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DO no evils, and no evils shall lay hold of thee. 2 Depart from the unjust, and evils shall depart from thee.

Ver. 2.  Evils.  Gr. "injustice."  Evil communications corrupt good manners, (H.) or the punishment of sin follows it commission.  C.



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3 My son, sow not evils in the furrows of injustice, and thou shalt not reap them sevenfold.

Ver. 3.  Not.  Gr. "not in."  H.

 

--- Seven-fold: more abundantly.  Osee x. 11.  Job iv. 5.  Gal. vi. 7.  C.

 

--- The wicked shall receive the fruit of their wickedness.  W.


4 Seek not of the Lord a pre-eminence, nor of the king the seat of honour.

Ver. 4.  Honour.  Ambition is the source of ruin to men and empires.  Jam. iii. 1.  C.


5 Justify not thyself before God, for he knoweth the heart: and desire not to appear wise before the king.

Ver. 5.  God.  Gr. "the Lord, and affect not wisdom (sofizou) before the king."  H.

 

--- Of ourselves we are despicable; and kings love not those whose superior talents seem to eclipse their own.  David's valour excited the hatred of Saul, and Alexander "was indignant that Antipater (his general,  H.) had conquered, thinking his own glory was diminished by that which another acquired."  Curt. vi.



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6 Seek not to be made a judge, unless thou have strength enough to extirpate iniquities: lest thou fear the person of the powerful, and lay a stumblingblock for thy integrity.

Ver. 6.  Integrity.  A judge is expose to many dangers.  2 Par. xix. 6.  C.

 

--- "He must be prudent and firm."  Plato, 2 Rep.

 

--- What will become of those who push themselves forward?  S. Chrys. hom. xxxiv. in Heb. xiii.


7 Offend not against the multitude of a city, neither cast thyself in upon the people, 8 Nor bind sin to sin: for even in one thou shalt not be unpunished.

Ver. 8.  To sin.  Correct not thy severity by too great indulgence, nor entangle thyself with the sins of othres, as with a chain.  Is. v. 18.



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9 Be not fainthearted in thy mind:

Ver. 9.  Mind.  If thou hast committed a fault, despair not, but pray, (v. 10.) avoiding presumption.  v. 14.


10 Neglect not to pray, and to give alms. 11 Say not: God will have respect to the multitude of my gifts, and when I offer to the most high God, he will accept my offerings. 12 Laugh no man to scorn in the bitterness of his soul: for there is one that humbleth and exalteth, God who seeth all.

Ver. 12.  Soul.  Whether the person have incurred a fault or not, we ought to shew pity, reflecting on our own frailty.  1 Cor. x. 12.



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13 Devise not a lie against thy brother: neither do the like against thy friend.

Ver. 13.  Devise.  Lit. "plough."  But Heb. Charasch, means also to machinate.

 

--- Brother.  We cannot hence infer, with Grotius, that the Jews allowed themselves to deceive strangers.  C.


14 Be not willing to make any manner of lie: for the custom thereof is not good.

Ver. 14.  Good, but very pernicious, (Mat. v. 37.  Apoc. xxi. 8.  S. Aug. Mend.) though some have thought that lies might be told to prevent evil.  Orig. &c.  C.


15 Be not full of words in a multitude of ancients, and repeat not the word in thy prayer.

Ver. 15.  Repeat not.  Make not much babbling by repetition of words, but aim more at fervour of heart.  Ch.

 

--- A supplication ought to be drawn up in a concise manner.  H.

 

--- Judges and orators should speak with due reserve.  Prayer must be unceasing: yet many words must not be used to inform God of our wants.  Our Saviour seems to allude to this text.  Mat. vi. 7.


16 Hate not laborious works, nor husbandry ordained by the most High.

Ver. 16.  High.  Gen. ii. 15. and iii. 18.  The patriarchs and the most famous Roman generals followed this employment.


17 Number not thyself among the multitude of the disorderly. 18 Remember wrath, for it will not tarry long.

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19 Humble thy spirit very much: for the vengeance on the flesh of the ungodly is fire and worms.

Ver. 19.  On the flesh, is not in Greek.  Christ appears to have had this passage in view, Mark ix. 44.  Many suppose that both allude to the fire which burnt dead bodies, &c. in the vale of Hinnon.  But all allow that the inextinguishable flames of hell are meant.  Whether the fire and worms be corporeal or not has been questioned: the Greek Fathers, and the Church of Florence, generally maintain the negative, and the Latins assert it on better grounds.  S. Thomas adopts the opinion of many of the Fathers, who explain the worm to denote the remorse of conscience.  Yet many take it to be a worm, though not like those with which we are acquainted.  Horreo vermem mendacem et mortem vivacem.  S. Bern. cons. v.  See S. Jer.  Is. lxvi.  A. Lap.  S. Greg. Dial. iv. 29.  S. Aug. De C. xx. 10.  S. Amb. vii. in Lu. xiv.  C.

