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Pro 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Ver. 1. The wicked fly when none pursueth. ] None but their own consciences. Facti sunt a corde suo fugitivi, as Tertullian hath it. Such a fearful fugitive was bloody Cain, who cried out, when there were yet few or none to pursue him, "Every man that meets me shall kill me." Gen 4:14 Such were those cursed Canaanites that were chased by God’s hornet sent among them - that is, by the blood hounds of their own consciences. Jos 24:12 Such were those Syrians that, struck with a panic terror, fled for their lives, and left their rich camp for a booty to the Israelites. 2Ki 7:7 The shadow of the mountains seemed armed men to guilty Gaal. Jdg 9:36 The Burgundians, expecting a battle, thought long thistles were lances. God sends a faintness into the hearts of the wicked, and the sound of a shaken leaf frightens them. In arithmetic, of nothing comes nothing, yet they fear where no fear is. As Cardinal Crescentius feared a fancied devil walking in his chamber like a great mastiff a , and couching under his table as he was writing letters to Rome against the Protestants. b As Richard III thought he saw in his sleep various images like terrible devils, pulling and hauling at him, after he had, Joab-like, slain two men more righteous than him, his two innocent nephews. c As Charles IX of France, after the cruel massacre, could neither sleep nor wake without music to divert his self-accusing thoughts, so hotly was he haunted and followed with the furies of his own conscience. d As the Spanish fleet, in 1588, Venit, vidit, fugit, as the Zealanders thereupon stamped their new coin. e The Hollanders also stamped new money with this invincible armada, as the Spaniards in their pride had styled it, having this motto Impius fugit, nemine sequente, f The wicked fly when no man pursueth. I pity the loss of their souls, saith a reverend man, g that serve themselves as the Jesuit in Lancashire, followed by one that found his glove with a desire to restore it him, but pursued inwardly with a guilty conscience, leaps over a hedge, plunges into a gravel pit behind it unseen and unthought of, wherein he was drowned.
But the righteous is bold as a lion. ] Conscientia pura semper secura, A good conscience hath sure confidence; and he that hath it sits, Noah-like, mediis tranquillus in undis, quiet in the greatest combustions, freed, if not from the common destruction, yet from the common distraction; for he knows whom he hath trusted, and is sure that neither life nor death, nor things present, nor things to come, can ever sunder him from God’s love in Christ. Rom 8:38 He is bold as a lion, saith the text; yea, as a young lion, that is in his hot blood, and therefore fears no other creature; yea, when he is fiercely pursued he will never once alter his gait, though he die for it. No more will the righteous man his resolution against sin, such is his Christian courage. Daniel chose rather to be cast to the lions, than to bear a lion in his own bosom, to violate his conscience. The primitive Christians chose rather to be abandoned, ad leones quam ad lenones, they preferred affliction before sin. And this their persecutors counted not courage and magnanimity, but wilfulness and obstinace. h But they knew not the power of the Spirit, nor the private armour of proof that the righteous have about their hearts; that insuperable faith whereby some have "stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire," &c., Heb 11:33-34 and whereby they do all daily encounter and conquer that roaring lion, the devil, "quenching his fiery darts," &c. Eph 6:16
a A large, powerful dog with a large head, drooping ears and pendulous lips, valuable as a watch dog.
b Acts and Mon.
c Polyd. Virgil.
e Carlton’s Remembrancer.
f Speed., 1206.
g Mr Sam. Ward.
h Tertul. in Apolog.
Pro 28:2 For the transgression of a land many [are] the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding [and] knowledge the state [thereof] shall be prolonged.
Ver. 2. For the transgression of a land, many are the princes. ] Either many at once, or many ejecting and succeeding one another, to the great calamity and utter undoing of the people, as may be seen in the books of Judges and Kings, as in the Roman state after Nero’s death, by the succession of Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. What a deal of trouble was here in the time of the heptarchy! a and in the dissensions of the two houses of York and Lancaster! causing the death of twice as many natives of England as were lost in the two conquests of France, besides eighty princes of the blood-royal slain. b And all this is said to be "for the transgression of a land," thus chastised by the Lord. Elihu tells Job that the hypocrite is set to reign for the people’s sin; Job 34:30 Lev 26:17 it is threatened as a heavy curse: "If ye still trespass against me, I will set princes over you that shall hate you"; mischievous, odious princes, odious to God, malignant to the people. And, Isa 3:4 "I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them." How many kings had the ten tribes after their defection from the house of David, and not one good one among them all! And what got most of the Roman Caesars by their hasty honours nisi ut citius interficerentur, saith one, but to be slain the sooner! Very few of them till Constantine but died unnatural deaths. "If ye do wickedly, ye shall perish, both you and your king." 1Sa 12:25
But by a man of understanding and knowledge. ] As "one sinner may destroy much good," Ecc 9:18 so by one excellently wise man - called here a man of understanding knowledge; there is no copulative in the original - the state may be prolonged; there may be a lengthening of its tranquillity; it may be "delivered by the pureness of thine hands." Job 22:30 2Sa 20:16-22 Ecclesiastes 9:13-16 Jer 5:1 Religious and prudent princes especially may do much in this case. 2Ki 22:20
a A government by seven rulers
b Daniel’s History, 249.
Pro 28:3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor [is like] a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
Ver. 3. A poor man that oppresseth the poor, &c. ] Such an oppressor bites hard (as a lean louse doth), makes clean work, plunders to the life, as they say, Omnia corradit et converret. Poor men should pity poor men, as knowing the misery of poverty; but to oppress or defraud their comrades is greatest inhumanity, as that merciless fellow servant did. Matthew 18:28 , &c. A weasel is a ravenous beast, as well as a lion; a sparrow hawk as greedy as an eagle; and more mercy is to be expected from those more noble creatures than from the base and abject.
Pro 28:4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Ver. 4. They that forsake the law praise the wicked. ] As Machiavel doth Caesar Borgia, that bipedum nequissimum, proposing him for a pattern to all Christian princes; as Onuphrius (the Pope’s biographer), doth Hildebrand or Gregory VII, in five books written of his noble acts and great virtues; whom Cardinal Benno truly describeth to have been a murderer, an adulterer, a conjurer, a schismatic, a heretic, and every way as bad as might be. Epiphanius a tells us that there were a sort of brain sick heretics that extolled Cain, and were therefore called Cainites. They also commended the Sodomites, Korah, Judas the traitor, &c. In the book of Judith, the act of Simeon and Levi upon the Shechemites is extolled; and there was one Bruno that wrote an oration in commendation of the devil.
But they that keep the law contend with them. ] Moved with a zeal of God, they cannot be silent. As Croesus’s dumb son, they cry out, Wilt thou kill my father, dishonour nay God, &c.? Good blood will never belie itself; good metal will appear. How did young David bristle against blackmouthed Goliath, and enter the lists with him! "Do not I hate thmn that hate thee?" saith he, "yea, I hate them with a perfect hatred." Psa 139:21-22 I cast down the gauntlet of defiance against them; I count them mine enemies. Asa cannot bear with idolatry, no, not in his own mother. Our Edward VI would by no means yield to a toleration for his sister Mary, though solicited thereunto by Cranmer and Ridley, for political respects. Mihi quidem Auxentius non alius erit quam diabolus, quamdiu Arianus, said Hilary; I shall look upon Auxentius as a devil, so long as he is an Arian. It was the speech of blessed Luther, who though he was very earnest to have the communion administered in both kinds, contrary to the doctrine and custom of Rome, yet if the Pope, saith he, as pope, commanded me to receive it in both kinds, I would but receive it in one kind; since to obey what he commands as pope, is a receiving of the mark of the beast.
a Epiphan., Haeret., 38.
Pro 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all [things].
Ver. 5. Evil men understand not judgment. ] They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge: their wits work not that way; they are bard and brutish as "horse and mule." Psa 32:9 Yea, they fall beneath the stirrup of reason, and know not their owner, which yet the ox and ass doth; Isa 1:3 no wiser at seventy years old than at seven. Ut liberius peccent, libenter ignorant, not willing to know what they are not minded to practise.
