Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Pleased. Wisdom still speaks. Solomon often makes similar divisions, to make the deeper impression, Proverbs xxx. 15, 24.
Ver. 4. Fool. Greek, “adulterer, devoid of sense,” Isaias lxv. 20. (Calmet) — Luxuria….senectuti fœdissima. (Cicero, off. i.)
Ver. 5. Age? Wisdom, says Bias, “is more durable than other possessions.” (Laertius)
Ver. 9. Things. Greek, “nine suppositions I have blessed in my heart,” (Haydock) or thought that they may confer felicity. B\but the tenth will certainly do it, chap. xiv.
Ver. 10. Enemies. Not out of revenge, but for the glory of God. See Matthew v. 43.
Ver. 12. A true. Greek, “prudence.” (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Things. Greek adds, “for light (15.) he that,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 16. It. This is not in the edition of Rome, or of Aldus: but it is in the rest. Fear commonly begins the work of salvation, and love perfects it, 1 Timothy i. 5. (Calmet) — All happiness in this life is grounded on the fear of God. (Worthington)
Ver. 17. Evil. Greek reads not this; but the Syriac does, omitting the two next verses. (Calmet) — Heresy is described under the idea of a wicked woman, concealing her malice. (Worthington)
Ver. 18. Choose. Literally, “see.” (Haydock) — Some supply “send any plague,” &c.
Ver. 21. Enemies. Which they wish, or may behold, chap. xviii. 31. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Head. Or poison, as the Hebrew rosh signifies both. (Rondet.)
Ver. 23. Woman. Greek, “enemy.” (Calmet) — Revenge is the passion of little souls, and of women. (Juvenal xiii.) — Dragon. This is not exaggerated, if we reflect on the evils occasioned by Eve, Dalila, Athalia, &c. (Calmet) — “A woman is the greatest wild-beast.” (Menander)
Ver. 24. Sackcloth. And is black when passion bursts forth, though women too frequently conceal their anger to take deeper vengeance.
Ver. 25. Groaned. Greek, “shall fall.” — Little. Greek, “bitterly.” He cannot avoid hearing of his wife’s misconduct. (Haydock) — She will raise him enemies on all sides.
Ver. 26. Her. I could wish no greater evil to the worst of enemies, Ecclesiastes vii. 27.
Ver. 27. Man. He cannot advance. (Calmet) — Semper habet lites. (Juvenal vi.)
Ver. 28. Beauty. Other qualifications of more importance must be regarded. (Haydock) — He should choose one who may be a companion and assistant in domestic concerns. (Grotius)
Ver. 30. A. Greek, “If she bring a fortune to her husband,” (Haydock) she will continually upbraid him with it, and cover him with confusion, ver. 29. (Calmet) — Lay-leadership in spiritual things is so unreasonable, that few heretics will endure it. (Worthington)
Ver. 32. Happy. A lazy wife will give no content.
Ver. 33. Die. Eve tempted her husband, and thus we are all involved in sin, 1 Timothy ii. 14.
Ver. 34. Water. Incontinency, chap. xxvi. 15., and Proverbs v. 15. If water find a hole, it will presently flow away. Women were kept much at home in the East, as they are in many parts of Europe. (Calmet) — Retirement and silence are the characteristics of a wise woman. (Ęschylus, Thebas.)
Ver. 35. She will. Greek, “cut her off from thy flesh.” Grabe and Complutensian add, (Haydock) “give a bill of divorce or her dowry, and send her away.” (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Documents of wisdom on several subjects.
1 With three things my spirit is pleased, which are approved before God and men:
2 The concord of brethren, and the love of neighbours, and man and wife that agree well together.
3 Three sorts my soul hateth, and I am greatly grieved at their life:
4 A poor man that is proud: a rich man that is a liar: an old man that is a fool, and doting.
5 The things that thou hast not gathered in thy youth, how shalt thou find them in thy old age?
6 O how comely is judgment for a grey head, and for ancients to know counsel!
7 O how comely is wisdom for the aged, and understanding and counsel to men of honour!
8 Much experience is the crown of old men, and the fear of God is their glory.
9 Nine things that are not to be imagined by the heart have I magnified, and the tenth I will utter to men with my tongue.
10 A man that hath joy of his children: and he that liveth and seeth the fall of his enemies.
11 *Blessed is he. that dwelleth with a wise woman, *and that hath not slipped with his tongue, and that hath not served such as are unworthy of him.
12 Blessed is he that findeth a true friend: and that declareth justice to an ear that heareth.
13 How great is he that findeth wisdom and knowledge! but there is none above him that feareth the Lord.
14 The fear of God hath set itself above all things:
15 Blessed is the man, to whom it is given to have the fear of God: he that holdeth it, to whom shall he be likened?
16 The fear of God is the beginning of his love: and the beginning of faith is to be fast joined unto it.
17 The sadness of the heart is every plague: and the wickedness of a woman is all evil.
18 And a man will choose any plague, but the plague of the heart:
19 And any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman:
20 And any affliction, but the affliction from them that hate him:
21 And any revenge, but the revenge of enemies.
22 There is no head worse than the head of a serpent:
23 And there is no anger above the anger of a woman. *It will be more agreeable to abide with a lion and a dragon, than to dwell with a wicked woman.
24 The wickedness of a woman changeth her face: and she darkeneth her countenance as a bear: and sheweth it like sackcloth. In the midst of her neighbours,
25 Her husband groaned, and hearing, he sighed a little.
26 All malice is short to the malice of a woman: let the lot of sinners fall upon her.
27 As the climbing of a sandy way is to the feet of the aged, so is a wife full of tongue to a quiet man.
28 Look not upon a woman’s beauty, and desire not a woman for beauty.
29 *A woman’s anger, and impudence, and confusion is great.
30 A woman, if she have superiority, is contrary to her husband.
31 A wicked woman abateth the courage, and maketh a heavy countenance and a wounded heart.
32 Feeble hands, and disjointed knees, a woman that doth not make her husband happy.
33 *From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all die.
34 Give no issue to thy water, no, not a little: nor to a wicked woman liberty to gad abroad.
35 If she walk not at thy hand, she will confound thee in the sight of thy enemies.
36 Cut her off from thy flesh, lest she always abuse thee.
11: Ecclesiasticus xxvi. 1. — ** Ecclesiasticus xiv. 1. and xix. 16.; James iii. 2.
23: Proverbs xxi. 19.
29: Ecclesiasticus xlii. 6
33: Genesis iii. 6.