Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
1. A bad conscience makes men timid; the righteous are alone truly bold (Pr 14:26; Ps 27:1).
For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.
2. Anarchy producing contending rulers shortens the reign of each.
but by a man … prolonged—or, "by a man of understanding—that is, a good ruler—he who knows or regards the right, that is, a good citizen, shall prolong (his days)." Good rulers are a blessing to the people. Bad government as a punishment for evil is contrasted with good as blessing to the good.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
3. A poor man, &c.—Such, in power, exact more severely, and so leave subjects bare.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
4. They that forsake … wicked—Wrongdoers encourage one another.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
5. (Compare Joh 7:17). Ignorance of moral truth is due to unwillingness to know it.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
6. (Compare Pr 10:6). Riches cannot compensate for sin, nor the want of them affect integrity.
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.
7. (Compare Pr 17:25).
riotous men—or, "gluttons" (Pr 23:20, 21).
He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
8. usury … unjust gain—(Compare Margin). The two terms, meaning nearly the same, may denote excessive interest. God's providence directs the proper use of wealth.
He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
9. (Compare Pr 15:8; 21:27).
hearing—that is, obeying. God requires sincere worshippers (Ps 66:18; Joh 4:24).
Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.
10. (Compare Pr 26:27).
The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
11. A poor but wise man can discover (and expose) the rich and self-conceited.
When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
12. great glory—or, cause for it to a people, for the righteous rejoice in good, and righteousness exalts a nation (Pr 14:34).
a man … hidden—that is, the good retire, or all kinds try to escape a wicked rule.
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
13. (Compare Ps 32:3-5). Concealment of sin delivers none from God's wrath, but He shows mercy to the humble penitent (Ps 51:4).
Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
14. feareth—that is, God, and so repents.
hardeneth his heart—makes himself insensible to sin, and so will not repent (Pr 14:16; 29:1).
As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
15. The rapacity and cruelty of such beasts well represent some wicked men (compare Ps 7:2; 17:12).
The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.
16. The prince … understanding—that is, He does not perceive that oppression jeopards his success. Covetousness often produces oppression, hence the contrast.
A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
17. doeth violence … blood, &c.—or, that is oppressed by the blood of life (Ge 9:6), which he has taken.
to the pit—the grave or destruction (Pr 1:12; Job 33:18-24; Ps 143:7).
stay him—sustain or deliver him.
Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
18. (Compare Pr 10:9; 17:20). Double dealing is eventually fatal.
He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
19. (Compare Pr 10:4; 20:4).
vain persons—idle, useless drones, implying that they are also wicked (Pr 12:11; Ps 26:4).
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
20. maketh haste … rich—implying deceit or fraud (Pr 20:21), and so opposed to "faithful" or reliable.
To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.
21. respect of persons—(Pr 24:23). Such are led to evil by the slightest motive.
He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
22. (Compare Pr 28:20).
evil eye—in the general sense of Pr 23:6, here more specific for covetousness (compare Pr 22:9; Mt 20:15).
poverty … him—by God's providence.
He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
23. (Compare Pr 9:8, 9; 27:5). Those benefited by reproof will love their monitors.
Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
24. (Compare Mt 15:4-6). Such, though heirs, are virtually thieves, to be ranked with highwaymen.
He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
25. of a proud heart—literally, "puffed up of soul"—that is, self-confident, and hence overbearing and litigious.
made fat—or, "prosperous" (Pr 11:25; 16:20).
He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
26. (Compare Pr 3:6-8).
walketh wisely—that is, trusting in God (Pr 22:17-19).
He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
27. (Compare Pr 11:24-26).
hideth his eyes—as the face (Ps 27:9; 69:17), denotes inattention.
When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
28. The elevation of the wicked to power drives men to seek refuge from tyranny (compare Pr 28:12; 11:10; Ps 12:8).