Proverbs 11:22
As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout.—Rather, a nose-ring run through the right nostril and hanging down over the mouth; a female ornament used from the earliest times (Genesis 24:47; Isaiah 3:21; Ezekiel 16:12), and still worn in the East.

Proverbs 11:22. As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout — Which would not adorn the swine, but only be disparaged itself; so is a fair woman without discretion — Who disgraceth the beauty of her body by a foolish and filthy mind. There seems to be an allusion in these words to a custom prevalent in the East, of wearing jewels upon their noses: see on Job 42:11. The meaning evidently is, “As a jewel of gold would be ill placed in the snout of a swine, which is always raking in the mire; so is beauty ill bestowed on a woman, whose mind, having lost all relish of virtue, carries her from her husband to wallow in filthy lusts and adulterous pleasures.” See Bishop Patrick.

“Of beauty vain, of virtue void,

What art thou in the sight of God?

A slave to every base desire,

A creature wallowing in the mire.


Go, gaudy pageant of a day,

Thy folly with thy face display:


Set all thy charms and graces out,

And show — the jewel in thy snout.” C. WESLEY.
11:1 However men may make light of giving short weight or measure, and however common such crimes may be, they are an abomination to the Lord. 2. Considering how safe, and quiet, and easy the humble are, we see that with the lowly is wisdom. 3. An honest man's principles are fixed, therefore his way is plain. 4. Riches will stand men in no stead in the day of death. 5,6. The ways of wickedness are dangerous. And sin will be its own punishment. 7. When a godly man dies, all his fears vanish; but when a wicked man dies, his hopes vanish. 8. The righteous are often wonderfully kept from going into dangerous situations, and the ungodly go in their stead. 9. Hypocrites delude men into error and sin by artful objections against the truths of God's word. 10,11. Nations prosper when wicked men are cast down. 12. A man of understanding does not judge of others by their success. 13. A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it. 14. We shall often find it to our advantage to advise with others. 15. The welfare of our families, our own peace, and our ability to pay just debts, must not be brought into danger. But here especially let us consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in becoming Surety even for enemies. 16. A pious and discreet woman will keep esteem and respect, as strong men keep possession of wealth. 17. A cruel, froward, ill-natured man, is vexatious to those that are, and should be to him as his own flesh, and punishes himself. 18. He that makes it his business to do good, shall have a reward, as sure to him as eternal truth can make it. 19. True holiness is true happiness. The more violent a man is in sinful pursuits, the more he hastens his own destruction. 20. Nothing is more hateful to God, than hypocrisy and double dealing, which are here signified. God delights in such as aim and act with uprightness. 21. Joining together in sin shall not protect the sinners. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments. 23. The wicked desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves. 24. A man may grow poor by not paying just debts, not relieving the poor, not allowing needful expenses. Let men be ever so saving of what they have, if God appoints, it comes to nothing. 25. Both in temporal and spiritual things, God commonly deals with his people according to the measure by which they deal with their brethren. 26. We must not hoard up the gifts of God's bounty, merely for our own advantage. 27. Seeking mischief is here set against seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt, even to themselves.The most direct proverb, in the sense of "similitude," which has as yet met us.

Jewel of gold - Better, ring; i. e., the nose-ring Genesis 24:22, Genesis 24:47; Isaiah 3:21.

Without discretion - literally, "without taste," void of the subtle tact and grace, without which mere outward beauty is as ill-bestowed as the nose-ring in the snout of the unclean beast. If we may assume that in ancient Syria, as in modern Europe, swine commonly wore such a ring to hinder them doing mischief, the similitude receives a fresh vividness.

22. Jewels were often suspended from the nose (Ge 24:47; Isa 3:21). Thus adorned, a hog disgusts less than a fair and indiscreet woman. As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout; which would not adorn the swine, but only be disparaged itself. It was the custom of some of the Jews to wear jewels upon their noses, and some of their neighbours wore them in their noses.

Which is without discretion; which disgraceth the beauty of her body by a foolish and filthy soul. As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout,.... The allusion seems to be to the ringing of swine, to prevent their rooting up the earth; which is usually done by putting an iron ring into their snout; which is much more proper and suitable than a gold ring, or a jewel set in gold, which is very unbecoming such a creature; and is soon had to the dunghill, or to some miry place, and there defiled;

so is a fair woman which is without discretion; or, "has departed from taste" (y); from a taste of virtue and honour; lost all sense of modesty and chastity; forsaken her husband, and given up herself to the embraces of others. As her beauty is fitly expressed by a "jewel of gold", which is valuable and desirable, and, rightly placed and used, is ornamental; so she is properly represented by a swine, wallowing in the impurities of lust; to which her beauty was the snare, and whereby it is quickly sullied and lost. Jarchi applies this to a disciple of a wise man, or a scholar that departs from the good way, or from the law; which he explains by taste or sense: but it may be better applied to the scarlet whore, or apostate church of Rome; which has departed from Christ, once her professed husband; from the doctrines of the Gospel, and the ordinances of it; from all taste and savour of true religion; and even from common sense and right reason, as in the affair of transubstantiation, and other things; and may be fitly compared to a swine with a jewel of gold in its snout, being "decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls"; and yet "drunk with the blood of the saints", and "martyrs of Jesus"; and wallowing in all the faith of fornication, of idolatry, and superstition; as well as in all manner of other sins and iniquities, Revelation 17:4.

