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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 18

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-24

Proverbs 18:1 . Through desire a man having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom. יתגלע yithgalâ; this word occurs but thrice, and only in the book of Proverbs; viz. here, and in Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 20:3. Solomon might have introduced it from some other nation. Rabbi Ezra says, it designates a man who travels for the acquisition of wisdom, and devotes himself to literature. Rabbi Levi gives the word a speculative turn, of one devoted to metaphysical studies, such as attract attention in the literary world. The text is variously rendered, but there is no end of verbal criticism, and conjectural emendation. The late Dr. Adam Clarke, my contemporary, and brother minister for almost half a century, made this text the motto of his conduct. As an acorn rises to a majestic oak, so the Doctor, from a small beginning, placed himself in the first class of distinguished men, as a biblical scholar, an antiquary, and a popular preacher. Above all, he was a good man. The like characters, in the different departments of science, have raised Europe to its present glory; the culture of the mind by literature has given perfection to the arts, and wealth to the nations.

Proverbs 18:8 . The words of a talebearer. See the note on Proverbs 11:13.

Proverbs 18:10 . The name of the Lord is a strong tower. Hebrews שׁם Shem. The name, throughout the old testament, is generally understood of Christ, the true SHEM. The name of the promised Redeemer was excellent in all the earth. Psalms 8:1. It is like ointment poured forth in the richest perfumes. Song of Solomon 1:3. The Lord hath pity on his people, for his name’s sake; rather, for Christ’s sake. Jeremiah 14:7. Save us, oh Lord, for thy name’s sake. Psalms 54:1. In his holy temple, he was a strong tower when Sennacherib invaded the land. Christ also was a refuge to the christian church when the Roman armies came against Jerusalem; they believed his word, and fled to Pella beyond the Jordan. See on Isaiah 32:2.

Proverbs 18:14 . A wounded spirit who can bear. Pain, when the mind has peace, is supportable; but when Ahithophel turns traitor, both the body and mind are wounded. Psalms 55:12. As no man can convert his own soul, so no man can bear the trials of life and profit by them, without the aids of grace, and a firm belief in providence and the rewards and punishments of the life to come. The wounds which pierce the soul are far more poignant than those which afflict the body.

Proverbs 18:17 . He that is first in his own cause seemeth just. Solomon and all judges have proof of this. This is the naughtiness in man, to tell his tale in a partial way. But religion should make us simple as little children, to tell the truth, and the whole truth. Then, when our enemy comes, we shall not be ashamed; for he will add lustre to our innocence, and confirm the purity of our hearts.

Proverbs 18:19 . A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city. Both the LXX and the Vulgate read, “A brother aided by a brother, is as a strong and high city; and has strength as a fortress.” Cocceius reads as the English, a brother offended, or a brother betrayed by a brother. The quarrels of brothers break stronger barriers than those which subsist between neighbours.

Proverbs 18:21 . Death and life are in the power of the tongue. A good conversation is as ointment poured forth; while, on the contrary, sins in the heart lie concealed, but the tongue discloses them, and sets the world on fire; yea, the fire of hell. The life of the body and the life of the soul lie therefore in the power of the tongue; and a man shall eat the fruit of it, whether it be bitter or sweet.

Proverbs 18:22 . Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing. So it was with Adam. Genesis 2:18. In a woman of wisdom and virtue, a man’s heart is at rest. She builds her house with affluence, and is a crown of glory to her husband. See Proverbs 31:10.

Proverbs 18:24 . There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. The friendship of brothers is limited: it often fails from family pride, as well as paternal partiality. But the Messiah, placing his delight with the sons of men, is a rich and an almighty friend. He helped Joseph out of prison, David out of trouble, and Daniel out of the lions’ den. He gave his life for ours, and shares his throne with his brethren. Let us cleave to him, for his soul cleaves to us.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 18". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/proverbs-18.html. 1835.
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