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AN

EXPOSITION,
WITH

PRACTICAL

O B S E R V A T I O N S,

OF THE
P R O V E R B S.

We have now before us, I. A new author, or penman rather, or pen (if you will) made
use of by the Holy Ghost for making known the mind of God to us, writing as moved
by the finger of God (so the Spirit of God is called), and that is Solomon; through his
hand came this book of Scripture and the two that follow it, Ecclesiastes and
Canticles, a sermon and a song. Some think he wrote Canticles when he was very
young, Proverbs in the midst of his days, and Ecclesiastes when he was old. In the
title of his song he only writes himself Solomon, perhaps because he wrote it before
his accession to the throne, being filled with the Holy Ghost when he was young. In
the title of his Proverbs he writes himself the son of David, king of Israel, for then he
ruled over all Israel. In the title of his Ecclesiastes he writes himself the son of
David, king of Jerusalem, because then perhaps his influence had grown less upon
the distant tribes, and he confined himself very much in Jerusalem. Concerning this
author we may observe, 1. That he was a king, and a king's son. The penmen of
scripture, hitherto, were most of them men of the first rank in the world, as Moses
and Joshua, Samuel and David, and now Solomon; but, after him, the inspired
writers were generally poor prophets, men of no figure in the world, because that
dispensation was approaching in the which God would choose the weak and foolish
things of the world to confound the wise and mighty and the poor should be
employed to evangelize. Solomon was a very rich king, and his dominions were very
large, a king of the first magnitude, and yet he addicted himself to the study of
divine things, and was a prophet and a prophet's son. It is no disparagement to the
greatest princes and potentates in the world to instruct those about them in religion
and the laws of it. 2. That he was one whom God endued with extraordinary
measures of wisdom and knowledge, in answer to his prayers at his accession to the
throne. His prayer was exemplary: Give me a wise and an understanding heart; the
answer to it was encouraging: he had what he desired and all other things were
added to him. Now here we find what good use he made of the wisdom God gave
him; he not only governed himself and his kingdom with it, but he gave rules of
wisdom to others also, and transmitted them to posterity. Thus must we trade with
the talents with which we are entrusted, according as they are. 3. That he was one
who had his faults, and in his latter end turned aside from those good ways of God
which in this book he had directed others in. We have the story of it 1 Kings xi., and
a sad story it is, that the penman of such a book as this should apostatize as he did.
Tell it not in Gath. But let those who are most eminently useful take warning by this

not to be proud or secure; and let us all learn not to think the worse of good
instructions though we have them from those who do not themselves altogether live
up to them.
II. A new way of writing, in which divine wisdom is taught us by Proverbs, or short
sentences, which contain their whole design within themselves and are not
connected with one another. We have had divine laws, histories, and songs, and
how divine proverbs; such various methods has Infinite Wisdom used for our
instruction, that, no stone being left unturned to do us good, we may be inexcusable
if we perish in our folly. Teaching by proverbs was, 1. An ancient way of teaching. It
was the most ancient way among the Greeks; each of the seven wise men of Greece
had some one saying that he valued himself upon, and that made him famous.
These sentences were inscribed on pillars, and had in great veneration as that
which was said to come down from heaven. A clo descendit, Gnothi seauton
Know thyself is a precept which came down from heaven. 2. It was a plain and easy
way of teaching, which cost neither the teachers nor the learners much pains, nor
put their understandings nor their memories to the stretch. Long periods, and
arguments far-fetched, must be laboured both by him that frames them and by him
that would understand them, while a proverb, which carries both its sense and its
evidence in a little compass, is quickly apprehended and subscribed to, and is easily
retained. Both David's devotions and Solomon's instructions are sententious, which
may recommend that way of expression to those who minister about holy things,
both in praying and preaching. 3. It was a very profitable way of teaching, and
served admirably well to answer the end. The word Mashal, here used for a proverb,
comes from a word that signifies to rule or have dominion, because of the
commanding power and influence which wise and weighty sayings have upon the
children of men; he that teaches by them dominatur in concionibusrules his
auditory. It is easy to observe how the world is governed by proverbs. As saith the
proverb of the ancients (1 Sam. xxiv. 13), or (as we commonly express it) As the old
saying is, goes very far with most men in forming their notions and fixing their
resolves. Much of the wisdom of the ancients has been handed down to posterity by
proverbs; and some think we may judge of the temper and character of a nation by
the complexion of its vulgar proverbs. Proverbs in conversation are like axioms in
philosophy, maxims in law, and postulata in the mathematics, which nobody
disputes, but every one endeavours to expound so as to have them on his side. Yet
there are many corrupt proverbs, which tend to debauch men's minds and harden
them in sin. The devil has his proverbs, and the world and the flesh have their
proverbs, which reflect reproach on God and religion (as Ezek. xii. 22; xviii. 2), to
guard us against the corrupt influences of which God has his proverbs, which are all
wise and good, and tend to make us so. These proverbs of Solomon were not merely
a collection of the wise sayings that had been formerly delivered, as some have
imagined, but were the dictates of the Spirit of God in Solomon. The very first of
them (ch. i. 7) agrees with what God said to man in the beginning (Job xxviii. 28,
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom); so that though Solomon was great,

