and that her guests are in the depths of hell; not only in the way to it, and on the brink of it, but in the very midst of it: there are many in hell she has invited into her house, and persuaded to turn in there, and commit fornication with her; and all that worship the beast, or commit spiritual adultery with the whore of Rome, will go down to perdition with her, and have their portion in hell fire, in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which they do not consider that are drawn into her idolatrous practices, Revelation 14:9.
INTRODUCTION TO Proverbs 10
From this chapter to the "twenty fifth" are various proverbial sentences, without any very apparent connection or coherence with each other; describing righteous and wicked men; setting forth their different temper, conduct, and actions, and the fruits and effects of them. It should be observed, that frequently in the preceding chapters two persons are represented as women; one goes by the name of "Wisdom", the other is called the "foolish" woman and a "harlot"; the former is clearly to be understood of Christ; and the latter, being opposed to him, must be antichrist, the whore of Rome, and mother of harlots: now in the following part of this book two sorts of persons are spoken of; the one as wise, righteous, good, &c. and the other as foolish, wicked, &c. who are no other than the followers of Christ and antichrist; which observation is a key to the whole book.
a wise son maketh a glad father; as Solomon made glad his father David: for no doubt there were appearances of his wisdom before he came to the throne, though greater afterwards; which made David rejoice that he was placed on the throne before his death, to whom he had committed the charge of building the house of the Lord;
but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother; brings grief and trouble to her, as perhaps Rehoboam did to his mother: though all this is to be understood conjunctly of both parents, and not separately of each; not as if a wise son only was matter of joy to his father, who may be thought to be a better judge of his wisdom, and more abroad to hear the fame of it, and to observe the effects of it; or as if a foolish son only caused grief to his mother, because more at home, and more privy to his foolish behaviour; but as being equally joyous or afflicting to both parents. Nor is this to be understood of such who are wise and foolish as to their natural capacities only; but who are so in a moral sense, either virtuous or vicious, good or wicked. Wherefore parents should be concerned for the education of their children, whose behaviour much depends upon it; and children for their conduct towards their parents and in the world, since their joy and grief are influenced by it. Some interpret the words mystically, the "father", of God; the "mother", of the church; and, the "sons", of the children of them both: and so may fitly describe the different followers of Christ and antichrist; the one being wise, the other foolish; the one acceptable to God, the other not.
but righteousness delivereth from death; either that which is righteously got, though it be ever so little, is a means of preserving life, and keeps their souls from famishing, Proverbs 10:3; or else what is liberally dispensed, for alms are called "righteousness", Psalm 112:9, Daniel 4:27. These are oftentimes the means of saving the lives of persons ready to perish, on whom they are bestowed, and who will venture their lives to save their benefactors; and such liberal persons are oftentimes blessed with long life, and are kept alive when threatened with death, Psalm 41:1; and though their good deeds are not meritorious of eternal life, yet they are rewarded with it in a way of grace, Matthew 25:34. Moreover, righteousness may be considered as legal and evangelical; a legal righteousness, or the righteousness of men in obedience to the law, cannot deliver from the sentence of death the law has passed; it is not properly a righteousness; it is imperfect, cannot justify, save, or bring to heaven, or entitle to life; notwithstanding this a man must die: but there is an evangelical righteousness; and this is either imparted and implanted in men, is the new man, which is created in righteousness and holiness; and this delivers from a moral or spiritual death, a death in trespasses and sins men are in; for by it they are quickened, live a life of faith on Christ, and have communion with God; have his image stamped on them, and live to him, and to Christ, and to righteousness, being freed from the servitude and dominion of sin; living in which is no other than death: or this righteousness is imputed, which is the righteousness of Christ; wrought out for them, reckoned to them, received by them, and by which they are justified; this delivers them, though not from a corporeal death, yet from the sting and curse of it, and from it as a penal evil, or as a punishment for sin: and it delivers from a legal death, or from the sentence and condemnation of the law, and from the second and eternal death, and entities them to life everlasting.