 

--- Fire and the worm of conscience are both eternal.  W.

 

--- The punishment at least is such, and more intense than we can conceive.


20 Do not transgress against thy friend deferring money, nor despise thy dear brother for the sake of gold. 21 Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord: for the grace of her modesty is above gold.

Ver. 21.  Wife.  The virtuous never approved of divorcing any but the incorrigible.  C. Dis.



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22 Hurt not the servant that worketh faithfully, nor the hired man that giveth thee his life.

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23 Let a wise servant be dear to thee as thy own soul, defraud him not of liberty, nor leave him needy.

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24 Hast thou cattle? have an eye to them: and if they be for thy profit, keep them with thee.
25 Hast thou children? instruct them, and bow down their neck from their childhood.

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26 Hast thou daughters? have a care of their body, and shew not thy countenance gay towards them. 27 Marry thy daughter well, and then shalt do a great work, and give her to a wise man.

Ver. 27.  Man.  The Jews in general embraced the married state in their youth.  S. Paul prefers virginity.  1 Cor. vii. 8.


28 If thou hast a wife according to thy soul, cast her not off: and to her that is hateful, trust not thyself. With thy whole heart,

Ver. 28.  Hateful.  To marry such a cone would be an occasion of divorce, which is always odious.


29 Honour thy father, and forget not the groanings of thy mother:

Ver. 29.  Groanings, in child-bed, and (C.) during thy infancy.  M.  Job iv. 4.



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30 Remember that thou hadst not been born but through them: and make a return to them as they have done for thee. 31 With all thy soul fear the Lord, and reverence his priests. 32 With all thy strength love him that made thee: and forsake not his ministers. 33 Honour God with all thy soul, and give honour to the priests, and purify thyself with thy arms.

Ver. 33.  Priests.  Gr. "priest, and give him the portion which is enjoined thee, the first-fruit, and for negligence, and the gift of the shoulders, and the," &c. v. 35.  H.

 

--- Arms.  That is, with all thy power: or else by arms (brachiis) are here signified the right shoulders of the victims, which by the law fell to the share of the priests.  See v. 35. (Ch.) Ex. xxix. 28.  Lev. vii. 22.



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34 Give them their portion, as it is commanded thee, of the firstfruits and of purifications: and for thy negligences purify thyself with a few.

Ver. 34.  Few offerings, if thou be poor.  Sa.

 

--- Be alone with the priest when thou dost confess, and imitate the small number.



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35 Offer to the Lord the gift of thy shoulders, and the sacrifice of sanctification, and the firstfruits of the holy things: 36 And stretch out thy hand to the poor, that thy expiation and thy blessing may be perfected.

Ver. 36.  Poor.  They and Levites are always to be invited.  Deut. xii. 19. and xiv. 26.


37 A gift hath grace in the sight of all the living, and restrain not grace from the dead.

Ver. 37.  Dead: detained in purgatory.  W.

 

--- And restrain not grace from the dead.  Withhold not from them the benefit of alms, prayers, and sacrifices.  Such was the doctrine and practice of the Church of God, even in the time of the Old Testament.  And the same has always been continued from the days of the apostles in the Church of the New Testament.  Ch.

 

--- Meat was also placed on the tombs of the deceased, for the benefit of the poor.  Tob. iv. 18.  S. Aug. Conf. vi. 2.


38 Be not wanting in comforting them that weep, and walk with them that mourn.

Ver. 38.  Walk.  Gr. "mourn."  H.

 

--- It was customary to join those who mourned for the dead, and to offer them meat, and endeavour to comfort them.  C. Diss.



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39 Be not slow to visit the sick: for by these things thou shalt be confirmed in love.

Ver. 39.  Love, being approved both by God and man.



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40 In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.

Ver. 40.  End.  Gr. "things;" death, judgment, and either hell or heaven.  H.

 

--- This consideration is a powerful preservative against sin.  W.

 

--- For who would dare to offend his judge, if he believed that the next moment he would be arraigned before his dreadful tribunal?  C.

 

--- "We die daily," &c.  S. Jer. ad Heliod.


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