The Book of Proverbs
Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET
CHAPTER 30 Pro 30:1-33
1. This is the title of this chapter (see JF & B for Introduction).
the prophecy--literally, "the burden" (compare Isa 13:1 Zec 9:1 ), used for any divine instruction; not necessarily a prediction, which was only a kind of prophecy ( 1Ch 15:27 , "a song"). Prophets were inspired men, who spoke for God to man, or for man to God ( Gen 20:7 Exd 7:14, 15, 16 ). Such, also, were the New Testament prophets. In a general sense, Gad, Nathan, and others were such, who were divine teachers, though we do not learn that they ever predicted.
the man spake--literally, "the saying of the man"; an expression used to denote any solemn and important announcement (compare 2Sa 23:1 Psa 36:1 110:1 Isa 1:24 , &c.). Ithiel and Ucal were perhaps pupils.
2-4. brutish-- stupid, a strong term to denote his lowly self-estimation; or he may speak of such as his natural condition, as contrasted with God's all-seeing comprehensive knowledge and almighty power. The questions of this clause emphatically deny the attributes mentioned to be those of any creature, thus impressively strengthening the implied reference of the former to God (compare Deu 30:12-14 Isa 40:12 Eph 4:8 ).
5. (Compare Psa 12:6 119:140 ).
6. Add . . . words--implying that his sole reliance was on God's all-sufficient teaching.
reprove thee--or, "convict thee"--and so the falsehood will appear.
7-9. A prayer for exemption from wickedness, and the extremes of poverty and riches, the two things mentioned. Contentment is implied as desired.
8. vanity--all sorts of sinful acts ( Job 11:11 Isa 5:18 ).
9. be full . . . deny-- that is, puffed up by the pride of prosperity.
take the name . . . vain-- This is not (Hebrew) the form (compare Exd 20:7 ), but "take" rather denotes laying violent hold on any thing; that is lest I assail God's name or attributes, as justice, mercy, &c., which the poor are tempted to do.
10. Accuse not--Slander not ( Psa 10:7 ).
curse . . . guilty--lest, however lowly, he be exasperated to turn on thee, and your guilt be made to appear.
11-14. Four kinds of hateful persons--(1) graceless children, (2) hypocrites, (3) the proud, (4) cruel oppressors (compare on Pro 30:14 Psa 14:4 52:2 ) --are now illustrated; (1) Pro 30:15, 16 , the insatiability of prodigal children and their fate; (2) Pro 30:17 , hypocrisy, or the concealment of real character; (3 and 4) Pro 30:18-20 , various examples of pride and oppression.
15, 16. horse leech--supposed by some to be the vampire (a fabulous creature), as being literally insatiable; but the other subjects mentioned must be taken as this, comparatively insatiable. The use of a fabulous creature agreeably to popular notions is not inconsistent with inspiration.
There are three . . . yea, four--(Compare Pro 6:16 ).
17. The eye--for the person, with reference to the use of the organ to express mockery and contempt, and also as that by which punishment is received.
the ravens . . . eagles . . . eat-- either as dying unnaturally, or being left unburied, or both.
18-20. Hypocrisy is illustrated by four examples of the concealment of all methods or traces of action, and a pertinent example of double dealing in actual vice is added, that is, the adulterous woman.
20. she eateth . . . mouth--that is, she hides the evidences of her shame and professes innocence.
21-23. Pride and cruelty, the undue exaltation of those unfit to hold power, produce those vices which disquiet society (compare Pro 19:10 28:3 ).
23. heir . . . mistress--that is, takes her place as a wife ( Gen 16:4 ).
24-31. These verses provide two classes of apt illustrations of various aspects of the moral world, which the reader is left to apply. By the first ( Pro 30:25-28 ), diligence and providence are commended; the success of these insignificant animals being due to their instinctive sagacity and activity, rather than strength. The other class ( Pro 30:30, 31 ) provides similes for whatever is majestic or comely, uniting efficiency with gracefulness.
26. conies--mountain mice, or rabbits.
28. spider--tolerated, even in palaces, to destroy flies.
taketh . . . hands--or, uses with activity the limbs provided for taking prey.
32. As none can hope, successfully, to resist such a king, suppress even the thought of an attempt.
lay . . . hand upon thy mouth--"lay" is well supplied ( Jdg 18:19 Job 29:9 40:4 ).
33. or other ills, as surely arise from devising evil as natural effects from natural causes.