Proverbs 16 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Proverbs 16)

Verse 1

[1] The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

From the Lord — Men can neither think nor speak wisely and well without Divine assistance.

Verse 2

[2] All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

Weigheth — Exactly knows as men do the things which they weigh.

Spirits — The hearts of men.

Verse 3

[3] Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

Commit — Refer all thy actions and concerns to God, as the end of them, and depend upon God's providence for success.

Established — Thy designs shall be brought to an happy issue.

Verse 4

[4] The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

Doth work — He orders or disposes.

For — For his own glory; for the discovery of his wisdom, power, goodness, truth, justice.

The wicked — Wilful and impenitent sinners. Men make themselves wicked, and God therefore makes them miserable.

Verse 6

[6] By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

By mercy — By a merciful and just and faithful frame of heart and course of life.

Is purged — As they qualify a man to offer up acceptable prayers to God for the pardon of his sins.

By fear — By a filial reverence unto God.

Depart — They are kept from abusing pardoning mercy, and from returning to folly or wickedness.

Verse 9

[9] A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Deviseth — Proposes what he will do.

Directeth — Over-rules and disposes all his designs and actions.

Verse 10

[10] A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.

A divine sentence — Great sagacity and piercing judgment.

Of the king — Of wise kings; who only are worthy of that name and office.

Verse 11

[11] A just weight and balance are the LORD's: all the weights of the bag are his work.

The Lord's — Are made by his direction and appointment, so that no man can alter them without violating God's rights and authority.

Verse 15

[15] In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

A cloud — As acceptable as those clouds which bring the latter rain, whereby the fruits are filled and ripened a little before the harvest.

Verse 17

[17] The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

The high-way — Their common road, in which they walk, tho' through frailty or temptation they slip into the bypath of sin.

From evil — From the evil of sin, and consequently from the evil of punishment.

Keepeth — That takes heed to walk in that high-way.

Verse 20

[20] He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

Good — He who orders his affairs with discretion.

Verse 21

[21] The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

The wise — He who is truly wise, shall be so accounted by others.

Sweetness — Eloquence added to wisdom.

Increaseth — Both in himself, for while a man teaches others, he improves himself; and others, who by this means are induced to hear and receive his instructions.

Verse 22

[22] Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

The instruction — Their most grave and serious counsels are foolish.

Verse 23

[23] The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

Teacheth — Directs him what to speak, and keeps him from speaking foolishly.

Addeth — Enables him to speak learnedly and wisely.

Verse 27

[27] An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

Diggeth up — Prosecutes his evil designs with great industry.

His lips — His tongue is set on fire of hell.

Verse 30

[30] He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

Shutteth — That his thoughts may be more intent.

Moving — Which is the gesture of one whose thoughts are deeply engaged.

Verse 32

[32] He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Is better — Of a more gallant and generous spirit, and more valiant and victorious.

Verse 33

[33] The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

The lot — As the ancient practice was in deciding doubtful things. The event of which though casual to men, is directed by God's providence.