Debate your cause with your neighbor himself; and discover not a secret to another:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Debate thy cause with thy neighbour.—As our Lord says, “If thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (Matthew 18:15). Or it may mean, “If you must go to law with another, do not drag others into the matter by disclosing their secrets in order to help your cause.Matthew 18:15, but with a difference. Here the motive is prudential, the risk of shame, the fear of the irretrievable infamy of the betrayer of secrets. In the teaching of Christ the precept rests upon the divine authority and the perfect example.
secret—that is, of your opponent, for his disadvantage, and so you be disgraced, not having discussed your difficulties with him.Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; if thou hast any quarrel with him, first try to compose it by private discourse with him. Compare Matthew 5:25 18:15 Luke 12:58.
Discover not a secret; any secret. 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 lawsuits and other contentions. Or, the secret; any secret difference between thee and him, which therefore is fittest to be ended secretly between you, and not to be imparted to any other. Matthew 5:25;
and discover not a secret to another; if the thing in controversy is a secret, do not acquaint another person with it; keep it among yourselves, if the affair can be made up without bringing it into a court of judicature; besides, by communicating it to others, you may have bad counsel given, and be led to take indirect methods: or, "the secret of another", or, "another secret do not discover" (b); if you know anything scandalous and reproachful of your neighbour and his family, you are contending with, which does not concern the cause in hand, do not divulge it, as persons from a spirit of revenge are apt to do, when they are quarrelling or litigating a point with each other.
(b) "secretum alterius", Pagninus, Montanus; "arcanum alterius", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Michaelis, Schultens, so Cocceius, Gejerus; "arcanum aliud", Munster; "alienum", Syriac version.Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. a secret to] Rather, the secret of, A.V. marg. and R.V.
The warning would seem to be against being betrayed by a litigious spirit into dishonourable conduct, and incurring the indelible shame of betraying confidence through eagerness to win your suit.Verses 9, 10. - A tetrastich without parallelism, connected with the preceding maxim. Verse 9. - Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself (Matthew 18:15; see on ver. 8). If you have any quarrel with a neighbour, or are drawn into a controversy with him, deal with him privately in a friendly manner. And discover not a secret to another; rather, the secret of another. Do not bring in a third party, or make use of anything entrusted to you by another person, or of which you have become privately informed, in order to support your cause.
And the heart of kings are unsearchable.
This is a proverb in the priamel-form, vid., p. 13. The praeambulum consists of three subjects to which the predicate אין חקר [ equals no searching out] is common. "As it is impossible to search through the heavens and through the earth, so it is also impossible to search the hearts of common men (like the earth), and the hearts of kings (like the heavens)" (Fleischer). The meaning, however, is simple. Three unsearchable things are placed together: the heavens, with reference to their height, stretching into the impenetrable distance; the earth, in respect to its depth, reaching down into the immeasurable abyss; and the heart of kings - it is this third thing which the proverb particularly aims at - which in themselves, and especially with that which goes on in their depths, are impenetrable and unsearchable. The proverb is a warning against the delusion of being flattered by the favour of the king, which may, before one thinks of it, be withdrawn or changed even into the contrary; and a counsel to one to take heed to his words and acts, and to see to it that he is influenced by higher motives than by the fallacious calculation of the impression on the view and disposition of the king. The ל in both cases is the expression of the reverence, as e.g., at 2 Chronicles 9:22. וארץ, not equals והארץ, but like Isaiah 26:19; Isaiah 65:17, for וארץ, which generally occurs only in the st. constr.
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