|<< Proverbs 29 >>|
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Shall be destroyed - literally, "shall be broken" Proverbs 6:15. Stress is laid on the suddenness in such a case of the long-delayed retribution.
2When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
3Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
Spendeth ... - The laws of parallelism would lead us to expect "troubleth his father," but that is passed over as a thing about which the profligate would not care, and he is reminded of what comes home to him, that he is on the road to ruin.
The king - The ruler, as the supreme fountain of all justice, and as the ideal judge, is contrasted with the taker of bribers.
4The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
5A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.
6In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.
While the offence of the wicked, rising out of a confirmed habit of evil, becomes snare for his destruction; the righteous, even if he offend, is forgiven and can still rejoice in his freedom from condemnation. The second clause is taken by some as entirely contrasted with the first; it expresses the joy of one whose conscience is void of offence, and who is in no danger of falling into the snare.
7The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
8Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.
Scornful men - The men who head political or religious revolutions, who inflame (literally as in the margin) the minds of the people against the powers that be.
9If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.
All modes of teaching - the stern rebuke or the smiling speech - are alike useless with the "foolish" man; there is "no rest." The ceaseless cavilling goes on still.
10The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
Seek his soul - i. e., "Care for, watch over, his life" (compare Psalm 142:4).
11A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
Mind - The Hebrew word is used sometimes for "mind" or "reason," sometimes for "passion," or "wrath." The reticence commended would include both; but the verb "keepeth it in" (rendered "stilleth," in Psalm 65:7) is slightly in favor of the second of the two senses.
12If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.
All his servants are wicked - They know what will please, and they become informers and backbiters.
13The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.
Better, The poor and the oppressor. "Usurer," as in the margin expresses the special form of oppression from which the poor suffer most at the hands of the rich. God has made them both and bestows His light equally on both.
14The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.
15The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
Left to himself - The condition of one who has been pampered and indulged. The mother who yields weakly is as guilty of abandoning the child she spoils, as if she cast him forth; and for her evil neglect, there shall fall upon her the righteous punishment of shame and ignominy.
16When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.
17Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.
18Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
Vision - The word commonly used of the revelation of God's will made to prophets. Compare Isaiah 1:1; Nahum 1:1.
When prophetic vision fails, obedience to the Law is the best or only substitute for it, both being forms through which divine wisdom is revealed. Very striking in the midst of ethical precepts is this recognition of the need of a yet higher teaching, without which morality passes into worldly prudence or degenerates into casuistry. The "wise man," the son of David, has seen in the prophets and in their work the condition of true national blessedness. The darkest time in the history of Israel had been when there "was no open vision 1 Samuel 3:1; at such a time the people "perish," are let loose, "are left to run wild."
19A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.
Servant - i. e., A slave, whose obedience is reluctant. He may "understand" the words, but they produce no good effect. There is still lacking the true "answer" of obedience.
20Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
21He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.
Son - The Hebrew word occurs here only and is therefore of doubtful meaning. The favored slave, petted and pampered from boyhood, will claim at last the privilege, perhaps the inheritance, of sonship.
22An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.
23A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit - Better: The lowly in spirit shall lay hold on honor.
24Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.
On the first discovery of the theft, the person wronged Judges 17:2, or the judge of the city (marginal reference), pronounced a solemn curse on the thief and on all who, knowing the offender, were unwilling to give evidence against him. The accomplice of the thief hears that curse, and yet is silent, and so falls under it, and "destroys his own soul."
25The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
The confusion and wretchedness in which the fear of what men can do entangles us, is contrasted with the security of one, who not only "fears" the Lord, so as to avoid offending Him, but trusts in Him as his protector and guide.
26Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.
To trust in the favor of princes is to build upon the sands. The judgment which will set right all wrong will come from the Lord. It is better to wait for that than to run here and there, canvassing, bribing, flattering.
27An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.
The words point out not only the antagonism between the doers of good and evil, but the instinctive antipathy which the one feels toward the other.