but he casteth away the substance of the wicked; that which is got in a wicked way; as sometimes he causes it to diminish by little and little; at other times he forcibly and suddenly drives it away, and causes it to take wings and fly away; though it has been swallowed down with great greediness and in great abundance, he makes them throw it up again, and casts it out of their belly, whether they will or not, so that it does not profit them, Job 20:15.
but the hand of the diligent maketh rich; that is, with the blessing of God along with it, as in Proverbs 10:22; such who are "sharp" (x) and acute, as the word signifies; who are careful and industrious, mind their business, and do the honest part; these, with a divine blessing, frequently grow rich: or rather who are like those that dig in the earth for gold, who search for it with great eagerness and diligence; for from this root is a word often used for gold, Proverbs 3:14. All this is true in a spiritual sense; such who are slothful in attendance on the means of grace, the word and ordinances, are slack and negligent in duty, bring a spiritual poverty upon them; and like the Laodicean church, who, through her lukewarmness and carnal security, became poor and wretched, blind and naked: on the other hand, such who are diligent in the use of means are frequent at the throne of grace, forsake not the assembly of the saints, constantly wait at Wisdom's gates; these grow rich in grace and in all good works.
(u) "vola doli", Montanus; "fraudulenta manu", Tigurine version, Cocceius, Schultens; so Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis. (w) So Mercerus. (x) "acuti", Bochart. Hierizoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 55. col. 668.
but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame; to himself, and to his parents and relations. The sum of the proverb is, that, in the time of health and youth, persons should be active and industrious in their several callings and stations, and provide against a time of sickness and old age; and that they should lose no opportunities, neither in a natural nor spiritual way, of doing or receiving good.
"the heads of the righteous.''
All covenant blessings, spiritual ones, such as are blessings indeed, solid and substantial, irreversible, and for ever; particularly a justifying righteousness, from whence they are denominated just; pardon of sin, peace of soul, every sanctifying grace, the blessing of adoption, and a right to eternal life: these being said to be on the "head" of them, may denote that they come from above, and descend in a way of grace upon them; that they are visible and manifest; that they reside, continue, and remain upon them; that they are as an ornament and crown unto them; and that they are a security of them that no wrath and vengeance can fall upon them. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, read, "the blessing of the Lord is upon the head of the just"; and such are all the blessings before mentioned;
but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked; that is, either his violent dealings are open and manifest, and are a scandal to him, as well as entail a curse on him; or rather the fruit and effect of his violence and oppression, the punishment due thereunto, is so righteously inflicted on him, that his mouth is stopped, and he has not one word to say against the just judgments of God upon him, for his violent usage of men, whether here or hereafter; see Psalm 107:42. Some render the words, "the mouth of the wicked covereth violence" (z); palliates and excuses it, and calls it by another name; or hides and conceals that which is in the heart, and does not utter it; see Proverbs 10:18. The Targum is,
"in the mouth of the wicked rapine is covered;''
as a sweet morsel under their tongue, though in the end bitterness.
(y) Tikkune Zohar. Correct. 47. fol. 87. 2.((z) "os impiorum operiet injuriam", Montanus, Baynus; "operit iniquitem", Vatablus, Mercerus.
but the name of the wicked shall rot; shall be forgotten, be buried in oblivion, and never mentioned: and though they may call their houses, lands, and cities, by their own names, in order to transmit their memory to posterity; yet these, by one means or another, are destroyed, and their memorials perish with them; see Ecclesiastes 8:10; and if their names are mentioned after they are gone, it is with detestation and abhorrence, as things putrefied are abhorred; so they leave an ill savour behind them, when the good name of the righteous is as precious ointment, Ecclesiastes 7:1. It is a saying of Cicero (a), that
"the life of the dead lies in the memory of the living.''
(a) Orat. 51. Philip. 9.
but a prating fool shall fall; like Diotrephes, that prated against the Apostle John and other saints. Or, "a fool of lips" (b); whose folly is proclaimed and made known by his lips; who, out of the abundance of it in his heart, speaks and pours it out by his lips: such an one falls into sin and into mischief; he falls into disgrace in this world, and into hell in the next. The Targum is,
"the fool by his lips shall be taken;''
as in a snare.
(b) "stultus labiis", Montanus, &c.
but he that perverteth his ways shall be known; who does not walk in a plain, direct, and even path, according to the rule of the word, as the upright man; but winds about here and there, goes into crooked paths, walks in craftiness as deceitful workers, whose folly shall be made manifest; though they think to hide it, and deceive men, they and their wickedness shall be exposed, their tricks and artful methods shall be laid open, and they be known to be what they are; if not in this life, yet at the last judgment, 1 Timothy 5:24. Jarchi and Aben Ezra observe another sense of the word, "he shall be broken", and compare with it Judges 8:16.
(c) "qui ambulat perfecte", Pagninus, Mercerus, Gejerus.
causeth sorrow; to himself in the issue, however he may for the present please himself with his evil doings; and to others, whom he allures and deceives. The Arabic version is, "heaps afflictions" or "sorrows on men"; whom he corrupts and draws into his evil company and conversation;
but a prating fool shall fall; or, "be taken", as the Targum; or "beaten", as the Vulgate Latin; See Gill on Proverbs 10:8.
but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked; so that nothing comes out of it but what is pernicious and hurtful; what savours of rapine and violence; nothing but lying and deceit, cursing and swearing, and such like filthy and corrupt communication; See Gill on Proverbs 10:6. The Targum is, "the mouth of the ungodly covers injury"; which is meditated in the heart; so the Vulgate Latin version.
but love covereth all sins; not its own, but others; in imitation of the pardoning love and grace of God, which covers all the sins of his people with the blood and righteousness of his Son. Love spreads its mantle over the sins of its fellow creatures and Christians, and forgives them, even all of them: instead of exposing them, hides and conceals them; and, instead of loading and aggravating the infirmities of others, puts the best constructions on them, hopes and bears, and believes all things, 1 Corinthians 13:7; see 1 Peter 4:8; where the apostle seems to have respect to this passage. This is not to be understood as conniving at or suffering sin upon others, or as contrary to Christian reproofs and rebukes for it.
but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding; or, "wants a heart" (e): that has no understanding of spiritual things in his heart, and so utters nothing but what is foolish and wicked, and, sooner or later, is chastised for it. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read this clause in connection with the former, thus; "he that brings forth wisdom out of his lips smites with a rod him that is void of understanding".
(e) "carcutis corde"; Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus.
but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction: who rashly and unguardedly utters things which bring swift and sudden destruction on himself and others; or terror and consternation, as the word (g) also signifies. The Vulgate Latin version is, "but the mouth of the foolish is near to confusion"; he boasts of his knowledge, betrays his ignorance, and so brings himself to shame and confusion.
(f) "abscondent", Pagninus, Montanus; "abscondunt", V. L. "occultant", Michaelis. (g) "terrorem accersit", Tigurine version; "consternatio propinqua", Cocceius; "terror", Vatablus, Michaelis.
the destruction of the poor is their poverty: or their poverty is their consternation, as the word (h) signifies, it frightens them; they, knowing their circumstances, are afraid of everybody and of every thing; not being able to defend themselves against their enemies, or support themselves in times of public calamity, as war, famine, or pestilence.
(h) "consternatio", Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis.
the fruit of the wicked to sin; whatever he enjoys, whether got by labour; though the word seems purposely omitted, as some observe, to signify that is not intended; or whether left him as an inheritance; or whatever way acquired, lawfully or unlawfully; all his revenues and riches, the increase of his substance and fields, are all used to sinful purposes, to pride, luxury, and wantonness; and so tend to death, even death eternal, the just wages of sin.
that keepeth instruction; the instruction in righteousness which the Scriptures give, especially the Gospel part of them; which is an instruction into the mind and will of God about man's salvation; into the grace of God, as displayed therein; into the person and offices of Christ, and salvation by him; into the doctrines of peace, pardon, righteousness, and life, through him. Now he to whom this instruction comes with power, and is the savour of life unto life; who receives it in the love of it; who "observes" (i) it, as the word here used signifies; takes notice of and follows its direction, pointing out Christ as the way of salvation, instructing to look to him and believe in him, and be saved; and who retains and holds fast such instruction, and abides by it; and finds the word of the Gospel, and eats it, and is nourished by it unto everlasting life; he is most assuredly in the way of it;
but he that refuseth reproof erreth; that is, from the way of life. He that rejects the counsel and advice, the admonitions and reproofs, given in the word of God, by the ministers of it; or by parents and masters, friends or relations, that wish him well; he wanders far off from the way that leads to life, and goes into the paths of sin, and consequently is in the way of death. Some render it, "causeth to err" (k); either others, as Aben Ezra; or both himself and others, as Jarchi: and then it may be understood of him "that forsaketh reproof" (l), as it may be rendered; that is, that declines giving reproof, when it lies in his way, and is his duty to do it. Aben Ezra reads this clause in connection with the former, as said of one and the same person,
"he is in the way of life that keepeth instruction, and forsakes or rejects the reproof of him that causeth to err.''
(i) "observat", Tigurine version; "servat", Cocceius; "observans", Schultens. (k) "faciens errare", Montanus, Gejerus; "seduceus sese", Tigurine version; "errare facit", some in Vatablus; "facit oberrare", Cocceius. (l) "qui relinquit increpationem", Pagninus; "deserens", Montanus, Schultens; "derelinquit", Piscator; "deserit", Cocceius.
(m) "Est vir laborium falsitatis", Piscator, "vel fallacium", Gejerus.
"he that multiplies words brings on or brings unto sin;''
but he that refraineth his lips is wise; lays a restraint on his mouth, bridles his tongue; does not suffer his lips to utter anything rashly and inconsiderately; is sparing of his words and is careful of what he says, that it is true and proper to be spoken; and considers well the time when, place where, and persons to whom he speaks; and, all circumstances weighed, conducts accordingly: such a man is a wise, prudent, and understanding man; see Proverbs 17:27.
(n) "non cessabit", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Michaelis; "non cessat", Piscator.
the heart of the wicked is little worth; good for nothing, as the Vulgate Latin version. The righteous man's tongue is better than the wicked man's heart; there is no good thing in his heart naturally; all manner of evil is in it, and comes out of it; no sin can be named but what is in his heart; all that is in it is sinful; the thoughts of it, and the imagination of his thoughts, are only evil, and that continually; the affections are inordinate, and set on sinful lusts and pleasures; the mind and conscience are defiled with sin; the understanding is darkened with it, and the will is obstinate and perverse, and bent upon it: his heart is wicked, and exceedingly wicked; it is wickedness itself, very wickedness, desperately wicked, incurably so without the grace of God. Such therefore know not their hearts who say they have good hearts; and they are fools that trust in them: this shows the necessity of regeneration, and that powerful and efficacious grace is requisite to it.
but fools die for want of wisdom: not a corporeal death, which is common to men of every rank and quality; wise men die even as fools; but they continue under the power of a spiritual death, for want of enlightening and quickening grace, and so die an eternal death: not for want of natural wisdom, which they may have a greater share of than those who live spiritually and eternally; but for want of spiritual wisdom and knowledge; the knowledge of Christ, and the way of life and salvation by him, and the knowledge of God in Christ; and not always for the want of the means of such wisdom and knowledge; as the Scriptures, which are able to make a man wise unto salvation; and the Gospel, which is the wisdom of God in a mystery; but through the neglect and contempt of them: though sometimes men perish through want of the means of knowledge, and the neglect of those who should instruct them, Hosea 4:6.
and he addeth no sorrow with it; no sorrow goes along with the blessing, but what is a blessing itself, as one observes; riches enjoyed through the blessing of God are not attended with that sorrow in getting, keeping, and losing them, as the riches of wicked men unlawfully gotten are; see 1 Timothy 6:9; for as the good man comes by them easily, without any anxious care and sinful solicitude, he seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things are added to him, over and above, without much thought about them, or expectation of them, Matthew 6:33; so it is with great delight, pleasure, and cheerfulness, he enjoys them, and readily communicates them to others; while the wicked man is full of anxiety, distress, and sorrow; see Ecclesiastes 5:12. This is eminently true of spiritual riches; there is no sorrow attending them; the fruit and effect of them are peace, joy, and comfort.
but a man of understanding hath wisdom; to avoid sin, and not to do it, which is true wisdom, Job 28:28; for he has, as it may be rendered, from the use of the word in the Arabic language (q), a "bridle" or "restraint" upon him, that he cannot do mischief and delight in it, as the fool does: or "so is wisdom to a man of understanding" (r); that is, to do it; as it is a pleasure to a feel to commit sin, so it is a delight to an understanding man to do that which is wise and good; it is "meat and drink" to do the will of God, see John 4:34; he takes as much pleasure in it as men can do in their sports and pastimes; he has a truer pleasure and a better relish than they have; he delights in the law of God after the inward man; and Wisdom's ways, or the ways of Christ, are pleasantness to him; he runs the ways of his commandments with great alacrity and cheerfulness.
(o) "facere scelus", Montanus, Baynus, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius, Michaelis; "perpetrare scelus", Piscator; "patrare facinus", Schultens. (p) "veluti risus", Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (q) Vid. Schultens de Defect. Hod. Ling. Heb. s. 216. (r) So some in Gejerus.
but the desire of the righteous shall be granted; or "he shall give" (s); that is, God shall give it; who has it in his hands or power to give it, as Jarchi's note is: what a righteous man desires from right principles, and with right views; what is for his own good and the glory of God; what he asks in faith, and with submission to the divine will, and is according to it, is sooner or later, in God's own time and way, granted unto him: particularly his desires after righteousness; after the righteousness of Christ, and to be found alone in that, living and dying; after holiness of heart and life, that he might be cleansed and kept from sin, and preserved to the coming of Christ; after more grace, an increase of it, and fresh supplies from Christ; after more communion with God and Christ, and conformity to them; after glory and happiness, and a being with them to all eternity. Some understand this of the righteous man's desire upon the wicked; that his fear might come upon him, and the glory of divine justice appear in his swift and sudden destruction; as expressed in Proverbs 10:25; so Aben Ezra.
(s) "dabit", Pagninus, Montanus, Baynus; "justis dat quod cupiunt", Tigurine version; "dabit Deus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis; "dat Deus", Mercerus, Gejerus.
but the righteous is an everlasting foundation; he is in a firm and stable state here and hereafter; interested in everlasting love; in which he is rooted and grounded; secured in an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure; having a share in everlasting salvation, and eternal redemption wrought out by Christ; being justified by his everlasting righteousness, which will answer for him in a time to come; and a partaker of those graces of the Spirit, faith, hope, and love, which are a well of living water springing up to everlasting life; and having everlasting strength and everlasting consolation in Christ, and a title to eternal life through him. Or, "but the righteous has an everlasting foundation" (t); the sense is the same; which foundation is not external privileges of birth and education, or a mere outward profession of religion, or works of righteousness done; these are not everlasting, but sandy foundations; but Christ is the righteous man's foundation, and he is the only one, 1 Corinthians 3:11. Some take the sense to be, the "righteous", that is, Jesus Christ the righteous, "is an everlasting foundation"; he is the foundation of the church, the rock on which it is built; he is the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on which they were laid, and by whom they are saved; he is the foundation of every particular believer, they are rooted and built up on him; he is the foundation of their faith, hope, love, peace, joy, and comfort, and of their eternal glory and happiness: and an "everlasting one" he is; he is so in his person as God-man; in his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King; in the efficacy of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice; and is a foundation which is sure, and will never fail: he has been the foundation of his people in all ages; and he is the same today, yesterday, and for ever. Hence, though the wicked pass away as the whirlwind, and by one, the righteous shall not; they are on a foundation, and cannot be blown off of it by the storms and tempests of Satan's temptations, their own corruptions, the persecutions of men, the errors of the wicked, or by the whirlwind of divine wrath and vengeance. Some render it, "the righteous is the foundation of the world" (u); the pillar and support of it; as the righteous are the salt of the earth, they are the stay of it: the whirlwind of God's wrath would tear up the course of nature, dissolve the earth, and all things in it, were it not for the sake of the righteous; and, when they are called and gathered in, there will be a general dissolution of all things, 2 Peter 3:9.
(t) "atjusti fandamentum perpetuum est", Tigurine versions; "justo vero sit, vel est fundamentum perpetuum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (u) "Fundamentum mundi", Hebraei in Mercer. Maimonides apud Grotius.
"as the sour grape is hurtful to the teeth;''
sets them on edge;
and as smoke to the eye; dims the sight, causes the eye to water, and is very pernicious and vexatious:
so is the sluggard to them that send him: that is, the slothful messenger, as the Targum explains it; who, being sent on an errand, is dilatory, does not make haste to bring back the answer; which is very vexatious to those that send him, raises their passions, makes them fretful and very angry, be it on what account it will: so slothful and unprofitable servants, to whom talents are given for usefulness, which they hide or use not, are very provoking to Christ, and whom he will order into outer darkness; those who have gifts for sacred service ought not to be slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, Matthew 25:26.
but the years of the wicked shall be shortened; through diseases, which their sins bring upon them, which cut them off before they have lived out half their days; or by means of which, their sins, they come into the hand of the civil magistrate, and die before their time; or are taken off in their full strength by the immediate judgment of God, as were Ananias and Sapphira; and so they die in the midst of their days; and before the time, which, according to the course of nature, and the common period of life, in all human probability they might have arrived unto, Psalm 55:23.
but the expectation of the wicked shall perish; his hope and expectation, either of riches, and honour, and pleasure in this world, or of a long life in it; or of happiness in the other, and of escaping the wrath of God, and the vengeance of eternal fire; all which, being grounded on a wrong bottom, shall be frustrated; see Job 8:13.
(w) "Est", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Michaelis.
but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity; not to all that do iniquity, for no man lives without sin; but to those who give up themselves to it, make a trade of it; whose course of life is sinful, and do nothing else but sin; this their way leads to ruin; destruction and misery are now in all their ways, and will be the certain issue of them, even destruction of both soul and body; which will be swift and sudden, come upon them before they are aware, and will be everlasting; it will continue for ever, and there will be no deliverance from it. The Word (x) signifies terror and consternation; and such seize on a wicked man at death, to whom death is the king of terrors; and which will still more strongly possess him when in hell he lifts up his eyes; and also at the day of judgment, when he shall see the Judge coming in the clouds of heaven, sitting on a fiery throne, and shall hear him pronounce him cursed. The clause may be rendered, but the way of the Lord is "terror to the workers of iniquity" (y); the way of the Lord in his works of providence, in which he oftentimes does terrible things in righteousness; and he is very terrible to men in his judgments here, and will be more so in his awful procedure at the last judgment.
(x) "pavor", V. L. Pagninus, Tigurine version, Mercerus, Gejerus; "consternatio", Vatablus, Cocceius, Michaelis. (y) So Mercerus, Gejerus.
but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth; but a very little while, as Gersom observes; and the time of their abode on earth is so short, as scarce to be called an inhabitation of it. Moreover, they shall not inhabit the earth the righteous will, even the new earth, which none but righteous persons shall inhabit, 2 Peter 3:13; see Psalm 37:9.
but the froward tongue shall be cut out; or "cut down" (z); as an unprofitable tree, which brings forth nothing but perverse things; things contrary to God and good men, to truth and right reason, to the light of nature, the law of God, and Gospel of Christ. Such "a tongue of perversities" (a), as it may be rendered, that brings forth blasphemies against God, his tabernacle and his saints, as the tongue of antichrist does, deserves to be cut out, as the tongue of a blasphemer.
(z) "succidetur", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus. (a) "lingua perversitatum", Montanus, Junius & Tremeilius, Gejerus, Michaelis.