|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:19. If we would keep a clear conscience and a quiet mind, we must shun all excitements to anger. And a man who affects a style of living above his means, goes the way to ruin. 20. There is nothing got by ill designs. And many have paid dear for an unbridled tongue. 21. This speaks very plainly what many wise and good men feel very strongly, how grievous it is to have a foolish, wicked child. 22. It is great mercy that God gives us leave to be cheerful, and cause to be cheerful, if by his grace he gives us hearts to be cheerful. 23. The wicked are ready to part with their money, though loved, that they may not suffer for their crimes. 24. The prudent man keeps the word of God continually in view. But the foolish man cannot fix his thoughts, nor pursue any purpose with steadiness. 25. Wicked children despise the authority of their father, and the tenderness of their mother. 26. It is very wrong to find fault for doing what is duty. 27,28. A man may show himself to be a wise man, by the good temper of his mind, and by the good government of his tongue. He is careful when he does speak, to speak to the purpose. God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound there; therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment as men may be.
Verse 27. - He that hath knowledge spareth his words; Revised Version, he that spareth his words hath knowledge; he shows his common sense, not by rash talk or saying all he knows, but by restraining his tongue (comp. Proverbs 10:19; James 1:19). 'Pirke Aboth' (1:18), "All my days I have grown up amongst the wise, and have not found aught good for a man but silence; not learning but doing is the groundwork, and whoso multiplies words occasions sin" Say the Greek gnomes -
Ἐνίοις τὸ σιγᾷν ἐστὶ κρεῖττον τοῦ λέγειν
Κρεῖττον σιωπᾷν η} λαλεῖν α} μὴ πρέπει And Theognis (5:815) writes -
Βοῦς μοι ἐπὶ γλώσσης κρατερῷ ποδὶ λὰξ ἐπιβαίνων
Ἴσχει κωτίλλειν καίπερ ἐπιστάμενον Speech for a shekel, silence for two; it is like a precious stone ('Qoheleth Rabbah,' 5:5). Septuagint, "He who spareth to utter a harsh speech is prudent" (ἐπιγνώμων). A man of understanding is of an excellent spirit; Revised Version, he that is of a coot spirit is a man of understanding; i.e. he who considers before he speaks, and never answers in hot haste, proves that he is wise and intelligent. Septuagint, "The long suffering man is prudent." The above is the reading of the Khetib, followed by most interpreters. The Keri gives, "of a precious spirit" (pretiosi spiritus, Vulgate), that is, one whose words are weighty and valuable, not lavishly thrown about, but reserved as costly jewels.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that hath knowledge spareth his words,.... Or, "he that knows knowledge" (c); one that is very knowing, has a fund of knowledge in him, "spareth his words"; is generally a man of few words, he thinks much and says little; and though he may be communicative of his knowledge to proper persons, and at proper times, yet never speaks of it in a boasting and ostentatious way: or, he "restrains his words" (d); he puts a bridle on them; and suffers not himself to speak hastily and angrily, and in a reproachful manner, when he is provoked to it;
and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit; here is a various reading; the "Cetib" is "of a cool spirit" (e); in opposition to a warm fiery spirit; such as was that of the apostles, who were for calling for fire from heaven on those that slighted their master, and, as he told them, knew not what spirits they were of; but a cool spirit is one that is not soon angry, calm, sedate, and not easily provoked to wrath: the "Keri", or marginal reading, is "of an excellent" or "precious spirit" (f); and such an one is a right spirit; a spirit of faith and love, and of a sound mind; and of such a spirit is a man of understanding in things divine and spiritual; to have a spirit of prayer, and to be tenderhearted, and of a sympathizing and forgiving spirit, is to be of an excellent spirit. The Targum is,
"humble in spirit;''
and a meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price; the Lord has a great regard to such who are of an humble and contrite spirit: with these he dwells, to these he gives more grace; these are like to Christ, and have the fruits of his Spirit, and are very useful and ornamental. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it, "patient" or "longsuffering"; and to be of a patient spirit is to be of an excellent spirit: such bear afflictions and reproaches quietly; wait God's own time for hearing and helping them, and live in the comfortable expectation of heaven and happiness; and such show themselves to be wise and understanding men.
(c) "qui scit scientiam", Pagninus, Vatablus, Mercerus. (d) "qui cohibet sermones suos", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (e) "frigidus spiritu", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius. (f) "pretiosus spiritu", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Baynus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27, 28. Prudence of speech is commended as is an excellent or calm spirit, not excited to vain conversation.
Proverbs 17:27 Parallel Commentaries
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