Proverbs 27:16
Whoever hides her hides the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which denudes itself.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind—i.e., you might as well try and stop the wind from blowing as seek to restrain her.

And the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.—Rather, perhaps, and oil meeteth his right handi.e., if he puts out his hand to stop her she slips through it like oil.

27:15,16. The contentions of a neighbour may be like a sharp shower, troublesome for a time; the contentions of a wife are like constant rain. 17. We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with. And directed to have in view, in conversation, to make one another wiser and better. 18. Though a calling be laborious and despised, yet those who keep to it, will find there is something to be got by it. God is a Master who has engaged to honour those who serve him faithfully. 19. One corrupt heart is like another; so are sanctified hearts: the former bear the same image of the earthly, the latter the same image of the heavenly. Let us carefully watch our own hearts, comparing them with the word of God. 20. Two things are here said to be never satisfied, death and sin. The appetites of the carnal mind for profit or pleasure are always desiring more. Those whose eyes are ever toward the Lord, are satisfied in him, and shall for ever be so. 21. Silver and gold are tried by putting them into the furnace and fining-pot; so is a man tried by praising him. 22. Some are so bad, that even severe methods do not answer the end; what remains but that they should be rejected? The new-creating power of God's grace alone is able to make a change. 23-27. We ought to have some business to do in this world, and not to live in idleness, and not to meddle with what we do not understand. We must be diligent and take pains. Let us do what we can, still the world cannot be secured to us, therefore we must choose a more lasting portion; but by the blessing of God upon our honest labours, we may expect to enjoy as much of earthly blessings as is good for us.The point is the impossibility of concealment or restraint. A person cannot hide the wind, or clasp it in his hands. If he takes an unguent in his right hand, the odor betrays him, or it slips out. So, in like manner, the "contentious woman" is one whose faults it is impossible either to hide or check. The difficulty of the proverb led to a different reading, adopted by the versions, "The north wind is rough, and yet it is called propitious"; it clears off the clouds and brings fine weather. 16. hideth—or, "restrains" (that is, tries to do it); is as fruitless an effort, as that of holding the wind.

the ointment of his right hand—the organ of power (Ps 17:7; 18:35). His right hand endeavors to repress perfume, but vainly. Some prefer: "His right hand comes on oil," that is, "cannot take hold." Such a woman cannot be tamed.

Whosoever hideth her, i.e. attempts to smother or bridle her passion, that it may not break forth to her shame, and to his own discomfort and reproach,

hideth the wind; undertakes that which is impossible.

The ointment of his right hand; which being the great instrument of action, by its much stirring diffuseth the savour of it. Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind,.... Whoever attempts to stop her brawls and contentions, to repress and restrain them, and hinder her voice being heard in the streets, and endeavours to hide the shame that comes upon herself and family, attempts a thing as impossible as to hide the wind in the palm of a man's hand, or to stop it from blowing; for as that, by being restrained or pent up by any methods that can be used, makes the greater noise, so, by all the means that are used to still a contentious woman, she is but the more noisy and clamorous, and becomes more shameful and infamous;

and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself: or "will call" or "calls" (h), and says, in effect, Here am I; for the smell of it, which cannot be hid when held in a man's hand, betrays it; and the faster he holds it, and the more he presses and squeezes it, and the more it is heated hereby, the more it diffuses its savour, and is known to be where it is; and so all attempts to stop the mouth of a brawling woman does but cause her to brawl the louder.

(h) "clamabit", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Vatablus, Mercerus; "vocabit", Baynus; "clamat", Piscator, Michaelis; "praeconem agit", Schultens.

Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. Whosoever hideth &c.] The verse is better rendered:

He that would restrain her restraineth the wind,

And his right hand meets with oil.

“She is as subtle as wind, as slippery as oil,” Rel. Tr. Soc. Comm.

The A.V. takes the second clause of the verse to mean, You might as well try to conceal ointment in your right hand, which would certainly betray its presence, either by its odour, or by trickling through your fingers. But the proverb is at once more forcible and more harmonious, when it speaks of restraining the wind and grasping the oil.Verse 16. - Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind. Whoever tries to restrain a shrewish woman, or to conceal her faults, might as well attempt to confine the wind or to check its violence. And the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself. He might as well try to hide the ointment which signifies its presence by its odour. But there is no "which" in the original, which runs literally, "his right hand calls oil," or, "oil meets his right hand." The former is supposed to mean that he is hurt in the struggle to coerce the vixen, and needs ointment to heal his wound; but the latter seems the correct rendering, and the meaning then is that, if he tries to hold or stop his wife, she escapes him like the oil which you try in vain to keep in your hand. An old adage says that there are three things which cannot be hidden, but always betray themselves, viz. a woman, the wind, and ointment. The LXX. has read the Hebrew differently, translating, "The northwind is harsh, but by name it is called lucky (ἐπιδέξιος);" i.e. because it clears the sky and introduces fine weather. The Syriac, Aquila, and Symmachus have adopted the same reading. Another proverb, consisting of three lines, in commendation of friendship:

Thine own friend and the friend of thy father forsake not,

And into thy brother's house go not in the day of thy misfortune -

Better is a near neighbour than a far-off brother.

In our editions רעך is incorrectly appointed with Pasek after it, so that the accent is Asla Legarmeh; the Pasek is, after the example of older editions, with Norzi, to be cancelled, so that only the conjunctive Asla remains; "thine own and the friend of thy father" denotes the family friend, like some family heirloom, descending from father to son. Such an old tried friend one must certainly not give up. The Kerı̂ changes the second ורעה into ורע, but ורעה (which, after the Masora in st. constr., retains its segol, Ewald, 211e) is also admissible, for a form of comparison (Hitzig) this רעה is not, but the fuller form of the abbreviated רע, from רעה, to take care of, to tend, to pasture - an infinitive formation ( equals רעי) like the Arab. cogn. râ'in a participial. Such a proved friend one ought certainly not to give up, and in the time of heavy trial (vid., regarding איד, Proverbs 1:26) one should go to him and not to a brother's house - it is by this supposed that, as Proverbs 18:24 says, there is a degree of friendship (cf. Proverbs 17:17) which in regard to attachment stands above that of mere fraternal relationship, and it is true; blood-relationship, viewed in itself, stands as a relationship of affection on natural grounds below friendship, which is a relationship of life on moral grounds. But does blood-relationship exclude friendship of soul? cannot my brother be at the same time my heart-friend? and is not friendship all the firmer when it has at the same time its roots in the spirit and in natural grounds? The poet seems to have said this, for in 10c, probably a popular saying (cf. "Besser Nachbar an der Wand als Bruder ber Land" [Better a neighbour by one's side than a brother abroad]), he gives to his advice a foundation, and at the same time a limitation which modifies its ruggedness. But Dchsel places (like Schultens) in קרוב and רחוק meanings which the words do not contain, for he interprets them of inward nearness and remoteness; and Zckler reads between the lines, for he remarks, a "near neighbour" is one who is near to the oppressed to counsel and help them, and a "distant brother" is one who with an unamiable disposition remains far from the oppressed. The state of the matter is simple. If one has a tried friend in neighbourly nearness, so in the time of distress, when he needs consolation and help, he must go to this friend, and not first to the house of a brother dwelling at a distance, for the former certainly does for us what the latter probably may and probably may not do for us.

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