Proverbs 20:3
It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) But every fool.—Self-willed person. (Comp. Proverbs 1:22.)

Will be meddling.—Or, rather, shewing his teeth: (Comp. Proverbs 17:14) thinking that his own personal dignity is at stake.

20:1 It seems hard to believe that men of the greatest abilities, as well as the ignorant, should render themselves fools and madmen, merely for the taste or excitement produced by strong liquors. 2. How formidable kings are to those who provoke them! how much more foolish then is it to provoke the King of kings! 3. To engage in quarrels is the greatest folly that can be. Yield, and even give up just demands, for peace' sake. 4. He who labours and endures hardship in his seed-time for eternity, will be properly diligent as to his earthly business.Meddling - See Proverbs 17:14 note. 3. to cease from strife—or, better, "to dwell from or without strife," denoting the habit of life.

fool … meddling—(Pr 17:14).

To cease from strife; either to prevent it, or, if it be begun, to put an end to it; which, although proud and profane persons esteem dishonourable to them, is indeed their glory, because it is an evidence of their great wisdom and power over their passions, and of their respect and obedience to their sovereign Lord, in which their honour and happiness consists.

Will be meddling, to wit, with matters of strife; he is always ready to begin strife, and obstinate in the continuance of it.

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife,.... As Abraham did, Genesis 13:7; when engaged in a quarrel with his neighbour, or in a lawsuit, or in a religious controversy, especially when he finds he is in the wrong; and indeed, if he is in the right, when he perceives it is like to issue in no good, and is only about words to no profit, it is an honour to drop it;

but every fool will be meddling; with things he has no concern in, or is not equal to; yet will carry on the debate, though it is to his disgrace; see Proverbs 17:14.

It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. cease] For the same sense of the English word, refrain or stand aloof from, R.V., comp. Psalm 37:8; Isaiah 1:16.

meddling] R.V.; Rather, quarrelling, R.V. See Proverbs 17:14, note.

Verse 3. - It is an honour to a man to cease from strife; or better, as Delitzsch and others, to remain far from strife. A prudent man will not only abstain from causing quarrel, but will hold himself aloof from all contention, and thus will have due care for his own honour and dignity. How different is this from the modern cede, which makes a man's honour consist in his readiness to avenge fancied injury at the risk of his own or his neighbour's life! Septuagint, "It is a glory to a man to hold himself aloof from revilings." Every fool will be meddling (see on Proverbs 17:14; 18:1). Delitzsch, "Whoever is a fool showeth his teeth," finds pleasure in strife. Septuagint, "Every fool involves himself in such," as in ver. 1. Proverbs 20:33 It is an honour to a man to remain far from strife;

   But every fool showeth his teeth.

Or better: whoever is a fool quisquis amens, for the emphasis does not lie on this, that every fool, i.e., every single one of this sort, contends to the uttermost; but that whoever is only always a fool finds pleasure in such strife. Regarding התגּלּע, vid., Proverbs 17:14; Proverbs 18:1. On the contrary, it is an honour to a man to be peaceable, or, as it is here expressed, to remain far from strife. The phrase may be translated: to desist from strife; but in this case the word would be pointed שׁבת, which Hitzig prefers; for שׁבת from שׁבת means, 2 Samuel 23:7, annihilation (the termination of existence); also Exodus 21:19, שׁבתּו does not mean to be keeping holy day; but to be sitting, viz., at home, in a state of incapability for work. Rightly Fleischer: "ישׁב מן, like Arab. ḳ'ad ṣan, to remain sitting quiet, and thus to hold oneself removed from any kind of activity." He who is prudent, and cares for his honour, not only breaks off strife when it threatens to become passionate, but does not at all enter into it, keeps himself far removed from it.

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