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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Proverbs 27

 

 

Verse 1

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Boast not thyself of to-morrow (of what thou wilt do tomorrow); for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth - what event will happen on the morrow to prevent thine intention. Events are called by the Hebrews sons of time. Time brings them forth, as the pregnant woman knows not whether her child will be male or female, living or dead.


Verse 2

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

Let another man praise thee ... a stranger, and not thine own lips. One might may as to Proverbs 27:1, Though I may not 'boast of tomorrow,' and of what I shall do in it, surely I may boast of what I have already done. Nay, thou shouldest not boast of thine own doings at all, but leave it to another, or even a stranger (who cannot be biased in judgment by partiality), to praise thee. "A stranger," if there were any reason to blame, would not hesitate to do so.


Verse 3

A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

A stone ... the sand ... a fool's wrath is heavier than them both - both to himself and to others. Wrath is madness, and the fool can set no bounds to it. He has not a drop of the dews of the Spirit to quench the flame.


Verse 4

Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

Wrath (is) cruel (cruelty itself), and anger (is) outrageous (overflowing, like a torrent, unexpectedly, overwhelmingly, powerfully, and dangerously, Nahum 1:8); but who (is) able to stand before envy? - or jealousy (Proverbs 6:34-35). So the Chaldaic. The angry man avows his anger; the envious or jealous craftily hides it until he gets his opportunity. The angry may possibly be appeased in course of time; the envious or jealous becomes only more exasperated. Envy or jealousy penetrates more deeply, creeps slowly, and cannot be eradicated (Gejer).


Verse 5

Open rebuke is better than secret love. Open rebuke is better than secret love - is better than the love which is hidden in the heart, and does not perform the outward offices of love, in aiding, amending, 'rebuking' a friend in error, through fear of offending him. "Open" - i:e., outspoken; not necessarily public rebuke (Matthew 18:15; Proverbs 28:23).


Verse 6

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Faithful (marks of true kindness, and for one's true good, Psalms 141:5) are the wounds of (i:e., inflicted by) a friend: but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. So Jerome, the Vulgate, and Chaldaic; but Gesenius, as margin, 'frequent,' many: for the kisses of an enemy, we need hardly be told, are deceitful. But the warning in the English version is needful, as one might forget that kisses may be given, and yet all the while be tokens not of love, but of treachery. On the other hand, an enemy does not always give many kisses: Judas gave only one. But his kisses are always "deceitful" - literally, bland, appeased [the Niphal, from `aatar (Hebrew #6280), to please, to pray].


Verse 7

The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

Loatheth - literally, 'treadeth under foot' (Micah 5:5-6).

But to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet - (Job 6:7; Luke 15:16-17.) So those who are "full" of spiritual privileges often "loathe" or make light of them, because of their commonness, while 'hungering souls' relish as sweet the Gospel feast, though they must first eat the "bitter herbs" of self-renunciation and penitence (Exodus 12:8; Matthew 5:6). The older brother, the Jew, full of home privileges murmured; the younger brother, the hungry prodigal, keenly enjoyed the fatted calf (Luke 15:23-32). Good appetite is one of the compensations of poverty. Israel, when fed 'to the full,' loathed "angel's food" as "light bread" (Psalms 78:25; Numbers 11:20). Fulness of bread begets bad appetite, especially in spiritual things (Luke 6:25; Revelation 3:17).


Verse 8

As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

As a bird that wandereth from her nest, (so is) a man that wandereth from his place. The bird, by needless As a bird that wandereth from her nest, (so is) a man that wandereth from his place. The bird, by needless wanderings, is in danger of losing her nest and her young: she is safe only by keeping to her nest. So a man, leaving his place or sphere without the plain call of Providence (Genesis 12:1-10; Genesis 45:17-20; Genesis 46:1-34), is endangering himself. Israel lost nothing by delay, and "keeping the charge of the Lord, and not journeying" when the cloud abode in the tabernacle (Numbers 9:17-23). The restless man carries the root of discontent with him wherever he goes. He who, when he meets any discomfort where he is, or sees any advantage elsewhere, leaves his place, generally meets greater evils where he goes, either temporally or spiritually, or both. Tossing to and fro is the mark of disease: quiet composure and contentment, of soundness (1 Corinthians 7:24). Dinah was safe until she "went out to see the daughters of the land" (Genesis 34:1; 1 Timothy 5:13).


Verse 9

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.

So (doth) the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel - `by counsel of the soul:' i:e., sincere counsel, especially in affliction, when the sufferer's judgment is clouded by grief; while the faithful friend standing by has a clearer perception of what ought to be done.


Verse 10

Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity. A sincere friend is to be preferred in adversity to a brother that is not a true friend (Proverbs 18:24). Joseph found more kindness with strangers than with his brethren. Jonathan's friendship afforded David a sympathy which his own brethren did not. Rehoboam's forsaking his "father's friends" cost him the most of his kingdom (1 Kings 12:6-8). Solomon remembered his father's charge, "My son, know thou the God of thy fathers" (1 Chronicles 28:9; cf. Jacob's words, Genesis 48:15-16). This is the Friend "better than a brother," for He is ever near in love and in presence.

(For) better (is) a neighbour (that is) near, than a brother far off. A neighbour near in heart, as well as in locality, is better than a brother as far off in love as he is in distance.


