Commentary on Proverbs 18:1-10

(Spectrumbot) #1

Verse 1 The original here is difficult, and differently understood. Some take it as a rebuke to an affected singularity. When men take a pride in separating themselves from the sentiments and society of others, in contradicting all that has been said before them and advancing new notions of their own, which, though ever so absurd, they are wedded to, it is to gratify a desire or lust of vain-glory, and they are seekers and meddlers with that which does not belong to them. He seeks according to his desire, and intermeddles with every business, pretends to pass a judgment upon every man’s matter. He is morose and supercilious. Those generally are so that are opinionative and conceited, and they thus make themselves ridiculous, and are vexatious to others. Our translation seems to take it as an excitement to diligence in the pursuit of wisdom. If we would get knowledge or grace, we must desire it, as that which we need and which will be of great advantage to us, 1 Co. 12:31 . We must separate ourselves from all those things which would divert us from or retard us in the pursuit, retire out of the noise of this world’s vanities, and then seek and intermeddle with all the means and instructions of wisdom, be willing to take pains and try all the methods of improving ourselves, be acquainted with a variety of opinions, that we may prove all things and hold fast that which is good.

Verse 2 A fool may pretend to understanding, and to seek and intermeddle with the means of it, but, He has no true delight in it; it is only to please his friends or save his credit; he does not love his book, nor his business, nor his Bible, nor his prayers; he would rather be playing the fool with his sports. Those who take no pleasure in learning or religion will make nothing to purpose of either. No progress is made in them if they are a task and a drudgery. He has no good design in it, only that his heart may discover itself, that he may have something to make a show with, something wherewith to varnish his folly, that that may pass off the better, because he loves to hear himself talk.

Verse 3 This may include a double sense: 1. That wicked people are scornful people, and put contempt upon others. When the wicked comes into any company, comes into the schools of wisdom or into the assemblies for religious worship, then comes contempt of God, of his people and ministers, and of everything that is said and done. You can expect no other from those that are profane than that they will be scoffers; they will be an ignominy and reproach; they will flout and jeer everything that is serious and grave. But let not wise and good men regard it, for the proverb of the ancients says, such wickedness proceeds from the wicked. 2. That wicked people are shameful people, and bring contempt upon themselves, for God has said that those who despise him shall be lightly esteemed. As soon as ever sin entered shame followed it, and sinners make themselves despicable. Nor do they only draw contempt upon themselves, but they bring ignominy and reproach upon their families, their friends, their ministers, and all that are in any way related to them. Those therefore who would secure their honour must retain their virtue.

Verse 4 The similitudes here seem to be elegantly transposed. The well-spring of wisdom is as deep waters. An intelligent knowing man has in him a good treasure of useful things, which furnishes him with something to say upon all occasions that is pertinent and profitable. This is as deep waters, which make no noise, but never run dry. The words of such a man’s mouth are as a flowing brook. What he sees cause to speak flows naturally from him and with a great deal of ease, and freedom, and natural fluency; it is clean and fresh, it is cleansing and refreshing; from his deep waters there flows what there is occasion for, to water those about him, as the brooks do the low grounds.

Verse 5 This justly condemns those who, being employed in the administration of justice, pervert judgment, but conniving at men’s crimes, and protecting and countenancing them in oppression and violence, because of their dignity, or wealth, or some personal kindness they have for them. Whatever excuses men may make for it, certainly it is not good thus to accept the person of the wicked; it is an offence to God, an affront to justice, a wrong to mankind, and a real service done to the kingdom of sin and Satan. The merits of the cause must be regarded, not the person. By giving a cause against justice and equity, because the person is poor and low in the world, or not of the same party or persuasion, or a stranger of another country. This is overthrowing the righteous in judgment, who ought to be supported, and whom God will make to stand.

