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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 12:9

 

 

Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant Than he who honors himself and lacks bread.

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that is despised, and hath a servant - I believe the Vulgate gives the true sense of this verse: Melior est pauper, et sufficiens sibi; quam gloriosus, et indigens pane.

"Better is the poor man who provides for himself, than the proud who is destitute of bread." The versions in general agree in this sense. This needs no comment. There are some who, through pride of birth, etc., would rather starve, than put their hands to menial labor. Though they may be lords, how much to be preferred is the simple peasant, who supports himself and family by the drudgery of life!


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-12.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Two interpretations are equally tenable;

(1) as in the King James Version, He whom men despise, or who is “lowly” in his own eyes (compare 1 Samuel 18:23), if he has a slave, i. e., if he is one step above absolute poverty, and has some one to supply his wants, is better off than the man who boasts of rank or descent and has nothing to eat. Respectable mediocrity is better than boastful poverty.

(2) he who, though despised, is a servant to himself, i. e., supplies his own wants, is better than the arrogant and helpless.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-12.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 12:9

He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

Domestic modesty and display

Vanity, or love of display, is one of the most contemptible and pernicious passions that can take possession of the human mind. Its roots are self-ignorance, its fruits are affectation and falsehood. The text refers to this in families, and when it takes possession of households it often destroys domestic comforts.

I. There are domestic comforts without display. In many an unpretending cottage there is more real domestic enjoyment than can be found in the most imposing mansions.

II. There is domestic display without comforts. Many sacrifice comforts for appearances. They all but starve their domestics to feed their vanity. They must be grand though they lack bread. This love of appearance, this desire for show, is making sad havoc with the homes of old England.

III. The condition of the former is preferable to that of the latter. It is better to have comforts without show than show without comforts.

1. It is more rational.

2. It is more moral.

3. It is more satisfying. (Homilist.)

Vain honouring of self

Amid the changes of this world, I have seen a man who, having known better days, had been nursed by luxury, and reared in the lap of fulness, outlive his good-fortune, and sink down into the baseness and meanness of the deepest poverty--in such a case it seems to be with men as with plants. Naturalists find it much less easy to teach a mountain flower to accommodate itself to a low locality than to persuade one which by birth belongs to the valleys to live and thrive at a lofty elevation; so there seems nothing more difficult to men than to descend gracefully . . . And thus I have seen such an one as I have described, when he had lost his wealth, retain his vanity, continuing proud in spirit when he had become poor in circumstances. (T. Guthrie, D. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 12:9". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-12.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Better is he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant, Than he that honoreth himself, and lacketh bread."

"It is better to be an ordinary man working for a living than to play the part of a great man but go hungry."[14] "Better a man of low rank with a servant, than one who makes a show and has to do his own work."[15]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that is despised, and hath a servant,.... Meaning not the same person as before, but one in mean circumstances of life; and because he has not that substance as others have, at least does not make that show and figure in the world as some; and mean in his own eyes, as Jarchi; and does not affect grandeur, and to look greater than he is; has just sufficiency to keep a servant to wait upon him; or, as some render it, is "a servant to himself"F16עבד לו "servus sibiipsi", Montanus; "suiipius", Vatablus; "sibimet", Schultens. ; to this purpose the Septuagint; and so Jarchi and Gersom interpret it, who does his own work at home and abroad, in the house and in the field, and so gets himself a competent living. He

is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread; that boasts of his pedigree, and brags of his wealth; dresses out in fine clothes, keeps a fine equipage, makes a great figure abroad, and has scarce bread to eat at home, and would have none if his debts were paid; the former is much the better man on all accounts, and more to be commended; see Proverbs 13:7. And so, as Cocceius observes, the least shepherd (under Christ) that has ever so few sheep, one or two under his care, whom he brings to righteousness, and by whom he is loved, is preferable to the pope of Rome, who is adored by all; and yet neither has nor gives the bread of souls; and without the offerings of others has not anything to eat.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

[He that is] despised, c and hath a servant, [is] better than he that honoureth himself, and is destitute of bread.

(c) The poor man that is contemned and yet lives of his own travail.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-12.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

despised — held in little repute, obscure (1 Samuel 18:23; Isaiah 3:5).

hath a servant — implying some means of honest living.

honoureth himself — is self-conceited.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-12.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

9 Better is he who is lowly and has a servant,

Than he that makes himself mighty and is without bread.

