The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD tries the hearts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The fining pot is for silver.—See above on Proverbs 2:4.
The Lord trieth the hearts.—By allowing sorrows and temptations to assail them, in order that they may come out of the trial as pure gold (Revelation 3:18; 1Peter 1:7; 1Corinthians 3:13; Malachi 3:3), purged of earthly infirmities.Malachi 3:2; 1 Peter 1:7.
but the Lord trieth the hearts; there is no vessel, as Gersom observes, in which they can be put and tried by creatures; a man does not know, nor can he thoroughly search and try his own heart, and much less the hearts of others; God only knows and tries them, Jeremiah 17:9; The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, render it by way of similitude, "as the fining pot is for silver", &c. as silver is refined in the pot, and gold in the furnace, so are the hearts of God's people, and their graces tried and purified by him in the furnace of affliction; the variety of troubles they are exercised with are made useful for the purging away of the dross of sin and corruption, and for the brightening of their graces, 1 Peter 1:7.The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. trieth the hearts] q.d. man can try the precious metals, but only God the hearts (Jeremiah 17:9-10). The thought that He tries them to refine them, which is suggested here by the parallelism, is elsewhere expressed clearly. (Psalm 66:10-12; Malachi 3:3-4; 1 Peter 1:7. Comp. Sir 2:5.)Verse 3. - The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold. The word matsreph, "fining pot," occurs also in Proverbs 27:21. It is not certain what is meant by it. There is no evidence that the Israelites were acquainted with the use of acids in the manipulation of impure or mixed metals; otherwise the "pot" and the "furnace" would represent the two usual modes of reduction; but it is most probable that both allude to the same method of smelting the ore in crucibles, for the purpose of separating the pure metal from the dross. That silver and gold were plentiful in Solomon's time is abundantly evident; indeed, the amount of the precious metals collected by David and his son is almost incredible (see 1 Chronicles 22:14; 1 Chronicles 29:2, etc., from which and similar passages it is inferred that the sums enumerated equalled more than nine hundred millions of pounds sterling). But the Lord trieth the hearts (Proverbs 15:11; Proverbs 24:12). That which fire does for the metals, the Lord does for men's hearts; he purifies them from dross, brings forth the good that is in them, purged from earthly infirmities. God's process is the application of sorrow, sickness, temptation, that, duly meeting these, the soul may emerge from the trial as pure gold, fit for the Master's use (comp. Jeremiah 12:3; Malachi 3:2; 1 Peter 1:7; Revelation 3:18).
He who biteth his lips bringeth evil to pass.
A physiognomical Caveto. The ἁπ. λεγ. עצה is connected with עצם, Isaiah 33:15 (Arab. transp. ghamḍ), comprimere, formed from it. Regarding קרץ of lips or eyes, vid., p. 144; the biting of the lips is the action of the deceitful, and denotes scorn, malice, knavery. The perf. denotes that he who is seen doing this has some evil as good as accomplished, for he is inwardly ready for it; Hitzig suitably compares 1 Samuel 20:7, 1 Samuel 20:33. Our editions (also Lwenstein) have כּלּה, but the Masora (vid., Mas. finalis, p. 1) numbers the word among those which terminate in א, and always writes כּלּא.
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