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v. 1. Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, in innocence of heart and righteousness of conduct, than he that is perverse in his lips, full of malice in his speech, and is a fool, for his riches will not save him from this condemnation.
v. 2. Also, that the soul be without knowledge, where the soul lacks knowledge and insight, it is not good, for that fact keeps it from all energy and progress; and he that hasteth with his feet, going ahead without proper consideration, in foolish rashness, to obtain some outward blessing, sinneth, since his zeal is not according to knowledge.
v. 3. The foolishness of man perverteth his way, he himself is to be blamed if he is thrown prostrate and brought to ruin; and his heart fretteth against the Lord, murmuring against Jehovah when he has no one but himself to blame.
v. 4. Wealth maketh many friends, for people seek the favor of the wealthy, in the hope of obtaining some benefit for themselves; but the poor is separated from his neighbor, it is the way of the world to leave the impoverished to his own resources and to ignore him.
v. 5. A false witness shall not be unpunished, his lies being recorded in God's records, and he that speaketh lies, constantly breathing them out, shall not escape, an emphatic way of saying that he shall surely perish.
v. 6. Many will intreat the favor of the prince, literally, "stroke his face," flatter him; and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts, with the expectation of sharing in his generosity. These facts are stated as in agreement with men's conduct everywhere and do not imply the approval of the Lord.
v. 7. All the brethren of the poor do hate him, his own relatives treating him with an utter want of charity; how much more do his friends go far from him! for his acquaintances are not even bound by the ties of relationship and therefore withdraw with less compunction. He pursueth them with words, eager to hear at least some words of encouragement and friendly interest, yet they are wanting to him, that is, no one cheers him with words of kindness; even so much is denied him.
v. 8. He that getteth wisdom, proper understanding and common sense, loveth his own soul, for this love is demonstrated and proved by the acquiring of wisdom; he that keepeth understanding shall find good, have true fortune and happiness.
v. 9. A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish. Cf v. 5.
v. 10. Delight is not seemly for a fool, a life of luxury does not become him, much less for a servant to have rule over princes, this being possible at courts where the favorites of the sovereign ingratiate themselves and eventually direct the affairs of the realm.
v. 11. The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; if he always follows the dictates of prudence, he will delay his anger and show all due patience with the erring; and it is his glory, it adds to his honorable reputation, to pass over a transgression, not by condoning and ignoring it, but by keeping it from becoming public property, to be made a morsel of defaming tongues.
v. 12. The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion, striking terror to the hearts of men as he prepares to fall upon his prey; but his favor is as dew upon the grass, pleasant and refreshing.
v. 13. A foolish son is the calamity of his father, his mischievous and sinful acts are like stroke upon stroke, they strike his father with a steady beating; and the contentions of a wife, her quarrelsome nagging and brawling, are a continual dropping, like water dropping from the eaves with a steady, maddening monotony.
v. 14. House and riches are the inheritance of fathers, it is possible to get into possession of them by the fact of one's being an heir; and a prudent wife is from the Lord, a special gift of His kindness.
v. 15. Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep, causing a man to sink into stupor and lethargy, sapping the last bit of his energy, and an idle soul shall suffer hunger, that being the result of sloth.
v. 16. He that keepeth the commandment, namely, that of God's Law, keepeth his own soul, for such conduct is conducive to spiritual life; but he that despiseth his ways, taking no heed to keep them in agreement with the Word of God, shall die, for destruction is the punishment of such disobedience.
v. 17. He that hath pity upon the poor, showing him charity in the right spirit, lendeth unto the Lord, money given to the poor is deposited in the savings-bank of Jehovah; and that which he hath given, in helping out the poor and needy, will He pay him again. Cf Matthew 25:40; Luke 6:30-35.
v. 18. Chasten thy son while there is hope, correcting him, if necessary, by corporal punishment, and let not thy soul spare for his crying, literally, "and to his death do not lift up thy soul"; wisdom and love must know and observe the proper measure of punishment, knowing at the same time, that there is a cruel kindness, which kills by withholding seasonable correction.
v. 19. A man of great wrath, one who cannot control his temper. shall suffer punishment; for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again, that is, to interfere with a wrathful man with the purpose of saving him from his own foolishness usually makes matters worse; he must learn to govern himself.
v. 20. Hear counsel and receive instruction, in effecting the moral training which every person needs for true wisdom, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end, in the future; for the conduct of the truly wise will grow nearer perfection as they grow in years.
v. 21. There are many devices in a man's heart, he may have many ideas and plans; nevertheless, the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand; it is He who disposes, leading the affairs of all men according to His will.
v. 22. The desire of a man is his kindness, that is, the worth of his show of liberality depends upon his good will, upon the genuineness of his beneficence or altruism; and a poor man is better than a liar, one who is unable to help, but is sincere in desiring to do so, is better than one who, with riches at his command, professes to be unable to help.
v. 23. The fear of the Lord tendeth to life, it shows and points the way to the true life in the Lord; and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil, because Jehovah will protect, promote, and in every way bless such a man.
v. 24. A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, rather, he plunges it into the wide dish which contained the principal food of the family, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again, too lazy even to eat.
v. 25. Smite a scorner, who is beyond rebuke, in whose case no admonition will bring fruit, and the simple will beware; although inexperienced, lie will learn a lesson by constraint; and reprove one that hath understanding, who is eager to learn prudence, and he will understand knowledge, he will immediately accept the correction and act accordingly.
v. 26. He that wasteth his father, attacking him violently, abusing him in words and possibly also in deeds, and chaseth away his mother, making life unbearable for her in her own home, is a son that causeth shame and bringeth reproach, his conduct causing grief to his parents not only by his disregard of their authority, but also by the fact that men will point the finger of scorn at them.
v. 27. Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge, rather, "to depart from the sayings of understanding," for teaching which is not wholesome and in accord with the Word of God leads to destruction.
v. 28. An ungodly witness, one who is worthless, vain, and wicked in the sight of God, scorneth judgment, scoffing at the righteous punishment which is threatened; and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity, he desires mischief most passionately, he cannot get enough.
v. 29. Judgments are prepared for scorners, their verdict of condemnation is ready, and stripes for the back of fools, for their punishment also is inevitable, since the just God will not be mocked.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 19". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent