Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
1. Every wise, &c.—literally, "The wisdoms" (compare Pr 9:1) "of women," plural, a distributive form of speech.
buildeth … house—increases wealth, which the foolish, by mismanagement, lessen.
He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
2. uprightness—is the fruit of fearing God, as falsehood and ill-nature (Pr 2:15; 3:32) of despising Him and His law.
In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
3. rod of pride—that is, the punishment of pride, which they evince by their words. The words of the wise procure good to them.
Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
4. crib is clean—empty; so "cleanness of teeth" denotes want of food (compare Am 4:6). Men get the proper fruit of their doings (Ga 6:7).
A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
5. A faithful witness, &c.—one tested to be such.
utter lies—or, "breathe out lies"—that is, habitually lies (Pr 6:19; compare Ac 9:1). Or the sense is, that habitual truthfulness, or lying, will be evinced in witness-bearing.
A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
6. An humble, teachable spirit succeeds in seeking (Pr 8:9; Joh 7:17; Jas 1:5, 6).
Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
7. Avoid the society of those who cannot teach you.
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
8. Appearances deceive the thoughtless, but the prudent discriminate.
Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
9. Fools make a mock at sin—or, "Sin deludes fools."
righteous … favour—that is, of God, instead of the punishment of sin.
The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
10. Each one best knows his own sorrows or joys.
The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
11. (Compare Pr 12:7). The contrast of the whole is enhanced by that of house and tabernacle, a permanent and a temporary dwelling.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
12. end thereof—or, "reward," what results (compare Pr 5:4).
ways of death—leading to it.
Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
13. The preceding sentiment illustrated by the disappointments of a wicked or untimely joy.
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
14. filled … ways—receive retribution (Pr 1:31).
a good man … himself—literally, "is away from such," will not associate with him.
The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
15. The simple … word—He is credulous, not from love, but heedlessness (Pr 13:16).
A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
16. (Compare Pr 3:7; 28:14).
rageth—acts proudly and conceitedly.
He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
17. He … angry—literally, "short of anger" (compare Pr 14:29, opposite idea).
man … hated—that is, the deliberate evildoer is more hated than the rash.
The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
18. inherit—as a portion (compare Pr 3:35).
are crowned—literally, "are surrounded with it," abound in it.
The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
19. Describes the humbling of the wicked by the punishment their sins incur.
The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
20. This sad but true picture of human nature is not given approvingly, but only as a fact.
He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
21. For such contempt of the poor is contrasted as sinful with the virtuous compassion of the good.
Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
22. As usual, the interrogative negative strengthens the affirmative.
mercy and truth—that is, God's (Ps 57:3; 61:7).
In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
23. labour—painful diligence.
talk … penury—idle and vain promises and plans.
The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.
24. (Compare Pr 3:16).
foolishness … folly—Folly remains, or produces folly; it has no benefit.
A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.
25. Life often depends on truth-telling.
a deceitful … lies—He that breathes out lies is deceit, not to be trusted (Pr 14:5).
In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
26. The blessings of piety descend to children (Pr 13:22; 20:7; Ex 20:6).
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
27. (Compare Pr 13:14).
fear of the Lord—or, "law of the wise," is wisdom (Ps 111:10).
In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
28. The teaching of a true political economy.
He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
29. slow … understanding—(Compare Pr 14:17).
hasty—(Compare Pr 14:17).
exalteth folly—makes it conspicuous, as if delighting to honor it.
A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
30. A sound heart—both literally and figuratively, a source of health; in the latter sense, opposed to the known effect of evil passions on health.
He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
31. reproacheth his Maker—who is the God of such, as well as of the rich (Pr 22:2; Job 31:15; and specially 1Sa 2:8; Ps 113:7).
The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
32. driven—thrust out violently (compare Ps 35:5, 6).
hath hope—trusteth (Pr 10:2; 11:4; Ps 2:12), implying assurance of help.
Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
33. resteth—preserved in quietness for use, while fools blazon their folly (Pr 12:23; 13:16).
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
34. Righteousness—just principles and actions.
exalteth—raises to honor.
is a reproach—brings on them the ill-will of others (compare Pr 13:6).
The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.
35. wise—discreet or prudent.
causeth shame—(Pr 10:5; 12:4) acts basely.