Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:17

Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Deceit;   Dishonesty;   Falsehood;   Gravel;   Thompson Chain Reference - Afterwards;   Deceit;   Truth-Falsehood;   The Topic Concordance - Deception;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Bread;   Deceit;   Man;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Work;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Proverbs, Book of;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Bread;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Deceit;   Gravel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Beruriah;   Hananiah (ḥ;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Bread of deceit is sweet - Property acquired by falsehood, speculation, etc., without labor, is pleasant to the unprincipled, slothful man; but there is a curse in it, and the issue will prove it.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

“To eat gravel” was a Hebrew Lamentations 3:16, and is an Arabic, phrase for getting into trouble. So “bread,” got by deceit, tastes sweet at first, but ends by leaving the hunger of the soul unsatisfied. There is a pleasure in the sense of cleverness felt after a hard bargain or a successful fraud, which must be met by bidding men look on the after consequences.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-20.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"Bread of falsehood is sweet to a man; But afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel."

"A man may delight in making his living dishonestly, but after a time his mouth shall be filled with gravel."[13] This, of course, is a warning against dishonesty.

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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 20:17". "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

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man,.... Which may be understood of sin in general, which is bread to the sinner, he eats it: it is called "the bread of wickedness", Proverbs 4:17; but it is but poor bread, no other than ashes Isaiah 44:20; it is "bread of deceit"; there is a deceitfulness in all sin; it is in appearance fair and pleasant to the eye, like the fruit our first parents ate of; or like the apples of Sodom, of which it is reported that they are very beautiful to look at, but when touched drop into ashes; sin promises pleasure, profit, honour, liberty, peace, and impunity, yet gives neither; but the reverse, pain, loss, shame, servitude distress, and destruction; and yet it is sweet to an unregenerate man, one of a vicious taste, or whose taste remains unchanged; it is natural to him and he takes as much delight in it as in eating and drinking; and especially such sins as are called constitution ones, which he is not easily prevailed upon to part with; wickedness is sweet in his mouth, he rolls it and keeps it as a sweet morsel under his tongue, and forsakes it not, Job 20:12. It may be applied to particular sins, as to adultery, as it is by Jarchi, and with which may be compared Proverbs 9:17; and to riches unlawfully gotten; see Job 20:15; and to the cruel usage and persecution of the people of God, called the bread of wickedness and wine of violence, which wicked men take as much delight in as in eating and drinking, Proverbs 4:17; particularly the cruelty of the church of Rome, who has made herself drunk with the blood of the saints, in which she delights, and will be bitter to her in the end, Revelation 17:6. It may be interpreted of false doctrine; so the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees is signified by leavened bread, Matthew 16:6; this is not true bread, does not strengthen, nourish, and refresh, as the Gospel does, but eats as a canker; it is not solid and substantial, but mere chaff, it is bread of falsehood and lying; false teachers lie in wait to deceive, their doctrines are lies in hypocrisy, and, yet these are sweet unto, and taken down greedily by carnal persons; particularly the doctrine of justification by works: this is the bread some men live on, but it is only husks which swine eat; it is feeding on wind, and filling the belly with east wind, which swells and vainly puffs up the fleshly mind; it is contrary to the, Gospel, and is not of the truth, and will deceive persons that trust to it; and yet it is sweet to a natural man; his own righteousness, and to trust to it, is natural to him; it is his own, and what he has laboured for, and is fond of; it affords room for boasting, and he does not care to part with it;

but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel; with that which will be ungrateful, uncomfortable, and distressing to him; the conscience of a sinner, who has been taking his fill of sin and pleasure in it shall be filled with remorse and distress; and with bitter reflections upon himself; with a dreadful sense of divine wrath, and fearful apprehensions of it now; and destruction and damnation will be his portion hereafter; and this will be the consequence of all false doctrine, and of a man's trusting to his own righteousness and despising Christ's; see 2 Peter 2:1.

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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 20:17". "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

sweet — either as unlawfully (Proverbs 9:17) or easily obtained.

mouth  …  gravel — well expresses the pain and grief given at last.

