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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Proverbs 30



Verse 1

This is the title of this chapter (see on Introduction).

the prophecy — literally, “the burden” (compare Isaiah 13:1; Zechariah 9:1), used for any divine instruction; not necessarily a prediction, which was only a kind of prophecy (1 Chronicles 15:27, “a song”). Prophets were inspired men, who spoke for God to man, or for man to God (Genesis 20:7; Exodus 7:14, Exodus 7:15, Exodus 7:16). Such, also, were the New Testament prophets. In a general sense, Gad, Nathan, and others were such, who were divine teachers, though we do not learn that they ever predicted.

the man spake — literally, “the saying of the man”; an expression used to denote any solemn and important announcement (compare 2 Samuel 23:1; Psalm 36:1; Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 1:24, etc.). Ithiel and Ucal were perhaps pupils.

Verses 2-4

brutish — stupid, a strong term to denote his lowly self-estimation; or he may speak of such as his natural condition, as contrasted with God‘s all-seeing comprehensive knowledge and almighty power. The questions of this clause emphatically deny the attributes mentioned to be those of any creature, thus impressively strengthening the implied reference of the former to God (compare Deuteronomy 30:12-14; Isaiah 40:12; Ephesians 4:8).

Verse 5

(Compare Psalm 12:6; Psalm 119:140).

Verse 6

Add … words — implying that his sole reliance was on God‘s all-sufficient teaching.

reprove thee — or, “convict thee” - and so the falsehood will appear.

Verses 7-9

A prayer for exemption from wickedness, and the extremes of poverty and riches, the two things mentioned. Contentment is implied as desired.

Verse 8

vanity — all sorts of sinful acts (Job 11:11; Isaiah 5:18).

Verse 9
deny — that is, puffed up by the pride of prosperity.

take the name … vain — This is not (Hebrew) the form (compare Exodus 20:7), but “take” rather denotes laying violent hold on any thing; that is, lest I assail God‘s name or attributes, as justice, mercy, etc., which the poor are tempted to do.

Verse 10

Accuse not — Slander not (Psalm 10:7).

curse … guilty — lest, however lowly, he be exasperated to turn on thee, and your guilt be made to appear.

Verses 11-14

Four kinds of hateful persons - (1) graceless children, (2) hypocrites, (3) the proud, (4) cruel oppressors (compare on Proverbs 30:14; Psalm 14:4; Psalm 52:2) - are now illustrated; (1) Proverbs 30:15, Proverbs 30:16, the insatiability of prodigal children and their fate; (2) Proverbs 30:17, hypocrisy, or the concealment of real character; (3 and 4) Proverbs 30:18-20, various examples of pride and oppression.

Verse 15-16

horse leech — supposed by some to be the vampire (a fabulous creature), as being literally insatiable; but the other subjects mentioned must be taken as this, comparatively insatiable. The use of a fabulous creature agreeably to popular notions is not inconsistent with inspiration.

There are three … yea, four — (Compare Proverbs 6:16).

Verse 17

The eye — for the person, with reference to the use of the organ to express mockery and contempt, and also as that by which punishment is received.

the ravens … eagles … eat — either as dying unnaturally, or being left unburied, or both.

Verses 18-20

Hypocrisy is illustrated by four examples of the concealment of all methods or traces of action, and a pertinent example of double dealing in actual vice is added, that is, the adulterous woman.

Verse 20

she eateth … mouth — that is, she hides the evidences of her shame and professes innocence.

Verses 21-23

Pride and cruelty, the undue exaltation of those unfit to hold power, produce those vices which disquiet society (compare Proverbs 19:10; Proverbs 28:3).

Verse 23
mistress — that is, takes her place as a wife (Genesis 16:4).

Verses 24-31

These verses provide two classes of apt illustrations of various aspects of the moral world, which the reader is left to apply. By the first (Proverbs 30:25-28), diligence and providence are commended; the success of these insignificant animals being due to their instinctive sagacity and activity, rather than strength. The other class (Proverbs 30:30, Proverbs 30:31) provides similes for whatever is majestic or comely, uniting efficiency with gracefulness.

Verse 26

conies — mountain mice, or rabbits.

Verse 28

spider — tolerated, even in palaces, to destroy flies.

taketh … hands — or, uses with activity the limbs provided for taking prey.

Verse 32

As none can hope, successfully, to resist such a king, suppress even the thought of an attempt.

lay … hand upon thy mouth — “lay” is well supplied (Judges 18:19; Job 29:9; Job 40:4).

Verse 33

That is, strife - or other ills, as surely arise from devising evil as natural effects from natural causes.


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 30:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 27th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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