Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Poverty. Greek, “the indifferent thing,” as the Stoics represented money, chap. vii. 20. — Sinned. Hence proceeds the danger to which little merchants are exposed. Involuntary povery is very miserable, Proverbs xxx. 9
Ver. 2. Fast. Anacharsis styled “the market-place the receptacle of mutual cheating.” (Laertius 1.) — The seller praises his goods to get them off: (Horace) the buyer says it is bad, Proverbs xx. 14. The next verse is a gloss omitted in Greek. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Fear. By this the soul is preserved in a good state. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Thoughts. The more he thinks on some things, the more is he perplexed. (Calmet) — After sin is purged away, there remains some defects like dust, Psalm l. 4. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Affliction. Greek, “thought,” (Haydock) or speech. (Calmet) — A young man being brought to Socrates, that he might pass judgment on his dispositions, the philosopher ordered him to “speak.” (Cicero)
Ver. 7. As. Greek, “the fruit shews the dressing,” &c.
Ver. 9. Honour. The desire of justice is the sure method to obtain it. The rest is not in Greek. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Iniquities. They fall deeper, or sin entails punishment. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. A. Greek, “the speech of the wise man is wisdom throughout: but,” &c. (Haydock) — The fool always mixes something improper with what good he speaks. (Calmet) — Sun. The wise man preserves his virtue, whether it appear or not. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. Keep. Greek, “wait an opportunity.” (Haydock) — Go but seldom. Their discourse tends to promote iniquity, (ver. 14.) and blasphemous oaths, (ver. 15.) and bloodshed, ver. 16. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Ears. The Jews did so, when they heard blasphemy, Acts vii. 56. (Menochius)
Ver. 17. Mind. In Egypt, those who disclosed a secret to the enemy, were condemned to have their tongues cut out. (Diodorus ii. 2.)
Ver. 19. Him. He will never trust thee more, ver. 22.
Ver. 20. Friend. Roman and Alexandrian Septuagint, “enemy.” (Haydock) — This crime is like murder. The Romans sometimes solemnly renounced the friendship of those who had offended them, as Germanicus and Caius did that of Piso. (Tacitus, An. 2.; Suetonius 3.)
Ver. 22. Because. Greek, “for one may bind up a wound, and an insult may be pardoned. But he who hath revealed secrets, hath lost all hope,” (Haydock) or “confidence,” ver. 24, chap. xxii. 27.
Ver. 25. Off. Some Greek copies have, “he who knows him will depart from him.” It is difficult to guard against a false friend, who winks as if he desired to please us, (Calmet) while he really seeks our ruin, ver. 26.
Ver. 28. Wound. Greek, “deal wounds. He,” &c. (Haydock) — Traitors, in the dark, often wound their fellows, (Calmet) or themselves. (Menochius)
Ver. 29. Setteth. Greek, “layeth a snare, shall perish in it.”
Ver. 30. Him. God will punish, when the sinner has perhaps forgotten his offence. (Calmet) — Such are often chastised here, and always hereafter. (Worthington)
Ver. 33. Them. He shall feel the indignation of God, (Calmet) and shall repine. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Dangers of sin from several heads: the fear of God is the best preservative. He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it.
1 Through poverty many have sinned: and he that seeketh to be enriched, turneth away his eye.
2 As a stake sticketh fast in the midst of the joining of stones, so also in the midst of selling and buying, sin shall stick fast.
3 Sin shall be destroyed with the sinner.
4 Unless thou hold thyself diligently in the fear of the Lord, thy house shall quickly be overthrown.
5 As when one sifteth with a sieve, the dust will remain: so will the perplexity of a man in his thoughts.
6 The furnace trieth the potter’s vessels, and the trial of affliction just men.
7 As the dressing of a tree sheweth the fruit thereof, so a word out of the thought of the heart of man.
8 Praise not a man before he speaketh, for this is the trial of men.
9 If thou followest justice, thou shalt obtain her: and shalt put her on as a long robe of honour, and thou shalt dwell with her: and she shall protect thee for ever, and in the day of acknowledgment thou shalt find a strong foundation.
10 Birds resort unto their like: so truth will return to them that practise her.
11 The lion always lieth in wait for prey: so do sins for them that work iniquities.
12 A holy man continueth in wisdom as the sun: but a fool is changed as the moon.
13 In the midst of the unwise keep in the word till its time: but be continually among men that think.
14 The discourse of sinners is hateful, and their laughter is at the pleasures of sin.
15 The speech that sweareth much shall make the hair of the head stand upright: and its irreverence shall make one stop his ears.
16 In the quarrels of the proud is the shedding of blood: and their cursing is a grievous hearing.
17 He that discloseth the secret of a friend, loseth his credit, and shall never find a friend to his mind.
18 Love thy neighbour, and be joined to him with fidelity.
19 But if thou discover his secrets, follow no more after him.
20 For as a man that destroyeth his friend, so also is he that destroyeth the friendship of his neighbour.
21 And as one that letteth a bird go out of his hand, so hast thou let thy neighbour go, and thou shalt not get him again.
22 Follow after him no more, for he is gone afar off, he is fled, as a roe escaped out of the snare: because his soul is wounded.
23 Thou canst no more bind him up. And of a curse there is reconciliation:
24 But to disclose the secrets of a friend leaveth no hope to an unhappy soul.
25 He that winketh with the eye forgeth wicked things, and no man will cast him off:
26 In the sight of thy eyes he will sweeten his mouth, and will admire thy words: but at the last he will writhe his mouth, and on thy words he will lay a stumbling-block.
27 I have hated many things, but not like him, and the Lord will hate him.
28 If one cast a stone on high, it will fall upon his own head: and the deceitful stroke will wound the deceitful.
29 He that diggeth a pit, shall fall into it: and he that setteth a stone for his neighbour, shall stumble upon it: and he that layeth a snare for another, shall perish in it.
30 A mischievous counsel shall be rolled back upon the author, and he shall not know from whence it cometh to him.
31 Mockery and reproach are of the proud, and vengeance as a lion shall lie in wait for him.
32 They shall perish in a snare that are delighted with the fall of the just: and sorrow shall consume them before they die.
33 Anger and fury are both of them abominable, and the sinful man shall be subject to them.