But they that seek the Lord understand all things. ] Not all that is possible to be known, as Averroes saith Aristotle did; as the Civilians say their Baldus did; a as the Papists say Tostatus did; but they understand all things needful to salvation, and they often meditate on the last judgment.
a De Baldo dicere solebant nihil unquam eum ignorasse.
Pro 28:6 Better [is] the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than [he that is] perverse [in his] ways, though he [be] rich.
Ver. 6. Better is the poor, &c. ] See Proverbs 19:1 .
Pro 28:7 Whoso keepeth the law [is] a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous [men] shameth his father.
Ver. 7. He that keepeth the law is a wise son. ] It is neither good nature, nor good nurture or breeding, that can prove a man to be truly wise, but obedience to God’s statutes. Deu 4:6 Aiphonsus, king of Spain, surnamed the Wise, was a rank fool and an arrant atheist; so are all the world’s wizards.
But he that is a companion to riotous men. ] Or, That feedeth gluttons, whose belly hath no bottom.
‘Ingluvies et tempestas, barathrumque macelli.’
They say the locust is all belly, which is joined to his mouth, and endeth at his tail: such are riotous belly gods. To feed such is to cast away all, and bring an indelible infamy upon the family.
Pro 28:8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
Ver. 8. He that by usury and unjust gain, &c. ] Usury is condemned by the very heathens (Aristot. Ethic., lib. iv. cap. 1). The ancient law of the Romans make the usurer a thief and worse; the Hebrews make him a biting thief, who gnaweth the debtor to the very bones; yea, the most toothless usury, that usual plea, hath sharp gums, which bite as sore as an old dog or a hungry fly; and under show of licking whole, sucks out the heart blood. Let those who plead for it consider that God dispenseth with no usury, Eze 18:8 whether neshec or tarbith, biting or toothless; that the lender deals not as he would be dealt with it; that the gospel makes these sinners worse than other sinners when it saith, "Sinners lend to sinners to receive the like," Luk 6:34 but these to receive more; that at Rome this day all usurers are excommunicated monthly; that the canon law drives them from the sacrament, denies them burial, makes their will no will, as though their goods were not their own; that no man of note in all antiquity - Jews and Manichees excepted - for 1500 years after Christ, hath ever undertaken the defence of usury; that Chrysostom is very fierce against it, comparing it to the stinging of an asp, which casts a man into a sleep, whereof he dies, &c.
He shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. ] God will provide him an executor never mentioned in his will; or his heir, being a better man, shall freely distribute what he hath wrongfully raked together. Ecc 2:21 Job 27:16
Pro 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer [shall be] abomination.
Ver. 9. He that turneth away his ear from hearing, &c. ] Heb., That causeth his ear to decline the law, that wilfully slights the opportunities of hearing, and frames excuse, trusting to his good prayers, as they call it, and conceits that he can better bestow his time at home; this man prays for a curse, and shall have it, as Saul had - he would not hear Samuel, God will not hear nor answer him in his distress. This was, as the Hebrews call it, Mensuram contra mensuram, to pay him home in his own coin. "The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways." Pro 14:14 See Trapp on " Pro 1:28 "
Even his prayer shall be abomination. ] See Proverbs 15:8 .
Pro 28:10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good [things] in possession.
Ver. 10. Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray, &c. ] This follows fitly upon the former. Seducers and sectaries dissuade men from hearing the law in public assemblies, and carry them into by corners under a pretence of prayer; like moles, they do all their mischief by working underground, as Epiphanius observeth, they shall therefore perish in their own pit. "If the blind lead the blind," &c. See Trapp on " Pro 26:27 "
But the upright shall have good things in possession. ] They shall not be so "led away with the error of the wicked as to fall from their own steadfastness," 2Pe 3:17 or to forfeit their hereditary right to the kingdom, because "both the deceived and the deceiver are with the Lord," Job 12:13 ; Job 12:16 and it is impossible for the elect to be fundamentally and finally seduced, Mat 24:24 since they are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." 1Pe 1:5 Heaven is kept for them and they for heaven; how then should they miss it?
