The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The horse is prepared against the day of battle.—These had been imported largely from Egypt in Solomon’s time, though this was in direct contravention of the Law (1Kings 4:26, and Deuteronomy 17:16).Proverbs 21:31. The horse is prepared, &c. — Under which particular all warlike preparations are comprehended; but safety is of the Lord — The success of the battle depends not upon any human strength or art, but upon God’s providence, who gives the victory when and to whom he pleases, and frequently to those that have least reason to expect it. 1 Kings 4:26; 1 Kings 10:26-28, may be thought of as having given occasion to the latter of the two proverbs. The horse; under which particular all warlike provisions are comprehended.
Safety is of the Lord; the success of the battle depends not upon any human strength or art, but merely upon God’s providence, who gives the victory when and to whom he pleaseth, and ofttimes to those that have least reason to expect it. Compare Ecclesiastes 9:11.
but safety is of the Lord; a horse is a vain thing for safety, Psalm 33:17; victory is only of the Lord; salvation depends upon him; it is he that covers men's heads in the day of battle, and gives them victory over their enemies: or "salvation is of the Lord" (o); this is true of spiritual and eternal salvation, as well as of temporal salvation; it is of the Lord, Father, Son and Spirit; and so is the safety of the saints; and their final perseverance to eternal glory, which is owing to the love of God, covenant interest, security in Christ, the grace of the Spirit, and the power of God; see Hosea 14:3.The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)31. safety] Rather, victory (A.V. marg. R.V. text), or deliverance (R.V. marg.). “Two companion proverbs (Proverbs 21:30-31). Nothing avails against, nothing without, God.” (Speaker’s Comm.)Verse 31. - The horse is prepared against the clay of battle. The horse is an emblem of military power and activity. To the earlier Jews, who were unaccustomed to its use, and indeed forbidden to employ it (Deuteronomy 17:16), the horse and horse-drawn chariots were objects of extreme terror (Joshua 17:16; Judges 4:3), and though Solomon had largely imported them from Egypt (1 Kings 4:26; 1 Kings 10:26, etc.), these animals were used exclusively for war, and, at this time, their services were never applied to agricultural purposes. The proverb asserts that, though all preparations are made for the battle, and material forces are of the best and strongest description, but safety (victory) is of the Lord (see Psalm 20:7; Psalm 33:16, etc.). Septuagint, "But from the Lord is the help (ἡ βοήθεια)." The great truth here taught may be applied to spiritual matters. The only safety against spiritual enemies is the grace of God; we can cry, with St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:57), "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." "By the name 'horse,'" says St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 31:43), "is understood the preparation of right intention, as it is written, 'The horse is prepared,' etc.; because the mind prepares itself indeed against temptation, but contends not healthfully unless it be assisted from above."
For his hands refuse to be active.
The desire of the עצל, Hitzig remarks, goes out first after meat and drink; and when it takes this direction, as hunger, it kills him indeed. But in this case it is not the desire that kills him, but the impossibility of satisfying it. The meaning is simply: the inordinate desire after rest and pleasure kills the slothful; for this always seeking only enjoyment and idleness brings him at last to ruin. תּאוה means here, as in Kibroth ha-tava, Numbers 11:34, inordinate longing after enjoyments. The proverb is connected by almost all interpreters (also Ewald, Bertheau, Hitzig, Elster, Zckler) as a tetrastich with Proverbs 21:25 : he (the slothful) always eagerly desires, but the righteous giveth and spareth not. But (1) although צדּיק, since it designates one who is faithful to duty, might be used particularly of the industrious (cf. Proverbs 15:19), yet would there be wanting in 26a ואין, Proverbs 13:4, cf. Proverbs 20:4, necessary for the formation of the contrast; (2) this older Book of Proverbs consists of pure distichs; the only tristich, Proverbs 19:7, appears as the consequence of a mutilation from the lxx. Thus the pretended tetrastich before us is only apparently such.
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