and his name may serve as much as any man's to recommend his writings, yet,
behold, a greater than Solomon is here. It is God, by Solomon, that here speaks to
us: I say, to us; for these proverbs were written for our learning, and, when Solomon
speaks to his son, the exhortation is said to speak to us as unto children, Heb. xii. 5.
And, as we have no book so useful to us in our devotions as David's psalms, so have
we none so serviceable to us, for the right ordering of our conversations, as
Solomon's proverbs, which as David says of the commandments, are exceedingly
broad, containing, in a little compass, a complete body of divine ethics, politics, and
economics, exposing every vice, recommending every virtue, and suggesting rules
for the government of ourselves in every relation and condition, and every turn of
the conversation. The learned bishop Hall has drawn up a system of moral
philosophy out of Solomon's Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The first nine chapters of
this book are reckoned as a preface, by way of exhortation to the study and practice
of wisdom's rules, and caution against those things that would hinder therein. We
have then the first volume of Solomon's proverbs (ch. x.-xxiv.); after that a second
volume (ch. xxv.-xxix.); and then Agur's prophecy (ch. xxx.), and Lemuel's (ch.
xxxi.). The scope of all is one and the same, to direct us so to order our
conversation aright as that in the end we may see the salvation of the Lord. The
best comment on these rules is to be ruled by them
(http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc3.Prov.i.html)

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Note, 1. It is a very desirable thing to have our thoughts established, and not
tossed, and put into a hurry, by disquieting cares and fears,to go on in an even
steady course of honesty and piety, not disturbed, or put out of frame, by any event
or change,to be satisfied that all shall work for good and issue well at last, and
therefore to be always easy and sedate. 2. The only way to have our thoughts
established is to commit our works to the Lord. The great concerns of our souls
must be committed to the grace of God, with a dependence upon and submission to
the conduct of that grace (2 Tim. i. 12); all our outward concerns must be
committed to the providence of God, and to the sovereign, wise, and gracious
disposal of that providence. Roll thy works upon the Lord (so the word is); roll the
burden of thy care from thyself upon God. Lay the matter before him by prayer.
Make known thy works unto the Lord (so some read it), not only the works of thy
hand, but the workings of thy heart; and then leave it with him, by faith and
dependence upon him, submission and resignation to him. The will of the Lord be
done. We may then be easy when we resolve that whatever pleases God shall
please us.
INTRODUCTION

