Proverbs 17:1
Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XVII.

(1) A house full of sacrifices.—Possibly the same as the “peace offerings” of Proverbs 7:14 (where see note). The consumption of these may have at times degenerated into licence (comp. 1Samuel 1:13), and quarrelling have ensued.

Proverbs 17:1. Better is a dry morsel — “Bread with pulse, or husks,” as Bochart and Houbigant interpret it; which was the food of meaner persons; and quietness therewith — Peace, love, and concord among the members of a family; than a house full of sacrifices — Of the remainder of sacrifices, of which they used to make feasts; concerning which see on Proverbs 7:14 : or, of slain beasts, as the same word, זבחים, is used Genesis 31:54, and elsewhere.17:1 These words recommend family love and peace, as needful for the comfort of human life. 2. The wise servant is more deserving, and more likely to appear one of the family, than a profligate son. 3. God tries the heart by affliction. He thus has often shown the sin remaining in the heart of the believer.Sacrifices - The feast accompanied the offerings Proverbs 7:14. Part of the victims were burned upon the altar, the rest was consumed by the worshipper and his friends. The "house full of sacrifices" was therefore one abounding in sumptuous feasts. CHAPTER 17

Pr 17:1-28.

1. sacrifices—or, "feasts" made with part of them (compare Pr 7:14; Le 2:3; 7:31).

with—literally, "of."

strife—its product, or attendant. Of sacrifices; of the remainders of sacrifices, of which they used to make feasts; of which See Poole "Proverbs 7:14". Or, of slain beasts, as that word is used, Genesis 31:54, and elsewhere.

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith,.... A small quantity of bread; a broken piece of bread, as the word (w) signifies; which has been long broken off, and become "dry" (x); a dry crust of bread; old bread, as the Arabic version; an old, mouldy, dry piece of bread: and the word used has the signification of destruction in it: bread that has lost its taste and virtue; or, however, a mere piece of bread is meant, without anything to eat with it, as Gersom, butter, cheese, or flesh: this, with quietness and peace among those that partake of it, peace in the family, in a man's own mind, especially if he has the peace of God, which passeth all understanding; this is better

than a house full of sacrifices with strife; than a house ever so well furnished with good cheer, or a table ever so richly spread; or where there is plenty of slain beasts for food, or for sacrifice, which were usually the best, and part of which the people had to eat, and at which times feasts used to be made; but the meanest food, with tranquillity and contentment, is preferable to the richest entertainment where there is nothing but strife and contention among the guests; for, where that is, there is confusion and every evil work: peace and joy in the Holy Ghost are better than meats and drinks. Mr. Dod used to say,

"brown bread and the Gospel are good fare;''

see Proverbs 15:17.

(w) "frustrum", a "fregit", Gejerus. (x) "siccum frustum panis", Tigurine version; "cibi sicci" Junius & Tremellius; "brucella sicca", V. L. Mercerus, Piscator; "buccea sicca", Cocceuis; "frustum sicci, sc. cibi", Michaelis, "frustum siccae buccellae, Schultens, so Ben Melech.

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness with it, than an house full of {a} sacrifices with strife.

(a) For where there were many sacrifices, there were many portions given to the people, with which they feasted.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. sacrifices with strife] Lit. sacrifices of strife, but better rendered, good cheer with strife, A.V. marg.; or, feasting with strife, R.V. text. This rendering, however, may be arrived at in either of two ways, (1) We may suppose that the ordinance of feasting on part of a sacrifice Leviticus 7:16; Leviticus 19:6-8) appealed so to the popular mind, that the restriction to “the place which the Lord their God should choose” (Deuteronomy 12:4-14) came to be neglected, and as is too commonly the case, with Christmas, for example, in our own day, the word which should have denoted a religious act before God, sank down to mean a mere worldly feast at home. (2) But it may be doubted whether the Heb. for sacrifice is not used here in the sense of animals slain or killed for eating, as in Deuteronomy 12:15; 1 Samuel 28:24; 1 Kings 19:21; and Ezekiel 39:17, compared with Revelation 19:17, where θυσία of the LXX. becomes δεῖπνον. See also Matthew 22:4.Verse 1. - (Comp, Proverbs 15:16, 17; Proverbs 16:8.) Better (sweeter) is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith. Dry bread was soaked in wine or water before it was eaten. Thus Boaz bid Ruth "dip her morsel in the vinegar" (Ruth 2:14); thus Jesus gave the sop to Judas when he had dipped it (John 13:26). The Septuagint is pleonastic, "Better is a morsel with joy in peace." Aben Ezra connects this verse with the last two of ch. 16, confining the application to the patient man; but the sentence seems rather to be independent and general. Than an house full of sacrifices with strife. Of the thank or peace offerings part only was burnt upon the altar, the rest was eaten by the offerer and his family; and as the victims were always the choicest animals, "a house full of sacrifices" would contain the materials for sumptuous feasting (see on Proverbs 7:4). The joyous family festival often degenerated into excess, which naturally led to quarrels and strife (see 1 Samuel 1:5, 6, 13; 1 Samuel 2:13, etc.). So the agapae of the early Church were desecrated by licence and selfishness (1 Corinthians 11:20, etc.). Septuagint, "than a house full of many good things and unrighteous victims with contention." With this verse compare the Spanish proverb, "Mas vale un pedazo de pan con amor, que gallinas con dolor." 28 A man of falsehood scattereth strife,

     And a backbiter separateth confidential friends.

Regarding תּהפּכות (מדבר) אישׁ, vid., Proverbs 2:12, and מדון ישׁלּח, Proverbs 6:14; the thought of 28b is found at Proverbs 6:19. נרגּן (with ן minusculum, which occurs thrice with the terminal Nun) is a Niphal formation from רגן, to murmur (cf. נזיד, from זיד), and denotes the whisperer, viz., the backbiter, ψίθυρος, Sir. 5:14, ψιθυριστής, susurro; the Arab. nyrj is abbreviated from it, a verbal stem of נרג (cf. Aram. norgo, an axe, Arab. naurag, a threshing-sledge equals מורג) cannot be proved. Aquila is right in translating by τονθρυστής, and Theodotion by γόγγυσος, from רגן, Hiph. נרגּן, γογγύζειν. Regarding אלּוּף, confidential friend, vid., p. 82; the sing., as Proverbs 18:9, is used in view of the mutual relationship, and מפריד proceeds on the separation of the one, and, at the same time, of the other from it. Luther, in translating by "a slanderer makes princes disagree," is in error, for אלּוּף, φύλαρχος, is not a generic word for prince.

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