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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 23:4

Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Labour not to be rich - Let not this be thy object. Labour to provide things honest in the sight of God and all men; and if thou get wealth, do not forget the poor, else God's curse will be a canker even in thy gold.

Cease from thine own wisdom - בינתך binathecha, thy own understanding or prudence. The world says, "Get rich if thou canst, and how thou canst." Rem, si possis, recte; si non, quocunque modo rem; "Get a fortune honestly if thou canst; but if not, get one at all events." This is the devil's counsel, and well it is followed; but Solomon says, and God says, "Cease from thine own counsel." Thou hast an immortal soul, and shalt shortly appear before God. Lay up treasure for heaven, and be rich towards God.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-23.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Cease from thine own wisdom - i. e., “Cease from the use of what is in itself most excellent, if it only serves to seek after wealth, and so ministers to evil.” There is no special contrast between “thine own wisdom” and that given from above, though it is of course implied that in ceasing from his own prudence the man is on the way to attain a higher wisdom.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-23.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 23:4

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Mammon

All the precepts of Scripture have their origin in the benevolence of God. Man labours to be rich because he is voluntarily ignorant or forgetful of the requirements of his nature.

I. Labouring to be rich implies the consecration of our powers to that one object in particular. But this is not the end for which we are endowed with an intellectual faculty and all the susceptibilities of a moral nature. The accumulation of riches as an end is no more worthy the noble powers of man than building a pyramid of sand. Infinitely beneath the dignity and Divine origin of man is the labouring to be rich.

II. Whatever tends to widen the distance between God and man must be regarded as an aggravation of our fallen and ruined condition. We are so constituted that we cannot be engrossed with the successful pursuit of two objects at once. You cannot be labouring to be rich, and to be wise unto salvation at the same time. By our own wilful act to alienate the heart from God must be the most inconceivable of all misfortunes, since the highest object of man’s existence is to hold communion with God. For this his nature was originally framed, and in this alone will his nature ever find contentment or repose.

III. The ruinous effects that the passion under notice occasions in all the moral powers of its victim. People imagine that riches confer greatness. A man is honoured according to the abundance of his capital. The tendency of this is to inflate the mammon-worshipper with personal vanity. But the greatness which is the exclusive offspring of opulence is a hollow, spurious, and mere visionary greatness. Unsanctified riches tend to render their possessor vain, proud, impatient of restraint, forgetful of the sources of true greatness, and insensible to the wants or respect that is due to others. And the pursuit of riches always ends in disappointment. “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” The true riches, like an overflowing stream, irrigate the heart, and make it bear fruit for eternity, but avarice of gold rushes like a torrent of scorching lava--it may excite the wonder and attract the common attention of mankind, but it leaves behind its devastating march a solitude, and barrenness, and ruin, and death. (W. H. Hill, M.A.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 23:4". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-23.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

7

"Weary not thyself to be rich; Cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings, Like an eagle that flieth toward heaven."

Paul warned against the desire to be rich; and here we have a warning in the Old Testament. The heart of Paul's warning (1 Timothy 6:9f) centered upon moral and spiritual damage to the seeker; and here the warning stresses the nature of riches. They have the startling ability to leave their possessor `holding the bag.' Ask any man who has experienced great loss (1) by the death of a trusted partner, a stock market crash, an earthquake, a flood, a tornado, a hurricane, a drought, a revolution, a robbery, embezzlement, fraud, some changing fashion, or any one of a thousand other ways that riches can make themselves wings and fly away. "There is an ancient proverb: `Possessions are like sparrows, or locusts, in flight that can find no place to alight.'"[2]


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-23.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Labour not to be rich,.... In an immoderate over anxious way and manner, to a weariness, as the wordF21אל תיגע "ne fatiges", Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius; "ne hiascas", Schultens. signifies, and even as to gape for breath men ought to labour, that they may have wherewith to support themselves and families, and give to others and: if they can, lay up for their children; but then persons should not toil and weary themselves to heap up riches when they know not who shall gather them and much less make use of indirect and illicit methods to obtain them; resolving to be rich at any rate: rather men should labour for durable riches, lay up treasure in heaven, seek those things which are above, and labour to be accepted of God both here and hereafter; which only is in Christ. The Targum is,

"do not draw nigh to a rich man;'

and so the Syriac version; to which agree the Septuagint and Arabic versions;

cease from thine own wisdom; worldly wisdom in getting; riches, as if this was the highest point of wisdom; do not be always laying schemes, forming projects, inventing new things in order to get money; or do not depend upon thine own wisdom and understanding and expect to be rich by means thereof; for bread is not always to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, Ecclesiastes 9:11. The Targum is,

"but by thine understanding depart from him;'

the rich man; and to the same purpose the Syriac and Arabic versions.


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 Rightes 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

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-23.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Labour not to be rich: cease from thy own d wisdom.

(d) Bestow not the gifts that God has given you, to get worldly riches.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-23.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Thine own wisdom — From worldly wisdom, which persuades men to use all possible means to get riches.


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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.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-23.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Ver. 4. Labour not to be rich.] The courtier is still at his lesson. Many have gotten into princes’ palaces, into places of profit, fat offices, mind nothing more than the feathering of their own nests, raising of their own houses, filling of their own coffers. Such were Shebna, Haman, Sejanus, of whom Tacitus makes this report: Palam compositus pudor, intus summa adipiscendi libido, that he made show of modesty, but was extremely covetous; insomuch, saith Seneca, (a) that he thought all to be lost that he got not for himself. How much better Joseph, Nehemiah, Daniel, &c., who, being wholly for the public, as they had nothing to lose, so they had as little to get, but were above all price or sale.

Cease from thine own wisdom.] Cast away that carnal policy that would prompt thee to get rem, rem, quocunque modo rem, wealth of any fashion. This wisdom is by St James fitly styled "earthly, sensual, devilish." "Earthly," managing the lusts of the eye to the ends of gain; "sensual," managing the lusts of the eye to the ends of pleasure; and "devilish," managing the pride of life unto ends of power (James 3:15, 1 John 2:14-15}


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-23.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 4. Labor not to be rich, the vanity of such an ambition being obvious; cease from thine own wisdom, having enough common sense not to make the acquisition of riches the chief aim in life.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-23.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 23:4. Labour not to be rich In this admonition against covetousness, the wise man neither forbids all labour, nor a provident care, which he commends in other places; but only represents how vain it is to be over-solicitous, and to leave no thoughts or strength for any thing else: for so the first word is, Do not weary thyself to be rich; and in the next part of the verse he bids us desist: from our own understanding: meaning thereby, either that we should not wholly trust to it, though in the use of honest means; or, that we should not follow our own inventions, contrary to divine direction. Houbigant corrects the text, and renders it, nearly after the LXX, thus: "Do not attend, or associate thyself with a rich man, when thou thyself art poor." Archbishop Tillotson has a very lively and pleasing remark upon the next verse; "wherein (says he) the wise man expresses himself in such a manner, as if he would give us the picture of a rich man, who sits brooding over his estate till it is fledged, and, having gotten wings, flies away. But the whole tenor of the gospel teaches us, that we must die to the riches of this world, and to all things here below, and be alive to God alone."


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-23.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Labour not, Heb. Do not weary thyself with immoderate cares and labours, as many covetous men do.

From thine own wisdom; from that carnal wisdom which is natural to man in his corrupt estate, which persuades men to believe that it is their interest to use all possible means to get riches, and that the happiness of their lives consists in the abundance of their possessions, directly contrary to the assertion of our blessed Lord, Luke 12:15.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-23.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Labour not to be rich — Be not over anxious for wealth, nor use improper or dishonourable means to obtain it. Depend less upon thy own sagacity than upon the blessing of God. This applies well to those who stand before kings or occupy high places. 1 Timothy 6:9-10.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-23.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Prudence. Be more solicitous for this, than to acquire riches. (Calmet) --- Yet this wisdom must be sober, Romans xii. 3., and 1 Timothy vi. 9. Septuagint, "being poor, do not stretch forth thyself to the rich, but prudently retire,["] ver. 2. (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-23.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Labour not, &c. Illustrations: Lot (Genesis 13:10, Genesis 13:13); the rich fool (Luke 12:16-20. Compare Proverbs 10:16). See Jeremiah"s advice (Jeremiah 45:5).

wisdom. Hebrew. binah. See note on Proverbs 1:2. Not the same word as in verses: Proverbs 23:9, Proverbs 23:23.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-23.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Labour not to be rich (John 6:27; Matthew 6:19); cease from thine own wisdom - from that wisdom of thine whereby thou labourest to be rich, as thy first aim. Solomon does not oppose diligence, but anxiety, and the common notion that it is true "wisdom" to make money the chief object.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-23.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) Cease from thine own wisdom.—Cleverness shewn in piling up wealth.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-23.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
Labour
28:20; John 6:27; 1 Timothy 6:8-10
cease
3:5; 26:12; Isaiah 5:21; Romans 11:25; 12:16

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 23:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-23.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13
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