Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:3

Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, But any fool will quarrel.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Adjudication at Law;   Busybody;   Fool;   Meekness;   Peace;   Strife;   Thompson Chain Reference - Fools;   Strife;   Unity-Strife;   Wisdom-Folly;   The Topic Concordance - Foolishness;   Strife;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Busy-Bodies;   Fools;   Strife;  
Dictionaries:
Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Glory;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Proverbs, Book of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Fool;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fool;   Quarrel;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

It is an honoer for a man - The same sentiment as Proverbs 19:11.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Meddling - See Proverbs 17:14 note.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-20.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 20:3

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife.

The law of honour

The rules of life by which men are ordinarily governed are the law of honour, the law of the land, and the law of God. It is the object of religious institutions and instruction to uphold the last of these as the supreme and universal rule. In doing this, it is sometimes necessary to bring the other two into a comparison with it, as standards of duty and right. There ought to be no opposition between the law of the land and the commandment of God, and no contradiction to either of them in the sentiment of honour. The word “honour,” in its original idea, signifies respect or praise. It is that tribute of good opinion, which attends a character thought to be commendable. It is the external expression of the respect which is conceived to be due. The man of true honour is the man of real desert--the man who has this sense of character because he is conscious that his integrity of purpose and uprightness of life give him a claim to the honour which is always rendered to such a character. His sense of honour is sense of desert, rather than desire of reputation. Proceeding from this origin, it will appear that the characteristic ideas comprised in the sentiment of honour are, self-respect and respect for others. Such a man, valuing himself on the dignity of his nature, which others have in common with himself, conducts himself toward them as he desires that others should do toward him, in the spirit of apostolic injunction, “Honour all men.” He thinks himself less disgraced by its omission on their part than on his own. He is rather ready to defer to others, agreeably to the other injunction, “In honour preferring one another.” He yields, in this spirit of mutual respect, something to his fellows beyond what he thinks it necessary to insist on receiving. It is thus a generous spirit: it always consults the feelings of others; desires their happiness; guards their reputation; shuns wrong toward any one as the first disgrace; strives for right as the chief honour. Taken in this sense, the sentiment in question is a suitable one for man, and seems to have been designed in the constitution as one of the guardians of his virtue. When thus enlisted on the side of right it becomes a high instinct, prompting to spontaneous rectitude, and causing an intuitive shrinking from whatever is unworthy and base. It contradicts no law of man, and is in harmony with the law of God. But, at the same time, from its intimate connection with what is personal in interest and feeling, it is greatly exposed to degenerate into a false and misguiding sentiment. And so it has, in fact, happened. Connecting itself with the notions of character which prevail by chance in the community, rather than with the rule of light and of God, it has erected a false standard of estimate, and kindled a light that leads astray. Thus honour comes to bear the same relation to virtue that politeness does to kindness; it is its representative; it keeps up the form and pretension when the principal is absent; and, for all the ordinary purposes of the superficial social system of the world, it is accounted quite as good as that which it stands for. This, then, is the first objectionable trait in the world’s law of honour as a rule of life; it is deceptive and superficial; it is a thing of appearance only, and not a reality. And from this the descent is natural and easy, down to the next ill quality. Setting the value which it does on appearance, it finds the object of right gained by seeming to be right; then the heinousness of wrong may be avoided by concealing the wrong. The man has learned to act, not with a view to doing right, but with a view to reputation--sometimes even for the appearance of having the reputation. Thus it appears that a man of worldly honour may be guilty of a certain degree of baseness and crime without inconsistency and without compunction, if he have but the skill to keep it from being known. It is not wonderful that it should soon follow from this that he may be guilty of certain sorts of baseness and crime openly, and yet not forfeit his reputation. And such is the fact. One may be a gambler to a certain extent, and actually ruin a friend and drive him to despair--yet no impeachment of his honour. He may be unprincipled in his expenditures, so that the poor whom he employs shall be unable to obtain of him their just dues; he may revel in luxury, while defrauding the mechanics and tradesmen on whose ingenuity and toil he lives--yet no impeachment of honour. He may be a known debauchee, trampling on the most sacred rights and affections of his own home; he may, by a process of deliberate, heartless cunning and fraud, bring down an humble beauty to hopeless disgrace and misery; he may be, on a very trivial offence, the murderer of his friend--yet not one nor all of these crimes, accompanied as they are with what is mean and base, takes from him his claim to be treated as a man of honour.

1. The spirit of worldly honour is thus evidently characterised by selfishness. Its fundamental idea is a reference to what the world will think of me; my reputation, my standing--how are they affected? What will secure them in the eyes of the world? Everything must give way to this paramount consideration. I must secure my own good name among those with whom I move, come what may. It is amazing what deeds are done in consequence!

2. It is equally distinguished for its jealousy. Selfishness is always jealous. It cannot have anything of sincere and generous confidence in others. The man whose rule of life is to refer everything to its bearing on its own reputation, to weigh all the words and looks of other men with a view to discover whether they sufficiently acknowledge his claims to consideration acquires thereby an unreasonable sensitiveness of feeling, nourishes an uneasy spirit of jealous suspicion, is annoyed by slight causes, and offended by trifling inadvertences.

3. Thus jealous and revengeful, it is not surprising that the system in question should be despotic also. Such tempers are always so. It rules with arbitrary, inexorable, uncompromising sway. It allows no wavering, no relenting, no appeal. The slave is not mere entirely deprived of his right over his own limbs and labour than the devotee of honour is deprived of a right to his own judgment in all things within her province. He is in the hands of the ministers of honour, and they allow him no retreat. He must go on by that rule which he has adopted. The terrors of disgrace and ruin await him if he draw back. And thus, willing or unwilling--like a victim to the sacrifice--he is led out and immolated on the altar at which he had been proud to worship. This is the consummation to which the system leads. The duel is its tribunal and its place of execution. Worthy close of the progress we have described! It is fit that what began in meanness should issue in blood. The pulpit, beneath which so many young men sit while forming the characters by which they are to influence their country and their fellow-men during many future years of active and public life, would be false to its momentous trust if, at such a moment as this, it failed to lift its warning cry; if it did not attempt to disabuse their minds of the delusive fascination with which the reckless spirit of worldly honour is too often invested. The halls of learning, where Philosophy teaches, and Science utters truth, and Christianity communicates the law of brotherhood and love, would be unworthy of their lofty place if they did not resound with the proclamation that all those great and deathless interests denounce and abhor the masked impostor that, under the name of honour, opens to the aspiring young the highway of sin and death. And therefore it is that I have sought to tear away its disguise and expose its deformity; therefore it is that I would bring forward in its place the true honour, founded in right--exercised in self-respect and respect for all--faithful to all trusts alike--fearing only God. Let the future men of our country hear, and make it theirs. (H. Ware, D. D.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 20:3". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-20.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"It is honor for a man to keep aloof from strife; But every fool will be quarreling."

"It does men honor to keep clear of strife: a fool quarrels with everyone."[2] There is no greater damage to human personality than that which is accomplished by a quarrelsome disposition.

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 20:3". "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 an honour for a man to cease from strife,.... As Abraham did, Genesis 13:7; when engaged in a quarrel with his neighbour, or in a lawsuit, or in a religious controversy, especially when he finds he is in the wrong; and indeed, if he is in the right, when he perceives it is like to issue in no good, and is only about words to no profit, it is an honour to drop it;

but every fool will be meddling; with things he has no concern in, or is not equal to; yet will carry on the debate, though it is to his disgrace; see Proverbs 17:14.

Copyright Statement
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 20:3". "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

to cease from strife — or, better, “to dwell from or without strife,” denoting the habit of life.

fool  …  meddling — (Proverbs 17:14).

Copyright Statement
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 20:3". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

3 It is an honour to a man to remain far from strife;

But every fool showeth his teeth.

Or better: whoever is a fool quisquis amens , for the emphasis does not lie on this, that every fool, i.e., every single one of this sort, contends to the uttermost; but that whoever is only always a fool finds pleasure in such strife. Regarding התגּלּע, vid ., Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 18:1. On the contrary, it is an honour to a man to be peaceable, or, as it is here expressed, to remain far from strife. The phrase may be translated: to desist from strife; but in this case the word would be pointed שׁבת, which Hitzig prefers; for שׁבת from שׁבת means, 2 Samuel 23:7, annihilation (the termination of existence); also Exodus 21:19, שׁבתּו does not mean to be keeping holy day; but to be sitting, viz., at home, in a state of incapability for work. Rightly Fleischer: “ ישׁב מן, like Arab. ḳ'ad ṣan, to remain sitting quiet, and thus to hold oneself removed from any kind of activity.” He who is prudent, and cares for his honour, not only breaks off strife when it threatens to become passionate, but does not at all enter into it, keeps himself far removed from it.

Copyright Statement
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 20:3". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-20.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

This is designed to rectify men's mistakes concerning strife. 1. Men think it is their wisdom to engage in quarrels; whereas it is the greatest folly that can be. He thinks himself a wise man that is quick in resenting affronts, that stands upon every nicety of honour and right, and will not abate an ace of either, that prescribes, and imposes, and gives law, to every body; but he that thus meddles is a fool, and creates a great deal of needless vexation to himself. 2. Men think, when they are engaged in quarrels, that it would be a shame to them to go back and let fall the weapon; whereas really it is an honour for a man to cease from strife, an honour to withdraw an action, to drop a controversy, to forgive an injury, and to be friends with those that we have fallen out with. It is the honour of a man, a wise man, a man of spirit, to show the command he has of himself by ceasing from strife, yielding, and stooping, and receding from his just demands, for peace-sake, as Abraham, the better man, Genesis 13:8.

