PROVERBS CHAPTER 20.
V. 1. Wine is a mocker, excessive indulgence in it produces scorn and blasphemy in the drinker, strong drink is raging, it robs a man of clear thinking and proper self-possession; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise, that is, if he is led astray thereby, so that he reels and staggers under its influence, he shows the lack of wisdom and will never attain to true wisdom. V.2. The fear of a king, the terror spread by his anger, is as the roaring of a lion, chap. 19, 12; whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul, foolishly risks and even forfeits his own life. V. 3. It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, to dwell and remain far from quarrels, neither to provoke nor to promote them; but every fool will be meddling, foolishly starting quarrels. V. 4. The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold, the disagreeable weather furnishing him a welcome excuse to keep him from tilling the soil; therefore shall he beg in harvest and have nothing, that is, when he looks for grain in the season of harvest, his field has borne none, that being the reward of sloth. V. 5. Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, for his plans are hidden in his innermost heart; but a man of understanding, one who knows how to deal with men, will draw it out, he will judge the actions of men according to their motives and objects and draw the right conclusions. V. 6. Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness, literally, “Many a man meets a man of his pleasantness,” for an outward show of pleasantness, an amiable exterior, is not unusual; but a faithful man, one upon whom one may depend in time of need, who can find? Such faithfulness is rare. V. 7. The just man walketh in his integrity, he who in his innocence conducts himself uprightly, righteously, his children are blessed after him, if they follow him in his righteousness, the Lord’s blessing rests upon them to a thousand generations, Ex. 20, 6; Deut. 7, 9. V. 8. A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment, dispensing justice in his capacity of sovereign, scattereth away all evil with his eyes, he searches out, he sifts by winnowing, and so separates the evil from the good, the right from the wrong. V. 9. Who can say, I have made my heart clean, purifying it to the point of moral perfection, I am pure from my sin? The answer is clearly given in the question and stated, Eccl. 7, 20. V. 10. Divers weights, stones as they were used for weights in balances, and divers measures, the reference being not only to the vessels used in dry measure, but to every kind of measure, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord; deception in business, cheating in trade, is sinful and loathsome in His sight. V. 11. Even a child is known by his doings, reveals his nature and character by his acts, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right, there is no innocence in childhood, and children will be held responsible by God for their acts. V. 12. The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them; therefore He, the omniscient Creator of the senses, will demand a reckoning of their use on the Last Day. V. 13. Love not sleep, that associated with slothfulness, lest thou come to poverty, that being the result of sloth; open thine eyes, with the proper energy, industry, and vigor, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread, for so is diligent activity rewarded. V. 14. It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer, he insists that the goods offered him are bad, worthless, in order to beat down the price; but when he is gone his way, having gotten the better of the deal, then he boasteth, setting forth the shrewdness with which he drove his bargain, such conduct also being a form of dishonesty. V. 15. There is gold and a multitude of rubies, or pearls, such trinkets are found in abundance in the world; but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel, they are rare indeed in the world. V. 16. Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, for one so foolish and inconsiderate might as well hand it over at once, since he will surely lose it, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman, or, “for strange people,” for such suretyship is always ill-advised. V. 17. Bread of deceit is sweet to a man, what he gains by such means may seem pleasant and enjoyable to him at first; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel, it will be most disagreeable and grievous to him. V. 18. Every purpose is established by counsel, definite plans should be formulated only after a careful consultation with such as are in a position to advise; and with good advice make war, after considering all emergencies and possibilities. Cp. Luke 14, 31. V. 19. He that goeth about as a talebearer, making it his business to carry gossip and slander, revealeth secrets; therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips. Cp. chap. 11, 13; 13, 3. V. 20. Whoso curseth his father or his mother, in a bold and blasphemous transgression of the Fourth Commandment, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness, the picture being that of hopeless destruction of property and life, a condemnation under the wrath of God. V. 21. An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning, wayward and ungodly children being so eager that they even drive their parents out of their possession; but the end thereof shall not be blessed, the blessing of God will not rest upon such unfilial and wicked behavior. V. 22. Say not thou, I will recompense evil, avenging evil with evil after the manner practiced by the ungodly; but wait on the Lord, placing the outcome entirely in His hands, and He shall save thee. Cp. Ps. 27, 14; Rom. 12, 17-19. V. 23. Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord, and a false balance is not good. Cp. v. 10. V. 24. Man’s goings are of the Lord, he is dependent upon the Lord in all his actions, he is directed by the manner of God’s disposal; how can a man, then, understand his own way? It is impossible for him to decipher the ways in which God directs him, he cannot uncover the secrets of God’s government V. 25. It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, if he is over-hasty in making a vow to the Lord and in devoting some of his substance to the Temple-service, and after vows to make enquiry, that is, when it was too late, the result usually being that the rash vow is broken. V. 26. A wise king scattereth the wicked, sifting and winnowing them, as the chaff is separated from the grain, and bringeth the wheel over them, as the wheel of the threshing-cart separated the wheat-kernels from the hulls when it was passed over the stalks spread out on the threshing-floor. V. 27. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, the spiritual and moral powers of man, under the direction of Jehovah, penetrate into his innermost being, searching all the inward parts of the belly. V. 28. Mercy and truth preserve the king, they are the attributes or virtues which make his reign successful, and his throne is upholden by mercy, by gracious kindness and favor. V. 29. The glory of young men is their strength, for they are in the first flush of their manhood, and their physical power is at its best; and the beauty of old men is the gray head, which gives dignity to their appearance. V. 30. The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil, literally, “Wounding stripes purge away evil”; so do stripes the inward parts of the belly, for a proper measure of severe discipline penetrates to the depths of the heart and removes the desire for evil, all punishment, rightly administered, having this object.