A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
There is a vast dissimilarity in those two verses, but both have great and important truths contained in them. What name so precious as Christ's, and what riches like his. This name is like ointment poured forth for fragrancy. Song of Solomon 1:3; Ecclesiastes 7:1. All the inequalities of life are of divine appointment. It is blessed when both characters find their equality in Jesus. The Lord is then both the Maker and the Redeemer of all.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished. By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
To whom can this eye of bounty be applied in an equal degree, but to that of Jesus? He indeed is the heavenly Pelican that giveth of his body and blood to his young.
Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease. He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend. The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor. The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets. The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
If there were no other passage in scripture in proof of original corruption than this last, this alone would confirm the doctrine. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; it is inmate, born there, and inwrought in the very constitution. Psalms 51:5.
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want. Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips. That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts. If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee? Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Whatever sameness may appear in these proverbs, there is a great variety; and the same truth is made to appear more striking, from being set and placed forward to view in different ways. Upon the whole the great object intended from them, is evidently with a view to endear Christ and the graces of his Holy Spirit, and to mark out the sad consequences of a contrary pursuit.
READER! a name to live while virtually dead before God, is one of the most awful states into which our poor nature can possibly fall. But to be named with a good name in Christ which the mouth of the Lord shall name, is among the highest felicities our nature is capable of enjoying. Solomon seems to have had this in view while sending forth these proverbs. everything that can lead to this enjoyment in Jesus, ought to be our daily pursuit and desire. And what can tend to the attainment of it, but an interest in Christ Jesus? The grace of God which bringeth salvation is the only possible means of procuring it. And under the divine blessing this will ensure whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, lovely, and of good report. Reader! let me hope that this grace hath appeared unto you: and then it will be found that all these divine principles will have their suited influence upon the heart. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, it is the companion of fools that is destroyed.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 22". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent