|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:19. Confidence in an unfaithful man is painful and vexatious; when we put any stress on him, he not only fails, but makes us feel for it. 20. We take a wrong course if we think to relieve those in sorrow by endeavouring to make them merry. 21,22. The precept to love even our enemies is an Old Testament commandment. Our Saviour has shown his own great example in loving us when we were enemies. 23. Slanders would not be so readily spoken, if they were not readily heard. Sin, if it receives any check, becomes cowardly. 24. It is better to be alone, than to be joined to one who is a hinderance to the comfort of life. 25. Heaven is a country afar off; how refreshing is good news from thence, in the everlasting gospel, which signifies glad tidings, and in the witness of the Spirit with our spirits that we are God's children! 26. When the righteous are led into sin, it is as hurtful as if the public fountains were poisoned. 27. We must be, through grace, dead to the pleasures of sense, and also to the praises of men. 28. The man who has no command over his anger, is easily robbed of peace. Let us give up ourselves to the Lord, and pray him to put his Spirit within us, and cause us to walk in his statutes.
Verse 23. - The north wind driveth away rain. So St. Jerome (Ventus Aquilo dissipat pluvias), Symmachus, Aben Ezra, and others. The north wind is called by the natives of Palestine "the heavenly," from the bright effect which it produces in the sky. "By means of the north wind cometh he (the sun) forth as gold" (Job 37:22). But the verb here used (חול) means "to bring forth, produce" (Psalm 90:2); hence the Revised Version rightly renders, "The north wind bringeth forth rain." This is quite true if "north wind" be taken as equivalent to "wind from the dark quarter" (Umbreit), like ζόφος in Greek; and, in fact, the northwest wind in Palestine does bring rain. Septuagint, "The north wind arouseth (ἐξεγείρει) clouds." So doth an angry countenance a backbiting, tongue. Carrying on the interpretation intended by the Authorized Version, this clause means that an angry leer will check a slanderer and incline him to hold his peace from prudential motives. But with the rendering given above, "bringeth forth," another explanation is involved, viz. "So does a secret, slandering tongue cause a troubled countenance." When a man discovers that a secret slanderer is working against him, he shows it by his gloomy and angry look, as the sky is dark with clouds when a storm is threatened. "Countenance" is plural in the Hebrew, denoting, as Hitzig points out, that the calumniator does not affect one person only, but occasions trouble far and wide, destroys friendly relations between many, excites suspicion and enmity in various quarters Septuagint, "An impudent countenance provokes the tongue."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The north wind driveth away rain,.... So the geographer (w) says, the swift north wind drives away the moist clouds; which usually come from the opposite quarter, the south. The word used has the signification of conceiving, and begetting, and bringing forth; hence some (x) render it to a different sense, and so the Targum,
"the north wind bringeth forth rain;''
and in this sense Gersom interprets it, and says,
"the north wind produces rain in Jerusalem, because it brings there the vapours that ascend from the sea, which lies north unto it;''
and the philosopher (y) says, that in the northern parts of the world the south wind produces rain; and in the southern parts the north wind produces it, as in Judea. But in Job 37:22, fair, fine, golden, serene, "weather", is said to "come out of the north"; agreeably to which, the north wind is by Homer (z) called the producer of serene weather; and by Virgil (a) "clarus aquilo", i.e. what makes serene. The Arabic version reads it, "the south wind"; and that does bring rain, and, as that version has it, excites the clouds. But the first reading and sense of the words seem best (b), and agree with what follows:
so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue; drives it away, discourages and silences it. When a man puts on a stern countenance, a frowning and angry look, on such who bring him slanderous reports and idle tales of their neighbours, and reproach and backbite them, it checks them, and puts a stop to their practices; whereas listening to them, and especially with an air of pleasure, encourages them in them; were there not so many that take pleasure in hearing those talebearers and backbiters, were they more roughly dealt with, as the blustering north wind does with the rain, there would not be so much of this evil practised.
(w) Dionysii Perieg. v. 532. (x) "parturiet", Montanus; "gignit", Junius & Tremellius; "parturit", Schultens. (y) Aristot. Metaphysic. l. 2.((z) Iliad. 19. v. 358. Odyss. 5. v. 295. (a) Georgic. l. 1. prope finem. (b) "Ventorum frigidissimi quos a septentrione diximus spirare, et reliquos compescunt, et nubes abigunt", Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 47.
Proverbs 25:23 Parallel Commentaries
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