|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:8. Those who set their hearts upon money, will do any thing for it. What influence should the gifts of God have on our hearts! 9. The way to preserve peace is to make the best of every thing; not to notice what has been said or done against ourselves. 10. A gentle reproof will enter, not only into the head, but into the heart of a wise man. 11. Satan, and the messengers of Satan, shall be let loose upon an evil man. 12. Let us watch over our own passions, and avoid the company of furious men. 13. To render evil for good is devilish. He that does so, brings a curse upon his family. 14. What danger there is in the beginning of strife! Resist its earliest display; and leave it off, if it were possible, before you begin. 15. It is an offence to God to acquit the guilty, or to condemn those who are not guilty. 16. Man's neglect of God's favour and his own interest is very absurd. 17. No change of outward circumstances should abate our affection for our friends or relatives. But no friend, except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. In Him this text did receive, and still receives its most glorious fulfilment. 18. Let not any wrong their families. Yet Christ's becoming Surety for men, was a glorious display of Divine wisdom; for he was able to discharge the bond.
Verse 12. - Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man. The Syrian bear was once common throughout Palestine; it is now found in but few localities, such as the hills of Hermon and Lebanon, and in the hills east of the Jordan, the destruction of wood and forest having deprived these animals of the shelter necessary to their existence. The ferocity of the bear when deprived of its young had become proverbial (see 2 Samuel 17:8; Hosea 13:8; Hart, 'Animals of the Bible,' 28, etc.). Rather than a fool in his folly; i.e. in the paroxysm of his passion. Compare Saul's ungoverned language to Jonathan (1 Samuel 20:30), and Herod's murder of the children (Matthew 2:16). So we read of the people being filled with ἄνοια against Jesus (Luke 6:11). Oort supposes that this proverb arose from the riddle, "What is worse to meet than a bear?" Septuagint, "Care will fall upon a man of understanding; but fools imagine evils." The Greek translators take "bear" as us d metaphorically for terror and anxiety, but go far astray from the Hebrew text.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man,.... A bear is a very fierce and furious creature, especially a she bear; and she is still more so when robbed of her whelps, which she has just whelped, and been at great pains to lick into shape and form, by which her fondness to them is increased; and therefore, being stripped of them, is full of rage; and ranging about in quest of them, falls furiously upon the first she meets with. Jerom (n) observes, that those who have written of the nature of beasts say, that, among all wild beasts, there is none more fierce than a she bear, when she has lost her whelps, or wants food. And yet, as terrible and as dangerous as it is, it is safer and more eligible of the two, to meet an enraged bear in those circumstances,
rather than a fool in his folly; in the height of his folly, in a paroxysm or fit of that; in the heat of his lusts, and the pursuit of them, in which there is no stopping him, or turning him from them; especially in the heat of passion and anger, which exceeds that of a bear, and is not so easily avoided. Jarchi applies it to such fools as seduce persons to idolatry, whom to meet is very dangerous: such are the followers of the man of sin, who have no mercy on the souls of men they deceive, and whose damnation they are the cause of; and who are implacably cruel to those who will not join with them in their idolatrous worship; the beast of Rome, his feet are as the feet of a bear, Revelation 13:2; and one had better meet a bear than him and his followers.
(n) Comment, in Hosea 13.8. So Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 6. c. 18.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. They are less rational in anger than wild beasts.
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