Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:14

"Bad, bad," says the buyer, But when he goes his way, then he boasts.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Boasting;   Dishonesty;   Hypocrisy;   Thompson Chain Reference - Boasting;   Business Life;   Dishonesty;   Humility-Pride;   Trading;   Vices;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Commerce;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Evil;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Naught;   Trade and Commerce;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Obsolete or obscure words in the english av bible;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Naught;   Wisdom;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer - How apt are men to decry the goods they wish to purchase, in order that they may get them at a cheaper rate; and, when they have made their bargain and carried it off, boast to others at how much less than its value they have obtained it! Are such honest men? Is such knavery actionable? Can such be punished only in another world? St. Augustine tells us a pleasant story on this subject: A certain mountebank published, in the full theater, that at the next entertainment he would show to every man present what was in his heart. The time came, and the concourse was immense; all waited, with deathlike silence, to hear what he would say to eaeh. He stood up, and in a single sentence redeemed his pledge: -

Vili vultis Emere, et Caro Vendere.

You all wish to Buy Cheap, and Sell Dear."

He was applauded; for every one felt it to be a description of his own heart, and was satisfied that all others were similar. "In quo dicto levissimi scenici omnes tamen conscientias invenerunt suas.' - De Trinitate, lib. xiii., c. 3; Oper. vol. vii., col. 930.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Naught - Bad, worthless 2 Kings 2:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-20.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 20:14

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

Fraud exposed and condemned

The man who would be really religious, must be influenced by religion in every part of his conduct, and on all occasions, during the week, as well as on the Sabbath; in his intercourse with man, as well as in his approaches to God. To conduct worldly business in a perfectly fair and upright manner, in such a manner as God prescribes, is a most important and difficult part of true religion.

I. Some general rules which God has given for the direction of those who wish to know and do their duty.

1. The rule that requires us to love our neighbour as ourselves.

2. The rule which forbids us to covet any part of our neighbour’s possessions. The command is express and comprehensive. We are not forbidden to desire the property of another, on fair and equitable terms. It forbids every desire to increase our property at our neighbour’s expense.

3. We are commanded to observe in all our transactions the rules of justice, truth, and sincerity.

4. We are directed in all our transactions to remember that the eye of God is upon us.

II. Apply these rules and show what they require, what they forbid, and when they are violated.

1. What do these rules require of us as subjects or members of civil society? There is an implied contract or agreement between a government and its subjects, by which the subjects engage to give a portion of their property in exchange for the blessings of protection, social order, and security.

2. The application of these rules to the common pecuniary transactions of life. They forbid every wish, and much more every attempt, to defraud or deceive our neighbour. And this on the part of both buyer and seller. We must put ourselves in the place of our neighbour, and do as we would be done by. We are always to act as we would do if our fellow-creatures could see our hearts.

3. Apply these rules to our past conduct, that we may ascertain how far we have observed, and in what instances we have disregarded them. God takes special cognisance of the wrongs which are done by artifice, fraud, and deceit, and which human laws cannot prevent or discover. Any who have violated these rules in their pecuniary transactions are required to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. There is no repentance, and of course no forgiveness, without restitution. How can a man repent of iniquity who still retains the wages of iniquity? And these rules must regulate our future transactions if we mean to be the real subjects of Christ. They are the laws of His kingdom, which you have covenanted to obey. (E. Payson, D. D.)

Bargain-driving

The inconsiderate thirst for cheapness is one of the social curses of our age. Here is a concise description of a bargain-driver. Say anything to depreciate the article, and get it at a lower price than is asked; then boast of your success. This may be sharp, but if it is not always sin, it is constantly on the very margin of vice. In buying cheap we may avail ourselves only of lawful advantages, and may not compass unrighteous or unfair gains. To get what a man wants, and to give as little as possible for it, need not be sinful. Lying is a sin in trade just as much as in common conversation. The inconsiderate craving for cheapness has a bad effect on the mind. It makes it grasping and selfish, greedy of its own gain, but careless of others’ well-doing. It produces, if long indulged in, a spirit of low and unworthy cunning. Observe how the influence of this thirst for cheapness spreads. I have no words to express my contempt and abhorrence for the meanness which goes into a shop with the deliberate resolve to get the articles wanted for less than the price asked. Such questions are the very essence of religion. A religion that does not touch our every-day life, our money matters, our actions in and on society, is a religion that is on the surface merely. It is the undue severance of things secular from things sacred which makes so much of men’s religion unreal, and so much of their business unrighteous, i.e., not carried out with a full sense of what is right from man to man. (J. E. Clarke, M. A.)

