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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Proverbs 10

 

 

Verse 1

Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son [is] the heaviness of his mother.

Ver. 1. The Proverbs.] Properly so called. See Proverbs 1:1. For the nine former chapters are a kind of common places, or continued discourses premised as a preface to these ensuing wise and grave sentences, tending much to the information of the mind and reformation of the manners, and containing things profitable for all sorts of people. They are not unfitly compared by a divine to a bag full of sweet and fragrant spices, which shuffled or shaken together, or taken single, yield a sweet odour; or to stars in the firmament, each in itself glorious and independent of another, yet all receive their light from the sun.

A wise son maketh a glad father.] Children are certain cares, but uncertain comforts. (a) Every son should be an Abner, that is, his father’s light; and every daughter an Abigail, her father’s joy. Eve promised herself much in her Cain, and David did the like in his Absalom. Sed, fallitur augurio spes bona saepe suo, - they were both deceived. Samuel succeeds Eli in his cross, as well as his place, though not in his sin; and had cause enough to call his untoward children, as Augustus did, tres vomicas, tria carcinomata, - so many ulcerous sores, mattery imposthumes. (b) Virtue is not as lands, inheritable. All that is traduced with the seed is either evil, or not good. Let parents labour to mend by education what they have marred by propagation; and when they have done all, pray "God persuade Japhet," lest else they be put to wish one day, as Augustus did, Oh that I had never married, or never had children! (c) And let children cheer up their parents, as Joseph, Samuel, and Solomon did; and as Epaminondas, who was wont to say, Se longe maximum suarum laudum fructum capere quod earum spectatores haberet parentes, (d) - that he joyed in nothing more than that his parents were yet alive, to take comfort in his brave achievements; for otherwise God will take them in hand, as he did Abimelech, to whom he "rendered the wickedness done to his father"; [ 9:5] and as he did Absalom, whom he trussed up in the height of his rebellious practices with his own immediate hand; or else he will punish them in and by their posterity, which shall either be none (Proverbs 20:20, compared with 2 Samuel 14:7), or worse than none; as he who, when his aggrieved father complained that never man had so undutiful a child as he had, Yes, said his son (with less grace than truth), my grandfather had. (e)

The heaviness of his mother.] The mother is mentioned (though the father haply as heavy) first, as most faulted if her children miscarry; [Proverbs 24:15] next, as most slighted by them; [Proverbs 15:20] and lastly, as most impatient of such an affliction. Rebekah was weary of her life by reason of the daughters of Heth brought in to her by Esau. [Genesis 27:46] If they lie idle at home, mothers have the misery of it; if they do worse abroad, the worst is made of it to the mother at home by fame, that loud liar.


Verse 2

Proverbs 10:2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Ver. 2. Treasures of wickedness.] Our Saviour calls it "Mammon of iniquity," [Luke 16:9] that next odious name to the devil. Most men’s care is how to grasp and get wealth for their children - rem rem, quocunque modo rem. Virtus post nummos, &c. But what saith a grave author? (a) "Better leave thy child a wallet to beg from door to door, than a cursed hoard of evil gotten goods." There is for the most part lucrura in arca, damnum in conscientia, (b) - gain in the purse, but loss in the conscience.

But righteousness delivereth from death.] Piety, though poor, delivereth from the second death, and from the first too, as to the evil of it. For as Christ took away the guilt of sin, not sin itself, so he hath taken away, not death, but the sting of death from all believers, making it to such of a curse a blessing; of a punishment, a benefit; of a trap door to hell, a portal to heaven; a postern to let out temporal life, but a street door to let in eternal life.


Verse 3

Proverbs 10:3 The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.

Ver. 3. The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous.] That refuseth to enrich himself by evil arts, and to rise by wicked principles. For it might be objected, If I strain not my conscience, I may starve for it. Fear not that, saith the wise man; faith fears not famine. Necessaries thou shall be sure of; [Psalms 37:25-26; Psalms 34:15] superfluities thou art not to stand upon (a) [1 Timothy 6:8] The Hebrews by "righteousness" in the former verse understand alms deeds, as Daniel 4:24; Daniel 4:27 {See Trapp on "Matthew 7:1"} and so the sense here may be. The righteous, though he give much to the poor, shall be never the poorer, since not getting, but giving, is the way to thrive. See my "Common Place of Alms."

