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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 17

 

 

Verses 1-28

Proverbs 17. Fresh points are the rise of the able and clever slave to a place in the family (Proverbs 17:2), the practice of bribes (Proverbs 17:8; Proverbs 17:23), the value of adversity as a test of friendship (Proverbs 17:17): also the subject of suretyship, dealt with in Proverbs 6:1-5, is resumed (Proverbs 17:18).

Proverbs 17:1. For the connexion between sacrifices (mg.) and feasting cf. Proverbs 6:14. For "sacrifice" used to denote private slaying cf. Deuteronomy 12:15, Isaiah 34:6.

Proverbs 17:7. Excellent: the usual meaning is "abundance," and possibly the sense is that copious speech only betrays a fool. A slight change gives "upright," with a somewhat better antithesis.—prince: cf. Proverbs 17:26 and Isaiah 32:5 for the sense of moral nobility, which better suits this passage, and render "the noble," or as Toy, "the man of rectitude."

Proverbs 17:8. The most intelligible rendering is "a bribe is counted a means of procuring favour (lit. a stone of favour) by its owner (i.e. the briber) in all that he undertakes he succeeds." The expression "stone of favour" is without parallel in Heb. Frankenberg suggests that it may mean "a lucky stone"—i.e. a magic stone or amulet.

Proverbs 17:9 b. Proverbs 16:28*.

Proverbs 17:11 a. The lit. rendering is probably "surely rebellion seeketh evil" (cf. mg.). The abstract for the concrete is not supported by Heb. usage, and a slight change gives "a rebellious man." The reference is probably not religious but political, but cf. Psalms 78:49.

Proverbs 17:12 a. cf. 2 Samuel 17:8, Hosea 13:8.

Proverbs 17:16. There may be a reference to the Gr. custom of paying fees to sophists and philosophers, since it does not appear that the Jewish Rabbis took payment for their instruction.

Proverbs 17:17. RVm is more exact than RV. The sense remains on the whole the same, although it no longer implies a higher degree of affection in the brother.

Proverbs 17:18. cf. Proverbs 6:1-5* see also Proverbs 11:15, Proverbs 20:16, Proverbs 22:26, Proverbs 27:13.

Proverbs 17:19. transgression may have the social sense that it has in Exodus 22:9, trespass against a neighbour's property, in which case the unusual phrase "raiseth high his gate" may refer to encroachments upon a neighbour's property.

Proverbs 17:21. The word for "fool" in Proverbs 17:21 b occurs besides only in Pr. in Proverbs 17:7, Proverbs 30:22. It always connotes moral insensibility in the OT (cf. Psalms 14:1).

Proverbs 17:22. medicine: the word occurs only here and is thus translated by inference from Hosea 5:13. Read, with a slight change, "body." The sense is the same.—bones is another synonym for "body." Render "A weary heart makes a sound body, but a crushed spirit withers the body."

Proverbs 17:23. out of the bosom: lit. "out of the lap"—i.e. out of the fold in the outer garment which serves the Oriental as a pocket (cf. Proverbs 16:33, Isaiah 40:11).

Proverbs 17:26. punish: properly "fine" (mg.), cf. Amos 2:8. But in Pr. the word seems to have the wider meaning "punish." The old technical sense has been lost.—for their uprightness is an impossible rendering. Either render "to smite the noble is against justice," or read "much less to smite the noble."

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 17:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-17.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, December 13th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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