Chicanery

Mr. Bridges says “that Augustine mentions a somewhat ludicrous, but significant story. A mountebank published in the full theatre that in the next entertainment he would show to every man present what was in his heart. An immense concourse attended, and the man redeemed his pledge to the vast assembly by a single sentence: ‘Vili vultis emere, et caro vendere’ (’You all wish to buy cheap, and to sell dear’), a sentence generally applauded; every one, even the most trifling (as Augustine observes) finding the confirming witness in his own conscience.” There is no harm in buying in the cheapest market and selling in the dearest. In fact, this is both wise and right in the vendor. Some regard the word “buyer” here in the sense of possessor, and then the idea of the passage is changed, and it is this--that a man attaches greater value to a thing after he has lost it than before. This is a law of human nature. The lost piece of silver, the lost sheep, the lost son. But it is more like Solomon to regard the text as meaning what it says--the “buyer.” We offer two remarks upon the passage.

I. That it reveals a common commercial practice. The “buyer” depreciates the commodity in the process of purchase. He does this in order to get it at a price below its worth. And when he succeeds, and it comes legally into his possession, the value of the article is not only properly estimated, but greatly exaggerated. “He boasteth”--

1. Because his vanity has been gratified. He feels that he has done a clever thing. “He boasteth”--

2. Because his greed has been gratified.

II. That it reveals an immoral commercial practice.

1. There is falsehood.

2. There is dishonesty. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Honest buying

It was once proposed to the Duke of Wellington to purchase a farm in the neighbourhood of Strathfieldsaye, which lay near to his estate, and was therefore valuable. The Duke assented. When the purchase was completed, his steward congratulated him upon having made such a bargain, as the seller was in difficulties, and forced to part with it. “What do you mean by a bargain?” said the Duke. The other replied, “It was valued at £1,100, and we have got it for £800.” “In that ease,” said the Duke, “you will please to carry the extra £300 to the late owner, and never talk to me of cheap land again.” (Home Words.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 20:14". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-20.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 20:14

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

Fraud exposed and condemned

The man who would be really religious, must be influenced by religion in every part of his conduct, and on all occasions, during the week, as well as on the Sabbath; in his intercourse with man, as well as in his approaches to God. To conduct worldly business in a perfectly fair and upright manner, in such a manner as God prescribes, is a most important and difficult part of true religion.

I. Some general rules which God has given for the direction of those who wish to know and do their duty.

1. The rule that requires us to love our neighbour as ourselves.

2. The rule which forbids us to covet any part of our neighbour’s possessions. The command is express and comprehensive. We are not forbidden to desire the property of another, on fair and equitable terms. It forbids every desire to increase our property at our neighbour’s expense.

3. We are commanded to observe in all our transactions the rules of justice, truth, and sincerity.

4. We are directed in all our transactions to remember that the eye of God is upon us.

II. Apply these rules and show what they require, what they forbid, and when they are violated.

1. What do these rules require of us as subjects or members of civil society? There is an implied contract or agreement between a government and its subjects, by which the subjects engage to give a portion of their property in exchange for the blessings of protection, social order, and security.

2. The application of these rules to the common pecuniary transactions of life. They forbid every wish, and much more every attempt, to defraud or deceive our neighbour. And this on the part of both buyer and seller. We must put ourselves in the place of our neighbour, and do as we would be done by. We are always to act as we would do if our fellow-creatures could see our hearts.

3. Apply these rules to our past conduct, that we may ascertain how far we have observed, and in what instances we have disregarded them. God takes special cognisance of the wrongs which are done by artifice, fraud, and deceit, and which human laws cannot prevent or discover. Any who have violated these rules in their pecuniary transactions are required to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance. There is no repentance, and of course no forgiveness, without restitution. How can a man repent of iniquity who still retains the wages of iniquity? And these rules must regulate our future transactions if we mean to be the real subjects of Christ. They are the laws of His kingdom, which you have covenanted to obey. (E. Payson, D. D.)

Bargain-driving

The inconsiderate thirst for cheapness is one of the social curses of our age. Here is a concise description of a bargain-driver. Say anything to depreciate the article, and get it at a lower price than is asked; then boast of your success. This may be sharp, but if it is not always sin, it is constantly on the very margin of vice. In buying cheap we may avail ourselves only of lawful advantages, and may not compass unrighteous or unfair gains. To get what a man wants, and to give as little as possible for it, need not be sinful. Lying is a sin in trade just as much as in common conversation. The inconsiderate craving for cheapness has a bad effect on the mind. It makes it grasping and selfish, greedy of its own gain, but careless of others’ well-doing. It produces, if long indulged in, a spirit of low and unworthy cunning. Observe how the influence of this thirst for cheapness spreads. I have no words to express my contempt and abhorrence for the meanness which goes into a shop with the deliberate resolve to get the articles wanted for less than the price asked. Such questions are the very essence of religion. A religion that does not touch our every-day life, our money matters, our actions in and on society, is a religion that is on the surface merely. It is the undue severance of things secular from things sacred which makes so much of men’s religion unreal, and so much of their business unrighteous, i.e., not carried out with a full sense of what is right from man to man. (J. E. Clarke, M. A.)

Chicanery

Mr. Bridges says “that Augustine mentions a somewhat ludicrous, but significant story. A mountebank published in the full theatre that in the next entertainment he would show to every man present what was in his heart. An immense concourse attended, and the man redeemed his pledge to the vast assembly by a single sentence: ‘Vili vultis emere, et caro vendere’ (’You all wish to buy cheap, and to sell dear’), a sentence generally applauded; every one, even the most trifling (as Augustine observes) finding the confirming witness in his own conscience.” There is no harm in buying in the cheapest market and selling in the dearest. In fact, this is both wise and right in the vendor. Some regard the word “buyer” here in the sense of possessor, and then the idea of the passage is changed, and it is this--that a man attaches greater value to a thing after he has lost it than before. This is a law of human nature. The lost piece of silver, the lost sheep, the lost son. But it is more like Solomon to regard the text as meaning what it says--the “buyer.” We offer two remarks upon the passage.

I. That it reveals a common commercial practice. The “buyer” depreciates the commodity in the process of purchase. He does this in order to get it at a price below its worth. And when he succeeds, and it comes legally into his possession, the value of the article is not only properly estimated, but greatly exaggerated. “He boasteth”--

1. Because his vanity has been gratified. He feels that he has done a clever thing. “He boasteth”--

2. Because his greed has been gratified.

II. That it reveals an immoral commercial practice.

1. There is falsehood.

2. There is dishonesty. (D. Thomas, D. D.)

Honest buying

It was once proposed to the Duke of Wellington to purchase a farm in the neighbourhood of Strathfieldsaye, which lay near to his estate, and was therefore valuable. The Duke assented. When the purchase was completed, his steward congratulated him upon having made such a bargain, as the seller was in difficulties, and forced to part with it. “What do you mean by a bargain?” said the Duke. The other replied, “It was valued at £1,100, and we have got it for £800.” “In that ease,” said the Duke, “you will please to carry the extra £300 to the late owner, and never talk to me of cheap land again.” (Home Words.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 20:14". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-20.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"It is bad, it is bad, saith the buyer; But when he goeth his way, he boasteth."

This describes another trick of the dishonest trader. He belittles and downgrades what is offered for sale; and then, when he is able to purchase it for less than it is worth, he brags about his cleverness. Even as a child, this writer learned the ways of dishonest traders that falsely graded the cotton they bought.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "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

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer,.... When he comes to the shop of the seller, or to market to buy goods, he undervalues them, says they are not so good as they should be, nor so cheap as he can buy them at;

but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth; after he has brought the seller to as low a price as he can, and has bought the goods, and gone away with them, and got home among his friends; then he boasts what a bargain he has bought, how good the commodity is, how he has been too many for the seller, and has outwitted him; and so glories in his frauds and tricks, and rejoices in his boasting, and all such rejoicing is evil, James 4:16. Jarchi applies this to a man that is a hard student in the law, and through much difficulty gets the knowledge of it, when he is ready to pronounce himself unhappy; but when he is got full fraught with wisdom, then he rejoices at it, and glories in it.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "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

when … his way — implying that he goes about boasting of his bargains.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
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 20:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

The following group has its natural limit at the new point of departure at Proverbs 20:20, and is internally connected in a diversity of ways.

14 “Bad, bad!” saith the buyer;

And going his way, he boasteth then.

Luther otherwise:

“Bad, bad!” saith one if he hath it;

But when it is gone, then he boasteth of it.

This rendering has many supporters. Geier cites the words of the Latin poet:

Omne bonum praesens minus est, sperata videntur Magna .”

