Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Together, as to their substance, though they received different forms successively, as Moses relates. Both writers are divinely inspired. (St. Augustine, de Gen. ad Lit. iv. 33.) (Worthington) (St. Thomas Aquinas, i. p. 974. a. 2.) — Some suppose that all things were really formed in an instant, and that the order described by Moses is only as we should conceive it. (Cajetan) — This passage only means that God alone was the creator both of the sun and of man, and without him nothing was made, (John i., and Psalm xxxii. 15.) as he gave existence to all, koine, “in common.” (Calmet) — And he. Greek, “and there is no other besides him who steers the world with the palm of his hand. And all things obey his will; for he is king of all, in his might, separating what is holy among them from the profane. (2.) He has enabled no one to,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Added. The works speak for themselves, though man be silent. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Begin. God is so great and incomprehensible, that when man has done all that he can to find out his greatness and boundless perfections, he is still to begin: for what he has found out, is but a mere nothing, in comparison of his infinity. (Challoner) — It is best to adore him in silence and humility. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Grace. Greek, “utility.” (Haydock) — Evil. What can man do for or against God? Job xxii. 3., and Psalm xv. 2.
Ver. 8. Years. Seneca fixes on the same number; (Brev. Vitæ. 3.) Macrobius on seventy, for the life of man; which nearly agrees with the author of Psalm lxxxix. 10. (Haydock) — It seldom happens that people exceed 70, or 100 years. But what is this compared with eternity? (Calmet) — Greek, “a hundred years are many….so are a thousand years in the day of the age,” or of aionos, eternity. (Haydock) (Psalm lxxxix. 4., and 2 Peter iii. 8.)
Ver. 9. Them. Human misery calls forth God’s pity. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Flesh. It is infinite and disinterested. Man assists his neighbour expecting a recompense, and remembering that he may be distressed.
Ver. 14. Judgments. To execute his orders. Here ends the discourse begun [in] chap. xiv. 22. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Complaint. Greek, “reproach.” (Haydock) — The manner of giving, enhances the value of the gift, or even surpasses it. (Calmet)
—–Super omnia vultus
Accessere boni, nec iners pauperque voluntas. ([Ovid?] Met. 8.)
Ver. 20. Medicine. This is more requisite and easy to do in the maladies of the soul, which are brought on by our own fault. Principiis obsta. (Calmet) — Mercy. Greek, “propitiation in the hour of visitation,” (Haydock) or punishment. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Sick. Roman Greek adds, “by abstinence, and in the time of sins, manifest a conversion.” (Haydock) — If we take precautions to avoid illness, why should we neglect the concerns of our soul? — Conversation, or good conduct.
Ver. 22. Always. These admirable maxims seem copied from the gospel, Luke xviii. 1. (Calmet) — The same spirit dictated all the Scriptures. (Haydock) — Those pray always who neglect not this duty at proper times, and are always resolved to do so. (St. Augustine, ep. 121. q. ad Prob.) (Worthington) — Greek, “be not hindered from performing thy vow in good time, and wait not to be justified, (Haydock) or to put it in execution till death. Deuteronomy xxiii. 21. Before thou takest a vow,” &c. Examine well if thou intend to perform it. (Calmet)
Ver. 23. God. Can we expect that he will hear what we do not ourselves? To approach his majesty, without repentance and attention, is presumptuous. We must ask God to open our lips, and do what lies in us. (Trid.[Council of Trent?]) (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Face, saying to the reprobate, Depart, &c., chap. vii. 40., and Matthew xxv. 41. (Haydock)
Ver. 25. Riches. By their good use, lay up a treasure in heaven, and be always humble, chap. xi. 27.
Ver. 26. God. All things continually change. (Calmet) — Rotam volubili orbe versamus. (Boet. cons. 2.) — Reflect on Aman and Mardochai. (Calmet)
Quem dies vidit veniens superbum,
Hunc dies vidit fugiens jacentem. (Sen.[Seneca?] Thyeste.)
Ver. 27. Thing. Mindful of the reverses of fortune, chap. xi. 30., and Proverbs xxviii. 14. (Calmet) — Sloth, and repent. Greek adds, “the fool will not observe the season.” (Haydock)
Ver. 28. Her. It is a rare thing to discern and to give due praise to merit. (Calmet)
Ver. 29. And judgments. Greek, “full of accuracy.” Some add the title “restraint of the soul.” (Haydock)
Ver. 31. Enemies. This motive will make the most impression on those who are slaves to their passions. (Calmet)
Ver. 32. Small. Literally, “nor in those which are small.” (Haydock) — Composed of the meanest citizens. Quarrels and sin are there almost inevitable. (Calmet) — Greek, “rejoice not in high living; nor beg for its symbol,” (Haydock) or feast, in which each person contributed his share, sumbole, as the next verse implies. (Calmet) — Symbolum dedit, cænavit. (Ter.[Tertullian?] And.)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God’s works are wonderful: we must serve him, and not our lusts.
1 He that liveth for ever, *created all things together. God only shall be justified, and he remaineth an invincible king for ever.
2 Who is able to declare his works?
3 For who shall search out his glorious acts?
4 And who shall shew forth the power of his majesty? or who shall be able to declare his mercy?
5 Nothing may be taken away, nor added, neither is it possible to find out the glorious works of God:
6 When a man hath done, then shall he begin: and when he leaveth off, he shall be at a loss.
7 What is man, and what is his grace? and what is his good, or what is his evil?
8 *The number of the days of men at the most are a hundred years: as a drop of water of the sea are they esteemed: and as a pebble of the sand, so are a few years compared to eternity.
9 Therefore God is patient in them, and poureth forth his mercy upon them.
10 He hath seen the presumption of their heart, that it is wicked, and hath known their end, that it is evil.
11 Therefore hath he filled up his mercy in their favour, and hath shewn them the way of justice.
12 The compassion of man is toward his neighbour: but the mercy of God is upon all flesh.
13 He hath mercy, and teacheth, and correcteth, as a shepherd doth his flock.
14 He hath mercy on him that receiveth the discipline of mercy, and that maketh haste in his judgments.
15 My son, in thy good deeds, make no complaint, and when thou givest any thing, add not grief by an evil word.
16 Shall not the dew assuage the heat? so also the good word is better than the gift.
17 Lo, is not a word better than a gift? but both are with a justified man.
18 A fool will upbraid bitterly: and a gift of one ill taught consumeth the eyes.
19 Before judgment prepare thee justice, and learn before thou speak.
20 Before sickness take a medicine, *and before judgment examine thyself, and thou shalt find mercy in the sight of God.
21 Humble thyself before thou art sick, and in the time of sickness shew thy conversation.
22 Let nothing hinder thee from praying *always, and be not afraid to be justified even to death: for the reward of God continueth for ever.
23 Before prayer prepare thy soul: and be not as a man that tempteth God.
24 *Remember the wrath that shall be at the last day, and the time of repaying, when he shall turn away his face.
25 *Remember poverty in the time of abundance, and the necessities of poverty in the day of riches.
26 From the morning until the evening the time shall be changed, and all these are swift in the eyes of God.
27 A wise man will fear in every thing, and in the days of sins will beware of sloth.
28 Every man of understanding knoweth wisdom, and will give praise to him that findeth her.
29 They that were of good understanding in words, have also done wisely themselves: and have understood truth and justice, and have poured forth proverbs and judgments.
30 *Go not after thy lusts, but turn away from thy own will.
31 If thou give to thy soul her desires, she will make thee a joy to thy enemies.
32 Take no pleasure in riotous assemblies, be they ever so small: for their concertation is continual.
33 Make not thyself poor by borrowing to contribute to feasts when thou hast nothing in thy purse: for thou shalt be an enemy to thy own life.
1: Genesis i. 1.
8: Psalm lxxxix. 10.
20: 1 Corinthians xi. 28.
22: Luke xviii. 1.; 1 Thessalonians v. 17.
24: Ecclesiasticus vii. 18.
25: Ecclesiasticus xi. 27.
30: Romans vi. 12. and 13. and xiii. 14.