Proverbs 12:16
A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
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(16) A fool’s wrath is presently known.—He cannot contain himself if he thinks himself slighted or injured; the “prudent man,” on the other hand, “covereth shame,” not noticing an insult at the time, but waiting for a convenient opportunity of telling the offender of his fault and bringing him to a better mind (Matthew 18:15).

Proverbs 12:16. A fool’s wrath is presently known — By his rash words and indecent actions, whereby he exposes himself to shame; but a prudent man covereth shame — Either, 1st, The shame, reproach, or injury, done to him by others, which he conceals, and bears with patience: or, 2d, His own shame, to which the folly of rash anger would have exposed him.

12:16. A foolish man is soon angry, and is hasty in expressing it; he is ever in trouble and running into mischief. It is kindness to ourselves to make light of injuries and affronts, instead of making the worst of them. 17. It is good for all to dread and detest the sin of lying, and to be governed by honesty. 18. Whisperings and evil surmises, like a sword, separate those that have been dear to each other. The tongue of the wise is health, making all whole. 19. If truth be spoken, it will hold good; whoever may be disobliged, still it will keep its ground. 20. Deceit and falsehood bring terrors and perplexities. But those who consult the peace and happiness of others have joy in their own minds. 21. If men are sincerely righteous, the righteous God has engaged that no evil shall happen to them. But they that delight in mischief shall have enough of it. 22. Make conscience of truth, not only in words, but in actions. 23. Foolish men proclaim to all the folly and emptiness of their minds. 24. Those who will not take pains in an honest calling, living by tricks and dishonesty, are paltry and beggarly. 25. Care, fear, and sorrow, upon the spirits, deprive men of vigour in what is to be done, or courage in what is to be borne. A good word from God, applied by faith, makes the heart glad. 26. The righteous is abundant; though not in this world's goods, yet in the graces and comforts of the Spirit, which are the true riches. Evil men vainly flatter themselves that their ways are not wrong. 27. The slothful man makes no good use of the advantages Providence puts in his way, and has no comfort in them. The substance of a diligent man, though not great, does good to him and his family. He sees that God gives it to him in answer to prayer. 28. The way of religion is a straight, plain way; it is the way of righteousness. There is not only life at the end, but life in the way; all true comfort.The "fool" cannot restrain his wrath; it rushes on "presently" (as in the margin, on the same day, however, uselessly. The prudent man knows that to utter his indignation at reproach and shame will but lead to a fresh attack, and takes refuge in reticence. 16. prudent … shame—He is slow to denounce his insulters (Jas 1:19). Is presently known, by his rash words and indecent actions, whereby he exposeth himself to shame.

Covereth shame; either,

1. The shame, or reproach, or injury done to him by others, which he concealeth and beareth with patience, and passeth by, as his duty and interest obligeth him to do. Or,

2. His own shame, to which the folly of rash anger would have betrayed him.

A fool's wrath is presently known,.... Having no command of himself, he cannot repress it, nor keep it in; no sooner is he provoked but he shows it in his countenance, and by his words and actions; it is to be seen in the fire of his eyes, in the frowns of his face, in the gnashing of his teeth, and in the stamping of his feet, as well as in the bitter expressions of his mouth: or "a fool's wrath in that day is known" (b); in the same day in which the provocation is given; yea, in the same hour, and in the same moment; he cannot defer showing it for the least space of time; or it is openly known, it is to be seen and observed by everyone: or thus, "a fool is presently known by his wrath" (c); see Ecclesiastes 7:9;

but a prudent man covereth shame; conceals his anger and resentment at any injury done him by words or actions, which if suffered to break out would bring shame and disgrace to him; or he covers the injury itself, the disgraceful words that are spoken of him, and the shameful actions done unto him; he puts up with the contempt that is cast upon him, and bears it patiently; takes no notice of the offence given him, and much less seeks revenge; in which he acts a prudent part, for by so doing he creates less trouble to himself, and gains more credit and reputation from others.

(b) "eo die quo irritatur", Tigurine version; "eodem die", Junius & Tremellius; so Banyus, Merceras, Gejerus. (c) "Cognoscitur ex ira sua", Munster.

A fool's wrath is presently known: but {h} a prudent man covereth shame.

(h) Who bridles his affections.

16. presently] Lit. in the (same) day. Comp. “Will they make an end in one (lit. the) day?” Nehemiah 4:2 [Heb. 3:34]; αὐθημερόν, LXX.

Verse 16. - A fool's wrath is presently ("in the day," αὐθημερόν) known. A foolish man, if he is vexed, insulted, or slighted, has no idea of controlling himself or checking the expression of his aroused feelings; he at once, in the same day on which he has been incensed, makes his vexation known. A prudent man covereth - concealeth - shame; takes no notice of an affront at the moment, knowing that by resenting it he will only make matters worse, and that it is best to let passions cool before he tries to set the matter right (comp. Proverbs 20:22; Proverbs 24:29). Christ's injunction goes far beyond this maxim of worldly prudence: "I say unto you that ye resist not evil;" "Unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek, offer also the other" (Matthew 5:39; Luke 6:29); and it is certain that these maxims might be carried into practice much more than they are, even in the present state of society. Septuagint, "A clever man (πανοῦργος; callidus, Vulgate) concealeth his own disgrace." Corn. a Lapide quotes a Hebrew proverb which asserts that a man's character is accurately discerned "by purse, by cup, by anger;" i.e. by his conduct in money transactions, under the influence of wine, and in the excitement of anger. Proverbs 12:16The relations of the subject and the predicate are the same as in the preceding verse.

The fool makes known his vexation on the same day [at once],

On the contrary, the prudent man hideth the offence.

Very frequently in these proverbs the first line is only defined by the adducing of the second, or the second holds itself in the light of the first. A post-bibl. proverb says that a man is known by three things: by his כוס (his behaviour in drinking), his כיס (his conduct in money transactions), and his כעס (his conduct under deep inward excitement). So here: he is a fool who, if some injury is done to him, immediately shows his vexation in a passionate manner; while, on the contrary the prudent man maintains silence as to the dishonour that is done to him, and represses his displeasure, so as not to increase his vexation to his own injury. Passionless retaliation may in certain cases be a duty of self-preservation, and may appear to be necessary for the protection of truth, but passionate self-defence is always of evil, whether the injury which is inflicted be justifiable or unjustifiable. Regarding ערוּם, callidus, vid., p. 56; Schultens' comparison of the Greek γεγυμνασμένος is only a conceit in want of better knowledge. Regarding כּסה (only here and at Proverbs 12:23) with מכסּה, as שׁחר (only Proverbs 11:27) with משׁחר, vid., Ewald, 170a. בּיּום signifies on the self-same day equals without delay, immediately, and is well translated by the lxx αὐθήμερον. With another object, 16b is repeated in 23a.

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