Matthew Poole's Commentary
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.The excellency of wisdom, with rules for government, Proverbs 29:1-14. The parents’ duty to correct their children, Proverbs 29:15-17. The misery of them that know not God’s law, Proverbs 29:18. Of anger, pride, thieving, cowardice, and corruption, Proverbs 29:19-26. The godly and wicked an abomination to each other, Proverbs 29:27.
Hardeneth his neck; is incorrigible, and obstinately persists in those sins for which he is reproved.
Without remedy, utterly and irrecoverably.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.In authority; which interpretation is confirmed from the opposite clause. The Hebrew word signifies to increase either in number, or in dignity and power.
The people rejoice, for the blessed effects of their good government.
The people mourn, both for the oppressions and mischiefs which they feel, and for the dreadful judgments of God which they justly fear.
Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.Loveth wisdom; and therefore hateth and escheweth all folly and wickedness.
Keepeth company with harlots; whereby he plainly discovers himself to want wisdom; of which see Proverbs 7:7, &c.
Spendeth his substance; whereby he not only ruineth himself, but also grieveth his father, as is implied from the opposite clause.
The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.By judgment; by the free and impartial exercise of justice.
He that receiveth gifts, Heb. a man (for he would not vouchsafe to call him a king, as being unworthy of that name and office) of oblations or gifts, i.e. whose delight and common practice it is to take bribes, and sell justice.
A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.A man that flattereth his neighbour, that praiseth or applaudeth another in a sinful state or course, spreadeth a net for his feet; kills him under a pretence of kindness; is an occasion of his sin, and consequently of destruction, which possibly he may design to accomplish by that means.
In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.There is a snare; his sin will bring him to dreadful horrors and certain ruin.
Doth sing and rejoice, because he hath sweet peace in his own conscience, and assurance of present safety and eternal happiness.
The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.The righteous, whether magistrate, or any private person concerned to know it, and capable of helping him in it,
considereth the cause of the poor; his poverty neither hinders him from taking pains to examine it, nor from a righteous determination of it.
Regardeth not to know it; will not put himself to the trouble of searching it out, either because it yields him no profit, or because he resolves to give away his right.
Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.Bring a city into a snare; expose it to God’s wrath and to destruction by their self-conceit and wilfulness, by their wicked counsels and courses, whereby they seduce and infect the generality of the people, by their contempt of God, of his just laws and righteous judgments, and of the opinions and advice, of wise men.
Wise men, who do not scorn, but hearken to the counsels of God and of prudent men, turn away wrath; the wrath of God or of men, who were enraged against it.
If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man; either judicially or otherwise debating any matter with him, endeavouring to convince him of any error;
whether he, the wise man, rageth (or is angry) or laugheth, i.e. whether he deal sharply and severely with him, rebuking him for his folly, or mildly and pleasantly smiling at it,
there is no rest, no end or fruit of the debate, the fool will not be satisfied nor convinced. Or, as it is in the Hebrew, he (to wit, the fool last named, to whom the following carriages may seem more fitly to agree) both rageth and laugheth, (he will not yield nor be convinced, but persists in his folly, which he discovers sometimes by his furious and unbridled passions, and sometimes by foolish laughter and scorning,) and there
is no rest; he will never be quieted.
The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.Hate the upright, and consequently seek their ruin, as is implied from the following clause.
Seek his soul; either,
1. To require his soul or life at the hands of those who have taken it away. Or,
2. To preserve it from those who attempt to take it away, as this phrase is taken, Psalm 142:4, though commonly it signify to seek to destroy it.
A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.All his mind; all at once, unnecessarily and unseasonably, without reservation or caution.
Till afterwards; till he have fit occasion to express it.
If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.If a ruler hearken to lies, delight in flatteries or calumnies, or any lying words or deceitful and wicked practices,
all his servants are wicked; partly because he chooseth only such for his service; and partly because they are either corrupted by his example, or engaged by their place and interest to please him, and comply with his base lusts.
The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.The deceitful man, Heb. the man of deceits, or of usuries, i.e. who hath enriched himself by such practices,
meet together; converse together, and one needeth the other, as Proverbs 22:2.
The Lord lighteneth both their eyes; either their bodily eyes with the light of the sun, which promiscuously shines upon both; or the eyes of their minds with the light of reason and grace, which he indifferently gives to them; and therefore the one should not envy nor despise the other, but be ready to do good one to another, as God doth good to both.
