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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Proverbs 13

 

 

Verse 1

Proverbs 13:1 A wise son [heareth] his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.

Ver. 1. A wise son heareth his father’s instruction.] Heb., Is the instruction or discipline of his father; he was not natus sapiens, as Appollonius, sed factus, (a) not born wise to salvation, but made so by his father’s discipline, as Solomon. [Proverbs 4:4] {See Trapp on "Proverbs 4:4"}

But a scorner heareth not rebuke.] Or, Heareth and jeereth; - as Lot’s sons-in-law, as Eli’s sons, and afterwards Samuel’s. Samuel succeeds Eli in his cross, as well as in his place, though not in his sin of indulgence. God will shew that grace is by gift, not by inheritance or education. Ciceroni degenerem fuisse filium constat, et sapiens ille Socrates liberos habuit matri similiores quam patri, saith Seneca. Cicero had a son nothing like him; so had Socrates.


Verse 2

Proverbs 13:2 A man shall eat good by the fruit of [his] mouth: but the soul of the transgressors [shall eat] violence.

Ver. 2. A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth.] {See Trapp on "Proverbs 12:14"} {See Trapp on "Proverbs 10:6"} {See Trapp on "Matthew 12:37"}


Verse 3

Proverbs 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: [but] he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.

Ver. 3. He that keepeth his mouth.] As the guard keepeth the gates in a siege. God hath set a double guard of lips and teeth before this gate, and yet, unless he himself set the watch, and keep the door, all will be lost. [Psalms 141:3]

But he that openeth wide his lips.] As she did her feet, to "multiply her whoredoms." [Ezekiel 16:25] Kεχηνοτες, gaping mouthed men are noted for fools by Lucian and Aristophanes. An open mouth is a purgatory to the master, say we. And cave ne feriat lingua tua collum tuum, (a) say the Arabians in their proverb, Take heed that thy tongue cut not thy throat.


Verse 4

Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and [hath] nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.

Ver. 4. The soul of the sluggard desireth, &c.] Vult, et non vult piger - so the Vulgate reads it. The sluggard would, and he would not; he would have the end, but he would not use the means; he would "sit at Christ’s right hand," but he would not "drink of his cup, or be baptized with his baptism." Lyra compares these men to cats that would fain have fish, but are loath to wet their feet. (This is an English proverb; for Lyra was a famous English Jew, and flourished in the year of grace 1320.) Affection without endeavour is like Rachel - beautiful, but barren.

But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat,] i.e., Those that work as well as wish, that add endeavours to their desires, as 2 Corinthians 8:11. David, ravished with the meditation of the good man’s blessedness, presently conceives this desire and pursues it; not, Oh that I had this happiness! but, Oh that I could use the means! "Oh that my ways were so directed." [Psalms 119:4-5]


Verse 5

Proverbs 13:5 A righteous [man] hateth lying: but a wicked [man] is loathsome, and cometh to shame.

Ver. 5. A righteous man hateth lying.] Hateth it as hell. [Romans 12:9] (a) "I hate and abhor lying," saith David; [Psalms 119:163] and yet, among other corruptions, he had an inclination to this sin. See how roundly he tells three or four lies together; [1 Samuel 21:2; 1 Samuel 21:8; 1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Samuel 27:10] but he both hated it in himself and prayed against it [Psalms 119:29]

But a wicked man is loathsome.] Stinks above ground; a liar especially is looked upon as a pest. Riches cannot make a man so graceful as lying will disgrace him; for "a poor man walking in his integrity, is better than a rich man that is a liar." [Proverbs 19:1; Proverbs 19:22] Hence the liar denies his own lie, because he is ashamed to be taken with it. Some read it thus, ‘a wicked man maketh others loathsome, and casteth shame upon them,’ scil., by raising or reporting lies of them, by blasting or blemishing their good names. Thus Core and his complices sought to cast an odium on Moses; the Pharisees upon our Saviour; the Arians upon Athanasius; the Papists upon Wycliffe, whom Binius slanders for his missing the bishopric of Worcester, to have fallen upon that successful contradiction; like as the spiteful Jews said Paul did, because he could not obtain the high-priest’s daughter to wife. (b)


