Proverbs 18:1
He who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgment.
Desire an Excitement to DiligenceProverbs 18:1
Extracting KnowledgeBp. Horne.Proverbs 18:1
Seeking WisdomR. Wardlaw, D. D.Proverbs 18:1
The Case of Diversions StatedJ. Seed, M. A.Proverbs 18:1
The Evil of IsolationR. F. Horton, D. D.Proverbs 18:1
The Stimulus of DesireG. Harris.Proverbs 18:1
Unsocial VicesE. Johnson Proverbs 18:1-9

There is an inner connection between them all.

I. MISANTHROPY. (Ver. 1.) If this verse be more correctly rendered, this is the meaning yielded. From a diseased feeling the man turns aside to sullen solitude, and thus rejects wisdom. This affords a fine meaning. It is one thing to feel the need of occasional solitude, another to indulge the passion for singularity.

II. OBTRUSIVENESS. (Ver. 2.) Contrast ver. 4. The talkative fool is the very opposite of the misanthrope in his habits; yet the two have this in common - they both unfit themselves for society. We may go out of solitude to indulge our spleen, or into society to indulge our vanity. Talking for talking's sake, and all idle conversation, are here marked, if as minor vices, still vices.

III. BASENESS. (Ver. 3.) The word rendered "contempt" points rather to deeds of shame. And the meaning then will be that the evil of the heart must necessarily discover itself in the baseness of the life. As the impure state of the blood is revealed in eruptions and blotches on the skin, so is it with moral evil.

IV. CONSPIRACY AND PLOTTING. (Ver. 5.) The figure employed, literally, to lift up a person's face, signifies to take his part. All party spirit is wrong, because it implies that truth has not the first place in our affections. But party spirit on behalf of the wicked is an utter abomination, for it implies a positive contempt for, or unbelief in, right and truth.

V. QUARRELSOMENESS. (Vers. 6, 7.) "The apostle, when giving the anatomy of man's depravity, dwells chiefly on the little member with all its accompaniments - the throat, the tongue, the lips, the mouth. It is 'a world of iniquity, defiling the whole body.'" It leads to violence. The deadly blow is prepared for and produced by the irritating taunting word. But there is a recoil upon the quarrelsome man. The tongue to which he has given so evil licence finally ensnares him and takes him prisoner. And the stones he has cast at others fall back upon himself. Thus does Divine judgment reveal itself in the common course of life.

VI. SLANDEROUSNESS. (Ver. 8.) The word "tale bearer" is represented more expressively in the Hebrew. It is the man that "blows in the ear." And the picture comes up before the mind of the calumnious word, whispered or jestingly uttered, which goes deep into the most sensitive places of feeling, and wounds, perhaps even unto death.

VII. IDLENESS. (Ver. 9.) Here we strike upon the root of all these hideous vices. It is the neglect of the man's proper work which suffers these vile weeds to grow. What emphasis there needs to be laid on the great precept, "Do thine own work"! The idler is brother to the corrupter, or vicious man, and his kinship is certain sooner or later to betray itself. The parable of the talents may be compared here. Then, again, how close are the ideas of wickedness and sloth! - J.

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and inter-meddleth with all wisdom.
Dull and insipid is every performance where inclination bears no part. Any one man's sense, however excellent, unless it mixes in society with that of others, always degenerates into singularity and caprice.


1. When there is no reason against any social pleasure there is always a reason for it, viz., that it is a pleasure. To suppose that the Deity would abridge us of any pleasure merely as such when it does not interfere with higher and nobler delights is a notion highly derogatory to His goodness.

2. Diversions are necessary to relieve the cares, sweeten the toils, and smooth the ruggedness of life. He who applies himself to his studies, or any other employment, with proper intervals of refreshment to recruit his spirits, will upon the whole do more good than he who gives unrelieved application. And diversions are necessary under afflictions. The first step towards a recovery of happiness is to steal ourselves gradually from a sense of our misery.

