Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:12

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made both of them.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Conscience;   God;   Thompson Chain Reference - Ear, the Hearing;   Hearing;   Reception-Rejection;   The Topic Concordance - Creation;   Hearing;   Seeing;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Ear, the;   Eye, the;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Deaf and Dumb;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The hearing ear and the seeing eye - Every good we possess comes from God; and we should neither use our eyes, nor our ears, nor any thing we possess, but in strict subserviency to his will.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Not only do we owe the gifts of sight and hearing to Yahweh, but He, being the giver, will also call us to account for them (compare Psalm 94:9).

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-20.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 20:12

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.

Ears and no ears, eyes and no eyes

1. There are wise men in the world who will not admit that it was God who made the seeing eye, or the hearing ear, or anything else; who will rather assume that the ear and the eye made themselves by a gradual process of development. And you may not be able to withstand their arguments. The text may have an inexpressible value for you. If you can quote against the wise the words of a wiser, you are on firm ground. And the vast majority of the wisest and best men of every age concur with Solomon.

2. There is something in the text suitable for young children. When Solomon spoke of the hearing ear, he meant to remind us that some have ears which do not hear, and eyes that do not see. What we hear in any utterance depends on what we bring the power of hearing, just as what we see in any scene depends on what we bring the power of seeing. We are all apt to overlook that which is unknown to us. What we do not understand, or do not expect, excites no curiosity, touches no interest, rouses no attention; and hence it slips by unseen, unheard--just as the snapping of a slender twig might say nothing to us, and yet might tell a sportsman where the wild creature was which he was trying to shoot down. If God makes the hearing ear and the seeing eye, He expects us to make them too. He expects us to use and train these wonderful faculties. He rewards us in proportion as we meet, or disappoint, His expectation and our duty.

3. When the Bible speaks of deaf men who hear, and blind men who see, it almost always refers to men’s moral condition, to their attitude towards truth, righteousness, and God, as well as to the use they make of their mental faculties and capacities. It praises them for seeing and hearing as for an act of virtue and piety; it blames them for not seeing and hearing as for a sin. Knowledge without love is at once a poor and a perilous endowment. To be clever without being good, without even trying to be good, is only to deserve, and to secure, a severer condemnation. You have not even begun to be truly wise until you love and reverence God; until, from reverence and love for Him, you set yourselves to know and do that which is right, however hard it may be, and refuse to do that which is wrong, however easy and pleasant it may look. Men also prize goodness more than knowledge and cleverness, and value a kind heart more than even a full and well-trained mind. Be good, then, if you would be wise, if you would prove that you have an eye that sees and an ear to hear and obey. To be good no doubt is hard work. But that is the very reason why God asks you to trust in Him and to lean on Him. He is good, and He both can and will make you good, if you will let Him. (S. Cox, D. D.)

The hearing ear and the seeing eye

Why does Solomon say this?

I. That God should be studied in these organs.

1. In them Divine wisdom is manifest. Take--

2. In them Divine goodness is manifest.

3. In them Divine intelligence is symbolised.

II. That God should be served by these organs. The service for which God intends us to use them is to convey into our understandings His ideas, into our hearts His Spirit; translate the sensations they convey to us into Divine ideas; apply Divine ideas to the formation of our characters. God’s ideas should become at once the spring and rule of all our activities. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

The hearing ear and seeing eye

For all the faculties of a man’s body, as well as of his soul, he is entirely indebted to his great Creator. The forgetfulness of the Creator of our bodily faculties is always accompanied by a forgetfulness of our responsibility for the use of them. How far have we turned to the best account those organs of the body which are more immediately connected with the mind, with the immortal spirit, with the state and well-being of the soul? The eye and ear are inlets to the soul. Be anxious to use your faculties while they are mercifully continued. As God made and opened the natural ear for the perception of sound, so does He make and open the spiritual ear for the reception of Divine truth into the heart. The mental ear, as well as the bodily, is liable to be disordered. In a state of spiritual deafness every child of Adam was born. None of us, when we came into the world, had an ear for spiritual things. Every prayer we offer up to God for grace to bless and prosper His preached Word to our souls is an acknowledgment that the hearing ear, the willing and longing and profiting ear, is His own gracious gift. Does He open thine ear? Listen faithfully. Does He open thine eye? Drink in fully the stream of light from heaven’s eternal fountain. (J. Slade, M. A.)