Verses 6-7 Solomon has often shown what mischief bad men do to others with their ungoverned tongues; here he shows what mischief they do to themselves. 1. They embroil themselves in quarrels: A fool’s lips, without any cause or call, enter into contention, by advancing foolish notions which others find themselves obliged to oppose, and so a quarrel is begun, or by giving provoking language, which will be resented, and satisfaction demanded, or by setting men at defiance, and bidding them do if they dare. Proud, and passionate men, and drunkards, are fools, whose lips enter into contention. A wise man may, against his will, be drawn into a quarrel, but he is a fool that of choice enters into it when he might avoid it, and he will repent it when it is too late. 2. They expose themselves to correction: The fool’s mouth does, in effect, call for strokes; he has said that which deserves to be punished with strokes, and is still saying that which needs to be checked, and restrained with strokes, as Ananias unjustly commanded that Paul should be smitten on the mouth. 3. They involve themselves in ruin: A fool’s mouth, which has been, or would have been, the destruction of others, proves at length his own destruction, perhaps from men. Shimei’s mouth was his own destruction, and Adonijah’s, who spoke against his own head. And when a fool, by his foolish speaking, has run himself into a premunire, and thinks to bring himself off by justifying or excusing what he has said, his defence proves his offence, and his lips are still the snare of his soul, entangling him yet more and more. However, when men by their evil words shall be condemned at God’s bar their mouths will be their destruction, and it will be such an aggravation of their ruin as will not admit one drop of water, one drop of comfort, to cool their tongue, which is their snare and will be their tormentor.

Verse 8 Tale-bearers are those who secretly carry stories from house to house, which perhaps have some truth in them, but are secrets not fit to be told, or are basely misrepresented, and false colours put upon them, and are all told with design to blast men’s reputation, to break their friendship, to make mischief between relations and neighbours, and set them at variance. Now the words of such are here said to be, 1. Like as when men are wounded (so the margin reads it); they pretend to be very much affected with the miscarriages of such and such, and to be in pain for them, and pretend that it is with the greatest grief and reluctance imaginable that they speak of them. They look as if they themselves were wounded by it, whereas really they rejoice in iniquity, are fond of the story, and tell it with pride and pleasure. Thus their words seem; but they go down as poison into the innermost parts of the belly, the pill being thus gilded, thus sugared. 2. As wounds (so the text reads it), as deep wounds, deadly wounds, wounds in the innermost parts of the belly; the venter medius vel infimus—the middle or lower belly, the thorax or the abdomen, in either of which wounds are mortal. The words of the tale-bearer wound him of whom they are spoken, his credit and interest, and him to whom they are spoken, his love and charity. They occasion sin to him, which is a wound to the conscience. Perhaps he seems to slight them, but they would insensibly, by alienating his affections from one he ought to love.

Verse 9 Note, 1. Prodigality is very bad husbandry. Those are not only justly branded as fools among men, but will give an uncomfortable account to God of the talents they are entrusted with, who are wasters of their estates, who live above what they have, spend and give more than they can afford, and so, in effect, throw away what they have, and suffer it to run to waste. 2. Idleness is no better. He that is remiss in his work, whose hands hang down (so the word signifies), that stands, as we may, with his thumbs in his mouth, that neglects his business, does it not at all, or as if he did it not, he is own brother to him that is a prodigal, that is, he is as much a fool and in as sure and ready a way to poverty; one scatters what he has, the other lets it run through his fingers. The observation is too true in the affairs of religion; he that is trifling and careless in praying and hearing is brother to him that does not pray or hear at all; and omissions of duty and in duty are as fatal to the soul as commissions of sin.

Verse 10 Here is, 1. God’s sufficiency for the saints: His name is a strong tower for them, in which they may take rest when they are weary and take sanctuary when they are pursued, where they may be lifted up above their enemies and fortified against them. There is enough in God, and in the discoveries which he has made of himself to us, to make us easy at all times. The wealth laid up in this tower is enough to enrich them, to be a continual feast and a continuing treasure to them. The strength of this tower is enough to protect them; the name of the Lord is all that whereby he has made himself known as God, and our God, not only his titles and attributes, but his covenant and all the promises of it; these make up a tower, a strong tower, impenetrable, impregnable, for all God’s people. 2. The saints’ security in God. It is a strong tower to those who know how to make use of it as such. The righteous, by faith and prayer, devotion towards God and dependence on him, run into it, as their city of refuge. Having made sure their interest in God’s name, they take the comfort and benefit of it; they go out of themselves, retire from the world, live above, dwell in God and God in them, and so they are safe, they think themselves so, and they shall find themselves so.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Steve Mga) #2

In another place here on Spectrum we were discussing SUFFERING.
Actually Suffering is not a new topic. The whole Old Testament is a discussion on Suffering, how do we approach it, how do we make sense of it, and where is an all-powerful God in the whole experience of Suffering.
Perhaps the comment on vs 10 offers a measure of Relief as to what to do with our Suffering. As we have seen here on Spectrum lately, twice, the greatest enemy in Suffering is Death. But we also know there are worse things than Death sometimes. It is the Suffering while waiting for that moment. Either by me or someone else, or by the collective of humans surrounding the Suffering one.

Matthew Henry. He was not an SDA writer. IS it OK to read him, to take him seriously, and accept what HE thinks and writes? Is he one of those “progressives”, one of those “emergent” persons?
The Huge Problem with EVERY GENERATION there are always going to be “progressives”, always going to be “emergent” persons. I am sure that Matthew Henry was one in his day. But, now, we read him for his profound insights, his profound statements.
Why is it that we can accept Old “progressives”, Old “emergent” non-SDA writers, but it is a betrayal of one’s SDA-ism if one reads and considers New 'progressives", New “emergent” thinkers thoughts?
Just asking.

(Thomas J Zwemer) #3

for one who doesn’t and can’t read Hebrew it Greek, I am defendant upon commentaries and a collection of English versions. Of course there is always the temptation of a scribe to put in their own thoughts. That is so dominate in eschatology. In this set we have a clear picture of the heart of man. It ain’t pretty.

Christ comes to the rescue, in the flesh, Salvation is in His Righeosness. No commentary should end without a doxology. Tom Z

(Corran Vincent) #4

Matthew Henry. Not an SDA. So are you saying we shouldn’t read anything
that a non SDA has written? That’s a bit of a bigoted view isn’t it? Matthew
Henry wrote one of the best commentaries on the Bible ever written, Isn’t this a bit like saying only SDA’s have any truth. We’re right and everyone else is wrong?


Hello Steve, hope your Sabbath is going well. The first commentary I owned was Matthew Henry’s one. Indeed, it has served me well. Especially if your not the richest guy going around and you discover a 2 half thousand page commentary for $40! And thats Australian dollars mind you. In U.S dollars that would be around $31. How goods that :thumbsup:

(Frankmer7) #6

I don’t think Steve has any problem reading Matthew Henry. He’s making a reference to the GC president’s admonition that Adventists shouldn’t read anything but books written by denominational authors. His question seems a bit tongue and cheek to me. Would Henry, because of age now pass muster, even if he was progressive in his day? Is it only safe for consumption once it’s beyond a hundred years old? Is it only contemporary non SDA authors that are considered off limits?

The whole line of thought is exceedingly fear based and closed minded. What do we think EGW, and her contemporaries were reading in their day?



(Steve Mga) #7

I believe General Conference President Wilson asked us SDAs NOT to read NON-SDA authors. Isnt that true? We discussed this on Spectrum quite some time ago.
You may have missed the conversation.
I was just asking the question Tongue In Cheek. We Spectrum-ites dont follow directions very well.

Your statement "we’re [SDAs] right, everyone else is wrong"
I believe that is the tenor of some statements by some on here. That is why we don’t socialize with Sunday keepers.

(George Tichy) #8

The context of Steve’s comment has to be understood considering what Ted Wilson said in one of his first speeches after inauguration. I believe it was actually in his first speech when he said that Adventists should not read non-denominational literature.
I know, you seem shocked by the idea, and referred to it as “a bigoted view.” Whatever term one uses, the idea is indeed intellectually and spiritually insane.

(Corran Vincent) #9

What I’m saying is that to isolate ourselves from others of different views like non SDA’s is a bigoted way of life, Christ had no problems associating with the women at the well. How are going to win them to Christ if we don’t have any thing to do with them. Some of the best Christian literature I’ve read has been by non SDA’s.
Remenber the old story about the guy who got to Heaven and was told to be quiet as he walked down his demoniations area not make to much noise as the SDA’S and the Mormen’s etc all thought they wre the only ones there.

(George Tichy) #10

But this in violation to the guidance from the GC Prez…

It won’t be a problem, because that huge, tall wall being built in Heaven right now will separate the SDAs from everyone else so for the rest of the eternity they will think they were “the only ones to make it”…

I don’t know what exactly is the current plan for the Mormons…

(Elaine Nelson) #11

The Jews certainly didn’t limit their reading to their own Torah but liberally borrowed from contemporary writers. In chapter 22:17-23:11 for example, is paralleled in The Instruction of Amen-em-Opet. In addition the book as a whole exhibits many affinities with other well-known Egyptian wisdom books, such as The Instruction of Ptah-hotep and The Instruction of King Meri-ka-Re, and with various Mesopotamian wisdom texts.

Recent studies have also disclosed a large Phoenician influence on the book. There are also no references to distinctive ideas or institutions of Israel. This is also reflected along in a number of other books: Job and Eccl). The wise men of Proverbs unlike those in Job, Eccl., or the wisdom literature, show little specific concern for theological matters. They are applicable universally and not to any one form of religious belief.

(Gene Fortner) #12



What the controversy is all about!

It is about the eastern mysticism that is creeping into SDA churches, not to eliminate all non-SDA literature from your reading list.

This is called a straw man, created by those who disagree with elder Wilson’s biblical and SOP based theology.

“Stay away from non-biblical spiritual disciplines or methods of spiritual formation that are rooted in mysticism such as contemplative prayer, centering prayer, and the emerging church movement in which they are promoted.” Instead, he said, believers should “look within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to humble pastors, evangelists, Biblical scholars, leaders, and departmental directors who can provide evangelistic methods and programs that are based on solid Biblical principles and The Great Controversy theme.”

“Use Christ-centered, Bible-based worship and music practices in church services,” Wilson said. “While we understand that worship services and cultures vary throughout the world, don’t go backwards into confusing pagan settings where music and worship become so focused on emotion and experience that you lose the central focus on the Word of God. All worship, however simple or complex should do one thing and one thing only: lift up Christ and put down self.”

(Corran Vincent) #13

Ha Ha Tell me you’re joking Ha since when was the GC Pres.
The beginning and end all of the SDA church.
And exactly how are we to evangelise
The world if we isolate ourselves from the world like
exclusive brethren in
case we get contaminated Ha Ha. Here was me thinking salvation
comes for Jesus Christ and the word of God not by the word of the GC pres.

(Interested Friend) #14

How true. I don’t recall Wilson’s saying that an SDA should not use a reference in his pursuit of his studies.
In The Grip of Truth

(Frankmer7) #15

I think most of us here agree with you. Most of the best Christian literature I’ve read has been by non- Adventist authors, too. It would be ridiculous to isolate ourselves in this way.



(George Tichy) #16

No jokes about it. He said it in a sermon not long after his inauguration. It’s been commented here for years now, and it’s not something new.

And also, he said that the SDA institutions should not invite any non-Adventists speaker. What about that? What would you call this one?

No joke on this. This is serious business. I understand your disbelief, since the absurdity is really scary.

(Corran Vincent) #17

Well the GC coming up this year do think there any chance we may get a change? Whats the general feeling over there. We’re a bit isolated from the main feeling over here on the other side of the world? the SPD prez seems a lot more understnding.

(George Tichy) #18

I,believe we will have no chance at all. The GC has been orchestrating it very carefully for quite a while, under the leadership of TW. It seems that they are the only ones who think that nobody but they know what is going on…

(Elaine Nelson) #19

It must really be difficult to be published by the Adventist press. That is why many SdA authors choose other publishers.