|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:9. It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. 10. The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. 11. The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. 12. Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. 13. Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. 14. If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? 15. There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. 16. Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. 17. A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. 18. The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. 19. Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. 20. The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. 21. True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. 22. Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. 23. It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. 24. Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry. 25,26. Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. 27. When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. 28. The doom of a false witness is certain. 29. A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me? 30,31. Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Verse 11. - When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise. We had the same thought at Proverbs 19:25 (where see note). The simple (parvulus, Vulgate) profit by the punishment of the incorrigibly evil But the wise need not chastisement for their improvement. When the wise is instructed (Psalm 32:6), he (the wise) receiveth knowledge. The wise man uses every opportunity, takes advantage of every circumstance and event, to increase his knowledge and experience. The Vulgate carries on the subject, "And if he (the simple) follow the wise man, he shall attain knowledge." Septuagint, "When the intemperate man is punished, the simple is made cleverer; and a wise man understanding will receive knowledge." "For it often happens," says St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 18:38). "that the mind of the weak is the more unsteadied from the hearing of the truth, as it sees the despisers of the truth flourishing; but when just vengeance takes away the unjust, it keeps others away from wickedness."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
When the scorner is punished,.... Either by the immediate hand of God, or by the civil magistrate; he who scoffs at Deity, blasphemes the most High, mocks at all religion, despises dominion, and speaks evil of dignities:
the simple is made wise; who is weak and foolish, easily persuaded and drawn into sin, yet not hardened in it, but open to reproof and conviction; he takes notice of the punishment of scorners, and takes warning from it, and behaves more wisely and cautiously for the future; see Proverbs 19:25;
and when the wise is instructed; by others, superior to him in wisdom; by the ministers of the Gospel, by reading and hearing the word of God, and the writings of good men; or by corrections and chastisements:
he receiveth knowledge; the wise man receives it, he attends to the instruction given him, and improves in knowledge: or rather the simple man gains knowledge by the instructions given to wise men; he learns by them, as well as by what he is taught himself. It is by some rendered, "when the wise prospers, he receiveth knowledge" (x) the simple man learns much both from the adversity and prosperity of others; and to this sense is the note of Gersom,
"when he sees how the ways of a wise man prosper, then he studies to get knowledge.''
(x) So Munster, and some in Mercer.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. (Compare Pr 19:25). That which the simple learn by the terrors of punishment, the wise learn by teaching.
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