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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Proverbs 11

 

 

Verse 1

Proverbs 11:1 A false balance [is] abomination to the LORD: but a just weight [is] his delight.

Ver. 1. A false balance is abomination.] {See Trapp on "Leviticus 19:36"} {See Trapp on "Deuteronomy 25:15"} This kind of fraud falls heaviest upon the poor, [Amos 8:5] who are fain to fetch in everything by the penny. Hither may be referred corruptions in courts, and partialities in church businesses. See that tremendous "charge" to do nothing by partiality, or by tilting the balance. [1 Timothy 5:21] Those that have the "balances of deceit in their hand" [Hosea 12:7] are called Canaanites, so the Hebrew hath it - that is, mere natural men, [Ezekiel 16:3] that have no goodness in them, no, not common honesty; they do not as they would be: done by, which very heathens condemned.


Verse 2

Proverbs 11:2 [When] pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly [is] wisdom.

Ver. 2. When pride cometh.] Where pride is in the saddle, shame is on the crupper, tanquam Nemesis a tergo. He is a "proud fool," saith our English proverb. Proud persons, while they leave their standing and would rise above the top of their places, fail of their footing, and fall to the bottom.

But with the lowly is wisdom.] Which maketh the face to shine. Pride proceeds from folly, and procures contempt. But "God gives grace to the humble"; [James 4:6] that is, as some sense it, good repute and report among men. Who am I? saith Moses; and yet who fitter than he to go to Pharaoh? He refused to be Pharaoh’s daughter’s son; he was afterwards called to be Pharaoh’s god. [Exodus 7:1] Aben Ezra observes, that the word here rendered "lowly," signifies "bashful," "shame faced," Qui prae verecundia sese abdunt, that thrust not themselves into observation. The hmnble man, were it not that the fragrant smell of his many virtues betrays him to the world, would choose to live and die in his self-contenting secrecy. Hence humility is by Bernard compared to the violet, which grows low to the ground, and hangs the head downward, and, besides, hides itself with its own leaves.


Verse 3

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.

Ver. 3. The integrity of the upright shall guide them.] An elegant allusion in the original. Their uprightness shall lead them whither they would, and secure them from danger. They "fulfil the royal law," [James 2:8] keep the king’s highway, and so are kept safe; while those that go out of God’s precincts are out of his protection.

But the perverseness of transgressors.] Of prevaricators, that run upon rough precipices. These are by the prophet Amos likened to horses running upon a rock, where first they break their hoofs, and then their necks. [Amos 6:12]


Verse 4

Proverbs 11:4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.

Ver. 4. Riches profit not in the day of wrath.] Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath. [Zephaniah 1:18 Isaiah 13:7] Yea, they carried away the richer Jews, when the poorer sort were left to till the land. [2 Kings 24:14] The great Caliph of Babylon, whom all the Mohammedan princes honoured above all others, as the true successor of Mohammed, and the grand oracle of their law, being taken together with his city by the great Cham of Tartary, was by him set in the midst of his infinite treasure, and willed to feed thereon, and make no spare; in which order, the covetous wretch, being kept for certain days, miserably died for hunger, in the midst of those things, whereof he thought he should never have enough. (a) Wherefore should I die, being so rich? said that wretched Cardinal Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, in Henry VI’s time. Fie, quoth he, will not death be hired? will money do nothing? (b) His riches could not reprieve him.

But righteousness delivereth from death.] {See Trapp on "Proverbs 10:2"}


Verse 5

Proverbs 11:5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.

Ver. 5. The righteousness of the perfect.] This is the same in effect with Proverbs 11:3. Nunquam satis dicitur, quod nunquam satis discitur. (a)

But the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.] Or, In his own wickedness. He shall fall out of one wickedness unto another, while he "draws iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope." [Isaiah 5:18] Thus Babylon’s sins are said to "reach unto heaven"; [Revelation 18:5] quasi concatenatus funis. Therefore "she is fallen, she is fallen," certo, brevi, penitus, nondum tamen. Flagitium et flagellum, ut acus et filum. Sin and punishment are inseparable companions.