(y) Heb. "recedens a gusta", Piscator; "cujus recessit sapor", Schultens.

As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. jewel] Rather, ring (R.V. marg.). The reference to the nosering, which Eastern women wore as an ornament, gives point to the proverb. See Genesis 24:47; Ezekiel 16:12, in both which places R.V. renders the same Heb. word, “a ring upon the nose.”

discretion] Lit. taste, which would seem to indicate the innate and instinctive character of womanly purity. We have a good example of it, in the form of tact or perception, in the case of Abigail, the wife of Nabal the Carmelite, to whom David says, using the same Hebrew word, “blessed be thy advice (wisdom, R.V. text, discretion, marg.), and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from bloodguiltiness,” 1 Samuel 25:33. Comp. αἴσθησις, “delicate perception, fine tact,” Php 1:9, and note there in this Series.Verse 22. - This is the first instance of direct "similitude" in the book. As a jewel [a ring] of gold in a swine's snout. The greatest incongruity is thus expressed. Women in the East wore, and still sometimes wear, a ring run through the nostril, and hanging over the mouth, so that it is necessary to hold it up when taking food. Such a nezem Abraham's servant gave to Rebekah (Genesis 24:22; comp. Isaiah 3:21; Ezekiel 16:12). The Septuagint has ἐνώτιον, "an earring." So is a fair woman which is without discretion; without taste, deprived of the faculty of saying and doing what is seemly and fitting. The external beauty of such a woman is as incongruous as a precious ring in the snout of a pig. Lesetre quotes an Arab proverb: "A woman without modesty is food without salt." Whether swine in Eastern countries were "ringed," as they are with us nowadays, is unknown; if they were thus treated, the proverb is still more vivid. 16 A gracious woman retaineth honour,

     And strong men retain riches.

The lxx had אשׁת חן (not אשׁת חיל ton( א) in view: γυνὴ εὐχάριστος ἐγείρει ἀνδρὶ δόξαν, - this ἀνδρί is an interpolation inserted for the sake of the added line, θρόνος δὲ ἀτιμίας γυνὴ μισοῦσα δίκαια. The proverb thus expanded is on both sides true: an amiable woman (gratiosa) brings honour to her husband, gives him relief, while one who hates the right (that which is good, gentle) is a disgraceful vessel (opp. כּסּא כּבוד, Isaiah 22:23), which disfigures the household, makes the family unloved, and lowers it. But the commencing line, by which 16b is raised to an independent distich, is so much the more imperfect: πλούτου ὀκνηροὶ ἐνδεεῖς γίνονται; for that the negligent (idle) bring it not to riches, is, as they are wont in Swabia to call such truisms, a Binsenwahrheit. But it is important that the translation of 16b, οἱ δὲ ἀνδρεῖοι ἐρείδονται πλούτῳ (the Syr. has "knowledge" for riches), presupposes the phrase וחרוּצים (cf. Proverbs 10:4, lxx), and along with it this, that יתמכו עשׁר is so rendered as if the words were יסמכוּ בעשׁר, is to be regarded as unhistorical. If we now take the one proverb as it is found in the Hebr. text, then the repetition of the תמך in the two lines excites a prejudice in favour of it. The meaning of this otherwise difficult תמך is missed by Lwenstein and Zckler: a gracious woman retaineth honour (Symm. ἀνθέξεται δόξης); for (1) תמך חיל would better agree with this predicate, and (2) it is evident from Proverbs 29:23 that תמך כבוד is not to be understood in the sense of firmiter tenere, but in the inchoative sense of consequi honorem, whence also the ἐγείρει ἀνδρί of the lxx. It is true that Proverbs 31:30 states that "grace (חן) is nothing," and that all depends on the fear of God; but here the poet thinks on "grace" along with the fear of God, or he thinks on them as not separated from each other; and since it is boldly true, which is moreover besides this true, that a wife of gracious outward appearance and demeanour obtains honour, her company is sought, she finds her way into the best society, they praise her attractive, pleasant appearance, and that the husband also of such a wife participates to some extent in this honour. Experience also confirms it, that the עריצים, strong men, obtain riches (cf. Isaiah 49:25); and this statement regarding the עריצים fits better as a contrast to 16a, as a like statement regarding the חרוצים, diligent, for the עריץ (from ערץ, to place in terror, Psalm 10:18), whose power consists in terrorism or violence, is the most direct contrast of a wife, this σκεῦος ἀσθενέστερον, who by heart-winning attraction makes yet better conquests: she thereby obtains a higher good, viz., honour, while the former gains only riches, for "a name" (viz., a good one) "is better than great riches," Proverbs 22:1. If we read חרוצים, this thoughtful contrast is lost.

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