Proverbs 17:9
He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates very friends.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) He that covereth a transgression seeketh lovei.e., one who does not notice, but rather conceals and excuses, anything done against him; that man “follows after charity” (1Corinthians 14:1). (Comp. Proverbs 10:12.)

He that repeateth a matter, who is always returning to old grievances, “alienates (even his) chief friend.”

Proverbs 17:9. He that covereth a transgression — That passes by and buries in oblivion a transgression that hath been committed against himself; or that concealeth, as far as he may, other men’s faults against their friends or neighbours; seeketh love — Takes the best course to preserve friendships and to make himself universally beloved; but he that repeateth a matter — Who rakes up that fault again, and objects it afresh when it was forgotten; or that publishes and spreads it abroad; separateth very friends — Breaks the strictest bonds of amity, and makes an irreconcileable separation.17:8. Those who set their hearts upon money, will do any thing for it. What influence should the gifts of God have on our hearts! 9. The way to preserve peace is to make the best of every thing; not to notice what has been said or done against ourselves. 10. A gentle reproof will enter, not only into the head, but into the heart of a wise man. 11. Satan, and the messengers of Satan, shall be let loose upon an evil man. 12. Let us watch over our own passions, and avoid the company of furious men. 13. To render evil for good is devilish. He that does so, brings a curse upon his family. 14. What danger there is in the beginning of strife! Resist its earliest display; and leave it off, if it were possible, before you begin. 15. It is an offence to God to acquit the guilty, or to condemn those who are not guilty. 16. Man's neglect of God's favour and his own interest is very absurd. 17. No change of outward circumstances should abate our affection for our friends or relatives. But no friend, except Christ, deserves unlimited confidence. In Him this text did receive, and still receives its most glorious fulfilment. 18. Let not any wrong their families. Yet Christ's becoming Surety for men, was a glorious display of Divine wisdom; for he was able to discharge the bond.Seeketh love - i. e., Takes the course which leads to his gaining it.

He that repeateth a matter - The warning is directed against that which leads a man to dwell with irritating iteration on a past offence instead of burying it in oblivion.

Separateth very friends - Better, alienateth his chief friend. The tale-bearer works injury to himself.

9. seeketh love—(Compare Margin). The contrast is between the peace-maker and tale-bearer. That covereth a transgression; that concealeth, as far as he may, other men’s faults against himself, or against their friends.

Seeketh, i.e. findeth or obtaineth, as this word is used here below, Proverbs 17:19 11:27.

Love; either

1. To himself. Or rather,

2. To the transgressor or offending friend; he maintains love among friends, as it may be explained from the opposite clause.

That repeateth; that publisheth and spreadeth it abroad; that recalls it to mind after it was past and forgotten.

A matter; or, the matter last mentioned, to wit, the transgression.

Separateth very friends; either,

1. He alienateth his friend from himself. Or rather,

2. He raiseth jealousies and dissensions among friends. This phrase we had before, Proverbs 16:28. He that covereth a transgression seeketh love,.... He that hides the transgression of another, or of his friend, committed against himself or against another, which he is privy to; but the matter being made up, and the offence forgiven, he forgets it, and no more speaks of it to his friend, or upbraids him with it, nor spreads it among others: such a man shows that he loves his friend, and is desirous that love and friendship should be continued; and this is the way to continue it; and a man that thus seeks it finds it. Or it may be rendered, "he covereth a transgression who seeketh love" (i); for "love covereth all things", Proverbs 10:12;

but he that repeateth a matter; the matter of the transgression, the thing that has given the offence; that rakes it up again, when it has been covered; upbraids his friend with it, when it has been passed over and forgiven; will frequently hit him on the teeth with it, and talk of it wherever he comes, and spread the knowledge of it in all places: he

separateth very friends; he sets the best of friends at variance one with another by such a practice; for this pursued, friendship cannot subsist long among men: he separates his best friend from himself, and himself from him. The word signifies a prince, leader, or governor; See Gill on Proverbs 16:28; and Jarchi interprets it thus;

"he separates from himself the Governor of the world, the holy blessed God.''

(i) So Cocceius.

He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very {d} friends.

(d) He that admonishes the prince of his fault makes him his enemy.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. repeateth] i.e. brings it up again and again, harpeth on it, as R.V. happily renders. Comp. Proverbs 26:11, “a fool repeateth his folly,” R.V.; “Heb. iterateth his folly,” A.V. marg.

very friends] Rather, chief friends, as the word is rendered, Proverbs 16:28.Verse 9. - He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; i.e. strives to exercise, put in practice, love (comp. Zephaniah 2:8; 1 Corinthians 14:4). Thus Nowack. One who bears patiently and silently, extenuates and conceals, something done or said against him, that man follows after charity, obeys the great law of love (comp. Proverbs 10:12). Some explain the clause to mean, "procures love for himself;" but the second member certainly is not personal, therefore it is more natural to take the first in a general sense. He that repeateth (harpeth on) a matter separateth very friends (Proverbs 16:28). He who is always dwelling on a grievance, returning to it and bringing it forward on every occasion, alienates the greatest friends, only embitters the injury and makes it chronic. Ecclus. 19:7, etc., "Rehearse not unto another that which is told unto thee, and thou shalt fare never the worse. Whether it be to friend or foe, talk not of other men's lives; and if thou canst without offence, reveal them not. For he heard and observed thee, and when time cometh he will hate thee. If thou hast heard a word, let it die with thee; and be bold, it will not burst thee." So the rabbis said: "Abstain from quarrels with thy neighbour; and if thou hast seen something bad of thy friend, let it not pass thy tongue as a slander" (Dukes, § 61). The Mosaic Law had led the way to this duty of forbearance: "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Leviticus 19:18). Septuagint, "He who concealeth injuries seeketh friendship; but he who hateth to conceal them separateth friends and households." 3 The fining-pot for silver, and the furnace for gold;

   And a trier of hearts is Jahve.

An emblematical proverb, which means that Jahve is for the heart what the smelting-pot (from צרף, to change, particularly to melt, to refine) is for silver, and what the smelting furnace (כוּר, from כּוּר, R. כר, to round, Exodus 22:20) is for gold, that Jahve is for the heart, viz., a trier (בחן, to grind, to try by grinding, here as at Psalm 7:10) of their nature and their contents, for which, of the proof of metals, is elsewhere (Proverbs 16:2; Proverbs 21:2; Proverbs 24:12) used the word (cf. בּחון, the essay-master, Jeremiah 6:7) תּכן, weigher, or דּורשׁ, searcher (1 Chronicles 28:9). Wherever the subject spoken of is God, the searcher of hearts, the plur. לבּות, once לבבות ecno ,, is used; the form לבבים occurs only in the status conjunctus with the suffix. In Proverbs 27:21 there follow the two figures, with which there is formed a priamel, as at Proverbs 26:3, another tertium comparationis.

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