|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
30:24-28. Four things that are little, are yet to be admired. There are those who are poor in the world, and of small account, yet wise for their souls and another world. 29-33. We may learn from animals to go well; also to keep our temper under all provocations. We must keep the evil thought in our minds from breaking out into evil speeches. We must not stir up the passions of others. Let nothing be said or done with violence, but every thing with softness and calmness. Alas, how often have we done foolishly in rising up against the Lord our King! Let us humble ourselves before him. And having found peace with Him, let us follow peace with all men.
Verse 31. - A greyhound; זַרְזִיר מָתְנַיִם (zarzir mothnayim), "girt in the loins" (περιεσφιγμένος τὴν ὀσφόν, Symmachus), an expression very vague, and, as the name of an animal, occurring nowhere else in the Old Testament. In post-biblical Hebrew zarzir is found as the name of some pugnacious bird, and the Septuagint, Vulgate, and Syriac call it here the cock. So also Aquila and Theodotion. But if the word is onomatopoetic, it would seem to apply with more propriety to one of the raven tribe; and then what is to be made of the allusion to the loins? And how comes it that amid the quadrupeds in the gnome a bird should suddenly be introduced, as one stately in going? It seems certain that some quadruped is here meant, but what? What animal has as characteristic tight-girded loins or slender or active loins? There are, indeed, many that might be so designated, but none that, as far as we know, appropriated this unique appellation. Hence various opinions are held by commentators concerning the identification. The zebra, say some, with its stripes, which may be thus denoted; the war horse, say others, comparing Job 39:19, 25, and considering the trappings with which, as we see in ancient sculptures, he was adorned; others, again, fix upon the leopard as the beast intended. But that of the Authorized Version seems, on the whole, to be the most likely rendering, the slender, agile make of the greyhound having given cause for the appropriation of the term used in the text. Delitzsch compares the German word windspiel, which designates the greyhound without the necessity of using the full term, wiadspielhund. The only points which may be considered adverse to this view are these two, viz. the ill repute in which dogs were held by the Hebrews, Scripture consistently disparaging and despising them; and the fact that, as far as we have information, the Jews did not use dogs for hunting purposes, though nowadays the Arabs keep a kind of Persian greyhound for sporting, and Assyrian monuments have familiarized us with the appearance of hounds employed in the chase of the lion and the wild ox. Agur may be referring to what he has seen elsewhere, but what was well known to these for whom he wrote. Gesenius suggests (253), "a warrior girt in the loins," which is adopted by Wordsworth, and gives a suitable idea. This would correspond with the king in the last line; but the interpretation is quite arbitrary, and supported by no ancient authority, resting on the fact that girding the loins is always spoken of human beings. The cock strutting among his hens is, as we have hinted, the idea which approves itself to many ancient translators. Thus the Septuagint, ἀλέκτωρ ἐμπεριπατῶν θηλείαις εὔψυχος. We are not disposed to adept this identification, more especially as common poultry were unknown in Palestine till long after Solomon's time. Certainly what we call cocks and hens, or barn door fowls, are never mentioned in the Old Testament. and seem to have been introduced from Persia after the rise of the Persian empire. The latest editors decide for the war horse; but the conflicting claims cannot be reconciled, and the matter must be left undetermined. An he goat also. This is a very natural comparison, as the stately manner in which the he goat (tay-ish, "the butter") heads the flock has been always observed. The LXX. expresses this, paraphrasing, "and the he goat leading the herd." "Flocks of goats are very numerous in Palestine at this day, as they were in former ages. We see them everywhere on the mountains, in smaller or larger numbers; at times also along with sheep, as one flock, in which ease it is usually a he goat that is the special leader of the whole, walking before it as gravely as a sexton before the white flock of a church choir" (Geikie, 'Holy Land,' 1:232). A king, against whom there is no rising up; Vulgate, nec est rex qui resistat ei, which ought to mean "and a king whom nothing resists," but can scarcely be compelled to produce this meaning without violence. The difficulty in the sentence arises from the word אַלקוּם, which in the above rendering is regarded as composed of the negative al, and kum, the infinitive, "to rise against, oppose." But this is contrary to grammatical usage, and would be a solecism. To some it has seemed that a proper name was intended, and they have invented a King Alkum or Alkimos, whom they suppose to have been celebrated in or after Solomon's time. Many modern commentators take the word to be an Arabic expression, consisting of al, the definite article, and kum, "people," and consider the meaning to be "a king with whom is the people," i.e. surrounded by his people or army. This is certainly a stately sight, and may well stand parallel to the hero lion among beasts, and the bold he goat at the head of the flock. Other Arabic expressions may probably be found elsewhere in this chapter; e.g., vers. 15, 16, 17, aluka, etc. Septuagint, "a king haranguing before a nation (δημηγορῶν ἐν ἔθνει)." This passage, again, has been taken in a spiritual sense as referring to Christ, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Warrior girt with the sword, the Leader of the flock, the King of kings.