|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 7. - This is one of the few tristichs in the book, and probably contains the mutilated remains of two distichs. The third line, corrected by the Septuagint, which has an addition here, runs into two clauses (Cheyne). All the brethren of the poor do hate him. Even his own brothers, children of the same parents, hate and shun a poor man (Proverbs 14:20). Much more do his friends go far from him. There should be no interrogation. We have the expression (aph-ki) in Proverbs 11:31; Proverbs 15:11, etc. Euripides, 'Medea,' 561 -
Πένητα φεύγει πᾶς τις ἐκποδὼν φίλος
"Each single friend far from the poor man flies." Septuagint. "Every one who hateth a poor brother will be also far from friendship." Then follows an addition not found m the Hebrew, "Good thought draweth nigh to those who know it, and a prudent man will find it. He who doeth much evil brings malice to perfection (τελεσιουργεῖ κακίαν); and he who rouses words to anger shall not be safe." He pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him; or, they are gone. He makes a pathetic appeal to his quondam friends, but they hearken not to him. But the sense is rather, "He pursueth after, craves for, words of kindness or promises of help, and there is naught, or he gets words only and no material aid." Wordsworth quotes Catullus, 'Carm.,' 38:5 -
"Quem tu, quod minimum facillimumque est,
Qua solatus es adlocutione?
Irascor tibi. Sic meos amores?" Vulgate, Qui tantum verba sectatur, nihil habebit, "He who pursues words only shall have naught." The Hebrew is literally, "Seeking words, they are not" This is according to the Khetib; the Keri, instead of the negation לא, reads לו, which makes the clause signify, "He who pursues words, they are to him;" i.e. he gets words and nothing else. Delitzsch and others, supplying the lost member from the Septuagint, read the third line thus: "He that hath many friends, or the friend of every one, is requited with evil; and he that seeketh (fair) speeches shall not be delivered." Cheyne also makes a distich of this line, taking the Septuagint as representing the original reading, "He that does much evil perfects mischief: He that provokes with words shall not escape." That something has fallen out of the Hebrew text is evident; it seems that there are no examples of tristichs in this part of our book, though they are not unknown in the first and third divisions. The Vulgate surmounts the difficulty by connecting this third line with the following verse, which thus is made to form the antithesis, Qui tantum verba sectatur, nihil habebit; Qui autem possessor est mentis, diligit animam suam, et custos prudentiae inveniet bona."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
All the brethren of the poor do hate him,.... They despise him on account of his poverty; they neglect him, and do not take care of him; they reckon him a reproach unto them, and do not choose to own him; all which may be interpreted an hatred of him;
how much more do his friends go far from him? or "his friend", every one of his friends; or "his neighbour" (l): for if his brethren, who are his own flesh and blood, show so much disrespect unto him; much more will those who are only his neighbours, or were in friendship with him while in prosperity; these wilt stand at a distance from him, and not come near him, now he is poor and in distress; see Job 19:13;
he pursueth them with words; yet they are wanting to him; or, "they are not" (m); he presses them with earnest entreaties to relieve him; he urges their own words and promises, and fetches arguments from them, and uses them as far as they will go; but all signifies nothing; his own words and petitions are to no purpose; and their words and promises are all smoke and vapour, vain and empty. Some understand this, as Gersom, not of the poor man that follows vain words (n) and empty promises, and buoys himself up with them that such an one and such an one has promised to be his friend, of which nothing comes; but of the friend that separates from the poor man, and pursues him with words of accusation, charging it on him as hit own fault that he is poor; which accusations are not true. This is one of the fifteen places observed by the Masoretes, in which it is written "not", and read "to him": both may be retained, and read, "they are not to him" (o); not profitable to him; either his own words, his petitions; or the words of others, their promises.
(l) "amicus ejus", Vatablus; "ominis amicus", Cocceius; i.e. "quisque amicorum ejus", Michaelis. (m) "non sunt ii", Junius & Tremillius; "et non sunt, Mercerus. (n) "Nihil illa", Cocceius, Schultens. (o) Vid. Amamae Antibarb. Bibl. l. 3. p. 742.
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