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Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Proverbs 21

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The Book of Proverbs

Commentary by A. R. FAUSSET


Pro 21:1-31.

      1. rivers--irrigating channels ( Psa 1:3 ), whose course was easily turned (compare Deu 11:10 ). God disposes even kings as He pleases ( Pro 16:9 Psa 33:15 ).

      2. (Compare Pro 14:2 16:2-25 ).

      3. (Compare Psa 50:7-15 Isa 1:11, 17 ).

      4. high look--(Compare Margin; Psa 131:1 ).
      proud heart--or, "heart of breadth," one that is swollen (compare Psa 101:5 ).
      ploughing--better "lamp," a frequent figure for prosperity ( Pro 20:20 ); hence joy or delight.

      5. The contrast is between steady industry and rashness (compare Pro 19:2 ).

      6. The getting--or, "what is obtained" (compare Job 7:2 Jer 22:13, Hebrew).
      vanity. . . to and fro--as fleeting as chaff or stubble in the wind (compare Pro 20:17-21 Psa 62:10 ). Such gettings are unsatisfactory.
      them. . . death--act as if they did ( Pro 8:36 17:19 ).

      7. robbery--or, "destruction," especially oppression, of which they are authors.
      shall destroy--literally, "cut with a saw" ( 1Ki 7:9 ), that is, utterly ruin them. Their sins shall be visited on them in kind.
      to do judgment--what is just and right.

      8. of man--any one; his way is opposed to truth, and also estranged from it. The pure proves himself such by his right conduct.

      9. corner--a turret or arbor on the roof.
      brawling--or contentious.
      wide house--literally, "house of fellowship," large enough for several families.

      10. So strongly does he desire to do evil ( Psa 10:3 Ecc 8:11 ), that he will not even spare his friend if in his way.

      11. (Compare Pro 19:25 ). That which the simple learn by the terrors of punishment, the wise learn by teaching.

      12. (Compare Psa 37:35-38 73:17, 20 ).
      house--family or interests.
      overthroweth--either supply "God" (compare Pro 10:24 ), or the word is used impersonally.

      13. The principles of retribution, often taught (compare Psa 18:26 Mat 7:1-12 ).

      14. The effect of bribery ( Pro 17:23 ) is enhanced by secrecy, as the bribed person does not wish his motives made known.

      15. But the just love right and need no bribes. The wicked at last meet destruction, though for a time happy in concealing corruption.

      16. the way of understanding--(Compare Pro 12:26 14:22 ).
      remain--that is, rest as at a journey's end; death will be his unchanging home.

      17. Costly luxuries impoverish.

      18. (Compare Pro 11:8 ). By suffering what they had devised for the righteous, or brought on them, the wicked became their ransom, in the usual sense of substitutes (compare Jos 7:26 Est 7:9 ).

      19. (Compare Pro 21:9 ).
      wilderness--pasture, though uninhabitable ground ( Psa 65:12 ).

      20. The wise, by diligence and care, lay up and increase wealth, while fools
      spend--literally, "swallow it up," greedily.

      21. He who tries to act justly and kindly ( Psa 34:14 ) will prosper and obtain justice and honor.

      22. "Wisdom is better than strength" ( Ecc 7:19 9:15 ).
      strength. . . thereof--that in which they confide.

      23. (Compare Pro 13:2, 3 Jam 3:6-10 ).

      24. The reproachful name is deserved by those who treat others with anger and contempt.

      25. desire--that is of ease and idleness brings him to starvation.

      26. The sin of covetousness marks the sluggard, as the virtue of benevolence the righteous.

      27. God regards the heart, and hypocrisy is more odious than open inconsistency.
      wicked mind--or, "design" ( Pro 1:4 ).

      28. (Compare Pro 19:5 ).
      that heareth--or heeds instruction, and so grows wise.
      speaketh constantly--or sincerely (compare Hab 1:5 ), and hence is believed ( Pro 12:19 Jam 1:19 ).

      29. hardeneth his face--is obstinate.
      directeth. . . way--considers it, and acts advisedly.

      30, 31. Men's best devices and reliances are vain compared with God's, or without His aid ( Pro 19:21 Psa 20:7 33:17 ).


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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