Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
1. sacrifices—or, "feasts" made with part of them (compare Pr 7:14; Le 2:3; 7:31).
strife—its product, or attendant.
A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.
2. (Compare Pr 14:35).
causeth shame—(Pr 10:5).
shall … inheritance—that is, share a brother's part (compare Nu 27:4, 7).
The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
3. God only knows, as He tries (Ps 12:6; 66:10) the heart.
A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
4. Wicked doers and speakers alike delight in calumny.
Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
5. (Compare Pr 14:31).
glad at calamities—rejoicing in others' evil. Such are rightly punished by God, who knows their hearts.
Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
6. Prolonged posterity is a blessing, its cutting off a curse (Pr 13:22; Ps 109:13-15), hence children may glory in virtuous ancestry.
Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
7. Excellent speech—(Compare Margin). Such language as ill suits a fool, as lying (ought to suit) a prince (Pr 16:12, 13).
A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
8. One so corrupt as to take a bribe evinces his high estimate of it by subjection to its influence (Pr 18:16; 19:6).
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
9. seeketh love—(Compare Margin). The contrast is between the peace-maker and tale-bearer.
A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
10. Reproof more affects the wise than severe scourging, fools.
An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
11. Such meet just retribution (1Ki 2:25).
a cruel messenger—one to inflict it.
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
12. They are less rational in anger than wild beasts.
Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
13. (Compare Ps 7:4; 35:12).
evil—injury to another (Pr 13:21).
The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
14. letteth … water—as a breach in a dam.
before … meddled with—before strife has become sharp, or, by an explanation better suiting the figure, before it rolls on, or increases.
He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
15. abomination … Lord—as reversing His method of acting (Pr 3:32; 12:2).
Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
16. Though wealth cannot buy wisdom for those who do not love it, yet wisdom procures wealth (Pr 3:16; 14:24).
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
17. To the second of these parallel clauses, there is an accession of meaning, that is, that a brother's love is specially seen in adversity.
A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
18. (Compare Pr 6:1-5; 11:15).
in the presence, &c.—that is, he either fails to consult his friend, or to follow his advice.
He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
19. strife—contention is, and leads to, sin.
he that exalteth his gate—gratifies a vain love of costly building.
seeketh—or, "findeth," as if he sought (compare "loveth death," Pr 8:36).
He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
20. The second clause advances on the first. The ill-natured fail of good, and the cavilling and fault-finding incur evil.
He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
21. (Compare Pr 23:24). Different words are rendered by "fool," both denoting stupidity and impiety.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
22. (Compare Pr 14:30; 15:13). The effect of the mind on the body is well known.
medicine—or, "body," which better corresponds with "bone."
drieth—as if the marrow were exhausted.
A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
23. a gift … bosom—Money and other valuables were borne in a fold of the garment, called the bosom.
to pervert—that is, by bribery.
Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
24. Wisdom … him—ever an object of regard, while a fool's affections are unsettled.
A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
25. a grief—or cross, vexation (compare Pr 17:21; 10:1).
Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.
26. Also—that is, Equally to be avoided are other sins: punishing good subjects, or resisting good rulers.
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
27, 28. Prudence of speech is commended as is an excellent or calm spirit, not excited to vain conversation.
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.