Verse 6

Proverbs 11:6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in [their own] naughtiness.

Ver. 6. The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them.] As Noah’s integrity prevailed for his safety. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but out of them all they are sure to be delivered. No country hath more venomous creatures than Egypt - none more antidotes. So godliness hath many troubles, and as many helps against trouble. As Moses’ hand, it turns a serpent into a rod; and as the tree that Moses cast into the waters of Marsh, it sweeteneth the bitter waters of affliction. Well may it be called the divine nature, for as God brings light out of darkness, &c., so doth grace.

But transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.] Taken by their own consciences (those bloodhounds), and by the just judgments of God, which they shall never be able to avoid or abide, though now they carry themselves as if they were out of the reach of his rod, or had gotten a protection.


Verse 7

Proverbs 11:7 When a wicked man dieth, [his] expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust [men] perisheth.

Ver. 7. When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish.] He died, perhaps, in strong hopes of heaven, as those seem to have done that came rapping and bouncing at heaven gates, with "Lord, Lord, open unto us," but were sent away with a Non novi vos; "Depart, I know you not." [Matthew 7:22-23]

And the hope of unjust men.] Etiam spes valentissima petit. So some render it. His most strong hope shall come to nothing. He made a bridge of his own shadow, and thought to go over it, but is fallen into the brook, he thought he had taken hold of God; but it is but with him as with a child that catcheth at the shadow on the wall, which he thinks he holds fast; but he only thinks so.


Verse 8

Proverbs 11:8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.

Ver. 8. And the wicked cometh in his stead.] Thus it befell Haman, and Daniel’s enemies, and those inhuman Edomites, [Lamentations 4:21] and Herod with his hacksters. [Acts 12:1-4; Acts 12:21-23] It is "a righteous thing with God," [2 Thessalonians 1:6-7] though to men it seem an incredible paradox, and a news by far more admirably [wonderfull] than acceptable, that there should be such a transmutation of conditions on both sides, to contraries. But thus it happens frequently. John Martin of Briqueras, a mile from Angrogne, in France, vaunted everywhere that he would slit the minister’s nose of Angrogne. But, behold! himself was shortly after assaulted by a wolf, which bit off his nose, so that he died mad from it. (a)


Verse 9

Proverbs 11:9 An hypocrite with [his] mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Ver. 9. An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth.] That is, The flatterer, slanderer, evil counsellor, but especially the heretic, as the Valentinians, qui artificium habuerunt, quo prius persuaderent quam docerent, (a) by their Pythanology. "By good words and fair speeches they deceive the hearts of the simple." [Romans 16:18] They bring men into the lion’s mouth, as that old seducer did, by telling them of an angel that spoke to them, and so make prize of them, [Colossians 2:8] and "drag disciples after them." [Acts 20:30]

But through knowledge shall the just be delivered.] He is too wise to be flattered, and too knowing to be plucked away with the error of the wicked. [1 Peter 3:17-18] Zanchius was set upon by Socinus, but the heretic lost his labour. (b) Wherefore add to your virtue knowledge, [2 Peter 1:5] and have your senses exercised to discern good and evil. [Hebrews 5:14]


Verse 10

Proverbs 11:10 When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, [there is] shouting.

Ver. 10. When it goeth well with the righteous.] When they are set in place of authority, all the country fare the better for it. All cannot choose but do well, so long as thou rulest well, (a) said the senate to Severus the emperor. And Ita nati estis, said he in Tacitus, ut bona malaque vestra ad rempublicam pertineant. Public persons are either a great mercy or a great misery to the whole country.

And when the wicked perish, there is shouting. For by their fall the people rise, and their ruin is the repair of the city.

" Cum mors crudelem rapuisset saeva Neronem,

Credibile est multos Romam agitasse iocos."

{a} παντες παντα καλως ποιουσιν επειδαν αυ καλως αρχεις. - Dion.


Verse 11

Proverbs 11:11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

Ver. 11. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted.] This is given in as a reason of that public joy in the welfare of the just, because they are of public spirits, and will by their good deeds, good doctrines, good counsels, and good prayers, promote the public good to their utmost. Catonis mores eraut - toti genitum se credere mundo. (a) Saints are "clouds" [Hebrews 12:1] that water the earth, as a common blessing.

But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.] Whether he be a seedsman of sedition or a seducer of the people, a Sheba or a Shebna, a carnal gospeller or a godless politician, whose drift is to formalise and enervate the power of truth, till at length they leave us a heartless and sapless religion. "One of these sinners may destroy much good." [Ecclesiastes 9:18]


Verse 12

Proverbs 11:12 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.

Ver. 12. He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour.] Not remembering that he is his neighbour, cut out of the same cloth, the shears only going between, and as capable of heaven as himself, though never so poor, mean, deformed, or otherwise despicable. None but a fool will do so - none but he that hath a base and beggarly heart of his own, as the words signify.

But a man of understanding holdeth his peace.] That is, Refraineth his tongue from such opprobrious language, speaketh the best he can of another, thinks with himself -

Aut sumus, aut fuimus, aut possumus esse quod hic est.

“Or we are, or will be, or are able to be what this is.”

Or, if himself be slighted or reviled, abiecta probra digno supplicio punit, festivo scilicet contemptu et oblivione, vel si tanti est, misericordia elevat. He knows it is to no purpose to wash off dirt with dirt, and is therefore as a dumb man, &c.


Verse 13

Proverbs 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Ver. 13. A talebearer revealeth secrets.] Heb., A pedlar. {See Trapp on "Leviticus 19:16"} {See Trapp on "1 Timothy 5:13"} Si sapis arcano vina reconde cado. God forbids us to chaffer with these petty chapmen. [Proverbs 20:19]

Concealeth the matter.] Tacitus to him is the best historian - primus in historia. He is a rare friend that can both give counsel and keep counsel. One being hit in the teeth with his stinking breath, wittily excused it, that it was by reason of the many secrets committed to him, and concealed by him so long, till they were even rotten in his bosom.


Verse 14

Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.

Ver. 14. Where no counsel is, the people fall.] As where no pilot is, the ship miscarrieth. The Vulgate render it, Ubi non est gubernator, corruit populus. Tyranny is better than anarchy. And yet, "Woe also to thee, O land, whose king is a child"; that is, wilful and uncounsellable, as Rehoboam, who was a child at forty years old, whenas his father was a man at twenty. Age is no just measure of wisdom, and royalty without wisdom is but eminent dishonour. Solomon the wise chose him an excellent council of state, whom Rehoboam refused to hear, being as much more wilful than his father, as less wise - all head, no heart, losing those ten tribes with a churlish breath, and returning to Jerusalem lighter by a crown than he went forth. He and his green headed council was like Alcibiades and his army, where all would be leaders, none learners. Or it may be it was now in Israel as once it was in Persia, and as now it is in Turkey, when the great Turk stands at the dangerous door, where if any counsellor delivered anything contrary to the king’s mind, flagris caedebatur, he was chastised with rods. (a) Or as in Regno Cyclopico ubi, ουδεις ουδεν ουδενος ακουει, where no man cared for better counsel, but each one did what was good in his own eyes. (b) Such cannot long subsist.

But in the multitude of counsellors.] So they be good counsellors; better than Balaam was, better than Ahithophel, better than those of Aurelius, by whom the good emperor was even bought and sold. (c) One special thing the primitive Christians prayed for the emperor was, that God would send him Senatum fidelem, a faithful council. There were in Josiah’s days horrible abominations; and why? "The princes were as roaring lions, the judges wolves," &c. [Zephaniah 3:3] Queen Elizabeth was happy in her council, by whom she was mostly ruled, and grew amiable to her friends, and formidable to her enemies, both at home and abroad. "Wisdom is better than strength," saith Solomon; and, Romani sedendo vincunt, The Romans conquer by being settled. (d) said they of old. The welfare of a state is procured and preserved, not so much by a multitude of worthy warriors as of wise counsellors; as Cleon, in Thucydides long since observed, (e) and as we have blessedly found in this present Parliamentum benedictum, more truly so styled than that was in the twenty-fifth of Edward III.


Verse 15

Proverbs 11:15 He that is surety for a stranger shall smart [for it]: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.

Ver. 15. He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it.] Heb., Shall break - prove a bankrupt. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 6:1"} {See Trapp on "Proverbs 6:2"} {See Trapp on "Proverbs 6:3"} &c


Verse 16

Proverbs 11:16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong [men] retain riches.

Ver. 16. A gracious woman retaineth honour.] Such a one as is set forth in Lemuel’s lesson, [Proverbs 31:10-31] such as was Sarah, Deborah, Abigail, Esther, Queen Elizabeth, of whom a great French princess gave this eulogium, that she was gloriosissima, et omnium quae unquam sceptrum gesserunt felicissima femina, the bravest and happiest woman that ever swayed sceptre. (a) Piety, sobriety, purity, charity, and chastity - maugre the venomous tongues of all hell born slanderers, such as Sanders, Rhiston, and other Romish railers, and dead dogs that barked against her (b) - were her inseparable companions; never suffering any lady to approach her sacred presence of whose stain she had but the least suspicion.

And strong men retain riches.] By their industry and good husbandry: that they may maintain their wives’ honour, and bear up their port according to their place. Others render it, Improbi apprehendunt divitias. Wicked men catch at wealth, sc., in the choice of their wives. And indeed among suitors, both in love and in law, money is a common meddler, and commonly drives the bargain and business to an upshot.

Protlnus ad censum: de moribus ultima fiat

Quaestio. ” - Juvenal.

“Good enough, if goods enough.”


Verse 17

Proverbs 11:17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but [he that is] cruel troubleth his own flesh.

Ver. 17. The merciful doth good to his own soul.] His chief business is with and for himself: how to set all to rights within, how to keep a continual sabbath of soul, a constant composedness. He will not violate his conscience to get or retain riches, as Proverbs 11:16, or purchase earth with the loss of heaven. And inasmuch as the body is the soul’s servant, (a) and should therefore be neither supra negotium, above the business, nor infra negotium, below the business but par negotio, fit for the soul’s business - it ought not to be pined or pinched with penury and overmuch abstinence, as those impostors, [Colossians 2:23] and our Popish merit mongers, that starve their genius, and are cruel to their own flesh. These shall one day hear, "Who required these things at your hands?"


Verse 18

Proverbs 11:18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness [shall be] a sure reward.

Ver. 18. The wicked worketh a deceitful work.] By defrauding his genius, and afflicting his flesh, {as Proverbs 11:17} he thinks he doth a very good work. Some emperors have left their thrones, and thrust [themselves] into a monastery, there to macerate themselves with much fasting and coarse clothing, out of an opinion of promoting their soul’s health thereby. But "bodily exercise profiteth little." [1 Timothy 4:8] And as the pride of virginity is as foul a sin as impurity, (a) so is it in this case. The formal faster loseth his labour. [Isaiah 58:3 Zechariah 7:5] In seventy years they kept seven score fasts in Babylon; yet among them all not one fast to God. There are that render it thus, Improbus comparat praemium falsum. The wicked get a false reward: all that he hath is but the things of this life, quae nec vera sunt, nec vestra. For the very fashion of this world passeth away and "surely every man walketh in a vain show," or shadow, "surely he disquieteth himself in vain he heapeth up riches, and knows not who shall gather them." [Psalms 39:6] They that dig in mines, or labour in mints, have gold enough about them, but are little the better for it. A sumpter horse bears much treasure on his back all day, but is eased of it at night, and turned into the stable with his back full of galls and bruises. So shall it be with wicked rich men at death; so that they have no great bargain of it.

