Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.
1. (Compare Pr 28:6). "Rich" for fool here. Integrity is better than riches (Pr 15:16, 17; 16:8).
Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
2. The last illustrates the first clause. Rashness, the result of ignorance, brings trouble.
The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
3. perverteth … way—turns him back from right (Pr 13:6; Jas 1:13); and he blames God for his failures.
Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
4. (Compare Pr 14:20). Such facts are often adduced with implied disapprobation.
A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.
5. Compare Pr 19:9, where perish explains not escape here (compare Ps 88:9, 10).
Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.
He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
8. (Compare Margin; Pr 15:32).
loveth … soul—or, "himself," which he evinces by regarding his best interests.
A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.
Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.
10. (Compare Pr 17:7). The fool is incapable of properly using pleasure as knowledge, yet for him to have it is less incongruous than the undue elevation of servants. Let each abide in his calling (1Co 7:20).
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
11. (Compare Pr 14:29; 16:32). This inculcation of a forgiving spirit shows that true religion is always the same (Mt 5:22-24).
The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.
12. (Compare Pr 16:14, 15; 20:2). A motive to submission to lawful authority.
A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
13. calamity—literally, "calamities," varied and many.
continual dropping—a perpetual annoyance, wearing out patience.
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
14. A contrast of men's gifts and God's, who, though author of both blessings, confers the latter by His more special providence.
and—or, "but," implying that the evils of Pr 19:13 are only avoided by His care.
Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
15. a deep sleep—a state of utter indifference.
idle soul—or, "person" (compare Pr 10:4; 12:24).
He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.
16. (Compare Pr 10:17; 13:13).
despiseth … ways—opposed to keeping or observing, neglects (Pr 16:17) (as unworthy of regard) his moral conduct.
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
17. (Compare Pr 14:21; Ps 37:26).
hath pity—shown by acts (compare Margin).
Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
18. (Compare Pr 13:24; 23:13).
let not … spare—literally, "do not lift up thy soul" (Ps 24:4; 25:1), that is, do not desire to his death; a caution to passionate parents against angry chastisement.
A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.
19. Repeated efforts of kindness are lost on ill-natured persons.
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
20. (Compare Pr 13:18-20).
latter end—(Pr 5:11). In youth prepare for age.
There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
21. (Compare Pr 16:1, 9; Ps 33:10, 11). The failure of man's devices is implied.
The desire of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.
22. desire—that is, to do good, indicates a kind disposition (Pr 11:23); and the poor thus affected are better than liars, who say and do not.
The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.
23. The fear … life—(Compare Pr 3:2).
abide—or, "remain contented" (1Ti 4:8).
not visited with evil—(Pr 10:3; Ps 37:25), as a judgment, in which sense visit is often used (Ps 89:32; Jer 6:15).
A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
24. bosom—literally, a wide dish in which the hand was plunged in eating (Mt 26:23). Compare Pr 26:15, the sentiment expressed with equal irony and less exaggeration.
Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.
25. Such is the benefit of reproof; even the simple profit, much more the wise.
He that wasteth his father, and chaseth away his mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach.
26. Unfilial conduct often condemned (Pr 17:21-25; 20:20; De 21:18, 21).
Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.
27. Avoid whatever leads from truth.
An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity.
28. ungodly witness—(Compare Margin), one false by bad principles (compare Pr 6:12).
scorneth judgment—sets at naught the dictates of justice.
devoureth—literally, "swalloweth," as something delightful.
Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.
29. Their punishment is sure, fixed, and ready (compare Pr 3:34; 10:13).