Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.
This book is so called, because it consists of wise and weighty sentences, regulating the morals of men; and directing them to wisdom and virtue. And these sentences are also called Parables, because great truths are often couched in them under certain figures and similitudes. (Challoner) --- Wisdom is introduced speaking in the nine first chapters. Then to chap. xxv. more particular precepts are given. (Worthington) --- Ezechias caused to be collected (Haydock) what comes in the five next chapters, and in the two last. Some other, or rather Solomon himself, under (Worthington) different titles, gives us Agur's and his mother's instructions, and his own commendations of a valiant woman, (Haydock) which is prophetical of the Catholic Church. He also wrote the two next works, besides many other things, which have been lost. This is the first of those five, which are called "sapiential," giving instructions how to direct our lives, by the dictates of sound reason. (Worthington) --- It is the most important of Solomon's works, though collected by different authors. (Calmet) --- T. Paine treats Solomon as a witty jester. But his jests are of a very serious nature, and no one had before heard of his wit. (Watson)
Israel. The dignity of the author, and the importance of the subject, invite us to read. (St. Basil) --- Solomon is the first whose name is placed at the head of any work in Scripture. (Calmet)
To know. This is the design of these parables. (Calmet) --- They tend to instruct both the unexperienced and the wise, ver. 5. There are three sorts of wisdom: the divine, which is God himself; (chap. iii. 16.) the supernatural, which is his gift, to lead us into all virtue; and the worldly, which is mixed with error, &c. (Worthington) (Wisdom vii. 25.)
Subtilty. Discretion to the innocent. (Calmet)
Wiser. "Tamdiu audiendum & discendum est, quamdiu nescias, & si proverbio credimus, quamdiu vivas," says Seneca, ep. 77. --- Governments. And be fit to govern others, (Worthington) as well as himself. (Calmet)
Sayings. This science was much esteemed, 3 Kings x. l., and Ecclesiasticus xxxix. 2.
Fear. Thus we arrive at charity. (St. Augustine, in ep. Jo. ix.; Job xxviii. 28., &c.) This fear includes religion, but not barren speculations. (Calmet) --- It implies a desire to act, and not simply to understand.
Mother. The first precept is to learn of our elders, and the second to resist evil counsels, ver. 10. (Worthington) --- Our parents have the greatest influence over us. Solomon presupposes that they are virtuous and well informed. (Calmet)
Entice. Hebrew, "deceive." (Calmet) --- Pessimum inimicorum genus laudantes. (Tacitus, in vit. Agric.)
Pit. Grave, or hell, like Dathan, Numbers xvi. This shews the greatest rage, Job xxxi. 31.
Wings. If thou attend, therefore, to my instructions, their arts will be vain. (Ven. Bede) --- They unjustly seek to deceive the pious. (Calmet) --- Watchfulness will be the best protection against them. (Worthington)
Possessors. Of money. (Calmet) --- While they attempt to invade another's property, they ruin themselves, and come to the gallows. (Haydock)
Streets. In every place we may learn wisdom. "The wise learn more from fools, than fools do from the wise," as Cato well observed. (Calmet)
Fools. Hebrew, "and scorners delight in their scorning." (Protestants) --- Such are the pests of society. (Haydock) --- They turn piety to ridicule, and will talk about things which they do not understand, like our esprits forts, (Calmet) or pretended philosophers. (Haydock)
Mock. God is too much above us to act thus; but he will treat us as an enraged enemy. (Calmet) --- In hell, the damned will cry in vain, ver. 28. They had sufficient graces offered while they were alive. (Worthington)
Find me. Because their repentance was false, like that of Antiochus, 2 Machabees ix. 13., and Psalm xi. 4. (Calmet)
Despised. Literally, "destracted," (Haydock) supposing my threats would not be put in execution. Hebrew, "they abhorred." (Calmet)
Turning. Hebrew, "the ease of the simple," who have given way to deceit. (Calmet) --- Them. The objects of their eager desires, prove their ruin, Ezechiel xvi. 49.
Evils. Both the just and the wicked, (ver. 31.; Haydock) shall be treated according to their deserts, 2 Corinthians v. 10. (Worthington) --- Even in this world, the just enjoy the peace of a good conscience. (Menochius)