But to him that soweth righteousness.] And so soweth upon blessings (b) - as the apostle’s Greek hath it; [2 Corinthians 9:6] {See Trapp on "2 Corinthians 9:6"} Galatians 6:7-8 - upon well watered places (c) [Ecclesiastes 11:1] To such shall be a sure reward: only he must have patience, and not look to sow and reap all in one day. [James 5:7] {See Trapp on "James 5:7"}


Verse 19

Proverbs 11:19 As righteousness [tendeth] to life: so he that pursueth evil [pursueth it] to his own death.

Ver. 19. As righteousness tendeth to life.] Heb., Lives; for "godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." [1 Timothy 4:8] And this is that sure reward spoken of in the former verse; for "he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting," [Galatians 6:8] which indeed is the only life that deserveth so to be called and counted.

So he that pursueth evil.] That follows it hotfoot - as Asael followed Abner; that is, wholly carried after it, and thinks to have a great catch of it, that works "all uncleanness with greediness." [Ephesians 4:19] This the prophet calls a "spirit of whoredom," a strong inclination, a vehement impetus to that and other sins, an "adding drunkenness to thirst, rebellion to sin"; till wrath come upon them to the utmost. Hell gapes for such sinners.


Verse 20

Proverbs 11:20 They that are of a froward heart [are] abomination to the LORD: but [such as are] upright in [their] way [are] his delight.

Ver. 20. They that are of a froward heart, &c.] Not only those that pursue and practise wickedness, but they also that harbour it in their hearts, are hated of God. [Luke 16:15] A man may die of inward bleeding; a man may be damned for contemplative wickedness. [Jeremiah 4:14] The schools do well observe, that outward sins are maioris infamiae, greater notorieties, but inward heart sins are maioris reatus, greater guilt, as we see in devils.

But such as are upright in their way.] The antithesis requires that he should say, such as are "upright in heart." But he chooseth rather to say, "in their way," not only because a good heart ever makes a good life, but to meet with such as brag of the goodness of their hearts when their lives are altogether loose and licentious. Whereas holiness in the heart, as the candle in the lantern, well appears in the body. These boasters are ignorant, [Revelation 3:17] proud, [John 9:40] carnal, [Romans 8:6] therefore stark naught. [Proverbs 19:2]


Verse 21

Proverbs 11:21 [Though] hand [join] in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

Ver. 21. Though hand join in hand, &c.] Heb., Hand to hand; that is, "out of hand, … by and by," as some interpret it. Munster renders it, "Though plague follow upon plague, the wicked will not amend." Others, though there be a combination, a conspiracy of wicked doers, as if, giant like, they would fight against God, (a) and resist his wrath, yet they shall never be able to avert or avoid it. "The wicked shall be turned into hell, yea, whole nations that forget God." [Psalms 9:17] God stands not upon multitudes: he buried the old world in one universal grave of waters; and "turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow." [2 Peter 2:6] This is a good sense. Howbeit I cannot but incline to those that expound, "hand in hand," for "father and child," in regard of the following line, "But the seed of the righteous shall be delivered." As if the prophet should say - The wicked traduce a cursed stock of sin to their children, and shall therefore be punished in their own person, or at least in their posterity. "This their way is their folly; yet their posterity approve their sayings. Therefore like sheep they are laid in the grave, death shall feed on them." [Psalms 49:13-14]


Verse 22

Proverbs 11:22 [As] a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, [so is] a fair woman which is without discretion.

Ver. 22. As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout.] It is a small praise, saith one, to have a good face and an evil nature. No one means, saith another, hath so enriched hell as beautiful faces. Aureliae Orestillae praeter formam nihil unquam bonus laudavit, saith Sallust. In Aurelia Orestilla there was nothing praiseworthy but her beauty. Are thou fair? saith an author; be not like an Egyptian temple, or a painted sepulchre. Art thou foul? let thy soul be like a rich pearl in a rude shell.