Schultens quotes the proverbs τὸ παρὸν βαρύ and Praesentia laudato , for with Luther he refers ואזל לו to the present possession ( אזל, as 1 Samuel 9:7 = (Arab.) zâl, to cease, to be lost), and translates: at dilapsum sibi, tum demum pro splendido celebrat . But by this the Hithpa . does not receive its full meaning; and to extract from הקּונה the idea to which ואזל לו refers, if not unnecessary, is certainly worthless. Hakkoneh may also certainly mean the possessor, but the possessor by acquisition (lxx and the Venet . ὁ κτώμενος ); for the most part it signifies the possessor by purchase, the buyer (Jerome, emptor ), as correlate of מכר, Isaiah 24:2; Ezekiel 4:12. It is customary for the buyer to undervalue that which he seeks to purchase, so as to obtain it as cheaply as possible; afterwards he boasts that he has bought that which is good, and yet so cheap. That is an every-day experience; but the proverb indirectly warns against conventional lying, and shows that one should not be startled and deceived thereby. The subject to ואזל לו is thus the buyer; אזל with לו denotes, more definitely even than הלך לו, going from thence, s'en aller . Syntactically, the punctuation ואזל לו [and he takes himself off] ( perf. hypoth ., Ewald, 357a) would have been near (Jerome: et cum recesserit ); but yet it is not necessary, with Hitzig, thus to correct it. The poet means to say: making himself off, he then boasts. We cannot in German place the “ alsdann ” [then] as the אז here, and as also, e.g., at 1 Samuel 20:12; but Theodotion, in good Greek: καὶ πορευθεὶς τότε καυχήσεται . We may write ואזל לו with Mercha on the antepenult, on which the accent is thrown back, cf. חונן, Proverbs 19:17, but not לּו ; for the rule for Dagesh does not here, with the retrogression of the tone, come into application, as, e.g., in אוכל לּחמי, Psalms 41:10. Singularly the Syr. and Targ. do not read רע רע, but רע לרע, and couple Proverbs 20:15 with 14. In the lxx, Proverbs 20:14-19 are wanting.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-20.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

See here 1. What arts men use to get a good bargain and to buy cheap. They not only cheapen carelessly, as if they had no need, no mind for the commodity, when perhaps they cannot go without it (there may be prudence in that), but they vilify and run down that which yet they know to be of value; they cry, “It is naught, it is naught; it has this and the other fault, or perhaps may have; it is not good of the sort; and it is too dear; we can have better and cheaper elsewhere, or have bought better and cheaper.” This is the common way of dealing; and after all, it may be, they know the contrary of what they affirm; but the buyer, who may think he has no other way of being even with the seller, does as extravagantly commend his goods and justify the price he sets on them, and so there is a fault on both sides; whereas the bargain would be made every jot as well if both buyer and seller would be modest and speak as they think. 2. What pride and pleasure men take in a good bargain when they have got it, though therein they contradict themselves, and own they dissembled when they were driving the bargain. When the buyer has beaten down the seller, who was content to lower his price rather than lose a customer (as many poor tradesmen are forced to do - small profit is better than none), then he goes his way, and boasts what excellent goods he has got at his own price, and takes it as an affront and a reflection upon his judgment if any body disparages his bargain. Perhaps he knew the worth of the good better than the seller himself did and knows how to get a great deal by them. See how apt men are to be pleased with their gettings and proud of their tricks; whereas a fraud and a lie are what a man ought to be ashamed of, though he have gained ever so much by them.

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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. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 20:14 [It is] naught, [it is] naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

Ver. 14. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer.] Or, Saith the possessor, and so Melanchthon reads it: as taxing that common fault and folly of slighting present mercies, but desiring and commending them when they are lost. Virtutem incolumen odimus, sublatam ex oculis quaerimus invidi. Israel "despised the pleasant land," [Psalms 106:24] and the precious manna, [Numbers 11:6] and Solomen’s gentle government, [1 Kings 12:4] Our corrupt nature weighs not good things till we want them, as the eye sees nothing that lies upon it.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-20.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 14. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer, he insists that the goods offered him are bad, worthless, in order to beat down the price; but when he is gone his way, having gotten the better of the deal, then he boasteth, setting forth the shrewdness with which he drove his bargain, such conduct also being a form of dishonesty.

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Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-20.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

It is naught; the commodity is but of little worth. Saith the buyer, to wit, to the seller; he discommends it, that he may bring down the price of it.

Gone his way, with the commodity purchased.

He boasteth that by his wit he hath overreached the seller, and got a great advantage to himself. This he notes as a common but reprovable practice.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-20.html. 1685.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

8

CHAPTER 10

TWO VOICES IN THE HIGH PLACES OF THE CITY

Proverbs 9:1-18, Proverbs 20:14 with Proberbs 3, and Proverbs 20:16 with Proverbs 4:1-27

AFTER the lengthened contrast between the vicious woman and Wisdom in chapters 7 and 8, the introduction of the book closes with a little picture which is intended to repeat and sum up all that has gone before. It is a peroration, simple, graphic, and beautiful.

There is a kind of competition between Wisdom and Folly, between Righteousness and Sin, between Virtue and Vice; and the allurements of the two are disposed in an intentional parallelism; the coloring and arrangement are of such a kind that it becomes incredible how any sensible person, or for that matter even the simple himself, could for a moment hesitate between the noble form of Wisdom and the meretricious attractions of Folly. The two voices are heard in the high places of the city; each of them invites the passers-by, especially the simple and unsophisticated-the one into her fair palace, the other into her foul and deadly house. The words of their invitation are very similar: "Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that is void of understanding, she saith to him:" but how different is the burden of the two messages! Wisdom offers life, but is silent about enjoyment; Folly offers enjoyment, but says nothing of the death which must surely ensue.

