|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:1 A right cause will be better pleaded with meekness than with passion. Nothing stirs up anger like grievous words. 2. He that has knowledge, is to use it aright, for the good of others.
Verse 1. - A soft answer turneth away wrath. Two things are here to be observed: an answer should be given - the injured person should not wrap himself in sullen silence; and that answer should be gentle and conciliatory. This is tersely put in a mediaeval rhyme -
"Frangitur ira gravis
Quando est respensio suavis."
"Anger, however great,
Is checked by answer sweet." Septuagint, "A submissive (ὑποπίπτουσα) answer averteth wrath." Thus Abigail quelled the excessive anger of David by her judicious submission (1 Samuel 25:24, etc.). But grievous words stir up anger. A word that causes vexation makes anger rise the higher.
Ὁργῆς ματαίας εἰσὶν αἰτιοι λόγοι.
"Of empty anger words are oft the cause."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A soft answer turneth away wrath,.... Mild words, gentle expressions, delivered with kindness and tenderness, humility and submission; these will work upon a man's passions, weaken his resentments, and break and scatter the storm of wrath raised in his breast, just breaking forth in a very boisterous and blustering manner; so high winds are sometimes laid by soft showers. Thus the Ephraimites were pacified by Gideon's mild answer; and David by Abigail's very submissive and respectful address, Judges 8:1;
but grievous words stir up anger; such as are rough and menacing, scornful and sneering, reproachful and reviling, proud, haughty, and overbearing; like those of Jephthah to the Ephraimites; and of the Ephraimites to the Gileadites; and of Nabal to David's servants, concerning him; and of Rehoboam, who answered the people roughly: in all which instances anger was stirred up, and either were or like to have been attended with bad consequences, Judges 12:1. Or a "word" causing, or rather expressing, "grief" (r); upbraiding others with being the cause of grief to them.
(r) "verbum vel sermo doloris", Montanus, Vatablus, Michaelis; vid. Gussetius, p. 177.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
1. soft—tender or gentle.
turneth … wrath—from any one.
stir up—as a smouldering fire is excited.
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