|<< Proverbs 13 >>|
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
Heareth - The verb of the second clause is inserted in the first, just as in the next verse that of the first is inserted in the second. Stress is laid upon the obstinacy of the scorner who refuses to hear, not only "instruction," but also the much stronger "rebuke."
2A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence.
The fruit of his mouth - Speech rightly used is itself good, and must therefore bring good fruit.
Eat violence - i. e., Bring upon itself repayment in kind for its deeds of evil.
3He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction.
4The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
5A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame.
6Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
7There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.
Compare Proverbs 11:24. There is a seeming wealth behind which there lies a deep spiritual poverty and wretchedness. There is a poverty which makes a person rich for the kingdom of God.
8The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor heareth not rebuke.
On the one side is the seeming advantage of wealth. The rich man who gets out of many troubles often escapes from a just retribution by his money. But then the poor man in his turn is free from the risk of the threats and litigation that beset the rich. He "hears no rebuke" (the words are not used as in Proverbs 13:1) just as the dead "hear not the voice of the oppressor" Job 3:18 or the abuse of the envious.
9The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
Very beautiful in its poetry is the idea of the light "rejoicing" in its brightness (compare Psalm 19:5; Job 38:7). Note also the distinction between the "light" and the "lamp." The righteous ones have the true light in them. That which belongs to the wicked is only derived and temporary, and even that shall be extinguished before long. Compare a like distinction in John 1:8; John 5:35.
10Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
(1) "By pride alone comes contention" - that is the one unfailing spring of quarrels; or
(2) "By pride comes contention only" - it, and it alone, is the fruit of pride.
11Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.
By vanity - literally, "by a breath," i. e., by a windfall, or sudden stroke of fortune, not by honest labor. The general meaning seems to be that the mere possession of riches is as nothing; they come and go, but the power to gain by skill of hand ("labor") is everything.
12Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
When the desire cometh - The desire comes, it is a tree of life: i. e., the object of our desires is attained. Compare Proverbs 3:18.
13Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
14The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
15Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
Hard - The primary meaning of the original word is permanence (compare Deuteronomy 21:4; Micah 6:2). This may be applied as here to the hard dry rock, to running streams, or to stagnant pools. In either case, the idea is that of the barren dry soil, or the impassable marsh, in contrast with the fountain of life, carrying joy and refreshment with it.
16Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.
17A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
18Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
19The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
The connection is somewhat obscure. Either, "Satisfied desire is pleasant, therefore it is an abomination to fools to depart from the evil on which their minds are set;" or, "Sweet is the satisfaction of desire, yet the wicked will not depart from the evil which makes that satisfaction impossible."
20He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
21Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
22A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just.
An expression of trust, that in the long run the anomalies of the world are rendered even (compare the marginal references). The heaped up treasures of the wicked find their way at last into the hands of better men.
23Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
The contrast is the ever recurring one between honest poverty and dishonest wealth. "The new-plowed field of the poor is much food, but there are those, who, though rich, perish through their disregard of right."
24He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.
25The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.