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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 20:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

17 Sweet to a man is the bread of deceit;

Yet at last his mouth is full of gravel.

“Bread of deceit” is not deceit itself, as that after which the desire of a man goes forth, and that for which he has a relish (thus, e.g., Immanuel and Hitzig); but that which is not gained by labour, and is not merited. Possession ( vid ., Proverbs 4:17) or enjoyment (Proverbs 9:17) obtained by deceit is thus called, as לחם כּזבים, Proverbs 23:3, denotes bread; but for him who has a relish for it, it is connected with deceit. Such bread of lies is sweet to a man, because it has come to him without effort, but in the end not only will he have nothing to eat, but his tongue, teeth, and mouth will be injured by small stones; i.e., in the end he will have nothing, and there will remain to him only evil (Fleischer). Or: it changes itself (Job 20:14) at last into gravel, of which his mouth is filled full, as we might say, “it lies at last in his stomach like lead.” חצץ is the Arab. ḥaṭny, gravel (Hitzig, grien = gries , coarse sand, grit), R. חץ, scindere . Similarly in Arab. ḥajar, a stone, is used as the image of disappointed expectations, e.g., the adulterer finds a stone, i.e., experiences disappointment.

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Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-20.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Note, 1. Sin may possibly be pleasant in the commission: Bread of deceit, wealth gotten by fraud, by lying and oppression, may be sweet to a man, and the more sweet for its being ill-gotten, such pleasure does the carnal mind take in the success of its wicked projects. All the pleasures and profits of sin are bread of deceit. They are stolen, for they are forbidden fruit; and they will deceive men, for they are not what they promise. For a time, however, they are rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel, and the sinner blesses himself in them. But, 2. It will be bitter in reflection. Afterwards the sinner's mouth shall be filled with gravel. When his conscience is awakened, when he sees himself cheated, and becomes apprehensive of the wrath of God against him for his sin, how painful and uneasy then is the thought of it! The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and are succeeded with sorrow. Some nations have punished malefactors by mingling gravel with their bread.

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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. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

HARD FARE

‘Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall he filled with gravel.’

Proverbs 20:17

There are instances in which a very little practice in evil will make real wickedness seem to one harmless, to another necessary, to another almost satisfactory. This is what the wise prince meant by saying the bread of deceit was sweet. ‘Yes, it is,’ says Solomon—and afterwards? How may we be certain of the afterwards of deceit? How may we be certain that it will infinitely outweigh the present sweetness?

I. All things that are done by God’s creatures are subject to God’s judgment.—If God approves of a thing, the things that follow from it are sure to be good and happy things. If He condemns it they are sure to be good in one sense, but they are absolutely sure to be destructive of that which is causing evil, and they would not be good unless they were so destructive and baneful and withering to what is evil.

II. The deceiver is especially a person who, by his own act and deed, resolutely and on purpose appeals from this life to the next.—He says, ‘I will not be judged here. I will not now bear the consequences of what I have done.’ Who can aid him? How can his best lover and friend protect him? Is it wonderful that Solomon and St. John alike, in speaking of the deceiver, say that his time comes afterwards?

—Archbishop Benson.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/proverbs-20.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 20:17 Bread of deceit [is] sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Ver. 17. Bread of deceit is sweet to a man.] Sin’s murdering morsels will deceive those that devour them. There is a deceitfulness in all sin, [Hebrews 3:13] a lie in all vanity. [Jeremiah 2:8] The stolen waters of adultery are sweet, [Proverbs 9:17] but bitterness in the end: such sweet meat hath sour sauce. Commodities craftily or cruelly compassed, yield a great deal of content for present. But when the unconscionable cormorant hath "swallowed down such riches, he shall vomit them up again; God shall cast them out of his belly." [John 20:15] Either by remorse and restitution in the meantime, or with despair and impenitent horror hereafter.

