Proverbs 27:27
And you shall have goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance for your maidens.
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(27) For the maintenance for thy maidens, who tend the cattle.

27:15,16. The contentions of a neighbour may be like a sharp shower, troublesome for a time; the contentions of a wife are like constant rain. 17. We are cautioned to take heed whom we converse with. And directed to have in view, in conversation, to make one another wiser and better. 18. Though a calling be laborious and despised, yet those who keep to it, will find there is something to be got by it. God is a Master who has engaged to honour those who serve him faithfully. 19. One corrupt heart is like another; so are sanctified hearts: the former bear the same image of the earthly, the latter the same image of the heavenly. Let us carefully watch our own hearts, comparing them with the word of God. 20. Two things are here said to be never satisfied, death and sin. The appetites of the carnal mind for profit or pleasure are always desiring more. Those whose eyes are ever toward the Lord, are satisfied in him, and shall for ever be so. 21. Silver and gold are tried by putting them into the furnace and fining-pot; so is a man tried by praising him. 22. Some are so bad, that even severe methods do not answer the end; what remains but that they should be rejected? The new-creating power of God's grace alone is able to make a change. 23-27. We ought to have some business to do in this world, and not to live in idleness, and not to meddle with what we do not understand. We must be diligent and take pains. Let us do what we can, still the world cannot be secured to us, therefore we must choose a more lasting portion; but by the blessing of God upon our honest labours, we may expect to enjoy as much of earthly blessings as is good for us.Appeareth - Better, When the grass disappeareth, the "tender grass showeth itself." Stress is laid on the regular succession of the products of the earth. The "grass" ("hay") of the first clause is (compare Psalm 37:2; Psalm 90:5; Psalm 103:15; 2 Kings 19:26) the proverbial type of what is perishable and fleeting. The verse gives a picture of the pleasantness of the farmer's calling; compared with this what can wealth or rank offer? With this there mingles (compare Proverbs 27:23) the thought that each stage of that life in its season requires care and watchfulness. 27. household—literally, "house," the family (Ac 16:15; 1Co 1:16). Goats’ milk enough for thy food; or, if thou choosest rather to keep than to sell thy goats, the milk of them will serve thee for food to thyself, and to thy family. In ancient times men used a plain and simple diet, and neither knew nor used that curiosity and luxury in it which after-ages invented.

For thy maidens; who are named, because this nourishment was more proper for the weaker sex, whereas men required a stronger diet. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food,.... The word for "goats", in Proverbs 27:26, signifies he goats, which were sold to buy fields, pay servants or rent, or purchase the necessaries of life; and this here signifies she goats, which were kept for their milk; and which was daily used for food in some countries, and is still in use for the same purpose in some parts of our kingdoms; and in medicine it has been preferred by some physicians above others, next to the milk of women (w): and the diligent husbandman is promised not only plenty of this his own eating, at least a sufficiency of it, but for his family;

for the food of thy household; his wife and children:

and for maintenance for thy maidens: or "the lives" (x) of them, on which they should live; for, though menservants might require strong meat yet the maidens might live upon milk; besides, Athenaeus (y) speaks of most delicious cheese made of goats' milk, called "tromilicus". The design of the whole is to show that a man diligent in his business shall have a sufficiency for himself and his family; and, though it may be but the meaner sort of food and clothing he may get, yet, having food and raiment, he should therewith be content.

(w) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 28. c. 9. Vid. Scheuehzer. Physic, Sacr. vol. 5. p. 1016. (x) "vitas", Montanus; "ad vitam", Gejerus; "life" is often put for "bread"; or for that by which life is maintained, both in Greek and Latin writers; so in Hesiod. Opera, l. 1. v. 31, 328. and "vita", in Plaut. Stichus, Acts 3. Sc. 2. v. 9. Trinum, Acts 2. Sc. 4. v. 76. (y) Deipnosoph. l. 14. c. 22. p. 658. see also l. 1. c. 8. p 10.

And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
27. for the maintenance of] Rather, maintenance for, R.V.Verse 27. - Goats' milk. Dr. Geikie ('Holy Land and Bible,' 1:311) notes that in most parts of Palestine goats' milk in every form - sour, sweet, thick, thin, warm, or cold - makes, with eggs and bread, the main food of the people. And maintenance for thy maidens; who milk the goats, etc., and tend the cattle, and do the household work. There is no mention of the use of animal flesh as food. It was only on great occasions, as high festivals, or the presence of an honoured guest, that kids, lambs, and calves were killed and eaten. This picture of rural peace and plenty points to a time of security and prosperity, free alike from internal commotion and external danger. The famous passage in Cicero, 'De Senect.,' 15, on the pleasures and advantages of the agricultural life. will occur to all classical readers. So also Horace ('Epod.,' 2), "Beatus ille qui procul negotiis," etc. The LXX. makes short work of this verse, "My son, thou hast from me sayings mighty for thy life and for the life of thy servants."

There follow here two proverbs which have in common with each other the figures of the crucible and the mortar:

21 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,

     And a man according to the measure of his praise;

i.e., silver and gold one values according to the result of the smelting crucible and the smelting furnace; but a man, according to the measure of public opinion, which presupposes that which is said in Proverbs 12:8, "according to the measure of his wisdom is a man praised." מהלל is not a ῥῆμα μέσον like our Leumund [renown], but it is a graduated idea which denotes fame down to evil Lob [fame], which is only Lob [praise] per antiphrasin. Ewald otherwise: "according to the measure of his glorying;" or Hitzig better: "according to the measure with which he praises himself," with the remark: "מהלל is not the act, the glorifying of self, but the object of the glorying (cf. מבטח, מדון), i.e., that in which he places his glory." Bttcher something further: "one recognises him by that which he is generally wont to praise in himself and others, persons and things." Thus the proverb is to be understood; but in connection with Proverbs 12:8 it seems to us more probable that המלל is thought of as going forth from others, and not as from himself. In line first, Proverbs 17:3 is repeated; the second line there is conformable to the first, according to which it should be here said that the praise of a man is for him what the crucible and the furnace is for metal. The lxx, Syr., Targ., Jerome, and the Venet. read לפי מהללו, and thereby obtain more concinnity. Luther accordingly translates:

A man is tried by the mouth of his praise,

As silver in the crucible and gold in the furnace.

Others even think to interpret man as the subject examining, and so they vocalize the words. Thus e.g., Fleischer: Qualis est catinus argento et fornax auro, talis sit homo ori a quo laudatur, so that "mouth of his praise" is equivalent to the man who praises him with his mouth. But where, as here, the language relates to relative worth, the supposition for לפי, that it denotes, as at Proverbs 12:8, pro ratione, is tenable. And that the mouth of him who praises is a smelting crucible for him who is praised, or that the praised shall be a crucible for the mouth of him who praises, would be a wonderful comparison. The lxx has here also an additional distich which has no place in the Heb. text.

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