Si mihi difficilis formam natura negavit:

Ingenio formae damna rependo meae. ”{a}

So is a fair woman which is without discretion.] Sic dignitas in indigno est ornamentum in lute, saith Salvian. Fair and foolish ones abuse their beauty to pride and incontinence, and so give occasion to some Diogenes to say, O quam bona domus, et malus hospes - O fair house, but ill inhabitant.


Verse 23

Proverbs 11:23 The desire of the righteous [is] only good: [but] the expectation of the wicked [is] wrath.

Ver. 23. The desire of the righteous is only good,] i.e., So far as he is righteous, or spiritual, he "delights in the law of God after the inward man," [Romans 7:22] "willing in all things to live honestly." [Hebrews 13:18] Evil motions haunt his mind otherwhiles, but there they inhabit not. Lust was a stranger to David, as Peter Martyr observes out of Nathan’s parable; - "There came a traveller to this rich man." [2 Samuel 12:4] The main stream of his desires, the course and current of his heart ran upon God and godliness. [Psalms 119:4-5; Psalms 39:1; Psalms 39:3] He resolved to do better than he did. "The spirit ever lusteth against the flesh"; howbeit when the flesh gets the wind and hill of the spirit, all is not so well carried. As the ferryman plies the oar, and eyes the shore homeward, where he would be, yet there comes a gust of wind that carries him back again, so it is oft with a Christian. But every man is with God so good as he desires to be. In vitae libro scribuntur qui quod possunt faciunt, etsi quod debent non possunt. (a) They are written in the book of life that do what good they can, though they cannot do as they would.

But the expectation of the wicked is wrath,] i.e., The good they expect proves to be "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish," [Romans 2:8-9] woeful perplexities and convulsions of soul, which will be so great and so grievous, as will make them rave and rage with madness and fury, especially because they looked for a better state.


Verse 24

Proverbs 11:24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and [there is] that withholdeth more than is meet, but [it tendeth] to poverty.

Ver. 24. There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth.] Bounty is the most compendious way to plenty; neither is getting but giving the best thrift. The five loaves in the Gospel, by a strange kind of arithmetic, were multiplied by a division and augmented by subtraction. So will it be in this case.

But it tendeth to poverty.] St Augustine descanting upon those words, "They have slept their sleep, all the rich men, and have found nothing in their hands," - for so he reads that text [Psalms 76:5] - and why is this? saith he. Nihil invenerunt in manibus suis, quia nihil posuerunt in manu Christi. They found nothing in their own hands, because they feared to lay up anything in Christ’s hands. Manus pauperum gazophylacium Christi, saith another father - the poor man’s hand is Christ’s treasury.


Verse 25

Proverbs 11:25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.

Ver. 25. The liberal soul shall be made fat.] {See Trapp on "Matthew 5:7"} and my "Common Place of Alms."


Verse 26

Proverbs 11:26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing [shall be] upon the head of him that selleth [it].

Ver. 26. The people shall curse him,] i.e., Complain and cry out of him, as the people of Rome did of Pompey in another case. Nostra miseria tu es magnus. Our misery is you greatness. In another case, I say; for in this I must acquit him, remembering that speech of his, when, being by his office to bring in corn from a far country for the people’s necessity, and wished by his friends to stay for a better wind, he hoisted up sail, and said: Necesse est ut eam, non ut vivam - there is a necessity of my going, not so of my life; if I perish, I perish. Hence he was the people’s Corculum, or sweetheart, as it is said of Scipio Nasica.


Verse 27

Proverbs 11:27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.

