theatre, when he told them that they all wished to by cheap, and to sell dear. They all applauded the remark. (Calmet) --- Septuagint is here defective. (Haydock)

Verse 16

Strangers. For whom he has bound himself foolishly, chap. vi. 1. All who have the care of others, must answer for them. (Calmet)

Verse 17

Lying. Deceit, and unlawful pleasures, chap. ix. 17. But God mingles disgust with them, and will punish the guilty, at least hereafter. Worldly enjoyments seem sweet, but they are full of gravel, and hurtful.

Verse 18

Governments. Or prudence, else the best designs may prove abortive.

Verse 19

Lips. And speaketh much. These people are unworthy of our friendship.

Verse 20

Lamp. Prosperity, or children.

Verse 21

Blessing. It is morally impossible that they should have been acquired justly, chap. xiii. 11., and xxi. 5.

Verse 22

Evil. And revenge myself. This belongs to the Lord, Deuteronomy xxxii. 35. Man would be too favourable to himself, and would also pronounce his own condemnation, as he is also a sinner.

Verse 24

Way? Jeremias x. 23. Independently of God, who can do any good? (Calmet)

Verse 25

Ones. Hebrew, "the saint or holy thing." (Haydock) --- Chaldean, "to make a vow for the sanctuary, and afterwards repent;" having acted inconsiderately at first. To attack the persons or relics of the saints, or to plunder what is consecrated to pious uses, will bring on destruction; so also to make vows, and then seek to evade them, will not pass unpunished. (Calmet)

Verse 26

Wheel. Or triumphal arch, fornicem. (Ven. Bede; Jansenius) --- He will make his enemies lie prostrate under his chariot-wheels, 2 Kings xii. 31.

Verse 27

Lamp. The breath of life, (Genesis ii. 7.) and the light of man, 1 Corinthians ii. 11.

Verse 28

Clemency. Such a king need not fear rebellion. (Calmet)

Verse 29


Hairs, and experience. They have a greater contempt of death and pleasures. (St. Ambrose, Hex. i. 8.)

Verse 30

Evils. The wicked shall derive benefit from correction. --- Belly. They shall feel the remorse of conscience, as Chaldean seems to indicate. (Calmet) --- A serious illness often causes people to repent. (Menochius)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 20". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/proverbs-20.html. 1859.
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