But he casteth away the substance of the wicked.] For either they lose it, or live beside it, and are little the better for it. "He that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and in his end be a fool." [Jeremiah 17:11] God will make a poor fool of him quickly. (b) And the like may be said of the illiberal and tenacious person. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 3:27"} Niggards fear to lose their wealth by giving, but fear not to lose their wealth, and souls, and all, by keeping it.


Verse 4

Proverbs 10:4 He becometh poor that dealeth [with] a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.

Ver. 4. He becometh poor.] Lest any should say, If God do all, we need do the less. Doing you must be, saith the wise man, or else the beggar will catch you by the back. Labour also you must with your hands, "working the thing that is good, that ye may have to give to him that needeth." [Ephesians 4:28]

But the hand of the diligent.] Or, Of the nimble; that do motitare, saith Kimchi, are active and agile; that will lose nothing for looking after, but take care of smallest matters that all go right, being frugal and parsimonious of time, husbanding the opportunity of thriving and plenty. How did Boaz follow the business himself. How were his eyes in every corner, on the servants, and on the reapers, yea, on the gleaners too. He doth even lodge in the midst of his husbandry, [Ruth 2:4-14; Ruth 3:7; Ruth 3:14] as knowing well the truth of that proverbial sentence, Procul a villa sua dissitus iactura vicinus, (a) - He that is far from his business, is not far from loss.


Verse 5

Proverbs 10:5 He that gathereth in summer [is] a wise son: [but] he that sleepeth in harvest [is] a son that causeth shame.

Ver. 5. He that gathereth in summer.] A well chosen season is the greatest advantage of any action, which, as it is seldom found in haste, so it is too often lost in delay. The men of Issachar were in great account with David, because "they had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do," and when to do it; [1 Chronicles 12:32] so are they in great account with God for their wisdom who observe and use the season of well doing.

But he that sleepeth in harvest,] i.e., That lets slip his opportunity; as Plutarch writes of Hannibal, that when he could have taken Rome he would not, when he would he could not. And as it is told of Charles, king of Sicily and Jerusalem, that he was called Carolus Cuncator, Charles the Lingerer, not (in the sense as Fabius) because he stayed till opportunity came, but because he stayed till opportunity was lost.


Verse 6

Proverbs 10:6 Blessings [are] upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Ver. 6. Blessings are upon the head.] Plentifully and conspicuously; they shall abound with blessings. [Proverbs 28:20] As the fear of the Lord is not only in them, but upon them, [2 Chronicles 19:7] so blessings of all sorts, a confluence of all spiritual and temporal comforts and contentments, shall be not only with them, but upon them, so that nothing shall hinder it. See Galatians 6:16. They are blessed, and they shall be blessed, [Genesis 27:33] neither shall any roaring or repining Esau be able to reverse it.

But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.] They shall be certainly shamed, condemned, executed, as Haman, whose face they covered, [Esther 7:8] and shortly after strangled; and as Sir Gervaise Ellowayes, lieutenant of the Tower, hanged on Tower Hill for poisoning Sir Thomas Overbury, his prisoner. This Sir Gervaise being on the gallows, freely confessed that he had oft, in his playing at cards and dice, wished that he might be hanged if it were not so and so, and therefore confessed it was just upon him.


Verse 7

Proverbs 10:7 The memory of the just [is] blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.

Ver. 7. The memory of the just is blessed.] "Demetrius had a good report of the truth." [3 John 1:12] In the Hebrew tongue the same word signifieth "a good name," and "a blessing." This is one of those blessings mentioned in Proverbs 10:6, that shall be heaped upon holy men. "Holy and reverend is his name." [Psalms 111:9] How comes God’s name to be "reverend," but by being "holy?" Be good, and do good, so shall thy name be heir to thy life; yea, when thou art laid in thy grave, thy stock remains, goes forward, and shall do till the day of doom.

But the name of the wicked shall rot.] And stink as putrefied flesh. Hypocrites then must be detected, though they carry it never so clearly; how else shall they be detested, and stink above ground Simon Magus so handled the matter, that Philip mistook him for a believer, and baptized him; but Peter soon smelt him out, and laid him open in his colours. "He that perverteth his ways shall be known"; [Proverbs 10:9] "The Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity," for all their cunning contrivances. [Psalms 125:5]


Verse 8

Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.

