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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 19

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Proverbs 19:1. Better is the poor, &c.— Better is a poor man who is upright in his way, than a rich man who is perverse in his path. Houbigant. Thus preserving the antithesis, and following the Syriac.

Verse 2

Proverbs 19:2. Also, that the soul be, &c.— The Chaldee renders this, He that knoweth not his soul, it is not good for him; he that hasteth with his feet into evil is a sinner. Solomon in this verse, says Bishop Patrick, observes two great springs of all our miscarriages; want of understanding, and want of deliberation. To make too much haste in a business is the way not to succeed; and to run blindly upon any thing is no less prejudicial to us in our undertakings. Both he that effects things without knowledge, and he that pursues what he understands without deliberation, runs into many mistakes, and commits many sins: for which the wise man shews in the next verse they must blame none but themselves; and never reflect upon God, as if he were negligent of them or hard to them; which men are prone to think when they have foolishly undone themselves.

Verse 7

Proverbs 19:7. He pursueth them with words Most interpretations of this verse seem forced and unnatural; I think Le Clerc's the best, says Dr. Grey, which applies the phrase to pursue with words, to him that seeks after those friends who fly from him, and were only nominal friends. Thus, Hos 12:1 to pursue or follow after the east wind, is to grasp at vanities or bubbles; or at least the meaning is, that a poor man who is destitute of friends hath nothing left but mere words or professions. But it appears plainly from the LXX that this verse does not belong to the two former: for they read, "Every one that hateth a poor brother is far from friendship: a good understanding approaches those who know it; but a prudent man shall find it. He that doeth much evil perfecteth wickedness; but he that contendeth words, [λογους, perhaps; λογοις, with words] shall not be safe." One whole period, and the first part of another seem to be lost in the Hebrew, part of the last line of the LXX seems to be a translation of the Hebrew, which we render, He pursueth him with words. See Grey, p. 192. Houbigant renders this verse, All his own brethren hate a poor man; how much more his neighbour? They have departed from him; he followeth after them, but they are not found. Schultens renders the last words of the verse, which are, or signify nothing.

Verse 13

Proverbs 19:13. The contentions of a wife, &c.— The author of the Observations remarks, that it is no wonder the easterns sleep on the tops of houses only in summer, since, however agreeable their arbours and wicker-work closets may be in the dry part of the year, they must be very disagreeable in the wet, and they that should then lodge in them, would be exposed to a continual dropping. To be limited consequently to such a place, and to have no other apartment to live in, must be very incommoding. To such circumstances then, probably, it is that Solomon alludes, when he saith, It is better to dwell in a corner of the house-top, than with a brawling woman in a wide house; (chap. Pro 21:9 and Proverbs 25:24.) a corner, covered with boughs or rushes, and made into a little arbour, in which they used to sleep, in summer, but which must have been a very incommodious place, to have made an intire dwelling. To the same allusion belong those other expressions, that speak of the contentions of a wife being like a continual dropping; as in the present passage, and chap. Proverbs 27:15. Put together, they amount to this: "It is better to have no other habitation than an arbour on the house-top, and be there exposed to the wet of winter, which is oftentimes of several days continuance, than to dwell in a wide and commodious house with a brawling woman; for her contentions are a continual dropping; and, wide as the house may be, you will not be able to avoid them, and get out of their reach." Nor will it be any objection to this observation, if it should be affirmed, that the boughs and wicker-work closets are not made as the corners of their parapet-walls, but on the middle of their roofs, as very probable they are, the better to receive the fresh air; since the word פנה pinnah, translated corner, does not only signify a place where two walls join, but a tower also; as appears from Zep 1:16 and consequently may import such a sort of arbour, as well as one formed by means of two joining walls.

Verse 18

Proverbs 19:18. And let not, &c.— But suffer not thyself to be transported to cause him to die. The LXX read, Chasten thy son, so shall he be hopeful; but be not raised in thy wrath to the provocation of him. See Colossians 3:21.

Verse 22

Proverbs 19:22. The desire of a man is his kindness This will admit of several interpretations. The LXX read, Alms-giving, or charity, bringeth fruit to a man; and a poor just man is better than a rich man who is a liar. Le Clerc gives this meaning of the first clause, That there is no virtue which a man should labour after more than beneficence, as it is the greater ornament of human nature, and the bond of society. But if we consider it as connected with the verse following, the most natural construction seems to be this, "A man shews his kindness by his will or desire to do good; and in this respect a poor man, who would be beneficent if he could, is better than a liar; i.e. a rich man who makes a profession of kindness, but does not perform it." The Syriac reads, A poor man is better than a deceitful rich one. See Grey.

Verse 23

Proverbs 19:23. The fear of the Lord tendeth to life The fear of the Lord tendeth to life; he who is filled with it shall sleep, or pass his nights free from all evil. Houbigant. Schultens, whom Dr. Grey follows, renders it, The fear of Jehovah indeed is life; but he who sleeps in carnal security shall not be free from evil. See Deuteronomy 32:15. The LXX read, The fear of the Lord is to a man's life; but he that is without fear, namely, of God, shall abide in places where there is no knowledge to govern him; that is, shall run blindly into all manner of mischief.

Verse 24

Proverbs 19:24. A slothful man This verse contains a most elegant but hyperbolical description of a man who has given himself up to sloth; who refuses to do things as easy pulling his hand out of his bosom, and as necessary as eating and drinking. See Psalms 74:11.

Verse 27

Proverbs 19:27. Cease, my son, &c.— My son, that thou mayest hear instruction, cease to wander from the discourses of wisdom. Houbigant. Bishop Patrick's paraphrase of the verse runs thus, "My son, beware of their discourse, who, under the shew of greater learning, seduce thee from the plain doctrine of virtue [and holiness]; or, if thou hast been unhappily engaged in such company, quit it presently and continue with those who honestly instruct thee. For remember this, to leave off hearing the instruction of good men is the first step towards a departure from all religion."

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 19". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/proverbs-19.html. 1801-1803.
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