Proverbs 20 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Proverbs 20)

Verse 1

[1] Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

A mocker — Wine immoderately drunk makes men mockers.

Raging — Makes men full of rage.

Verse 2

[2] The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.

The fear — The terror which the wrath of a king causes.

Verse 3

[3] It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

Meddling — Is always ready to begin strife, and obstinate in the continuance of it.

Verse 5

[5] Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Counsel — Designs of doing something of moment.

Deep water — Is secret and hard to be discovered.

Verse 8

[8] A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.

His eyes — With his very looks, or by his diligent inspection into affairs.

Verse 10

[10] Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

Divers — One greater for shew and one lesser for use.

Verse 11

[11] Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Is known — The future disposition of a man may be probably conjectured from his childish manners.

Verse 13

[13] Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

Open — Shake off sloth and betake thyself to thy employment with diligence and vigour.

Verse 15

[15] There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

The lips — But wise speeches are of far greater worth.

Verse 16

[16] Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

Take — As a pledge, without which he ought not to be trusted.

Of him — That is surety.

Verse 18

[18] Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

Established — The way to bring our purposes to good effect is to manage them with serious consideration.

Verse 20

[20] Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

Lamp — His name and memory shall utterly perish.

Verse 24

[24] Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

His way — What the issue of his designs will be.

Verse 25

[25] It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.

A snare — It brings guilt upon him.

After — After a man has made vows to enquire for ways to break them.

Verse 26

[26] A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

The wheel — As the cart-wheel was anciently turned over the sheaves to beat the corn out of them. He punishes them as their offences deserve.

Verse 27

[27] The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

The spirit — The reasonable soul.

The candle — Is a clear and glorious light set up in man for his information and direction.

Of the Lord — So called because it comes from God in a more immediate manner than the body, Ecclesiastes 12:7, and because it is in God's stead, to observe and judge all our actions.

Searching — Discerning not only his outward actions, which are visible to others, but his most inward thoughts and affections. The belly is here put for the heart, as it is frequently.

Verse 30

[30] The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

The blueness — Grievous wounds, which make men black and blue; or severe punishments.

Cleanseth — Are the means to reclaim a wicked man, and to purge out his corruption.

The belly — Of the heart. Grievous wounds or stripes cleanse not only the outward man by keeping it from evil actions, but even the inward man, by expelling or subduing vile affections: which is a great and blessed benefit of afflictions.