Ver. 27. He that diligently seeketh good.] Heb., He that is up betime to promote the public good, as Joseph, who came not in till noon to eat meat; as Nehemiah, who willingly brake his sheep, and traded every talent for his people’s comfort; as Scipio Africanus, who usually went before day into the capitol, in cellam Iovis, and there stayed a great while, quasi consultans de Rep. cum Iove, (a) as consulting with his god about the public welfare; whence his deeds were pleraque admiranda, saith mine author, - amiable and admirable, the most of them. And as Daniel, who though sick, yet rose up and did the king’s business. [Daniel 8:27]

It shall come to him.] It shall come certainly, suddenly, irresistibly, and, as we say of foul weather, unsent for. God will say to such, as Aulus Fulvius did to his traitorous son and then slew him, Non Catilinae te genui, sed patrice. The Lord shall pour upon him, and not spare, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, therefore "he shall die in his iniquity." [Ezekiel 18:18]


Verse 28

Proverbs 11:28 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.

Ver. 28. He that trusteth to his riches shall fall.] Riches were never true to any that trusted to them. The rich churl that trusted and boasted that he had "much goods laid up in store" for many years, when, like a jay, he was pruning himself in his boughs, he came tumbling down with the arrow in his side. [Luke 12:15-21] So did Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Herod, &c. "The righteous also shall see and fear, and laugh at such a one, saying, Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness." [Psalms 52:6-7] "But I am like a green olive tree," &c. [Psalms 52:8] Agreeable whereunto is this that follows here: "But the righteous shall flourish as a branch," while the wicked, Faenea quadam felicitate temporaliter florent, et exoriuntur ut exurantur, (a) flourish and ruffle for a time, but shall be soon cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.


Verse 29

Proverbs 11:29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool [shall be] servant to the wise of heart.

Ver. 29. He that troubleth his own house.] Either by prodigality, or excessive parsimony. Prodigi singulis auribus bina aut terna dependent patrimonia, saith Seneca. We have known great rents soon turned into great ruffs, and lands into laces. For parsimony and cruelty, {See Trapp on "Proverbs 15:27"}

Shall inherit the wind.] That is, Shall bring all to nothing, as he did that, having wasted his estate, vainly vaunted that he had left himself nothing, praeter coelum et caenum. (a) His substance shall fly up like smoke into the air, and nothing be left to maintain him on earth. And when all his goods are gone, his liberty must go after - for this "fool shall be servant to the wise in heart" - if not, his life; as that notorious unthrift, Apicius, who having eaten up his estate, and finding by his account that he had no more than two hundred thousand crowns remaining, thought himself poor, and took down a glass of poison. (b)


Verse 30

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous [is] a tree of life; and he that winneth souls [is] wise.

Ver. 30. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,] i.e., The commodities and comforts that one may every way receive from a righteous person, - for, est aliquid quod a viro bono etiam tacente discas, saith Seneca, somewhat a man may learn from a good man, even when he says nothing, - are more than can be imagined. Plutarch reporteth that the Babylonians make three hundred and sixty various commodities of the palm tree, and do therefore greatly honour it. Should not we much more honour the multifarious gifts of God in his righteous ones for our good? For whether it be "Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas," "All is ours." [1 Corinthians 3:4-9]

And he that winneth souls.] And useth singular art and industry therein, as fowlers do to take birds (for so the Hebrew word imports), or fishermen fishes. "He is wise, and wiseth others," as Daniel hath it; [Proverbs 12:3] he is just, and justifieth others; he "shall save a soul from death." [James 5:20] He shall shine as a star in heaven. And this is instanced as one special fruit of that tree of life mentioned in the former verse. This is a noble fruit indeed, since one soul is more worth than a world, as he hath told us, who only went to the price of it. [Matthew 16:26]


Verse 31

Proverbs 11:31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.

Ver. 31. The righteous shall be recompensed,] i.e., Chastened, afflicted, "judged of the Lord, that they may not be condemned with the world," for their sufferings are not penal, but medicinal or probational; and they have it here in the earth, which is their house of correction, not in hell.

Much more the wicked.] Nahum 1:9. Non surget hic afflictio. These shall be totally and finally consumed at once. {See Trapp on "1 Peter 4:17"} {See Trapp on "1 Peter 4:18"} see also my "Love Tokens," page 69, &c.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 11:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-11.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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