|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 14. - The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity. That high property or faculty of man called "spirit" enables the body to bear up against trouble and sickness (comp. Proverbs 17:22). The influence of the mind over the body, in a general sense, is here expressed. But taking "spirit" in the highest sense, in the trichotomy of human nature, we see an intimation that the grace of God, the supernatural infusion of his presence, is that which strengthens the man and makes him able to endure with patience. But a wounded (broken) spirit who can bear? The body can, as it were, fall back upon the support of the spirit, when it is distressed and weakened; but when the spirit itself is broken, grieved, wearied, debilitated, it has no resource, no higher faculty to which it can appeal, and it must succumb beneath the pressure. Here is a lesson, too, concerning the treatment of others. We should be more careful not to wound a brother's spirit than we are to refrain from doing a bodily injury; the latter may be healed by medical applications; the former is more severe in its effects, and is often irremediable. In the first clause, רוַּח "spirit," is masculine, in the second it is feminine, intimating by the change of gender that in the former case it is a manly property, virile moral quality, in the latter it has become weakened and depressed through affliction. Septuagint, "A prudent servant soothes a man's wrath; but a man of faint heart (ὀλιγόψυχον) who will endure?" The LXX. take "spirit" in the sense of anger, and "infirmity" as standing for a servant, though whore they find "prudent" is difficult to say. Vulgate, Spiritum vero ad irascendum facilem, quis poterit sustinere? The Latin interpreter takes one form of weakness of spirit, viz. irascibility, as his interpretation of נכאה, "wounded." St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 5:78) has yet another version, "Who can dwell with a man whose spirit is ready to wrath?" adding, "For he that does not regulate his feelings by the reason that is proper to man, must needs live alone like a beast."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity,.... The spirit of a mighty man, as Jarchi; a man of spirit, that has a spirit of fortitude, even of natural fortitude, and especially of Christian fortitude; that has a spirit of might upon him, of power, and sound mind; a man of a Christian spirit, that is renewed in the spirit of his mind; who is a spiritual man, and has the Spirit of God in him, as well as a rational soul, an immaterial, immortal, and never dying substance. Such a man will bear up under many trials and exercises of life; will support under bodily infirmities; will take patiently the loss Of friends and of substance; endure reproach, and the loss of a good name, credit, and reputation, cheerfully, for righteousness's sake; and suffer persecution for the sake of Christ, and his Gospel, with an undaunted and unbroken spirit: the peace of conscience he feels within; the presence of God with him; the love of God shed abroad in his heart; seeing all his afflictions flowing from love, and working for his good; and having in view the glories of another world; he bears up under and goes through all afflictions with ease and pleasure; his conscience is clear, his heart is whole, his mind is easy; his wounds being healed, his sins pardoned, and his soul saved in Chris;
but a wounded spirit who can bear? or a "smitten" (w) one, smitten by the Lord; by the word of the Lord, which he uses as a hammer to break rocky hearts in pieces; by the law of God, which produces wrath, and a looking for of fiery indignation; by the Spirit of God, awakening the conscience, and convicting it of sin, righteousness, and judgment; which smitings are very grievous, though they tend to bring to repentance; are in order to healing, and are in love. Or, "a broken spirit" (x), as in Proverbs 17:22; broken with a sense of sin, and with an excess of sorrow for it; when a man becomes lifeless and hopeless, has no hope of life and salvation, and is in the utmost confusion; all his measures and purposes are broken, as well as his heart; he knows not what to do, nor what way to take; he is disconsolate, and refuses to be comforted; and which for the present is intolerable: though the Lord has a regard to such, is nigh unto them; has sent his son to bind up their broken hearts; yea, has himself been broken for them; and happy it is for them that they fall on him and are broken, and not he on them. Or, "a wounded spirit"; with a view of sin, as committed against the omniscient and omnipotent Being, a pure and holy God; a righteous one, whose nature is infinite; and so sin committed against him requires an infinite satisfaction, which a creature cannot give; and a God also, who is the author of their beings, and the Father of their mercies; all which makes sin against him the more cutting and wounding: likewise they are wounded with a view of the evil nature of sin, and the aggravated circumstances that attend it; and with the terrors of the law, that are set in array against them. And such a spirit "who can bear?" not without the sight of a wounded Saviour; or without a view of atonement by his sacrifice; or without the discoveries and applications of pardoning grace; or without a sense of peace and reconciliation made by the blood of Christ; or without some hope of salvation by him; and unless the good Samaritan pours in oil and wine into the wounds, and binds them up.
(w) "percussum", Pagninus, Baynus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "perculsum", Vatablus, Cocceius. (x) "Contritum", Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis; "fractum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. infirmity—bodily sickness, or outward evil. The spirit, which sustains, being wounded, no support is left, except, as implied, in God.
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