This proverb, like Proverbs 15:17, commends the middle rank of life with its quiet excellences. נקלה (like 1 Samuel 18:23), from קלה , cognate with קלל , Syr. 'kly , to despise, properly levi pendere, levem habere (whence קלון , scorn, disgrace), here of a man who lives in a humble position and does not seek to raise himself up. Many of the ancients (lxx, Symmachus, Jerome, Syr., Rashi, Luther, Schultens) explain ועבד לו by, and is a servant to himself, serves himself; but in that case the words would have been עבד לנפשׁו (Syr. דּמשׁמּשׁ נפשׁהּ ), or rather ועבדּו הוּא . ועבד לו would be more appropriate, as thus pointed by Ziegler, Ewald, and Hitzig. But if one adheres to the traditional reading, and interprets this, as it must be interpreted: et cui servus (Targ., Graec. Venet .), then that supplies a better contrast to וחסר־לחם , for “the first necessity of an oriental in only moderate circumstances is a slave, just as was the case with the Greeks and Romans” (Fl.). A man of lowly rank, who is, however, not so poor that he cannot support a slave, is better than one who boasts himself and is yet a beggar (2 Samuel 3:29). The Hithpa . often expresses a striving to be, or to wish to appear to be, what the adj. corresponding to the verb states, e.g. , התגּדּל , התעשּׁר ; like the Greek middles, εζεσθαι , αζεσθαι , cf. התחכּם and σοφίζεσθαι . So here, where with Fleischer we have translated: who makes himself mighty, for כבד , gravem esse , is etymologically also the contrast of קלה . The proverb, Sirach 10:26: κρείσσων ἐργαζόμενος καὶ περισσεύων ἐν πᾶσιν, ἢ δοξαζόμενος καὶ ἀπορῶν ἄρτων (according to the text of Fritzsche), is a half remodelling, half translation of this before us.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-12.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Note, 1. It is the folly of some that they covet to make a great figure abroad, take place, and take state, as persons of quality, and yet want necessaries at home, and, if their debts were paid, would not be worth a morsel of bread, nay, perhaps, pinch their bellies to put it on their backs, that they may appear very gay, because fine feathers make fine birds. 2. The condition and character of those is every way better who content themselves in a lower sphere, where they are despised for the plainness of their dress and the meanness of their post, that they may be able to afford themselves, not only necessaries, but conveniences, in their own houses, not only bread, but a servant to attend them and take some of their work off their hands. Those that contrive to live plentifully and comfortably at home are to be preferred before those that affect nothing so much as to appear splendid abroad, though they have not wherewithal to maintain their appearance, whose hearts are unhumbled when their condition is low.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-12.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

He that lives in a humble state, who has no one to wait upon him, but gets bread by his own labour, is happier than he that glories in high birth or gay attire, and wants necessaries.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-12.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

Despised — That lives in a mean condition.

Honoureth — That glories in his high birth or gay attire.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-12.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 12:9 [He that is] despised, and hath a servant, [is] better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

Ver. 9. Better is he that is despised.] Viz., Of others, and hath no extraordinary opinion of himself, but sticks close to his business, and hath help at hand when he pleases, a servant at his beck and check. This was the case of Galleacius Caracciolus, that noble marquis, in his exile at Geneva for conscience’ sake. See his life set forth in English by Mr Crashaw.

Than he that honoureth himself and lacketh bread.] That standing upon his slippers, and boasting of his gentility - as those Spanish Hidalgoes ruffle it out in brave apparel - but hath not a penny in his purse, yea, not sometime food sufficient to put in his belly. Spaniards are said to be impudent braggers, and extremely proud in the lowest ebb of fortune. If a Spaniard have but a capon, or the like good dish to his supper, you shall find the feathers scattered before his door the next morning. (a)


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-12.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 9. He that is despised and hath a servant is better, rather, "Better is the lowly that serveth himself," being of small means and not too proud to be found engaged in performing the work of a servant about the house, than he that honoreth himself and lacketh bread, his pride of birth or caste keeping him from honest work.


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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-12.html. 1921-23.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

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.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

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.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

9. He that is despised — Lowly, little noticed, or lightly esteemed. 1 Samuel 18:23. It is a different word from that rendered “despised” in Proverbs 12:8. Perhaps it ( נקלה, nikleh) should be translated ignoble; that is, of birth or family — one of the common people.

And hath a servant — A sign of wealth and substance.

Is better — Better off than he that honoureth himself; affects honour, wealth, nobility, aristocracy, and lacketh bread. The general sentiment is, Better is a man in medium circumstances, who has the means of sustenance under his control, than a nobleman who is in a state of starvation. So Stuart. “Respectable mediocrity is better than boastful poverty.” — Speaker’s Commentary. The Septuagint reads the passage thus: “He that is despised and serveth himself;” that is, supports himself by his own labour; which makes a good sense, and is followed by the Vulgate, the Geneva Bible, Muenscher, Zockler, Conant, (“tills for himself,”) and others. The present pointing of the Hebrew does not allow of this reading; but a little alteration of the vowel points does permit it. The points give us the Masoretic or Jewish traditional interpretation — nothing more. It is respectable, but not infallible. If the sense of the Septuagint is to be followed, Miller’s form of the words is preferable — “is a servant to himself” — as being reconcilable with the present Hebrew pointing. The Douay reads: “Better is the poor man that provides for himself than he that is glorious and wanteth bread.”


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-12.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A better translation Isaiah , "Better is a man of humble standing who works for himself than one who plays the great man but lacks bread" (RSV).

"The point seems to be that some people live beyond their means in a vain show ... whereas, if they lived modestly, they could have some of the conveniences of life, e.g, a servant." [Note: Ross, p969.]


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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/proverbs-12.html. 2012.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 12:9. He that is despised — That lives in an obscure and mean condition in the world, such being commonly despised by persons of a higher rank; and hath a servant — Hath but one servant: or, as the LXX. render it, δουλευων εαυτω, serveth, or is servant to himself; that is, hath none to wait upon him, or work for him but himself; that supports himself by his own labours; is better than he that honoureth himself — Is happier, and in a better condition, than he that glories in his high birth and gay attire; and lacketh bread — Wants necessaries for his own sustenance.


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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Glorious. Or a boaster, (Haydock) as many noblemen are, who are involved in debt, Ecclesiasticus x. 30. (Menochius) --- It is better to have a sufficiency, than to be of noble parentage; and starving through a stupid idea, that work would be disgraceful.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

He that is despised, and hath = Better to be little noticed and have, &c.

better. See note on Proverbs 8:11.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-12.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.

(He that is) despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread. He who is low in pretensions, through lowliness of disposition, and through avoiding ostentatious display, and who at the same time "hath a servant," and therefore hath some means of livelihood, is preferable to him who boasts himself, making a great display, while all the while not having the necessaries of life, through his wasting his money on pomp. The Hebrew for "despised" ( niqleh (Hebrew #7034)) is distinct from that in Proverbs 12:8 ( buwz (Hebrew #937)): here the reference is to low estimation not through faultiness but from absence of worldly display: as David calls himself (1 Samuel 18:23) "a poor man, and lightly esteemed" (the same Hebrew as here): in Proverbs 12:8 the reference is to contempt well grounded, because of perversity.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-12.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9) He that is despised.—That is, lowly in his eyes and those of others, as David (1 Samuel 18:23); if “he hath a servant,” that is, if he be in easy circumstances. It has been remarked that “the first necessity of an Oriental in only moderate circumstances is a slave.”

He that honoureth himself.—Boasts of his pedigree, it may be, and is all the while starving.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
He that is, etc
Or, rather, as in the old translation "He that is despised, and is his own servant, is better than he that boasteth himself and wanteth bread;" with which the versions generally agree. That is, it is better to be in lowness and obscurity, and to support oneself by manual labour, than to want the necessaries of life, through a foolish vanity, or the pride of birth, which refuses to labour.
despised
13:7; Luke 14:11

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-12.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . This verse is read in two ways. Zockler reads, "Better is the lowly that serveth himself than he that boasteth and lacketh bread." Wordsworth agrees with this view. Delitzsch and Stuart render as the authorised version (see comments on the verse).

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

Whichever rendering we adopt of this verse the subject is the same—that of one man's allowing his vanity, his love for appearances, to rob him of all real comfort, and that of his wiser brother's preference of comfort to outside show.

I. The wise man who is despised. Men who have the moral courage to live in a simple style, and to labour with their own hands, will certainly be regarded with contempt by some, but by whom? By those whose good opinion and honour is not worth having. Children are taken with what is showy on the surface—they have little regard for what lies underneath. They will be more delighted with a soap-bubble than with a diamond. But men look on things with different eyes. So it is only men and women of childish minds who estimate a man by his clothes, his house, or his establishment, and it is only such who will despise the first man mentioned in the text. If we take the common rendering of the verse, then this man is more useful to society than the other; for, instead of spending all his money on himself, he keeps a servant, and so gives another a means of living. For as it is implied that he does not lack bread himself, so he will not let those in his employ want the necessaries of life. Other things being equal, the man who, by a judicious use of his means, gives employment to others, is a greater benefactor to his race than he who spends his money in selfish luxury. At any rate, this man is a wiser man than the other, for he has the good sense to prefer the greater to the less. It is only obeying a natural instinct to satisfy the bodily wants, and to supply ourselves with all the substantial comforts of life before we spend money on things which do not, after all, add in the least to our real enjoyment, and yet the majority of men do sacrifice some of the former to the latter. He who has the moral courage not to do so shows his real wisdom. And by such a course of conduct he blesses others as well as himself—he does something to stem the tide of passion for keeping up appearances which in our age and country is the fruitful source of so much crime and misery—he, and he only, is the truly honest man, for he is content to pass for just what he is as to wealth.

