|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:4. The well-spring of wisdom in the heart of a believer, continually supplies words of wisdom. 5. The merits of a cause must be looked to, not the person. 6,7. What mischief bad men do to themselves by their ungoverned tongues! 8. How base are those that sow contention! and what fatal effects may be expected from small beginnings of jealousy! 9. Omissions of duty, and in duty, are fatal to the soul, as well as commissions of sin. 10,11. The Divine power, made known in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, forms a strong tower for the believer, who relies on the Lord. How deceitful the defence of the rich man, who has his portion and treasure in this world! It is a strong city and a high wall only in his own conceit; for it will fail when most in need. They will be exposed to the just wrath of that Judge whom they despised as a Saviour. 12. After the heart has been lifted up with pride, a fall comes. But honour shall be the reward of humility. 13. Eagerness, with self-conceit, will expose to shame. 14. Firmness of mind supports under many pains and trials. But when the conscience is tortured with remorse, no human fortitude can bear the misery; what then will hell be? 15. We must get knowledge, not only into our heads, but into our hearts. 16. Blessed be the Lord, who makes us welcome to come to his throne, without money and without price. May his gifts make room for him in our souls.
Verse 11. - In contrast with the Divine tower of safety in the preceding verse is here brought forward the earthly refuge of the worldly man. The rich man's wealth is his strong city. The clause is repeated from Proverbs 10:15, but with quite a different conclusion. And as an high wall in his own conceit. The rich man imagines his wealth to be, as it were, an unassailable defence, to preserve him safe amid all the storms of life. בְּמַשְׂכִּתו (bemaskitho), rendered "in his own conceit," is, as Venetian has, ἐν φαντασίᾳ αὐτοῦ, "in his imagination," maskith being "an image or picture," as in Leviticus 26:1; Ezekiel 8:12; but see on Proverbs 25:11. Aben Ezra brings out the opposition between the secure and stable trust of the righteous in the Lord's protection, and the confidence of the rich worldling in his possessions, which is only imaginary and delusive. Vulgate, Et quasi murus validus circumdans eum, "Like a strong wall surrounding him;" Septuagint, "And its glory (δόξα) greatly overshadows him;" i.e. the pomp and splendour of his wealth are his protection, or merely paint him like a picture, having no real substance. The commentators explain the word ἐπισκιάζει in both senses.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The rich man's wealth is his strong city,.... In which he dwells, over which he presides; in which he places his trust and confidence, and thinks himself safe from every enemy and from all trouble: as one (s) observes,
"the abundance of a rich man's wealth he conceives to be as it were the abundance of people in a "city"; the telling of his money he imagines to be the walking of people up and down the streets; his bags standing thick together to be so many houses standing close one to the other; his iron barred chests to be so mary bulwarks; his bonds and bills to be his cannons and demi-cannons, his great ordinance; and in the midst of these he thinketh himself environed with a "great wall", which no trouble is able to leap over, which no misery is able to break through.''
As it follows;
and as a high wall in his own conceit: which not only separates and distinguishes him from others; but, as he imagines, will secure him from all dangers, and will be abiding, lasting, and durable: but all this is only "in his own conceit", or "imagery" (t); in the chambers of his imagery, as Jarchi, referring to Ezekiel 8:12; where the same word is used; for this wall shall not stand; these riches cannot secure themselves, they take wing and fly away; and much less the owner of them, not from public calamities, nor from personal diseases of body, nor from death, nor from wrath to come.
(s) Jermin its loc. (t) "in imaginatione ejus", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Cocceius, Gejerus, Schultens; "in imagine sua", Mercerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. contrasts with Pr 18:10 (compare Pr 10:15). Such is a vain trust (compare Ps 73:6).
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