Pro 28:11 The rich man [is] wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
Ver. 11. The rich man is wise in his own conceit. ] He sacrificeth to himself, as Sejanus did; a to his "drag and net," Hab 1:16 as the Babylonians did; he thanks his wit for his wealth, and takes upon him as if there were none such. 1Ti 6:17 See Trapp on " 1Ti 6:17 " Like Isis her ass, that had gone so oft to the temple of that goddess, that at length she thought herself worshipful. Every grain of riches hath a vermin of pride and self-conceit in it, and a very small wind will blow up a bubble.
But the poor that hath understanding. ] That is, Well versed in the bigger volume of God’s word, and in the lesser volume of his own heart - which is better to him than any expositor, for the right understanding of the Scriptures; this poor wise man searcheth him out, finds the rich man’s folly, and if need be tells him of it, giving him a right character of himself. Sed divitibus fere ideo talis amicus deest, quia nihil deest.
a Seianus sibi sacrificabat. - Dio.
Pro 28:12 When righteous [men] do rejoice, [there is] great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
Ver. 12. When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory. ] That is, There is cause of common joy to all; for they have public spirits, and rectified judgments, neither can they be merry at heart when it goes ill with the Church. All comforts are but Ichabods to them, if the ark be taken; all places but Hadadrimmons, if the Church be in heaviness. Terentius, under Valens, the Arian emperor, asked nothing but that the Church might be freed from Arians, and when the emperor tore his petition, he said that he would never ask anything for himself if he might not prevail for the Church, for that his happiness was laid up in hers.
But when the wicked rise, a man is hidden. ] That is, When tyrants are set up, "a man," that is, a good man - for God reckons of men by their righteousness Jer 5:1 - "is hidden," lies close, and hath no heart to show himself, lest he should suffer either in his own person or in his possession. Thus the man Moses fled and hid himself from Pharaoh, David from Saul, Eliah from Ahab, Obadiah’s clients from Jezebel, Jeremiah from Jehoiakim, Joseph and the child Jesus from Herod; those worthies, of whom the world was not worthy, Heb 11:38 from Antiochus, that little Antichrist, and other persecutors, and the Christian Church from the greater Antichrist, Rev 12:1-17 so that she was not to be sought in tectis et exteriori pampa, sed potius in carceribus et speluncis, in palaces of worldly pomp, but in dens and dungeons, as Hilary hath it: "She fled into the wilderness, into her place, from the face of the serpent." Rev 12:14
Pro 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh [them] shall have mercy.
Ver. 13. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper. ] Sin is a traitor and must not be hid; for if so, now it sucks a man’s breast, shortly it will suck his blood. Sin is a sore and must be opened, a sickness, and must be declared to the physician; the concealing of one circumstance may endanger all. Sin is a deformity that must be uncovered, or God will never cover it: see it we must to confession, or see it we shall to our confusion. If Job had covered his transgression as Adam - or "after the manner of men" - he had undone himself. Job 31:33 It is the manner of men - and they have it from Adam - to palliate their sins and plead for them, to elevate and extenuate them, to mince and excuse them. Sin and shifting came into the world together. Sin and Satan are alike in this, they cannot abide to appear in their own colour. Some deal with their souls as others do with their bodies; when their beauty is decayed they desire to hide it from themselves by false glasses, and from others by painting; so their sins from themselves by false glosses, and from others by excuses. These must not look for Gaius’s prosperity 3Jn 1:2 The sunshine also of their outward prosperity ripens their sin apace, and so fits them for destruction. Never was Ephraim’s case so desperate as when God said "Ephraim is joined with idols, let him alone"; Hos 4:17 nor Jerusalem so near destruction as when God said, "My fury shall depart from thee; I will be quiet, and no more angry." Eze 16:42 To prosper in sin is the greatest unhappiness that can befall a man out of hell.
