|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:19. The spared and spoiled child is likely to become a man of great wrath. 20. Those that would be wise in their latter end, must be taught and ruled when young. 21. What should we desire, but that all our purposes may agree with God's holy will? 22. It is far better to have a heart to do good, and want ability for it, than to have ability for it, and want a heart to it. 23. Those that live in the fear of God, shall get safety, satisfaction, and true and complete happiness. 24. Indolence, when indulged, so grows upon people, that they have no heart to do the most needful things for themselves. 25. A gentle rebuke goes farthest with a man of understanding. 26. The young man who wastes his father's substance, or makes his aged mother destitute, is hateful, and will come to disgrace.
Verse 22. - The desire of a man is his kind. nose. The Revised Version rather paraphrases the clause, The desire of a man is the measure of his kindness; i.e. the wish and intention to do good is that which gives its real value to an act. The word for "kindness" is chesed, "mercy;" and, looking to the context, we see the meaning of the maxim to be that a poor man's desire of aiding a distressed neighbour, even if he is unable to carry out his intention, is taken for the act of mercy. "The desire of a man" may signify a man's desirableness, that which makes him to be desired or loved; this is found in his liberality. But the former explanation is most suitable. Septuagint, "Mercifulness is a gain unto a man," which is like ver. 17; Vulgate, Homo indigens misericors est, taking a man's desire as evidenceing his need and poverty, and introducing the idea that the experience of misery conduces to pity, as says Dido (Virgil, 'AEn.,' 1:630) -
"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." A poor man is better than a liar. A poor man who gives to one in distress his sympathy and good wishes, even if he can afford no substantial aid, is better than a rich man who promises much and does nothing, or who falsely professes that he is unable to help (comp. Proverbs 3:27, 28). Septuagint, "A poor righteous man is better than a rich liar." A Buddhist maxim says, "Like a beautiful flower, full of colours, but without scent, are the fine but fruitless words of him who does not act accordingly" (Max Muller).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The desire of a man is his kindness,.... Either the grace and kindness of God, which is, desirable by every sensible man, as being most excellent, and better than life and anything in it; or it is his desire to show kindness. A good man is desirous of riches, that he might have it in the power of his hands to do good to others; and a beneficent man, who has it in his power, is desirous of an opportunity of showing kindness to his fellow creatures and friends; and such a disposition and conduct render a man very desirable and amiable; it is the beauty of a man, as Ben Melech; yea, a man that is not able to do a kindness to another, yet has a desire to do it, his good will is his kindness, and the will is taken for the deed. Gersom takes the word in the sense of "reproach", as it is sometimes used; and understands it of the sinful desires of the heart, the imaginations of the thoughts of the heart, which are evil continually, and so matter of reproach;
and a poor man is better than a liar; who is a rich man, as the Septuagint and Syriac versions add; who denies that he has ability to relieve the poor, when he has; or promises to do it, and does it not; such men of high degree are a lie indeed! and the poor man, whom he should relieve, is a better man than he; or that would relieve another, but it is not in his power to do it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. desire—that is, to do good, indicates a kind disposition (Pr 11:23); and the poor thus affected are better than liars, who say and do not.
Proverbs 19:22 Parallel Commentaries
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