Proverbs 16 Bible Commentary

Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown

(Read all of Proverbs 16)

Pr 16:1-33.

1. preparations--schemes.
in man--or literally, "to man," belonging, or pertaining to him.
the answer . . . Lord--The efficient ordering is from God: "Man proposes; God disposes."

2. clean--or, "faultless."
weigheth--or, "tries," "judges," implying that they are faulty (Pr 21:2; 24:12).

3. (Compare Margin). Rely on God for success to your lawful purposes.

4. for himself--"for its answer," or "purpose," that is, according to God's plan; the wicked are for the day of evil (Ps 49:5; Jer 17:18); sinning and suffering answer to each other, are indissolubly united.

5. (Compare Pr 3:32).

6. By mercy and truth--that is, God's (Ps 85:10); He effects the atonement, or covering of sin; and the principles of true piety incline men to depart from evil; or, "mercy" and "truth" may be man's, indicative of the gracious tempers which work instrumentally in procuring pardon.
purged--expiated (as in Le 16:33; Isa 27:9, Hebrew).

7. Persecutions, of course, excepted.

8. (Compare Pr 15:6, 16, 17).

9. (Compare Pr 16:3).

10. The last clause depends on the first, expressing the importance of equity in decisions, so authoritative.

11. are the Lord's . . . his work--that is, what He has ordered, and hence should be observed by men.

12. Rulers are rightly expected, by their position, to hate evil; for their power is sustained by righteousness.

13. A specification of the general sentiment of Pr 16:12.

14. This wrath, so terrible and certain, like messengers of death (1Ki 2:25), can be appeased by the wise.

15. light of . . . countenance--favor (Ps 4:6).
life--preserves it, or gives blessings which make it valuable.
the latter rain--fell just before harvest and matured the crop; hence specially valuable (De 11:14).

16. (Compare Pr 3:16; 4:5).

17. The highway--A common, plain road represents the habitual course of the righteous in departing from evil.

18, 19. (Compare Pr 15:33). Haughtiness and pride imply self-confidence which produces carelessness, and hence
a fall--literally, "sliding."

19. divide the spoil--that is, conquer. Avoid the society of the proud (Jas 4:6).

20. handleth a matter--wisely considers "the word," that is, of God (compare Pr 13:13).
trusteth--(Compare Ps 2:12; 118:8, 9).

21. wise in heart--who rightly consider duty.
sweetness of the lips--eloquent discourse, persuades and instructs others.

22. Understanding--or, "discretion," is a constant source of blessing (Pr 13:14), benefiting others; but fools' best efforts are folly.

23. The heart is the source of wisdom flowing from the mouth.

24. (Compare Pr 15:26). Gentle, kind words, by soothing the mind, give the body health.

25. (Compare Pr 14:2).

26. Diligence is a duty due to one's self, for his wants require labor.

27. ungodly man--(Compare Pr 6:12).
diggeth up evil--labors for it.
in his lips . . . fire--His words are calumniating (Jas 3:6).

28. (Compare Pr 6:14; 10:31).
whisperer--prater, talebearer (Pr 18:8; 26:20).

29. violent man--or, "man of mischief" (Pr 3:31).
enticeth-- (Pr 1:10).

30. He shutteth his eyes--denoting deep thought (Ps 64:6).
moving his lips--or, "biting his lips"--a determined purpose (Pr 6:13).

31. (Compare Pr 20:29).
if--or, which may be supplied properly, or without it the sense is as in Pr 3:16; 4:10, that piety is blessed with long life.

32. (Compare Pr 14:29).
taketh a city--that is, by fighting.

33. Seemingly the most fortuitous events are ordered by God.