My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproaches me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)My son.—The address of a father to his son, or master to pupil.
That I may answer him that reproacheth me for having brought you up badly when he sees you ignorant or ill-behaved. So Christians are exhorted to let their “light so shine before men” that their Father in heaven may be thereby glorified (Matthew 5:16).Ezekiel 16:44 1 Thessalonians 3:4. Proverbs 10:1; My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 11. - My son, be wise, and make my heart glad. The exhortation of a father to his son, or of a teacher to his pupil. Such address is not found elsewhere in this latter portion of the book, though common in previous parts. Delitzsch translates, "become wise." Σοφὸς γίνου, Septuagint. Such development of wisdom delights a father's heart, as Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 23:15, 24. That I may answer him that reproacheth me (Psalm 119:42; comp. Psalm 127:5; Ecclus. 30:2). If the pupil did not show wisdom and morality in his conduct, the teacher would incur blame for the apparent failure of his education; whereas the high tone of the disciple might be appealed to as a proof of the merit and efficacy of the tutor's discipline. On the other hand, the evil doings of Hebrews often made the Name of God to be blasphemed among the Gentiles; just as nowadays the inconsistent lives of Christians are the greatest impediment to the success of missionary efforts in heathen countries. St. Jerome has, Ut possis exprobanti respondere sermonem. So Septuagint, "And remove from thyself reproachful words." But the first person is in accordance with the Hebrew.
5 Better is open accusation
Than secret love.
An integral distich; meeאהבה has Munach, and instead of the second Metheg Tarcha, after Thorath Emeth, p. 11. Zckler, with Hitzig, incorrectly: better than love which, from false indulgence, keeps concealed from his neighbour his faults, when he ought to tell him of them. That would require the phrase אהבה מסתּרת, not מסתּרת. Dchsel, in order to accommodate the text to this meaning, remarks: concealed censure is concealed love; but it is much rather the neglected duty of love - love without mutual discipline is weak, faint-hearted, and, if it is not too blind to remark in a friend what is worthy of blame, is altogether too forbearing, and essentially without conscience; but it is not "hidden and concealed love." The meaning of the proverb is different: it is better to be courageously and sternly corrected - on account of some fault committed - by any one, whether he be a foe or a friend, than to be the object of a love which may exist indeed in the heart, but which fails to make itself manifest in outward act. There are men who continually assure us of the reality and depth of their friendship; but when it is necessary for them to prove their love to be self-denying and generous, they are like a torrent which is dry when one expects to drink water from it (Job 6:15). Such "secret" love, or, since the word is not נסתּרת, but מסתּרת, love confined to the heart alone, is like a fire which, when it burns secretly, neither lightens nor warms; and before such a friend, any one who frankly and freely tells the truth has by far the preference, for although he may pain us, yet he does us good; while the former deceives us, for he leaves us in the lurch when it is necessary to love us, not merely in word and with the tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). Rightly Fleischer: Praestat correptio aperta amicitiae tectae, i.e., nulla re probatae.
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