Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Thee. The just may offend: but the wicked relapse continually.
Ver. 2. Hold. Greek, “bite,” (Calmet) in the same sense. (Menochius) — Serpents sting in secret: so all sins inveigle the soul. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Lion. Yet only those are hurt, who consent to sin. The devil may go round about, (1 Peter v. 8.) and tempt; (Calmet) he cannot bite, except a man willingly expose himself, and come near, ver. 2.
Ver. 4. Remedy. In man. (Haydock) — Only the sovereign physician can cure it. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Riches. As they make enemies arise. Greek subjoins, “so the house of the proud shall be made desolate.” (Haydock) — Roboam lost ten tribes by an insolent answer, and the Tarquins were expelled for their pride.
Ver. 6. Speedily. God is the protector of the poor, Psalm x. 5.
Ver. 7. Sinner. He rejects all medicines. How shall he be cured? (Calmet) — They who fear God, will examine their actions when they are warned. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. By him. And to avoid his reproaches. Greek, “knoweth when he is ruined.” (Haydock) — He is more reserved, and escapes the dangers of talkativeness.
Ver. 9. Winter. This season is unfit for building; so the man who borrows, may be forced to pay again (Calmet) before it is convenient for him. (Haydock) — Injustice will bring on ruin, Jeremias xxiii. 13. Some Greek copies have, “stones for a heap over his tomb,” as Achan and Absalom were treated. Reputation, or goods ill-acquired, will not continue long. (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Fire. All their grandeur will end in smoke. (Haydock) — Malachias iv. 1., and Matthew xiii. 30.
Ver. 11. Stones. It is broad and easy, Matthew vii.
Ver. 12. Thereof. Practice makes perfect. A painter may produce a better piece by this means, than one who is more acquainted with theory, (Calmet) and neglects it. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Bitterness. True wisdom promotes the general good.
Ver. 16. Of life. Which never fails, John iv. 14., and vii. 38.
Ver. 20. Church. Or assembly, Job xxix. 11, 21. (Calmet) — All good people dislike senseless talk, and approve of what is edifying. (Worthington)
Ver. 21. Fool. All is in confusion, like a heap of ruins.
Ver. 22. Hand. He esteems instruction burdensome.
Ver. 23. Low. A smiling countenance is commendable, but loud laughter is to be avoided. (Clement, Pæd. ii. 5.) — It causes too great a change, (Plato, Rep. 3.) and is a mark of folly, Ecclesiastes vii. 5. (St. Augustine, contra Acad. ii. 2.)
Ver. 25. House. And meddles with the concerns of others. (Calmet) — Of the mighty, is not in Greek. The wise will not easily receive invitations. (Haydock)
Ver. 26. Window. Greek, “door” with impudence. (Calmet)
Ver. 29. Heart. Understanding. (Haydock) — The wise speak with reflection, Proverbs xvi. 23.
Ver. 30. While the ungodly, &c. He condemneth and curseth himself; inasmuch as by sin he takes part with the devil, and is, as it were, his member and subject. (Challoner) — In vain does he lay the blame of his sins on the devil, ver. 3. (Calmet) — He condemns himself by imitating the wicked, Luke xix. (Worthington)
Ver. 31. By all. Greek, “in the neighbourhood.” The rest is omitted. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Cautions against sin in general, and some sins in particular.
1 My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more: but for thy former sins also pray that they may be forgiven thee.
2 Flee from sins as from the face of a serpent: for if thou comest near them, they will take hold of thee.
3 The teeth thereof are the teeth of a lion, killing the souls of men.
4 All iniquity is like a two-edged sword, there is no remedy for the wound thereof.
5 Injuries and wrongs will waste riches: and the house that is very rich shall be brought to nothing by pride: so the substance of the proud shall be rooted out.
6 The prayer out of the mouth of the poor shall reach the ears of God, and judgment shall come for him speedily.
7 He that hateth to be reproved walketh in the trace of a sinner: and he that feareth God will turn to his own heart.
8 He that is mighty by a bold tongue is known afar off, but a wise man knoweth to slip by him.
9 He that buildeth his house at other men’s charges, is as he that gathereth himself stones to build in the winter.
10 *The congregation of sinners is like tow heaped together, and the end of them is a flame of fire.
11 The way of sinners is made plain with stones, and in their end is hell, and darkness, and pains.
12 He that keepeth justice shall get the understanding thereof.
13 The perfection of the fear of God is wisdom and understanding.
14 He that is not wise in good, will not be taught.
15 But there is a wisdom that aboundeth in evil: and there is no understanding where there is bitterness.
16 The knowledge of a wise man shall abound like a flood, and his counsel continueth like a fountain of life.
17 The heart of a fool is like a broken vessel, and no wisdom at all shall it hold.
18 A man of sense will praise every wise word he shall hear, and will apply it to himself: the luxurious man hath heard it, and it shall displease him, and he will cast it behind his back.
19 The talking of a fool is like a burden in the way: but in the lips of the wise grace shall be found.
20 The mouth of the prudent is sought after in the church, and they will think upon his words in their hearts.
21 As a house that is destroyed, so is wisdom to a fool: and the knowledge of the unwise is as words without sense.
22 Doctrine to a fool is as fetters on the feet, and like manacles on the right hand.
23 A fool lifteth up his voice in laughter: but a wise man will scarce laugh low to himself.
24 Learning to the prudent is as an ornament of gold, and like a bracelet upon his right arm.
25 The foot of a fool is soon in his neighbour’s house: but a man of experience will be abashed at the person of the mighty.
26 A fool will peep through the window into the house: but he that is well taught, will stand without.
27 It is the folly of a man to hearken at the door: and a wise man will be grieved with the disgrace.
28 The lips of the unwise will be telling foolish things: but the words of the wise shall be weighed in a balance.
29 The heart of fools is in their mouth: and the mouth of wise men is in their heart.
30 While the ungodly curseth the devil, he curseth his own soul.
31 The tale-bearer shall defile his own soul, and shall be hated by all: and he that shall abide with him shall be hateful: the silent and wise man shall be honoured.
10: Ecclesiasticus xvi. 7.