Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 11

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13


‘A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.’

Proverbs 11:13

I. A talebearer.—One celebrated nation of antiquity used to express this man’s character by a very significant figure. They called a talebearer a ‘seedpicker.’ There are men in the world who live by going about here and there, from house to house, through a town large or small, and gathering together all the little stories which can be told about the neighbours who are dwelling securely by them, and ignorant of the calumnies by which they are assailed.

II. A talebearer revealeth secrets.—Many motives go to make up a talebearer. (1) Perhaps he is a witty man. (2) Or he may be a man in whose own conscience there is a sore place. And it is a relief to him to hope that others are not so much better than himself. (3) There are others who cannot bear superiors. Their only comfort is in a general disbelief of virtue.

III. ‘He that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.’—He does not say what matter. But we may understand it to include two things: that which has been entrusted to him in the secrecy of confidence, and that which has become known to him to another’s disparagement.

—Dean Vaughan.


‘It is hardly possible for a talebearer not to get into the habit of talking more about the faults of others than about their excellences. Most novelists feel that if there is no wickedness in their book it is almost sure to be dull; and most talebearers find that there is something much more effective in a story about the weaknesses, mistakes, or follies of others than in a story about their wisdom and virtue. You may speak of the good deeds of your friends incessantly, and never earn the name. The very word “talebearer” has come to mean one who tells tales to other people’s discredit; and we have not a word in the language which denotes one who habitually speaks of other men’s excellences.’

Verse 24


‘There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth.’

Proverbs 11:24

I. This scattering is a conception borrowed from the husbandman.—From out his barns he takes the precious seed and scatters it broadcast. The child of the city might wonder at his prodigality, little weening that each of the scattered seeds may live in a hundred more and perpetuate itself for successive autumns.

II. We are bidden to measure our life by its losses rather than by its gains; by the blood poured out rather than by its storage in the arteries of life; by our sacrifices rather than its self-preservation; by its gifts rather than its accumulations. He is the richest man in the esteem of the world who has gotten most; he is the richest in the esteem of heaven who has given most.

III. And it is so ordered that as we give we get.—If we miserly hoard the grain, it is eaten by weevils; if we cast it away it returns to us multiplied. Stagnant water is covered with scum, flowing water is fresh and living. He who gives his five barley loaves and two small fishes into the hands of Jesus sees the people fed and gets twelve baskets over. Tell out all you know, and you will have enough for another meal, and yet another. Set no limit to your gifts of money, time, energy; in the act of giving the whole that you have expended will return to you, and more also. Freely ye have received, freely give. There is no limit to your supplies in Jesus.


‘Where you get, be sure to give. Remember the golden rule in Proverbs 11:24; as you scatter you will increase. Be liberal to water others, and you shall be watered yourself. Give your barley loaves and fish, and you shall gather twelve basketfuls. Never be drawn into the “rings” of salt or corn or ice, lest you incur the curse of the people. Above all, do not trust in your riches, then will you flourish as a green branch, heavy with foliage and fruit.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Proverbs 11". The Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.