But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, &c. ] Confession of sin must be joined with confusion of sin, or all is lost. Papists use confession as drunkards use vomiting, that they may "add drunkenness to thirst." Profane people use it as Louis XI of France did his crucifix; he would swear an oath and then kiss it, and swear again and then kiss it again; so they sin and confess they do not well, nor will they strive to do better. As they sorrow not to a transmentation with those Corinthians, so they confess not to an utter abandoning of their wicked courses. They confess, as those Israelites did, Num 14:40 "We have sinned, we will go up." They might as well have said, ‘We have sinned, we will sin,’ for God had flatly forbidden them to go up at that time. They confess, as Saul did, "I have sinned," viz., in humouring the people, "yet honour me," said he, "before the people." As the Philistines confessed God’s hand, yet sent away the ark, so do these. They that confess and forsake not are only dog sick; when they have disgorged their stomachs they will return to their vomit.
Shall have mercy. ] Confess the debt, and God will cross the book; he will draw the red lines of Christ’s blood over the black lines of our sins, and cancel the handwriting that was against us. No sooner could David cry Peccavi, I have sinned, but Nathan said, Transtulit peccatum tuum Dominus, God hath taken away my sin; yea, transtulit, he hath translated it, he hath caused thy sin to pass over from thee to Christ. Isaiah 53:6 Rom 4:8 Confession is the soul’s vomit, and those that use it shall not only have ease of conscience, but God’s best comforts and cordials to restore them again. Cum homo agnoscit, Deus ignoscit, saith Augustine. It is not here, Confess and be hanged, but Confess and be saved. In the courts of men it is safest to say Non feci, quoth Quintilian; I did it not; to plead not guilty. Not so here; Ego feci is the best plea, I did it, I have done very foolishly. "Have mercy upon me, O Lord," &c. a Judah, that is, confession, got the kingdom from Reuben; it is the way to the kingdom. No man was ever kept out of heaven for his confessed badness; many are for their supposed goodness.
a Per Miscrere mei, tollitur ira Dei.
Pro 28:14 Happy [is] the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
Ver. 14. Blessed is the man that feareth always. ] That is "in the fear of the Lord all day long." Pro 23:17 Duo sunt timores Dei, servilis et amicalis, saith Bede: There is a twofold fear of God - servile and filial; perfect love casts out the former, breeds and feeds the latter. By this "fear of the Lord it is that men depart from evil," that they shake off security, that they abound in God’s work, that they may abide in his love, that they set a jealous eye upon their own hearts, and suspect a snake under every flower, a snare in every creature, and do therefore "feed with fear," and "rejoice in fear," "pass the whole time of their sojourning here in fear," yea, "work out their whole salvation with fear and trembling." Oh the blessedness of such!
But he that hardeneth his heart. ] As a perfect stranger to God’s holy fear. The contrite heart ever "trembles at God’s word" Isa 57:17 "Why hast thou hardened our hearts from thy fear," Isa 63:17 which, as fire doth iron, mollifies the hardest heart, and makes it malleable. Fear is a fruit of repentance, 2 Corinthians 7:11 , "yea, what fear" which intenerates the heart, and makes it capable of Divine impressions, as Josiah. On the other side, the Jews feared not God because of a rebellious heart. Jer 5:22-23
Shall fall into mischief. ] Manifold mischief, ruin without remedy Pro 29:18 The incestuous person, though delivered up to Satan, repented and recovered: but he that is delivered up to a hard heart, to a dead and dedolent disposition, is in a manner desperate and deplored; he "heaps up wrath against the day of wrath." Rom 2:5 This made a reverent man once say, If I must be put to my choice, I had rather be in hell with a sensible heart than on earth with a reprobate mind. A hard heart is, in some respect, worse than hell: since one of the greatest sins is far greater in evil than any of the greatest punishments, as one hath well observed.
Proverbs 28:15 [As] a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; [so is] a wicked ruler over the poor people.
