|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:27,28. Ungodly men bestow more pains to do mischief than would be needful to do good. The whisperer separates friends: what a hateful, but how common a character! 29,30. Some do all the mischief they can by force and violence, and are blind to the result. 31. Old people especially should be found in the way of religion and godliness. 32. To overcome our own passions, requires more steady management, than obtaining victory over an enemy. 33. All the disposal of Providence concerning our affairs, we must look upon to be the determining what we referred to God; and we must be reconciled to them accordingly. Blessed are those that give themselves up to the will of God; for he knows what is good for them.
Verse 28. - A froward man soweth strife (Proverbs 6:14, 19). The verb means, literally, "sends forth," which may signify "scatters as seed" or "hurls as a missile weapon." The character intended is the perverse man, who distorts the truth, gives a wrong impression, attributes evil motives; such a one occasions quarrels and heartburnings. And a whisperer separateth chief friends (Proverbs 17:9). Nirgan is either "a chatterer," or "a whisperer," "calumniator." In Proverbs 18:8 and Proverbs 26:20, 22 it is translated "tale bearer." "Be not called a whisperer (ψίθυρος)," says the Son of Sirach (Ecclus. 5:14), speaking of secret slander. "Slanderers," says an old apothegm, "are Satan's bellows to blow up contension." Septuagint, "A perverse man sendeth abroad evils, and kindleth a torch of deceit for the wicked, and separateth friends." The alternative rendering of the second clause, "estrangeth a leader," i.e. alienates one leader from another, or from his army, is not confirmed by the authority of the versions or the best commentators.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A froward man soweth strife,.... Or "a man of perversenesses" (q); in whose heart is frowardness and perverseness; and whose mouth speaketh froward and perverse things, contrary to reason, law, and Gospel; and who has a spirit of contradiction, and is contrary to all men in his principles and practices; such a man sows discord and strife wherever he comes, in families, in neighbourhoods, in churches, in commonwealths, in civil and religious societies; and he seldom fails of finding a soil fit for his purpose, or ground susceptive of the seed he sows, where it takes root and thrives; see Proverbs 6:19;
and a whisperer separateth chief friends; one that goes from place to place, from house to house, carrying tales, whispering into the ears of persons things prejudicial to the characters of others, mere lies and falsehoods; such a man by his conduct separates one friend from another, even chief friends, that have been for a long time in the closest and most intimate friendship; he alienates their minds one from another, so that they will not come near one another, or keep up any correspondence as before. The word for "chief friends" is in the singular number, and signifies a prince or leader; and such men, according to the station they are in, and the influence they have, separate princes, as the Vulgate Latin version renders it, from their subjects, and stir up the latter to rebel against them; at least alienate their affections from them; and pastors of churches from their flocks, and husbands from their wives: and such a man, at last, when found out, separates his best friends from himself, as well as from one another; who drop him as a worthless person, yea, as dangerous to converse with; so sin, that whisperer and agitator, separates between God and men, Isaiah 59:2.
(q) "vir perversitatum", Montanus, Baynus, Schultens; "vir perversitatibus deditus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
28. (Compare Pr 6:14; 10:31).
whisperer—prater, talebearer (Pr 18:8; 26:20).
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