I. THE NATURE AND USE OF PROVERBS.--A proverb is a pithy sentence, concisely


expressing some well-established truth susceptible of various illustrations and
applications. The word is of Latin derivation, literally meaning for a word, speech, or
discourse; that is, one expression for many. The Hebrew word for "proverb" (mashal)
means a "comparison." Many suppose it was used, because the form or matter of
the proverb, or both, involved the idea of comparison. Most of the proverbs are in
couplets or triplets, or some modifications of them, the members of which
correspond in structure and length, as if arranged to be compared one with another.
They illustrate the varieties of parallelism, a distinguishing feature of Hebrew
poetry. Many also clearly involve the idea of comparison in the sentiments
expressed (compare Proverbs 12:1-10 ; 25:10-15 ; 26:1-9 omission of one member
of the comparison, exercising the reader's sagacity or study for its supply, presents
the proverb as a "riddle" or "dark saying" (compare Proverbs 30:15-33 ; 1:6 ; Psalms
49:4 form of expression, which thus became a marked feature of the proverbial
style, was also adopted for continuous discourse, even when not always preserving
traces of comparison, either in form or matter (compare Proverbs 1:1-9:18 word
properly translated "parable," to designate an illustrative discourse. Then the Greek
translators have used a word, parabola ("parable"), which the gospel writers (except
John) employ for our Lord's discourses of the same character, and which also seems
to involve the idea of comparison, though that may not be its primary meaning. It
might seem, therefore, that the proverbial and parabolic styles of writing were
originally and essentially the same. The proverb is a "concentrated parable, and the
parable an extension of the proverb by a full illustration." The proverb is thus the
moral or theme of a parable, which sometimes precedes it, as in Matthew 19:30
Proverbs 20:1 style being poetical, and adapted to the expression of a high order of
poetical sentiment, such as prophecy, we find the same term used to designate
such compositions (compare Numbers 23:7 ; Micah 2:4 ; Habakkuk 2:6
Though the Hebrews used the same term for proverb and parable, the Greek
employs two, though the sacred writers have not always appeared to recognize a
distinction. The term for proverb is, paroimia, which the Greek translators employ
for the title of this book, evidently with special reference to the later definition of a
proverb, as a trite, sententious form of speech, which appears to be the best
meaning of the term. John uses the same term to designate our Saviour's
instructions, in view of their characteristic obscurity (compare Proverbs 16:25-29
and even for his illustrative discourses ( Proverbs 10:6 sense was not at once
obvious to all his hearers. This form of instruction was well adapted to aid the
learner. The parallel structure of sentences, the repetition, contrast, or comparison
of thought, were all calculated to facilitate the efforts of memory; and precepts of
practical wisdom which, extended into logical discourses, might have failed to make
abiding impressions by reason of their length or complicated character, were thus
compressed into pithy, and, for the most part, very plain statements. Such a mode
of instruction has distinguished the written or traditional literature of all nations,
and was, and still is, peculiarly current in the East.

In this book, however, we are supplied with a proverbial wisdom commended by the
seal of divine inspiration. God has condescended to become our teacher on the
practical affairs belonging to all the relations of life. He has adapted His instruction
to the plain and unlettered, and presented, in this striking and impressive method,
the great principles of duty to Him and to our fellow men. To the prime motive of all
right conduct, the fear of God, are added all lawful and subordinate incentives, such
as honor, interest, love, fear, and natural affection. Besides the terror excited by an
apprehension of God's justly provoked judgments, we are warned against evil-doing
by the exhibition of the inevitable temporal results of impiety, injustice, profligacy,
idleness, laziness, indolence, drunkenness, and debauchery. To the rewards of true
piety which follow in eternity, are promised the peace, security, love, and
approbation of the good, and the comforts of a clear conscience, which render this
life truly happy.
II. INSPIRATION AND AUTHORSHIP.--With no important exception, Jewish and
Christian writers have received this book as the inspired production of Solomon. It is
the first book of the Bible prefaced by the name of the author. The New Testament
abounds with citations from the Proverbs. Its intrinsic excellence commends it to us
as the production of a higher authority than the apocryphal writings, such as
Wisdom or Ecclesiasticus. Solomon lived five hundred years before the "seven wise
men" of Greece, and seven hundred before the age of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.
It is thus very evident, whatever theory of his sources of knowledge be adopted,
that he did not draw upon any heathen repositories with which we are acquainted. It
is far more probable, that by the various migrations, captivities, and dispersions of
the Jews, heathen philosophers drew from this inspired fountain many of those
streams which continue to refresh mankind amid the otherwise barren and parched
deserts of profane literature.
As, however, the Psalms are ascribed to David, because he was the leading author,
so the ascription of this book to Solomon is entirely consistent with the titles of the
thirtieth and thirty-first chapters, which assign those chapters to Agur and Lemuel
respectively. Of these persons we know nothing. This is not the place for discussing
the various speculations respecting them. By a slight change of reading some
propose to translate Proverbs 30:1 her who was obeyed Massa," that is, "the queen
of Massa"; and Proverbs 31:1 earliest versions are contradictory, and nothing other
than the strongest exegetical necessity ought to be allowed to justify a departure
from a well-established reading and version when nothing useful to our knowledge
is gained. It is better to confess ignorance than indulge in useless conjectures.
It is probable that out of the "three thousand proverbs" ( 1 Kings 4:32 Proverbs 1:124:34 production, and copied out in the days of Hezekiah, by his "men," perhaps the
prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah. Such a work was evidently in the spirit of this
pious monarch, who set his heart so fully on a reformation of God's worship.
Learned men have endeavored to establish the theory that Solomon himself was
only a collector; or that the other parts of the book, as these chapters, were also

