Proverbs 19:13
A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.
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(13) A continual dropping.—As of the rain leaking through the flat roof of an eastern house on a wet day. (Comp. 27:15.)

Proverbs 19:13. A foolish son, &c. — Two things make a man exceeding unhappy, a dissolute son, and a contentious wife: for the former is a perpetual grief to his father, to see him likely to prove the utter destruction of his family; and the quarrels of a wife spoil a man’s happiness, like perpetual droppings, which wear away what they fall upon.19:11. He attains the most true glory who endeavours most steadily to overcome evil with good. 12. Christ is a King, whose wrath against his enemies will be as the roaring of a lion, and his favour to his people as the refreshing dew. 13. It shows the vanity of the world, that we are liable to the greatest griefs where we promise ourselves the greatest comfort.Calamity - The Hebrew word is plural (as in Psalm 57:1; Psalm 91:3), and seems to express the multiplied and manifold sorrow caused by the foolish son.

Continual dropping - The irritating, unceasing, sound of the fall, drop after drop, of water through the chinks in the roof.

13. calamity—literally, "calamities," varied and many.

continual dropping—a perpetual annoyance, wearing out patience.

Are like rain continually dropping upon a house, which by degrees marreth the house and household stuff, and driveth the inhabitants out of it. He compareth her to a

continual dropping, because of that inseparable union and necessary cohabitation of husband and wife together, notwithstanding such contentions. A foolish son is the calamity of his father,.... Or, "the calamities of his father" (q); he brings them to him. A very great affliction he is, and which has many distresses and sorrows in it; as loss of reputation and credit in his family, which is sunk by his behaviour, instead of being supported and increased; loss of substance, through extravagance and riotous living, and the ruin of his soul and body by his wicked practices; see Proverbs 10:1;

and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping; or like the dropping of rain, in a rainy day, into a house out of repair, and which is very uncomfortable to, the inhabitants of it; see Proverbs 27:15. Such are the contentions of a peevish, ill natured, and brawling wife, who is always scolding; and which is a continual vexation to a man, and renders him very uneasy in life: such a continual dropping was Xantippe to Socrates, who teased him night and day with her brawls and contentions (r). A great unhappiness each of these must be!

(q) "calamitates", Vatablus; "aerumnae", Piscator, Michaelis; "causa aerumnarum", Junius & Tremellius. (r) A. Gell. Noct. Attic. l. 1. c. 17.

A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual {e} dropping.

(e) As rain that drops and rots the house.

13. continual] Lit. thrusting, where one drop follows so closely upon another as to thrust it forward. “In quo gutta guttam trudit,” Maur.; “Tecta jugiter perstillantia litigiosa mulier,” Vulg. Comp. Proverbs 27:15.Verse 13. - With the first clause we may compare Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 17:21, 25. Calamity in the Hebrew is in the plural number (contritiones, Pagn.), as if to mark the many and continued sorrows which a bad son brings upon his father, how he causes evil after evil to harass and distress him. The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping (comp. Proverbs 27:15). The flat roofs of Eastern houses, formed of planks loosely joined and covered with a coating of clay or plaster, were always subject to leakage in heavy rains. The irritating altercations and bickering of a cross-grained wife are compared to the continuous drip of water through an imperfectly constructed roof. Tecta jugiter perstillantia, as the Vulgate has it. The Scotch say, "A leaky house and a scolding wife are two bad companions." The two clauses of the verse are coordinate, expressing two facts that render home life miserable and unendurable, viz. the misbehaviour of a son and the ill temper of a wife. The Septuagint, following a different reading, has, "Nor are offerings from a harlot's hire pure," which is an allusion to Deuteronomy 23:18. 7ab. We thus first confine our attention to these two lines -

All the brethren of the poor hate him;

How much more do his friends withdraw themselves from him?

Regarding אף כּי, quanto magis, vid., at Proverbs 11:31; Proverbs 15:11; Proverbs 17:7. In a similar connection Proverbs 14:20 spake of hatred, i.e., the cooling of love, and the manifesting of this coldness. The brethren who thus show themselves here, unlike the friend who has become a brother, according to Proverbs 17:17, are brothers-german, including kindred by blood relation. כּל has Mercha, and is thus without the Makkeph, as at Psalm 35:10 (vid., the Masora in Baer's Liber Psalmorum, 1861, p. 133). Kimchi (Michlol 205a), Norzi, and others think that cāl (with קמץ רחב) is to be read as at Isaiah 40:12, where כּלו is a verb. But that is incorrect. The case is the same as with את, Proverbs 3:12; Psalm 47:5; Psalm 60:2. As here ě with Mercha remains, so ǒ with Mercha in that twice occurring כּלו; that which is exceptional is this, that the accentuated כל is written thus twice, not as the usual כּל, but as כּל with the Makkeph. The ground of the exception lies, as with other peculiarities, in the special character of metrical accentuation; the Mercha represents the place of the Makkeph, and ā thus remains in the unchanged force of a Kametz-Chatuph. The plur. רחקוּ does not stamp מרעהוּ as the defectively written plur.; the suffix ēhu is always sing., and the sing. is thus, like הרע, 6b, meant collectively, or better: generally (in the sense of kind), which is the linguistic usage of these two words, 1 Samuel 30:26; Job 42:10. But it is worthy of notice that the Masoretic form here is not מרעהוּ, but mמרעהוּ, with Sheva. The Masora adds to it the remark לית, and accordingly the word is thus written with Sheva by Kimchi (Michlol 202a and Lex. under the word רעה), in Codd., and older editions. The Venet., translating by ἀπὸ τοῦ φίλου αὐτοῦ, has not noticed that. But how? Does the punctuation מרעהו mean that the word is here to be derived from מרע, maleficus? Thus understood, it does not harmonize with the line of thought. From this it is much more seen that the punctuation of the inflected מרע, amicus, fluctuates. This word מרע is a formation so difficult of comprehension, that one might almost, with Olshausen, 210; Bttcher, 794; and Lagarde, regard the מ as the partitive מן, like the French des amis (cf. Eurip. Med. 560: πένητα φεύγει πᾶς τις ἐκποδὼν φίλος), or: something of friend, a piece of friend, while Ewald and others regard it as possible that מרע is abbreviated from מרעה. The punctuation, since it treats the Tsere in מרעהו, 4b

