Proverbs 17 Bible Commentary

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

(Read all of Proverbs 17)

Pr 17:1-28.

1. sacrifices--or, "feasts" made with part of them (compare Pr 7:14; Le 2:3; 7:31).
with--literally, "of."
strife--its product, or attendant.

2. (Compare Pr 14:35).
causeth shame-- (Pr 10:5).
shall . . . inheritance--that is, share a brother's part (compare Nu 27:4, 7).

3. God only knows, as He tries (Ps 12:6; 66:10) the heart.

4. Wicked doers and speakers alike delight in calumny.

5. (Compare Pr 14:31).
glad at calamities--rejoicing in others' evil. Such are rightly punished by God, who knows their hearts.

6. Prolonged posterity is a blessing, its cutting off a curse (Pr 13:22; Ps 109:13-15), hence children may glory in virtuous ancestry.

7. Excellent speech--(Compare Margin). Such language as ill suits a fool, as lying (ought to suit) a prince (Pr 16:12, 13).

8. One so corrupt as to take a bribe evinces his high estimate of it by subjection to its influence (Pr 18:16; 19:6).

9. seeketh love--(Compare Margin). The contrast is between the peace-maker and tale-bearer.

10. Reproof more affects the wise than severe scourging, fools.

11. Such meet just retribution (1Ki 2:25).
a cruel messenger--one to inflict it.

12. They are less rational in anger than wild beasts.

13. (Compare Ps 7:4; 35:12).
evil--injury to another (Pr 13:21).

14. letteth . . . water--as a breach in a dam.
before . . . meddled with--before strife has become sharp, or, by an explanation better suiting the figure, before it rolls on, or increases.

15. abomination . . . Lord--as reversing His method of acting (Pr 3:32; 12:2).

16. Though wealth cannot buy wisdom for those who do not love it, yet wisdom procures wealth (Pr 3:16; 14:24).

17. To the second of these parallel clauses, there is an accession of meaning, that is, that a brother's love is specially seen in adversity.

18. (Compare Pr 6:1-5; 11:15).
in the presence, &c.--that is, he either fails to consult his friend, or to follow his advice.

19. strife--contention is, and leads to, sin.
he that exalteth his gate--gratifies a vain love of costly building.
seeketh--or, "findeth," as if he sought (compare "loveth death," Pr 8:36).

20. The second clause advances on the first. The ill-natured fail of good, and the cavilling and fault-finding incur evil.

21. (Compare Pr 23:24). Different words are rendered by "fool," both denoting stupidity and impiety.

22. (Compare Pr 14:30; 15:13). The effect of the mind on the body is well known.
medicine--or, "body," which better corresponds with "bone."
drieth--as if the marrow were exhausted.

23. a gift . . . bosom--Money and other valuables were borne in a fold of the garment, called the bosom.
to pervert--that is, by bribery.

24. Wisdom . . . him--ever an object of regard, while a fool's affections are unsettled.

25. a grief--or cross, vexation (compare Pr 17:21; 10:1).

26. Also--that is, Equally to be avoided are other sins: punishing good subjects, or resisting good rulers.

27, 28. Prudence of speech is commended as is an excellent or calm spirit, not excited to vain conversation.