We are now in this Chapter, entering upon the Proverbs. From this Chapter to the twenty-fifth, we meet with a great abundance of those divine sayings. The one part is descriptive of the blessed effects of following wisdom's ways; and the other of the contrary consequences.
Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
If the Reader, while going over the whole body of Proverbs, will pray the Holy Ghost, that he may be always on the lookout for his divine teaching, I think very frequently he will discover in these Proverbs, that a greater than Solomon is here. I am very free to confess and believe, that many of the maxims here found, are maxims of morality and sound policy. But while I say this, I must be allowed to believe also, that very many sweet spiritual instructions are veiled under them. And I would beg the Reader to recollect what was said in the very first opening of the book of Proverbs, that the design for which they are given to us among the books of God, and as a part of the Bible was, that we might understand a Proverb, and the interpretation thereof; the Words of the wise, and their dark sayings. Proverbs 1:6. If a mere code of moral sayings was all that was intended, what dark sayings are there in the very plain truths, which for the most part those chapters from the 10th to the 25th contain? I cannot therefore refrain from desiring the Reader to be as attentive as possible at every verse, more or less, as he passeth through to the enquiry; what further than the first and most obvious sense, the passage may, without violence be supposed to imply. And while I beg his close attention towards a discovery, that may be for his own profit; I yet more earnestly desire that his eyes and his heart may be directed to Him, from whom cometh every good, and every perfect gift: with whom is the residue of the Spirit; and in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And once for all, now at the commencement of the Proverbs, I would desire to impress these views of them upon his mind, and in this manner recommend. the perusal of them to his heart. And having said this much, which if diligently followed by the Reader, will tend to his improvement in the knowledge of this blessed book of God, better than by anything that I can propose for his help in the perusal, I beg to observe that I shall make but short comments here and there, as a passage may strike me, in order to avoid swelling this Commentary unnecessarily, and which hath indeed already extended very much beyond what was originally intended.
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
There is a righteousness indeed, which delivereth from death, even the righteousness of Jesus, and which God hath set forth for this purpose. Romans 3:21-22.
The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
See this blessing insured, as it concerns the Lord's people. Psalms 33:18-19.
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich. He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot. The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known. He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding. Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction. The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
The Reader will find here somewhat either by direct allusion, or by indirect inference, that will lead the heart to Jesus, if the Holy Ghost be the Commentator; as for example in this last verse of the passage, The rich man here spoken of, may be considered as the rich in faith, of whom James speaks, James 2:5. And this wealth of faith, being all founded in Christ; he gives them to inherit substance; and is their refuge into which they run and are safe. Proverbs 18:10.
The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin. He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom. The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom. The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted. As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him. The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish. The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity. The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth. The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
I detain not the Reader through these verses. They are all very plain to the understanding of one taught of God. The way of life is Jesus, for he saith himself that he is the way, and the truth, and the life. John 14:6; and he that is in this way, is in Jesus. And Jesus points out an infallible method by which all such are known. He keepeth instruction, Solomon saith. And Jesus saith if a man love me,, he will keep my words. And the greatest of all blessings is annexed to this. Pray, Reader, turn to that sweet scripture, and read it, until that the very life of the passage is engraven upon your heart, John 14:23 and you will find, by comparing scripture with scripture, similar illustrations; and of consequence, how the Proverbs of Solomon are to be read and explained.
READER! let us both look to Him that gave to Solomon wisdom. that while some will run through these Proverbs as men may pass over a field where treasure is hidden, and are unconscious what is under them; you and I may see and know the things which are freely given to us of God. The parables of Jesus were still parables to the unenlightened multitude. But to his disciples it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom.
In these dark sayings, here are many blessed and bright things. But like the Lord's hidden ones, as they are unknown to the world, so is the bread of life which is handed to them in secret. And Reader! let you and I, as we go over those several passages bring them all to Jesus, He will expound them to us in order, as he did to his disciples, when we are alone. Are not we ourselves, if Christ's followers, men wondered at? Is not our spiritual life a mystery; our new birth, our effectual calling, pardon, justification, adoption, sanctification, with all the blessings, supports, recoveries, helps, refreshments, in short, all the ways of grace here, and the promise of life in Jesus hereafter; is not the whole a mystery, and are we not frequently prompted to cry out as we go along our pilgrimage, and especially when at any time Jesus himself comes to us in a sweet visit of love, Lord! how is it that thou dost manifest thyself to us, and not unto the world? And shall it be more a subject of wonder, that the word of his grace is to be read with other eyes, and explained with other tongues than men of the world are acquainted with? Precious Jesus! be thou our Instructor, for thou art a matchless Guide! Lead us into all truth: and if led by thee, we are made to discover thy Person, or thy work, thy grace, or thy favour, sweetly veiled under those parables: surely, Lord, we shall feel, as those disciples felt, Our hearts burn within us, while thou talkest to us by the way, and while thou expoundest to us, in these scriptures, the things concerning thyself.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34