Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Unjust. The translator styles riches unjust, because they often proceed from, or tend to injustice. They can afford no protection in death, Psalm xlviii. 17., and Luke xii. 19., and xvi. 9. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Heart. If no man can oppose thee, remember God’s judgments. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. How mighty am I? is not in Greek, though read by St. Cyprian and St. Augustine, Spec. — Sennacherib’s vain boasting was soon punished, Isaias xxxvii. 36. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Rewarder. Greek, “is long-suffering, he will not let thee escape.”
Ver. 5. And add. Greek, “to add.” Take not occasion from God’s goodness to offend him. (Haydock) — He will punish at last. (Jansenius) — Though you may have taken pains to repent, are you assured of being forgiven? (Ecclesiastes ix. 1.) A relapse calls for greater severity, though the graces of God are without repentance, Romans xi. 29. He does not recall his favours, but he hates the ungrateful, ver. 6. (Bellarmine, Just. iii. 4.) (Calmet) — Satisfaction must be made even after the sin has been remitted. (Worthington) — This may be feared. (Menochius)
Ver. 7. Looketh. Greek, “shall rest” in hell, to punish the abuse of mercy. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Day. A rabbin being asked when one must repent? answered, the day before death. But we know not when that will take place! Then, replied he, we must repent to-day. (Drusius) — “God has promised thee pardon, if thou repent, but he has not promised thee to-morrow.” (St. Augustine, Psalm cxiv.)
Ver. 12. The way. Greek, “thy knowledge or sentiment, and let thy speech be one,” (Haydock) that men may depend upon thee.
Ver. 13. Word. Complutensian adds, “of God.” But the Roman edition has, “be quick to hear, and answer slowly,” James i. 19. “It is safer to hear than to preach.” (St. Augustine, lix. in John) — Constancy in virtue will obtain the promised peace. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Lest. Greek, “honour and infamy is in speech; and the tongue of man proves his ruin.” (Haydock) — Nothing can be productive of better or of worse consequences, Proverbs xviii. 21. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Be. Greek, “ensnare not by thy tongue, (17.) for evil confusion is upon the thief, and great condemnation on the double-tongued. (18.) Be not ignorant in any thing, great or small.” (Haydock) — The detractor is more dangerous than the thief. He pierces without being seen, Ecclesiastes x. 11., Proverbs xxvi. 20., and Romans i. 29.
Ver. 18. Great. Only examine the justice of the cause; or, according to the Greek, commit no fault of ignorance, nor say, “I did not think.” (Calmet) — Acknowledge thy friend in his poverty, as well as in his greatness. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
We must not presume of our wealth or strength: nor of the mercy of God, to go on in sin: we must be steadfast in virtue and truth.
1 Set not thy heart upon unjust possessions, and say not: I have enough to live on: for it shall be of no service in the time of vengeance and darkness.
2 Follow not in thy strength the desires of thy heart:
3 And say not: How mighty am I? and who shall bring me under for my deeds? for God will surely take revenge.
4 Say not: I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? for the most High is a patient rewarder.
5 Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin upon sin:
6 And say not: The mercy of the Lord is great, he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins.
7 *For mercy and wrath quickly come from him, and his wrath looketh upon sinners.
8 Delay not to be converted to the Lord, and defer it not from day to day.
9 For his wrath shall come on a sudden, and in the time of vengeance he will destroy thee.
10 *Be not anxious for goods unjustly gotten: for they shall not profit thee in the day of calamity and revenge.
11 Winnow not with every wind, and go not into every way: for so is every sinner proved by a double tongue.
12 Be steadfast in the way of the Lord, and in the truth of thy judgment, and in knowledge, and let the word of peace and justice keep with thee.
13 Be meek to hear the word, that thou mayst understand: and return a true answer with wisdom.
14 If thou have understanding, answer thy neighbour: but if not, let thy hand be upon thy mouth, lest thou be surprised in an unskilful word, and be confounded.
15 Honour and glory is in the word of the wise, but the tongue of the fool is his ruin.
16 Be not called a whisperer, and be not taken in thy tongue, and confounded.
17 For confusion and repentance is upon a thief, and an evil mark of disgrace upon the double-tongued, but to the whisperer hatred, and enmity, and reproach.
18 Justify alike the small, and the great.
7: Proverbs x. 6.
10: Proverbs xi. 4. and 28.