First of all we will give our attention to the Palace of Wisdom and the voices which issue from it, and then we will note for the last time the features and the arts of Mistress Folly.

The Palace of Wisdom is very attractive; well-built and well furnished, it rings with the sounds of hospitality; and, with its open colonnades, it seems of itself to invite all passers-by to enter in as guests. It is reared upon seven well-hewn marble pillars, in a quadrangular form, With the entrance side left wide open. This is no shifting tent or tottering hut, but an eternal mansion, that lacks nothing of stability, or completeness, or beauty. Through the spacious doorways may be seen the great courtyard, in which appear the preparations for a perpetual feast. The beasts are killed and dressed: the wine stands in tall flagons ready mixed for drinking: the tables are spread and decked. All is open, generous, large, a contrast to that unhallowed private supper to which the unwary youth was invited by his seducer. [Proverbs 7:14] There are no secret chambers, no twilight suggestions and insinuations: the broad light shines over all; there is a promise of social joy; it seems that they will be blessed who sit down together at this board. And now the beautiful owner of the palace has sent forth her maidens into the public ways of the city: theirs is a gracious errand; they are not to chide with sour and censorious rebukes, but they are to invite with winning friendliness; they are to offer this rare repast, which is now ready, to all those who are willing to acknowledge their need of it. "Come, eat ye of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled." [Proverbs 9:5]

We were led to inquire in the last chapter how far our Lord identified Himself with the hypostatic Wisdom who was speaking there, and we were left in some doubt whether He ever consciously admitted the identity; but it is hardly a matter of doubt that this passage was before His mind when He spoke His parable of the Wedding Feast. And the connection is still more apparent when we look at the Greek version of the LXX, and notice that the clause "sent forth her bond-servants" is precisely the same in Proverbs 9:3 and in Matthew 22:3. Here, at any rate, Jesus, who describes Himself as "a certain king," quite definitely occupies the place of the ancient Wisdom in the book of Proverbs, and the language which in this passage she employs He, as we shall see, in many slight particulars made His own.

Yes, our Lord, the Wisdom Incarnate, has glorious ideas of hospitality; He keeps open house; His purpose is to call mankind to a great feast; the "bread and the wine" are prepared; the sacrifice which furnishes the meat is slain. His messengers are not commissioned with a mournful or a condemnatory proclamation, but with good tidings which they are to publish in the high places. His word is always, Come. His desire is that men should live, and therefore He calls them into the way of understanding. [Proverbs 9:6] If a man lacks wisdom, if he recognizes his ignorance, his frailty, his folly, if he is at any rate wise enough to know that he is foolish, well enough to know that he is sick, righteous enough to know that he is sinful, let him approach this noble mansion with its lordly feast. Here is bread which is meat indeed; here is wine which is life-giving, the fruit of the Vine which God has planted.

But now we are to note that the invitation of Wisdom is addressed only to the simple, not to the scorner. [Proverbs 9:7] She lets the scorner pass by, because a word to him would recoil only in shame on herself, bringing a blush to her queenly face, and would add to the scorner’s wickedness by increasing his hatred of her. Her reproof would not benefit him, but it would bring a blot upon herself, it would exhibit her as ineffectual and helpless. The bitter words of a scorner can make wisdom appear foolish, and cover virtue with a confusion which should belong only to vice. "Speak not in the hearing of a fool; for he will despise the wisdom of thy words." [Proverbs 23:9] Indeed, there is no character so hopeless as that of the scorner; there proceeds from him, as it were, a fierce blast, which blows away all the approaches which goodness makes to him. Reproof cannot come near him; [Proverbs 13:1] he cannot find wisdom, though he seek it; [Proverbs 14:6] and as a matter of fact, he never seeks it. [Proverbs 15:12] If one attempts to punish him it can only be with the hope that others may benefit by the example; it will have no effect upon him. [Proverbs 19:25] To be rid of him must be the desire of every wise man, for he is an abomination to all, [Proverbs 24:9] and with his departure contention disappears. [Proverbs 22:10] They that scoff at things holy, and scorn the Divine Power, must be left to themselves until the beginnings of wisdom appear in them-the first sense of fear that there is a God who may not be mocked, the first recognition that there is a sanctity which they would do well at all events to reverence. There must be a little wisdom in the heart before a man can enter the Palace of Wisdom; there must be a humbling, a self-mistrust, a diffident misgiving before the scorner will give heed to her invitation.

