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Observations on public government, and on private. Of anger, pride, theft, cowardice, and corruption.
Proverbs 29:1. Hardeneth his neck— See Exodus 32:9.
Proverbs 29:4. He that receiveth gifts— i.e. He who rigorously exacteth tribute, or requires rich presents to be made to him. Houbigant renders the verse, The king who judgeth justly establisheth the land, he who exacteth gifts overturneth it.
Proverbs 29:5. Spreadeth a net for his feet— Some render this for his own feet, applying it to the flatterer; and so the next verse is understood, which Houbigant translates thus: The wicked man falls himself into the snares which he lays for others; the just man shall deliver himself, and rejoice.
Proverbs 29:9-10. If a wise man contendeth, &c.— A wise man, contending in judgment with a foolish man, whether he is provoked or derided, remains unmoved.—Ver. 10. Deceitful men hold the upright in little esteem; but the just embrace him. Houbigant. Schultens renders the last verse, Bloody men hate the upright, and seek the life of the just.
Proverbs 29:12. If a ruler hearken to lies— In conformity to this aphorism, Tacitus says of Claudius, "There is no safety with that prince into whose mind all things are conveyed, as it were, by infusion and direction from others." And Comines observes, that it is better to be servant to a prince whose suspicions have no end, than to one whose credulity hath no measure.
Proverbs 29:13. The poor and the deceitful man meet together— See chap. Pro 22:2 where the sentence appears very similar. The LXX read, The usurer and debtor meet together; the Lord has the oversight of them both. The Vulgate, Houbigant, Schultens, &c. read, The poor and the rich, or, The poor and his creditor.
Proverbs 29:18. Where there is no vision, &c.— Houbigant renders this verse, That people is dissipated, among whom there are no answers of the prophets: that people is blessed with whom the law is preserved; which is very similar to the Vulgate. The LXX read, A wicked people shall have no person to explain the law; but, &c. The word חזון chazon, rendered vision, signifies a prophetic sight, or knowledge; and very well justifies the interpretation of the Vulgate and Houbigant. A principal branch of this prophetic knowledge consisted in teaching the law.
Proverbs 29:19. A servant will not be corrected by words— "A slave, and he who is of a servile nature, is not to be amended by reason or persuasion: no, nor by reproofs or threats; for though he hear, and understand too, what you say, yet he will not obey, till he be forced into it by blows." The LXX read, A stubborn or obstinate servant will not, &c.
Proverbs 29:21. He that delicately bringeth up his servant, &c.— Lord Bacon, observing that most of the aphorisms in these last chapters refer to princes and their affairs, remarks on this verse. That both princes and private masters should keep a mean in the dispensation of their grace and favour towards servants; which mean is three-fold; first, that servants be promoted by degrees, not by leaps; secondly, that they be now and then accustomed to repulses; thirdly, that they have ever in their sight before them something whereunto they may further aspire: for unless these courses be taken in raising of servants, princes shall, instead of thankful acknowledgments and dutiful observance, be repaid with nothing but disdain and contumacy; for from sudden promotion arises insolence; from constant attainment of their desire proceeds impatience of refusal; and when there is nothing remaining for future expectation, alacrity and industry will cease. See Advan. of Learn. as above. The Chaldee and LXX read this verse, He who nourisheth himself delicately from his youth, shall become a slave, and at the end shall miserably perish. See Romans 7:24.
Proverbs 29:24. He heareth cursing, &c.— The LXX and Vulgate read, He heareth him who adjureth him, but will not declare or impeach. The words may be rendered, He is adjured, and yet makes not discovery. See Leviticus 5:1. The sense is, that "He who will not discover a thief, when adjured or summoned upon oath to discover him, is as bad as the thief himself." See Grotius and Schultens.
Proverbs 29:25. The fear of man bringeth a snare— He who feareth man shall be driven into a snare [or shall fall]. He who trusteth in the Lord shall be established. When men do not abstain from evil, but from respects and considerations merely human, they presently fall. There is no virtue, no solid piety, but that which is founded upon the fear and love of God. When the heart is not penetrated with the love of goodness, and fear only withholds the hand, there is neither solid virtue, nor true abhorrence of evil. Another sense may be given to the Hebrew. He who feareth man, who serves him, and attaches himself to him, shall fall into a snare; but he who hopeth in the Lord shall be lifted up; shall escape the danger, and avoid the snares. The LXX read, Impiety causeth man to fall; but he who trusteth in the Lord shall be safe.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 29". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent