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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Proverbs 14

 

 

Verses 1-35

Proverbs 14:1. Every wise woman buildeth her house, as Proverbs 9:1, by training up her children to industry, piety and virtue. She is their first governess, and daily instils the elements of knowledge by maternal sweetness. She improves her means, whether of agriculture or trade, so that her house abounds with affluence, as stated in chap. 31. Whereas the foolish woman pulls it down by idleness, pride and dissipation.

Proverbs 14:2. He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the Lord. He loves the Lord, and delights greatly in his commandments. His religion is perfumed with all the excellence of piety, while the perverse sets up his own will above wisdom. In this contrast we see grace as grace, and sin as sin.

Proverbs 14:5. A faithful witness will not lie. Judges and jurors come into court with clean hands. They are unbiassed by public reports, they judge according to the evidence before them: and what can the false swearer gain? Some favour of the plaintiff, or the defendant, a small pittance of money. And what does he lose? The favour of all good men, the peace of his own conscience, followed by the unslumbering vengeance of God. And what if he should die, with the lie in his mouth? See Acts 5:1-10.

Proverbs 14:6. A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not. Being a scorner, he seeks it with an unhumbled heart. His theories are superficial, his terms are captious. True wisdom disdains to disclose her beauties to him; she allows him not to taste of her feast, nor to lodge in her palace. But to the meek she will teach her way, and guide them in the paths of life.

Proverbs 14:9. Fools make a mock at sin. Drunkenness, riot and blasphemy, whoredom and the ruin of innocence, are with brutish and profane men subjects of universal laughter and applause. Yea, religion itself, the only hope of man, is ridiculed as fanaticism, and visionary. And were the evil confined to untutored youth, human pity would apologize for the error; but theatres are erected to canonize the crime, the brightest talents of genius and literature are employed to give it effect, the wisest and most venerable characters in our country are seen among the crowd, joining in warm applaudits. So they proceed till the adage of their own poet is accomplished. “Death will make cowards of us all.” Then mocking at sin will be no more.

Proverbs 14:10. The heart knoweth his own bitterness. Grieving for grief, or weeping for sin; but when the heart has uttered its anguish, when the storm has subsided, a stranger is not partaker of the joys of remission. The sun shines brighter after the storm.

Proverbs 14:12. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man. The Jews verily thought they did God service when they persecuted the church. John 16:2. False opinions and principles, held in wilful ignorance, fortified by prejudice and bigotry, and often carried out in persecutions and bloodshed, lead the soul in the ways of death. They who thus choose their own way have sorrow in their laughter, and heaviness in the midst of their mirth: Proverbs 14:13. See on Proverbs 16:25.

Proverbs 14:14. The backslider in heart, from the precepts of wisdom, shall be filled with his own ways. He who dallies with lascivious propensities, with the pride of life, with a covetous temper, or with secret intemperance, God will so withdraw his grace as to suffer him to fall under the power of his sin; he will give him flesh in anger, and glut his soul with all the meanness and consequences of his guilt.

Proverbs 14:17. He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly. Ira est furor, anger is madness.

Proverbs 14:20. The poor is hated even of his own neighbour. He is shunned and despised, because he is always in want. It were desirable, however, that the poor should have adequate rewards for labour, that he might abstain from debts, and schemes, and tricks, which occasion contempt. It is far better to wear a mended coat, than fine clothes which are not his own. The best wisdom of a poor man is to seek the true wisdom, then neither Christ nor the saints will despise him.

Proverbs 14:24. The foolishness of fools [works] folly. All their labours, conceived in foolishness, end in vanity.

Proverbs 14:26. In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence. True religion is the only remedy for the wickedness of the human heart. It supersedes vice, eradicates evils, and opens the fountain of life in the breast.

Proverbs 14:28. In the multitude of people is the king’s honour. “In their thick or strong concord.” Whereas weak states are stripped of their provinces and colonies by their more powerful neighbours. So is man, so is the world, so are the nations!

Proverbs 14:32. The wicked is driven away in his wickedness. As the ancient tribes wandering in tents from camp to camp, were often driven away by more powerful neighbours, who had better claims to the soil, so God sends death with terrific aspects of disease and war to drive away the sinner from his mansion, his lands and honours, and to hurl on his head the full tale of vengeance for his sins. But this stern minister, turning to the good man in his last moments, greets him with a heavenly mien, and opens the gates of paradise, that his soul may escape away from a body verging on corruption.

Proverbs 14:34. Righteousness exalteth a nation. When a nation is loyal to its sovereign, obedient to the laws, impartial in the administration of justice, lenient to the poor, and reverent to God, it clothes itself with a conscious glory, and ensures the blessing of providence. And when it is contented with its own dominions, observant of public faith with neighbouring nations, and hospitable to strangers, then it endears itself as a sister among the nations; and this esteem and reverence is often a better protection than fleets and armies. But a nation which sanctions crimes, and a city which patronizes vice may flourish for its day; but it shall fall under the visitation of God, and perhaps rise no more to its former splendour.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/proverbs-14.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, September 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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