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BETTER is the poor man, that walketh in his simplicity, than a rich man that is perverse in his lips, and unwise.

Ver. 1.  Rich, is not in Heb. Sept. Compl. or S. Jerom.  C.

 

--- But as there is not antithesis between a poor man and a fool, it ought to be inserted, as it is in the Syriac, which reads, "than he who is perverse in his ways, though he be rich."  The MS. 2 confirms "ways."  Kennicott.



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2 Where there is no knowledge of the soul, there is no good: and he that is hasty with his feet shall stumble.

Ver. 2.  Soul.  Wholesome and spiritual.  Heb. "the soul or life is not good."

 

--- Stumble.  "The more I make haste, the less I advance," said Plato; (Rep. 7.) and Augustus often repeated; Sat cito, si sat benè.  Sueton.



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3 The folly of a man supplanteth his seeps: and he fretteth in his mind against God.

Ver. 3.  Fretteth.  Lit. "burneth."  Sept. "blameth."  Heb. "his heart rageth against the Lord."  H.

 

--- Thus Adam tacitly laid the blame on him, as all those who excuse themselves on account of their temper, habits, stars, the violence of temptation, &c.  C.


4 Riches make many friends: but from the poor man, even they whom he had, depart. 5 A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.

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6 Many honour the person of him that is mighty, and are friends of him that giveth gifts. 7 The brethren of the poor man hate him: moreover also his friends have departed far from him. He that followeth after words only, shall have nothing.

Ver. 7.  Only.  Heb. has lo, and the marg. lu, with the Vulg.  C.

 

--- The former word intimates that the words have no solidity, and the latter that they shall be his only portion who is so foolish as to trust in them.  Sequens dicta non ispa; (Mont.) or ei ipsa, if we follow the margin.  H.


8 But he that possesseth a mind, loveth his own soul, and he that keepeth prudence shall find good things.

Ver. 8.  Mind.  Heb. "heart," intelligence.  C. xv. 32.

 

--- Loveth.  This does not contradict the gospel; (Jo. xii. 25.) as those who refrain from what the soul would crave to its own detriment, truly love it.


9 A false witness shall not be unpunished: and he that speaketh lies, shall perish. 10 Delicacies are not seemly for a fool: nor for a servant to have rule over princes.

Ver. 10.  Fool.  He would eat them, so as to prejudice his health.

 

--- Princes.  C. xxx. 21.  Such are commonly insolent, and should attend to Ausonius.  Fortunam reverenter habe.


11 The learning of a man is known by patience and his glory is to pass over wrongs.

Ver. 11.  Wrongs.  The wise man is not vindictive or punctilious.


12 As the roaring of a lion, so also is the anger of a king: and his cheerfulness as the dew upon the grass.

Ver. 12.  Anger.  Is not their dominion enough?  Having none to admonish them, they do not perceive their excesses.


13 A foolish son is the grief of his father: and a wrangling wife is like a roof continually dropping through.

Ver. 13.  Through.  It cannot be endured long.  C.

 

--- Dos est uxoria lites.  Ovid. Art. 1.

 

--- "Quarrels are a wife's dowry."

 



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14 House and riches are given by parents: but a prudent wife is properly from the Lord.

Ver. 14.  Properly.  Sept. "fitted by."  H.

 

--- Hence the Fathers dissuade marrying with infidels.  S. Amb. in Lu. xvi.

 

--- All good comes from God.


15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep, and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

Ver. 15.  Hunger.  Both temporal and eternal.  C.

 

--- Non progredi, regredi est.  S. Bernard says, "Not to advance, is to go back."


16 He that keepeth the commandment, keepeth his own soul: but he that neglecteth his own way, shall die.

Ver. 16.  Neglecteth.  Heb. "contemneth."  In the law of Moses, many transgressions are punished with death, but here that of the soul is meant.  C.


17 He that hath mercy on the poor, lendeth to the Lord: and he will repay him.

Ver. 17.  Lendeth.  To receive interest, fœneratur.  H.

 

--- Such usury is lawful, and God will abundantly reward acts of mercy.  C.

 

--- He engages his word for the poor.  S. Aug. in Ps. xxxvi.


18 Chastise thy son, despair not: but to the killing of him set not thy soul.

Ver. 18.  Killing.  Prot. "crying;" or by his complaint be not deterred.  H.

 

--- Chal. agrees with us.  The law permitted parents to sell their children, and to have them stoned to death, if they declared them disobedient, (Deut. xxi. 18.  C.) and riotous, v. 20.  Timely chastisement may prevent such extremities.  H.

 

--- S. Paul dissuades unnecessary severity.  Col. iii. 21.


19 He that is impatient, shall suffer damage: and when he shall take away he shall add another thing.

Ver. 19.  Thing.  A child neglected will continue to steal, or to offend; (C.) while too much harshness will do no good, but tend to the damage of all parties.  H.

 

--- Anger is productive of the worst effects.


20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayst be wise in thy latter end. 21 There are many thoughts in the heart of a man: but the will of the Lord shall stand firm.

Ver. 21.  Firm.  Ignorance and weakness cause men to change.


22 A needy man is merciful: and better is the poor than the lying man.

Ver. 22.  Merciful.  Heb. ii. 17.  Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco. Æn. 4.

 

--- Heb. "the desire of a man is his mercy," (Mont.  H.) or "shame," (R. Levi) as it leads to sin.  Gen. vi. 5.  All wish to be esteemed merciful.

 

--- Man of quality.  Heb. meish, "prœ viro."  Mont.

 

--- "Rich man."  Sept.  H.


23 The fear of the Lord is unto life: and he shall abide in fulness without being visited with evil.

Ver. 23.  Life.  Both temporal and eternal.  C. x. 27.  C.

 

--- With evil.  Lit. "the worst," pessima.  H.

 

--- Sixtus V. "by the most wicked one."  The devil shall have no power over him.


24 The slothful hideth his hand under his armpit, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth.

Ver. 24.  Arm-pit.  Or Heb. tsallachath, "in the pot," out of which he eats; which shews his negligence.

 

--- Mouth, to eat.  This hyperbole indicates that he is too lazy to take the necessary sustenance.  C. xxvi. 15.  C.

 

--- Sept. "in his breast unjustly.  Neither will he bring them to his mouth."  H.

 

--- He will bestow nothing, and shall reap no benefit from his avarice.  S. Bern.

 

--- He will not practise what he teaches.  S. Greg. Mor. xii. 10.



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25 The wicked man being; scourged, the fool shall be wiser: but if thou rebuke a wise man he will understand discipline.

Ver. 25.  Wicked.  Heb. "scoffer."  Chastisements have always some good effect either on the sufferer,  or on the spectators, who will be cautioned not to imitate what is wrong.



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26 He that afflicteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is infamous and unhappy.

Ver. 26.  Infamous.  Heb. "a son of confusion and reproach;" a spendthrift.


27 Cease not, O my son, to hear instruction, and be not ignorant of the words of knowledge.

Ver. 27.  Not.  Heb. seems to say the reverse.  C.

 

--- But we may read it with an interrogation.  "Wilt thou cease?" &c.  Or the instruction here meant is of a dangerous nature.  Prot. "that causeth to err from the words of knowledge."  Sept. "a son who neglects to keep the instruction of his father, shall muse on bad sayings."  H.


28 An unjust witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity. 29 Judgments are prepared for scorners: and striking hammers for the bodies of fools.

Ver. 29.  Hammers, (Sym.) "punishments."  Sept.  See Judg. v. 25.  C.


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