There is an echo of this solemn truth in more than one saying of the Lord’s. He too cautioned His disciples against casting their pearls before swine, lest they should trample the pearls under their feet, and turn to rend those who were foolish enough to offer them such treasure. [Matthew 7:6] Men must often be taught in the stern school of Experience, before they can matriculate in the reasonable college of Wisdom. It is not good to give that which is holy to dogs, nor to display the sanctities of religion to those who will only put them to an open shame. Where we follow our own way instead of the Lord’s, and insist on offering the treasures of the kingdom to the scorners, we are not acting according to the dictates of Wisdom, we get a blot for that goodness which we so rashly offer, and often are needlessly rent by those whom we meant to save. It is evident that this is only one side of a truth, and our Lord presented with equal fullness the other side; it was from Him we learnt how the scorner himself, who cannot be won by reproof, can sometimes be won by love; but our Lord thought it worthwhile to state this side of the truth, and so far to make this utterance of the ancient Wisdom His own.

Again, how constantly He insisted on the mysterious fact that to him that hath shall be given, and from him that hath not shall be taken what he hath, precisely in the spirit of this saying: "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning." The entrance into the kingdom, as into the house of Wisdom, is by humility. Except a man turn, and become as a little child, he cannot enter. Wisdom is only justified of her children: until the heart is humble it cannot even begin to be wise; although it may seem to possess a great deal, all must be taken away, and a new beginning must be made-that beginning which is found in the fear of the Lord, and in the knowledge of the Holy. [Proverbs 9:10]

The closing words in the invitation of Wisdom are entirely appropriate in the lips of Jesus, and, indeed, only in His lips could they be accepted in their fullest signification. There is a limited sense in which all wisdom is favorable to long life, as we saw in chapter 3, but it is an obvious remark, too, that the wise perish even as the fool; one event happens to them both, and there appears to be no difference. But the Incarnate Wisdom, Jesus Christ, was able to say with a broad literalness, "By Me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased." With Him the outlook widened; He could speak of a new life, of raising men up at the last day; He could for the first time give a solution to that constant enigma which has puzzled men from the beginning, How is it that Wisdom promises life, and yet often requires that her children should die? How is it that the best and wisest have often chosen death, and so to all appearance have robbed the world of their goodness and their wisdom? He could give the answer in the glorious truth of the Resurrection; and so, in calling men to die for Him, as He often does, He can in the very moment of their death say to them with a fullness of meaning, "By Me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased."

And then how entirely is it in harmony with all His teaching to emphasize to the utmost the individual choice and the individual responsibility. "If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself: and if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it." There can be no progress, indeed no beginning, in the spiritual life, until this attitude of personal isolation is understood. It is the last result of true religion that we live in others; but it is the first that we live in ourselves: and until we have learnt to live in ourselves we can be of no use by living in others. Until the individual soul is dealt with, until.it has understood the demands which are made upon it, and met them, it is in no position to take its rightful place as a lively stone in the temple of God, or as a living member in the body of Christ. Yes, realize this searching assurance of Wisdom, let us say, rather, of Christ: if you are like the wise virgins in the parable, it is for your own everlasting good, you shall enter into the hall with the Bridegroom; but if you are like the foolish virgins, no wisdom of the wise can avail you, no vicarious light will serve for your lamps; for you there must be the personal humiliation and sorrow of the Lord’s "I know you not."

If with scornful indifference to your high trust as a servant of the Master you hide your talent, and justify your conduct to yourself by pleading that the Master is a hard man, that scorn must recoil upon your own head; so far from the enlarged wealth of the others coming to meet your deficiencies, the misused trifle which you still retain will be taken from you and given to them. Men have sometimes favored the notion that it is possible to spend a life of scornful indifference to God and all His holy commandments, a life of arrogant self-seeking and bitter contempt for all His other creatures, and yet to find oneself at the end entirely purged of one’s contempt, and on precisely equal terms with all pious and humble hearts; but against this notion Wisdom loudly exclaims; it is the notion of Folly, and so far from redeeming the folly, it is Folly’s worst condemnation: for surely Conscience and Reason, the heart and the head, might tell us that it is false; and all that is sanest and wisest in us concurs in the direct and simple assurance, "If thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it."

Such is the invitation, and such the warning of Wisdom; such is the invitation, and such the warning, of Christ. Leave off, ye simple ones, and live. After all, most of us are not scorners, but only very foolish, easily dazzled with false lights, easily misled with smooth utterances which happen to chime in with our own ignorant prejudices, easily seduced into by-paths which in quiet moments we readily acknowledge to be sinful and hurtful. The scorners are but a few; the simple ones are many. Here is this gracious voice appealing to the simple ones, and with a winsome liberality inviting them to the feast of Wisdom.