3. Diversions are necessary to endear us to one another. To comply with men's tastes as far as we innocently can in the little incidents of life, to bear a part in their favourite diversions — this knits men's hearts to one another and lays the foundations of friendship.

4. Diversions are requisite to enlarge the usefulness and influence of a good character. It would be worth while for the good to endear, by little compliances, their persons to the affections of mankind, that they might recommend their actions to their imitation. If it be asked, When do we exceed the bounds of reason in our diversions? it may be said if, after having made a party in some entertainments, the soul can recall her wandering thoughts and fix them, with the same life and energy as is natural to us in other cases, upon any subject worthy of a rational creature, it is plain that we have not gone too far. And things suitable enough in youth come with an ill grace in advanced years. The greatest hazard is that we should contract a habit of doing nothing to the purpose and should fool away life in an impertinent course of diversions.

II. THE NECESSITY OF AN EARLY AND CLOSE APPLICATION TO WISDOM. It is necessary to habituate our minds, in our younger years, to some employment which may engage our thoughts and fill the capacity of the soul at a riper age. We outgrow the relish of childish amusements, and if we are not provided with a taste for manly satisfactions to succeed in their room we must become miserable at an age more difficult to be pleased. Nothing can be long entertaining, but what is in some measure beneficial, because nothing else will bear a calm and sedate review. There is not a greater inlet to misery and vices of all kinds than the not knowing how to pass our vacant hours. When a man has been laying out that time in the pursuit of some great and important truth which others waste in a circle of gay follies he is conscious of having acted up to the dignity of his nature, and from that consciousness there results that serene complacency which is much preferable to the pleasures of animal life. Happy that man who, unembarrassed by vulgar cares, master of himself, his time and fortune, spends his time in making himself wiser, and his fortune in making others happier.


1. Let us set a just value upon and make a due use of those advantages which we enjoy. Advantages of a regular method of study (as at a university). Direction in the choice of authors upon the most material subjects. A generous emulation quickens our endeavours, and the friend improves the scholar.

2. It is a sure indication of good sense to be diffident of it. We then, and not till then, are growing wise when we begin to discern how weak and unwise we are.

(J. Seed, M. A.)

A person under the strong influence of desire is like a hound in pursuit of a deer, which he keenly and steadfastly follows when he has once caught the scent of it, and continues to track it through a herd of others, and for many a weary mile until he has hunted it down, although those which he has passed by may seem easily within his reach.

(G. Harris.)

There is no kind of knowledge which, in the hands of the diligent and skilful, will not turn to account. Honey exudes from all flowers, the bitter not excepted; and the bee knows how to extract it.

(Bp. Horne.)

If we would get knowledge or grace we must desire it as that which we need and which will be of great advantage to us. We must separate ourselves from all those things which would divert or retard us in the pursuit, retire out of the noise of this world's vanities, be willing to take pains, and try all the methods of improving ourselves, be acquainted with a variety of opinions, that we may prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.

( Matthew Henry.)

There are people who shun all togetherness in their lives; they are voluntarily, deliberately separated from their kind. We are to think of one who chooses a life of solitariness in order to follow out his own desire rather than from any necessity of circumstance or disposition; we are to think of a misanthrope. There are men who separate themselves for the common welfare, such as the student and the inventor. But the misanthrope is one who has no faith in his fellows, and shrinks into himself to escape them. Every man is not only a "self," a personality; he is a very complex being, made up of many relations with other men. He is a son, a brother, a friend, a father, a citizen. Stripped of these he is not a man, but a mere self, and that is his hideous condemnation. An old Greek saying declared that one who lives alone is either a god or a wild beast. The social instinct is one of two or three striking characteristics which mark us out as human. It becomes therefore a necessity to every wise human being to recognise, to maintain, and to cultivate all those wholesome relationships which make us truly human. Neighbourliness is the larger part of life. Our life is rich and true and helpful just in proportion as we are entwined with those who live around us in bonds of mutual respect and consideration, of reciprocal helpfulness and service, of intimate and intelligent friendship. The relation of Christ, as the Son of God, to the human race as a whole immediately opened up the possibility of a world-wide society in which all nations, all classes, all castes, all degrees, all individualities should be not so much merged as distinctly articulated and recognised in a complete and complex whole. The person of Christ is the link which binds all men together; the presence of Christ is the guarantee of the union; the work of Christ, which consists in the removal of sin, is the main condition of a heart union for all mankind. The Christian life must be the life of a community.

(R. F. Horton, D. D.)

Two opposite views have been taken of this verse. One makes Solomon refer to a pursuit of knowledge and wisdom that is right and commendable; the other regards him as speaking of what is wrong and censurable. Schultens describes the intended character thus: "A self-conceited, hair-brained fool seeks to satisfy his fancy, and intermingleth himself with all things." Parkhurst thus: "The recluse seeks his own pleasure or inclination; he laughs at or derides everything solid or wise." Another thus: "A retired man pursueth the studies he delights in, and hath pleasure in each branch of science." I am disposed to think that our own translation gives the sense. "Through desire" — that is, the desire of knowledge — "a man, having separated himself" — that is, having retired and secluded himself from interruption by the intrusion of companions and the engagements of social life — "seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom." There is a contrast between the character in the first verse and the character in the second verse. The contrast is between the man that loves and pursues knowledge and the man who undervalues and despises it.

(R. Wardlaw, D. D.)

Break, Defies, Desire, Ends, Estranged, Goes, Intermeddleth, Judgment, Keeps, Object, Pleasure, Pretexts, Private, Purpose, Pursues, Quarrels, Rageth, Seek, Seeketh, Seeks, Selfish, Selfishness, Sense, Separate, Separated, Separates, Separateth, Snarlest, Unfriendly, Vehement, Wisdom
1. A fool delights not in understanding

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Proverbs 18:1

     5765   attitudes, to people
     8227   discernment, nature of
     8228   discernment, examples
     8821   self-indulgence
     8827   selfishness

Proverbs 18:1-2

     8355   understanding

Two Fortresses
'The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. 11. The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit'--PROVERBS xviii. 10,11. The mere reading of these two verses shows that, contrary to the usual rule in the Book of Proverbs, they have a bearing on each other. They are intended to suggest a very strong contrast, and that contrast is even more emphatic in the original than in our translation; because, as the margin of your Bibles
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Our Stronghold
A sermon (No. 491) delivered on Lord's Day Evening, October 26th, 1862, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, by C. H. Spurgeon. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." {safe: Heb. set aloft}---- Proverbs 18:10. Strong towers were a greater security in a bygone age than they are now. Then, when troops of marauders invaded the land, strong castles were set upon the various hill-tops and the inhabitants gathered up their little wealth and fled thither
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs

Pride and Humility
A sermon (No. 97) delivered on Sabbath Morning, August 17, 1856 by C. H. Spurgeon. "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility."--Proverbs 18:12. Almost every event has its prophetic prelude. It is an old and common saying that "coming events cast their shadows before them;" the wise man teaches us the same lesson in the verse before us. When destruction walks through the land it casts its shadow; it is in the shape of pride. When honor visits a man's house it casts
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs

The Cause and Cure of a Wounded Spirit
A sermon (2494) intended for reading on Lord's Day, December 6th, 1896, delivered by C. H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington on Thursday Evening, April 16th, 1885. "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?"--Proverbs 18:14. Every man sooner or later has some kind of infirmity to bear. It may be that his constitution from the very first will be inclined to certain disease and pains, or possibly he may in passing through life suffer from accident
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs

A Faithful Friend
A sermon (No. 120) delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 8, 1857, by C. H. Spurgeon at The Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens. "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."--Proverbs 18:24. Cicero has well said, "Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed." Friendship seems as necessary an element of a comfortable existence in this world as fire or water, or even air itself. A man may drag along a miserable existence in proud solitary
C.H. Spurgeon—Sermons on Proverbs

