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v. 1. A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, it is much more precious, Ecclesiastes 7:1, and loving favor rather than silver and gold, that is, the kind regard of the wise and good is to be preferred to all outward possessions.
v. 2. The rich and poor meet together, they are found side by side, in agreement with God's order in the world; the Lord is the Maker of them all, whence it follows that the poor should not envy the rich, and the rich should not oppress the poor.
v. 3. A prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself, for his prudence takes into account all possibilities; but the simple, the inexperienced, those who are too foolish to learn, pass on and are punished, they suffer the consequences of their foolishness.
v. 4. By humility and the fear of the Lord, coming to men as a result of these virtues, are riches and honor and life, for outward prosperity, the respect of men, and inner growth are the rewards given to believers by the Lord.
v. 5. Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward, they are often placed in the way of those who are crooked in their thinking and dealing, or they are naturally found along the paths frequented by them; he that doth keep his soul, in conducting himself according to the precepts of true morality and piety, shall be far from them, he will have no such things to hinder him in his way.
v. 6. Train up a child in the way he should go, carefully imparting to him the instruction which he needs for the right formation of pious habits, the method of instruction following the age and the peculiarity of the child; and when he is old, he will not depart from it, his moral habits having been established by constant and proper training, he will naturally conduct himself always in a manner becoming a Christian.
v. 7. The rich ruleth over the poor, his wealth giving him a large measure of power, especially if the poor are dependent upon him for loans, and the borrower is servant to the lender, for indebtedness is bound to interfere with the feeling, if not with the fact, of freedom.
v. 8. He that soweth iniquity, unrighteousness and wickedness in any form, shall reap vanity, misfortune and calamity; and the rod of his anger shall fail, the staff of his haughty wrath with which he so often tried to intimidate men, is bound to vanish, his tyranny will come to an abrupt end.
v. 9. He that hath a bountiful eye, one which reflects kindness, friendliness, and charity, shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor; as he dispenses blessing, he will receive blessing.
v. 10. Cast out the scorner, the one whose mockery is directed against godliness in every form, and contention shall go out, for blasphemous taunts engender quarrels; yea, strife and reproach shall cease, with the removal of the blasphemer.
v. 11. He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend, literally, "He who loves purity, integrity, of heart, and to whom is grace of lips, the king is his friend," he will stand high in the counsels of the mighty of the earth.
v. 12. The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, for His eyes are fixed in protecting care upon those who observe the norm of true knowledge as found in His Word, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor, all the proposals and plans by which the wicked intends to harm the believer.
v. 13. The slothful man saith, eagerly making use of every shadow of an excuse to abstain from work, senseless though it may be, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets, so he prefers not to take any chances, but continues to indulge his laziness.
v. 14. The mouth of strange women, for so the harlots were commonly designated in the midst of God's people, is a deep pit, on account of the alluring and seductive language which they use in pursuing their intended victims; he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein, in just punishment of his wickedness, the curse of Jehovah thereby going into effect.
v. 15. Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, the reference being not merely to silly pranks and senseless escapades, but to the sinfulness of a child's nature, which shows itself in evil words and acts; but the rod of correction, which the Lord has entrusted to parents, as His representatives, for the use of which they are responsible to Him, shall drive it far from him, judicious punishment properly administered will put the dread of evil in the heart of the child.
v. 16. He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, his oppression results in ill-gotten wealth for himself, and he that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want, such an act will result in nothing but loss to himself. In either case, selfishness is the ruling motive, and in either case the punishment of God will strike the transgressor.
v. 17. Bow down thine ear, inclining it in the attitude of the most careful attention, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge, that presented by the inspired author in this new section of the Book of Proverbs.
v. 18. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee, the words of the wise serving to give true delight; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips, abiding there and exerting their authority.
v. 19. That thy trust may be in the Lord I have made known to thee this day, even to thee, for it is the author's object to teach the fear of Jehovah by his precepts.
v. 20. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, most excellent maxims of proper behavior,
v. 21. that I might make thee know the certainty, the strict correctness or verity, of the words of truth, that thou, equipped with this knowledge, mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? The reference is to the parents, who have sent their son to the teacher of wisdom and expect him to become proficient in the principles of true wisdom. After this introductory admonition to heed the precepts of truth the author offers maxims of pious conduct.
v. 22. Rob not the poor, depriving him of his property by force or by a show of right, because he is poor, unable to procure assistance, neither oppress the afflicted in the gate, the place where local cases were usually decided by the elders or judges of the city;
v. 23. for the Lord will plead their cause, conducting the case of the poor and afflicted, as their Advocate and Champion, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them, taking the side of the wronged and vindicating the poor by punishing the violation of right and justice on the part of the powerful.
v. 24. Make no friendship with an angry man, a man of violent temper, and with a furious man thou shalt not go, one who cannot control himself.
v. 25. lest thou learn his ways, be infected by his vice, and get a snare to thy soul, for a violent temper is a fatal net to him who is subject to its attacks.
v. 26. Be not thou one of them that strike hands, by hastily pledging himself for the debts of another, or of them that, in a frivolous manner, are sureties for debts.
v. 27. If thou hast nothing to pay, being called upon to make good his pledge, why should he take away thy bed from under thee? the bed having been pledged as a guarantee for the payment of the debt here concerned. Proverbs 6:1-4; Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 20:16.
v. 28. Remove not the ancient landmark, set to mark the boundaries, which thy fathers have set. Cf Proverbs 15:25.
v. 29. Seest thou a man diligent in his business? one who is skilful, apt, diligent. He shall stand before kings, being invited to serve them with his counsel and with his ability; he shall not stand before mean men, ordinary, obscure persons, for the services of such a man would be considered too valuable to be of benefit to a small circle only.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 22". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany