|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:15,16. The contentions of a neighbour may be like a sharp shower, troublesome for a time; the contentions of a wife are like constant rain. 17. We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with. And directed to have in view, in conversation, to make one another wiser and better. 18. Though a calling be laborious and despised, yet those who keep to it, will find there is something to be got by it. God is a Master who has engaged to honour those who serve him faithfully. 19. One corrupt heart is like another; so are sanctified hearts: the former bear the same image of the earthly, the latter the same image of the heavenly. Let us carefully watch our own hearts, comparing them with the word of God. 20. Two things are here said to be never satisfied, death and sin. The appetites of the carnal mind for profit or pleasure are always desiring more. Those whose eyes are ever toward the Lord, are satisfied in him, and shall for ever be so. 21. Silver and gold are tried by putting them into the furnace and fining-pot; so is a man tried by praising him. 22. Some are so bad, that even severe methods do not answer the end; what remains but that they should be rejected? The new-creating power of God's grace alone is able to make a change. 23-27. We ought to have some business to do in this world, and not to live in idleness, and not to meddle with what we do not understand. We must be diligent and take pains. Let us do what we can, still the world cannot be secured to us, therefore we must choose a more lasting portion; but by the blessing of God upon our honest labours, we may expect to enjoy as much of earthly blessings as is good for us.
Verses 23-27. - A mashal ode in praise of a pastoral and agricultural life. The moralist evidently desires to recall his countrymen from the luxury of cities and the temptations of money making to the simple ways of the patriarchs and the pleasures of country pursuits - which are the best foundation of enduring prosperity. Verse 23. - Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks. "State;" פָנִים (panim); vultum, Vulgate; the face, look, appearance. The LXX. has ψυχάς, which may perhaps mean "the number" - a necessary precaution when the sheep wandered on the downs and mountains, and had to be collected in the evening and folded. These precepts are naturally applied to all rulers, and especially to Christian pastors who have the oversight of the flock of Christ (1 Peter 5:2-4). Ecclus. 7:22, "Hast thou cattle? have an eye to them; and if they he for thy profit, keep them with thee."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Be thou diligent to know the state of flocks,.... In what condition they are; what health they enjoy; how fat and fruitful they be; what pasturage they have; and that they want nothing fitting for them that can be had and is necessary; and also the number of them. The calling of the shepherd is here particularly mentioned, because valiant, honourable, innocent, and useful; but the same diligence is to be used in all other callings and business men are employed in, that they may provide for themselves and their families. It is in the original text, "the face of thy flocks" (r); perhaps the allusion is to the exact and distinct knowledge some very diligent careful shepherds might have, so as to know each sheep in their flocks distinctly; see John 10:3; The Septuagint version renders it, the souls of thy flock, as if it was an instruction to spiritual pastors or shepherds, who have the care of the souls of men: and certain it is, that if it is the duty of shepherds in common to be diligent in looking after their sheep, and doing everything the duty of their office requires; then it must become the indispensable duty of pastors of churches to take heed to the flock of God committed to them, and to look into their state and condition, and provide for them, and feed them with knowledge and understanding, Acts 20:28;
and look well to thy herds; or, "put thy heart" (s) to them: show a cordial regard for them, and take a hearty care of them, that they have everything needful for them; and which is for the owner's good as well as theirs.
(r) "faciem pecoris tui", Tigurine version, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens; "vultum", V. L. Pagninus; "facies", Montanus. (s) "pone cor tuum", Pagninus, Montanus; "adverte cor", Cocceius; "adverte animum tuum", Michaelis; "apponere cor tuum", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23, 24. flocks—constituted the staple of wealth. It is only by care and diligence that the most solid possessions can be perpetuated (Pr 23:5).
Proverbs 27:23 Parallel Commentaries
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