The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.Judgeth the poor, and the rich too; but he names
the poor, because these are most oppressed and injured by others, and least regarded by princes, and yet committed to their more special care by the King of kings.
The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.The rod and reproof; correction and instruction going together.
Left to himself; suffered to follow his own will or lusts without restraint and chastening. His mother, and father too; but he names only the mother, either because her indulgence oft spoils the child, or because children commonly stand in least awe of their mothers, and abuse the weakness of their sex, and tenderness of their natures.
When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.Are multiplied; or rather, are advanced, because this is opposed to their
falling in the next clause; and so this Hebrew word is taken above, Proverbs 29:2.
Transgression increaseth; sin and sinners abound and grow impudent by impunity, and the example and encouragement of such rulers.
Their fall; the destruction of such transgressors in due time.
Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.Rest; satisfaction to thy mind, and comfort in his amendment.
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.No vision, i.e. no prophecy, for the prophets were anciently called seers, 1 Samuel 9:9, i.e. no public preaching of God’s law or word, (as appears by the opposite clause,) which is called prophecy, Romans 12:6 1 Corinthians 14:1, &c., where the people are destitute of the means of instruction.
The people perish, because they want the only means of salvation. Or, is made naked; stripped of their best ornaments, God’s favour and protection, as this word is taken, Exodus 32:25.
He that keepeth the law: this he saith rather than
he that hath vision, which the laws of opposition might seem to require, to teach us that, although the want of God’s word be sufficient for men’s destruction, yet the having, and hearing, or reading of it is not sufficient for their salvation, except they also keep or obey it.
A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.A servant, who is so not only ill condition, but also in the temper of his mind, disingenuous, perverse, and stubborn,
will not be corrected by words; by mere words without blows. Compare Proverbs 19:29.
Though he understand, though he know thy mind and words, and his own duty,
he will not answer; either by words, expressing his readiness; or by deeds, speedily and cheerfully performing thy commands; but will neglect his duty, pretending that he did not hear or understand thee.
Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.In his words; or rather, in his business, who is rash and heady in the management of his affairs.
There is more hope of a fool, who is sensible of his folly, and willing to hearken to the advice of others, as this word is used, Proverbs 26:12, though commonly it be meant of a wilful and wicked fool;
than of him, because he is self-confident, and neither considers things seriously within himself, nor seeks counsel from the wise.
He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.He that delicately bringeth up his servant, allowing him too much freedom, and familiarity, and delicious fare, shall have him become his son; will find him at last grow insolent and presumptuous, and forgetful of his servile condition.
An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.Is by his passion easily transported into grievous and manifold sins against God, and others, and himself, as swearing, and cursing, and violence, yea, sometimes even to murder.
A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.Shall bring him low, because both God and man conspire against him, and abhor him.
Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit; or, as others render it, without any difference in the sense,
the humble in spirit shall hold their honour, shall be honoured by God and men. Thus honour, like a shadow, flees from them that pursue it, and follows them who flee from it.
Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.Whoso is partner with a thief, by receiving a share of the stolen goods upon condition of his concealment of the theft,
hateth his own soul; he carrieth himself towards it as if he hated it; he woundeth and destroyeth it.
He heareth cursing; he heareth the voice of swearing, as is said, Leviticus 5:1; the oath given to him by a judge adjuring him and other suspected persons to give information concerning it; and
betrayeth it not; which he is bound to do, both by virtue of his oath, and for the public good, which ought to be preferred before all private contracts or friendships.
The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.The fear of man, inordinate fear of harm or mischief from men, which is fitly opposed to trust in God, because it comes from a distrust of God’s promise and providence,
bringeth a snare; is an occasion of many sins, and of great danger, both of injuries from men, and of sore punishments from God.
Putteth his trust in the Lord; keeping God’s way, and securely relying upon God to protect him from the designs and rage of wicked men.
Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.Seek the ruler’s favour: men study to please and engage their rulers by their obliging carriage, and humble petitions, and all other means, supposing that to be the only way to procure either right or favour from them, as they need or desire it.
Every man’s judgment, the decision of his cause, and the success of all his endeavours,
cometh from the Lord; dependeth wholly upon God, who ruleth and inclineth their minds and hearts as it pleaseth him, Proverbs 21:1.
An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.Is an abomination to the just, because such men, as such, are hated by God, and haters of and enemies unto God and all goodness, and public plagues to the church and state in which they live; and therefore he who loves these must needs hate them, as true friends hate those who are enemies to their friends.
Is abomination to the wicked; of which See Poole "Proverbs 29:10".