|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 27. - It is not good to eat much honey. The ill effects of a surfeit of honey have been already mentioned (Ver. 16); but here the application is different, and occasions some difficulty. The Authorized Version, in order to clear up the obscurity of the text, inserts a negative, So for men to search their own glory is not glory, which seems to be a warning against conceit and self-adulation. This is hardly warranted by the present Hebrew text, which is literally, as Venetian renders, Ἔρευνά τε δόξας αὐτῶν δόξα, "The search of their glory [is] glory." But who are meant by "their"? No persons are mentioned in the verse to whom the suffix in כְּבורָם can be referred, and it is not improbable that some words have dropped out of the text. At the same time, we might naturally in thought supply "for men" after "it is not good," such omissions being not uncommon in proverbial sayings; the suffix then would refer to them. Commentators have endeavoured to amend the text by alterations which do not commend themselves. Schultens supposes that the suffix had reference to the Divine law and revelations, and, as כבד may mean both "glory" and "weight," translates, "Vestigatio gravitatis eorum, gravitas." Bertheau takes kabod in two different senses, "The searching out of their glory is a burden." So Delitzsch, by little manipulation of the pointing (כְּבֵרִם) obtains the rendering, "But to search out hard things is an honour." Taken thus, the maxim says that bodily pleasures sicken and cloy, but diligent study brings honour. This, however, is not satisfactory; it gives a word two different senses in the same clause, and it affords a very feeble contrast. One would naturally expect the proverb to say that the excess, which was deprecated in the first hemistich as regards one department, must be equally rejected in another sphere. This is somewhat the idea given by Jerome, Sic qui scrutator est majestatis opprimetur a gloria. The truth here stated will be explained by translating our text, "The investigation of weighty matters is a weight." Thus the clauses are shown to be well poised. Honey is good, study is good; but both may be used so as to be prejudicial. Eating may be carried to excess; study may attempt to investigate things too hard or too high. That this is a real danger we know well from the controversies about predestination and elation in time past, and those concerning spiritualism and theurgy in our own day (see Jeremy Taylor, 'Certainty of Salvation,' 3:176, edit. Hebrews; and 'Holy Living,' ch. 3, § 5). This is the view taken of the passage by St. Gregory ('Moral,' 14:32), 'If the sweetness of honey be taken in greater measure than there is occasion for, from the same source whence the palate is gratified, the life of the eater is destroyed.' The "searching into majesty" is also sweet; but he that seeks to dive into it deeper than the cognizance of human nature admits, finds the mere gloriousness thereof by itself oppresses him, in that, like honey taken in excess, it bursts the sense of the searcher which is not capable of holding it." And again (ibid., 20:18), "For the glory of the invisible Creator, which when searched into with moderation lifts us up, being dived into beyond our powers bears us down" (Oxford transl.). (Comp. Deuteronomy 29:29; Ecclus. 3:21, etc.) Septuagint, "To eat much honey is not good, but it behoves us to honor glorious sayings."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is not good to eat much honey,.... That is too much otherwise it is good to eat, Proverbs 24:13; but too much is hurtful, it surfeits the stomach increases choler (e) and creates loathing; and indeed, too much of anything is bad (f);
so for men to search their own glory is not glory: to set forth their own excellencies, to sound forth their own praises to seek honour of men, to use all methods to gain popular applause; this is not glorious and praiseworthy, but dishonourable; or it may be rendered as it literally lies in the original, "but to search out", or "the searching out of their glory is glory" (g); either the glory of righteous men, as Aben Ezra interprets it, such as stand and do not fall before the wicked; to search out their excellencies and virtues, and follow their example, is glorious and honourable: or to search the glory of the knowledge of divine things, comparable to honey, is commendable and glorious; for though a man may eat too much honey, yet he cannot have too much knowledge of divine and spiritual things, or be satiated and overfilled with them; to which the Septuagint version agrees, "but we ought to honour glorious words": the glorious truths of the word of God ought to be had in great esteem, and to search out the glory of them is honourable; our Lord directs to a search of the Scriptures, because they testify of him, John 5:39; and we can never know too much of him, or of the precious doctrines of the Gospel; unless this is to be understood of such things as should not be curiously inquired into; men should not be wise above what is written nor search into those things which God has concealed; as his own nature and perfections, the mode of subsisting of the three Persons in the Godhead, his secret purposes and decrees, and unsearchable judgments. To which sense agrees the Vulgate Latin version,
"so he who is the searcher of majesty shall be oppressed by glory;''
he shall be bore down by it, and not able to bear the glory of it: and the Targum is,
"to eat much honey is not good, nor to search glorious words.''
Jarchi takes the words in this sense; and illustrates them by the work of creation, Ezekiel's vision of the wheels, the decrees of God, and the reasons of them.
(e) Suidas in voce (f) "Vitiosum est ubique quod nimium est", Seneca de Tranquilitate, c. 9. (g) "investigatio gloriae illorum (est) gloria", Pagninus, Montanus, Michaelis; "scrutatio gloriae ipsorum est gloria", Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27. Satiety surfeits (Pr 25:16); so men who are self-glorious find shame.
is not glory—"not" is supplied from the first clause, or "is grievous," in which sense a similar word is used (Pr 27:2).
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