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Proverbs 17:1 . Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith. See Proverbs 15:17.
Proverbs 17:3 . The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace (or crucible) for gold. Silver ores in Mexico are worked as ores of tin in Cornwall. Lead and iron, though without apparent affinity, occur in the same masses in our limestone ranges. Lead in a state of fusion, has the lighter silver floating on the top. Cobalt and the greenish nickel are difficult to separate. The alloys of gold are found floated by the fluxes in the glassy substance, when the crucible is cold. But, if the fusion and the refining of metals require so much care and skill, none but a God can refine the heart from the ramifications and adherence of sin. See Job 23:10.
Proverbs 17:9 . He that covereth a transgression seeketh love. We must be careful never to cover a man’s sin so as to be partakers of it. But if we have seen a fault, or heard a slander, and properly reproved it, we have delivered our own soul. Our repeating it through the circle of our friends, or exposing it to the public, will, after private reproof, only do the offender harm instead of good. It will kindle resentment in his soul, separate him from the esteem of his friends, and we shall discover the weakness and vanity of our own hearts. Who after that would like to trust us with a secret.
Proverbs 17:10 . A reproof entereth more into a wise man than a hundred stripes on the back of a fool. Terrence has a laconic remark, which applies here. “The young man blushed all was gained.”
Proverbs 17:12 . Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly. The brutal passions of an infuriated man, the horrors of his language, the blows he inflicts, are worse than the fury of beasts: the beasts turn their fury against their foes, but this man rarely spares his friends.
Proverbs 17:13 . Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house. It is a fault doubly vile, which man cannot forget, and which heaven itself will surely requite. 2 Samuel 12:1-12.
Proverbs 17:14 . The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water. Some men’s hearts are so proud and naughty that they have never done with a matter, till they have wearied everybody with the exaggeration of their complaints. It would be well if they could see the extreme wickedness of their heart, when so small a wrong can stir up so much evil. Had the same thing happened to a good man, after explanation, he would scorn to name it again. Hence the implacable, who delight in envy and strife, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Proverbs 17:20 . He that hath a froward heart findeth no good. What can a man gain by a peevish, stormy, ungovernable temper? There are proper times to speak with decision. As the reins command the horse, and as the helm turns the ship, so the passions should be under the controul of judgment.
Proverbs 17:28 . Even a fool when he holdeth his peace is counted wise. In conversation it is more polite to receive, than to give the subject. In the high game of argument we speak in reply, we illustrate the point, we enforce our own opinions, or enquire in order to elicit information. If we fail in these points, we discover ignorance or imbecility, and lose the confidence of the company; while he who is silent retains his honour.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 17". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany