Proverbs 25:8
Go not forth hastily to strive, lest you know not what to do in the end thereof, when your neighbor has put you to shame.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) When thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.—Proved thee to be in the wrong, and won his cause against thee.

Proverbs 25:8-10. Go not forth hastily to strive — To contend with thy neighbour judicially or otherwise; especially take some time to consider both whether thy cause be good, and whether it be important, as also how to manage it, before thou bring an action at law against him; reflect on the certainty of the expense and the uncertainty of the success, and how much care and vexation it will occasion; lest thou know not what to do, &c. — Lest, in the conclusion, thou wish the matter had not been begun, when he puts thee to open shame, by showing thou hast sued him wrongfully, or for a trifle. Debate thy cause with thy neighbour — If thou hast any quarrel with him, first try to compose it by private discourse with him. And discover not a secret — Any secret; to another — Let no heat of contention provoke thee to divulge any of his secret counsels committed to thy trust, or to reproach him with any of his secret faults, as is usual in law- suits and other contentions. Or the words may be rendered, Discover not the secret; namely, the secret difference between thee and him; let it be ended secretly between you, and not be imparted to any other. Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame — Reproach thee for thy gross violation of the laws of prudence, justice, charity, and friendship therein; and thy infamy turn not away — And that disgrace, which thou didst design against another, fall and be fastened upon thyself.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 general meaning is: It is dangerous to plunge into litigation. At all times, there is the risk of failure, and, if we fail, of being at the mercy of an irritated adversary. Without the italics, the clause may be rendered, "lest thou do something (i. e., something humiliating and vexatious) at the end thereof." 8. (Compare Pr 3:30).

lest … shame—lest you do what you ought not, when shamed by defeat, or "lest thou art shut out from doing any thing."

Go not forth hastily, without necessary cause and due consideration, to strive, either judicially or otherwise.

Put thee to shame, for thy folly in undertaking what thou wast not able to accomplish, and for thy injustice in charging him wrongfully. Go not forth hastily to strive,.... To go to law with a neighbour; think well of it beforehand; consider the nature of the cause, whether right or wrong; or whether it is a matter of such moment as to go to law about; whether it will not be deemed a frivolous and vexatious suit; whether able to bear the expenses of it, and what may probably be the success of it;

lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof; for a livelihood, having spent all thy substance in the lawsuit, and so reduced to poverty as not to know how to live, or how and where to show thy face, through the disgrace that shall fall upon time by losing the cause;

when that neighbour hath put thee to shame; in open court, and proved himself to be in the right, and that thou art in the wrong; himself an honest man, and thee a litigious person.

Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. thou know not] These words are also inserted in R.V. text, with the alternative in the margin, Lest it be said in the end thereof, What wilt thou do? when &c. The Heb. as it stands is forcible in its abruptness: Lest—what wilt thou do in the end thereof? &c.

8–10. The admonition in these verses is general: Be not of a contentious spirit; plunge not hastily into quarrels (comp. the use of the same word “strive,” Genesis 26:20; Exodus 21:18; Deuteronomy 33:8). But there is a special and perhaps primary reference to going to law (obs. thy cause, Proverbs 25:9, the same Heb. word as in Exodus 23:2-3). The passage will then nearly resemble our Lord’s teaching: so far from “going forth hastily to strive,” “agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him”; show a placable disposition, and instead of seeking the publicity of the law-court, “debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself.” And do this from a consideration of what litigation persisted in may involve: lest thou know not what to do,” &c.; “lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge,” &c. Matthew 5:25-26.Verse 8. - A tristich with no parallelism. Go not forth hastily to strive. The idea is either of one entering into litigation with undue haste, or of one hurrying to meet an adversary. St. Jerome, taking in the final words of the previous verse, renders, Quae viderunt oculi tui, ne proferas in jurgio cito, "What thine eyes have seen reveal not hastily in a quarrel." This is like Ver. 9 below, and Christ's injunction, "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone" (Matthew 18:15). Lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof. The Hebrew is elliptical, "Lest by chance (פֶן) thou do something (bad, humiliating) in the end thereof." But Delitzsch, Nowack, and others consider the sentence as interrogative (as 1 Samuel 20:19), and translate, "That it may not be said in the end thereof, What wilt thou do?" Either way, the warning comes to this - Do not enter hastily upon strife of any kind, lest thou be utterly at a loss what to do. When thy neighbour hath put thee to shame, by putting thee in the wrong, gaining his cause, or getting the victory over thee in some way. Septuagint, "Fall not quickly into a contest, lest thou repent at the last." There is an English proverb, "Anger begins with folly and ends with repentance;" and "Haste is the beginning of wrath, its end is repentance." It is characteristic of the purpose of the book that it begins with proverbs of the king:

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing;

And the glory of the king to search out a matter.

That which is the glory of God and the glory of the king in itself, and that by which they acquire glory, stand here contrasted. The glory of God consists in this, to conceal a matter, i.e., to place before men mystery upon mystery, in which they become conscious of the limitation and insufficiency of their knowledge, so that they are constrained to acknowledge, Deuteronomy 29:28, that "secret things belong unto the Lord our God." There are many things that are hidden and are known only to God, and we must be contented with that which He sees it good to make known to us.

(Note: Cf. von Lasaulx, Philosophie der Geschichte, p. 128f.: "God and Nature love to conceal the beginning of things.")

The honour of kings, on the contrary, who as pilots have to steer the ship of the state (Proverbs 11:14), and as supreme judges to administer justice (1 Kings 3:9), consists in this, to search out a matter, i.e., to place in the light things that are problematical and subjects of controversy, in conformity with their high position, with surpassing intelligence, and, in conformity with their responsibility, with conscientious zeal. The thought that it is the glory of God to veil Himself in secrecy (Isaiah 55:1-13 :15; cf. 1 Kings 8:12), and of the king, on the contrary, not to surround himself with an impenetrable nimbus, and to withdraw into inaccessible remoteness - this thought does not, immediately at least, lie in the proverb, which refers that which is concealed, and its contrary, not to the person, but to a matter. Also that God, by the concealment of certain things, seeks to excite to activity human research, is not said in this proverb; for 2b does not speak of the honour of wise men, but of kings; the searching out, 2b, thus does not refer to that which is veiled by God. But since the honour of God at the same time as the welfare of men, and the honour of the king as well as the welfare of his people, is to be thought of, the proverb states that God and the king promote human welfare in very different ways - God, by concealing that which sets limits to the knowledge of man, that he may not be uplifted; and the king, by research, which brings out the true state of the matter, and thereby guards the political and social condition against threatening danger, secret injuries, and the ban of offences unatoned for. This proverb, regarding the difference between that which constitutes the honour of God and of the king, is followed by one which refers to that in which the honour of both is alike.

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