Verse 6

Proverbs 13:6 Righteousness keepeth [him that is] upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

Ver. 6. Righteousness keepeth him that is upright.] That, though belied or otherwise abused, he will not let go his integrity. [Job 27:5] David’s "feet stood on an even place." [Psalms 26:12] The spouse, though despoiled of her veil, and wounded by the watch, yet cleaves close to Christ. [Song of Solomon 5:7-8] Not but that the best are sometimes disquieted in such cases; for not the evenest weights but, at their first putting into the balance, somewhat sway both parts thereof, not without some show of inequality, which yet after some little motion, settle themselves in a meet poise and posture.

But wickedness overthroweth the sinner.] Heb., The sin; as if the man were transformed into sin’s image. "What is the transgression of Jacob? Is it not Samaria?" [Micah 1:5] Tubulus quidam paulo supra Ciceronem Praetor fuit: homo tam proiecte improbus ut eius nomen non hominis sed vitii esse videretur, saith Lipsius. (a) The Pope is called "the man of sin," [2 Thessalonians 2:3] to note him merum scelus, saith Beza, - made up merely of sin.


Verse 7

Proverbs 13:7 There is that maketh himself rich, yet [hath] nothing: [there is] that maketh himself poor, yet [hath] great riches.

Ver. 7. There is that maketh himself rich.] Such πτωχαλαζονες (as the witty Greek calls them) there are not few, that stretch their wing beyond their nest, that bear a port beyond their estate, that trick up themselves with other men’s plumes, laying it on above measure in clothes, fair building, &c., when not worth a groat, but die in prison, or make a fraudulent composition. This is no better before God than rapine and robbery.

There is that makes himself poor, &c.] As the newly elected Pope doth, when in his Lateran procession he casts among the people pieces of brass and copper, (a) saying, "Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give you." So the friars are a race of people (saith one (b) that hath been long among them) that are always vowing obedience, but still contentious; chastity, yet most luxurious; poverty, yet everywhere scraping and covetous. No Capuchin may take or touch silver; at the offer of it he starts back, as Moses from the serpent; yet he carries a boy with him that takes and carries it, and never complains of either metal or measure. (c) We had in King Stephen’s days a rich chancellor of England, who yet was, and would be, called Roger paupere censu. (d)


Verse 8

Proverbs 13:8 The ransom of a man’s life [are] his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.

Ver. 8. The ransom of a man’s life are his riches.] They may help a man out at a dead lift, and get him a release out of captivity, or a lease of his life. "Slay us not," say they, [Jeremiah 41:8] "for we have treasures in the field. So he forebore, and slew them not among their brethren." Some read it thus: ‘The price of a man’s life are his riches.’ It costs him his life that he is rich; as Naboth, and as many Turkish viziers. In the days of Caligula the tyrant, publicum crimen fuit divitem fuisse, (a) it was crime enough to be rich. And in the reign of Henry II of France, many were burned for religion, as was pretended; but indeed to satiate the covetousness of Diana Valentina, the king’s mistress, to whom he had given all the confiscations of goods made in the kingdom for cause of heresy. (b)

But the poor heareth not rebuke.] He escapes many times as not considerable, as not worth a chiding, as under law. In a tragedy there is no place for a poor man but only to dance, as Arian hath observed upon Epictetus.


Verse 9

Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

Ver. 9. The light of the righteous rejoiceth.] As the sun rejoiceth to run his race, and seemeth sometimes to suffer eclipse, but doth not. (a) A saint’s joy is as the light of the sun, fed by heavenly influence, and never extinct, but diffused through all parts of the world.

