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Proverbs 17. Fresh points are the rise of the able and clever slave to a place in the family ( Proverbs 17:2), the practice of bribes ( Proverbs 17:8; Proverbs 17:23), the value of adversity as a test of friendship ( Proverbs 17:17): also the subject of suretyship, dealt with in Proverbs 6:1-5, is resumed ( Proverbs 17:18).
Proverbs 17:1 . For the connexion between sacrifices ( mg.) and feasting cf. Proverbs 6:14. For “ sacrifice” used to denote private slaying cf. Deuteronomy 12:15, Isaiah 34:6.
Proverbs 17:7 . Excellent: the usual meaning is “ abundance,” and possibly the sense is that copious speech only betrays a fool. A slight change gives “ upright,” with a somewhat better antithesis.— prince: cf. Proverbs 17:26 and Isaiah 32:5 for the sense of moral nobility, which better suits this passage, and render “ the noble,” or as Toy, “ the man of rectitude.”
Proverbs 17:8 . The most intelligible rendering is “ a bribe is counted a means of procuring favour (lit. a stone of favour) by its owner ( i.e. the briber) in all that he undertakes he succeeds.” The expression “ stone of favour” is without parallel in Heb. Frankenberg suggests that it may mean “ a lucky stone”— i.e. a magic stone or amulet.
Proverbs 17:9 b. Proverbs 16:28 *.
Proverbs 17:11 a. The lit. rendering is probably “ surely rebellion seeketh evil” ( cf. mg.) . The abstract for the concrete is not supported by Heb. usage, and a slight change gives “ a rebellious man.” The reference is probably not religious but political, but cf. Psalms 78:49.
Proverbs 17:12 a. cf. 2 Samuel 17:8, Hosea 13:8.
Proverbs 17:16 . There may be a reference to the Gr. custom of paying fees to sophists and philosophers, since it does not appear that the Jewish Rabbis took payment for their instruction.
Proverbs 17:17 . RVm is more exact than RV. The sense remains on the whole the same, although it no longer implies a higher degree of affection in the brother.
Proverbs 17:18 . cf. Proverbs 6:1-5 * see also Proverbs 11:15, Proverbs 20:16, Proverbs 22:26, Proverbs 27:13.
Proverbs 17:19 . transgression may have the social sense that it has in Exodus 22:9, trespass against a neighbour’ s property, in which case the unusual phrase “ raiseth high his gate” may refer to encroachments upon a neighbour’ s property.
Proverbs 17:21 . The word for “ fool” in Proverbs 17:21 b occurs besides only in Pr. in Proverbs 17:7 , Proverbs 30:22. It always connotes moral insensibility in the OT ( cf. Psalms 14:1).
Proverbs 17:22 . medicine: the word occurs only here and is thus translated by inference from Hosea 5:13. Read, with a slight change, “ body.” The sense is the same.— bones is another synonym for “ body.” Render “ A weary heart makes a sound body, but a crushed spirit withers the body.”
Proverbs 17:23 . out of the bosom: lit. “ out of the lap”— i.e. out of the fold in the outer garment which serves the Oriental as a pocket ( cf. Proverbs 16:33, Isaiah 40:11).
Proverbs 17:26 . punish: properly “ fine” ( mg.) , cf. Amos 2:8. But in Pr. the word seems to have the wider meaning “ punish.” The old technical sense has been lost.— for their uprightness is an impossible rendering. Either render “ to smite the noble is against justice,” or read “ much less to smite the noble.”
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Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 17". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26