Pride and Humility
I. In the first place, we shall have something to say concerning the vice of PRIDE. "Before destruction the heart of man is haughty." Pride, what is it? Pride, where is its seat? The heart of man. And pride, what is its consequence? Destruction. 1. In the first place, I must try to describe pride to you. I might paint it as being the worst malformation of all the monstrous things in creation; it hath nothing lovely in it, nothing in proportion, but everything in disorder. It is altogether the very
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 2: 1856

A Faithful Friend
Friendship, however, though very pleasing and exceedingly blessed, has been the cause of the greatest misery to men when it has been unworthy and unfaithful; for just in proportion as a good friend is sweet, a false friend is full of bitterness. "A faithless friend is sharper than an adder's tooth." It is sweet to repose in some one; but O! how bitter to have that support snapped, and to receive a grievous fall as the effect of your confidence. Fidelity is an absolute necessary in a true friend;
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 3: 1857

Would that I were More Closely Bound
"There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." -- Proverbs 18:24. Would that I were more closely bound To my Beloved, who ever lives; Would that my soul were always found Abiding in the peace He gives; Would, that I might more clearly see His love an heritage for me More surely know, more meekly own, His bounteous grace my strength alone! And much I wish but I will pray For wisdom that the lowly find, -- And, O my Savior, every day, More of Thy meek and quiet mind. The comfort of a mind
Miss A. L. Waring—Hymns and Meditations

Epistle cxv. To Syagrius, Bishop of Augustodunum (Autun).
To Syagrius, Bishop of Augustodunum (Autun). Gregory to Syagrius, &c. If in secular affairs every man should have his right and his proper rank preserved to him, how much more in ecclesiastical arrangements ought no confusion to be let in; lest discord should find place there, whence the blessings of peace should proceed. And this will in this way be secured, if nothing is yielded to power but all to equity. Now it has been reported to us that our most beloved brother Ursicinus, bishop of the city
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Have Read the Letter which You in Your Wisdom have Written Me. You Inveigh against Me
I have read the letter which you in your wisdom have written me. You inveigh against me, and, though you once praised me and called me true partner and brother, you now write books to summon me to reply to the charges with which you terrify me. I see that in you are fulfilled the words of Solomon: "In the mouth of the foolish is the rod of contumely," and "A fool receives not the words of prudence, unless you say what is passing in his heart;" and the words of Isaiah: "The fool will speak folly,
Various—Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.

Messiah Unpitied, and Without a Comforter
Reproach [Rebuke] hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. T he greatness of suffering cannot be certainly estimated by the single consideration of the immediate, apparent cause; the impression it actually makes upon the mind of the sufferer, must likewise be taken into the account. That which is a heavy trial to one person, may be much lighter to another, and, perhaps, no trial at all. And a state
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

"And if Christ be in You, the Body is Dead Because of Sin: but the Spirit is Life Because of Righteousness. "
Rom. viii. 10.--"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin: but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." "The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law," saith our apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 56. These two concur to make man mortal, and these two are the bitter ingredients of death. Sin procured it, and the law appointed it, and God hath seen to the exact execution of that law in all ages; for what man liveth and shall not taste of death? Two only escaped the common
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The remarkable change which we have noticed in the views of Jewish authorities, from contempt to almost affectation of manual labour, could certainly not have been arbitrary. But as we fail to discover here any religious motive, we can only account for it on the score of altered political and social circumstances. So long as the people were, at least nominally, independent, and in possession of their own land, constant engagement in a trade would probably mark an inferior social stage, and imply
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

Letter xxvi. (Circa A. D. 1127) to the Same
To the Same He excuses the brevity of his letter on the ground that Lent is a time of silence; and also that on account of his profession and his ignorance he does not dare to assume the function of teaching. 1. You will, perhaps, be angry, or, to speak more gently, will wonder that in place of a longer letter which you had hoped for from me you receive this brief note. But remember what says the wise man, that there is a time for all things under the heaven; both a time to speak and a time to keep
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

How those are to be Admonished who do not Even Begin Good Things, and those who do not Finish them when Begun.
(Admonition 35.) Differently to be admonished are they who do not even begin good things, and those who in no wise complete such as they have begun. For as to those who do not even begin good things, for them the first need is, not to build up what they may wholesomely love, but to demolish that wherein they are wrongly occupied. For they will not follow the untried things they hear of, unless they first come to feel how pernicious are the things that they have tried; since neither does one desire
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Of the Character of the Unregenerate.
Ephes. ii. 1, 2. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. AMONG all the various trusts which men can repose in each other, hardly any appears to be more solemn and tremendous, than the direction of their sacred time, and especially of those hours which they spend in the exercise of public devotion.
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

"Boast not Thyself of To-Morrow, for Thou Knowest not what a Day May Bring Forth. "
Prov. xxvii. 1.--"Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." There are some peculiar gifts that God hath given to man in his first creation, and endued his nature with, beyond other living creatures, which being rightly ordered and improved towards the right objects, do advance the soul of man to a wonderful height of happiness, that no other sublunary creature is capable of. But by reason of man's fall into sin, these are quite disordered and turned out of
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

"Thou Shall Keep Him in Perfect Peace, Whose Mind is Stayed on Thee, Because He Trusteth in Thee. "
Isaiah xxvi. 3.--"Thou shall keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." All men love to have privileges above others. Every one is upon the design and search after some well-being, since Adam lost that which was true happiness. We all agree upon the general notion of it, but presently men divide in the following of particulars. Here all men are united in seeking after some good; something to satisfy their souls, and satiate their desires. Nay, but they
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

An Exhortation to Peace and Unity
[ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR] This treatise was first published in 1688, after Bunyan's death, at the end of the second edition of the Barren Fig Tree, with a black border round the title. It was continued in the third edition 1692, but was subsequently omitted, although the Barren Fig Tree was printed for the same publisher. It has been printed in every edition of Bunyan's Works. Respect for the judgment of others leads me to allow it a place in the first complete edition, although I have serious
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Directions to Awakened Sinners.
Acts ix. 6. Acts ix. 6. And he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do. THESE are the words of Saul, who also is called Paul, (Acts xiii. 9,) when he was stricken to the ground as he was going to Damascus; and any one who had looked upon him in his present circumstances and knew nothing more of him than that view, in comparison with his past life, could have given, would have imagined him one of the most miserable creatures that ever lived upon earth, and would have expected
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration

Mothers, Daughters, and Wives in Israel
In order accurately to understand the position of woman in Israel, it is only necessary carefully to peruse the New Testament. The picture of social life there presented gives a full view of the place which she held in private and in public life. Here we do not find that separation, so common among Orientals at all times, but a woman mingles freely with others both at home and abroad. So far from suffering under social inferiority, she takes influential and often leading part in all movements, specially
Alfred Edersheim—Sketches of Jewish Social Life

We Shall not be Curious in the Ranking of the Duties in which Christian Love...
We shall not be curious in the ranking of the duties in which Christian love should exercise itself. All the commandments of the second table are but branches of it: they might be reduced all to the works of righteousness and of mercy. But truly these are interwoven through other. Though mercy uses to be restricted to the showing of compassion upon men in misery, yet there is a righteousness in that mercy, and there is mercy in the most part of the acts of righteousness, as in not judging rashly,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Concerning Baptism.
Concerning Baptism. [967] As there is one Lord, and one faith, so there is one baptism; which is not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience before God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And this baptism is a pure and spiritual thing, to wit, the baptism of the Spirit and Fire, by which we are buried with him, that being washed and purged from our sins, we may walk in newness of life: of which the baptism of John was a figure, which was commanded for a time,
Robert Barclay—Theses Theologicae and An Apology for the True Christian Divinity

Many specimens of the so-called Wisdom Literature are preserved for us in the book of Proverbs, for its contents are by no means confined to what we call proverbs. The first nine chapters constitute a continuous discourse, almost in the manner of a sermon; and of the last two chapters, ch. xxx. is largely made up of enigmas, and xxxi. is in part a description of the good housewife. All, however, are rightly subsumed under the idea of wisdom, which to the Hebrew had always moral relations. The Hebrew
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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