Ver. 15. As a roaring llon, and a ranging bear. ] Regimen without righteousness turns into tyranny, and becomes no better than robbery by authority. a Look how the lion frightens the poor beasts with his roaring, so that they have no power to stir, and then preys upon them with his teeth; and as the bear searches them out and tears them limb from limb: so deal tyrants with their poor subjects. "Her princes within her are roaring lions, her judges evening wolves; they gnaw not the bones till the morrow." Zep 3:3 Such were those cannibals in David’s days, that "eat up God’s people as they eat bread"; Psa 14:4 such those miscreants in Micah, who did eat the flesh of God’s people, and flayed their skin, that brake their bones, and chopped them in pieces as for the pot. Mic 3:3-7 Much like those American cannibals, who, when they take a prisoner, feed upon him alive, and by degrees, cutting off from his body now a meal and then a meal, which they roast before his eyes, searing up the wounded place with a firebrand to staunch the blood, to the unutterable aggravation of his horror and torment. Such a lion rampant was Nero; "I was delivered," saith St Paul, "out of the mouth of the lion." 2Ti 4:17 Tertullian calls him the dedicator of the condemnation of the Christians; whom he used as badly almost as the Spaniards at this day do the poor Indians, under pretence of converting them to the faith. Their own writers tell us that within forty years twenty-seven million people were killed, and that with such cruelties as never were heard of before. Let every good man bless himself out of the paws and jaws of these bloody Catholics, more savage and fierce than the wild beasts, as they soon show when armed with power, as were easy to instance. See the Babylonian cruelty graphically described, Jeremiah 51:34 , and see whether it be not matched and over matched by mystical Babylon. The ranging lion and ravening bear is nothing to that man of sin that hath dyed all Christendom with the blood of God’s saints, and dunged it with their carcases. This ostrich can digest any metal, especially money: witness his incredible exactions here in England, anciently called the Pope’s ass. This cannibal is a pickerel in a pond, or shark in the sea, devours the poorer, as they the lesser fishes: not unlike that cruel prince mentioned by Melanchthon, who, to get money from his miserable subjects, used to send for them, and if they refused to furnish him with such sums of money as he demanded, he would first knock out one of their teeth, and then another, threatening to leave them none at all.
a Latrocinium cum privilegio.
Pro 28:16 The prince that wanteth understanding [is] also a great oppressor: [but] he that hateth covetousness shall prolong [his] days.
Ver. 16. The prince that wanteth understanding. ] As every tyrant doth, Psa 14:4 though they think they deal wisely, as Pharaoh, Exo 1:10 for they usually come to untimely ends, a as most of the Caesars till Constantine, and as our Richard III and Queen Mary, whose reigns are the shortest of all the kings since the Conquest. "Bloody and deceitful men live not half their days," or if they do, it is for a further evil unto them. Isa 65:20
But he that hateth covetousness. ] Covetousness in the original hath its name from piercing or wounding, and fitly, both in respect of others, Pro 1:19 and himself. 1Ti 6:10
a Ad generum Cereris sine caede, &c.
Pro 28:17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of [any] person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
Ver. 17. A man that doth violence unto the blood. ] The Hebrew word Adam, here rendered man, hath one letter in the original less than the rest, Hebrew Text Note to show that a blood shedder is not worthy to be called man. a
Shall flee to the pit, let no man stay him, ] i.e., Let him die without mercy; let no man mediate for him, lest he pay down, as Ahab did, life for life, people for people, 1Ki 20:42 lest he draw upon the land guilt of blood, Num 35:33-34 and hinder the man slayer from repentance to salvation never to be repented of. To blame then are the Papists that open sanctuaries to such; and if a cardinal put his red hat upon the head of a murderer going to execution, he is delivered from death. See Deuteronomy 19:13 . See Trapp on " Deu 19:13 "
Pro 28:18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but [he that is] perverse [in his] ways shall fall at once.
Ver. 18. Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved, ] See Trapp on " Pro 10:9 " "Shall be saved"; a little word, but of large extent. It properly noteth the privative part of a man’s happiness, deliverance from evil; but is put here, and everywhere almost, for the positive part too - fruition of good as well as freedom from evil: it comprehendeth (1.) Malorum ademptionem; ( 2.) Bonorum adeptionem.
