The blessing of the LORD, it makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
Leasing says of the Old Testament, as an elementary book of childlike wisdom, that "its style is now plain and simple, now poetic, full of tautologies, but such as exercise the penetration of the mind, while they seem now to say something fresh, yet say the same; now seem to say the same, and at bottom signify, or may signify, something different." The Proverbs are the constant illustration of the Law.
I. THE BLESSING OF JEHOVAH INDISPENSABLE; ALL TROUBLE VAIN WITHOUT IT. (Ver. 22.) We adopt the rendering, "Trouble is of no avail without it." His blessing is all in all. The thought thus yielded is a beautiful one, identical with that in Psalm 127. Jehovah gives bread to his beloved while they sleep and take no "anxious thought" about it. The thought was familiar to the ancient mind, and has been wrought up in parable and fable. The counterpart is that the blessing of God is not given to the idle; that "God loves to be helped;" that "Heaven helps those who help themselves." The opposite faults are indolence and over-anxiety.
II. THE TRUTH AND THE FALSE SOURCE OF CHEERFULNESS. (Ver. 23.) The fool makes mirth out of mischief. He takes delight in seeing the image of his restless and mischievous activity everywhere. The man of principle, on the contrary, draws his serene cheerfulness from faith in the Divine law of things - the sense that he is reconciled to it, and that good must ever flow from it.
III. THE FEARFUL AND THE HOPEFUL TEMPERS TRACED TO THEIR SIGNIFICANCE. (Ver. 24.) There is a timidity bred of an evil conscience - a buoyant expectation of the future bred of a good conscience. Both are creative in their effect on the imagination, and thus men dwell with shapes of gloom or radiant forms of fancy. Both are prophetic, and tend to realize themselves. This is a profound truth. For imagination in turn influences the will, and we reap the guilty fears or the pure hopes our habits Bowed.
IV. THE RESULTS OF TRIAL AND TROUBLE. (Ver. 25.) The storm sweeps by and overturns the hollow and untrue; while they who are based on the righteousness of God remain unmoved (comp. Matthew 7:24, seqq.). We do not know a man's principles nor whether he has any, until the time of suffering. Theory is one thing, fact another; it is not the statement of the engineer, but the trial of winter's floods that must prove the soundness of the bridge. We have to learn the truth of life in theory first; but we do not make it our own until it is put to the test of experience. Experience throws us back upon the truth of the theory, enriches our conception of it, and should enable us to teach it with the greater confidence to others. - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.