At the close of verse 12 (Proverbs 9:12) the LXX give a very interesting addition, which was probably translated from a Hebrew original. It seems to have been before our Lord’s mind when He drew the description of the unclean spirit walking through waterless places, seeking rest and finding none. [Matthew 12:43] The passage is a figurative delineation of the evils which result from making shams and insincerities the support of life, in place of the unfailing sureness and available strength of wisdom; it may be rendered thus: "He who makes falsehood his support shepherds the winds, and will find himself pursuing birds on the wing; for it means leaving the paths of his own vineyard, and wandering over the borders of his own husbandry; it means walking through a waterless wilderness, over land which is the portion of the thirsty; he gathers in his hands fruitlessness." What a contrast to the spacious halls and the bountiful fare of Wisdom! A life based upon everlasting verities may seem for the time cold and desolate, but it is founded upon a rock, and not a barren rock either, for it sends forth in due course corn, and wine, and oil. The children in that house have bread enough and to spare. But when a man prefers make-believe to reality, and follows the apparently pleasant, instead of the actually good, what a clutching of winds it is! What a chase after swift-vanishing birds of joy! The wholesome ways, fruitful, responsive to toil, are left far behind; and here soon is the actual desert, without a drop of water to cool the lips, or a single fruit of the earth which a man can eat. The deluded soul consumes his substance with harlots, and he gathers the wind. The ways of vice are terrible; they produce a thirst which they cannot quench; and they fill the imagination with torturing images of well-being which are farther removed from reality by every step we take. Wisdom bids us to make truth our stay, for after all the Truth is the Way and the Life, and there is no other way, no other life.

And now comes the brief closing picture of Folly, to which again the LXX give a short addition. Folly is loud, empty-headed as her victims, whom she invites to herself, not as Wisdom invites them, to leave off their simplicity, but rather as like to like, that their ignorance may be confirmed into vice, and their simplicity into brutishness. She has had the effrontery to build her house in the most prominent and lofty place of the city, where by good rights only Wisdom should dwell. Her allurements are specially directed to those who seem to be going right on in their wholesome ways, as if she found her chief delight, not in gratifying the vicious, but in making vicious the innocent. Her charms are: poor and tawdry enough; seen in the broad sun-light, and with the wholesome air all round her, she would be revolting to every uncorrupted nature; her clamorous voice would sound strident, and her shameless brow would create a blush of shame in others; she naturally therefore seeks to throw a veil over herself and a glamour over her proposals; she suggests that secrecy and illicitness will lend a charm to what in itself is a sorry delight. It is clandestine, therefore it is to be sweet; it is forbidden, therefore it is to be pleasant. Could anything be more sophistical? That which owes its attraction to the shadows of the night must obviously be intrinsically unattractive. It is an argument fit only for the shades of the lost, and not for those who breathe the sweet air and behold the sun. Her house is indeed haunted with ghosts, and when a man enters her portal he already has his foot in hell. Well may the LXX add the vehement warning, "Spring away from her clutches; do not linger in the place; let her not have thy name, for thou wilt traverse another’s waters; from another’s waters hold aloof, from another’s fountains do not drink, in order that thou mayest live long, and add to thy years of life."

And now, before leaving this subject, we must briefly remark the great change and advance which Christ has brought into our thought of the relation between the two sexes. This Book of Wisdom is a fair illustration of the contempt in which woman was held by the wise men of Israel. One would suppose that she is the temptress, and man is the victim. The teacher never dreams of going a step backward, and asking whose fault it was that the temptress fell into her vicious ways. He takes no note of the fact that women are first led astray before they lead others. Nor does he care to inquire how the men of his day ruined their women by refusing to them all mental training, all wholesome interest and occupation, shutting them up in the corrupting atmosphere of the seraglio, and teaching them to regard the domestic sphere, and that only in its narrowest sense, as the proper limit of their thought and affection. It was reserved for the Great Teacher, the Incarnate Wisdom Himself, to redress this age-long injustice to woman, by sternly holding up to men the mirror of truth in which they might see their own guilty hearts. It was reserved for him to touch the conscience of a city woman who was a sinner, and to bring her from her clamorous and seductive ways to the sweetness of penitential tears, and the rapturous love which forgiveness kindles. It is He, and not the ancient Wisdom, who has turned the current of men’s thoughts into juster and kindlier ways on this great question. And thus it is that the great Christian poet represents the archangel correcting the faulty judgment of man. Adam, speaking with the usual virtuous indignation of the stronger sex in contemplation of the soft vision of frail women presented to his eyes, says:-

"O pity and shame, that they, who to live well

Entered so fair, should turn aside to tread

Paths indirect, or in the midway faint!

But still I see the tenor of man’s woe

Holds on the same, from woman to begin."

