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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Proverbs 29

 

 

Verse 1

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

Hardeneth his neck, - with stiff neck, like cattle who try to toss off the yoke, and will not be turned (Isaiah 48:4; Jeremiah 17:23).

Shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy - like Eli's sons, often reproved, but in vain (1 Samuel 2:25); and Israel (2 Chronicles 36:16; Proverbs 6:15; Proverbs 1:24-27; Matthew 18:15-17; Titus 3:10).


Verse 2

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Proverbs 11:10; Proverbs 28:12; Proverbs 28:28, notes.


Verse 3

Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

Whoso loveth wisdom (and therefore shuns harlots and dissipation) "rejoiceth his father" (by retaining and increasing his substance):

But he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance - and therefore grieveth his father.


Verse 4

The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

He that receiveth gifts overthroweth it - literally, 'a man of oblations.' Terumoth is elsewhere sacred oblations. So here, 'a man who wishes oblations to be offered him as if he were a priest' (Rabbi Salomon). (Ezekiel 45:13.)


Verse 5

A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet - (Prov. ; 28:23 .) So far from acting the part of a friend, he acts that of the great enemy, who lays snares to destroy men (2 Timothy 2:26; Acts 24:2-4, Tertullus). Even the godly are tempted aside by flattery. Darius' flatterers ensnared him into a plot for the ruin of his godly favourite, Daniel (Daniel 6:6-7; Daniel 6:9; Daniel 6:14).


Verse 6

In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

In the transgression of an evil man (there is) a snare (he brings ruin on himself by his transgression):

But the righteous doth sing and rejoice. While the evil man promises himself liberty, he is ensnared in not only sin, but sin's consequence-destruction and sorrow: the opposite to the 'rejoicing' of the righteous (2 Peter 2:19-20). "Sing" exultingly, triumphing in his deliverance by the Lord.


Verse 7

The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

The righteous considereth the cause of the poor (Psalms 41:1): (but) the wicked regardeth not to know it.

Though there is no gain, but much trouble, attending the just and merciful consideration of the cause of the poor, yet the righteous take all pains about it. The wicked do not care to know it; or if they know it, act as if they knew it not.


Verse 8

Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

Scornful men (who, when reproved for sin, not only do not repent, but scorn at divine and human laws) bring a city into a snare. Scorners are especially dangerous in the legislature, as they sneer at all warnings of danger caused to the State by innovations against the divine law. Dangers are no longer light when they are despised as light. "Bring into a snare" [ yaapiychuw (Hebrew #6315), from puwach (Hebrew #6315), 'a snare']; or, as margin, 'set on fire' (from piyach, a spark); or, 'blow violently upon' (from naapach, to blow) - i:e., excite seditions in a city.

But wise (men) turn away wrath - the wrath of God, incurred by the city through scornful men (Ezekiel 22:30; Exodus 32:10-14; Psalms 106:23).


Verse 9

If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

(If) a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, (there is) no rest - (Matthew 11:17.) The wise man may try all ways to gain the fool to piety, which is wisdom; but when the wise tries anger with him, the fool becomes more angry; and when he tries pleasantry, the fool misunderstands it. The fool gives his wise admonisher "no rest." He has always an excuse, accusation, or retort to give. He misinterprets kindness as the result of fear or stratagem, and becomes more insolent; roughness as the result of a wish to domineer harshly.


Verse 10

The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.

The blood-thirsty hate the upright (as virtually, and often verbally condemning their mode of life, 1 John 3:12-13; John 7:7; and therefore "seek" to destroy them):

But the just seek his soul - to save it, (Psalms 142:4, margin.)


Verse 11

A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

A fool uttereth all his mind (Hebrew, spirit; he rashly babbles out whatever is in his mind, without regard to persons, place, or time, Judges 16:17; Proverbs 12:23):

But a wise (man) keepeth it in till afterward - until a suitable time and place be presented. Gejer translates, 'backwards;' maketh his feelings, when pressing forward for utterance, to go back to their former receptacle. A fool's words are in the very front of his mind, and the gate is always open for their going forth: the wise man's words are in the further and interior recess of his mind (Proverbs 14:33).


Verse 12

If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked. If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants (are) wicked - for they are sure to imitate him. As is the master, so will be his men. Rulers do as much injury by their bad example as by their bad deeds. How guarded those in authority ought to be, considering their responsibilities! Let servants, too, learn, in choosing places, to have regard to piety more than to gain.


Verse 13

The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

The poor and the deceitful man (Hebrew, the usurer; the creditor, the Septuagint and Vulgate. The poor who is oppressed, and the rich creditor who oppresses him) "meet together; the Lord lighteneth both their eyes" - i:e., gives life to both alike (Psalms 13:4; Proverbs 22:2, note). They both meet on the same footing in many respects, and are mutually dependent on one another; notwithstanding their accidental and temporary differences in respect to wealth. They ought not, therefore, to complain of one another, but to walk as in the presence of God, and with mutual kindness and good faith. Religion elevates the poor, makes humble the rich (James 1:9-10).


Verse 14

The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

The king that faithfully judgeth (without partiality to the rich, does justice to) the poor, his throne shall be established forever (Proverbs 20:28; Proverbs 25:5 ).


