|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 28. - Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise. Not betraying his ignorance and incapacity by words, a foolish man is credited with possessing sense (comp. Job 13:5). Proverbs to this effect are found in all languages. Thus the Greek -
Πᾶς τις ἀπαίδευτος φρονιμώτατος ἐστὶ σιωπῶν. Cato, 'Dist.,' 1:3 -
"Virtutem primam esse puta compescere linguam;
Proximus ille Deo qui scit ratione tacere." Talmud, "Silence becomes the wise, much more feels." The Dutch have appropriated this maxim, "Zweigen de dwazen zij waren wijs, .... Were fools silent, they would pass for wise." "Si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses." "Silence," says the Sanskrit gnome, "is the ornament of the ignorant." "Talking comes by nature," say the Germans, "silence of understanding." The LXX. gives a different turn to the first clause: "A foolish man inquiring of wisdom will have wisdom imputed to him;" the expressed desire of knowledge will be taken as a proof of intelligence. The second clause is coordinate with the former. He that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding; Revised Version, when he shutteth his lips, he is esteemed as prudent; Septuagint, "A man making himself dumb will seem to be prudent." Theophrastus is said to have thus addressed a guest who was very silent at table: "If you are a fool, you act wisely; if you are wise, you act foolishly." "Let every man," says St. James (James 1:19), "be swift to hear, slow to speak."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise,.... Not only one that is sparing of his words, and is really a man of knowledge and understanding; but even a feel, if he is but silent, and does not betray his folly by his words, will be reckoned a wise man by those that do not know him; and, whatever fool he may be in other respects, yet in this he acts the wise part, that he holds his peace and says nothing;
and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding; and keeps them shut, lest he should say anything rashly and hastily; a man that has so much command of himself as not to speak unadvisedly, through the heat of his own passions, and through the provocations of others, will pass for a man that understands himself, and knows how to behave well before others.
Proverbs 17:28 Parallel Commentaries
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