Proverbs 20:25-21:2

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Proverbs 20

25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy (says rashly that something is) holy (Stevenson = i.e. speaks rashly. Stating that something was holy was to dedicate it to God. . . . To make such an ill-considered vow would be a snare, forcing a man to do what he, after reflection, did not wish to do.), and after vows to make enquiry (i.e. to seek some way to fulfill his vow, a vow whose full implications he did not consider before making).

[A man should not rashly devote something to the Lord or make a vow and then have second thoughts about it. Compare Jephthah's rash vow in Judges 11:29-40 - 29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon. 30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD'S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. 32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands. 33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. 34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter. 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back. 36 And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon. 37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. 38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. 39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel, 40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.]

26 A wise king scattereth (sifts out, winnows) the wicked, and bringeth (i.e. drives or brings the wheel over them.

[Believer's Bible Commentary = He brings the threshing wheel over them, i.e. he separates them from the righteous and punishes them.]

[Bible Knowledge Commentary = Kings are responsible to separate the wicked from the righteous and to try to correct the behavior of the wicked by inflicting punishment. The first of these responsibilities is suggested by winnowing . . . and the second by threshing. In farming, grain is threshed before it is winnowed. In threshing a sledge with spikes is pulled over the stalks of grain to separate the grain from the stalks and to free the seeds from the seed coverings (the chaff). In winnowing, the farmer tosses up the grain so that the wind can carry away the unwanted chaff. A king (or other ruler) should see that the wicked are detected and punished. This is important in maintaining order and justice.]

27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. [The reference could be to the conscience. It has been given to us by the Lord and serves as a lamp, throwing light on our thoughts, motives, affections, and actions. It approves and reproves the innermost thoughts and intents of our lives.]

[Romans 2:14-15 14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.]

The reference could instead be to the Holy Spirit Who ferrets out one's inner heart. Just as a lamp shows up what is in the darkness, so God reveals what is in man's spirit and searches out his inmost being.]

28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden (i.e. upheld) by mercy. (The word translated mercy means loyalty, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, lovingkindness.) It could be that God preserves the king because of the king's mercy and truth; or it could be that the king sustains or supports his own rule by his mercy.

29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head. (The gray head is associated with wisdom and experience.)

30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly. (Physical punishment has value in dealing with moral evil.) The inward parts of the belly suggests deep within his inner being.

Proverbs 21

1The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

This is an encouragement to people living under oppressive governments or missionaries in hostile lands.

2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

A man is not a valid judge of his own life or service. He judges by outward appearances. The Lord accurately evaluates (weighs) motives. By contrast, The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ); but God is omniscient.