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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Proverbs 15

 

 

Verses 1-33

Proverbs 15:1. A soft answer turneth away wrath. It bows to the tempest, it names a mitigating circumstance, it gives a favourable turn to misconstruction, it proposes a better way. My father, said the wary Syrian, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he says,—wash, and be clean? Rehoboam, for the want of this wisdom, lost the ten tribes; whereas the intelligent woman on the wall, who wished to speak with Joab, saved the city.

Proverbs 15:3. The eyes of the Lord are in every place. The ancient painters represent Jupiter with a large eye, looking through a dark cloud. Certainly, the idea of an omnipresent God, attended with a cloud of angels, is the grand argument of heaven to awe the wicked from crimes, and to encourage the righteous in the paths of judgment and truth. Such also is the purport of Proverbs 15:11.

Proverbs 15:6. In the house of the righteous is much treasure, as the reward of industry, followed with the blessing of heaven. But in the revenues of the wicked is trouble. The creditors are waiting with urgent claims. Their feet are much soiled by treading the mire: luto et fæcibus turbidum.

Proverbs 15:8. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. The Lord had no respect to Cain, nor to his offering; and he was weary with Israel’s burnt-offerings. Isaiah 1:11. They brought him their gifts, but not their hearts; and their religious festivals were scenes of great wickedness. The harlot had peace-offerings: Proverbs 7:14. Such is the devotion of carnal people still. It is little more than a sort of civil homage offered to the Most High; while their eyes and their thoughts are feasting on vanity and sin. When Isaiah saw the seraphim worshipping the Messiah, chap. 6., he exclaimed, I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips. Oh what scenes will be opened when the thoughts of the heart shall be made manifest; what a winnowing will take place when the chaff shall be separated from the wheat.

Proverbs 15:11. Hell and destruction are before the Lord. שׁאול ואבדון sheol ve-abaddon, the grave, or hell in the Hebrew, is often joined with some other word, that it may equally express the place where the body lies, and where the souls of wicked men are punished. So St. John: death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them. And again, death and hell were cast into the lake burning with fire and brimstone. Hence hell and abaddon, the destroyer, Revelation 9:11, are before the Lord. How much more then the hearts of men! Let us pray for purity of thought, arising from purity of heart.

Proverbs 15:15. All the days of the afflicted are evil. Rather, as the LXX, “The eyes of the wicked are every day expecting evil; but the good enjoy constant repose.” Here is the difference between a good and an evil conscience. The wicked man is all fear, as might be exemplified in the last moments of Nero, and others: but the good man is all confidence, and is not afraid of evil tidings, for his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord.

Proverbs 15:17. Better is a dinner of herbs. Man greatly errs by wishing much of worldly good; for the encrease of riches encreases his cares. His household establishment becomes large, and the haughty propensities of nature are nourished by the sight of a thousand smiling objects. Whereas the poor man, happy in his cottage and garden, and his simple wants supplied by the labour of his hands, tastes a peace which is pure. He prays to his God, and sleeps at night, sans souci, free from care, and far from fear. Hence his palace of straw better deserves the title than the palace of Frederic the Great.

Proverbs 15:24. The way of life is above to the wise. His thoughts and hopes are in heaven. His whole deportment developes his heart; he strives, he presses on, if by any means he may attain the crown.

Proverbs 15:27. He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house. The judge who takes a bribe undoes himself. He insults his God, dishonours his king, and robs his neighbour. Let them hear this who are feed for false pleading, who embarrass an honest witness to cover a culprit. Sophisms may gain applause and gold here; but he who thus sells himself for hire will be condemned before the great white throne. He only that hateth gifts shall live. It is the same with the avaricious tradesman. The narrowness of his soul will not allow him to do what is fair and liberal. He presses on the consciences of his family and servants, and entails a curse on his wealth.

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 15:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/proverbs-15.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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