Hearing and sight

Every one hears and sees all day long, so perpetually that we never think about our hearing and our sight, unless we find them fail us. And yet, how wonderful are hearing and sight. How we hear, how we see, no man knows, nor perhaps ever will know. Science can only tell us as yet what happens, what God does; but of how God does it, it can tell us little or nothing; and of why God does it, nothing at all. It is wonderful that our brains should hear through our ears, and see through our eyes; but it is more wonderful still, that they should be able to recollect what they have heard and seen. Most people think much of signs and wonders, but the commonest things are as wonderful, more wonderful, than the uncommon. It is not faith only to see God in what is strange and rare. This is faith, to see God in what is most common and simple; not so much from those strange sights in which God seems to break His laws, as from those common ones in which He fulfils His laws. It is difficult to believe that, because our souls and minds are disorderly; and therefore order does not look to us what it is, the likeness and glory of God. The greatness of God is manifest in that He has ordained laws which must work of themselves, and with which He need never interfere. The universe is continually going right, because God has given it a law which cannot be broken. (Charles Kingsley, M. A.)

Living faculties

The Lord is willing to be judged by His work. The sculptor can make an ear, the Lord makes the hearing ear. But man has lost his power to listen. The mischief is that he thinks he is listening, and is deceiving himself. Listening is the act of the soul. The Lord maketh the seeing eye. The artist has made a thousand eyes, but no seeing eye. God did not give such faculties without a purpose. The very quality and capacity of the faculty must have some suggestion. These faculties were given us for education, not for prostitution. Take care how you use the ear and the eye. Has anybody been the better for your hearing or your seeing? Where faculties are given in man or beast or bird, there is a corresponding opportunity for their exercise provided. There are internal, spiritual eyes. The non-use of faculties is a religious crime. As certainly as we have bodily faculties that have meanings, missions, and issues, as there is a balance and relationship between the bodily and the external, so we have what is called a “religious nature.” We “know the meaning of reason, we know the meaning of faith, we know the meaning of passionate and wordless yearning. What are you going to do with your religious nature? You can starve it. (J. Parker, D. D.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 20:12". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-20.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, Jehovah hath made even both of them."

What an incredible marvel, really, is either one of these? Take hearing. One answers the telephone and hears a voice that he has not heard in ten years and recognizes it instantly! Or, one may detect delicate variations in colors with uncanny accuracy. This writer purchased a turquoise necklace from the Jordanian exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1966; and then, without that necklace in his possession, he selected a perfect match for it from a Chinese collection that exhibited over five hundred different colors. Only God could have endowed men with such wonderful instruments of sight and hearing.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye,.... There may be an ear that hears not, and an eye that seeth not, and which men may make; the painter can paint an ear and an eye, and a carver can carve both; but they are ears that hear not, and eyes that see not, Psalm 115:5; but such as can hear and see are of the Lord's own make;

the Lord hath made even both of them; they are the effects of his wisdom, power, and goodness; see Exodus 4:11; they are both senses of excellent use and service; great mercies and blessings of life, for which men should be abundantly thankful, and pray for the continuance of, and make use of to the best purposes; they are means of conveying much knowledge to the mind, and by which it may be cultivated and improved in it. The words may be considered in a figurative as well as a literal sense. Some by "the seeing eye" understand the civil magistrate, who is that to the body politic as the eyes are to the natural body, eminent in it, overlook it, watch and provide for its good, and against its hurt; see Numbers 10:31; and by "the hearing ear" the obedient subject, that hearkens to the laws and directions of his governors, and cheerfully obeys them, and both these are of the Lord's making; civil magistracy is his ordinance, and civil magistrates are ordained by him; and from him they have their qualifications fitting them for their office; and it is owing to the overruling providence of God on the hearts of men that they are inclined to yield subjection to them. Others think that by the "seeing eye" are meant the ministers of the word, who are set in the highest place in the church; whose business it is to inspect, take the oversight of, and watch the souls of men; to pry and search into the truths of the Gospel, and show them to others: and by the "hearing ear" the hearers of the word, that receive it readily in the love of it, and heartily obey it. I am rather of opinion that one and the same sort of persons are intended; converted ones, who have the "hearing ear", who try what they hear by the word of God; understand what they hear, know it experimentally; can distinguish truth from error, approve and love the Gospel, receive it with all gladness and readiness, with eagerness and pleasure; keep it when they have it, and practise what they hear, and bring forth fruit to the glory of God: this they have not of themselves, being naturally averse to and dull of hearing, and even stop their ears to the truth; but it comes by the word, and is the Lord's work, and owing to his mighty power, who opens their ears, gives them new ears, which they have in regeneration; when they hear spiritually, profitably, pleasantly, comfortably, and to their great astonishment: these also have the "seeing eye", a sight of themselves, their sinful and lost estate; of the plague of their own hearts, their want of righteousness, and impotence to do anything that is good; a sight of Christ, of the loveliness of his person, of the fulness of his grace, of their need of him, and of his suitableness as a Saviour and Redeemer; and this is not of themselves, who are dark and darkness itself, but they are made light in the Lord; he opens their eyes by his spirit and by means of his word, which is a work of almighty power.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-20.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Hence, of course, God will know all you do (Psalm 94:9).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye -

Jahve hath created them both.

Lצwenstein, like the lxx: the ear hears and the eye sees - it is enough to refer to the contrary to Proverbs 20:10 and Proverbs 17:15. In itself the proverb affirms a fact, and that is its sensus simplex ; but besides, this fact may be seen from many points of view, and it has many consequences, none of which is to be rejected as contrary to the meaning: (1.) It lies nearest to draw the conclusion, viג eminentiae , which is drawn in Psalms 94:9. God is thus the All-hearing and the All-seeing, from which, on the one side, the consolation arises that everything that is seen stands under His protection and government, Proverbs 15:3; and on the other side, the warning, Aboth ii. 1: “Know what is above thee; a Seeing eye and a Hearing ear, and all thy conduct is marked in His book.” (2.) With this also is connected the sense arising out of the combination in Psalms 40:7 : man ought then to use the ear and the eye in conformity with the design which they are intended to subserve, according to the purpose of the Creator (Hitzig compares Proverbs 16:4); it is not first applicable to man with reference to the natural, but to the moral life: he shall not make himself deaf and blind to that which it is his duty to hear and to see; but he ought also not to hear and to see with pleasure that from which he should turn away (Isaiah 33:15) - in all his hearing and seeing he is responsible to the Creator of the ear and the eye. (3.) One may thus interpret “hearing” and “seeing” as commendable properties, as Fleischer suggests from comparison of Proverbs 16:11 : an ear that truly hears (the word of God and the lessons of Wisdom) and an eye that truly sees (the works of God) are a gift of the Creator, and are (Arab.) lillhi, are to be held as high and precious. Thus the proverb, like a polished gem, may be turned now in one direction and now in another; it is to be regarded as a many-sided fact.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-20.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Note, 1. God is the God of nature, and all the powers and faculties of nature are derived from him and depend upon him, and therefore are to be employed for him. It was he that formed the eye and planted the ear (Psalm 94:9), and the structure of both is admirable; and it is he that preserves to us the use of both; to his providence we owe it that our eyes are seeing eyes and our ears hearing ears. Hearing and seeing are the learning senses, and must particularly own God's goodness in them. 2. God is the God of grace. It is he that gives the ear that hears God's voice, they eye that sees his beauty, for it is he that opens the understanding.

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Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 20:12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

Ver. 12. The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, &c.] There are those who have "ears to hear, and hear not; who have eyes to see, and see not: for they are a rebellious house." [Ezekiel 12:2] Now when God shall say to such, as in Isaiah 42:18, "Hear ye deaf, and look ye blind, that you may see"; when he shall give them an obedient ear, and a Scripture searching eye, "senses habitually exercised to discern both good and evil," [Hebrews 5:14] so that they "hear a voice behind them, saying, This is the way," and they "see him that is invisible," as Moses: then is it with them, as it is written, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard," i.e., - Natural eye never saw, natural ear never heard, such things; "but God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit." [1 Corinthians 2:9-10]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-20.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 12. The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them; therefore He, the omniscient Creator of the senses, will demand a reckoning of their use on the Last Day.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-20.html. 1921-23.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:12

I. How the eye tells the brain of the picture which is drawn upon the back of the eye; how the brain calls up that picture when it likes—these are two mysteries beyond all man's wisdom to explain. These are two proofs of the wisdom and the power of God which ought to sink deeper into our hearts than all signs and wonders; greater proofs of God's power and wisdom than if yon fir-trees burst into flame of themselves, or yon ground opened and a fountain of water sprang out. The commonest things are as wonderful, more wonderful, than the uncommon; and yet people will hanker after the uncommon, as if they belonged to God more immediately than the commonest matters. That is not faith, to see God only in what is strange and rare; but this is faith, to see God in what is most common and simple; to know God's greatness, not so much from disorder as from order; not so much from those strange sights in which God seems (but only seems) to break His laws, as from those common ones in which He fulfils His laws.