But he that is perverse in his ways. ] Heb., In his two ways, shall fall in one of them. "Evil shall hunt the wicked man to destroy him"; and albeit he may shuffle for a season from side to side, as Balaam’s ass did, to avoid the angel’s sword, yet he shall not escape mischief. Let our political professors look to it that can tune their fiddle to the bass of the times, that call shift their sails to the sitting of every wind, that like the planet Mercury can be good in conjunction with good, and bad with bad.
Pro 28:19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain [persons] shall have poverty enough.
Ver. 19. He that tilleth his land shall have plenty. ] At fugiens molam fugit farinam: Men must earn it ere they eat it; and not think that bread and other good things will drop out of the clouds to them, as towns were said to come in to Timotheus’s toils while he slept. a See Proverbs 12:11 .
Shall have poverty enough. ] As the prodigal had, Luk 15:13-17 and Pythius, who in a bravery entertained Xerxes’s whole army, but was so poor at length that he perished through want of meat.
a Plut. in Sulla.
Pro 28:20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
Ver. 20. A faithful man shall abound in blessings. ] God will bless him, and all that bless him. Gen 12:3 See Trapp on " Gen 12:3 " Men also shall rise up and call him blessed, saying, as Deuteronomy 33:29 , "Happy art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O peopIe, saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help," &c. Stars, though we see them sometimes in a puddle, in the bottom of a well, nay, in a stinking ditch, though they reflect there, I say, yet they have their situation in heaven. So God’s faithfal servants, though in a low condition, yet are they fixed in the region of happiness. Lev 26:1-13 Deu 28:1-14
But he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. ] Nevessan (a better lawyer than good Christian) was wont to say, He that will not venture his body shall never be valiant; he that will not venture his soul shall never be rich. But let their money perish with them, that, Shimei-like, by seeking their servants, lose their souls; or, Jonaslike, care not to be cast over shipboard, so the ship of their worldly wealth may be in safety. Francis Xaverius counselled John III., King of Portugal, to meditate every day a quarter of an hour on that divine sentence, "What shall it profit a man to win the whole world and lose his own soul?" See 1 Timothy 6:9 , with the note. What a woeful will was that of rich but wretched Hubertus. I yield, said he, my goods to the king, my body to the grave, my soul to the devil?
Pro 28:21 To have respect of persons [is] not good: for for a piece of bread [that] man will transgress.
Ver. 21. To have respect of persons is not good. ] See Trapp on " Pro 24:23 "
For, for a piece of bread. ] For a trifle he will transgress, and sell his soul dog cheap for a groat, or less money. Cato in Gellius hits Marcus Coelius in the teeth with his baseness, that for a morsel of bread he would sell either his tongue or his silence. And the false prophets in Ezekiel’s days would do the like. Eze 13:19
Pro 28:22 He that hasteth to be rich [hath] an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
Ver. 22. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye. ] He is sick of "the lust of the eye" 1Jn 2:16 - for all sinful lusts are παθηματα , sicknesses - coveting his neighbour’s goods, envying his prosperity, and begrudging him every bit he eats at his table. Pro 23:6-7 See Trapp on " Pro 23:6 " See Trapp on " Pro 23:7 "
And considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. ] Etiamsi per mare pauperiem fugeat, per saxa, per ignes; Though he run as fast from beggary as he can flee, yet it will overtake him, and catch him by the back. Job 27:16-17 Surely as the stars that went before the wise men went when they went and stayed when they stayed, so riches fly the faster from a man the more eagerly he follows them, but then stay when a man’s wind is stayed. "In the fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits," saith Zophar, concerning the wicked. Job 20:22 He is poor in the midst of his riches; but God will strip him of all, and make a poor fool of him. Jer 17:11
Pro 28:23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
Ver. 23. He that rebuketh a man shall find, &c. ] He that binds a madman, or rouseth up one in a lethargy, hath but little thank for present; so here. In the sweating sickness, they that were kept awake escaped; but the sickness was deadly to them that were suffered to sleep. Let us keep one another awake, saith a reverend man, a - an unpleasing work on both sides, but we shall one day thank such. See how well Master Gilpin’s plain dealing with the Bishop of Durham succeeded, in his Life written by Bishop Carlton, p. 58.
a Dr Sibbes.
