Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Men. Here the Greek concludes the former chapter very properly, (Haydock) as we must be ashamed of doing these things, and not of those which follow. (Calmet) — “Of repeating [and] of the speech which thou hast heard, and of revealing secret words; (things.; Haydock) and thou shalt be truly bashful, (aischunteros.; Calmet) and find favour with every man.” (Grabe’s edition) (Haydock) — Thereby. In such cases we must shew a holy impudence, like Jeremias i. 10, 18.
Ver. 2. Covenant. We must be ashamed of transgressing these, (chap. xli. 24.) but not of complying with them. This is the first duty of man. — Ungodly. Blush not to oppose such a judgment, (Calmet) though all the judges should be against thee. Follow no collusion of man to do evil. (Haydock) — Pass sentence without respect of persons, (Deuteronomy i. 16.; Calmet) whether the parties be thy companions, or only travellers, ver. 3. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Friends. Be not ashamed to leave something to thy friends, though relations may grumble; or execute thy friend’s will exactly. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Little. Be scrupulously exact in thy dealings, but not afraid of advancing thy fortune by lawful means.
Ver. 5. Buying. This regards magistrates, who must correct such frauds. Greek, “of the money (Calmet) to purchase from merchants.” (Haydock) — We may examine whether the coin be good, and strive to get things as cheap as we can. — Bleed. Great severity was formerly used, chap. xxx. 12. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Keeping. Literally, “a seal.” (Haydock) — All must be locked up.
Ver. 7. In. Not out of distrust so much, as to keep servants honest. All who have written on economy give the same rules.
Ver. 8. Men. So Daniel discovered the malice of the two ancients, Daniel xiii. 46. Admonish the aged not to enter into disputes, or strive with the young. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Knoweth. Literally, “who is hidden.” (Haydock) — An unmarried woman was styled Halma, or “hidden,” Isaias vii. 11. (Calmet) — Pass away. Greek, “abuse.” (Haydock) — Some read adultera, (Sixtus V; Jansenius) instead of adulta, improperly. It was deemed shameful for a parent not to have his daughter married soon, 1 Corinthians vii. 36. — Hateful. Deuteronomy xxiv.
Ver. 10. Barren. And thus fall into contempt, Deuteronomy vii. 14. If she committed adultery she must die; or if she were only suspected, she must drink the waters of jealousy, Numbers v. 17. Husbands would often seek a divorce, on such occasions; which would involve the father in fresh difficulties.
Ver. 11. Multitude, who will accuse thee of negligence. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Body’s. Literally, “man’s.” But females are included in this term. (Haydock) — It was also necessary to guard the Greeks, and pagans in general, against a criminal affection for boys.
Ver. 13. Man. Greek, “woman.” Malice is natural to her. Beauty becomes her ruin, as well as that of others. (Calmet) — The Fathers compare women to a loadstone. (St. Basil) — Men who come near them, are greatly exposed. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Better, &c. That is, there is, commonly speaking, less danger to be apprehended to the soul from the churlishness, or injuries we receive from men, than from the flattering favours and familiarity of women. (Challoner) — Josephus (contra Apion ii.) attributes this sentence to Moses, and prefers the worst man to the best woman, as Euripides does in Clement. (Strom. iv.) (Calmet) — But this is ridiculous. — Reproach. This explains what sort of good the woman aforesaid has done; she had fostered the passions of men, and brought them to shame, which all the malevolence of an enemy could not have done. (Haydock) — The company of women is therefore more dangerous, chap. ix. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Remember, or publish. He praises God and the great men of his nation, to the end of the book, (Calmet) or to chap. l. 29. (Haydock) — By. Literally, “in.” (Haydock) — I have only abridged what the sacred Scriptures relate.
Ver. 16. Work. The world displays God’s glory and power, Psalm xviii. 6.
Ver. 17. Saints, in heaven, or rather the Israelites, Psalm cxlvii. 20. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Signs. Literally, “sign,” the order of the stars, &c. (Haydock) — Yet God does not study these things, to discover what will happen. He is the author of nature. (Calmet) — From his works we are to form some idea of his greatness, Job xxxviii., &c. (Worthington)
Ver. 25. Another. By this opposition the world subsists, according to Linus, Epimenides, &c. Hanc Deus et melior litem natura diremit. ([Ovid,] Met. i.) See chap. xxxiii. 16.
Ver. 26. He. Greek, “one thing establishes the good of another,” (Haydock) serving as a counterpoise. (Calmet) — Black colours cause the white to shine forth. Youth is guided by the experience of old age. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Of what things we ought not to be ashamed. Cautions with regard to women. The works and greatness of God.
1 Repeat not the word which thou hast heard, and disclose not the thing that is secret; so shalt thou be truly without confusion, and shall find favour before all men: be not ashamed of any of these things, *and accept no person to sin thereby.
2 Of the law of the Most High, and of his covenant, and of judgment to justify the ungodly.
3 Of the affair of companions and travellers, and of the gift of the inheritance of friends.
4 Of exactness of balance and weights, of getting much or little.
5 Of the corruption of buying, and of merchants, and of much correction of children, and to make the side of a wicked slave to bleed.
6 Sure keeping is good over a wicked wife.
7 Where there are many hands, shut up, and deliver all things in number and weight; and put all in writing that thou givest out or receivest in.
8 Be not ashamed to inform the unwise and foolish, and the aged, that are judged by young men: and thou shalt be well instructed in all things, and well approved in the sight of all men living.
9 The father waketh for the daughter when no man knoweth, and the care for her taketh away his sleep, when she is young, lest she pass away the flower of her age, and when she is married lest she should be hateful:
10 In her virginity, lest she should be corrupted, and be found with child in her father’s house; and having a husband, lest she should misbehave herself, or at the least become barren.
11 Keep a sure watch over a shameless daughter; lest at any time she make thee become a laughing-stock to thy enemies, and a bye-word in the city, and a reproach among the people, and she make thee ashamed before all the multitude.
12 Behold not every body’s beauty: and tarry not among women.
13 For from garments cometh a moth, and from a woman the iniquity of a man.
14 For better is the iniquity of a man, than a woman doing a good turn, and a woman bringing shame and reproach.
15 I will now remember the works of the Lord, and I will declare the things I have seen. By the words of the Lord are his works.
16 The sun giving light hath looked upon all things, and full of the glory of the Lord is his work.
17 Hath not the Lord made the saints to declare all his wonderful works, which the Lord Almighty hath firmly settled to be established for his glory?
18 He hath searched out the deep, and the heart of men, and considered their crafty devices.
19 For the Lord knoweth all knowledge, and hath beheld the signs of the world, he declareth the things that are past, and the things that are to come, and revealeth the traces of hidden things.
20 No thought escapeth him, and no word can hide itself from him.
21 He hath beautified the glorious works of his wisdom: and he is from eternity to eternity, and to him nothing may be added,
22 Nor can he be diminished, and he hath no need of any counsellor.
23 O how desirable are all his works, and what we can know is but as a spark!
24 All these things live and remain for ever, and for every use all things obey him.
25 All things are double, one against another, and he hath made nothing defective.
26 He hath established the good things of every one. And who shall be filled with beholding his glory?
1: Leviticus xix. 15.; Deuteronomy i. 17. and xvi. 19.; Proverbs xxiv. 23.; James ii. 1.