Proverbs 18:16
A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
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(16) A man’s gift.—Judicious liberality “maketh room for him,” helps him to make his way through life. (Comp. Luke 16:9, and the advice there given so to use temporal riches as to gain those of heaven.)

Proverbs 18:16. A man’s gift maketh room for him — Procures him free access to great men. Hebrew, ירחיב לו, enlargeth him, as this very phrase is rendered Psalm 4:1, and elsewhere; freeth him from straits and oppressions; and bringeth him before great men — Procures him favour and free conversation with them.

18:4. The well-spring of wisdom in the heart of a believer, continually supplies words of wisdom. 5. The merits of a cause must be looked to, not the person. 6,7. What mischief bad men do to themselves by their ungoverned tongues! 8. How base are those that sow contention! and what fatal effects may be expected from small beginnings of jealousy! 9. Omissions of duty, and in duty, are fatal to the soul, as well as commissions of sin. 10,11. The Divine power, made known in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, forms a strong tower for the believer, who relies on the Lord. How deceitful the defence of the rich man, who has his portion and treasure in this world! It is a strong city and a high wall only in his own conceit; for it will fail when most in need. They will be exposed to the just wrath of that Judge whom they despised as a Saviour. 12. After the heart has been lifted up with pride, a fall comes. But honour shall be the reward of humility. 13. Eagerness, with self-conceit, will expose to shame. 14. Firmness of mind supports under many pains and trials. But when the conscience is tortured with remorse, no human fortitude can bear the misery; what then will hell be? 15. We must get knowledge, not only into our heads, but into our hearts. 16. Blessed be the Lord, who makes us welcome to come to his throne, without money and without price. May his gifts make room for him in our souls.The "gift" (or, bribe), by a bold personification, appears as the powerful "friend at court," who introduces another, and makes him welcome in high places. 16. (Compare Pr 17:8, 23). Disapproval of the fact stated is implied. Maketh room for him; procures him free access to great men. Heb. enlargeth him, as this very phrase is rendered, Psalm 4:1, and elsewhere; freeth him from straits and oppressions.

Bringeth him before great men; gets him favour and free conversation with them.

A man's gift maketh room for him,.... Or "enlarges him" (y); brings him out of prison, or, or out of straits and difficulties with which he, has, been pressed; or it makes way for him to a judge, and for a favourable hearing of his cause; or it enlarges his acquaintance, and gains him respect among men;

and bringeth him before great men; it opens a way for him into the presence and company of great men, being a fee to their servants; or with it he procures a place to wait on them. It is not necessary to understand it of a gift by way of bribe; but to introduce a person to another, and render him acceptable, and appease anger; as in the cases of Jacob and Abigail, Genesis 32:20.


A man's gift {i} maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.

(i) Gets him liberty to speak, and the favour of them that are esteemed.

16. Comp. Proverbs 17:8; Proverbs 19:6.

Verse 16. - A man's gift maketh room for him (comp. Proverbs 19:6). Mattam, "gift," has been taken in different senses. Some consider it to mean a bribe offered for underhand or fraudulent purposes; but the context does not lead to this conclusion, and the parallel passage mentioned above makes against it. Hitzig sees in it a spiritual gift, equivalent to χάρισμα; but such a meaning is not elsewhere attached to the word. The term here signifies the present which duty or friendship offers to one whom one wishes to please. This paves a man's way to a great person's presence. Bringeth him before great men. The Oriental custom of offering suitable gifts to one in authority, when a favour or an audience is desired, is here alluded to (comp. 1 Samuel 10:27; 1 Kings 4:21; 1 Kings 10:25). So the Magi brought gifts so the newborn King at Bethlehem (Matthew 2:11). In a spiritual sense, the right use of riches opens the way to eternal life, evincing a man's practical love of God and man; as Christ says (Luke 16:9), "Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles" (Revised Version). Proverbs 18:1616 The gift of a man maketh room for him,

     And bringeth him before the great.

That מתּן may signify intellectual endowments, Hitzig supposes, but without any proof for such an opinion. Intellectual ability as the means of advancement is otherwise designated, Proverbs 22:29. But Hitzig is right in this, that one mistakes the meaning of the proverb if he interprets מתן in the sense of שׂחד (vid., at Proverbs 17:8): mtn is an indifferent idea, and the proverb means that a man makes free space, a free path for himself, by a gift, i.e., by this, that he shows himself to be agreeable, pleasing where it avails, not stubborn but liberal. As a proverb expresses it:

Mit dem Hut in der Hand

Kommt man durchs ganze Land

[with hat in hand one goes through the whole land], so it is said here that such liberality brings before the great, i.e., not: furnishes with introductions to them; but helps to a place of honour near the great, i.e., those in a lofty position (cf. לפני, Proverbs 22:29; עם, Psalm 113:8). It is an important part of practical wisdom, that by right liberality, i.e., by liberal giving where duty demands it, and prudence commends it, one does not lose but gains, does not descend but rises; it helps a man over the difficulties of limited, narrow circumstances, gains for him affection, and helps him up from step to step. The ā of מתּן is, in a singular way (cf. מתּנה, מתּנת), treated as unchangeable.

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