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v. 1. A soft answer turneth away wrath, a word spoken in gentleness when people are about to fly into a passion, is like oil on troubled waters; but grievous words, such as are offensive and violent, stir up anger, making it more passionate and embittered.
v. 2. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright, presenting it in well-arranged form, clothing it in an attractive manner; but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness, in great and loathsome quantities, its utterances being noisy, confused, and without sense, nothing but folly.
v. 3. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, His omniscience seeing everything that goes on in the world, beholding the evil and the good, watching their every act, familiar with their desires, words, and acts.
v. 4. A wholesome tongue, literally, "gentleness of tongue," is a tree of life, that is, a person who, in true humility, uses gentle, pacifying, soothing speech will do his share toward a better appreciation and use of life, will cause people with whom he comes into contact to enjoy it more properly; but perverseness therein, that is, transgression with the tongue, its abuse for the purpose of stirring up contention, is a breach in the spirit, it wounds the spirit of men, it causes heartache and grief.
v. 5. A fool despiseth his father's instruction, he reveals his folly by refusing to be corrected; but he that regardeth reproof, always willing to accept correction, is prudent, shows the proper discretion. cf Proverbs 19:25; 1 Samuel 23:22.
v. 6. In the house of the righteous is much treasure, such prosperity being the blessing of the Lord; but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble, the income of the ungodly results in desolation; for the more they have, the more they spend in the service of sin.
v. 7. The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, casting it out over the country like good seed, which will return a rich harvest; but the heart of the foolish doeth not so; having no wisdom, he cannot spread any, he is not set in the right direction and is therefore utterly incompetent to teach others.
v. 8. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, for it is brought in ungodliness and hypocrisy; but the prayer of the upright, by which they worship God in spirit and in truth and enter into true fellowship with Him, is His delight.
v. 9. The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord, He loathes their entire conduct; but He loveth him that followeth after righteousness, who makes it his business to search after, to pursue with great eagerness, that righteousness of life which pleases Jehovah.
v. 10. Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way, that is, a sharp punishment will strike him who leaves the path pointed out by the will of the Lord; and he that hateth reproof, namely, the rebuke of God's Word, shall die, for death is the wages of sin.
v. 11. Hell and destruction are before the Lord, the realm of the dead, the place of eternal perdition, is uncovered before Him; He knows them, though they be hidden from the eyes of men; how much more, then, the hearts of the children of men? Jehovah knows the hearts of all men, they are all uncovered before His eyes, Jeremiah 17:10; Hebrews 4:13.
v. 12. A scorner, one who makes it a point to mock at everything that is holy, loveth not one that reproveth him, for his foolish pride resents correction; neither will he go unto the wise, because there he must expect censure; so he prefers the company of those who applaud his folly.
v. 13. A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance, for when the spirit is joyous, it brightens the face; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken, if grief has taken possession of the heart, the powers of the mind are also influenced, clearness of thought is gone, and the shock proves generally disastrous to the whole spiritual life.
v. 14. The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge, for he is anxious always to increase in true wisdom, as it applies to the various situations in life; but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness, literally, "the face of fools pastures on folly," delighting in it, as an animal eagerly feeds on grass in the pasture.
v. 15. All the days of the afflicted are evil, for the inward burden of their grief makes every day sad for them; but he that is of a merry heart, refusing to be burdened or bowed down by sorrow, hath a continual feast, his life being like a constant festival.
v. 16. Better is little with the fear of the Lord, the proper contentment with the blessings of the Lord, small as they may be outwardly, than great treasure and trouble therewith, for the possession of riches brings cares and worries, which often are very unpleasant, 1 Timothy 6:6.
v. 17. Better is a dinner of herbs, a portion of the very simplest food, where love is, where a person is in the midst of his loved ones, than a stalled ox, one fattened by hand-feeding, and hatred therewith, on account of the envy, jealousy, and hatred of people with whom one dines. Not the richness of the repast brings happiness, but the circumstances which attend it.
v. 18. A wrathful man, one unable to keep his temper, stirreth up strife, his way of acting is bound to result in quarrels; but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife, himself refusing to become excited and always making use of conciliatory speeches.
v. 19. The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns, since he is always meeting with obstructions and hindrances; but the way of the righteous is made plain, like an open highway, for his diligence and the blessing of the Lord combine in making the accomplishment of life's tasks easy.
v. 20. A wise son maketh a glad father, Proverbs 10:1; but a foolish man despiseth his mother, such neglect and contempt of his mother proving him to be a fool of a man, not only on account of the transgression of the Fourth Commandment involved, but because the wisdom and love of a mother serves for The best guidance.
v. 21. Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom, to him who lacks proper sense; but a man of understanding walketh uprightly, going straight forward on the way of duty, permitting no foolishness to interfere with his faithfulness.
v. 22. Without counsel, purposes are disappointed, plans are sure to fail if they have not been considered carefully and from every angle in advance; but in the multitude of counselors they are established, for when they are worked out in this manner, with advice from every quarter, the chances are that all difficulties are taken into account.
v. 23. A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth; if he has succeeded in giving the right advice, it naturally pleases him; and a word spoken in due season, one which just hits the nail on the head, thus solving the difficulty, how good is it, how welcome, pleasing, and salutary!
v. 24. The way of life is above to the wise, he directs his course upward, aiming at a higher degree of sanctification with every new day, his eye set on the reward held out by the mercy of God, that he may depart from hell beneath, he shuns the way which leads to everlasting perdition.
v. 25. The Lord will destroy the house of the proud, visiting him, his family, and all his possessions with punishment; but He will establish the border of the widow, not permit the boundary line of her property to be moved, that is, safeguard her possessions.
v. 26. The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, He loathes evil plans, He will not tolerate wicked purposes; but the words of the pure are pleasant words, literally, "but pure are words of pleasantness"; if untainted by hypocrisy, they are sweetly consoling, full of consolation for troubled souls, and therefore precious in the sight of Jehovah.
v. 27. He that is greedy of gain, his covetousness causing him to seek unjust gain, troubleth his own house, for his actions are bound to bring unpleasant consequences to his own family; but he that hateth gifts, being above the meanness of bribery, shall live, enjoying life and prosperity.
v. 28. The heart of the righteous studieth to answer, carefully considering and reflecting before giving an opinion or suggesting advice; but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things, in a full and murky stream, without consulting conscience and right.
v. 29. The Lord is far from the wicked, so that they cannot reach Him with their hypocritical form of worship; but He heareth the prayer of the righteous, they have free access to the throne of mercy, and He gladly fulfils their desires.
v. 30. The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart, when the eyes shine with a friendly luster, the influence thereby exerted upon the heart of one' s neighbor is such as to impart some of the cheer to him; and a good report, joyful news, maketh the bones fat, gives refreshment and strength to the whole body.
v. 31. The ear that heareth the reproof of life, a censure or correction which points out the way to life, abideth among the wise, belongs to their circle on account of the wisdom thus gained.
v. 32. He that refuseth instruction, trying to withdraw from correction, paying no heed to it, despiseth his own soul, valuing it but lightly, not knowing or caring that the true enjoyment of life depends upon his accepting reproof; but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding, and thereby shows that he regards his soul properly.
v. 33. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, it offers the training which leads to true wisdom; and before honor is humility, that is, true humility will open the way to true honor, for God giveth grace to the humble.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 15". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany