Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up strifes: but love covers all sins.
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(12) Hatred stirreth up strifes . . .—Hatred rakes up again old feuds which have slumbered, but love covers up and refuses to look at any wrong done to it. A similar expression occurs in 1Peter 4:8 and James 5:20, though probably in a somewhat different sense. (See the note on the former passage.)

Proverbs 10:12. Hatred stirreth up strife — Upon every slight occasion, by filling men’s minds with suspicions and surmises, whereby they imagine faults where there are none, and aggravate every small offence; but love covereth all sins — Either doth not severely observe, or willingly forgives and forgets the injuries and offences of others, and so prevents contention and mischief.10:7. Both the just and the wicked must die; but between their souls there is a vast difference. 8. The wise in heart puts his knowledge in practice. 9. Dissemblers, after all their shuffling, will be exposed. 10. Trick and artifice will be no excuse for iniquity. 11. The good man's mouth is always open to teach, comfort, and correct others. 12. Where there is hatred, every thing stirs up strife. By bearing with each other, peace and harmony are preserved. 13. Those that foolishly go on in wicked ways, prepare rods for themselves. 14. Whatever knowledge may be useful, we must lay it up, that it may not be to seek when we want it. The wise gain this wisdom by reading, by hearing the word, by meditation, by prayer, by faith in Christ, who is made of God unto us wisdom. 15. This refers to the common mistakes both of rich and poor, as to their outward condition. Rich people's wealth exposes them to many dangers; while a poor man may live comfortably, if he is content, keeps a good conscience, and lives by faith. 16. Perhaps a righteous man has no more than what he works hard for, but that labour tends to life. 17. The traveller that has missed his way, and cannot bear to be told of it, and to be shown the right way, must err still. 18. He is especially a fool who thinks to hide anything from God; and malice is no better. 19. Those that speak much, speak much amiss. He that checks himself is a wise man, and therein consults his own peace. 20,21. The tongue of the just is sincere, freed from the dross of guile and evil design. Pious discourse is spiritual food to the needy. Fools die for want of a heart, so the word is; for want of thought.Love covereth all sins - i. e., First hides, does not expose, and then forgives and forgets all sins. 12. strifes—or, "litigations."

covereth—by forgiveness and forbearance.

Hatred stirreth up strifes upon every slight occasion, by filling men with suspicions and surmises, whereby they imagine faults where there are none, and aggravate every small offence.

Love covereth all sins; either doth not severely observe, or doth willingly forget and forgive, the offences or injuries of others, and so preventeth contention and mischief. Hatred stirreth up strifes,.... A man, whose heart is full of hatred and malice against his neighbour, will stir up, or awake, as the word (d) signifies, contentions and quarrels which were happily laid asleep; these he renews by tale bearing, and whisperings, and evil surmises; by raising lies, spreading false reports and calumnies, and by virulent reproaches and slanders;

but love covereth all sins; not its own, but others; in imitation of the pardoning love and grace of God, which covers all the sins of his people with the blood and righteousness of his Son. Love spreads its mantle over the sins of its fellow creatures and Christians, and forgives them, even all of them: instead of exposing them, hides and conceals them; and, instead of loading and aggravating the infirmities of others, puts the best constructions on them, hopes and bears, and believes all things, 1 Corinthians 13:7; see 1 Peter 4:8; where the apostle seems to have respect to this passage. This is not to be understood as conniving at or suffering sin upon others, or as contrary to Christian reproofs and rebukes for it.


Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
12. love covereth &c.] See 1 Peter 4:8, where the use of charity for love in A.V. obscures the fact that it is probably a quotation of this proverb. The LXX., however, has here a different reading (πάντας δὲ τοὺς μὴ φιλονεικοῦντας καλύπτει φιλία), so that the Apostle must either have quoted from the Hebrew, or taken the proverb as it was then in common use. Comp. James 5:20.Verse 12. - Hatred stirreth up strife (Proverbs 6:14). Love covereth all sins (Proverbs 17:9). The reference is primarily to the blood feud, the existence of which led to the establishment of the cities of refuge. Hatred keeps alive the old feeling of revenge, and seeks opportunities of satisfying it; but love puts aside, forgets and forgives all offences against itself. This sentiment comes very near the great Christian principle, "Love covereth a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8; comp. 1 Corinthians 13:4; James 5:20). The Talmud pronounces, "To love a thing makes the eye blind, the ear deaf;" and the Arab says, "Love is the companion of blindness." Septuagint, "Love (φιλία) covereth all those who love not strife." There now follow two proverbs regarding the blessings and the curses which come to men, and which flow forth from them. Here, however, as throughout, we take each proverb by itself, that it might not appear as if we had a tetrastich before us. The first of these two antithetic distichs is:

Blessings (come) on the head of the just;

But violence covereth the mouth of the godless.

Blessings are, without being distinguished, bestowed as well as prayed for from above. Regarding the undistinguished uses of לראשׁ (of a recompense of reward), בּראשׁ (of penal recompense), and על־ראשׁ (especially of punishment), vid., under Genesis 49:26. If we understand, with Ewald, Bertheau, Elster, Zckler, and others, the two lines after Proverbs 10:11, Proverbs 19:28, cf. Proverbs 10:18 : the mouth of the wicked covers (hides under a mask) violence, inasmuch as he speaks words of blessing while thoughts of malediction lurk behind them (Psalm 62:5), then we renounce the sharpness of the contrast. On the contrary, it is preserved if we interpret וּפי as object: the violence that has gone out from it covereth the mouth of the wicked, i.e., it falls back upon his foul mouth; or as Fleischer (and Oetinger almost the same) paraphrases it: the deeds of violence that have gone forth from them are given back to them in curses and maledictions, so that going back they stop, as it were, their mouth, they bring them to silence; for it is unnecessary to take פי synecdochically for פני (cf. e.g., Psalm 69:8), since in בּרכות 6a are perhaps chiefly meant blessings of thankful acknowledgment on the part of men, and the giving prominence to the mouth of the wicked from which nothing good proceeds is well accounted for. The parallels do not hinder us thus to explain, since parts of proverbs repeating themselves in the Book of Proverbs often show a change of the meaning (vid., p. 24f.). Hitzig's conjecture, יכּסה (better יכסּה), is unnecessary; for elsewhere we read, as here, that חמס (violence), jure talionis, covers, יכּסּה, the wicked, Habakkuk 2:17, or that he, using "violence," therewith covers the whole of his external appearance, i.e., gives to it the branded impress of the unrighteousness he has done (vid., Khler under Malachi 2:16).

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