(Note: In vol. i. p. 266, we have acknowledged מרעהו, from מרע, friend, only for Proverbs 19:7, but at Proverbs 19:4 we have also found amicus ejus more probable than ab amico suo ( equals מן רעהו).) and elsewhere, as unchangeable, and here in מרעהו as changeable, affords proof that in it also the manner of the formation of the word was incomprehensible.

Seeking after words which are vain.

7c. If now this line belongs to this proverb, then מרדּף must be used of the poor, and לא־המּה, or לו־המּה (vid., regarding the 15 Kers, לּו for לא, at Psalm 100:3), must be the attributively nearer designation of the אמרים. The meaning of the Kerı̂ would be: he (the poor man) hunts after mere words, which - but no actions corresponding to them - are for a portion to him. This is doubtful, for the principal matter, that which is not a portion to him, remains unexpressed, and the לו־המּה eht [to him they belong] affords only the service of guarding one against understanding by the אמרים the proper words of the poor. This service is not in the same way afforded by לא המּה they are not; but this expression characterizes the words as vain, so that it is to be interpreted according to such parallels as Hosea 12:2 : words which are not, i.e., which have nothing in reality corresponding to them, verba nihili, i.e., the empty assurances and promises of his brethren and friends (Fl.). The old translators all

(Note: Lagarde erroneously calls Theodotion's ῥήσεις οὐκ αὐτῷ a translation of the Kerı̂; οὐκ is, however, לא, and instead of αὐτῷ the expression αὐτῶν, which is the translation of המה, is also found.)

read לא, and the Syr. and Targ. translate not badly: מלּוי לא שׁריר; Symmachus, ῥήσεσιν ἀνυπάρκτοις. The expression is not to be rejected: לא היה sometimes means to come to לא, i.e., to nothing, Job 6:21; Ezekiel 21:32, cf. Isaiah 15:6; and לא הוּא, he is not equals has no reality, Jeremiah 5:12, אמרים לא־המה, may thus mean words which are nothing (vain). But how can it be said of the poor whom everything forsakes, that one dismisses him with words behind which there is nothing, and now also that he pursues such words? The former supposes always a sympathy, though it be a feigned one, which is excluded by שׂנאהוּ [they hate him] and רחקוּ [withdraw themselves]; and the latter, spoken of the poor, would be unnatural, for his purposed endeavour goes not out after empty talk, but after real assistance. So 7c: pursuing after words which (are) nothing, although in itself not falling under critical suspicion, yet only of necessity is connected with this proverb regarding the poor. The lxx, however, has not merely one, but even four lines, and thus two proverbs following 7b. The former of these distichs is: Ἔννοια ἀγαθὴ τοῖς εἰδόσιν αὐτὴν ἐγγιεῖ, ἀνὴρ δὲ φρόνιμος εὑρήσει αὐτήν; it is translated from the Hebr. (ἔννοια ἀγαθή, Proverbs 5:2 equals מזמּות), but it has a meaning complete in itself, and thus has nothing to do with the fragment 7c. The second distich is: Ὁ πολλὰ κακοποιῶν τελεσιουργεῖ κακίαν, ὃ δὲ ἐρεθίζει λόγους οὐ σωθήσεται. This ὃς δὲ ἐρεθίζει λόγους is, without doubt, a translation of מרדף אמרים (7c); λόγους is probably a corruption of λόγοις (thus the Complut.), not, he who pursueth words, but he who incites by words, as Homer (Il. iv. 5f.) uses the expression ἐρεθιζέμεν ἐπέεσσι. The concluding words, οὐ σωθήσεται, are a repetition of the Heb. לא ימלט (cf. lxx 19:5 with 28:26), perhaps only a conjectural emendation of the unintelligible לא המה. Thus we have before us in that ὁ πολλὰ κακοποιῶν, κ.τ.λ., the line lost from the Heb. text; but it is difficult to restore it to the Heb. We have attempted it, vol. i, p. 15. Supposing that the lxx had before them לא המה, then the proverb is -

"He that hath many friends is rewarded with evil,

Hunting after words which are nothing;"

i.e., since this his courting the friendship of as many as possible is a hunting after words which have nothing after them and come to nothing.

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