Proverbs 11


A parallel of the advantages of the righteous and wise, opposed

to the miseries of the wicked and the foolish. True and false



Verse 1. A false balance is abomination] This refers to the

balance itself deceitfully constructed, so that it is sooner

turned at one end than at the other. This is occasioned by one end

of the beam being longer than the other.

But a just weight] eben shelemah, the perfect stone

probably because weights were first made of stone; see the law,

De 25:13-16.

Verse 2. When pride cometh] The proud man thinks much more of

himself than any other can do; and, expecting to be treated

according to his own supposed worth, which treatment he seldom

meets with, he is repeatedly mortified, ashamed, confounded, and

rendered indignant.

With the lowly] tsenuim, ταπεινων, the humble,

the modest, as opposed to the proud, referred to in the first

clause. The humble man looks for nothing but justice; has the

meanest opinion of himself; expects nothing in the way of

commendation or praise; and can never be disappointed but in

receiving praise, which he neither expects nor desires.

Verse 4. Riches profit not in the day of wrath] Among men they

can do all things; but they cannot purchase the remission of sins,

nor turn aside the wrath of God when that is poured out upon the

opulent transgressor.

Verse 7. When a wicked man dieth] HOPE is a great blessing to

man in his present state of trial and suffering; because it leads

him to expect a favourable termination of his ills. But hope was

not made for the wicked; and yet they are the very persons that

most abound in it! They hope to be saved, and get at last to the

kingdom of God; though they have their face towards perdition, and

refuse to turn. But their hope goes no farther than the grave.

There the wicked man's expectation is cut off, and his hope

perishes. But to the saint, the penitent, and the cross-bearers

in general, what a treasure is hope! What a balm through life!

Verse 8. The wicked cometh in his stead.] Often God makes this

distinction; in public calamities and in sudden accidents he

rescues the righteous, and leaves the wicked, who has filled up

the measure of his iniquities, to be seized by the hand of death.

Justice, then, does its own work; for mercy has been rejected.

Verse 9. A hypocrite with his mouth] chaneph might be

better translated infidel than hypocrite. The latter is one that

pretends to religion; that uses it for secular purposes. The

former is one who disbelieves Divine revelation, and accordingly

is polluted, and lives in pollution. This is properly the force of

the original word. Such persons deal in calumny and lies, and

often thus destroy the character of their neighbour. Besides, they

are very zealous in propagating their own infidel notions; and

thus, by this means, destroy their neighbour; but the experimental

knowledge which the just have of God and his salvation prevents

them from being ensnared.

Verse 10. When it goeth well] An upright, pious, sensible man is

a great blessing to the neighbourhood where he resides, by his

example, his advice, and his prayers. The considerate prize him on

these accounts, and rejoice in his prosperity. But when the wicked

perish, who has been a general curse by the contagion of his

example and conversation, there is not only no regret expressed

for his decease, but a general joy because God has removed him.

Verse 12. He that is void of wisdom] A foolish man is generally

abundant in his censures; he dwells on the defects of his

neighbour, and is sure to bring them into the most prominent view.

But a man of understanding-a prudent, sensible man, hides those

defects wherever he can, and puts the most charitable construction

on those which he cannot conceal.

Verse 13. A talebearer] holech rachil, the walking

busybody, the trader in scandal.

Revealeth secrets] Whatever was confided to him he is sure to

publish abroad. The word means a hawker, or travelling chapman.

Such are always great newsmongers; and will tell even their own

secrets, rather than have nothing to say.

Verse 15. He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it]

He shall find evil upon evil in it. See on Pr 6:1.

Verse 16. A gracious woman retaineth honor] Instead of this

clause, the Septuagint have, γυνηευχαριστοςεγειρειανδριδοξαν,

"A gracious woman raiseth up honour to the man;" θρονοςδεατιμιας

γυνημισουσαδικαια, "But she that hateth righteous things is a

throne of dishonour." A good wife is an honour to her husband; and

a bad wife is her husband's reproach: if this be so, how careful

should a man be whom he marries!

Verse 17. The merciful man doeth good to his own soul] Every

gracious disposition is increased while a man is exercised in

showing mercy. No man can show an act of disinterested mercy

without benefiting his own soul, by improving his moral feeling.

But he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.] We seldom see a

peevish, fretful, vindictive man either in good health, or good

plight of body. I have often heard it observed of such, "He frets

his flesh off his bones."

Verse 18. Worketh a deceitful work] An unstable work; nothing is

durable that he does, except his crimes.

Verse 19. Righteousness tendeth to life] True godliness promotes

health, and is the best means of lengthening out life; but wicked

men live not out half their days.

Verse 21. Though hand join in hand] Let them confederate as they

please, to support each other, justice will take care that they

escape not punishment. The Hindoos sometimes ratify an engagement

by one person laying his right hand on the hand of another.-WARD.

Verse 22. A jewel of gold in a swine's snout] That is, beauty in

a woman destitute of good breeding and modest carriage, is as

becoming as a gold ring on the snout of a swine. Coverdale

translates thus: "A fayre woman without discrete maners, is like a

ringe of golde in a swyne's snoute." In Asiatic countries the nose

jewel is very common: to this the text alludes.

Verse 24. There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth] The

bountiful man, who gives to the poor, never turning away his face

from any one in distress, the Lord blesses his property, and the

bread is multiplied in his hand. To the same purpose the following


Verse 25. The liberal soul shall be made fat] He who gives to

the distressed, in the true spirit of charity, shall get a hundred

fold from God's mercy. How wonderful is the Lord! He gives the

property, gives the heart to use it aright, and recompenses the

man for the deed, though all the fruit was found from himself!

He that watereth] A man who distributes in the right spirit gets

more good himself than the poor man does who receives the bounty.

Thus it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Verse 26. He that withholdeth corn] Who refuses to sell because

he hopes for a dearth, and then he can make his own price.

The people shall curse him] Yes, and God shall curse him also;

and if he do not return and repent, he will get God's curse, and

the curse of the poor, which will be a canker in his money during

time, and in his soul throughout eternity.

Verse 29. Shall inherit the wind] He who dissipates his property

by riotous living, shall be as unsatisfied as he who attempts to

feed upon air.

Verse 30. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life]

ets chaiyim, "the tree of lives." It is like that tree which grew

in the paradise of God; increasing the bodily and mental vigour of

those who ate of it.

He that winneth souls is wise.] Wisdom seeks to reclaim the

wanderers; and he who is influenced by wisdom will do the same.

Verse 31. Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the

earth, &c.] The Septuagint, Syrian, and Arabic read this verse as

follows: "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the

ungodly and the sinner appear?" And this St. Peter quotes

literatim, 1Pe 4:18, where see the note. "See Clarke "1Pe 4:18".

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