Pro 28:24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, [It is] no transgression; the same [is] the companion of a destroyer.
Ver. 24. He that robbeth his father or his mother. ] As that idolatrous Micah did his mother of her gold; Jdg 17:2 as Rachel did her father of his gods; as Absalom did David of his crown. Thus, though it may seem a light sin, it is as much greater than stealing from another as parricide is than manslaughter, or as Reuben’s incest was than another man’s defiling his neighbour’s wife. Our parents are our household gods, as that heathen could say; and to give them cause of grief must needs be an offence of a deep dye, of a crimson colour, condemned by the very pagans. a
a Egone patri surripere quicquam possim? - Terent.
Pro 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
Ver. 25. He that is of a proud heart. ] Latus animo. He that through pride and ambition cannot keep within bounds of his calling or condition, but thinks great thoughts of himself, and therefore seeks great things for himself, this man, if crossed, is easily kindled, and shall be made lean; God will tame him, and take him a link lower, as we say. Isa 2:11-13 Pro 13:10 See Trapp on " Pro 13:10 " This largeness of heart is but as the bigness of a blown bladder, &c.
But he that putteth his trust in the Lord, shall be fat. ] He shall laugh and be fat, as the saying is; he shall live at a great deal of heart’s ease, and others shall live quietly by him. That which would break a proud man’s heart will not break a humble man’s sleep. He is content with his present condition, be it better or worse, hath a self-sufficiency, 1Ti 6:6 studies to be quiet, seeks peace and ensues it, depends upon God for direction and success in all businesses, and what should all this man but that he may grow fat? The Irish would ask him, if they knew his wealth, what he meant to die?
Pro 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
Ver. 26. He that trusteth to his own heart is a fool. ] He that saith, Consilii satis est in me mihi: I am wise enough to order my own business, and need no advice of others, seek no success from above, - Ajax acknowledged no other God but his sword, Polyphemus but his belly, - this man is a fool, a proud fool, and he shall be sure to be hampered.
But whoso walketh wisely. ] Taking others into counsel, and God above all, as David: "I will hearken," saith he, "what the Lord God saith unto me." "He shall be delivered," either from trouble, or in it - either with an outward or an inward deliverance. He shall enjoy a blessed composedness, a sweet sabbath of spirit howsoever, being mediis tranquillus in undis, tranquility in the midist of the waves, as Noah was.
Pro 28:27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
Ver. 27. He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack. ] Eleemosyna ars omnium questuosissima, saith Chrysostom: Not getting but giving is the way to wealth. God will bless the bountiful man’s stock and store, his barn and his basket; Deu 15:10 his righteousness and his riches together shall endure for ever. Psa 112:3
But he that hideth his eyes, ] i.e., That when he hath a fit object and opportunity of showing mercy offered him, frameth excuse, and pretendeth this thing and that, to his worldly and wicked retentions; that useth his wits to save his half penny, but will not use his eyes to affect his heart with pity. Isa 58:7
Shall have many a curse. ] Men shall curse him, and call him a Pamphagus , a churl, a hog in a trough, a fellow of no fashion, &c. God shall also curse him, and set off all hearts from him, as he did from Haman; in his necessity he will shut his ears to such a man’s moans in misery, and hide his eyes from his supplication. Psa 55:1 Isa 1:15 Finally, "he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy"; Jam 2:13 "an evil, an only evil shall befall him"; Eze 7:5 his punishments shall come close together, and God shall so set them on as no creature shall be able to take them off.
Pro 28:28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
Ver. 28. When the wicked rise, men hide themselves. ] They are glad to skulk and shelter themselves from that fierce storm. See Trapp on " Pro 28:12 "
But when they perish, the righteous increase. ] When either they die, or are deposed from their dignities, the righteous swarm as a hive of bees in a warm sunny day - as they did when Constantine came to the crown, and here when Queen Elizabeth came as a fresh spring after a sharp winter, and brought the ship of England from a tempestuous sea to a safe harbour.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 28". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19