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A greyhound,.... So Gersom interprets the word; but Jarchi owns he does not know what is meant; and Aben Ezra only says, it is the name of a living creature, but does not say what; but observes, that some interpret it of the "bee", and others of the "eagle". The words of the original text only describe something "girt about the loins" (o): and Kimchi (p) observes, that some say it is a hunting dog so called, because it is thin about the loins, as if it was bound and girt; and Aristotle (q) describes hunting dogs as well girded about their loins: but others, as Kimchi in the same place observes, interpret it of the leopard, which is small, and strong in its loins; and others of a bird called the starling; but he owns he cannot understand the meaning of its loins being girt: David de Pomis (r) interprets it of a cock; others, he says, interpret it a hunting dog; others, a leopard; and some, a species of an unclean bird; perhaps he means the starling, as before; and so the word is used for that bird in the Talmud (s), and in the Arabic language (t). Most likely the "horse" is meant; which is a very stately and majestic creature in its going, and is very comely when it has its harness girt on; and especially a war horse, with all its warlike accoutrements, when it proceeds to battle, and stalks on in it; this creature, one should think, could not be omitted among the four, which is described in so magnificent a manner in Job 39:19; and is called the goodly horse in the battle, Zechariah 10:3; unless a fine slender bodied race horse should be meant: the horse bids fairer than any other creature named to be what is designed. The third creature follows, which goes well, and is comely in going:
an he goat also; which with its long beard walks very gravely, and in a stately manner, before the flock; and the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions add, "going before the flock"; see Jeremiah 50:8. This stately walk of the goat is very particularly taken notice of by, Aelian (u); he observes, that the she goat disdains to be last in a flock of sheep, but declares by her walk that she ought to be first; he adds, that the he goat goes before the she goats, glorying in his beard; and, by a kind of wonderful instinct in nature, judges the male is to be preferred to the female (w). Kings, rulers, and governors, are compared to this creature; as Alexander the great is in Daniel 8:5; see Zechariah 10:3; especially such resemble it who rule well, and set good examples to their subjects: and to such, ministers of the Gospel are like; who go before their flocks, guide and direct them, and are examples to them: and likewise all believers; who strive to go before others in good works, and who then are comely in their going. The fourth is,
and a king, against whom there is no rising up; no insurrection, no opposition; who is not to be resisted or withstood; a lawful king, in the lawful administration of government, who rules in the fear of God, and according to his word, and the good and wholesome laws of a nation, ought not to be resisted, Romans 13:1; and a powerful, successful, and victorious king cannot be resisted, withstood, and prevailed over; he drives all before him, and subdues all under him, as David, Cyrus, Alexander, and others. But to none can this better be applied than to Christ, the King of kings; against whom there is no rising, before whom none can stand, against whom the gates of hell can never prevail; who, even in his state of humiliation, conquered and subdued all his and our enemies; destroyed the tyrant, sin; spoiled Satan, and his principalities and powers; overcame the world; abolished death, the last enemy; and delivered his people out of the hands of all, and made them more than conquerors: and who went forth in the ministry of the Gospel, into the Gentile world, conquering and to conquer; bearing down all opposition before him, and subduing the people under him; and who, in the latter day, will engage with his antichristian enemies, the beast, false prophet, and kings of the earth, and shall overcome them, and clear the world of them. And this is King who is comely in his going; as he was in his goings of old from everlasting; when he drew nigh to his divine. Father, and became the surety of his people; and in his coming into this world, by the assumption of our nature, to save lost perishing sinners: and so he is in his spiritual visits to his saints; in his goings in the sanctuary, and walks he takes amidst the golden candlesticks, his churches; as he will be also when he comes a second time in the clouds of heaven: it will be a glorious appearing; he will come with all the saints, and be attended with his mighty angels; he will come in their glory, in his own, and in the glory of his Father; and will be comely in his going indeed it will be with great stateliness and majesty. The learned Dr. Pococke (x), from the use of the word "alkum" in the Arabic language, renders the words thus, "and a king with whom the people is"; who agree together; the one rules well, and the other obey cheerfully; such a king walking with majesty is comely to his people, and terrible to his enemies. The Targum is,
"and a king, who stands and speaks in the house of his people.''
(o) "accinctus lumbis equus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cartwright, Glassius, Bochart, Buxtorf; "infibulatus lumbos equus", Schultens. (p) Sepher. Shorash. in voce (q) De Physiognom. c. 6. (r) Lexic. fol. 28. 1.((s) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 92. 2.((t) Golius, col. 1092. (u) De Animal. l. 7. c. 26. (w) "Dux pecoris hircus, duxerat hircus oves", Tibullus, l. 2. Eleg. 1. v. 58. (x) Specimen. Arab. Hist. p. 203. So "kuma" is used for people in the Alcoran, Surat. Joseph. v. 9.
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