But the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.] Their joy is but as the light of a candle, - fed by base and stinking matter, soon wasting and ending in an offensive snuff. "The light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle; and his candle shall be put out with him." [Job 18:5-6] Ecquandone vidisti flammom stipula exortam claro strepitu, largo fulgore, cito incremento, sed enim materalevi, caduco incendio, nullis requiis? (b) Solomon compares it fitly to a handful of brushwood or sear thorn under the pot. [Ecclesiastes 7:6]


Verse 10

Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised [is] wisdom.

Ver. 10. Only by pride cometh contention.] Heb., Dabit iurgium. Pride, if there be no cause of contention given, will make it. Transcendo, non obedio, perturbo, is the motto written upon pride’s triple crown. A proud person is full of discontent; nothing can please him. Just like one that hath a swelling in his hands, something or other toucheth it still, and driveth him to outcries. Pride maketh a man drunk with his own conceit. "The proud man" is as he that "hath transgressed by wine." [Habakkuk 2:5] And drunkards, we know, are quarrelsome. The Corinthians had riches and gifts and learning; and carried aloft by these waxen wings, they domineered and despised others; [1 Corinthians 4:8] they were divided and discontented; [1 Corinthians 3:3] and these overflowings of the gall and spleen came from a fulness of bad humour. Pride is a dividing distemper; gouty swollen legs keep at a distance; bladders blown up with wind spurt one from another, and will not close; but prick them, and you may pack a thousand of them in a little room.

But with the well advised is wisdom.] The "meekness of wisdom," as St James hath it; [James 3:13] of the which we may well say, as Tertullus said to Felix, "By thee we enjoy great quietness." [Acts 24:2] It was a great trouble to Haman to lead Mordecai’s horse, which another man would not have thought so. The moving of a straw troubleth proud flesh; whereas humility, if compelled to go one mile, will go two for a need - yea, as far as the shoes of the gospel of peace can carry it. "The wisdom from above is peaceable." [James 3:17]


Verse 11

Proverbs 13:11 Wealth [gotten] by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

Ver. 11. Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished.] De male quaesitis vix gaudet tertius haeres, (a) Ill-gotten goods fly away without taking leave of the owner; leaving nothing but the print of talons to torment him. [Proverbs 23:5] Many when they have a loss in their riches, it is as it were raked out of their bellies. [Job 20:15] A piece of their very heart goes with it.

But he that gathereth by labour shall increase.] Howbeit sometimes it is otherwise: "Master, we have laboured all night and taken nothing." [Luke 5:5] "Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people shall weary themselves for very vanity?" [Habakkuk 2:13] There is a curse upon unlawful practices, though men be industrious, as in Jehoiakim. [Jeremiah 22:24-30]


Verse 12

Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but [when] the desire cometh, [it is] a tree of life.

Ver. 12. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick.] Hope’s hours are full of eternity; and how many see we lie languishing at hope’s hospital, as he at the pool of Bethesda! Spes interrenis incerti nomen boni spes in divinis nomen est certissimi [Hebrews 11:1] Hope unfailable [Romans 5:5] is founded upon faith unfeigned. [1 Timothy 1:5]

But when the desire cometh.] As come it will to those that wait patiently upon God; for waiting is but hope and trust lengthened. Deo confisi, nunquam confusi. "The vision is but for an appointed time; therefore wait," [Habakkuk 2:3] you shall be well paid for your patience. We are apt to antedate the promises, and to set God a time, as they [Jeremiah 8:20] looked for salvation at summer at furthest. We are short breathed, short spirited. But as God seldom comes at our time, so he never fails at his own; and then he is most sweet, because most seasonable.


Verse 13

Proverbs 13:13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

Ver. 13. Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed.] Bishop Banner’s chaplain called the Bible, in scorn, his little pretty God’s book. Gifford and Rainold said it contained doctrinam peregrinam , strange doctrine - yea, some things profane and apocryphal. The more modest Papists account traditions the touchstone of doctrine and foundation of faith; and repute the Scriptures to be rather a kind of storehouse for advice in matters of religion. (a) We account them the divine beam and most exact balance, cor et animam Dei, the heart and soul of God, as Gregory calleth them; the best fortress against errors, as Augustine, though some of our sublimated sectaries blaspheme that blessed book as a dead letter and a beggarly element.