The correction is the correction of Christ, though Michael is the speaker:-

"From man’s effeminate slackness it begins," Said the angel, "who should better hold his place, By wisdom and superior gifts received."

Our Lord draws no such pictures as these in the book of proverbs; they have their value; it is necessary to warn young men against the seductions which the vices of other men have created in woman’s form; but He prefers always to go to the root of the matter; He speaks to men themselves; He bids them restrain the wandering eye, and keep pure the fountains of the heart. To that censorious Wisdom which judges without any perception that woman is more sinned against than sinning He would oppose His severe command to be rid of the beam in one’s own eye, before making an attempt to remove the mote from another’s. It is in this way that He in so many varied fields of thought and action has turned a half-truth into a whole truth by going a little deeper, and unveiling the secrets of the heart; and in this way He has enabled us to use the half-truth, setting it in its right relation to the whole.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/proverbs-20.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.It is naught — “Bad, bad!” says the buyer; but he trips off and then praises himself — boasts of his good bargain. A common occurrence. Some of the old interpreters understand this differently, thus: “It is bad, it is bad!” says the possessor; but when it is gone then he praises it. The force of this would be, we only prize blessings after they are lost. This is true, but probably is not the meaning of this proverb.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-20.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 20:14. It is naught, it is naught. — The commodity is but of little worth; saith the buyer — Namely, to the seller; he discommends it, that he may bring down the price of it; but when he is gone his way — Having purchased the article upon his own terms; then he boasteth — That by his subtlety he hath overreached the seller, and obtained a great advantage to himself, and he laughs at his simplicity in selling it at so low a price. This Solomon notices as a common but very blameable practice.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Buyer. This is the common practice; yet it is not without exceptions. St. Augustine (Trin. xiii. 3.) observes, that the mountebank having promised to tell what every person had in his heart, many came to the theatre, when he told them that they all wished to by cheap, and to sell dear. They all applauded the remark. (Calmet) --- Septuagint is here defective. (Haydock)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

naught . . . naught = very bad. Figure of speech Epizeuxis (App-6), for emphasis.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "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

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

It is naught, it is naught (the ware on sale is bad in quality and quantity), saith the buyer. The repetition expresses superlative worthlessness. The buyer says the same thing over and over again.

But when he is gone his way, then he boasteth - of what a clever bargain he has made; what a good thing he has gotten at a cheap price. We must not do as the world commonly does.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "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

(14) It is naught, saith the buyer.—He cries down the goods he wants to purchase.

Then he boasteth.—How he has outdone the seller, and got the goods below their value. For other notices of cheating in trade see above on Proverbs 11:1.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
It is naught
Ecclesiastes 1:10; Hosea 12:7,8; 1 Thessalonians 4:6
Reciprocal: Proverbs 21:6 - getting

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-20.html.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Посмотрите:

(1) какие уловки используют люди, чтобы заключить выгодную сделку и купить товар дешево. Они не только небрежно снижают стоимость, словно у них нет нужды и они не собираются покупать товар, в то время как не могут уйти без него (возможно, это и благоразумно), но они очерняют и пренебрежительно отзываются о том, цену чему хорошо знают. Они кричат: «Дурно, дурно; вот здесь и здесь дефект или он может быть; это нехорошее качество; это слишком дорого; мы купим товар лучше и дешевле в другом месте или уже купили лучше и дешевле». Так чаще всего проходит сделка. Хотя, скорее всего, покупатель уверен в противоположном тому, что утверждает, но считает, что у него нет другого способа расквитаться с продающим, который так же непомерно расхваливает свой товар, оправдывая установленную на него цену. Поэтому ошибаются обе стороны, в то время как сделка могла бы быть такой же благоприятной, если бы покупающий и продающий были сдержанны и говорили то, что думают.

(2) Как гордятся и радуются люди хорошей сделке, когда ее заключили, хотя тем самым противоречат себе и признают, что притворялись при ее заключении. Когда покупатель убеждает продавца снизить цену и тот соглашается, так как это лучше, чем потерять его (как много бедных купцов вынуждены идти на уступки, так как маленькая прибыль лучше, чем ничего), тогда, возвращаясь по дороге, покупатель хвалится, какие превосходные товары приобрел по низкой цене, и воспринимает как оскорбление и позор, если кто-либо пренебрежительно говорит об этой сделке. Возможно, он разбирается в стоимости товара лучше, чем сам продавец, и знает, как с его помощью заработать еще. Посмотрите, как люди склонны радоваться своим приобретениям и как они гордятся своими уловками, хотя должны стыдиться мошенничества и лжи, даже если много заработали на этом.

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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:14". "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

Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie.

Copyright Statement
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 20:14". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.