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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 12

 

 

Verse 1

Proverbs 12:1. Whoso loveth instruction Or, according to others, correction, or reproof. It is well observed, that if a man cannot endure to be told of his faults, it is a shrewd sign that he is in the way to be undone, and has not yet approached so much as to the gates of wisdom.


Verse 4

Proverbs 12:4. A virtuous woman A strong woman, in the Hebrew, a woman of diligence or oeconomy. Solomon seems to intend by his appellation, a woman who has all the perfections of her sex; wisdom, modesty, prudence, virtue, and oeconomy and good management: and by her who maketh ashamed, he means the contrary; and particularly, a woman who dissipates her husband's substance in expensive follies; in the same manner as he called a libertine and prodigal son, a son that causeth shame. Chap. Proverbs 10:5. See chap. Proverbs 14:1 and Calmet.


Verse 9

Proverbs 12:9. He that is despised, and hath a servant, &c.— The passage may be understood; "It is better to be in lowliness and obscurity, and to cultivate one's own little heritage, than to want the necessaries of life, through a foolish vanity, which refuses to labour." It is not labour, but idleness which ought to cause shame. Calmet.


Verse 10

Proverbs 12:10. A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast Lord Bacon observes upon this verse, that there is implanted in man's nature [by Divine grace] a noble and excellent affection of pity and compassion, called here mercy (for the word rendered righteous, signifies mild, clement, merciful), which mercy extends itself even unto brute creatures, that are by divine ordination subject to his command. Therefore this compassion hath some analogy with that of a prince toward his subjects; nay, further, it is most certain, that the worthier any soul is, the larger is its compassion: for contracted and degenerate minds imagine these things pertain not to them; but the mind which looks upon itself as a nobler portion of the universe, is kindly affected towards inferior creatures, from the communion that there is between them: wherefore we see that there were under the old law many precepts concerning this; which were not so much merely ceremonial, as institutions of mercy. See more on this subject in the Advancement of Learning, b. viii. c. 2. The next clause means, "the very kindnesses of the wicked, being treacherous, are a cruel cheat; nay, the highest expressions which they make of tenderness and compassion, whereby they induce others to repose a trust in them, are intended merely as a cover for the mischief which they mean more securely to do them." The Greeks have a proverb nearly to the same purpose, Εχθρων δωρα αδωρα, "The gifts of enemies are no gifts." See a pleasing discourse on this text, entitled, "Clemency to Brutes."


Verse 11

Proverbs 12:11. He that tilleth, &c.— The LXX add to this verse, He that taketh a pleasure in taverns, shall leave disgrace in his own fortresses.


Verse 12

Proverbs 12:12. The wicked desireth, &c.— The wicked earnestly desireth the hunting of evil. Schultens. Houbigant reads it very differently, A tempest shall shake the device of the wicked: the root of the just shall be firm.


Verse 13

Proverbs 12:13. The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips i.e. A wicked man is himself ensnared by his prevarications.


Verse 15

Proverbs 12:15. The way of a fool, &c.— The danger of self-love and self-conceit is here represented; which have ever this effect, that they make men slight, if not reject, good counsel, out of a vain opinion that none can advise them better than themselves; which is, to follow the direction of a fool: for it is as certain a note of folly to rely wholly upon a man's own judgment, as it is of prudence to hearken to the advice of others.


Verse 16

Proverbs 12:16. A fool's wrath is presently known, &c.— Solomon does not approve those who disguise and conceal their resentment till they find a proper opportunity to avenge themselves; but he condemns those who have not the power to repress the first motions of their passions. They who moderate the first heat of their wrath are more likely to extinguish it wholly in future. See Calmet.


Verse 19

Proverbs 12:19. The lip of truth shall be established The LXX read, True lips establish testimony; but a hasty witness hath an unrighteous tongue. Houbigant renders it, Perpetuity is in the lip of truth; the tongue of falsehood is for a point of time.


Verse 22

Proverbs 12:22. Lying lips are abomination to the Lord "The Lord (says Melancthon on this verse) recommends to us the love and care of truth, both in doctrines concerning himself, and in arts, and all honest covenants and contracts: for truth being among the chiefest and most conspicuous virtues, therefore the contrary vice is condemned by an expressive word, תועבה toeibah, abomination: that is, such an evil as God detests with a singular indignation (for idols are called תועבות toeiboth, abominations); which is principally true of such lies as are invented on purpose to destroy men's fame; and much more of such as are devised for the taking away their the ruin of their lives, and families."


Verse 27

Proverbs 12:27. The slothful man roasteth not, &c.— Schultens thinks this verse parallel to the 4th verse of the 10th chapter; and he renders it, A self-deceiving sloth will not even hunt; but the opulence of a diligent man is great. See his note. The LXX render the last clause, A pure man is a precious acquisition. The author of the Observations remarks, that there is something particular in the word חרךֶ charak, used in this passage of Solomon; which is not the word commonly used for roasting, but signifies rather singeing; as appears from Daniel 3:27. No author, I think, gives us an account what this should mean, understood in this sense. Besides wild boars, antelopes, and hares, which are particularly mentioned by D'Arveaux, when he speaks of the Arabs as diverting themselves with hunting in the Holy Land, Dr. Shaw tells us, all kinds of game are found in great plenty in that country. But I do not remember an account of any thing being prepared for food by singeing, which is taken either in hunting or hawking, except hares; which I have somewhere read of as dressed in the east after this manner. A hole being dug in the ground, and the earth scooped out of it laid all around its edge, the brush-wood with which it is filled is set on fire, the hare is thrown unskinned into the hole, and afterwards covered up with the heated earth which is laid round about it; where it continues till it is thought to be done enough, and then, being brought to table, sprinkled with salt, is found to be agreeable food. See Observations, p. 182 and Miscell. Curios. vol. 3: p. 389. Parkhurst says, that the word חרךֶ charak, which we render roast, signifies "to inclose in lattice-work; to confine in a latticed cage or place, as men do what they take in hunting." He renders it, The deceitful man shall not secure (namely, in lattice-work) his prey.


Verse 28

Proverbs 12:28. In the path-way thereof there is no death Or, There is immortality. The LXX read the clause, But the way of the revengeful is to death: and Houbigant, after the Vulgate, But a devious way leadeth to death.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-12.html. 1801-1803.

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