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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Proverbs 21



Verse 1

rivers — irrigating channels (Psalm 1:3), whose course was easily turned (compare Deuteronomy 11:10). God disposes even kings as He pleases (Proverbs 16:9; Psalm 33:15).

Verse 2

(Compare Proverbs 14:2; Proverbs 16:2-25).

Verse 3

(Compare Psalm 50:7-15; Isaiah 1:11, Isaiah 1:17).

Verse 4

high look — (Compare Margin; Psalm 131:1).

proud heart — or, “heart of breadth,” one that is swollen (compare Psalm 101:5).

ploughing — better “lamp,” a frequent figure for prosperity (Proverbs 20:20); hence joy or delight.

Verse 5

The contrast is between steady industry and rashness (compare Proverbs 19:2).

Verse 6

The getting — or, “what is obtained” (compare Job 7:2; Jeremiah 22:13, Hebrew).

vanity … to and fro — as fleeting as chaff or stubble in the wind (compare Proverbs 20:17-21; Psalm 62:10). Such gettings are unsatisfactory.

them … death — act as if they did (Proverbs 8:36; Proverbs 17:19).

Verse 7

robbery — or, “destruction,” especially oppression, of which they are authors.

shall destroy — literally, “cut with a saw” (1 Kings 7:9), that is, utterly ruin them. Their sins shall be visited on them in kind.

to do judgment — what is just and right.

Verse 8

of man — any one; his way is opposed to truth, and also estranged from it. The pure proves himself such by his right conduct.

Verse 9

corner — a turret or arbor on the roof.

brawling — or contentious.

wide house — literally, “house of fellowship,” large enough for several families.

Verse 10

So strongly does he desire to do evil (Psalm 10:3; Ecclesiastes 8:11), that he will not even spare his friend if in his way.

Verse 11

(Compare Proverbs 19:25). That which the simple learn by the terrors of punishment, the wise learn by teaching.

Verse 12

(Compare Psalm 37:35-38; Psalm 73:17, Psalm 73:20).

house — family or interests.

overthroweth — either supply “God” (compare Proverbs 10:24), or the word is used impersonally.

Verse 13

The principles of retribution, often taught (compare Psalm 18:26; Matthew 7:1-12).

Verse 14

The effect of bribery (Proverbs 17:23) is enhanced by secrecy, as the bribed person does not wish his motives made known.

Verse 15

But the just love right and need no bribes. The wicked at last meet destruction, though for a time happy in concealing corruption.

Verse 16

the way of understanding — (Compare Proverbs 12:26; Proverbs 14:22).

remain — that is, rest as at a journey‘s end; death will be his unchanging home.

Verse 17

Costly luxuries impoverish.

Verse 18

(Compare Proverbs 11:8). By suffering what they had devised for the righteous, or brought on them, the wicked became their ransom, in the usual sense of substitutes (compare Joshua 7:26; Esther 7:9).

Verse 19

(Compare Proverbs 21:9).

wilderness — pasture, though uninhabitable ground (Psalm 65:12).

Verse 20

The wise, by diligence and care, lay up and increase wealth, while fools

spend — literally, “swallow it up,” greedily.

Verse 21

He who tries to act justly and kindly (Psalm 34:14) will prosper and obtain justice and honor.

Verse 22

“Wisdom is better than strength” (Ecclesiastes 7:19; Ecclesiastes 9:15).

strength … thereof — that in which they confide.

Verse 23

(Compare Proverbs 13:2, Proverbs 13:3; James 3:6-10).

Verse 24

The reproachful name is deserved by those who treat others with anger and contempt.

Verse 25

desire — that is, of ease and idleness brings him to starvation.

Verse 26

The sin of covetousness marks the sluggard, as the virtue of benevolence the righteous.

Verse 27

God regards the heart, and hypocrisy is more odious than open inconsistency.

wicked mind — or, “design” (Proverbs 1:4).

Verse 28

(Compare Proverbs 19:5).

that heareth — or heeds instruction, and so grows wise.

speaketh constantly — or sincerely (compare Habakkuk 1:5), and hence is believed (Proverbs 12:19; James 1:19).

Verse 29

hardeneth his face — is obstinate.

directeth … way — considers it, and acts advisedly.

Verse 30-31

Men‘s best devices and reliances are vain compared with God‘s, or without His aid (Proverbs 19:21; Psalm 20:7; Psalm 33:17).


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 21:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 20th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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