The wise man is prosecuting the same subjects in this chapter as in the preceding. By various similitudes he teacheth the blessedness of wisdom's ways, and the awful termination of a contrary conduct.
Proverbs 28:1-5 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged. A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food. They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
The sentiments contained in those verses, are all so plain as to require no comment. And nothing can be more happily chosen than in this way of parable, to shew the life of grace in its consequences, and the life of sin in its eventual ruin. The Reader will not fail, I hope, to perceive that what is said of seeking the Lord, as resulting from an understanding in all things, carries with it a correspondence to the same conduct as the praying seed of Jacob in all ages have adopted in seeking the Lord's face in the Lord's strength. Christ is the way, and the truth, and the life. And all his seed seek salvation in this way, and in none other. Psalms 27:8; John 14:6.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich. Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father. He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession. The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out. When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden. He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
I stay not to point out the several very striking testimonies which are contained in these verses. I hope the reader will read them through the medium of the gospel; and then he will discover how sure the promises are, which in Christ Jesus are all yea, and Amen. Who are the poor here spoken of, but the poor in spirit who are rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom? And who is the wise son, but he that keepeth an eye upon Christ the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. In like manner, if the whole be interpreted by the gospel, we shall find much sweetness in every one. James 2:5; Romans 10:4
As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days. A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him. Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once. He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue. Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse. When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.
If the Reader will go diligently over the whole chapter, and read the several parts of it with an eye to Jesus, I venture to assure him that in many places, where he might be at first led to suppose there was least of Christ, he would still find somewhat leading to him. Surely it is blessed to be always upon the look out for him. And if we have but a glimpse of the king in his beauty; if we behold but his shade as he passeth by, it will be an ample recompence to our utmost diligence. Isaiah 33:17; Proverbs 8:17.
READER! I take occasion from the view of this chapter, and the contents of it, to remind your heart, and my own, how truly blessed it must be to find Christ in his hidden word; and what distinguishing tokens of favour it brings with it, when this is the case. And, indeed, may we not suppose, that if some portions of scripture are made more obscure than others, it is with a design to call up the more awakened attention of the Lord's people; that when Christ is discovered in them, the joy of having found him, may be more blessed. Is not this like the riddle of Samson, Out of the eater cometh forth meat; and out of the strong cometh forth sweetness?
Precious Jesus! may my soul know thee as the way to the Father, the truth, and the life eternal! And may my soul be always found in this way, walking in it, and enjoying all divine comforts in it. Yes, blessed Lord! this is the highway which the Prophet was commanded to tell the church should be thrown open, and which should be called the way of holiness. And while the foolish see it not, and the proud despise it, and the unclean shall not pass over it. T he wayfaring men, though fools, in human sciences, and human knowledge, shall not err therein. Blessed God! do thou strengthen me more and more in this way, that I may walk up and down in thy Name.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 28". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30