II. The foolish and wicked man who "honours himself."

1. He is a fool. Vanity is one of the most despicable passions that can possess a man—it often leads a man to the most childish actions. No man of modern times was more entirely under its dominion than Voltaire, whose only aim in life seemed to be to gain that unsubstantial homage which afforded his spirit at the last such an unsatisfying portion. He did not literally lack bread, but he did find himself in his old age without anything which could give him any real comfort. The man mentioned in our text is so bent upon obtaining this false honour that he will "lack bread"—suffer positive bodily discomfort—rather than not obtain it.

2. He is a sinner. He lies in action, if not in word. While he is resorting to the meanest shifts in secret he is trying to make people believe that he is much better off than he really is. By stinting himself in the common comforts of life he sins against his own body and against his Creator, for "the Lord is for the body" (1Co ), and it is man's duty to feed that house of the soul which is so "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psa 139:14). He therefore sins against himself and against society. It is worth while to inquire whether anybody will honour him after all his foolish efforts. God cannot, for He hates all hypocrisy. Men may, for their own interest, flatter him, and feign to respect him, but he will obtain no real honour, either from men like him in character, or from those who are better and wiser. "I have read," says Thomas Adams, "of Menecrates, a physician that would needs be counted a god, and took no other fee of his patients than their vow to worship him. Dionysius Syracusanus, hearing of this, invited him to a banquet, and, to honour him according to his desire, set before him nothing but a censer of frankincense, with the smoke whereof he was feasted till he starved, while others fed on good meat." Such smoke as this is all the return such a man as the one pictured in this proverb will get for starving himself, and for sinning against his own body, against society, and against God.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

We give a few of the many renderings of this verse:—

Better is he that laboureth and aboundeth in all things than he that boasteth himself and lacketh bread. Wordsworth.

This proverb, like Pro , commends the middle rank of life with its quiet excellencies. A man of lowly rank, who is, however, not so poor that he cannot support a slave, is better than one that boasts himself and is yet a beggar. The first necessity of an oriental in only moderate circumstances is a slave, just as was the case with the Greeks and Romans.—Delitzsch.

Better is the condition of the poor man, who has the means under his control of aiding his exertions for sustenance, than the nobleman, real or fancied, who is in a state of starvation. Stuart.

Each interpretation is tenable grammatically.

(1) He whom men despise, or who is "lowly" in his own eyes (the word is used by David himself, 1Sa ), the trader, the peasant, if he has a slave, i.e., if he is one step above absolute poverty, and has someone to supply his wants, is better off than the man who boasts of rank or descent, and has nothing to eat. Respectable mediocrity is better than boastful poverty.

(2) He who, though despised, is a servant to himself, i.e. supplies his own wants, is better than the arrogant and helpless.—Plumptre.

Some do think it more miserable to be known to be miserable than to be so, and are more grieved to be disesteemed for it than to be pinched by it, wherefore they will feed the eyes of others with a show of plenty, although they have not bread to feed themselves. But he is better who, disesteeming the esteem of others and being servant to himself, does get his own bread, and is contented with it. For as lie is servant, so is he master also; and howbeit he serveth, yet it is at his own pleasure. And this is his comfort, that while he serveth himself he hath to serve his need and occasions, when he that honoureth himself is fain at last to live by others. Or else take the meaning thus: the ambitious itch of many is so great, and so disquieteth their hearts, that they can lack anything, even bread itself, rather than honour and preferment; so that when they are swollen big in greatness and dignity they are even starved in their estate, and have not of their own the next meal to feed themselves. But better is he, especially if he be a good man, who—having to keep himself and a servant—doth keep within his means; and though he be despised by them that overlook him, yet looks upon himself with thanks to God that it is so well with him. And, indeed, how can this man but be better than the other, when his servant is better than the other is. For as Chrysostom speaketh, it cannot be but that he who is the slave of glory should be servant of all, yea, more vile than all other servants. For there is no servant commanded to do such base things as the love of glory commandeth him.—Jermin.

The son of Sirach, who may well be called an interpreter of this book of the Proverbs, hath a very like saying to this where he speaketh thus, "Better is he that worketh and aboundeth with all things, than he that boasteth himself, and wanteth bread" (Sir ). Muffet.

When men are such slaves to the opinion of the world, they rebel against Him who makes no mistake in His allotments and often appoints a descent from worldly elevation as a profitable discipline (Jas ; Dan 4:32-37). Yet it is hard, even for the Christian, as Bunyan reminds us, "to go down the valley of humiliation and catch no slip by the way." We need our Master's unworldly elevated spirit (Joh 6:15) to make as safe descent … "Let our moderation be known unto all men," under the constraining recollection, "The Lord is at hand (Php 4:5). How will the dazzling glory of man's esteem fade away before the glory of His appearing!—Bridges.

Paul travelling on foot, and living on the wages of a tent-maker, was more respectable than the pretended successor of his brother apostle, with a triple crown upon his head.—Lawson.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 12:9". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-12.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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