Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. To whom. All must not be admitted into the house, nor treated with marks of particular esteem. Yet daily alms must be given without too scrupulous an enquiry, Luke vi. 30. (Calmet) — It would be wrong to encourage sinners, who would run to their ruin. But we must relieve the penitent. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Lord. Christ rewards what good is done to his poor brethren.
Ver. 3. For. Greek, (4.) “Give to the pious, and receive not the sinner, (6.) Do,” &c. (Haydock) — The gospel enjoins us to do good to all. St. Augustine (Dort. iii. 16.) and St. Thomas Aquinas (ii. 2. q. xxxii. a ix.) explain this in a spiritual sense, that we must not partake in the crimes of others. We may also make presents to the virtuous, and pass over people of a different character, particularly when they would abuse our gifts. The honest poor must be preserved.
Ver. 10. Rusteth. So his malice always returns, (Calmet) and he shews what he is. (Vatable) — Christianity does not blame due reserve in treating with those whom we know not, or who have formerly injured us. Though we must love them from our heart, yet we need not intrust our secrets to them, nor even to every friend. Joab always retained a hatred for Abner, and Absalom for his brother and father, though they dissembled their resentment. (Calmet) — So the wicked commonly act. (Haydock) — We must love, but not trust them, being wise as serpents, Matthew x. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Of him. Greek adds, “and thou shalt be to him as one who has rubbed a mirror, (of brass from the rust. It returns perpetually. Calmet) and shalt know that the rust is not removed for ever. (Grabe) (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Beasts. Vipers, &c. Why should they familiarize themselves with such? Some Italians still handle serpents without fear, pretending that they are the descendants of St. Paul. (Calmet) — But he was never married, (1 Corinthians vii.; Haydock) and they are rather of the race of the Marsi, who formerly claimed the same privilege, having made use of some drugs to prevent the poison. The ancients believed that they could charm serpents.
Ver. 16. Blood. Jeremias xli. 6. Samson yielded to the tears of women, Judges xiv. 16., and xvi. 6.
Ver. 18. Eyes. Is taken from ver. 16. It is not in Greek. (Haydock) — His tears are like those of crocodiles, which cry when they are going to kill a man. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
We are to be liberal to the just: and not to trust the wicked.
1 If thou do good, know to whom thou dost it, and there shall be much thanks for thy good deeds.
2 Do good to the just, and thou shalt find great recompense: and if not of him, assuredly of the Lord.
3 For there is no good for him that is always occupied in evil, and that giveth no alms: for the Highest hateth sinners, and hath mercy on the penitent.
4 *Give to the merciful, and uphold not the sinner: God will repay vengeance to the ungodly and to sinners, and keep them against the day of vengeance.
5 Give to the good, and receive not a sinner.
6 Do good to the humble, and give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not to him, lest thereby he overmaster thee.
7 For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him: for the Highest also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance to the ungodly.
8 A friend shall not be known in prosperity, and an enemy shall not be hidden in adversity.
9 In the prosperity of a man, his enemies are grieved: and a friend is known in his adversity.
10 Never trust thy enemy: for as a brass pot his wickedness rusteth:
11 Though he humble himself and go crouching, yet take good heed and beware of him.
12 Set him not by thee, neither let him sit on thy right hand, lest he turn into thy place, and seek to take thy seat: and at the last thou acknowledge my words, and be pricked with my sayings.
13 Who will pity an enchanter struck by a serpent, or any that come near wild beasts? so is it with him that keepeth company with a wicked man, and is involved in his sins.
14 For an hour he will abide with thee: but if thou begin to decline, he will not endure it.
15 *An enemy speaketh sweetly with his lips, but in his heart he lieth in wait to throw thee into a pit.
16 An enemy weepeth with his eyes: but if he find an opportunity he will not be satisfied with blood:
17 And if evils come upon thee, thou shalt find him there first.
18 An enemy hath tears in his eyes, and while he pretendeth to help thee, will undermine thy feet.
19 He will shake his head, and clap his hands, and whisper much, and change his countenance.
4: Galatians vi. 7.
15: Jeremias xli. 6.