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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 12

 

 

Verse 1

PROVERBS CHAPTER 12

Instruction; admonition or reproof, as appears from the next clause, which is a singular means of getting true and sound knowledge.

Loveth knowledge; showeth that he is a true lover of knowledge, because he is willing to purchase it upon such unwelcome terms, as reproofs are generally esteemed.

Is brutish; discovereth himself to be a most foolish and stupid creature, because he is an enemy to himself and to his own happiness.


Verse 2

Obtaineth favour; whereby he is and shall be acquitted and justified.

A man of wicked devices, who designeth and industriously committeth wickedness, will he condemn, when he standeth in judgment, howsoever he may for the present justify himself, and deceive others into a good opinion of him.


Verse 3

By wickedness; by any sinful courses by which he useth to secure or stablish himself; whereby he implies that he shall be rooted up.

Shall not be moved, to wit, out of its place. He shall stand fast, and flourish, like a well-rooted tree.


Verse 4

A crown; a singular ornament and matter of his glorying and joy.

That maketh ashamed; that by her folly or wickedness bringeth shame to herself and to her husband. As rottenness in his bones; loathsome, and vexatious, and pernicious.


Verse 5

The thoughts of the righteous are right; his constant purpose is to deal justly and truly with God and with men.

The counsels of the wicked are deceit; his great care and contrivance is to wrong and deceive others by fair pretences and cunning artifices.


Verse 6

Are to lie in wait for blood; are designed and ordered to entrap or deceive others, and to destroy them.

Shall deliver them, to wit, from those that lie in wait for them; which it doth, either,

1. By prayer to God for their deliverance; or,

2. By pacifying the wicked with soft and gentle answers, or by diverting them from their evil course by their good counsels and admonitions; or,

3. By pleading their righteous cause in a judicial or other way.


Verse 7

Are not; both they and their families shall suddenly perish. The house; the family or posterity.


Verse 8

A man shall be commended, to wit, by wise and good men, according to his wisdom; more or less according to the degree of wisdom which his discourses and actions discover to be in him.

He that is of a perverse heart, which he showeth by his wicked words and conversation, shall be despised by God and all wise men.


Verse 9

That is despised; that liveth in a mean and obscure condition in the world, for such are commonly despised by men of a higher rank.

Hath a servant; hath but one servant. Or rather, is servant to himself; hath none to wait upon him or work for him but himself, that getteth bread by his own labours.

Is better, is happier, than he that honoureth himself, that glorieth in his high birth or gay attire, and lacketh bread, wants necessaries for his own sustenance.


Verse 10

Regardeth the life of his beast, which is employed in his service; he will not destroy it either by labours beyond its strength, or by denying to it necessary food or rest, or by any other way; and much more will he be pitiful to his own servants, and to poor men.

The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel; there is much cruelty mixed even with their most merciful actions, when they pretend or intend to show mercy. Heb. the bowels of the, &c.; those very bowels, which in others are the seat of pity, in him are hardened and shut up, and only stir him up to cruelty. Instead of that mercy which is natural to other men, he hath nothing but cruelty. Their

mercies are here said to be

cruel, as

the foolishness and weakness of God are said to be wise and strong, 1 Corinthians 1:25.


Verse 11

That tilleth his land; that employeth his time and strength in an honest calling.

That followeth vain persons; that useth their society and idle course of living.

Is void of understanding; shall through his own folly want bread.


Verse 12

The wicked desireth the net of evil men; he approveth and useth those cunning and deceitful arts, which wicked men use like nets to insnare other men, and to take their goods to themselves. Or, he desireth the fortress of wicked men, or of wickedness, i.e. he seeks to fortify and stablish himself by wicked practices.

The root of the righteous yieldeth fruit; that justice and piety in which he is rooted, and which is the root of his actions, doth of itself, without the aid of any indirect and sinful courses, yield him sufficient fruit, both for his own need, and to do good to others. But because the word fruit is not in the Hebrew, and may seem to be too great a supplement, it is and may be rendered thus, the root of the righteous giveth it, to wit, that fortress or security which others seek in wickedness.


Verse 13

The wicked is snared, i.e. brought into trouble,

by the transgression of his lips, by his wicked speeches against God and men. The just shall come out of trouble, to wit, by his wise, and holy, and inoffensive speeches, whereby he pacifieth men, and gaineth God’s favour and protection.


Verse 14

By the fruit of his mouth; by his pious and profitable discourses.

Of a man’s hands, i.e. of his works and actions, of which the hand is the great instrument; whereby also may be implied that God will not regard nor recompense good works, unless they be accompanied with a good conversation.

Shall be rendered unto him, to wit, by God, to whom the work of retribution belongs.


Verse 15

The way of a fool, the counsel and course which his own mind suggests to him in ordering of his affairs,

is right in his own eyes; highly pleaseth him, so that he neglects and despiseth the opinions and advices of others.

He that hearkeneth unto counsel; that distrusteth his own judgment, and seeketh counsel from others.


Verse 16

Is presently known, by his rash words and indecent actions, whereby he exposeth himself to shame.

Covereth shame; either,

1. The shame, or reproach, or injury done to him by others, which he concealeth and beareth with patience, and passeth by, as his duty and interest obligeth him to do. Or,

2. His own shame, to which the folly of rash anger would have betrayed him.


Verse 17

He that speaketh truth, Heb.

He that will speak truth, i.e. he who accustometh himself to speak truth in common conversation; for the future tense in the Hebrew tongue oft notes a continued act or habit.

Showeth forth righteousness, to wit, as a witness in public judgment; he will speak nothing but what is true and just; you may depend upon his testimony.

But a false witness deceit; he who useth himself to lying in his common talk will use falsehood and deceit in judgment.


Verse 18

Speaketh like the piercings of a sword, hurtful and pernicious words, whereby they either corrupt men’s minds and manners, or scandalize them, or injure them in their reputation, estate, or life, or otherwise.

The tongue of the wise is health; his speech, both in judgment and in common discourse, is sound and wholesome in itself, and tending to the comfort and benefit of others.


Verse 19

The speaker of truth is constant, and always agreeable to himself, and his words, the more and longer they are tried, the more doth the truth of them appear; whereas liars, though they may make a fair show for a season, yet are easily and quickly convicted of falsehood.


Verse 20

Deceit; either,

1. Towards others, whom they design to deceive, and then to destroy, whilst good counsellors bring safety and joy to others. Or rather,

2. To themselves. So the sense of the verse is, They whose hearts devise mischief against others shall be deceived in their hopes, and bring that trouble upon themselves which they design against others; but they who by good counsels labour to promote the peace and happiness of others, shall reap the comfort and benefit of it to themselves.


Verse 21

No evil; either,

1. Of sin; or rather,

2. Of suffering or mischief, as the next clause explains this. No such evil shall befall them as doth commonly befall the wicked, who are filled, or overwhelmed, and utterly destroyed by it; whereas good men are supported under their troubles, and shall be delivered out of them, and receive much benefit by them.


Verse 22

That deal truly; that speak and act sincerely and truly. He implies, that although lying lips alone are sufficient to purchase God’s hatred, yet truth in a man’s speech is not sufficient to procure God’s favour, unless there be also truth and justice in his actions.


Verse 23

Concealeth knowledge; he doth not vain-gloriously and unseasonably utter what he knows, but keeps it in his breast till he hath a fit occasion to bring it forth for God’s glory, and the good of others.

Proclaimeth foolishness; whilst he makes ostentation of his knowledge, he betrays his ignorance and folly. Compare Ecclesiastes 10:3.


Verse 24

Shall bear rule; shall procure wealth and power.

The slothful, Heb. the deceitful. So he calls the slothful, because deceit and idleness are commonly companions, and such men seek to gain by fraud what they either cannot or will not get by honest labour. Compare Proverbs 10:4.


Verse 25

A compassionate or encouraging word from a friend or minister.


Verse 26

More excellent; either,

1. In his temper and disposition, more just, and generous, and public-spirited, and merciful, &c. Or,

2. In his condition, more happy, notwithstanding all his sufferings and the contrary opinion of the world concerning them.

Than his neighbour; than any other men.

Seduceth them, Heb. maketh them to err or wander, to lose that excellency or happiness which they had promised to themselves in and by their wicked practices.


Verse 27

The slothful man; or, the deceitful man, as Proverbs 12:24, who seeks to enrich himself by fraudulent and unjust practices.

Roasteth not that which he took in hunting; doth not enjoy the fruit of his labours or devices, either because he doth not labour, and so hath nothing to waste or enjoy; or because God ofttimes deprives him either of such ill-gotten goods, or at least of a quiet and comfortable fruition of them.

Is precious; yields him great comfort and satisfaction, partly because it abides with him, and partly because he hath God’s favour and blessing with it.


Verse 28

The practice of justice and godliness, though it expose a man to some dangers and inconveniences in the world, yet it will certainly lead him to life and happiness, whereas the end of all wicked courses is death and destruction.

 


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Bibliography Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 12:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-12.html. 1685.

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