Proverbs 21:20
There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spends it up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Proverbs 21:20. There is a treasure, &c., in the dwelling of the wise — Wise men lay up all necessary and desirable treasures for their own use and for their families. Oil is particularly mentioned, because it was a considerable part of their wealth and treasures in those countries; but a foolish man spendeth it — Or, as Houbigant renders the clause, A foolish man will dissipate these; or, as Schultens reads it, A foolish man, a man given to luxury and extravagance, absorbs it; “that is, all that desirable treasure and opulence which his wise and careful father had abundantly laid up.” 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.Spendeth it up - literally, swalloweth it. The wise man keeps a store in reserve. He gains uprightly, spends moderately, never exhausts himself. But the proverb may have also a higher application. The wise man stores up all "treasure to be desired" of wisdom, all "oil" of divine influence, which strengthens and refreshes, and so is ready at all times for the work to which the Master calls him. Compare Matthew 25:1-13. 20. The wise, by diligence and care, lay up and increase wealth, while fools

spend—literally, "swallow it up," greedily.

Wise men lay up all necessary and desirable treasures for their own use, and for their children and families.

Oil is particularly mentioned, partly because that was a considerable part of their wealth and treasures in those countries, of which see Deu 7:13 28:40,51 Jud 9:9 Micah 5:15, &c.; and partly to show that his providence reached not only to necessaries, but even to matters of just and lawful delight. There is a treasure to be desired,.... Gold, silver, jewels, and precious stones; all sorts food, as Aben Ezra explains it, and rich and costly, raiment; all which may be lawfully desired and sought after, and, when obtained, laid up for future use; which may be spared for their own service and that of posterity: but there are riches of grace, a pearl of great price and treasure in heaven, more desirable than these, Matthew 6:19;

and oil in the dwelling of the wise; which is particularly mentioned, because a principal blessing of the land of Canaan; much used for food, and was for delight and refreshment: and something of this was in the house of every wise, provident, and industrious man, for the use of him and his family; even though he lived but in a "cottage", as the word (f) signifies this is an emblem of the grace of God, which is sometimes compared to oil; which a wise man is chiefly concerned, that it may be in his heart, in his house, and in his family;

but a foolish man spendeth it up; the oil; he swallows it up at once, as soon as he has got it, and wastes and lavishes away what his wise father had provided for him. This may refer not to oil only, but to the desired treasure, wealth, riches, substance of every sort, he is heir to and becomes possessed of; and which, in a spiritual sense, may be applied to a foolish wicked man, who misspends his time, neglects the means of grace, and all opportunities by which men grow rich and wise in spiritual things; see Matthew 25:1.

(f) "tuguirolum", Mercerus, Gejerus.

There is a treasure to be desired and {i} oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.

(i) Meaning, abundance of all things.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. spendeth] Lit. swalloweth, R.V. So LXX. καταπίονται; but Vulg. dissipabit.Verse 20. - There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise. Precious treasure and store of provision and rich unguents (ver. 17) are collected in the house of the wise man, by which he may fare sumptuously, exercise hospitality, and lay up for the future (comp. Proverbs 24:4). But a foolish man spendeth it up. "A fool of a man" (Proverbs 15:20) soon swallows, runs through and exhausts, all that has been accumulated (ver. 17). Septuagint, "A desirable ἐπιθυμητὸς treasure will rest on the mouth of the wise, but foolish men will swallow it up." It is obvious to apply the maxim to spiritual things, seeing in it the truth that the really wise man stores up treasures of Divine love and the oil of God's grace, while the foolish man wastes his opportunities, squanders his powers, and drives the Holy Spirit from him. 14 A gift in secret turneth away anger;

     And a bribe into the bosom violent wrath.

Hitzig reads with Symmachus, the Targ., and Jerome, יכבּה, and translates: "extinguishes anger;" but it does not follow that they did read יכבה; for the Talm. Heb. כּפה signifies to cover by turning over, e.g., of a vessel, Sanhedrin 77a, which, when it is done to a candle or a fire, may mean its extinction. But כפה of the post-bibl. Heb. also means to bend, and thence to force out (Aram. כּפא, כּפי), according to which Kimchi hesitates whether to explain: overturns equals smothers, or: bends equals forces down anger. The Venet. follows the latter signification: κάμψει (for Villoison's καλύψει rests on a false reading of the MS). But there is yet possible another derivation from the primary signification, curvare, flectere, vertere, according to which the lxx translates ἀνατρέπει, for which ἀποτρέπει would be yet better: כפה, to bend away, to turn off, ἀρκεῖν, arcere, altogether like the Arab. (compared by Schultens) kfâ, and kfy, ἀρκεῖν, to prevent, whence, e.g., ikfı̂ni hada: hold that away from me, or: spare me that (Fleischer); with the words hafı̂ka sharran (Lat. defendaris semper a malo) princes were anciently saluted; kfy signifies "to suffice," because enough is there, where there is a keeping off of want. Accordingly we translate: Donum clam acceptum avertit iram, which also the Syr. meant by mephadka (מפרק). This verb is naturally to be supplied to 14b, which the lxx has recognised (it translates: but he who spares gifts, excites violent anger). Regarding שׂחד, vid., at Proverbs 17:8; and regarding בּחק, at Proverbs 17:23. Also here חק (חיק equals חיק), like Arab. jayb, 'ubb, חב, denotes the bosom of the garment; on the contrary (Arab.) hijr, hiḍn, חצן, is more used of that of the body, or that formed by the drawing together of the body (e.g., of the arm in carrying a child). A present is meant which one brings with him concealed in his bosom; perhaps 13b called to mind the judge that took gifts, Exodus 23:8 (Hitzig).

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