Ver. 8. The wise in heart shall receive commandment,] i.e., Submit to God’s holy word without replies and cavils. This is check to the brave gallants of our age, which exercise their ripe heads and fresh wits in wrestling with the truth of God, and take it for a glory to give it a foil. The Athenians encountered with Paul, and had argument for argument against him, that Christ was not the Saviour of the world, that he was not risen from the dead, &c. This shewed they were not wise in heart, though reckoned chief among the world’s wizards.

But a prating fool shall fall.] Or, Be beaten. Such a fool was Diotrephes, who prated or trifled {φλυαρει, 3 John 1:10} against St John with malicious words, and might have been therefore surnamed Nugax, as Rodulphus, that succeeded Anselm in the see of Canterbury, was. (a)


Verse 9

Proverbs 10:9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

Ver. 9. He that walketh uprightly, walketh surely.] Because, keeping within God’s precincts, he keeps under his protection: as the king undertakes to secure him that travels the highway, and between sun and sun. He is tutus sub umbra leonis, safe under the hollow of God’s hand, "under the shadow of his wing." [Psalms 91:1]

Shall be known.] All shall out to his utter disgrace. See Proverbs 10:7. Or, He shall be known by some examplary judgment of God inflicted upon him, for a terror to others; as one that is hanged up in gibbets.


Verse 10

Proverbs 10:10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.

Ver. 10. He that winketh with the eye.] That is, Loath to stand to those truths that shall bring him to suffering. Or, He that winketh wiles; for all winking is not condemned. See John 13:34.

Causeth sorrow,] scil., To his own heart sinneth against his own soul: or causeth sorrow, i.e., sin; for so sorrow is taken for sin. [Ecclesiastes 11:10]

But a prating fool shall fall.] He that runs himself upon needless danger shall come to ruin. See Proverbs 28:25. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 10:8"}


Verse 11

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of a righteous [man is] a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.

Ver. 11. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life.] Vena vitae os iusti. A fountain runs after it hath run, so doth a good man’s mouth incessantly utter the "words of truth and soberness," [Acts 25:26] more perennis aquae. See the reason hereof: [Psalms 37:30-31] the "law of his God is in his heart," that "law of his mind," [Romans 7:23] that counterpane of the written law, [Hebrews 8:10] that "good treasure" [Matthew 12:35] that is daily drawn out, and yet not diminished. Salienti aquarum fonti undas si tollas, nec exhauritur, nec extenuatur, sed dulcesit. Take water from a well, it loses nothing, but becomes better and sweeter.

But violence covereth.] {See Trapp on "Proverbs 10:6"}


Verse 12

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Ver. 12. Hatred stirreth up strifes.] Especially when hatred is grown from a passion to a habit, which is, when the heart is so settled in an alienation and estrangement from the person hated, that it grows to wish, and desire, and seek his hurt. I could like that exposition well if it were not Calvin’s, said Maldonat; and that reformed religion, if Luther had not had a hand in it, said George Duke of Saxony.

But love covereth all sins.] {See Trapp on "1 Peter 4:8"} {See Trapp on "1 Corinthians 13:4"} Love hath a large mantle. If I should find a bishop commitring adultery, said Constantine the Great, I would cover that foul fact with mine imperial robe rather than it should come abroad to the scandal of the weak and the scorn of the wicked. (a) Love either dissembleth a trespass, if it be light, or by a wise and gentle reproof seeks to reclaim the offender, claps a plaster on the sore, and then covers it with her hand, as we have seen chirurgeons do. {See Trapp on "Leviticus 19:17"} Lutherus commodius sentit quam loquitur, dum effervescit, said Cruciger. So Melanchthon, Sciebam horridius scripturum Lutherum quam sentit. The sayings, doings of others, are reverenter glossanda, to have a reverent, a fair, and favourable gloss put upon them, as one said once of the pontifician laws. This is love.


Verse 13

Proverbs 10:13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod [is] for the back of him that is void of understanding.