Verse 11

My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

My son, be wise ... that I may answer him that reproacheth me - as though my son were a fool, or one badly reared. Ungodly children are a great 'reproach' before the world to their parents. Such were Eli's sons to him (1 Samuel 2:17; 1 Samuel 2:23-24). They disqualify a minister for usefulness (1 Timothy 3:4-5).


Verse 12

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

Note, Proverbs 22:3.


Verse 13

Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

Note, Proverbs 20:16.


Verse 14

He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice (with grandiloquent words and loud emphasis), rising early in the morning it shall be counted a curse to him - it shall be counted to the flatterer all the same as if he cursed his friend (cf. Proverbs 26:25). "Early in the morning" implies the affected assiduity of the flatterer (Proverbs 8:34; Jeremiah 25:3-4). The exaggerated praise and compliment engender suspicion of sinister motives.


Verse 15

A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

Proverbs 19:13.


Verse 16

Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

Whosoever hideth her (striveth to hide or keep her back) hideth the wind (which only howls the more that it is pent up), and the ointment of his right hand, (which) bewrayeth (itself). He does the same as if he tried to hide the odorous oil wherewith he has anointed his right hand, which betrays itself (literally, cries out) by the smell. Maurer translates, 'And his right hand crieth out for ointment.'-namely, to heal the scratches which his right hand gets from her in trying to hide or restrain her. I prefer the English version. The crying out of the ointment evidently answers to the clamour of "the contentious woman." It is as impossible to stifle one as the other. She is as closely joined to her husband as the ointment to the right hand on which it is. She bewrays herself by bawling, as the ointment does by its odour. Beware of choosing a wife for her mere beauty or wealth; because if she is contentious, the evil is not easily remedied.


Verse 17

Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Iron sharpeneth iron (Ecclesiastes 10:10); so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend - i:e., sharpeneth the mind of his friend, so that the countenance expresses it; by mutual conversation and instruction; by the communion of saints. The countenance brightens up in meeting intelligent friends, who sharpen the intellect and warm the heart (Job 4:3-4). So Jarchi. Aben-Ezra refers it to anger: 'So a man (by his passion) sharpeneth the countenance (i:e., the anger) of another' (cf. Job 16:9). I prefer the English version. 'The very sight of a good man delights' (Seneca). (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.)


Verse 18

Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured. Whoso keepeth the fig tree (from injury or theft) shall eat the fruit thereof; so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured - (John 12:26.) If even he who keeps a fig tree is rewarded with a share of its fruits, surely he that has the more honourable office of waiting on his master shall be honoured by that master.


Verse 19

As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

As in water face (answereth) to face, so the heart of man to man. The same face which you show to the water, it reflects back to you: smile on it, it will smile on you; frown on it, it will frown on you: so as your heart (exhibited by manner, word, and deed) is to another, his heart is toward you: if your heart be kind, his is kind, and conversely, Thus your heart is a kind of mirror of your neighbour's: you can judge of his by your own; because your feeling betraying itself by word and manner, cannot fail to produce similar feelings in him.


Verse 20

Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Hell and destruction (note, Proverbs 15:11) are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied - (Ecclesiastes 1:8; Ecclesiastes 4:8; Proverbs 30:16.)


Verse 21

As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

(As) the fining pot (crucible) for silver (note, Proverbs 17:3) ... so is a man to (according to; Hebrew, l


Verse 22

Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, (yet) will not his foolishness depart from him - literally, 'from upon him;' like the husk upon a grain of wheat which is hard to remove, so a fool's folly which cleaves closely to him by nature and long habit (Jeremiah 13:23). The bruising in the mortar of trial fails to reform him. So Ahaz, 2 Chronicles 28:22; Judah, Isaiah 1:5-6; Isaiah 9:13. The patience of the corrector is only tried, without good to the corrected.


Verse 23

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

Be thou diligent to know the state (literally, the face) of thy flocks. Shepherds so exactly knew the face of their sheep that they called them by name (John 10:3). Pastors of Christ's flock should "look well" to them in person, and not think to discharge their duty by deputy.


Verse 24

For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

For riches are not forever - therefore they are not to be depended on to the neglect of thy flocks. Israel's chief wealth was herds and flocks; so that great men did not think them beneath inspection in person (Genesis 30:32-42; Genesis 31:38-40; Genesis 33:13; 1 Chronicles 27:29; and 2 Chronicles 26:10).

And doth the crown (endure) to every generation? Honours, however great, accompanying riches are not enduring; therefore industry must not be slackened, if thou wouldest retain permanent respectability.


Verse 25

The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.

The hay appeareth, and the tender grass showeth itself (after the hay), and herbs of the mountains are gathered - (Psalms 147:8.) You need have no great toil in getting food for your flocks, because it grows spontaneously; and the pastures are open to all. Not only in the valleys, but also on "the mountains;" only you must gather it at the proper time.


Verse 26

The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

The lambs (are) for thy clothing - with their fleeces.

And the goats (are) the price of the field - you can buy the field with the price gotten by selling them (Ezekiel 27:21). You can more readily do without the he-goats than without the sheep or the she-goats.


Verse 27

And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Goats' milk enough for thy food ... The flocks and herds supplied all their needs in those days, without superfluous luxuries.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 27:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-27.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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