|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:3. Men run into troubles by their own folly, and then fret at the appointments of God. 4. Here we may see how strong is men's love of money. 5. Those that tell lies in discourse, are in a fair way to be guilty of bearing false-witness. 6. We are without excuse if we do not love God with all our hearts. His gifts to us are past number, and all the gifts of men to us are fruits of his bounty. 7. Christ was left by all his disciples; but the Father was with him. It encourages our faith that he had so large an experience of the sorrows of poverty. 8. Those only love their souls aright that get true wisdom. 9. Lying is a damning, destroying sin. 10. A man that has not wisdom and grace, has no right or title to true joy. It is very unseemly for one who is a servant to sin, to oppress God's free-men.
Verse 10. - Delight is not seemly for a fool (comp. Proverbs 17:7; Proverbs 26:1). Taanug, rendered "delight," implies other delicate living, luxury; τρυφή, Septuagint. Such a life is ruin to a fool. who knows not how to use it properly; it confirms him in his foolish, sinful ways. A man needs religion and reason to enable him to bear prosperity advantageously, and these the fool lacks. "Secundae res," remarks Sallust ('Catil.,' 11), "sapientium animos fatigant," "Even wise men are wearied and harassed by prosperity," much more must such good fortune try those who have no practical wisdom to guide and control their enjoyment. Vatablus explains the clause to mean that it is impossible for a fool, a sinner, to enjoy peace of conscience, which alone is true delight. But looking to the next clause, we see that the moralist is thinking primarily of the elevation of a slave to a high position, and his arrogance in consequence thereof. Much less for a servant to have rule over princes. By the unwise favouritism of a potentate, a slave of lowly birth might be raised to eminence and set above the nobles and princes of the land. The writer of Ecclesiastes gives his experience in this matter: "I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth" (Ecclesiastes 10:7). The same anomaly is mentioned with censure (Proverbs 30:22 and Ecclus. 11:5). What is the behaviour of unworthy persons thus suddenly raised to high position has formed the subject of many a satire. It is the old story of the "beggar on horseback." A German proverb declares, "Kein Scheermesser scharfer schiest, als wenn der Bauer zu Herrn wird." Claud., 'In Eutrop.,' 181, etc.
"Asperius nihil est humili, quum surgit in altum;
Cuncta ferit, dum cuncta timet; desaevit in omnes,
Ut se posse putent; nec bellua tetrior ulla
Quam servi rabies in libera colla furentis." As an example of a different disposition, Cornelius a Lapide refers to the history of Agathocles. Tyrant of Syracuse, who rose from the humble occupation of a potter to a position of vast power, and, to remind himself of his lowly origin, used to dine off mean earthenware. Ausonius thus alludes to this humility ('Epigr.,' 8.) -
"Fama est fictilibus coenasse Agathoclea regem,
Atque abacum Samio saepe onerasse luto;
Fercula gemmatis cum poneret horrida vasis,
Et misceret opes pauperiemque simul.
Quaerenti causam, respondit: Rex ego qui sum
Sicaniae, figulo sum genitore satus
Fortunam reverenter habe, quicunque repente
Dives ab exili progrediere loco."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Delight is not seemly for a fool,.... Such an one as Nabal, whose name and nature were alike; and whose prosperity ill became him, and the mirth and delight he had in it, 1 Samuel 25:25; for, as the wise man elsewhere says, "the prosperity of fools shall destroy them", Proverbs 1:26; they do not know how to make a right use of their prosperity; nor to moderate their enjoyments, pleasures, and delights. Some understand this of spiritual delight in the Lord; in his ways and ordinances, which wicked men are strangers to: and a very uncomely thing it is for such persons to talk of spiritual joy and delight, and of their communion with God, when they live in sin;
much less for a servant to have rule over princes; this was a sight which Solomon had seen, but was very disagreeable to him; and was one of the four things the earth cannot bear; the insolence of a servant, when he becomes master over his superiors, is intolerable; see Proverbs 30:22. It may be spiritually applied to such who are servants of sin; to whose sensual appetites and carnal affections the more noble and princely powers of the soul, the understanding and mind, become subject; which is very improper and unseemly.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. (Compare Pr 17:7). The fool is incapable of properly using pleasure as knowledge, yet for him to have it is less incongruous than the undue elevation of servants. Let each abide in his calling (1Co 7:20).
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