Proverbs 25:14
Whoever boasts himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.
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(14) Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift—i.e., talks loudly of what he is going to do for another, and then does nothing.

Clouds and wind.—Generally followed by heavy rain, (Comp. 1Kings 18:45.)

Proverbs 25:14. Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift — Falsely pretends that he hath given, or will give, a valuable gift; or who raises high expectations by promising much, and then deceives them by performing little or nothing; is like clouds and wind without rain — Is like empty clouds carried about with wind, and not affording that rain which by their appearance they promise.25:1-3 God needs not search into any thing; nothing can be hid from him. But it is the honour of rulers to search out matters, to bring to light hidden works of darkness. 4,5. For a prince to suppress vice, and reform his people, is the best way to support his government. 6,7. Religion teaches us humility and self-denial. He who has seen the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus, will feel his own unworthiness. 8-10. To be hasty in beginning strife, will bring into difficulties. War must at length end, and might better be prevented. It is so in private quarrels; do all thou canst to settle the matter. 11,12. A word of counsel, or reproof, rightly spoken, is especially beautiful, as fine fruit becomes still more beautiful in silver baskets. 13. See what ought to be the aim of him that is trusted with any business; to be faithful. A faithful minister, Christ's messenger, should be thus acceptable to us. 14. He who pretends to have received or given that which he never had, is like the morning cloud, that disappoints those who look for rain. 15. Be patient to bear a present hurt. Be mild to speak without passion; for persuasive language is the most effectual to prevail over the hardened mind. 16. God has given us leave to use grateful things, but we are cautioned against excess.The disappointment caused by him who promises much and performs little or nothing, is likened to the phenomena of an eastern climate; the drought of summer, the eager expectation of men who watch the rising clouds and the freshening breeze, the bitter disappointment when the breeze dies off, and the clouds pass away, and the wished for rain does not come. 14. clouds—literally, "vapors" (Jer 10:13), clouds only in appearance.

a false gift—promised, but not given.

Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift, pretending that he hath given, or promising that he will give, a man those gifts, which he neither hath given, nor intendeth to give him,

is like clouds and wind without rain; like empty clouds carried about with wind, and not affording that rain which by their appearance they promise. Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift,.... Of his charity and alms deeds; bragging of great things he does this way, when he does nothing; or who is very vain in making large promises of what he will give, when he does not perform; either not having it in his heart, or in the power of his hands, to give what he promises; Satan like, who offered to give all the kingdoms of this world to Christ, if he would worship him, when nothing of it belonged unto him, or was in his power to give: and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "a glorious man"; that is, a vainglorious man, and "not fulfilling promises". It may very well be applied to false teachers, who boast of their gifts and spiritual knowledge, when they have none; speaking great swelling words of vanity, when they are empty of all that is good, and are as follow:

is like like clouds and wind without rain; which make a show and appearance of rain, promise much, but produce none; see 2 Peter 2:17, Jde 1:12.

Whoever boasteth himself of a false gift is like {k} clouds and wind without rain.

(k) Which have an outward appearance, and are nothing within.

14. Lit.,

Clouds and wind and no rain;

A man who boasts himself of a gift of falsehood.

The rising wind and gathering clouds (1 Kings 18:45) which, un-accompanied by rain, disappoint the expectation of the thirsty earth are an apt emblem of a man who promises much and performs nothing.

The Vulg. is true to the original, and forcible:

Nubes et ventus et pluviae non sequentes,

Vir gloriosus et promissa non complens.Verse 14. - The Hebrew is, Clouds and wind without rain - he that boasteth himself in a gift of falsehood (see on Ver. 11). The proverb is concerned with promises disappointed. Clouds and wind are generally in the East the precursors of heavy rain, as we read in 1 Kings 18:45, "In a little while the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain." After such phenomena, which, according to current meteorological observation, gave every hope of a refreshing shower in the time of summer drought, to see the clouds pass away without affording a single drop of rain is a grievous disappointment. The metaphor is found in the New Testament. St. Jude (Ver. 12) calls false teachers "clouds without water, carried along by winds." "A gift of falsehood," equivalent to "a false gift," one that deceives, because it is only promised and never given. A man makes a great parade of going to bestow a handsome present, and then sneaks out of it, and gives nothing. Such a one is, as St. Jerome renders, Vir gloriosus, et promissa non complens. The old commentators quote Ovid, 'Heroid.,' 6:509 -

"Mobilis AEsonide, vernaque incertior aura,
Cur tua pollicito pondere verba carent?"
Deeds are fruits, says the proverb, "words are but leaves;" and "Vainglory blossoms, but never bears fruit." Concerning the folly of making stupid boasts, the Bengalee proverb speaks of a pedlar in ginger getting tidings of his ship. The Septuagint is incorrect, "As winds, and clouds, and rains are most evident (ἐπιφανέστατα), so is he who boasts of a false gift." 8 Go not forth hastily to strife,

   That it may not be said, "What wilt thou do in the end thereof,

   When now thy neighbour bringeth disgrace upon thee?"

