Proverbs 28


The timidity of the wicked. Quick succession in the government

of a country is a punishment to the land. Of the poor who

oppress the poor. The upright poor man is preferable to the

wicked rich man. The unprofitable conduct of the usurer. The

prosperity of the righteous a cause of rejoicing. He is

blessed who fears always. A wicked ruler a curse. The murderer

generally execrated. The faithful man. The corrupt judge. The

foolishness of trusting in one's own heart. The charitable man.

When the wicked are elevated, it is a public evil.


Verse 1. The wicked flee] Every wicked man, however bold he may

appear, is full of dreary apprehensions relative to both worlds.

But the righteous has true courage, being conscious of his own

innocence, and the approbation of his God. The unpitious

fleeith.-Old MS. Bible. This word is often used for impious,

wicked, ungodly; hence it appears that our word pity anciently

meant piety or godliness.

Verse 2. Many are the princes] Nations, as nations, cannot be

judged in a future world; therefore, God judges them here. And

where the people are very wicked, and the constitution very

bad, the succession of princes is frequent-they are generally

taken off by an untimely death. Where the people know that the

constitution is in their favour, they seldom disturb the prince,

as they consider him the guardian of their privileges.

But by a man of understanding] Whether he be a king, or the

king's prime minister, the prosperity of the state is advanced by

his counsels.

Verse 3. A poor man that oppresseth the poor] Our Lord

illustrates this proverb most beautifully, by the parable of the

two debtors, Mt 18:23, &c. One owed

ten thousand talents, was insolvent, begged for time, was

forgiven. A fellow servant owed this one a hundred pence: he was

insolvent; but prayed his fellow servant to give him a little

time, and he would pay it all. He would not, took him by the

throat, and cast him into prison till he should pay that debt.

Here the poor oppressed the poor; and what was the consequence?

The oppressing poor was delivered to the tormentors; and the

forgiven debt charged to his amount, because he showed no mercy.

The comparatively poor are often shockingly uncharitable and

unfeeling towards the real poor.

Like a sweeping rain] These are frequent in the East; and

sometimes carry flocks, crops, and houses, away with them.

Verse 4. They that forsake the law] He that transgresses says,

in fact, that it is right to transgress; and thus other wicked

persons are encouraged.

Verse 5. They that seek the Lord understand all things.] They

are wise unto salvation; they "have the unction from the Holy One,

and they know all things," 1Jo 2:20, every thing that is

essentially needful for them to know, in reference to both worlds.

Verse 8. He that by usury-increaseth his substance] By taking

unlawful interest for his money; lending to a man in great

distress, money, for the use of which he requires an exorbitant

sum. O that the names of all those unfeeling, hard-hearted,

consummate villains in the nation, who thus take advantage of

their neighbour's necessities to enrich themselves, were published

at every market cross; and then the delinquents all sent to their

brother savages in New Zealand. It would be a happy riddance to

the country.

Verse 9. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law] Many

suppose, if they do not know their duty, they shall not be

accountable for their transgressions; and therefore avoid every

thing that is calculated to enlighten them. They will not read the

Bible, lest they should know the will of Good; and they will not

attend Divine ordinances for the same reason. But this pretense

will avail them nothing; as he that might have known his master's

will, but would not, shall be treated as he shall be who did know

it, and disobeyed it. Even the prayers of such a person as this

are reputed sin before God.

Verse 10. Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray] He who

strives to pervert one really converted to God, in order that he

may pour contempt on religion, shall fall into that hell to which

he has endeavoured to lead the other.

Verse 12. When righteous men do rejoice] When true religion is

no longer persecuted, and the word of God duly esteemed, there is

great glory; for the word of the Lord has then free course, runs,

and is glorified: but when the wicked rise-when they are elevated

to places of trust, and put at the head of civil affairs, then the

righteous man is obliged to hide himself; the word of the Lord

becomes scarce, and there is no open vision. The first vas the

case in this country, in the days of Edward VI.; the second in the

days of his successor, MARY I. Popery, cruelty, and knavery, under

her, nearly destroyed the Church and the State in these islands.

Verse 13. He that covereth his sins] Here is a general direction

relative to conversion. 1. If the sinner do not acknowledge his

sins; if he cover and excuse them, and refuse to come to the light

of God's word and Spirit, lest his deeds should be reproved, he

shall find no salvation. God will never admit a sinful,

unhumbled soul, into his kingdom. 2. But if he confess his sin,

with a penitent and broken heart, and, by forsaking every evil

way, give this proof that he feels his own sore, and the plague of

his heart, then he shall have mercy. Here is a doctrine of vital

importance to the salvation of the soul, which the weakest may


Verse 14. Happy is the man that feareth alway] That ever carries

about with him that reverential and filial fear of God, which will

lead him to avoid sin, and labour to do that which is lawful and

right in the sight of God his Saviour.

Verse 16. The prince that wanteth understanding] A weak prince

will generally have wicked ministers, for his weakness prevents

him from making a proper choice; and he is apt to prefer them who

flatter him, and minister most to his pleasures. The quantum of

the king's intellect may be always appreciated by the mildness or

oppressiveness of his government. He who plunges his people into

expensive wars, to support which they are burdened with taxes, is

a prince without understanding. He does not know his own interest,

and does not regard that of his people. But these things, though

general truths, apply more particularly to those despotic

governments which prevail in Asiatic countries.

Verse 17. That doeth violence to the blood] He who either slays

the innocent, or procures his destruction, may flee to hide

himself: but let none give him protection. The law demands his

life, because he is a murderer; and let none deprive justice of

its claim. Murder is the most horrid crime in the sight of God and

man; it scarcely ever goes unpunished, and is universally


Verse 18. Shall fall at once] Shall fall without resource,


Verse 19. He that tilleth his land] See Pr 12:11.

Verse 20. He that maketh haste to be rich] See Pr 13:11; 20:21.

Verse 24. Whoso robbeth his father] The father's property is as

much his own, in reference to the child, as that of the merest

stranger. He who robs his parents is worse than a common robber;

to the act of dishonesty and rapine he adds ingratitude, cruelty,

and disobedience. Such a person is the compatriot of a destroyer;

he may be considered as a murderer.

Verse 25. Shall be made fat.] Shall be prosperous.

Verse 26. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool] For his

heart, which is deceitful and desperately wicked, will infallibly

deceive him.

Verse 27. He that giveth unto the poor] See the notes on the

passages referred to in the margin.

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