v. 1 . A false balance, literally, "balances of deceit," is abomination to the Lord, cheating in business is loathsome to Him; but a just weight, literally, "a stone of fullness," a complete measure, for the Jews commonly used stones as weights in their balances, is His delight.
v. 2. When pride cometh, that is, when a person becomes self-conceited and arrogant, then cometh shame, for such a person is beyond teaching and is bound finally to make a fool of himself; but with the lowly is wisdom, they are not beyond learning, and therefore grow wise.
v. 3. The integrity of the upright, their innocence and rectitude, shall guide them; but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them, for their malicious transgressions eventually plunge them into ruin.
v. 4. Riches profit not in the day of wrath, when God prepares to judge the earth; but righteousness delivereth from death, true righteousness of life will be found acceptable in the Last Day.
v. 5. The righteousness of the perfect, of him whose conduct is beyond reproach, shall direct his way, make it plain and open, enabling him to walk in the security of a good conscience; but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness, their own lusts proving a snare to them.
v. 6. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them, being accepted as an adequate defense in the court of God; but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness, caught in the trap which they set for others.
v. 7. When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish, all his hopes come to naught, his longing for wealth and honor and the gratification of his lusts is cut off, and the hope of unjust men perisheth, literally, "the expectation of wickedness," for death puts an end to all desires of this kind. This verse implies, also, that death cuts off all hopes, every person being judged according to the way in which death finds him; there is no purgatory and therefore no deliverance from purgatory.
v. 8. The righteous is delivered out of trouble, the Lord Himself being his Deliverer, 2Ti_4:18, and the wicked cometh in his stead, taking the place of the righteous in the midst of trouble.
v. 9. An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor, for with his flattering he hides his real intention until he accomplishes his evil purpose; but through knowledge shall the just be delivered, his shrewdness enables him to unveil the schemes of the flatterer and to escape their evil effect.
v. 10. When it goeth well with the righteous, when they are prosperous and happy, the city rejoiceth, all the inhabitants receiving the benefit of their prosperity; and when the wicked perish, there is shouting, because both their oppression and their bad example are removed.
v. 11. By the blessing of the upright, by the good wishes, prayers, and honest work of the righteous, the city is exalted, attaining to ever greater prosperity and power; but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked, ruined as a result of the bold, slanderous, and blasphemous speeches of the ungodly.
v. 12. He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbor, that is, he who mocks his neighbor lacks in heart and mind; but a man of understanding holdeth his peace, withholding his judgment, guarding against hasty condemnation and a self-righteous exaltation of self.
v. 13. A talebearer revealeth secrets, his conduct in going about tattling and slandering results in the betrayal of many a thing which had better remained bidden; but he that is of a faithful spirit, one who proves himself trustworthy, one upon whom people can depend, concealeth the matter, secrets which were committed to him, things whose publication will result only in heartaches and not in edification. A different matter is that broached Matthew 18, 15-20.
v. 14. Where no counsel is, no wise direction or leadership, the people fall, decay and ruin come upon the whole country; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety, that is, it is bound to serve for the benefit of a people if intelligent counselors are always available to the government.
v. 15. He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it, be will fare extremely ill on account of his rash act; and he that hateth suretyship, avoiding both the persons who are too ready to give their hands in pledge and the methods lightly adopted by them, is sure, he places himself beyond danger.
v. 16. A gracious woman retaineth honor, her amiable and pleasant disposition, her grace and charm, give her an honored and powerful standing in the community; and strong men retain riches, making use of decision and energy in holding outward wealth, which, after all, cannot compare with the blessing of a high regard in the eyes of others.
v. 17. The merciful man doeth good to his own soul, that is, if he practices benevolence, manifests true goodness toward others, he thereby benefits his own soul, the Lord Himself granting him this as a reward; but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh, for God visits a cruel and hardhearted conduct with a severe penalty.
v. 18. The wicked worketh a deceitful work, the acquisitions which he gains are delusive, they are neither real nor lasting; but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward, for in scattering the seed of a righteous conduct he prepares for the harvest of God's merciful reward.
v. 19. As righteousness tendeth to life, or, "genuine righteousness," flowing from the fullness of a heart sound in faith, will result in a truly happy life, bringing happiness to all who practice it; so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death, that is the consequence of his act.
v. 20. They that are of a froward heart, full of crookedness and malice, are abomination to the Lord; but such as are upright in their way, pure and straightforward in their conduct, are His delight, with them He is well pleased.
v. 21. Though hand join in hand, literally, "hand in hand," as a pledge or guarantee, that is, most assuredly, the wicked shall not be unpunished; but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered, the generation of the righteous, all who practice righteousness, will escape punishment.
v. 22. As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, a nose-ring such as is worn in the Orient, so is a fair woman which is without discretion, without a sense of propriety and modesty, her beauty corresponding to the golden nose-ring and her immodesty to the swine s coarseness, in either case a disgusting sight to behold.
v. 23. The desire of the righteous is only good, they want only such things as are pleasing to the Lord; but the expectation of the wicked is wrath, a presumption which challenges the wrath of God and brings destruction upon themselves.
v. 24. There is that scattereth, practicing cheerful liberality with the goods given him in life, and yet increaseth, since the blessing of the Lord more than compensates for the money spent in benevolences; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, not even giving his share for the alleviation of bodily and spiritual suffering, but it tendeth to poverty, in spite of his careful hoarding his possessions decrease, so that he saves only to poverty.
v. 25. The liberal soul shall be made fat, being rewarded with blessings from the Lord; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself, that is, God will reward with a corresponding refreshing him who refreshes and restores others by deeds of kindness.
v. 26. He that withholdeth corn, as is done to this day in the so-called dealing in "futures" and in "corners in wheat," the people shall curse him, for such speculative manipulations raise the price of the necessities of life; but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it, not holding it for purposes of speculation, but disposing of it as there is need.
v. 27. He that diligently seeketh good procureth favor, that is, who is diligent toward all things that are good earnestly desires the favor of the Lord; but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him, he will be punished by that which he practiced.
v. 28. He that trusteth In his riches, placing his confidence in his outward possessions, shall fall, for such trust is a species of idolatry; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch, like a green leaf, like luxurious foliage.
v. 29. He that troubleth his own house, his avarice causing him to withhold from the members of his household their earnings or their rightful keep, shall inherit the wind, gain nothing and come to nothing; and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart, the very same miser who treated his household so niggardly coming to such straits that he is a servant to one who was not guilty of the same foolishness.
v. 30. The fruit of the righteous, all his deeds, as an outflow of the faith of his heart and the integrity of his life, is a tree of life, a fountain of blessing to all who come into contact with him; and he that winneth souls is wise, or, "the wise man winneth souls," gaining them for the service of the Lord and for the cause of truth.
v. 31. Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth, that is, if even he will not reach a stage when he will be free from suffering in this world, much more the wicked and the sinner, the ungodly will assuredly be subject to much severer punishment and will deserve the full measure of retribution which will strike them. It is a strong argument and admonition for righteousness of life.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 11". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany