Proverbs 19


The worth of a poor upright man. Riches preserve friends. False

witnesses. False friends. A king's wrath. The foolish son. The

prudent wife. Slothfulness. Pity for the poor. The fear of the

Lord. The spendthrift son. Obedience to parents.


Verse 1. Better is the poor] The upright poor man is always to

be preferred to the rich or self-sufficient fool.

Verse 2. Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not

good] Would it not be plainer, as it is more literal, to say,

"Also, to be without knowledge, is not good for the soul?" The

soul was made for God; and to be without his knowledge, to be

unacquainted with him, is not only not good, but the greatest

evil the soul can suffer, for it involves all other evils. The

Chaldee and Syriac have: "He who knows not his own soul, it is

not good to him." "Where no discretion is, there the soul is not


And he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.] And this will be the

case with him who is not Divinely instructed. A child does nothing

cautiously, because it is uninstructed; a savage is also rash

and precipitate, till experience instructs him. A man who has not

the knowledge of God is incautious, rash, headstrong, and

precipitate: and hence he sinneth-he is continually missing the

mark, and wounding his own soul.

Verse 3. The foolishness of man] Most men complain of cross

providences, because they get into straits and difficulties

through the perverseness of their ways; and thus they fret against

God; whereas, in every instance, they are the causes of their own

calamities. O how inconsistent is man!

Verse 4. The poor is separated from his neighbour.] Because he

has the "disease of all-shunned poverty."

Verse 7. Do hate him] They shun him as they do the person they

hate. They neither hate him positively, nor love him: they

disregard him; they will have nothing to do with him. sana

signifies not only to hate, but to show a less degree of love to

one than another. So Jacob loved Rachel, but hated Leah-showed her

less affection than he did to Rachel.

Verse 10. Delight is not seemly for a fool] taanug,

splendid or luxurious living, rank, equipage, &c. These sit ill on

a fool, though he be by birth a lord.

For a servant to have rule over princes.] I pity the king who

delivers himself into the hands of his own ministers. Such a one

loses his character, and cannot be respected by his subjects, or

rather their subjects. But it is still worse when a person of mean

extraction is raised to the throne, or to any place of power; he

is generally cruel and tyrannical.

Verse 11. It is his glory to pass over a transgression.] "No,"

says what is termed a man of honour; "he must meet me as a

gentleman; I must have his blood, let God say what he will." O

poor, dastardly coward! thou canst not bear the reproach of poor,

flimsy, paltry fellows who ridicule thee, because thou hast

refused to commit murder. Such laws should be put down by law; and

the man that gives a challenge should be hanged, because he

intends to commit murder.

Verse 12. The king's wrath is as the roaring of a lion] There is

nothing more dreadful than the roaring of this tyrant of the

forest. At the sound of it all other animals tremble, flee away,

and hide themselves. The king who is above law, and rules without

law, and whose will is his own law, is like the lion. This is

strongly descriptive of the character of Asiatic sovereigns.

Verse 13. The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.]

The man who has got such a wife is like a tenant who has got a

cottage with a bad roof, through every part of which the rain

either drops or pours. He can neither sit, stand, work, nor

sleep, without being exposed to these droppings. God help the

man who is in such a case, with house or wife!

Verse 14. A prudent wife is from the Lord.] One who has a good

understanding, ishshah mascaleth; who avoids

complaining, though she may often have cause for it.

Verse 15. Into a deep sleep] tardemah, the same into

which Adam was thrown, before Eve was taken from his side. Sloth

renders a man utterly unconscious of all his interests. Though he

has frequently felt hunger, yet he is regardless that his

continual slothfulness must necessarily plunge him into more


Verse 17. Lendeth unto the Lord] O what a word is this! God

makes himself debtor for every thing that is given to the poor!

Who would not advance much upon such credit? God will pay it

again. And in no case has he ever forfeited his word.

Verse 18. Let not thy soul spare for his crying.] This is a hard

precept for a parent. Nothing affects the heart of a parent so

much as a child's cries and tears. But it is better that the child

may be caused to cry, when the correction may be healthful to his

soul, than that the parent should cry afterwards, when the child

is grown to man's estate, and his evil habits are sealed for life.

Verse 19. A man of great wrath] He who is of an irritable, fiery

disposition, will necessarily get himself into many broils; and he

that is surety for him once is likely to be called on again and

again for the same friendly office.

Verse 21. There are many devices, &c.] The same sentiment as in

Pr 16:1, where see the note. See Clarke on Pr 16:1.

Verse 24. A slothful man hideth his hand in his bosom] Is too

lazy to feed himself, If he dip his hand once in the dish, he is

too lazy to put it in a second time. It is a strange case that a

man, through his excessive slothfulness, would rather starve than

put himself to the trouble to eat.

Verse 26. He that wasteth his father] Destroys his substance by

riotous or extravagant living, so as to embitter his latter end by

poverty and affliction; and adds to this wickedness the expulsion

of his aged widowed mother from the paternal house; is a son of

shame-a most shameful man; and a son of reproach-one whose conduct

cannot be sufficiently execrated. Who tormentith the fader, and

fleeth the modir, schenful schal ben, and unblisful.-Old MS.

Bible. The common reading of the Vulgate is, et fugat matrem, and

expels his mother; but the Old Bible was taken from a copy that

had fugit matrem, shuns his mother, flees away from her, leaves

her to affliction and penury. It is prostitution of the term to

call such, man.

Verse 27. Cease, my son] Hear nothing that would lead thee away

from God and his truth.

Verse 29. Stripes for the back of fools.] Profane and wicked

men expose themselves to the punishments denounced against such by

just laws. Avoid, therefore, both their company and their end.

Copyright information for Clarke