Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
1. Through desire … seeketh—that is, seeks selfish gratification.
intermeddleth … wisdom—or, "rushes on" (Pr 17:14) against all wisdom, or what is valuable (Pr 2:7).
A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
2. that his heart … itself—that is, takes pleasure in revealing his folly (Pr 12:23; 15:2).
When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
3. So surely are sin and punishment connected (Pr 16:4).
wicked, for "wickedness," answers to
ignominy, or the state of such; and
contempt, the feeling of others to them; and to
reproach, a manifestation of contempt.
The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
4. Wise speech is like an exhaustless stream of benefit.
It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
5. accept the person—(Compare Ps 82:2). "It is not good" is to be supplied before "to overthrow."
A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
6, 7. The quarrelsome bring trouble on themselves. Their rash language ensnares them (Pr 6:2).
A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
8. (Compare Pr 16:28).
as wounds—not sustained by the Hebrew; better, as "sweet morsels," which men gladly swallow.
innermost … belly—the mind, or heart (compare Pr 20:27-30; Ps 22:14).
He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
9. One by failing to get, the other by wasting wealth, grows poor.
waster—literally, "master of washing," a prodigal.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
10. name of the Lord—manifested perfections (Ps 8:1; 20:2), as faithfulness, power, mercy, &c., on which men rely.
is safe—literally, "set on high, out of danger" (Ps 18:2; 91:4).
The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
11. contrasts with Pr 18:10 (compare Pr 10:15). Such is a vain trust (compare Ps 73:6).
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
12. (Compare Pr 15:33; 16:18).
He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
13. Hasty speech evinces self-conceit, and ensures shame (Pr 26:12).
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
14. infirmity—bodily sickness, or outward evil. The spirit, which sustains, being wounded, no support is left, except, as implied, in God.
The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
15. (Compare Pr 1:5, 15, 31).
A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
16. (Compare Pr 17:8, 23). Disapproval of the fact stated is implied.
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
17. One-sided statements are not reliable.
searcheth—thoroughly (Pr 17:9, 19).
The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
18. The lot—whose disposal is of God (Pr 16:13), may, properly used, be a right mode of settling disputes.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
19. No feuds so difficult of adjustment as those of relatives; hence great care should be used to avoid them.
A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
20. (Compare Pr 12:14; 13:2). Men's words are the fruit, or, increase of his lips, and when good, benefit them.
satisfied with—(Compare Pr 1:31; 14:14).
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
21. Death and life—or, the greatest evil and good.
that love it—that is, the tongue, or its use for good or evil.
eat … fruit—(Compare Pr 18:19; Jas 1:19).
Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
22. The old versions supply "good" before the "wife," as the last clause and Pr 19:14 imply (compare Pr 31:10).
The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
23. the rich … roughly—He is tolerated because rich, implying that the estimate of men by wealth is wrong.
A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
24. A man … friendly—better, "A man … (is) to, or, may triumph (Ps 108:9), or, shout for joy (Ps 5:11), that is, may congratulate himself." Indeed, there is a Friend who is better than a brother; such is the "Friend of sinners" [Mt 11:19; Lu 7:34], who may have been before the writer's mind.