Ver. 13. In the lips of him, &c.] "Grace is poured into his lips," [Psalms 45:2] and he pours it out as fast for the good of others, who do therefore admire him, as they did our Saviour. [Luke 4:22]

But a rod is for the back.] That, since he will not hear the word, he may "hear the rod," [Micah 6:9] and smart for his uncounsellableness. He that trembleth not in hearing, shall be broken to pieces in feeling, saith Bradford.


Verse 14

Proverbs 10:14 Wise [men] lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish [is] near destruction.

Ver. 14. Wise men lay up knowledge.] To know when to speak, and when to be silent. It is a great skill to be able "to time a word," [Isaiah 50:4] to set it upon the wheels. [Proverbs 25:11] "How forcible are right words!" [Job 6:25]

But the mouth of the foolish.] An open mouth is a purgatory to the master. Nemo stultus tacere potest, saith Solon. A fool tells all, saith Solomon. [Ecclesiastes 10:12-14] And Ut quisque est dissolutissimae vitae, ita est solutissimae linguae, saith Seneca. A fool’s bolt is soon shot, and as soon retorted ofttimes upon himself.


Verse 15

Proverbs 10:15 The rich man’s wealth [is] his strong city: the destruction of the poor [is] their poverty.

Ver. 15. The rich man’s wealth, &c.] Wealthy worldlings think themselves simply the better and the safer for their hoards and heaps of riches. The best of us are more ready to "trust in uncertain riches than in the living God, who giveth us all things richly to enjoy." [1 Timothy 6:17] Surely this should humble us, that riches - that should be our rises to raise us up to God, or glasses to see the love of God in - our corrupt nature useth them as clouds, as clogs, &c., yea, sets them up in God’s place, and "saith to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence." [Job 31:24]

The destruction of the poor is their poverty.] They are devoured by the richer cannibals, [Psalms 14:4] as the lesser fish are by the greater. Men go over the hedge where it is lowest. "Poor" and "afflicted" are joined together. [Zephaniah 3:12] So are "to want," and "to be abased." [Philippians 4:12]


Verse 16

Proverbs 10:16 The labour of the righteous [tendeth] to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.

Ver. 16. The labour of the righteous, &c.] If the righteous man may but sweat out a poor living, get enough to bear his charges home to heaven, have enough to serve his turn here, be it but "food and raiment, he is content." [1 Timothy 6:8] Cibus et potus sunt divitiae Christianorum. The true Christian desires but meat and drink.

The fruit of the wicked.] Or, The revenues of the wicked are wasted upon their lusts, which to seek to satisfy is an endless labour, besides the danger of fathomless perdition. [1 Timothy 6:4]


Verse 17

Proverbs 10:17 He [is in] the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.

Ver. 17. He is in the way of life.] Rich fools refuse reproof; hold themselves above admonition, Tange montes et fumigabunt, and are therefore, by the just judgment of God, led through a fool’s paradise into a true prison. Divitibus ideo amicus deest, quia nihil deest. Rich men have few faithful counsellors.


Verse 18

Proverbs 10:18 He that hideth hatred [with] lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, [is] a fool.

Ver. 18. He that hideth hatred, &c.] These are dangerous creatures that thus lie at the catch, and wait advantages to do a man mischief, as Cain dealt by Abel, Absalom by Amnon, Joab by Amasa, Judas by Jesus. Tuta frequensque via est, &c.

And he that uttereth a slander is a fool.] Because he hath no command of his passions, as the former seems to have, because close in cloaking his malice, who yet is a fool too before God.


Verse 19

Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips [is] wise.

Ver. 19. In the multitude of words.] In multiloquio stultiloquium. Many words are hardly well managed. Non est eiusdera, saith one. It is seldom seen that a man of many words miscarries not.

But he that refraineth his lips.] As Elihu did, [Job 32:11] and as Epaminondas is worthily praised by Plutarch for this, quod nemo plura noscet, et pauciora loqueretur; that no man knew more, and spake less than he did.


Verse 20

Proverbs 10:20 The tongue of the just [is as] choice silver: the heart of the wicked [is] little worth.

Ver. 20. The tongue of the just is as choice silver.] He scattereth "pearls," [Matthew 7:6] he throws abroad "treasure," [Matthew 12:35] even "apples of gold in shrines of silver." [Proverbs 25:11] "I will turn to the people a pure language," saith God, [Zephaniah 3:9] a "lip of excellency," [Proverbs 17:7] the language of heaven. As William the Conqueror sought to bring in the French tongue here, by enjoining children to use no other in schools, lawyers to practise in French; no man was graced but he that spake French, &c. (a)

The heart of the wicked is little worth.] Est quasi parum, is as little as need to be. He is ever either hatching cockatrice’ eggs or weaving spiders’ webs, as the prophet hath it. [Isaiah 59:5] Vanity or villainy is his whole study, and his daily discourse.


Verse 21

Proverbs 10:21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.

Ver. 21. The lips of the righteous feed many.] A great housekeeper he is, hath his doors ever open, and, though himself be poor, yet he "maketh many rich." [2 Corinthians 6:10] He well knows that to this end God put "honey and milk under his tongue," [Song of Solomon 4:11] that he might look to this spiritual lip feeding. To this end hath he communicated to him those "rivers of water," [John 7:38] that they may flow from him, to quench that world of wickedness that, being "set on fire of hell, would set on fire the whole course of nature." [James 3:6] They are "empty vines that bear fruit to themselves." [Hosea 10:1] Those are void houses, we say, where the doors daily open not. The people hung upon - εξεκρεματο - our Saviour’s lips as the young bird doth on the dam’s bill. [Luke 19:48] Bishop Ridley preached every Lord’s day and holiday, except letted by some weighty business, to whose sermons the people resorted, saith Master Foxe, (a) swarming about him like bees, and coveting the sweet juice of his gracious discourses. Look how Joseph nourished his father’s household with bread, "according to their families," or "according to the mouths of their families" (b) [Genesis 47:12] So doth the righteous man those of his own charge especially. Welfare Popery for that, saith a grave divine. (c) I have heard old folks talk, that when in those days they had holy bread, as they called it, given them at church, they would bear a part of it to those that did abide at home. So should heads of families carry home the bread of life to their households.

But fools die for want of wisdom.] By their either refusing or abusing the food of their souls As the Pharisees, they "pine away in their iniquities." [Leviticus 26:39]


Verse 22

Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.

Ver. 22. The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich.] As is to be seen in the examples of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others. Whereas there is a curse upon unlawful practices, though men be industrious, as in Jehoiachim. [Jeremiah 22:30] And all our policies without prayer are but arena sine calce - sand without lime; they will not hold together.

And he addeth no sorrow with it.] Those three vultures shall be driven away that constantly feed on the wealthy worldling’s heart - care in getting, fear in keeping, grief in losing the things of this life. God giveth to his, wealth without woe, store without sore, gold without guilt, one little drop whereof troubleth the whole sea of all outward comforts. Richard III had a whole kingdom at command, and yet could not rest in his bed for disquietment of mind. Polydor Virgil thus writes of his dream that night before Besworth Field, that he thought all the devils in hell pulled and haled him in most hideous and ugly shapes, and concludes of it at last: ‘I do not think it was so much his dream as his evil conscience that bred those terrors.’


Verse 23

Proverbs 10:23 [It is] as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.

Ver. 23. It is a sport to a fool to do mischief.] He is then merriest when he hath the devil for his playfellow. He danceth to hell in his bolts, and as passing well apaid for his woeful bondage. Was he a father or a monster, think you, that, playing with his own child for a pastime, put his thumbs in the boy’s eyes, and thrust out the balls thereof This was Robert de Beliasme, Earl of Shrewsbury, in the reign of our Henry I, A.D. 1111. (a) And what a mad sport was that of Joab and Abner, [2 Samuel 2:14] to see and set those youngsters of Helkath Hazzurim to sheath their swords in their fellows’ bowels! And that of Nero, who set the city of Rome on fire for his pleasure, while he played on his harp, the destruction of Troy!

But a man of understanding hath wisdom.] Viz., For his sport or delight. It is his meat and drink - his honey and honeycomb, &c. Libenter omnibus omnes opes concesserim, ut mihi liceat, vi nulla interpellante, isto modo in literis vivero, saith Cicero, (b) - I would give all the wealth in the world that I might live altogether in my study, and have nothing to trouble me. Crede mihi extingui dulce esset mathematicarum artium studio, saith another; (c) Believe me, it were a dainty death to die studying the mathematics. Nusqam requiem inveni nisi in libro et claustro, saith a third; All the comfort I have is in a book, and a cloister, or closet. Mentior, if my soul accord him not, salth learned Doctor Slatter. (d) The old Lord Burley, lord high treasurer, to his dying day would carry always a "Cicero’s Offices" about him, either in his bosom or pocket. (e) And the Emperor Charles V took such delight in the mathematics, that even in the midst of his whole army, in his tent, he sat close at his study, having for that purpose as his instructor Turrianus of Cremona evermore with him; so sweet is the knowledge of human arts to those that have tasted them. (f) How much more the knowledge of the holy - which, saith Augur, is to ascend up into heaven [Proverbs 30:3-4] - to those mature ones who, "by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil!" [Hebrews 5:14 Psalms 119:103 Job 23:12 Romans 7:22]


Verse 24

Proverbs 10:24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.

Ver. 24. The fear of the wicked shall come upon him.] "A sound of fear is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him." [Job 15:21] Pessimus in dubiis Augur Timor. (a) Thus it befell Cain, Saul, Belshazzar, Pilate (who, for fear of Caesar, delivered up Christ to be crucified, and was afterwards by the same Caesar kicked off the bench - yea, off the stage of the world), those wicked Jews that feared that the Romans would come and take away both their place and nation, [John 11:48] which accordingly befell them some forty years after, at which time some of them also killed themselves, lest they should be taken by the enemy. (b) The like may be said of our Richard III, {See Trapp on "Proverbs 10:22"} and Henry IV of France, after his revolt to Popery. He, being persuaded by the Duke of Sully not to re-admit the Jesuits, which had been banished by the parliament of Paris, answered suddenly, Give me, then, security for my life, and afterwards admitted them into his bosom, making Father Cotton his confessor, and using them ever with marvellous respect, yet was stabbed to the heart by Ravilliac, through their instigation. (c) Excellent is that of Solomon, [Proverbs 29:25] "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord" - as Hezekiah did, [2 Kings 18:4-5] and our King Edward VI, and that peerless Queen Elizabeth - "shall be safe."

But the desire of the righteous shall be granted.] Provided that these be the lawful desires of honest hearts. If such ask and miss, it is "because they ask amiss"; [James 4:3] either they fail in the matter, as Moses in his desire to enter into the promised land, or in the manner, as the Church in the Canticles, Song of Solomon 5:3. Virtutem exoptant, intabescuntque relicta - they would, and they would not. There is a kind of wambling willingness, and velleity, but it boils not up to the full height of resolution for God, and utmost endeavour after the thing desired. Now affection without endeavour is like Rachel - beautiful but barren. Or, lastly, they fail in the end, either of intention, [James 4:3] or of duration. [Luke 18:1] They draw not near with that "true heart" [Hebrews 10:22] that is content either to wait or to want the thing desired, being heartily willing that God should be glorified, though themselves be not gratified. Let them but bring this "true heart," and they may have any thing. {See Trapp on "Matthew 5:6"}


Verse 25

Proverbs 10:25 As the whirlwind passeth, so [is] the wicked no [more]: but the righteous [is] an everlasting foundation.

Ver. 25. As the whirlwind passeth away.] The whirlwind is terrible for the time, but not durable. Lo, such is the rage of tyrants and persecutors. Nubecula est, cito transibit, said Athanasius of the Arian persecution. Our Richard III and Queen Mary had, as the bloodiest, so the shortest reigns of any since the Conquest. Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days. Dioclesian, that cruel persecutor, giving over his empire, decreed to lead the rest of his life quietly, (a) But he escaped not so, for after that his house was wholly consumed with lightning and a flame of fire that fell from heaven. He, hiding himself for fear of the lightning, died within a little while after. "Then terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth; and, as a storm, hurleth him out of his place. For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand. Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place," as Job elegantly and emphatically sets it forth. [Proverbs 26:20-23]

But the righteous is an everlasting foundation.] Or, Is the foundation of the world; as firm as the world’s foundation, which remains unmoveable. The Hebrews sense it thus, - The righteous is the foundation of the world, which, but for their sakes, would soon shatter and fall to ruin. (b) Sanctum semen statumen terrae [Isaiah 6:13] "I bear up the pillars of it," saith David. [Psalms 75:3]


Verse 26

Proverbs 10:26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so [is] the sluggard to them that send him.