II. When a man sees that, there will arise within his soul a clear light, and an awful joy, and an abiding peace, and a sure hope, and a faith as of a little child. Then will that man crave no more for signs and wonders; but all his cry will be to the Lord of order, to make him orderly; to the Lord of law, to make him loyal; to the Lord in whom is nothing arbitrary, to take out of him all that is unreasonable and self-willed; and make him content, like his Master Christ before him, to do the will of his Father in heaven, who has sent him into this noble world.

C. Kingsley, Town and Country Sermons, p. 224.


References: Proverbs 20:12.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 175. Proverbs 20:14.—W. Baird, The Hallowing of our Common Life, p. 13; T. Binney, King's Weighhouse Chapel Sermons, 1st series, p. 384; W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 2nd series, p. 187. Proverbs 20:15-21.—R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. ii., p. 350.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/proverbs-20.html.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

It is God alone who gives us our senses and natural faculties, and the use and exercise of them, and especially a power of employing them aright to see and observe the works of God, and to hear and receive his word and all wholesome instructions; whence he leaves it to us to gather, that God doth exactly see and hear all men’s words and actions, though it be never so secret. He names

the eye and

ear, because these are the two senses by which instructions are conveyed to the mind; but under them he seems to comprehend all other senses and powers of soul or body, by a synecdoche.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-20.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

12.Hearing ear’ seeing eye — The point of the proverb probably consists in what is implied, namely, that as Jehovah made the eye, he must needs see; as he made the ear, he surely hears; and will call to an account for the use of these precious gifts. Comp. Exodus 4:11; Psalms 94:9; Proverbs 15:3.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-20.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Both. Consequently he will know all our actions, Psalm xciii. 9. We must refer all to him, as he gives us the means of learning. (Calmet)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

hearing ear, &c. Illustrations: Moses (Exodus 4:11); Hagar (Genesis 21:19); Elisha"s servant (2 Kings 6:17); Lydia (Acts 16:14).

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them - therefore He surely sees and hears all things (Psalms 94:9). "The hearing ear is the ear which reverently and eagerly heareth the Word of God, of parents, and of preceptors (Proverbs 15:31; Proverbs 25:12): the opposite to the stopped ear (Psalms 58:4); the heavy ear (Isaiah 6:10). "The seeing eye" is the eye which eagerly and intelligently looks into the works and Word of God (Proverbs 3:21; Deuteronomy 11:7). We should consider the design for which God has given us these two leading organs of sense, and also remember that it is of God's grace alone that we can use them aright.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(12) The Lord hath made even both of them.—And, therefore, they are to be used as He would have them. (Comp. our Lord’s constant warning, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”) The proverb may also remind us of the admonition in Proverbs 15:3, and Psalms 94:9, to remember God’s constant watchfulness over us.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
Exodus 4:11; Psalms 94:9; 119:18; Matthew 13:13-16; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17,18
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 29:4 - General1 Kings 3:9 - understanding;  Isaiah 29:18 - the deaf;  Isaiah 35:5 - the ears;  Isaiah 42:18 - ye deaf;  Luke 8:8 - He that;  John 10:21 - Can;  1 Corinthians 12:17 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-20.html.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Отметьте:

(1) наш Бог – Бог природы, все природные силы и возможности исходят и зависят от Него, поэтому они должны совершать работу для Него. Именно Он насадил ухо и образовал глаз (Пс.93:9), и строение того и другого восхитительно; Он сохраняет их для нас, чтобы мы могли ими пользоваться, и Его провидению мы обязаны тем, что наше ухо слышит, а глаз видит. Слух и зрение – это способности, с помощью которых мы учимся, и в них мы должны признавать Божью милость.

(2) Наш Бог – Бог благодати. Именно Он дает нам ухо, которое слышит голос Бога, и глаз, который видит Его красоту, так как Он открывает разумение.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:12". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.