|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 21. - He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child. The verb panak, which is not found elsewhere in the Old Testament, is rightly here translated as in the Vulgate, qui delicate nutrit. It refers to the spoiling a person by over-refinement, luxury, and pampering - a treatment peculiarly unsuitable in the case of a bond servant, and one which makes such forgetful of his dependent position. Septuagint, "He that liveth wantonly (κατασπαταλᾷ) from childhood shall be a servant." Shall have him become his son at the length; i.e. at length, like "at the last," equivalent to "at last" (Proverbs 5:11). The word rendered "son" (מַנון, manon) is of doubtful meaning, and has been variously understood or misunderstood by interpreters. Septuagint, "And in the end shall have pain (ὀδυνηθήσεται) over himself;" Symmachus, "shall have murmuring (ἔστα γογγυσμός);" Vulgate, Postea sentiet eum contumacem. Ewald translates "ungrateful;" Delitzsch, "place of increase," i.e. a household of pampered scapegraces; but one does not see how the disaster can be called a place or a house. It seems safest in this uncertainty to adopt the Jewish interpretation of "progeny:" "he will be as a son." The pampered servant will end by claiming the privileges of a son, and perhaps ousting the legitimate children from their inheritance (comp. Proverbs 17:2; and the case of Ziba and Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 16:4). "Fodder, a stick, and burdens are for the ass; and bread, correction, and work for a servant. If thou set thy servant to labour, thou shalt find rest; but if thou let him go idle, he will seek liberty" (Ecclus. 33:24, etc.). Spiritual writers have applied this proverb to the pampering of the flesh, which ought to be under the control of its master, the spirit, but which, if gratified and unrestrained, gets the upper hand, and, like a spoiled servant, dictates to its lord.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child,.... In a very tender and affluent way uses him with great familiarity; makes him sit at table, with him, feeds him with dainties, and clothes him in the most handsome manner, as if he was one of his own children:
shall have him become his son at the length: he will expect to be used as a son; he will not care to do any servile work, or anything, especially that is hard and laborious; he will be for supplanting the son and heir, and think to inherit all himself; or, however, become proud, haughty, and saucy. Jarchi interprets this of the evil imagination, or the corruption of nature, which is in a man from a child; which, if cherished and not subdued, wilt in the issue rule over a man: and some apply it to the body; which, if delicately pampered, and not kept under, will be master of the soul, instead of servant to it, and its members be instruments of unrighteousness.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. become his son—assume the place and privileges of one.
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