|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:19. Here is an unprofitable, slothful, wicked servant; one that serves not from conscience, or love, but from fear. 20. When a man is self-conceited, rash, and given to wrangling, there is more hope of the ignorant and profligate. 21. Good usage to a servant does not mean indulgence, which would ruin even a child. The body is a servant to the soul; those that humour it, and are over-tender of it, will find it forget its place. 22. An angry, passionate disposition makes men provoking to one another, and provoking to God. 23. Only those who humble themselves shall be exalted and established. 24. The receiver is as bad as the thief. 25. Many are ashamed to own Christ now; and he will not own them in the day of judgment. But he that trusts in the Lord will be saved from this snare.
Verse 19. - A servant will not be corrected by words. Mere words will not suffice to teach a slave, any more than a child, true, practical wisdom. He needs severer measures, even the correction of personal discipline. Septuagint, "By words a stubborn (σκληρὸς) slave will not be instructed." The next clause gives an explanation of this necessity. For though he understand he will not answer. The answer is not merely the verbal response to a command, as, "I go, sir;" but it implies obedience in action. The reluctant slave thoroughly understands the order given, but he pays no heed to it, will not trouble himself to execute it, and therefore must meet with stern treatment (comp. ver. 15; Proverbs 23:13, etc.; Proverbs 26:3). "That servant which knew his Lord's will, and made not ready, nor did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes" (Luke 12:47). Septuagint, "For even if he understand, he will not obey."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A servant will not be corrected by words,.... Not by them only, especially one that is of a servile, surly, and untractable disposition; otherwise a good servant, and well disposed to his master, and willing to serve him, and promote his interest, a word is sufficient for such an one; when he is bid to go, he goes; or to come, he comes, Matthew 8:9; or if he has done wrong, and his fault is told him, he will amend another time; whereas a rough ill natured servant will not regard words, but must have blows to correct him;
for though he understand; what his master says, and what is his will, and knows he has done wrong, and ought to do otherwise, which is an aggravation of sin:
he will not answer; own his fault and promise to do better for the future; through the surliness of his nature, and contempt of his master, whom he does not think worthy of an answer: so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "he despises to answer"; thus Job was used by his servants, Job 19:16; There is an answering which is forbidden servants, Titus 2:9; but this what becomes them, and is expressive of their respect and reverence to their masters, and their ready, hearty, and cheerful obedience to them; and which especially should be in Christian servants to Christian masters, 1 Timothy 6:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. A servant—who lacks good principle.
will not answer—that is, will not obey.
Proverbs 29:19 Parallel Commentaries
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