But he that feareth the commandment.] That honoureth the Scriptures, and trembleth at the word preached, as King Edward VI did, that second Josiah, and as Queen Elizabeth, his sweet sister Temperance, as he used to call her, who, when the Bible was presented to her as she rode triumphantly through London after her coronation, received the same with both her hands, and kissing it, laid it to her breast, saying that it had ever been her delight, and should be her rule of government.


Verse 14

Proverbs 13:14 The law of the wise [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Ver. 14. The law of the wise is as a well of life.] Or, The law to the wise is a fountain, &c., whence he may draw the best directions and helps to holiness and happiness. It confines him to live in that element where he would live - as if one were confined to paradise, where he would be - though there were no such law. The wicked, on the contrary, leaps over the pale after profit and pleasure, and falls upon the snares of death, as Shimei sought his servants and lost himself.


Verse 15

Proverbs 13:15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors [is] hard.

Ver. 15. Good understanding giveth favour.] See this exemplified in Joseph, David, Daniel, Paul. [Acts 27:43; Acts 28:2] God oft speaketh for such in the hearts of their enemies, who cannot but admire their piety and patience, and spend more thoughts about them than the world is aware of; as Darius did about Daniel when cast into the den. Natural conscience cannot but do homage to the image of God stamped upon the natures and works of the godly: when they see in them that which is above the ordinary nature of men, or their expectation, they are afraid of the name of God, whereby they are called, [Deuteronomy 28:9-10] and are forced to say, "Surely this is a wise and understanding nation"; [Deuteronomy 4:6] "God is in this people of a truth"; [1 Corinthians 14:25] "Certainly this was a righteous man." [Luke 23:47]

But the way of transgressors is hard.] Or, Rough and rugged. Satan is a rough, harsh spirit; hence devils are called Shegnirim, hairy ones, [Leviticus 17:7] satyrs. [Isaiah 34:14] So are all his; ανημεροι, fierce, "heady, highminded"; [2 Timothy 3:3-4] "Living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another." [Titus 3:3] Such were Ishmael, Esau, Saul, Antiochus (that little Antichrist), the Pope, that Aντικειμενος, and our Richard III who, well knowing it was no good policy to play the devil by half deal, resolved to leave never a rub to lie in the way that might hinder the running of his bowl; and hence was he so infinitely hated of all.


Verse 16

Proverbs 13:16 Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.

Ver. 16. Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge.] Observes circumstances, and deports himself with discretion; thrusts not himself into unnecessary dangers; carves not a piece of his heart but to those he is well assured of. See an instance of this prudence in Ezra; [Ezra 8:22] in Nehemiah, [Nehemiah 2:5] he calls it not the place of God’s worship - such an expression that heathen king might have disgusted - but the place of his father’s sepulchres; in Esther, who concealed her stock and kindred till she saw her time; in Christ, when he was tried for his life; in Paul, [Acts 23:6; Acts 19:10] who lived two years at Ephesus, and spake not much against the worship of their great goddess Diana. [Acts 19:35; Acts 19:37] "The prudent shall keep silence in an evil time." [Amos 5:13] It is not good provoking evil men that are irreformable, nor safe pulling a bear or mad dog by the ear.

But a fool layeth open his folly.] Plasheth it, and setteth it a sunning, as it were, by his headlong, headstrong exorbitances. By his inconsiderate courses he openly bewrays and proclaims what he is; he sets his folly "upon the cliff of the rock, that it should not be covered." [Ezekiel 24:7]


Verse 17

Proverbs 13:17 A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador [is] health.

