Proverbs 16:1. The preparations of the heart, &c.— Houbigant renders it, It is in man to prepare discourse within himself; it is in the Lord to moderate or rule the tongue. Bishop Patrick says, the Hebrew words run plainly thus; Man hath the disposing of the heart: He may, with God's leave and common assistance, intend, propound, resolve within himself, what he will say and do; but that he shall be able to utter things in that order he hath premeditated, or, if he be able, shall attain the end of his deliberation and eloquent speech, is more than he can undertake; for that is as the Lord pleaseth. God, therefore, would have us to acknowledge this our weakness, and to fear and depend upon him; as it follows, Proverbs 16:3.
Proverbs 16:4. The Lord hath made all things for himself, &c.— The Lord ordereth all things so as to suit his own will; yea, even the wicked for the day of vengeance. Patrick. The Lord hath made all things according to their correspondency; yea, even the wicked are fitted for, or correspond to, the day of evil. Le Cene, p. 165. The meaning, according to Schultens, is, that God hath so formed and fashioned this universe, that every thing in it has its due connection and correspondence: evil is as naturally connected with punishment, as holiness and virtue with happiness and reward.
Proverbs 16:10. A divine sentence is in the lips of the king— These words, according to Melancthon, affirm the whole political order, magistrates, laws, distinction of dominions, contracts, judgments, punishments, to be things ordained by the wisdom of God among men; and since we know political order to be the work of God, we ought to love it, and study to defend it; modestly for God's sake to obey it; give thanks to God who preserves it, and look upon those who would disturb this order as most hateful in the sight of God. See Romans 13.
Proverbs 16:15. The latter rain— See Deuteronomy 11:14 and Joel 2:23.
Proverbs 16:21. The wise in heart shall be called prudent— "Profoundness of wisdom," says Lord Bacon, "may help men to fame and admiration; but it is eloquence which prevails in business and active life."
Proverbs 16:27. In his lips there is as a burning fire— See James 3:6.
Proverbs 16:32. And he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city— It is far beyond comparison easier to conquer enemies, to take citadels, to subject people, than to conquer passions, to moderate desires, to subdue evil habits, and repress the sallies of wrath and resentment. We read of but few celebrated conquerors who have not been subdued by some passion or other. Horace has finely expressed this sentiment, lib. 2: od. 2.
By virtue's precepts to controul The thirsty cravings of the soul, Is over wider realms to reign Unenvy'd monarch, than if Spain Thou could'st to distant Lybia join, And both the Carthages were thine. FRANCIS.
And Ovid says,
Fortior est qui se, quam qui fortissima vincit Moenia, nec virtus altius ire potest.
One translation renders, the verse, Qui dominatur animo suo, expugnator est urbium; "He that can suppress his passions is even master of all cities; no strength can resist him." So that if we intend nothing but our own ease and advantage, we have reason to apply ourselves to and study this temper; in which the precepts of the philosophers give us ample instructions, and the practices of mere heathen men have left us notable examples; but the obligations of Christianity carry us much farther; we must add to this temperance, patience, which is a Christian virtue of the highest qualification.
Proverbs 16:33. The lot is cast into the lap— Lots are to be considered in three different lights; or, more properly, they are of three distinct kinds. One sort is civil ballotting, of general use in states to prevent intrigues and partialities; another is a superstitious appeal to the imaginary deity, Chance, or Fortune; and there is yet a third, which is a reference of the event to heaven, by God's own direction and appointment. Of the second, or only reprehensible sort, revelation is intirely innocent; because it was customary for the Jewish people to refer all events to God, only and immediately; and the Jewish and Christian lots were confessedly of divine appointment. See Bishop Warburt. View of Bolingbr. Philos. let. 3: p. 37. 8 vol. and Nehemiah 11:1.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 16". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany