Proverbs 17 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Proverbs 17)

Verse 4

[4] A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.

False lips — To false accusations and calumnies, which give him occasion and encouragement to do mischief.

Verse 7

[7] Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.

Excellent speech — Discourse of high and excellent things.

Verse 8

[8] A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.

A precious stone — Pleasant and acceptable; and withal dazzles his eyes.

Whithersoever — To whomsoever it is presented. But this, as also many of her proverbs, are to be understood of most men, not of all.

Verse 9

[9] He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

Covereth — That conceals as far as he may, other mens faults.

Verse 11

[11] An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.

Rebellion — Against God.

Messenger — Or, a cruel angel, the angel of death, the devil, or some bloody men employed by God to avenge his quarrel.

Verse 12

[12] Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.

Folly — In the heat of his lust or passion.

Verse 14

[14] The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.

Letteth out — By cutting the bank of a river.

Leave off — Avoid the occasions, and prevent the beginning of contention.

Verse 16

[16] Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?

A price — Opportunities and abilities of getting it.

No heart — Neither discretion to discern the worth of wisdom, nor any sincere desire to get it.

Verse 17

[17] A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Was born — Was sent into the world for this, that he might comfort and relieve his brother in adversity.

Verse 18

[18] A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.

Friend — Debtor, for whom being his friend, he becomes surety.

Verse 20

[20] He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.

No good — Shall not get that advantage which he expects.

Verse 22

[22] A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Doth good — Even to the body; it contributes much to bodily health and vigour.

Drieth — Wastes the marrow of the bones, and the moisture and strength of the body.

Verse 24

[24] Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

In the face — His wisdom appears even in his looks.

The eyes — Minding most, those things which are remotest from him, and least concern him.

Verse 26

[26] Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.

To strike — Nor to smite magistrates, either with the hand or tongue, for the execution of justice.