Proverbs 20:14
It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) It is naught, saith the buyer.—He cries down the goods he wants to purchase.

Then he boasteth.—How he has outdone the seller, and got the goods below their value. For other notices of cheating in trade see above on Proverbs 11:1.

Proverbs 20:14. It is naught, it is naught. — The commodity is but of little worth; saith the buyer — Namely, to the seller; he discommends it, that he may bring down the price of it; but when he is gone his way — Having purchased the article upon his own terms; then he boasteth — That by his subtlety he hath overreached the seller, and obtained a great advantage to himself, and he laughs at his simplicity in selling it at so low a price. This Solomon notices as a common but very blameable practice.

20:7. A good man is not liable to uneasiness in contriving what he shall do, or in reflecting on what he has done, as those who walk in deceit. And his family fare better for his sake. 8. If great men are good men, they may do much good, and prevent very much evil. 9. Some can say, Through grace, we are cleaner than we have been; but it was the work of the Holy Spirit. 10. See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten. 11. Parents should observe their children, that they may manage them accordingly. 12. All our powers and faculties are from God, and are to be employed for him. 13. Those that indulge themselves, may expect to want necessaries, which should have been gotten by honest labour. 14. Men use arts to get a good bargain, and to buy cheap; whereas a man ought to be ashamed of a fraud and a lie. 15. He that prefers true knowledge to riches, follows the ways of religion and happiness. If we really believed this truth, the word of God would be valued as it deserves, and the world would lose its tempting influence. 16. Those ruin themselves who entangle themselves in rash suretiship. Also those who are in league with abandoned women. Place no confidence in either. 17. Wealth gotten by fraud may be sweet, for the carnal mind takes pleasure in the success of wicked devices; but it will be bitter in the reflection. 18. Especially we need advice in spiritual warfare. The word and Spirit of God are the best counsellors in every point. 19. Those dearly buy their own praise, who put confidence in a man because he speaks fairly. 20. An undutiful child will become very miserable. Never let him expect any peace or comfort. 21. An estate suddenly raised, is often as suddenly ruined. 22. Wait on the Lord, attend his pleasure, and he will protect thee.Naught - Bad, worthless 2 Kings 2:19. 14. when … his way—implying that he goes about boasting of his bargains. It is naught; the commodity is but of little worth. Saith the buyer, to wit, to the seller; he discommends it, that he may bring down the price of it.

Gone his way, with the commodity purchased.

He boasteth that by his wit he hath overreached the seller, and got a great advantage to himself. This he notes as a common but reprovable practice.

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer,.... When he comes to the shop of the seller, or to market to buy goods, he undervalues them, says they are not so good as they should be, nor so cheap as he can buy them at;

but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth; after he has brought the seller to as low a price as he can, and has bought the goods, and gone away with them, and got home among his friends; then he boasts what a bargain he has bought, how good the commodity is, how he has been too many for the seller, and has outwitted him; and so glories in his frauds and tricks, and rejoices in his boasting, and all such rejoicing is evil, James 4:16. Jarchi applies this to a man that is a hard student in the law, and through much difficulty gets the knowledge of it, when he is ready to pronounce himself unhappy; but when he is got full fraught with wisdom, then he rejoices at it, and glories in it.

It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. naught] i.e. an inferior article. Comp. 2 Kings 2:19. By decrying it he gets it cheap, and then goes his way and boasts of his cleverness. Mr Bridges, in his Commentary on Proverbs, quotes here from Augustine the well-known story of him who having given out that he would disclose to every man the secret desire of his heart, exclaimed to the crowd who came together to hear it, Vili vultis emere, et caro vendere, “You all wish to buy cheap, and sell dear” (Aug. de Trin. lib. 13. c. 3).

Verse 14. - It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer. The purchaser depreciates the goods which he wants, in order to lower the price demanded - a practice as common now as in old time. "I don't want it, I don't want it," says the Spanish friar; "but drop it into my hood." The Scotch say, "He that lacks (disparages) my mare would buy my mare" (Kelly). But when he is gone his way, then he boasteth. When he has completed his purchase and obtained the goods at his own price, he boasts how he has tricked the seller. The LXX. omits vers. 14-19. Proverbs 20:14The following group has its natural limit at the new point of departure at Proverbs 20:20, and is internally connected in a diversity of ways.

14 "Bad, bad!" saith the buyer;

     And going his way, he boasteth then.

Luther otherwise:

"Bad, bad!" saith one if he hath it;

But when it is gone, then he boasteth of it.

This rendering has many supporters. Geier cites the words of the Latin poet:

"Omne bonum praesens minus est, sperata videntur Magna."

Schultens quotes the proverbs τὸ παρὸν βαρύ and Praesentia laudato, for with Luther he refers ואזל לו to the present possession (אזל, as 1 Samuel 9:7 equals (Arab.) zâl, to cease, to be lost), and translates: at dilapsum sibi, tum demum pro splendido celebrat. But by this the Hithpa. does not receive its full meaning; and to extract from הקּונה the idea to which ואזל לו refers, if not unnecessary, is certainly worthless. Hakkoneh may also certainly mean the possessor, but the possessor by acquisition (lxx and the Venet. ὁ κτώμενος); for the most part it signifies the possessor by purchase, the buyer (Jerome, emptor), as correlate of מכר, Isaiah 24:2; Ezekiel 4:12. It is customary for the buyer to undervalue that which he seeks to purchase, so as to obtain it as cheaply as possible; afterwards he boasts that he has bought that which is good, and yet so cheap. That is an every-day experience; but the proverb indirectly warns against conventional lying, and shows that one should not be startled and deceived thereby. The subject to ואזל לו is thus the buyer; אזל with לו denotes, more definitely even than הלך לו, going from thence, s'en aller. Syntactically, the punctuation ואזל לו [and he takes himself off] (perf. hypoth., Ewald, 357a) would have been near (Jerome: et cum recesserit); but yet it is not necessary, with Hitzig, thus to correct it. The poet means to say: making himself off, he then boasts. We cannot in German place the "alsdann" [then] as the אז here, and as also, e.g., at 1 Samuel 20:12; but Theodotion, in good Greek: καὶ πορευθεὶς τότε καυχήσεται. We may write ואזל לו with Mercha on the antepenult, on which the accent is thrown back, cf. חונן, Proverbs 19:17, but not לּו; for the rule for Dagesh does not here, with the retrogression of the tone, come into application, as, e.g., in אוכל לּחמי, Psalm 41:10. Singularly the Syr. and Targ. do not read רע רע, but רע לרע, and couple Proverbs 20:15 with 14. In the lxx, Proverbs 20:14-19 are wanting.

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