A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A continual dropping in a very rainy day.—See above on Proverbs 19:13.Proverbs 27:15-16. A continual dropping, &c., and a contentious woman are alike — Are equally troublesome; the first not suffering a man to go abroad with comfort; the latter not permitting him to stay at home with quietness. Whosoever hideth her — That is, attempts to smother her passion, that it may not break forth to her shame, and to her husband’s discomfort and reproach; hideth the wind — Undertakes that which is impossible; and the ointment of his right hand — Which, being the great instrument of action, by its much stirring diffuseth the savour of it. Houbigant renders it, He who will confine her at home may confine the wind, for whatsoever he shall seal with his hand, that is, whatsoever her husband would wish to keep secret, she will bewray or divulge. The Hebrew is very obscure, but the meaning of the verse evidently is, “To attempt to keep such a woman in the house, is to attempt to restrain the wind: and as one cannot touch perfumed oil with the hand but the odour will discover itself, so is it fruitless to endeavour to conceal the bad qualities of a quarrelsome woman; in spite of all endeavours she will discover herself.”
very … day—literally, "a day of showers."
and a contentious woman are alike; troublesome and uncomfortable; as in a rainy day, a man cannot go abroad with any pleasure, and if the rain is continually dropping upon him in his house he cannot sit there with any comfort; and so a contentious woman, that is always scolding and brawling, a man has no comfort at home; and if he goes abroad he is jeered and laughed at on her account by others; and perhaps she the more severely falls upon him when he returns for having been abroad; see Proverbs 19:13.A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. See Proverbs 19:13.Verse 15. - The single line of the second clause of Proverbs 19:13 is here formed into a distich. A continual dropping in a very rainy day. "A day of violent rain," סַגְרִיר (sagrir), which word occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament. And a contentious woman are alike. The word rendered "are alike" (נִשְׁתָּוָה) is usually taken to be the third perf. nithp. from שׁיה; but the best established reading, according to Hitzig, Delitzsch, and Nowack, is נִשְׁתָּוָה, which is regarded as a niph. with a transposition of consonants for נְשְׁוָתָה. Septuagint, "Drops of rain drive a man out of his house on a stormy day." The ill-constructed roofs of Eastern houses were very subject to leakage, being flat and formed of porous material.
9 Oil and frankincense rejoice the heart;
And the sweet discourse of a friend from a counselling of soul.
Regarding the perfuming with dry aromas, and sprinkling with liquid aromas, as a mark of honour towards guests, and as a means of promoting joyful social fellowship, vid., at Proverbs 7:16., Proverbs 21:17. The pred. ישׂמּח comprehends frankincense or oil as the two sides of one and the same thing; the lxx introduces, from Psalm 104:15, also wine. It also reads ומתק רעה as one word, וּמתקרעת: καταῤῥήγνυται δὲ ὑπὸ συμπτωμάτων ψυχή, which Hitzig regards as original; for he translates, understanding מעצת after Psalm 13:3, "but the soul is torn by cares." But why מתקרעה, this Hithpa. without example, for נקרעה? and now connected with מן in the sense of ὑπό! And what does one gain by this Alexandrian wisdom [of the lxx] - a contrast to 9a which is altogether incongruous? Dderlein's rendering accords far better with 9a: "but the sweetness of a friend surpasses fragrant wood." But although this rendering of the word [עצה] by "fragrant wood" is found in Gesen. Lex., from one edition to another, yet it must be rejected; for the word signifies wood as the contents of trees, the word for aromatic wood must be עצים; and if the poet had not intentionally aimed at dubiety, he ought to have written עצי בשׂם, since נפשׁ, which the exception of Isaiah 3:20, where it is beyond doubt, nowhere means fragrance. If we read עצת and נפשׁ together, then we may suppose that the latter designates the soul, as at Psalm 13:3; and the former, counsel (from the verb יעץ). But to what does the suffix of רעהוּ refer? One may almost conjecture that the words originally were וּמתק נפשׁ מעצת רעהוּ, and the sweetness of the soul (i.e., a sweet relish for it, cf. Proverbs 27:7 and Proverbs 16:24) consists in the counsel of a friend, according to which Jerome translates: et bonis amici conciliis anima dulcoratur. By this transposition רעהו refers back to נפשׁ; for is nephesh denote a person or a living being, it can be construed ad sensum as masc., e.g., Numbers 31:28. But the words may remain in the order in which they are transmitted to us. It is possible that רעהוּ is (Bttcher refers to Job 12:4) of the same meaning as הרע (the friend of one equals the friend), as כלּו denotes directly the whole; חציו, the half; עתּו, the right time. Recognising this, Cocceius, Umbreit, Stier, and Zckler explain: sweetness, i.e., the sweet encouragement (מתק, in the sense of "sweetness (grace) of the lips," Proverbs 16:21) of a friend, is better than one's own counsel, than prudence seeking to help oneself, and trusting merely to one's own resources; thus also Rashi: better than what one's own soul advises him. But (1) נפשׁ cannot mean one's own person (oneself) in contrast to another person; and (2) this does not supply a correct antithesis to 9a. Thus מן will not express the preference, but the origin. Accordingly Ewald, e.g., explains: the sweetness of a friend whom one has proceedeth from the counsel of soul, i.e., from such counsel as is drawn from a deep, full soul. But no proof can be brought from the usage of the language that עצת־נפשׁ can be so meant; these words, after the analogy of דעת נפשׁ, Proverbs 19:2, mean ability to give counsel as a quality of the soul (Proverbs 8:14; Proverbs 12:13), i.e., its ability to advise. Accordingly, with Bertheau, we explain ישׂמח־לב as the common predicate for 9a and 9b: ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, and (The Syr., Targ., well: even so) the sweet exhortation of a friend, from a soul capable of rendering counsel; also, this and this, more than that fragrance. This proverb is formed in the same way as Proverbs 26:9, Proverbs 26:14. In this explanation רעהו is well referred back to לב: and (more than) the sweet advice of his friend. But not so that רעהו is equivalent to רע הלּב, for one does not thus speak; but the construction is as when we say, in the German language: Nichts thut einem Herzen woler als wenn sein Freund es mitfhlend trstet [nothing does more good to a heart than when a friend sympathizingly comforts it]; or: Zage nicht, tief betrbtes Herz! Dein Freund lebt und wird dir bald sich zeigen [Be not dismayed, deeply-troubled heart! thy friend lives, and will soon show himself to thee]. In such cases the word "Herz" [heart] does not designate a distinct part of the person, but, synecdochically, it denotes the whole person.
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