|<< Proverbs 12 >>|
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
Brutish - Dumb as a brute beast. The difference between man and brute lies chiefly in the capacity of the former for progress and improvement, and that capacity depends upon his willingness to submit to discipline and education. Compare Psalm 49:12.
2A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
3A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
4A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
Virtuous - The word implies the virtue of earnestness, or strength of character, rather than of simple chastity.
A crown - With the Jews the sign, not of kingly power only, but also of joy and gladness. Compare Sol 3:11.
5The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
6The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
Shall deliver them - i. e., The righteous themselves.
7The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.
8A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
9He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
Two interpretations are equally tenable;
(1) as in the King James Version, He whom men despise, or who is "lowly" in his own eyes (compare 1 Samuel 18:23), if he has a slave, i. e., if he is one step above absolute poverty, and has some one to supply his wants, is better off than the man who boasts of rank or descent and has nothing to eat. Respectable mediocrity is better than boastful poverty.
(2) he who, though despised, is a servant to himself, i. e., supplies his own wants, is better than the arrogant and helpless.
10A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Regardeth - literally, "knoweth." All true sympathy and care must grow out of knowledge. The duty of a person to animals:
(1) rests upon direct commandments in the Law Exodus 20:10; Exodus 23:4-5;
(2) connects itself with the thought that the mercies of God are over all His works, and that man's mercy, in proportion to its excellence, must be like His Jonah 4:11; and
(3) has perpetuated its influence in the popular morality of the East.
Tender mercies - Better, "the feelings, the emotions," all that should have led to mercy and pity toward man.
11He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
The contrast is carried on between the life of industry and that of the idle, "vain person" of the "baser sort" (the "Raca" of Matthew 5:22). We might have expected that the second clause would have ended with such words as "shall lack bread," but the contrast goes deeper. Idleness leads to a worse evil than that of hunger.
12The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
The meaning seems to be: The "net of evil men" (compare Proverbs 1:17) is that in which they are taken, the judgment of God in which they are ensnared. This they run into with such a blind infatuation, that it seems as if they were in love with their own destruction. The marginal rendering gives the thought that the wicked seek the protection of others like themselves, but seek in vain; the "root of the just" (i. e., that in them which is fixed and stable) alone yields that protection.
13The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.
14A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.
See Proverbs 13:2 note.
15The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
16A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
The "fool" cannot restrain his wrath; it rushes on "presently" (as in the margin, on the same day, however, uselessly. The prudent man knows that to utter his indignation at reproach and shame will but lead to a fresh attack, and takes refuge in reticence.
17He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
The thought which lies below the surface is that of the inseparable union between truth and justice. The end does not justify the means, and only he who breathes and utters truth makes the righteous cause clear.
18There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
19The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellers of peace is joy.
The "deceit" of "those who imagine evil" can work nothing but evil to those whom they advise. The "counselors of peace" have joy in themselves, and impart it to others also.
21There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
22Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
23A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
Another aspect of the truth of Proverbs 10:14.
24The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
Under tribute - The comparison is probably suggested by the contrast between the condition of a conquered race (compare Joshua 16:10; Judges 1:30-33), and that of the freedom of their conquerors from such burdens. The proverb indicates that beyond all political divisions of this nature there lies an ethical law. The "slothful" descend inevitably to pauperism and servitude. The prominence of compulsory labor under Solomon 1 Kings 9:21 gives a special significance to the illustration.
25Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
26The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
Is more excellent than - Rather, the just man guides his neighbor.
27The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
The word rendered "roasteth" occurs nowhere else; but the interpretation of the King James Version is widely adopted. Others render the first clause thus: "The slothful man will not secure (keep in his net) what he takes in hunting," i. e., will let whatever he gains slip from his hands through want of effort and attention.
28In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.