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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
Proverbs 3

 

 

Verses 1-35

Proverbs 3:2. Length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. The premature death denounced against the profligate, and the victims of the harlot, shall be far from thy dwelling. The truth of this promise, of frequent occurrence in the sacred writings, is demonstrated by the longevity of many scripture characters; and eternal life, by way of apposition, is understood.

Proverbs 3:3. Bind them about thy neck. As vain persons decorate their bodies with gems and ornaments, so the pious youth should decorate his mind with the real ornaments of divine wisdom: so shall he inherit the favour of God and man, health of body and every spiritual blessing.

Proverbs 3:5. Lean not to thy own understanding. Simply follow the divine word, and rest the issues with the Lord. On a thousand occasions carnal reason is opposed to acts of faith. “Shall I, said Nabal, take my meat which I have dressed for my servants, and give it to the son of Jesse?” Alas, had it not been for the vigorous prudence of his wife, before the morning light he would have lost both his life and his meat. Let us acknowledge God, and he will direct our way.

Proverbs 3:8. It shall be health to thy navel, as in Proverbs 3:2. Our learned traveller, Sir John Chardin says, this comparison is taken from plasters, ointments, oils, and frictions, which are used in the east on the belly and stomach in most maladies. In the villages, being ignorant of making decoctions and potions, and of the proper doses, they generally have recourse to external applications.

Proverbs 3:9. Honour the Lord with thy substance. Chaldaic, “thy mammon,” money and worldly goods. The deep stain of original sin is so profound, and the consequent outbreakings of wickedness are so great, that unless law and order be enforced, and virtue nourished by instruction and devotion, society is utterly lost. He therefore who gives ministers their just and liberal remuneration shall find a full requital from the Lord; he will fill their laythes and barns with grass and corn: Proverbs 3:10.

Proverbs 3:11. My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord. His corrections are paternal. Ordinary afflictions are often the effects of negligence, or of irregularity; others are constitutional, and some are special, as incidents, acute fevers, and epidemic diseases. But all are of the Lord, and our concern is to make a good use of them, for examination, for prayer, and for holiness.

Proverbs 3:12. As a father the son in whom he delighteth. The LXX render this latter clause, “And scourgeth every son whom he receiveth:” and thus it is quoted by St. Paul. Hebrews 12:6.

Proverbs 3:13. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, the divine tutoress, that he may be taught of God. Her adornings are pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruit. Augustine has said justly, that Christ, Mississe vicariam vim Spiritus Sancti, qui credentes agas, hath sent in his place the Holy Spirit, which actuates the soul of believers. No man can acquire divine wisdom without a divine influence.

Proverbs 3:15. She is more precious than rubies. Exodus 28:15. Gems are the decorations of earthly courts, but wisdom adorns the mind, and heaven alone can estimate its worth. It is a crown of long life here, and of glory hereafter: Proverbs 3:16.

Proverbs 3:17. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, unfolding new discoveries, and opening heaven in the heart. The pleasure of contemplating the perfections of God in his works and ways, the pleasure of meditating on the person and offices of Christ, the pleasure of piety, and devotion, of studying the scriptures, and tracing an immortal hope, whose earnests are felt in the heart; the pleasure of doing good, and from the noble principle of divine love, and even the pleasure of suffering for righteousness sake, from a consciousness that afflictions are productive of good; are all of them exquisite, and pour a torrent of peace and divine enjoyment into the soul. Whereas the pleasures of sin are low, mean, and sensual, tending to disgust, to misery and corruption. Happy then, thrice happy is the man, who findeth wisdom, and retains her in his heart.

Proverbs 3:28. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. God having dealt bountifully with us, we should be bountiful to our needy neighbour. If he shall come to beg or borrow, let us give him what he wants, and give it now, provided we can do it with prudence, always remembering that the cheerful grace with which a favour is done, is more than the favour itself. Thus the God of charity requires all his servants to be distinguished by a noble, liberal and believing mind.

Proverbs 3:30. Strive not with a man without cause. Hebrews אל תרוב al toroob, be not litigious. Go not to law with thy neighbour on light and trivial occasions: better to bear a light injury than incur a heavy expense. Suits at law excite bad feelings, because the party that does wrong despises the bar of amicable equity.

Proverbs 3:34. He scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The words are quoted by St. Peter, 1 Peter 5:5, and by St. James 4:6, as they stand in the LXX, viz. “God resisteth the proud: but giveth grace to the humble.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 3:4". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/proverbs-3.html. 1835.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, September 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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