Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
1. soft—tender or gentle.
turneth … wrath—from any one.
stir up—as a smouldering fire is excited.
The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
2. useth … aright—commends knowledge by its proper use.
poureth out—utters abundantly (Pr 12:23), and so disgusts others.
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
3. beholding—watching (compare Pr 5:21; Ps 66:7).
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
4. A wholesome tongue—(Compare Margin), pacifying and soothing language.
tree of life—(Pr 3:18; 11:30).
perverseness therein—cross, ill-natured language.
breach … spirit—(compare Isa 65:14, Hebrew), grieves, instead of appeasing.
A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
5. (Compare Pr 4:1; 10:17; 13:1-18).
is prudent—acts discreetly.
In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
6. treasure—implying utility.
trouble—vexation and affliction.
The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
7. (Compare Pr 10:20, 21).
heart … not so—not right, or vain.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
8, 9. The sacrifice [and] prayer—are acts of worship.
way … followeth … righteousness—denote conduct. God's regard for the worship and deeds of the righteous and wicked respectively, so stated in Ps 50:17; Isa 1:11.
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
10. (Compare Pr 10:17).
the way—that in which God would have him to go (Pr 2:13; Ps 119:1).
Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
11. Hell—(Ps 16:10).
destruction—or, "Abaddon," the place of the destroyer. All the unseen world is open to God, much more men's hearts.
A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.
12. (Compare Pr 9:8).
go unto the wise—to be instructed.
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
13. maketh … countenance—or, "benefits the countenance."
spirit is broken—and so the countenance is sad.
The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
14. (Compare Pr 10:21, 22). The wise grow wiser, the fools more foolish (Pr 9:9).
All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
15. The state of the heart governs the outward condition.
evil—sad, contrasted with the cheerfulness of a feast.
Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
16. trouble—agitation, implying the anxieties and perplexities attending wealth held by worldlings (Pr 16:18; 1Ti 6:6).
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
17. dinner—or, "allowance" (2Ki 25:30)—
of herbs—and that the plainest.
and hatred—(compare Pr 10:12, 18).
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
18. (Compare Pr 14:29; 16:32).
The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
19. The difficulties of the slothful result from want of energy; the righteous find a
plain [and open] way—literally, "a highway," by diligence (1Sa 10:7; Ps 1:3).
A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
20. (Compare Pr 10:1).
Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
21. walketh uprightly—and so finds his joy (Pr 3:6; 10:23).
Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.
22. Without counsel—or, "deliberation," implying a wise deference to the opinions of the wise and good, contrasted with rashness.
A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
23. Good advice blesses the giver and receiver.
The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
24. (Compare Col 3:2). Holy purposes prevent sinning, and so its evils.
The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.
25. The most desolate who have God's aid have more permanent good than the self-reliant sinner (Pr 2:22; 12:7).
border—or, "boundary for possessions" (Ps 78:54).
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
26. are pleasant words—that is, pleasing to God (Pr 8:8, 9).
He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
27. (Compare Pr 11:17). Avarice brings trouble to him and his.
hateth gifts—or, "bribes" (Ex 23:8; Ps 15:5), and is not avaricious.
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
28. (Compare Pr 15:14; 10:11). Caution is the fruit of wisdom; rashness of folly.
The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
29. far … wicked—in His love and favor (Ps 22:11; 119:155).
The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.
30. light of the eyes—(Pr 13:9). What gives light rejoiceth the heart, by relieving from anxiety as to our course; so
good report—or, "doctrine" (Isa 28:9; 53:1),
maketh … fat—or, "gives prosperity" (Pr 3:13-17; 9:11). The last clause is illustrated by the first.
The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
31, 32. (Compare Pr 10:17).
reproof of life—which leads to life.
abideth … wise—is numbered among them.
He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
32. refuseth—or, "neglects," "passes by" (Pr 1:25; 4:15).
despiseth … soul—so acts as if esteeming its interests of no value.
The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
33. The fear … wisdom—Wisdom instructs in true piety.
before … humility—(compare Lu 24:26; 1Pe 1:11); opposite (compare Pr 16:18).