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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 16

 

 

Verses 1-33

Proverbs 16. The special feature is a group of aphorisms (Proverbs 16:10-15) relating to kings. The sentiments seem rather to reflect the picture of the ideal king than to indicate any particular period. The metaphors employed and the character depicted suggest a parallel with the ideal king of Psalms 72.

Proverbs 16:4. The lit. rendering of Proverbs 16:4 a is "Yahweh has made every work for its answer"—i.e. the nexus of cause and effect seen in the moral government of the world is His work, a kind of prearranged harmony. The supreme instance is the case of the wicked, their answer is the day of evil. We have an assertion of the righteousness of Yahweh's government rather than of their predestination to judgment. There is no doubt, however, of the existence of the belief in predestination to blessing and judgment in later Jewis theology. This determinism is the fundamental feature in the eschatology of the Apocalyptists.

Proverbs 16:5. Proverbs 11:20*.

Proverbs 16:6. An excellent illustration is found in Daniel 4:27 (cf. also Ezekiel 18:21; Ezekiel 18:27). Render Proverbs 16:6 b "And by the fear of Yahweh there is escape from calamity."

Proverbs 16:8. cf. Proverbs 15:16.

Proverbs 16:10-15. This group relating to kings does not preserve the antithetic form characteristic of this section.

Proverbs 16:10. A divine sentence: lit. "divination." For the precise meaning see Driver on Deuteronomy 18:10 f.

Proverbs 16:11 a. Just: qualifies "scales" only. Possibly, in view of the subject-matter of the group, "the Lord's" originally read "the king's," and was afterwards, through misapprehension, changed to the present reading. The authorization of normal weights and balances is then ascribed to the king. This may be illustrated from a lion weight found at Abydos (c. vi.-v. cent. B.C.), with the inscription "correct according to the commissioners of money."

Proverbs 16:15 b. cf. 2 Samuel 23:3 f.; Psalms 65:10; Psalms 72:6.—the latter rain: not the heavy autumn and winter rain (Heb. "the pourer"), which breaks up the dry clods, but the gentler spring rain which fertilizes the crops.

Proverbs 16:20. cf. Proverbs 13:13.

Proverbs 16:21. learning: Toy's rendering, here and in Proverbs 16:23, "persuasiveness" or "power of persuasion," is too free. The word may have both a passive and an active (cf. Deuteronomy 32:2) meaning. The sense requires the latter: agreeable speech increases a man's capacity of imparting knowledge.

Proverbs 16:25 = Proverbs 14:12. Like the doublets in the Synoptic Gospels, this and other doublets in the same section suggest that the editor is using more than one source, and that the proverb occurs in both his sources—i.e. he is handling groups or collections rather than selecting isolated aphorisms and arranging them.

Proverbs 16:26. Read mg.

Proverbs 16:27-30. A group on slander (cf. Proverbs 6:12-14*).

Proverbs 16:28. chief friends: cf. Proverbs 2:17, Psalms 55:13. The word means "prince" in Genesis 36:15, Zechariah 9:7, and the rendering "alienates the prince" is possible. But "separates friends" is probably the best rendering.

Proverbs 16:31 b. RVm is unwarranted. The meaning is that length of days is the reward of righteousness (cf. Psalms 91:16 and the Deuteronomic expression "that thou mayst prolong thy days."

Proverbs 16:33. In primitive Heb. religion the casting of the sacred lot (p. 100) seems to have been the priest's prerogative (see H. P. Smith on 1 Samuel 14:41 f. in ICC and art. Lots in HDB), but later the practice of obtaining decisions in important matters became a practice of common life (cf. Jonah 1:7, Acts 1:26).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 16:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-16.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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