It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
21:9. It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. 10. The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. 11. The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. 12. Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. 13. Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. 14. If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? 15. There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. 16. Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. 17. A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. 18. The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. 19. Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. 20. The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. 21. True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. 22. Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. 23. It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. 24. Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry. 25,26. Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. 27. When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. 28. The doom of a false witness is certain. 29. A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me? 30,31. Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Compare the marginal reference. Evil doers seem to draw down the wrath of God upon their heads, and so become, as it were, the scapegoats of the comparatively righteous.
19. (Compare Pr 21:9).
wilderness—pasture, though uninhabitable ground (Ps 65:12). Than,
understand, in a wide house
, as it is expressed above, Proverbs 21:9
, and as the opposition here requires.
It is better to dwell in the wilderness,.... Where persons live without shelter, and are not only exposed to storms and tempests, but to beasts of prey; where is want of the necessaries of life, and no society; where no "speech" is, as the word (e) for wilderness may signify; yet it is better to dwell in such a place, where no human voice is heard,
than with a contentious and an angry woman; that is always brawling and scolding, ever in a quarrelsome and angry disposition, and provoking to anger all about her; See Gill on Proverbs 21:9. In a mystical sense, it is better to be with the church in the wilderness, Revelation 12:14; than with the furious, bloodthirsty, and persecuting church of Rome, in all its worldly glory and splendour.
(e) "a" "loqui". It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19
] regarded, as the parallel requires, not as a barren
, but as a solitary
] Or, fretful
, R.V. text; or, a contentious woman and vexation
, R.V. marg. The LXX. introduce a third characteristic, chattering
- A variant of ver. 9. Here, instead of the "corner of the roof," we have a wilderness,
a desert land, as the refuge to which the persecuted man must flee. Than with a contentious and an angry
. So the Vulgate. But it seems better, with many modern commentators, to take וָכָעַם
, not as another epithet, but as equivalent to "and vexation," i.e.
a quarrelsome wife, and the vexation that accompanies such an infliction. The LXX. adds a word to the text, as being at the root of the matter, "Than with a quarrelsome, talkative
, and passionate woman."
13 He that stoppeth his ear at the cry of the poor
he also calls and is not heard.
Only the merciful find mercy, Matthew 5:7; the unmerciful rich man, who has no ear for the cry of the דל, i.e., of him who is without support and means of subsistence, thus of one who is needing support, will also remain unheard when he himself, in the time of need, calls upon God for help. Cf. the parable of the unmerciful servant of the merciful king, Matthew 18:23. מן in מזּעקת, as Isaiah 23:15; Genesis 4:13; Genesis 27:1; no preposition of our [German] language [nor English] expresses, as Fleischer here remarks, such a fulness of meaning as this מן does, to which, after a verb of shutting up such as אטם (cf. Proverbs 17:28), the Arab. 'n would correspond, e.g., â'my 'n âltryḳ: blind, so that he does not see the way.
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