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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PROVERBS 16

 

CHAPTER XVI.

 

Ver. 1.  It is the part of man, &c.  That is, a man should prepare in his heart and soul what he is to say; but after all, it must be the Lord that must govern his tongue, to speak to the purpose.  Not that we can think any thing of good without God's grace: but after that we have (with God's grace) thought and prepared within our souls what we would speak; if God does not govern our tongue, we shall not succeed in what we speak.  Ch. --- He well put into our mouths what we have to say to persecutors.  Lu. xxi. 14.  He often causes us to utter the reverse of what we intended,, as Balaam did.  Num. xxiii.  M. --- The fairest prospects miscarry without God's blessing.  The enemies of grace would infer from this text, that the beginning of salvation depends on free-will.  But S. Aug. (con. 2. epist. Pelag. ii. 8.) has solidly refuted them, and Solomon does not mean that man acts alone.  C. viii. 35.  Sept.  Jo. xv. 5. and 2 Cor. iii. 5.  "Man," says S. Aug. "does no good things, which God does not cause him to perform."  C. --- The Scripture cannot contradict itself.  A fresh grace is requisite to execute what God has enabled us to devise, v. 9.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Open.  Or approved.  M. --- Heb. "pure in his own eyes."  He sees not his own defects.  C. xxi. 2.  Job xxviii. 23.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Open.  Heb. "roll on," and refer all to God's glory.  M.  Ps. xxxvi. 5.

 

Ver. 4.  Day.  His obduracy is of his own choice, and must serve to set the divine justice in the clearest light.  Eccli. xxxii. 14.  Ex. ix. 16.  Others hence infer that predestination is gratuitous, and reprobation in consequence of sin.  It seems rather that temporal goods and evils are here meant.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Hand.  And he seems to be very quiet.  C. xi. 21.  Sept. "but he who putteth his hand in hands unjustly, to make a contract, is," &c. --- The, &c. is taken from the Rom. Sept. and occurs before.  C. xv. 27.

 

Ver. 6.  Mercy to the distressed.  C. iii. 3. and xiv. 22.

 

Ver. 7.  Peace.  Thus Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, &c. were admired by their former enemies.

 

Ver. 10.  Judgment.  Or "let it not err," as people look upon the decisions of kings as so many oracles.  We ought to act in this manner, as long as they are not visibly unjust.  God gave a principal spirit (Ps. l. 14.) to Saul, David, Solomon, and to the judges whom he appointed, 1 K. x. 9.  Deut. xxxiv. 9.  Judg. iii. 10.  C. --- Solomon was thus enabled to decide difficult cases.  M.  Job xxix. 7.

 

Ver. 11.  Bag.  Many read sæculi, "of the world."  So Ven. Bede, &c.  All God's appointments are perfectly just.  C. xi. 21.  It was the custom for people to carry balances to weigh money, before it was coined.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Loved.  Yet none are more exposed to flattery and deceit than kings.  Senec. ep. xxi.

 

Ver. 15.  Life.  A mild government resembles a serene sky.  Sen.  Clem.  Job xxix. 23.

 

Ver. 16.  Get.  Sept. "the nests of wisdom...and the nests of prudence;" or Churches of Christ, or places of education, may be intended.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Fall.  Our first parents had given way to pride, before they sinned publicly.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xiv. 13.

 

Ver. 21.  Shall.  Heb. "adds learning," both to himself and to others.  Those who are wise and eloquent, must be preferred before those who  have only the former qualification.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Heart.  Or knowledge.  H. --- Wisdom gives beauty to eloquence.

 

Ver. 26.  Mouth.  The want of food.  Eccle. vi. 7.

 

Ver. 27.  Diggeth.  Earnestly pursues. --- Fire.  Jam. iii. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Words.  Prot. "a whisperer separateth chief friends."

 

Ver. 30.  Lips.  These motions indicate fury and pensiveness.

 

Ver. 31.  Justice.  To the just longevity is promised.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Valiant.  Sept. Alex. adds, "and a prudent man than a great farmer."  Gewrgiou.  H. --- Cities.  To govern the passions is more difficult.  S. Greg. Past. iii. p. Adm. x.  S. Tho. ii. 2. q. 128. a. 6.

                            Latius regnes avidum domando

                            Spiritum, quam si Lybiam, &c.  Hor. ii. Od. 2.

 

Ver. 33.  Lord.  So the apostles had recourse to them, (Acts i. 26.) as the Cophts and Nestorians still do when there is a dispute about the election of a patriarch.  Renaudot iv. Perpet. i. 7. and 9. --- This mode may settle disputes.  C. xviii. 18.  But we must not have recourse to it, except where the Church permits, lest we become the dupes of an idle curiosity.  C. --- Nothing happens by chance.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. v. 9. --- Sept. "all things come into the breast of the unjust; but all just things proceed from the Lord."  H.

 

 








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