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A mild answer breaketh wrath: but a harsh word stirreth up fury.

Ver. 1.  Fury.  This was seen in Nabal and Roboam, while Gideon and Abigail shewed the good effects of a mild answer.  Jud. viii. 1. and 1 K. x. 25. and 3 K. xii. 11.



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2 The tongue of the wise adorneth knowledge: but the mouth of fools bubbleth out folly.

Ver. 2.  Knowledge.  It requires to be proposed in a proper manner.


3 The eyes of the Lord in every place behold the good and the evil. 4 A peaceable tongue is a tree of life: but that which is immoderate, shall crush the spirit.

Ver. 4.  Life.  This comparison was become proverbial for something very excellent.  Immoderate.  Heb. "perverse."  C.

 

--- Evil discourse kills the souls both of those who speak, and of those who pay attention to it.  H.


5 A fool laugheth at the instruction of his father: but he that regardeth reproofs shall become prudent. In abundant justice there is the greatest strength: but the devices of the wicked shall be rooted out.

Ver. 5.  In abundant, &c.  Is  omitted in Heb. Chal. and many Greek and Latin copies.  The same idea is expressed in the following verse.


6 The house of the just is very much strength: and in the fruits of the wicked is trouble. 7 The lips of the wise shall disperse knowledge: the heart of fools shall be unlike.

Ver. 7.  Unlike.  The wise, or themselves.  Heb. and Sept. "inconstant."


8 The victims of the wicked are abominable to the Lord: the vows of the just are acceptable.

Ver. 8.  Wicked.  Still unconverted.  Eccli. xxxiv. 23.  When they repent, and offer sacrifice with sincerity, they will obtain mercy.  The Donatists abused this text, to prove that baptism conferred by wicked ministers was unavailing.  But S. Aug. shewed them, that Christ was the principal agent, and conferred grace, even though the minister might draw down judgments on his own head.  Con. Parm. ii. 6.

 

--- Even pagans confessed, that sacrifices, without virtue, could afford no benefit.  "God was more pleased with the prayers of the Lacedemonians, than with all the sacrifices of the Greeks," say the idolatrous priests in Plato, Alcib. ii.  Seneca de Ben. i. 5.



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9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: he that followeth justice is beloved by him. 10 Instruction is grievous to him that forsaketh the way of life: he that hateth reproof shall die.

Ver. 10.  Instruction.  Heb. "a heavy punishment."  H.

 

--- The mind which gives way to vice, must have embraced some false doctrine.


11 Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more the hearts of the children of men?

Ver. 11.  Before.  Naked.  The state of the damned is known to God.  C. ix. 18.  C.


12 A corrupt man loveth not one that reproveth him: nor will he go to the wise.
13 A glad heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by grief of mind the spirit is cast down.

Ver. 13.  Down.  Compunction is salutary, but worldly grief blameable.  C. xxv. 20. and 2 Cor. vii. 10.  S. Greg. past. ii. 10.



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14 The heart of the wise seeketh instruction: and the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. 15 All the days of the poor are evil: a secure mind is like a continual feast.

Ver. 15.  Feast.  Those who repine at their condition are miserable; while the poor may be delivered from many cares.  C.

 

--- O vitæ tuta facultas

Pauperis angustique laris.  Luc. Phar. v.

 

--- Under affliction every thing displeases; but all delights the cheerful temper.


16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasures without content,

Ver. 16.  Content.  Sept. "fear."  Heb. "with trouble," which is preferable.  1 Tim. vi. 6.


17 It is better to be invited to herbs with love, than to a fatted calf with hatred.

Ver. 17.  Calf.  Or feast after sacrifice.  1 K. xvii. 19.  Lu. xv. 23.


18 A passionate man stirreth up strifes: he that is patient appeaseth those that are stirred up.

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19 The way of the slothful is as a hedge of thorns; the way of the just is without offence.

Ver. 19.  Thorns.  All seems to them impossible.  C.

 

--- In agriculture, however, (H.) "in domestic affairs, negligence is attended with more labour than diligence."  Colum. xii. 2.


20 A wise son maketh a father joyful: but the foolish man despiseth his mother. 21 Folly is joy to the fool: and the wise man maketh straight his steps.

Ver. 21.  Fool.  He thinks himself the most happy of mortals.  C.

 

--- Sept. "the ways of the fools are senseless."  H.


22 Designs are brought to nothing where there is no counsel: but where there are many counsellors, they are established.

Ver. 22.  Counsel.  Heb. "secrecy."

 

--- Established.  We put in execution without fear, what has been resolved maturely.  C.


23 A man rejoiceth in the sentence of his mouth: and a word in due time is best. 24 The path of life is above for the wise, that he may decline from the lowest hell.

Ver. 24.  Above.  Lit. "upon the learned."  H.

 

--- One path leads to the realms above.  C.

 

--- The wise must be intent on God.  M.


25 The Lord will destroy the house of the proud: and will strengthen the borders of the widow. 26 Evil thoughts are an abomination to the Lord: and pure words most beautiful shall be confirmed by him.

Ver. 26.  Shall by, &c. is not added in Heb. &c. nor in several Latin MSS.


27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house: but he that hateth bribes shall live. By mercy and faith sins are purged away: and by the fear of the Lord every one declineth from evil.

Ver. 27.  Troubleth.  With all sorts of temporal misfortunes.  A judge who receives bribes, is accursed.  Ex. xxiii. 8.

 

--- By, &c. is not here in Heb. but c.. xvi. 6.  S. Cyprian (3 Test.) found it in his copy.

 

--- Faith, or fidelity and truth, as it is elsewhere expressed.  C. iii. 3.  These virtues move God to pardon.



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28 The mind of the just studieth obedience: the mouth of the wicked over floweth with evils.

Ver. 28.  Studieth.  And speaks deliberately.  Sept. Rom. is more embarrassed in the rest of this, and the nine first verses of the following chapter, than the Complut. edition.


29 The Lord is far from the wicked: and he will hear the prayers of the just. 30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the soul: a good name maketh the bones fat.

Ver. 30.  Fat.  And contributes to health.  By less noble motives, the mind is gradually raised to the more excellent.


31 The ear that heareth the reproofs of life, shall abide in the midst of the wise. 32 He that rejecteth instruction, despiseth his own soul: but he that yieldeth to reproof possesseth understanding. 33 The fear of the Lord is the lesson of wisdom: and humility goeth before glory.

Ver. 33.  Lesson.  Or "what teacheth."  Humility, or docility, as those who acknowledge no master will never be wise.  Matt. xxiii. 12.  C.



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