|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:1-3 God's restraints of the appetite only say, Do thyself no harm. 4,5. Be not of those that will be rich. The things of this world are not happiness and a portion for a soul; those that hold them ever so fast, cannot hold them always, cannot hold them long. 6-8. Do not make thyself burdensome to any, especially those not sincere. When we are called by God to his feast, and to let our souls delight themselves, Isa 25:6; 55:2, we may safely partake of the Bread of life. 9. It is our duty to take all fit occasions to speak of Divine things; but if what a wise man says will not be heard, let him hold his peace. 10,11. The fatherless are taken under God's special protection. He is their Redeemer, who will take their part; and he is mighty, almighty.
Verses 4, 5. - These form a pentastich. Verse 4. - Labour not - weary not thyself - to be rich. John 6:27, "Labour not for the meat that perisheth," where the warning is against that absorbing eagerness for wealth which leads to evil doing and neglect of all higher interests. Cease from thine own wisdom. The wisdom (binah, Proverbs 3:5) is that which is necessary for making and keeping wealth. Vulgate, Prudentiae tuae pone modum. This is not the highest form of wisdom (chochmah), but rather the faculty of distinguishing one thing from another, mere discernment, which may exist without any religious or keen moral sense (see note on Proverbs 16:16, where possibly the contrast is expressed). Talmud, "He who augments his riches augments his cares." Erasmus, 'Adag,,' quotes or writes -
"Jupiter ementitur opes mortalibus ipse,
Sic visum ut fuerit, cuicunque, bonove, malove? Septuagint, "If thou art poor, measure not thyself (μὴ παρεκτείνου) with a rich man, but in thy wisdom refrain thyself."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Labour not to be rich,.... In an immoderate over anxious way and manner, to a weariness, as the word (u) signifies, and even as to gape for breath men ought to labour, that they may have wherewith to support themselves and families, and give to others and: if they can, lay up for their children; but then persons should not toil and weary themselves to heap up riches when they know not who shall gather them and much less make use of indirect and illicit methods to obtain them; resolving to be rich at any rate: rather men should labour for durable riches, lay up treasure in heaven, seek those things which are above, and labour to be accepted of God both here and hereafter; which only is in Christ. The Targum is,
"do not draw nigh to a rich man;''
and so the Syriac version; to which agree the Septuagint and Arabic versions;
cease from thine own wisdom; worldly wisdom in getting; riches, as if this was the highest point of wisdom; do not be always laying schemes, forming projects, inventing new things in order to get money; or do not depend upon thine own wisdom and understanding and expect to be rich by means thereof; for bread is not always to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, Ecclesiastes 9:11. The Targum is,
"but by thine understanding depart from him;''
the rich man; and to the same purpose the Syriac and Arabic versions.
(u) "ne fatiges", Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius; "ne hiascas", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4, 5. (Compare 1Ti 6:9, 10).
thine own wisdom—which regards riches intrinsically as a blessing.
Proverbs 23:4 Parallel Commentaries
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