His mouth shall be filled with gravel.] Pane lapidoso, as Seneca hath it - with grit and gravel, to the torment of the teeth; that is, terror of the conscience, and torture of the whole man. Such a bitter-sweet was Adam’s apple, Esau’s mess, the Israelites’ quails, Jonathan’s honey, the Amalekites’ cates after the sack of Ziklag, [1 Samuel 30:16] Adonijah’s dainties, [1 Kings 1:9] which ended in horror; ever after the meal is ended, comes the reckoning. Men must not think to dine with the devil, and then to sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven: to feed upon the poison of asps, and yet that the viper’s tongue shall not slay them. [Job 20:16] When the asp stings a man, it doth first tickle him, so as it makes him laugh, till the poison by little and little gets to the heart, and then it pains him more than ever it delighted him. So doth sin. At Alvolana in Portugal, three miles from Lisbon, many of our English soldiers under the Earl of Essex perished, by eating of honey, purposely left in the houses and spiced with poison, as it was thought. (a) And how the treacherous Greeks destroyed many of the western Christians, French and English, marching toward the Holy Land, by selling them meal mingled with lime, is well known out of the Turkish history.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-20.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 17. Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, what he gains by such means may seem pleasant and enjoyable to him at first; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel, it will be most disagreeable and grievous to him.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-20.html. 1921-23.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:17

There are instances in which a very little practice in evil will make real wickedness seem to one harmless, to another necessary, to another almost satisfactory. This is what the wise prince meant by saying the bread of deceit was sweet. "Yes, it is," says Solomon—and afterwards? How may we be certain of the afterwards of deceit? How may we be certain that it will infinitely outweigh the present sweetness?

I. All things that are done by God's creatures are subject to God's judgment. If God approves of a thing, the things that follow from it are sure to be good and happy things. If He condemns it they are sure to be good in one sense, but they are absolutely sure to be destructive of that which is causing evil, and they would not be good unless they were so destructive and baneful and withering to what is evil.

II. The deceiver is especially a person who, by his own act and deed, resolutely and on purpose appeals from this life to the next. He says, "I will not be judged here. I will not now bear the consequences of what I have done." Who can aid him? How can his best lover and friend protect him? Is it wonderful that Solomon and St. John alike, in speaking of the deceiver, say that his time comes afterwards?

Archbishop Benson, Boy Life: Sundays in Wellington College, p. 132.


Reference: Proverbs 20:22-30.—R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. ii., p. 362.


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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/proverbs-20.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 20:17. Bread of deceit Bread gained by fraud. Houbigant.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-20.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Bread of deceit; gain or pleasure procured by unrighteous courses.

His mouth shall be filled with gravel; it shall be bitter and pernicious at last, like gritty bread, which offends the teeth and stomach. It will certainly bring upon him the horrors of a guilty conscience, and the wrath and judgments of the Almighty God.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". 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

17.Bread of deceit — Enjoyments and possessions acquired by fraud, or any illicit means. (Compare Proverbs 23:3; Proverbs 9:17.)

Filled with gravel Comp. Lamentations 3:16. His unlawful gratifications will be turned to grievous annoyances.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "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 20:17. Bread of deceit — Gain or pleasure procured by unrighteous courses; is sweet to a man — And the more sweet, because it is unlawfully obtained; such pleasure doth the carnal mind take in the success of its wicked projects! Observe, reader, all the pleasures and profits of sin are bread of deceit; they are stolen; they are forbidden fruit; and they deceive men; for they do not perform what they promise. For a time, indeed, they are, perhaps, rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel, and the sinner blesses himself in them, but afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel His bread of deceit will be bitter and pernicious, and produce pain and sickness in his stomach; when his conscience is awakened, when he sees himself cheated, and becomes apprehensive of the wrath of God against him for his sin, how painful and distressing then is the thought of it!

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Lying. Deceit, and unlawful pleasures, chap. ix. 17. But God mingles disgust with them, and will punish the guilty, at least hereafter. Worldly enjoyments seem sweet, but they are full of gravel, and hurtful.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Bread of deceit = Bread gained by deceit. Genitive of Origin. See App-17(2).

