Proverbs 21:9
It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
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(9) It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop.—Though there exposed to all the storms of heaven. The flat tops of houses were, in the East, used for exercise (2Samuel 11:2), sleeping, (1Samuel 9:26), devotion (Acts 10:9), and various domestic purposes (Joshua 2:6).

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.A wide house - literally, "a house of companionship," i. e., a house shared with her. The flat roof of an Eastern house was often used for retirement by day, or in summer for sleep by night. The corner of such a roof was exposed to all changes of weather, and the point of the proverb lies in the thought that all winds and storms which a man might meet with there are more endurable than the tempest within. 9. corner—a turret or arbor on the roof.

brawling—or contentious.

wide house—literally, "house of fellowship," large enough for several families.

To dwell, to wit, alone in quietness, as appears from the opposite clause.

Of the house-top; of the roof of the house, which in those countries was flat and plain, and habitable, but was exposed to all the injuries of the weather. In a

wide house; or, in a common house; or, a house of society, where husband and wife live together, or which is capable of many friends or companies.

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop,.... The roofs of houses in Judea were that, encompassed with battlements, whither persons might retire for solitude, and sit in safety: and it is better to be in a corner of such a roof alone, and be exposed to scorching heat, to blustering winds, to thunder storms and showers of rain,

than with a brawling woman in a wide house; large and spacious, full of rooms, fit for a numerous family: or, "an house of society" (u); where many families might dwell and live sociably with each other; or a house where a man, his wife and family, might dwell together, and have communion with each other; it is opposed to the corner of the housetop, and the solitariness of it; as the scolding of the brawling woman, or "a woman of contentions" (w), who is always noisy and quarrelsome, her violent passions, her storming language, and thundering voice, are to the inclemencies of the heavens, to which a man on the housetop is exposed; and yet these are more eligible than the other; see Proverbs 21:19.

(u) "domo societatis", Montanus, Vatablus, Baynus, Mercerus, Michaelis, "et domus societatis", Schultens. (w) "prae muliere contentionum", Montanus, Schultens.

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
9. in a corner of the housetop] The LXX. render ἐπὶ γωνίας ὑπαίθρου, with no better hiding-place from the storms of heaven than the narrow corner in which the parapet walls of the flat roof meet (Deuteronomy 22:8).

a wide house] Lit. a house of society. This may mean, a house shared in common with her, R.V. marg., but it is better to understand it of a house large enough for the society of many people assembling there. Comp. Acts 12:12.

Verse 9. - It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop. One is to think of the flat roof of an Eastern house, which was used as an apartment for many purposes: e,g. for sleeping and conference (1 Samuel 9:25, 26), for exercise (2 Samuel 11:2), for domestic matters (Joshua 2:6), for retirement and prayer (Psalm 102:7; Acts 10:9). This, though exposed to the inclemency of the weather, would be not an uncomfortable situation during a great part of the year. But the proverb implies a position abnormally inconvenient as an alternative preferable to a residence inside. Hence, perhaps, it is advisable to render, with Delitzsch, "Better to sit on the pinhole of a house roof." Septuagint, "It is better to dwell in a corner of a place open to the sky (ὑπαίθρου)." Than with a brawling (contentious) woman in a wide house; literally, a house of society; i.e. a house in common (comp. ver. 19 and Proverbs 25:24). A solitary corner, replete with inconveniences, is to be preferred to house shared with woman, wife or other female relation, of a quarrelsome and vexatious temper. The LXX. puts the matter forcibly, "than in cieled rooms with unrighteousness and in a common house." So the Latin proverb, "Non quam late, sed quam laete habites, refert." The Scotch have a proverb to the same effect: "A house wi' a reek and a wife wi' a reerd (scold) will sune mak' a man run to the door." "I had rather dwell," says the Son of Sirach (Ecclus. 25:16), "with a lion and a dragon, than to keep house with a wicked woman." Proverbs 21:9The group now following extends to Proverbs 21:18, where a new one begins with a variation of its initial verse.

9 Better to sit on the pinnacle of a house-roof,

   Than a contentious wife and a house in common.

We have neither to supplement the second line: than with a contentious wife... (Symmachus, Theodotion, Jerome, Luther), nor: than that one have a contentious...; but the meaning is, that sitting on the roof-top better befits one, does better than a quarrelsome wife and a common house (rightly the Targ. and Venet.), i.e., in a common house; for the connecting together of the wife and the house by vav is a Semitic hendiadys, a juxtaposition of two ideas which our language would place in a relation of subordination (Fleischer). This hendiadys would, indeed, be scarcely possible if the idea of the married wife were attached to אושׁת; for that such an one has with her husband a "house of companionship, i.e., a common house," is self-evident. But may it not with equal right be understood of the imperious positive mother-in-law of a widower, a splenetic shrewish aunt, a sickly female neighbour disputing with all the world, and the like? A man must live together with his wife in so far as he does not divorce her; he must then escape from her; but a man may also be constrained by circumstances to live in a house with a quarrelsome mother-in-law, and such an one may, even during the life of his wife, and in spite of her affection, make his life so bitter that he would rather, in order that he might have rest, sit on the pinnacle or ridge of a house-roof. פּנּהּ is the battlement (Zephaniah 1:16) of the roof, the edge of the roof, or its summit; he who sits there does so not without danger, and is exposed to the storm, but that in contrast with the alternative is even to be preferred; he sits alone. Regarding the Chethı̂b מדינים, Kerı̂ מדינים, vid., at Proverbs 6:14; and cf. the figures of the "continual dropping" for the continual scolding of such a wife, embittering the life of her husband, Proverbs 19:13.

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