Verse 15

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

The rod and reproof give wisdom (Proverbs 22:15): but a child left (to himself) bringeth his mother to shame.

The mother, by her weakness and over-indulgence, was most in fault, and therefore shall bear the chief "shame" of her son's misconduct.


Verse 16

When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth. The more there are of the wicked, the bolder in transgression they are, by reason of their mutual example and solicitations to sin. What is done by most men, however bad, is regarded as sanctioned by the numbers.

But the righteous (need not be disheartened by the flourishing prevalence of wickedness, for they) "shall see their fall" (Psalms 58:10; Psalms 59:10).


Verse 17

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest (from all the anxieties which ungodly children cause their parents); yea, he shall give (not only rest, but also) delight unto thy soul - which will richly compensate for the slight and passing pain which thou hast had when correcting him.


Verse 18

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Where (there is) no vision, the people perish. Where there is no setting forth of the will of God, whether by special revelation, as in old times (Psalms 74:9; Lamentations 2:9; Ezekiel 7:26), or by the ordinary ministrations of God's ministers and God's Word, as now, "the people perish." The Hebrew verb [ yipaara` (Hebrew #6544)] means 'are dissipated;' also 'revolt,' 'become unbridled,' and so perish. To this unbridled, and consequently ruinous state, is opposed in the parallel clause, "happy;" as "the law" stands in contrast to "no vision." Such did the Jews become, instead of their former happy state, when they rejected the Word of the Lord; and consequently lost their kingdom and place. The Hebrew means also 'to be made naked.' A people without God's Word and God's favour is stripped naked of its comely garments, and its defense against shame and injury (2 Chronicles 28:19; Exodus 32:25; Ephesians 6:14-17). Those who take from the people the Word of God hand them over naked to Satan for destruction.

But he (the people, and each individual in it) that keepeth the law (not merely heareth it) happy is he (Luke 8:21).


Verse 19

A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

A servant (a slave in spirit, not a free son of God, enslaved to lust, who does no duty from love, but only when driven by fear, John 8:34-35; Romans 8:15; 1 John 4:18).

Will not be corrected by words (but only by stripes, Proverbs 19:29);

For though he understand (what you say), he will not answer - to your call, by obeying your command. He does not in act answer to your wishes. Contrast Job 14:15,


Verse 20

Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

A man ... hasty in his words (Proverbs 29:11; Proverbs 18:13; James 1:19)?

There is more hope of a fool ... Proverbs 26:12 says the same of a 'man wise in his own conceit.' Self-sufficiency and loquacity are close akin.


Verse 21

He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become (his) son at the length.

Each should be kept in his place. All are the worse of too much license. "Give unto your servants that which is just and equal," but no more (Colossians 4:1). 'Solomon's servant,' Jeroboam, seems to have forgotten his place through the indulgence given to him in youth by the king, and so became a rebel (1 Kings 11:26-40; Sirach 33:25). 'If thou set thy servant to labour, thou shalt find rest; but if thou let him go idle, he shall seek liberty; because idleness teacheth much evil.'


Verse 22

An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

Proverbs 15:18.

A furious man aboundeth in transgression - Hebrew, pashang; daring and profane transgression, such as passionate oaths, taking God's name in vain (Proverbs 19:3).


Verse 23

A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Proverbs 15:33; Proverbs 16:18; Proverbs 18:12; Luke 14:11.


Verse 24

Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

Whoso is partner with a thief hateth (acts as if he hated) his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not. He bringeth destruction on himself; because he 'heareth the voice of swearing' (Leviticus 5:1) - i:e., the public adjuration, calling on any who could give information as to the "thief," and yet withholdeth the testimony which he could give if he liked. This verse also forbids our hearing our neighbour curse or commit any crime, and yet not rebuking him (Leviticus 19:17).


Verse 25

The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

The fear of man bringeth a snare - entrapping men in danger, guilt, and punishment. The father of the faithful, through fear of man, twice denied his wife, Genesis 12:1-20; Genesis 20:1-18. So Isaac, Genesis 26:7. 'Be afraid of nothing more than the detestable cowardice of a selfish and unbelieving heart' (Venn). (John 7:13; John 9:22; John 12:42-43.)

But whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe - Hebrew, shall be set on high (cf. margin, Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 33:16). He who feareth God always (Proverbs 28:14), need never fear man.


Verse 26

Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.

Many seek the ruler's favour (literally, face; namely, that he may give sentence in their favour):

But (every) man's judgment (cometh) from the Lord. Yahweh is the true and primary source of all decisions: nothing happens except by His permission (Proverbs 21:1). By Him, too, we shall be ultimately judged. Therefore commit thy cause to Him.


Verse 27

An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

An unjust man is an abomination to the just (because the unjust is an abomination to the God of the just, Psalms 15:4);

And (he that is) upright in the way (is) abomination to the wicked. Mutual enmity from the first has subsisted between the woman's seed and the serpent's seed (Proverbs 29:10; Genesis 3:15; Psalms 139:21-22). There is, however, this difference: the upright abominate the sin, but love the person of the sinner; the wicked abominate alike the ways and the persons of the upright.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 29:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-29.html. 1871-8.

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Sunday, January 19th, 2020
Second Sunday after Epiphany
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