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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Proverbs 20



Verse 1

mocker — scorner. Such men are made by wine.

strong drink — made by spicing wine (compare Isaiah 5:11, Isaiah 5:22); and it may include wine.

raging — or boisterous as a drunkard.

deceived — literally, “erring,” or reeling.

Verse 2

(Compare Proverbs 19:12). Men who resist authority injure themselves (Romans 13:2).

Verse 3

to cease from strife — or, better, “to dwell from or without strife,” denoting the habit of life.

fool … meddling — (Proverbs 17:14).

Verse 4
beg — literally, “ask” (in this sense, Psalm 109:10).

Verse 5
water — that is, deeply hidden (Proverbs 18:4; Psalm 13:2). The wise can discern well.

Verse 6

Boasters are unreliable.

goodness — or, “kind disposition.”

Verse 7

The conduct of good men proclaims their sound principles. God‘s covenant and their good example secure blessing to their children (Proverbs 4:26; Psalm 112:1, Psalm 112:2).

Verse 8

As in Proverbs 14:35; Proverbs 16:10, Proverbs 16:15, this is the character of a good king, not of all kings.

Verse 9

The interrogation in the affirmative strengthens the implied negation (compare Job 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:20).

Verse 10

Various measures, implying that some are wrong (compare Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11).

Verse 11

The conduct of children even is the best test of principle (compare Matthew 7:16).

Verse 12

Hence, of course, God will know all you do (Psalm 94:9).

Verse 13

Activity and diligence contrasted with sloth (Proverbs 6:9; Proverbs 10:11).

lest … poverty — literally, “be deprived of inheritance.”

Verse 14

when … his way — implying that he goes about boasting of his bargains.

Verse 15

The contrast denotes the greater value of knowledge (compare Proverbs 3:14-16).

Verse 16

Take his garment — implies severe exaction, justified by the surety‘s rashness.

a strange woman — by some readings “strangers,” but the former here, and in Proverbs 27:13, is allowable, and strengthens the sense. The debauchee is less reliable than the merely careless.

Verse 17
sweet — either as unlawfully (Proverbs 9:17) or easily obtained.

mouth … gravel — well expresses the pain and grief given at last.

Verse 18

(Compare Proverbs 15:22). Be careful and considerate in important plans.

Verse 19

Those who love to tell news will hardly keep secrets.

flattereth … lips — (compare Margin; Proverbs 1:10).

meddle … him — literally, “join,” or “associate with.”

Verse 20

his lamp — (Compare Proverbs 13:9; Proverbs 24:20).

Verse 21

gotten hastily — contrary to God‘s providence (Proverbs 28:20), implying its unjust or easy attainment; hence the man is punished, or spends freely what he got easily (compare Proverbs 20:17).

Verse 22

(Compare Psalm 27:14; Romans 12:17-19).

Verse 23

(Compare Proverbs 20:10; Proverbs 11:1).

Verse 24

Man‘s goings — literally, “Stately steppings of a strong man.”

a man — any common man.

understand — or, “perceive.”

Verse 25

devoureth … holy — or, better, “who rashly speaks promises,” or “devotes what is holy,” consecrating any thing. This suits better the last clause, which expresses a similar view of the results of rashly vowing.

Verse 26

(Compare Proverbs 20:8).

bringeth … over them — The wheel was used for threshing grain. The figure denotes severity (compare Amos 1:3).

Verse 27
Lord — Men‘s minds are God‘s gifts, and thus able to search one another (compare Proverbs 20:5; Proverbs 18:8, Proverbs 18:17; 1 Corinthians 2:11).

Verse 28

(Compare Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 16:6, Proverbs 16:12).

Verse 29
the beauty of old men — Each age has its peculiar excellence (Proverbs 16:31).

Verse 30

blueness — literally, “joining,” the process of uniting the edges of a wound throws off purulent matter.

stripes … belly — So punishment provides healing of soul (Proverbs 18:8), by deterring from evil courses.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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Sunday, November 29th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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