Bread. Put by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Part), for all kinds of food.

deceit = lying. Hebrew. sheker. See note on Proverbs 11:18.

filled with gravel: or grit. See note on Genesis 3:14, implying utmost disappointment. See App-19.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "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

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

Bread of deceit - bread obtained by deceit (Proverbs 4:17; Proverbs 23:3). If the Qeri' reading, as in the English version, Proverbs 20:16, be taken, "bread of deceit" will mean secret adultery, sweet at the time, but deadly in the end: 'Nocet empta dolore voluptas'-Fatal is the pleasure bought with pain (Job 20:12-16).

But afterward his mouth shall be filled with gravel. Grit often mixes with bread baked in the ashes, according to the eastern custom (Lamentations 3:16).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
deceit
Heb. lying, or falsehood.
4:17
is sweet
9:17,18; Genesis 3:6,7; Job 20:12-20; Ecclesiastes 11:9; Hebrews 11:25
his
Lamentations 3:15,16
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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-20.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . A man. The Hebrew word here used is the one which denotes a superior man.

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

BAD BREAD

I. Some gratification is to be obtained from dishonest gain. Many a swindler gets not only bread by swindling, but many other things, which not only minister to his senses, but gratify mental appetites not in themselves unlawful. And he finds pleasure in the fruit of his dishonesty—in, it may be, his well-furnished table, his luxurious mansion, his social position. It is not the highest and the purest pleasure, but there is a sweetness in it, or men would not grasp so eagerly the "bread of deceit."

II. A time will come when it will not only cease to give pleasure, but will bring misery. The dishonest man will find that, after all, his gains are not bread for his higher nature—that his soul is still unsatisfied, and crying out for sustenance—and, more than this, that his conscience demands satisfaction for the wrong-doing of the past—that even if he is permitted to keep possession of his ill-gotten wealth, it is not only what chaff without the grain, or the husk without the kernel, is to the starving man, but as the very sand of the desert or the dust of the highway in the mouth, tormenting as well as unsatisfying.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

"Everything gotten wrongfully is here implied." Bitter was Achan's sweet, deceitfully hid in the tent, which brought ruin upon himself and his family (Jos ). Look at Gehazi. What profit had he from his talents of silver and changes of garments? Bitter indeed was the bread of deceit to him (2Ki 5:20-27). Look even at Jacob, a true servant of God; and yet chastened heavily almost to the end of his days with the bitter fruits of deceit (Genesis 27; Gen 42:36-38).—Bridges.

Men must not think to dine with the devil, and then to sup with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.—Trapp.

It is crusted without, as if it were bread; but within, contrary to bread, is not soft. The deceived, tasting it with the tongue of his hope and presuming confidence, findeth nothing which is not grateful unto him: the deceiver tasting it with the tongue of present profit findeth it most luscious unto him. But when the deceiver, having it in his mouth, pierceth it with the teeth of his trial, then as gravel breaketh the teeth so it breaketh his heart; and when the deceiver comes to feed upon it he findeth there is no juice of true profit.—Jermin.

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-20.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Отметьте:

(1) совершать грех может быть приятно. Хлеб, приобретенный неправдою (как и богатство, добытое мошенничеством, ложью и угнетением), может быть сладок для человека, особенно сладок оттого, что добыт нечестным путем, – такое удовольствие получает плотский ум, добиваясь успеха своих нечестивых планов. Все удовольствия и прибыль от греха – это хлеб, приобретенный неправдою. Они украдены, так как являются запретным плодом, и обманут людей, так как представляют собой не то, чем кажутся. Однако какое-то время их перекатывают под языком, как сладкую конфетку, и грешник благословляет себя в них. Но

(2) при размышлении он окажется горьким, впоследствии рот грешника наполнится дресвою. Когда его совесть пробудится, когда он увидит себя обманутым и осознает гнев Божий, проливающийся на него за каждый грех, как болезненно и тревожно он будет вспоминать его! Наслаждения от греха длятся недолго и заканчиваются скорбью. Некоторые народы наказывали преступников, подмешивая в их хлеб камешки – дресву.

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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "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

Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection.

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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:17". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.