Ver. 17. A wicked messenger falleth into mischief.] Incurs the displeasure and just revenge of them that sent him, or, at least, of God, in case of his slackness. How much more then wicked ministers, those "messengers of the Churches," [2 Corinthians 8:23] that do the Lord’s work "negligently," [Jeremiah 48:10] that "corrupt" (a) his message, [2 Corinthians 2:17] that huckster it and handle it craftily and covetously, calling good evil, and evil good, &c.? "Who is blind but my servant? or deaf as my messenger?" [Isaiah 42:19] Such an ambassador was once worthily derided in the Roman state. As at another time, a certain stranger coming on embassy to the senators of Rome, and colouring his hoary hair and pale cheeks with vermilion hue, a grave senator, espying the deceit, stood up and said, ‘What sincerity are we to expect at this man’s hands, whose locks, and looks, and lips do lie?’ It was an honest complaint of a Popish writer, We, saith he, handle the Scripture, tantum ut nos pascat et vestiat, that we may pick a living out of it, and are therefore fain to preach placentia, pleasingly and so to put men into a fool’s paradise. But "shall they" thus "escape by iniquity?" [Psalms 56:7] have they no better doctors?

But a faithful ambassador is health.] To him that sendeth him, to those he is sent to, and to himself. So is a faithful minister that delivers "the whole counsel of God"; all that he hath in commission. [Jeremiah 1:17 Ezekiel 3:17]


Verse 18

Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame [shall be to] him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

Ver. 18. Poverty and shame.] These two are fitly set together; for poverty is usually slighted, if not shamed. [James 2:16]

Nil habet infelix paupertas durius in se

Quam quod ridicules homines facit. ”

The world looks over a poor though virtuous man. "This thy son"; {Luke 15:30} not, This my brother. And why, but because in poverty? How much more an uncounsellable and incorrigible man, as here, and as that prodigal had been till he came to himself!

But he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.] Though not haply enriched, he shall be of good account with the wise and godly, though in meaner condition. Mr Fox being asked whether he knew such an honest poor man who had received help and good counsel from him in time of trouble, answered, ‘I remember him well; I tell you, I forget lords and ladies to remember such.’


Verse 19

Proverbs 13:19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but [it is] abomination to fools to depart from evil.

Ver. 19. The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul.] Tota vita boni Christiani sanctum desiderium est, saith Augustine: The whole life of a good Christian is one holy desire; he even spends and exhales himself in continual sallies, as it were, and expressions of strongest affection to God, whom he hath chosen, and with whom he hath much sweet intercourse. He cannot be at rest without some comings in from him every day. And then, Oh the joys, the joys, the inconceivable joys! as she once cried out (a) ‘Oh that joy! O my God, when shall I be with thee?’ (b) These were the dying words of the young Lord Harrington. He was in heaven aforehand, as having let out his holy soul into God, the fountain of all good.

But it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.] To be pulled from their vain delights, though never so sinful, never so destructive. Esau, for a mess of pottage, sold his birthright; Cardinal Burbon would not part with his part in Paris for a part in paradise. Theotimus, in Ambrose, being told that intemperance would be the loss of his eyesight, cried out, Vale lumen amicum. He would rather lose his sight than his sin; so doth many a man his soul. The panther loves man’s dung, they say, so much, that if it is hanged a height from him, he will leap up, and never stop till he hath burst himself in pieces to get it; and this is the way they get that creature. Like policy uses Satan, by base lusts, to draw many to hell. It was a speech of Gregory Nyssen, He that doth but hear of hell, is without any further labour or study taken off from sinful pleasures. Men’s hearts are grown harder today.


