Ver. 1. Men. Merit is preferable to high birth, as it surmounts difficulties. C.
--- Those who humble themselves, like Daniel, or fall under the oppression of others unjustly, as Joseph did, shall be exalted by God. W.
Ver. 2. Look. "The most robust is farthest removed from wisdom." Cicero.
--- The beauty of the soul must be regarded. S. Amb. Virg. 3. C.
Forma bonum fragile est, quantumque accedit ad annos
Fit minor, et spatio carpitur ipsa suo. Ovid, Art. 2.
Ver. 3. Sweetness. Honey was more esteemed before sugar became common. As the little bee produces such sweetness, so the less beautiful often by their abilities surpass the comely.
Ver. 5. Throne. Gr. "pavement." Dionysius II. tyrant of Syracuse, was forced to turn schoolmaster at Corinth. C.
--- Crown. Abdalonymus, a gardener, was placed on the throne of Sidon; (Curt. 4.) and several Roman emperors had been of the meanest condition. Pliny xxxv. 18. David was a shepherd.
Ver. 6. Others, like Samson, Sedecias, Bajazet, &c.
Ver. 7. Man, as David did Miphiboseth. 2 K. xvi. 4. Constantine the Great grieved for having put his son Crispus to death on too weak evidence; and Theodosius repented for the sentence he had rashly passed on the inhabitants of Thessalonica. Even though the sentence should happen to be just, it would be wrong to pronounce it too hastily.
Ver. 8. Discourse. This is a mark of impertinence. Prov. xviii. 13. C.
--- Let others finish their sentence, and wait if there be any elder or better informed to speak. W.
Ver. 10. Escape. God will grant thee riches without so much solicitude (Lyran.) or rather meddle not with too many things, as that is the way to succeed in none, and destroys all repose.
Ver. 16. Sinners. They are all born in sin. But some appear to have worse dispositions than others. Ps. lvii. 4. C.
--- God is not the author of iniquity. H.
--- He punishes in order to save, though he be offended by the wicked choice of man. C.
--- Blindness of heart and obduracy are punishments of sin. W.
Ver. 17. Ever. All things work together for the good of the elect. Rom. viii. 8. H.
--- God never abandons first. Trid. Ses. vii. 11.
--- The wicked often abuse graces. C.
Ver. 21. Covenant. All the Israelites partook in covenants entered into between God and their fathers, which became their own by circumcision, as we become entitled to the alliance of Christ by baptism.
Ver. 22. Place. If God bestow not riches, it may be for thy advantage.
Ver. 24. Fruit. Prosperity was a sign of God's favour, under the old law. Now nothing is more equivocal, and the poor are declared blessed. C.
Ver. 26. Myself. Neither the poor nor the rich can be independent of God. H.
--- Perhaps no one does to hold this language. But many act as if they thought themselves gods, and some have claimed divine honours. 4 K. xviii. 34. Is. xiv. 13. Ezec. xxix. 3.
Ver. 28. Death, in old age, (Grot.) or rather after the soul's departure. The pagans had not this consolation. Their hopes were confined to the earth; and as they saw many honest people miserable, they introduced a chimerical idea of happiness, consisting in virtue alone. The views of Christians are chiefly bent on future rewards.
Ver. 29. Hour. The last of life. It demonstrates the vanity of past pleasures. Even a momentary toothache will banish the recollection of such delights.
Ver. 30. Children. If they take wicked ways, it is a stain on their father's memory; and though the latter were blameless, it must greatly disturb their repose. C.
--- Children may here denote the works of man, which can only then be pronounced perfect, when he is incapable of falling from the state of virtue. H.
Ante obitum nemo supremaque funera debet. Metam. iii.
--- Solon inculcated this truth to Crœsus, and when the latter was about to be burnt to death by Cyrus, he called thrice upon Solon's name; the reason of which being told the conqueror, he took pity on the fallen king, and treated him with great respect. Laert. 1. Plut. in Solon
--- These sages only regarded the goods of this life. But the Christian's real happiness commences after death. Mors...gratio missionis est. S. Amb. Mort. viii.
Ver. 36. Own. So Herod destroyed his wife's family, and Paris stole Helen. C.