Many will entreat the favor of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that gives gifts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 19:6-7. Many will entreat the favour of the prince — Or, of the liberal, or bountiful man, as נדיבmay be properly rendered. Kings and princes were anciently called benefactors, Luke 22:25. And every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts — Not sincerely, however, as daily experience shows, but only in show, or profession, or in the outward expressions of friendship and kindness. All the brethren of the poor — His nearest and dearest relations, who are often called brethren in the Scriptures; do hate him — Despise and shun him, as men do a thing that they hate, and as the following words explain it; How much more do his friends go far from him — His other friends, who are no way related to him, but in his prosperity professed love and friendship to him. He pursueth them with words — Earnestly imploring their pity and help. Or, He urgeth their words, as מרדŠ אמריםmay be rendered; that is, he allegeth their former promises and professions of friendship: or, He seeketh words, (as the preacher sought to find out acceptable words, Ecclesiastes 12:10,) wherewith he might prevail and move them to pity; yet they are wanting to him — Hebrew, לא המה, not they, or, they not. The meaning is, they are not what they pretended to be, namely, friends to him: or, their words are vain, and without effect; there is no reality in them. Houbigant renders the verse, “All his own brethren hate a poor man; how much more his neighbours! They have departed far from him; he followeth after them, but they are not found.”Of the prince; or, as others, of the liberal or bountiful man; which comes to the same thing, for kings were anciently called benefactors, Luke 22:25.
A friend; not sincerely, as daily experience shows, but in show or profession, or in the outward expressions of it, whereby they may oblige him. Luke 22:25; such have many to wait upon them, and are humble petitioners to them. Aben Ezra and Gersom interpret the many of great and honourable men, who are courtiers to kings and princes; who wait upon them, ask favours of them, and seek for places under them. The Targum is,
"there are many that minister before a prince;''
he has many servants, and some of them nobles;
and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts; or "to a man of gift" (k): who has it in his power to give, and has a heart to it; who is both a rich man and a liberal man; who is both able and willing to communicate to the necessities of others: such a man not only has the poor his friends, but others will speak well of him, and will make application to him on account of the poor; and, for the sake of doing good to them, will court his friendship and acquaintance. Bayne interprets this "man of gift" of Christ, who ascended on high, and received gifts for men, and gives them to men.Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. prince] It is better to preserve the parallelism, and to render the Heb. word in its primary sense of princely disposition, the liberal man, R.V. text, than with A.V. and R.V. marg., of princely rank. The same word is rendered liberal, Isaiah 32:5; Isaiah 32:8. Comp. Keble’s version of it in Psalm 51:12 (Sixth Sun. after Trinity):
“The princely heart of innocence.”Verse 6. - Many will intreat the favour of the prince; Literally, will stroke the face of the prince, of the liberal and powerful man, in expectation of receiving some benefit from him (Proverbs 29:26; Job 11:19). Every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts (see on Proverbs 17:8). The LXX., reading כָל־הְרֵעַ for בָל־הָּרֵעַ, renders, "Every bad man is a reproach to a man," which may mean that a sordid, evil man brings only disgrace on himself; or that, while many truckle to and try to win the interest of a prince, bad courtiers bring on him not glory, but infamy and shame.
But there is a friend more faithful than a brother.
Jerome translates the commencing word by vir, but the Syr., Targ. by אית, which is adopted by Hitzig, Bttcher, and others. But will a German poet use in one line "itzt" [same as jetzt equals now], and in the next "jetzt"? and could the Hebrew poet prefer to ישׁ its rarer, and her especially not altogether unambiguous form אישׁ (cf. to the contrary, Ecclesiastes 7:15)? We write אישׁ, because the Masora comprehends this passage, with 2 Samuel 14:19; Micah 6:10, as the סבירין ישׁ 'ג, i.e., as the three, where one ought to expect ישׁ, and is thus exposed to the danger of falling into error in writing and reading; but erroneously אשׁ is found in all these three places in the Masora magna of the Venetian Bible of 1526; elsewhere the Masora has the defectiva scriptio with like meaning only in those two other passages. While אישׁ equals ישׁ, or properly ישׁ, with equal possibility of אשׁ,
(Note: One sees from this interchange how softly the י was uttered; cf. Wellhausen's Text der B. Samuel (1871) (Preface). Kimchi remarks that we say אקטל for אקטל, because we would otherwise confound it with יקטל.)
and it makes no material difference in the meaning of 24a whether we explain: there are friends who serve to bring one to loss: or a man of many friends comes to loss, - the inf. with ל is used in substantival clauses as the expression of the most manifold relations, Gesen. 132, Anm. 1((cf. at Habakkuk 1:17), here in both cases it denotes the end, as e.g., Psalm 92:8, to which it hastens with many friends, or with the man of many friends. It is true that אישׁ (like בּעל) is almost always connected only with genitives of things; but as one says אישׁ אלהים: a man belongs to God, so may one also say אישׁ רעים: a man belongs to many friends; the common language of the people may thus have named a man, to whom, because he has no definite and decided character, the rule that one knows a man by his friends is not applicable, a so-called every-man's-friend, or all-the-world's-friend. Theodotion translates ἀνὴρ ἑταιριῶν τοῦ ἑταιρεύσασθαι; and thus also the Syr., Targ., and Jerome render (and among the moderns, Hitzig) התרעע as reflexive in the sense of to cherish social intercourse; but this reflexive is התרעה, Proverbs 22:24. That התרועע is either Hithpa. of רוּע, to exult, Psalm 60:10; Psalm 65:14, according to which the Venet. translates (contrary to Kimchi) ὥστε ἀλαλάζειν: such an one can exult, but which is not true, since, according to 24b, a true friend outweighs the many; or it is Hithpa. of רעע, to be wicked, sinful (Fl.: sibi perniciem paraturus est); or, which we prefer, warranted by Isaiah 24:19, of רעע, to become brittle (Bttcher and others) - which not only gives a good sense, but also a similar alliteration with רעים, as Proverbs 3:29; Proverbs 13:20. In contradistinction to רע, which is a general, and, according to the usage of the language (e.g., 17b), a familiar idea, the true friend is called, in the antithetical parallel member, אהב (Proverbs 27:6); and after Proverbs 17:17, דּבק מאח, one who remains true in misfortune. To have such an one is better than to have many of the so-called friends; and, as appears from the contrast, to him who is so fortunate as to have one such friend, there comes a blessing and safety. Immanuel has given the right explanation: "A man who sets himself to gain many friends comes finally to be a loser (סופו להשּׁבר), for he squanders his means, and is impoverished in favour of others." And Schultens: At est amicus agglutinatus prae fratre. Rarum et carum esse genus insinuatur, ac proinde intimam illam amicitiam, quae conglutinet compingatque corda, non per multos spargendam, sed circumspecte et ferme cum uno tantum ineundam. Thus closes this group of proverbs with the praise of friendship deepened into spiritual brotherhood, as the preceding, Proverbs 18:19, with a warning against the destruction of such a relation by a breach of trust not to be made good again.
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