Verse 20

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise [men] shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Ver. 20. He that walketh with wise men shall be wise.] He that comes where sweet spices and ointments are stirring, doth carry away some of the sweet savour, though he think not of it; so he that converseth with good men shall get good. Holiness is such an elixir as by contaction (if there be any disposition of goodness in the same metal) it will render it of the property. A child having been brought up with Plato, and afterwards hearing his father break out into rage and passion, said, I have never seen the like with Plato. (a)

But a companion of fools shall be broken.] There is an elegance in the original that cannot be told in English. Bede, by a companion or friend of fools here, understands those that take delight in jesters, stage players, and such idle companions, unprofitable burdens - fruges consumere nati, the botch and canker of the commonwealth. Theatra iuvenes corrumpunt, saith Plato. (b) Ludi praebent semina nequitiae, saith Ovid. The Lacedemonians would not admit any of them, that so they might not hear anything contrary to their laws, whether in jest or in earnest. And Henry III, Emperor of Germany, when a great sort of such fellows flocked together at his wedding, sent them all away, not allowing them so much as a cup of drink, 1044 AD. (c)


Verse 21

Proverbs 13:21 Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.

Ver. 21. Evil pursueth sinners.] Hard at heels. Flagitium et flagellum, ut acus et filum. Sin and punishment are linked together with chains of adamant. Of sin we may say as Isidore doth of the serpent, Tot dolores, quot colores; so many colours, so many dolours. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." [Romans 6:23] The same in effect with this sentence of Solomon.

But to the righteous good shall be repaid.] Or, He, that is, God, shall repay good. Now he is a liberal paymaster, and all his retributions are more than bountiful. Never did any yet do or suffer aught for God, that complained of a hard bargain. God will recompense your losses, - saith that thrice noble Lord Brook, (a) who lost his precious life in the recent unhappy wars at Litchfield, - as the king of Poland did his noble servant Zelislaus, having lost his hand in his wars, he sent him a golden hand. Caligula - Agrippa having suffered imprisomnent for wishing him emperor - when he came afterwards to the empire, the first thing he did was to prefer Agrippa, and gave him a chain of gold as heavy as the chain of iron that was upon him in prison. Those that lose anything for God, he seals them a bill of exchange of a double return; nay, a hundredfold here, and eternal life hereafter.


Verse 22

Proverbs 13:22 A good [man] leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children: and the wealth of the sinner [is] laid up for the just.

Ver. 22. A good man leaveth inheritance to his child.] Personal goodness is profitable to posterity. God gives not to his servants some small annuity for life only, as great men used to do; but "keepeth mercy for thousands" of generations "of them that fear him" [Exodus 34:7] - (where the Masorites observe Nun-Rabbath, a large N, in the word Notsot, "keepeth," to note the large extent of God’s love to the good man’s posterity.) God left David "a lamp in Jerusalem," [1 Kings 15:4] although his house were not so with God. [2 Samuel 23:5]

And the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.] As Nabal’s was for David, Haman’s for Mordecai, the Canaanites’ for the Israelites. Howbeit this holds not perpetually and universally in every wicked person; for some of them are "full of children, and leave the rest of their substance for their babes." [Psalms 17:14] Hereupon "their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever; they call their lands after their own names" - as Cain called his new built city after the name of his son Enoch [Genesis 4:17] - "this their way is their folly" - or, is their constant hope, for the word signifies both - "and their posterity approve their sayings," and vote the same way. [Psalms 49:11; Psalms 49:13] But together with their lands, they bequeath their children their sins and punishments, which is far worse than that legacy of leprosy that Joab left his issue. [2 Samuel 3:29] Compare Job 27:16-17, Isaiah 61:5.


Verse 23

Proverbs 13:23 Much food [is in] the tillage of the poor: but there is [that is] destroyed for want of judgment.

Ver. 23. Much food is in the tillage of the poor.] of the poet is well known, Laudato ingentia rura, exiguum colito. (a) It is best for a man to have no more than he can master and make his best of. The ground should be weaker than he that tills it, saith Columella. (b) The earth is a fruitful mother, and "brings forth meat for them by whom it is dressed." [Hebrews 6:7]

But there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.] - viz., In ploughing and sowing, [Isaiah 28:26] or in managing and husbanding what he hath gotten, for the best. For non minor est virtus quam quaerere, parta tueri. We must be good husbands, and see that condus be fortior promo, our comings in be more than our layings out. Bonus servatius facit bonum bonifacium, saith the Dutchman in his blunt proverb, A good saver makes a well doer.