selections by later hands; but the reasons adduced to maintain these views have
never appeared so satisfactory as to change the usual opinions on the subject,
which have the sanction of the most ancient and reliable authorities.
III. DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK.--Such a work is, of course, not susceptible of any
logical analysis. There are, however, some well-defined marks of division, so that
very generally the book is divided into five or six parts.
1. The first contains nine chapters, in which are discussed and enforced by
illustration, admonition, and encouragement the principles and blessings of wisdom,
and the pernicious schemes and practices of sinful persons. These chapters are
introductory. With few specimens of the proper proverb, they are distinguished by
its conciseness and terseness. The sentences follow very strictly the form of
parallelism, and generally of the synonymous species, only forty of the synthetic
and four ( Proverbs 3:32-35 ornate, the figures bolder and fuller, and the
illustrations more striking and extended.
2. The antithetic and synthetic parallelism to the exclusion of the synonymous
distinguish Proverbs 10:1-22:16 unconnected, each containing a complete sense in
itself.
3. Proverbs 22:16-24:34 addressed to a pupil, and generally each topic occupies two
or more verses.
4. Proverbs 25:1-29:27 portion, for the reason given above as to its origin. The style
is very much mixed; of the peculiarities, compare parts two and three.
5. Proverbs 30:1-33 a specimen of the kind of proverb which has been described as
"dark sayings" or "riddles."
6. To a few pregnant but concise admonitions, suitable for a king, is added a most
inimitable portraiture of female character. In both parts five and six the distinctive
peculiarity of the original proverbial style gives place to the modifications already
mentioned as marking a later composition, though both retain the concise and
nervous method of stating truth, equally valuable for its deep impression and
permanent retention by the memory.
(Compare Margin). Rely on God for success to your lawful purposes.
http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/

Verse 3
Note, 1. It is a very desirable thing to have our thoughts established, and not
tossed, and put into a hurry, by disquieting cares and fears,to go on in an even
steady course of honesty and piety, not disturbed, or put out of frame, by any event

or change,to be satisfied that all shall work for good and issue well at last, and
therefore to be always easy and sedate. 2. The only way to have our thoughts
established is to commit our works to the Lord. The great concerns of our souls
must be committed to the grace of God, with a dependence upon and submission to
the conduct of that grace (2 Tim. 1:12); all our outward concerns must be
committed to the providence of God, and to the sovereign, wise, and gracious
disposal of that providence. Roll thy works upon the Lord (so the word is); roll the
burden of thy care from thyself upon God. Lay the matter before him by prayer.
Make known thy works unto the Lord (so some read it), not only the works of thy
hand, but the workings of thy heart; and then leave it with him, by faith and
dependence upon him, submission and resignation to him. The will of the Lord be
done. We may then be easy when we resolve that whatever pleases God shall
please us. http://www.ewordtoday.com/comments/proverbs/mh/proverbs16.htm

mal
Site

National Security Archive, State


Department Release on Chile Shows
Suspicions of CIA Involvement in Charles http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/1
Horman "Missing" Case,
9991008/.
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/news/199
91008/ (Dec. 12, 2009).

Steven S. Camarota, Immigration From


Mexico:
Normal Assessing the Impact on the United
http://www.cis.org/articles/2001/mexic
Site
States, Center for Immigration Studies,
o/toc.html.
http://www.cis.org/articles/2001/mexico/t
oc.html (Nov. 7, 2008).

10. University of Georgia, "Points of Pride," University of Georgia,


http://www.uga.edu/profile/pride.html (accessed October 21, 2009).
Bibliography: University of Georgia. Points of Pride University of Georgia,
http://www.uga.edu/profile/pride.html.

An Exposition with Practical Observation of Proverbs. Christian Classic Ethereal


Library. (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc3.Prov.i.html). Date Accessed: Aug 27,
2011.

Proverbs Introduction. http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamiesonfausset-brown/proverbs/proverbs-introduction.html. Date Accessed: Aug 27, 2011


Proverbs 16 Warnings about overconfidence, tact, and pride.
http://www.bibleexplained.com/poetry/proverbs/pr16.htm. Date Accessed: Aug 27,
2011