|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
31:1-9 When children are under the mother's eye, she has an opportunity of fashioning their minds aright. Those who are grown up, should often call to mind the good teaching they received when children. The many awful instances of promising characters who have been ruined by vile women, and love of wine, should warn every one to avoid these evils. Wine is to be used for want or medicine. Every creature of God is good, and wine, though abused, has its use. By the same rule, due praise and consolation should be used as cordials to the dejected and tempted, not administered to the confident and self-sufficient. All in authority should be more carefully temperate even than other men; and should be protectors of those who are unable or afraid to plead their own cause. Our blessed Lord did not decline the bitterest dregs of the cup of sorrow put into his hands; but he puts the cup of consolation into the hands of his people, and causes those to rejoice who are in the deepest distress.
Verse 7. - Let him drink, and forget his poverty. Ovid, 'Art. Amat.,' 1:237 -
"Vina parant animos, faciuntque caloribus aptos:
Cura fugit multo diluiturque mero.
Tunc veniunt risus; tunc pauper cornua sumit;
Tunc dolor, et curae, rugaque frontis abit." Thus is shown a way in which the rich can comfort and encourage their poorer brethren, which is a better method of using God's good gifts than by expending them on their own selfish enjoyment.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let him drink, and forget his poverty,.... Which has been very pressing upon him, and afflicting to him; let him drink till he is cheerful, and forgets that he is a poor man; however, so far forgets as not to be troubled about it, and have any anxious thoughts how he must have food and raiment (k);
and remember his misery no more; the anguish of his mind because of his straitened circumstances; or "his labour" (l), as it may be rendered; so the Septuagint and Arabic versions, the labour of his body, the pains he takes to get a little food for himself and family. The Targum is,
"and remember his torn garments no more;''
his rags, a part of his poverty. Such virtue wine may have for the present to dispel care, than which it is said nothing can be better (m); and to induce a forgetfulness of misery, poverty, and of other troubles. So the mixed wine Helena gave to Telemachus, called Nepenthe, which when drunk, had such an effect as to remove sorrow, and to bring on forgetfulness of past evils (n); and of which Diodorus Siculus (o) and Pliny (p) speak as of such use. The ancients used to call Bacchus, the god of wine, the son of forgetfulness; but Plutarch (q) thought he should rather be called the father of it. Some, by those that are "ready to perish", understand condemned malefactors, just going to die; and think the Jewish practice of giving wine mingled with myrrh or frankincense, or a stupefying potion to such that they might not be sensible of their misery (r), such as the Jews are supposed to otter to Christ, Mark 15:23; is grounded upon this passage; but the sense given is best: the whole may be applied in a spiritual manner to such persons who see themselves in a "perishing", state and condition; whose consciences are loaded with guilt, whose souls are filled with a sense of wrath, have a sight of sin, but not of a Saviour; behold a broken, cursing, damning law, the flaming sword of justice turning every way, but no righteousness to answer for them, no peace, no pardon, no stoning sacrifice but look upon themselves lost and undone: and so of "heavy hearts"; have a spirit of heaviness in them, a heaviness upon their spirits: a load of guilt on them too heavy to bear, so that they cannot look up: or are "bitter in soul"; sin is made bitter to them, and they weep bitterly for it: now to such persons "wine", in a spiritual sense, should be given; the Gospel, which is as the best wine, that, goes down sweetly, should be preached unto them; they should be told of the love of God and Christ to poor sinners, which is better than wine; and the blessings of grace should be set before them, as peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life, by Christ, the milk and wine to be had without money and without price; of these they should drink, or participate of, by faith, freely, largely, and to full satisfaction; by means of which they will "forget" their spiritual "poverty", and consider themselves as possessed of the riches of grace, as rich in faith, and heirs of a kingdom; and so remember no more their miserable estate by nature, and the anguish of their souls in the view of that; unless it be to magnify and adore the riches of God's grace in their deliverance.
(k) "Tunc dolor a curae rugaqae frontis abit", Ovid. de Arte Amandi, l. 1.((l) "laboris sui", Pagninus, Montanus. (m) Cyprius poeta apud Suidam in voce (n) Homer. Odyss. 4. v. 220, 221. (o) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 87, 88. (p) Nat. Hist. l. 21, c. 21. (q) Symposiac. l. 7. Probl. 5. p. 705. (r) Vid. T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 43. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, s. 10. fol. 198. 4.
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