9 Art thou striving with thy neighbour? strive with him,

   But disclose not the secret of another;

10 That he who heareth it may not despise thee,

   And thine evil name depart no more.

Whether ריב in לריב is infin., as at Judges 21:22, or subst., as at 2 Chronicles 19:8, is not decided: ad litigandum and ad litem harmonize. As little may it be said whether in אל־תּצא [go not forth], a going out to the gate (court of justice), or to the place where he is to be met who is to be called to account, is to be thought of; in no respect is the sense metaphorical: let not thyself transgress the bounds of moderation, ne te laisse pas emporter; יצא לרב is correlate to בּוא לרוב, Judges 21:22. The use of פּן in 8b is unprecedented. Euchel and Lwenstein regard it as an imper.: reflect upon it (test it); but פּנה does not signify this, and the interjectional הס does not show the possibility of an imper. Kal פּן, and certainly not פּן (פּן). The conj. פּן is the connecting form of an original subst. ( equals panj), which signifies a turning away. It is mostly connected with the future, according to which Nolde, Oetinger, Ewald, and Bertheau explain מה indefinite, something, viz., unbecoming. In itself, it may, perhaps, be possible that פן מה was used in the sense of ne quid (Venet. μήποτέ τι); but "to do something," for "to commit something bad," is improbable; also in that case we would expect the words to be thus: פן תעשׂה מה. Thus מה will be an interrogative, as at 1 Samuel 20:10 (vid., Keil), and the expression is brachyogical: that thou comest not into the situation not to know what thou oughtest to do (Rashi: פן תבא לידי לא תדע הם לעשׂות), or much rather anakoluth.; for instead of saying פּן־לא תדע מה־לּעשׂות, the poet, shunning this unusual פן לא, adopts at once the interrogative form: that it may not be said at the end thereof (viz., of the strife); what wilt thou do? (Umbreit, Stier, Elster, Hitzig, and Zckler). This extreme perplexity would occur if thy neighbour (with whom thou disputest so eagerly and unjustly) put thee to shame, so that thou standest confounded (כלם, properly to hurt, French blesser). If now the summons 9a follows this warning against going out for the purpose of strife: fight out thy conflict with thy neighbour, then ריבך, set forth with emphasis, denotes not such a strife as one is surprised into, but that into which one is drawn, and the tuam in causam tuam is accented in so far as 9b localizes the strife to the personal relation of the two, and warns against the drawing in of an אחר, i.e., in this case, of a third person: and expose not the secret of another אל־תּגל (after Michlol 130a, and Ben-Bileam, who places the word under the 'פ'פתחין בס, is vocalized with Pathach on ג, as is Cod. 1294, and elsewhere in correct texts). One ought not to bring forward in a dispute, as material of proof and means of acquittal, secrets entrusted to him by another, or secrets which one knows regarding the position and conduct of another; for such faithlessness and gossiping affix a stigma on him who avails himself of them, in the public estimation, Proverbs 25:10; that he who hears it may not blame thee (חסּד equals Aram. חסּד, vid., under Proverbs 14:34), and the evil report concerning thee continue without recall. Fleischer: ne infamia tua non recedat i.e., nunquam desinat per ora hominum propagari, with the remark, "in דבּה, which properly means in stealthy creeping on of the rumour, and in שׁוּב lies a (Arab.) tarshyḥ," i.e., the two ideas stand in an interchangeable relation with a play upon the words: the evil rumour, once put in circulation, will not again retrace its steps; but, on the contrary, as Virgil says:

Mobilitate viget viresque acquirit eundo.

In fact, every other can sooner rehabilitate himself in the public estimation that he who is regarded as a prattler, who can keep no secret, or as one so devoid of character that he makes public what he ought to keep silent, if he can make any use of it in his own interest. In regard to such an one, the words are continually applicable, hic niger est, hunc tu, Romane, caveto, Proverbs 20:19. The lxx has, instead of ודבתך 10b, read ומריבתך, and translated it with the addition of a long appendix: "They quarrel, and hostilities will not cease, but will be to thee like death. Kindness and friendship deliver, let these preserve thee, that thou mayest not become one meriting reproaches (Jerome: ne exprobrabilis fias), but guard thy ways, εὐσυναλλάκτως."

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