Verse 24

Proverbs 13:24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Ver. 24. He that spareth his rod hateth his son.] It is as if one should be so tender over a child as not to suffer the wind to blow upon it, and therefore hold the hand before the mouth of it, but so hard as he strangleth the child. It is said of the ape that she huggeth her young one to death; so do many fond parents, who are therefore peremptores potius quam parentes, rather parricides than parents. Eli would not correct his children: God therefore corrected both him and them. David would not once cross his Absalom and his Adonijah, and he was therefore singularly crossed in them ere he died. (a) The like befell old Andronicus the Greek emperor, in his unhappy nephew of the same name; and Muleasses king of Tunis, in his son Amida, whom he cockered so long, till, Absalom like, he rose against his father, and possessing himself of the kingdom, put out his father’s and brethren’s eyes, slew his captains, polluted his wives, and took the castle of Tunis. (b)

But he that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes.] And this is a God like love. Proverbs 3:12, Revelation 3:19. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 3:12"} {See Trapp on "Revelation 3:19"} Correction is a kind of cure, saith the philosopher, (c) the likeliest way to save the child’s soul; where yet, curare exigeris, non curationem, saith Bernard, it is the care of the child that is charged upon the parent, not the cure, for that is God’s work alone. But he usually worketh by this mean, and therefore requires that it be soundly set on, if need so require. A fair hand, we say, makes a foul wound. A weak dose doth but stir bad humours and anger them, not purge them out. In some diseases, the patient must be let bleed, even ad deliquium animae, till he swoon again: so here. Quintilian tells us of some faults in a child that deserve not a whipping. And Chrysippus is ill spoken of by some, because he first brought the use of the rod into the schools. It was he, I trow, that first offered that strict and tetrical division to the world, Aut mentem aut restim comparandam: Either a good heart, or a good halter for yourself and yours. The condemned person comes out of a dark prison, and goes to the place of execution; so do children, left to themselves and not nurtured, come from the womb, their prison, to the fire of hell, their execution, Severitas tamen non sit tetra, sed tetrica: (d) Corrections must be wisely and moderately dispensed. "Parents provoke not your children to wrath, lest they be disspirited," [Colossians 3:21] and, through despondency, grow desperate or heartless. Our Henry II first crowned his eldest son Henry while he was yet alive, and then so curbed him, that, through discontent, he fell into a fever, whereof he died before his father. (e) A prince of excellent parts, who was at first cast away by his father’s indulgence; and afterwards by his rigour.


Verse 25

Proverbs 13:25 The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.

Ver. 25. The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul.] Have he more or less, he hath that which satisfies him. Nature is content with a little, grace with less; Cibus et potus sunt divitiae Christianorum. food and drink are the divinity of Christians, If Jacob may but have "bread to eat, and clothes to put on," it sufficeth him; and this he dare be bold to promise himself. Beg his bread he hopes he shall not; but if he should, he can say with Luther (who made many a meal with a broiled herring), Mendicato pane hic vivamus; annon hoc pulchre sarcitur in eo quod pascimur pane cum angelis, et vita aeterna, Christo, et sacramentis? (a) Let us be content to fare hard here: have we not the bread that came down from heaven?

But the belly of the wicked shall want.] Because "their belly prepares deceit," [Job 15:35] not their heads only; they take as much delight in their witty wickedness, as the epicure in his bellytimber. Therefore, "in the fulness of their sufficiency they are in straits"; [Job 20:22] they are sick of the bulimy, or doggish appetite. [Micah 6:14]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-13.html. 1865-1868.

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Saturday, December 14th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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