Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Pride. We are naturally prone to it, and the friendship and manners of the proud will increase it. (Calmet) — If, therefore, the rich be not virtuous, it is dangerous to keep their company, (Worthington) both for this and the next world.
Ver. 3. Kettle. Made of iron. It will presently be broken. So the poor must suffer, if they marry, or have society with those who are much above their rank. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Thou? Distrust those who promise much. (Calmet) — Spem pretio non emo. (Tertullian)
Ver. 8. Drawn. Literally, “exhaust.” (Haydock) — He will feast thee, while he wants thy service, or he will come to dine with thee, and thus reduce thee to distress, Proverbs xxiii. 1. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Humbled. By foolishly attempting to rival the sumptuous feasts of the great. Ver. 9., and 11., are not in the Greek. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Wisdom. Depend not on others’ bounty. (Menochius) — When the cause of God is at stake, be firm, like St. Paul. (Calmet) — Pusillanimity in a superior might cause him to neglect his duty. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Concerning, &c., is not expressed in Greek. (Haydock) — If a person be so weak as to disclose his secret to a great man, he will never be trusted by him. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Awake. Be cautious even in sleep, if possible; or seem not to hear what passes at court. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Himself. Similarity of manners and of condition is favourable to friendship. (Calmet) — The good and bad cannot be friends, their manners are so different. (Cicero)
Ver. 21. Lamb. Christ has taught people of different tempers to embrace the faith, which shows his admirable power, Isaias xi. 6.
Ver. 25. Away. Psalm lxi. 4. (Calmet) — “It is inhuman to push those who are falling.” (Cicero, pro Rabir.)
Ver. 26. Helpers. Who prevent his ruin, (Calmet) and turn his words to good sense. (Menochius) — Proud. Greek, “what should not be disclosed,” aporreta. (Haydock) (Calmet) — Their “fault increases, being fed by applause.” (St. Gregory, Mor. iv. 29.)
Ver. 28. Clouds. People suppose that the rich must possess genius. (Horace, ii. Sat. iii.) — “Every one honours the rich.” (Theog.) (Calmet) — Exception of persons hinders many good counsels, and promotes evil. (Worthington)
Ver. 30. Ungodly. The abuse of riches is alone blameable. All things are clean for the clean, while the wicked perverts every advantage.
Ver. 31. Evil. Sorrow will manifest itself. (Calmet) — Imago animi vultus. (Cicero, Decorat. iii.)
Ver. 32. Find. Few are perfectly sincere. (Calmet) — Greek, “a cheerful countenance is the vestige of a heart in good things, (Haydock; prosperity, Menochius) and the discovery of parables is the effect of laborious enquiries.” (Haydock) — Study makes the countenance serious. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Cautions in the choice of company.
1 He *that toucheth pitch, shall be defiled with it: and he that hath fellowship with the proud, shall put on pride.
2 He shall take a burden upon him that hath fellowship with one more honourable than himself. And have no fellowship with one that is richer than thyself.
3 What agreement shall the earthen pot have with the kettle? for if they knock one against the other, it shall be broken.
4 The rich man hath done wrong, and yet he will fume: but the poor is wronged, and must hold his peace.
5 If thou give, he will make use of thee: and if thou have nothing, he will forsake thee.
6 If thou have any thing, he will live with thee, and will make thee bare, and he will not be sorry for thee.
7 If he have need of thee, he will deceive thee; and smiling upon thee, will put thee in hope; he will speak thee fair, and will say: What wantest thou?
8 And he will shame thee by his meats, till he have drawn thee dry twice or thrice, and at last he will laugh at thee: and afterward, when he seeth thee, he will forsake thee, and shake his head at thee.
9 Humble thyself to God, and wait for his hands.
10 Beware that thou be not deceived Into folly, and be humbled.
11 Be not lowly in thy wisdom, lest being humbled thou be deceived into folly.
12 If thou be invited by one that is mightier, withdraw thyself: for so he will invite thee the more.
13 Be not troublesome to him, lest thou be put back: and keep not far from him, lest thou be forgotten.
14 Affect not to speak with him as an equal: and believe not his many words: for by much talk he will sift thee, and smiling, will examine thee concerning thy secrets.
15 His cruel mind will lay up thy words: and he will not spare to do thee hurt, and to cast thee into prison.
16 Take heed to thyself, and attend diligently to what thou hearest: for thou walkest in danger of thy ruin.
17 When thou hearest those things, see as it were in sleep, and thou shalt awake.
18 Love God all thy life, and call upon him for thy salvation.
19 Every beast loveth its like: so also every man him that is nearest to himself.
20 All flesh shall consort with the like to itself, and every man shall associate himself to his like.
21 If the wolf shall at any time have fellowship with the lamb, so the sinner with the just.
22 *What fellowship hath a holy man with a dog, or what part hath the rich with the poor?
23 The wild ass is the lion’s prey, in the desert: so also the poor are devoured by the rich.
24 And as humility is an abomination to the proud, so also the rich man abhorreth the poor.
25 When a rich man is shaken, he is kept up by his friends; but when a poor man is fallen down, he is thrust away even by his acquaintance.
26 When a rich man hath been deceived, he hath many helpers: he hath spoken proud things, and they have justified him.
27 The poor man was deceived, and he is rebuked also: he hath spoken wisely, and could have no place.
28 The rich man spoke, and all held their peace; and what he said, they extol even to the clouds.
29 The poor man spoke, and they say: Who is this? and if he stumble, they will overthrow him.
30 Riches are good to him that hath no sin in his conscience: and poverty is very wicked in the mouth of the ungodly.
31 The heart of a man changeth his countenance, either for good or for evil.
32 The token of a good heart, and a good countenance, thou shalt hardly find, and with labour.
1: Deuteronomy vii. 2.
22: 2 Corinthians vi. 14.