Ver. 26. So is the sluggard to them that send him.] Habent aulae suum cito, cito. What thou doest, do quickly, said our Saviour to the traitor. He cannot away with dulness and oscitancy in any of his, but condemns it in those slow things, νωθροι, the Hebrews, [Hebrews 5:11] and commands them double diligence. [Proverbs 6:11-12] "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord." [Romans 12:11] A dull heart makes no riddance. Baruc accendit seipsum [Nehemiah 3:20] repairing earnestly, and so finished his task in shorter time. Let ambassadors, ministers, messengers, &c., nimble up their business, or look for no thank. What a deal of content gave Cranmer to Henry VIII, by his expediting the business of the divorce, both at home and abroad, in foreign universities! And what a deal of distaste gave Wolsey by the contrary!


Verse 27

Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.

Ver. 27. The fear of the Lord prolongeth days.] Heb., Addeth days, viz., beyond expectation or likelihood in a course of nature. "The days of mourning for my father are at hand," said bloody Esau, "and then will I slay my brother Jacob." [Genesis 27:41] But threatened men, if they fear God especially, [Ecclesiastes 8:12-13] live long. For even Isaac who died soonest, lived above fifty years beyond this. {See Trapp on "Exodus 20:12"}

But the years of the wicked shall be shortened.] "Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldst thou die before thy time?" [Ecclesiastes 7:17] Sin brings death, and the worst of deaths, an unseasonable death, when it were better for a man to do anything than to die; for to such, death is a trap door to hell: and as their friends are scrambling for their goods, the worms for their bodies, so are the devils for their souls.


Verse 28

Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous [shall be] gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.

Ver. 28. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness.] The righteous doth not so fear God, [Proverbs 10:2; Proverbs 10:7] but that he hopes in him also; - see Psalms 130:4-5 : - and that with such a hope as "maketh not ashamed." Deo confisi nunquam confusi: "The righteous hath hope in his death"; [Proverbs 14:32] his motto is, Cum expiro, spero; - My hope lasts beyond life.

But the expectations of the wicked.] As Esau came from hunting, with his head full of hopes, but went away with his heart full of blanks, and his face full of blushing.


Verse 29

Proverbs 10:29 The way of the LORD [is] strength to the upright: but destruction [shall be] to the workers of iniquity.

Ver. 29. The way of the Lord is strength.] "The joy of the Lord," that joy of hope, spoken of in the preceding verse, "is their strength." [Nehemiah 8:10] The peace of God within them, and the power of God without them, bears up their spirits under whatsoever pressures; such can boldly say, It is well with me for the present, and it will be better hereafter.

But destruction.] Such as they shall never be able either to avoid or to abide.


Verse 30

Proverbs 10:30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.

Ver. 30. The righteous shall never be removed.] Or, They shall not be removed for ever, though for a while they may seem to be so.

But the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.] God sits upon the circle of the earth, to shake them out thence, as by a canvass.


Verse 31

Proverbs 10:31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.

Ver. 31. The mouth of the just, &c.] Heb., Buddeth forth, as a fruit tree, to which the tongue is fitly and finely here resembled. Hence speech is called the "fruit of the lips."

But the froward tongue shall be cut out.] As a fruitless tree is cut down to the fire. Nestorius the heretic his tongue was eaten off with worms. (a) Archbishop Arundel’s tongue rotted in his head. From Miriam’s example, [Numbers 12:1-3; Numbers 12:10] the Jewish doctors gather that leprosy is a punishment for an evil tongue, and in special for speaking against rulers. The Lady de Breuse had by her virulent and railing tongue more exasperated the fury of King John, whom she reviled as a tyrant and a murderer, than could be pacified by her strange present, of four hundred kine, and one bull, all milk white, except only the ears, which were red, sent unto the queen. (b)


Verse 32

Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked [speaketh] frowardness.

Ver. 32. The lips of the righteous.] He carries, as it were, a pair of balances between his lips, and weighs his words before he utters them. Et prodesse volens et delectare - willing to speak things both acceptable and profitable. The wicked throws out anything that lies uppermost, though never so absurd, obscene, defamatory, &c.

Aera puto nosci tinnitu, sed pestora verbis:

Sic est, namque id sunt utraque quale sonant. ”

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 10:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-10.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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