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. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

Meddling — Is always ready to begin strife, and obstinate in the continuance of it.

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
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-20.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 20:3 [It is] an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

Ver. 3. It is an honour for a man to cease from strife.] To stint it rather than to stir it; to be first in promoting peace and seeking reconciliation, as Abraham did in the controversy with Lot. Memento - said Aristippus to Aeschines, with whom he had a long strife - quod cum essem natu maior, prior te accesserim. (a) Remember, said he, that though I am the elder man, yet I first sought reconciliation. I shall well remember it, said Aeschines, and while I live I shall acknowledge thee the better man, because I was first in falling out, and thou art first in falling in again. (b)

But every fool will be meddling.] Or, Mingling himself with strife; he hath an itching to be doing with it, to be quarrelling, brabling, lawing. Once it was counted ominous to commence actions and follow suits. (c) Now nothing more ordinary, for every trifle, treading upon their grass, or the like. This is as great folly as for every slight infirmity to take physic.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-20.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 3. It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, to dwell and remain far from quarrels, neither to provoke nor to promote them; but every fool will be meddling, foolishly starting quarrels.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-20.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

To cease from strife; either to prevent it, or, if it be begun, to put an end to it; which, although proud and profane persons esteem dishonourable to them, is indeed their glory, because it is an evidence of their great wisdom and power over their passions, and of their respect and obedience to their sovereign Lord, in which their honour and happiness consists.

Will be meddling, to wit, with matters of strife; he is always ready to begin strife, and obstinate in the continuance of it.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". 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

3.Cease from — Or, keep aloof from, dwell apart from.

Every fool will be meddling , (yithgalla’h.) For a similar rendering of a cognate word see Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 18:1. Zockler reads, “Breaketh forth:”

Miller, “Pushes recklessly on:” Stuart, “Involves himself:” Conant, “Gets angry.” Compare Proverbs 19:11.

 

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-20.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Reproaches. It is better not to commence a lawsuit, even when we are in the right, chap. xvii. 11. (Calmet) --- Plena victoria est ad clamantem tacere. (Val. Max.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

to cease from strife. Illustrations: Abraham (Genesis 13:7-9. Compare Proverbs 17:14); David (1 Samuel 25:32-34).

fool. Hebrew. "evil. See note on Proverbs 1:7.

meddling = breaking out. See notes on Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 18:1. The only other occurrences of gala". Not the same word as in Proverbs 20:19.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "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 an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

(It is) an honour for a man to cease from strife. Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 19:11 forbid beginning strife; this verse bids us to cease from it when it has been begun, which is more difficult, and therefore more glorious. Men think that to give up a strife once begun would detract from their power, wealth, wisdom, or determination. But it is really unseemly in a wise and large-minded man (so the Hebrew, ish, means, in contrast to "fool") to keep up strife, and is only the part of narrow-minded men and petty women.

But every fool will be meddling - in strife (Proverbs 17:14, end).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "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

(3) But every fool.—Self-willed person. (Comp. Proverbs 1:22.)

Will be meddling.—Or, rather, shewing his teeth: (Comp. Proverbs 17:14) thinking that his own personal dignity is at stake.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
an
14:29; 16:32; 17:14; 19:11; 25:8-10; Ephesians 1:6-8; 4:32; 5:1
but
14:17; 18:6; 21:24; 2 Kings 14:9; James 3:14; 4:1
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 14:10 - why shouldest;  2 Chronicles 25:17 - let us see;  2 Chronicles 25:19 - why shouldest;  Proverbs 18:1 - intermeddleth;  Proverbs 26:17 - passeth

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:3". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-20.html.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Цель данного стиха – исправить ошибочное мнение человека о ссоре.

1. Люди считают, что, участвуя в ссоре, они проявляют мудрость, хотя ссора – наибольшая глупость, которая может быть. Кто быстро возбуждается и переходит к оскорблениям, кто настаивает на каждой детали чести и права, кто не уступит ни на йоту от предписанного и навязывает всем свои законы, тот считает себя мудрым. На самом деле ведущий себя подобным образом является глупцом и создает себе много ненужного беспокойства.

2. Люди считают, что, участвуя в ссоре, позорно отступать и опускать оружие, хотя на самом деле честь для человека – отстать от ссоры, отменить действие, оставить разногласия, простить обиду и стать друзьями с противниками. честь мужа – мудрого и духовного мужа – продемонстрировать умение руководить собой, отступая от ссоры, уступая, покоряясь и отказываясь от своих справедливых требований, как поступал Авраам – лучший муж (Быт.13:8).

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 20:3". "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

To engage in quarrels is the greatest folly that can be. Yield, and even give up just demands, for peace' sake.

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 20:3". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.