Notes & Commentary:
Title. Solomon. This title is not found in Sixtus V or Septuagint. Hitherto the preface extends, shewing the advantages of wisdom. (Calmet) — The subsequent chapters more properly contain the parables, and are written with great elegance, so as to oppose vice to virtue. See Bain.; St. Jerome, &c. (Worthington)
Ver. 1. Mother. A virtuous child cannot be indifferent to the joy of his parents.
Ver. 2. Wickedness. Riches ill acquired, or tending to corrupt the heart, Luke xvi. 9.
Ver. 3. Famine. Psalm xxxvi. 25. The prophets and Lazarus rejoice in suffering.
Ver. 4. Poverty. Even of those who had plenty. This is true in a spiritual sense likewise. (Calmet) — The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence. (Haydock) — Otiositas mater nugarum, noverca virtutum. (St. Bernard, consid. ii.) — He, &c. This is not in Hebrew, Greek, St. Jerome, or in several Latin copies. (Calmet) — We find it in the Septuagint, chap. ix. 13. — Away. He derives no benefits from lies. (Menochius)
Ver. 5. He. Septuagint, “a son well educated shall be wise, and shall have the unwise for his servant. An intelligent son has been saved from the heat. But the wicked son is destroyed by the wind in time of harvest.” (Haydock) — A good part of this is not in the original; yet it is received by the Greeks.
Ver. 6. Wicked. Or, as the Hebrew seems to indicate, “the wicked covereth iniquity, by an hypocritical exterior,” (Calmet) or, “the injury” (Mont.[Montanus?]) done to another, (chamas.; Haydock) “unseasonable, or infinite mourning,” penthos auron. (Septuagint)
Ver. 7. Rot. Hebrew, “stink.” His reputation shall be lost, Genesis xxxiv. 30. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Lips. He will not bear correction. (Menochius) — But suffers the punishment of his own unguarded speeches; or rather the man who hath foolish lips, shall be beaten, ver. 13. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Sincerely. Or Simply, Hebrew, “in uprightness,” (Haydock) or innocence. (Menochius) — Manifest. The hypocrite shall be at last detected.
Ver. 10. Sorrow. Septuagint add, “to men as well as to himself.” (Calmet) — “But he who chides boldly shall make peace,” (Haydock) or “work safety,” as the Syriac and Arabic also read, instead of Hebrew, “a prating fool shall fall.” “When a man connives at his friend’s failings,…the offender is encouraged to sin on, and to heap up matter for very sorrowful reflections; but the man, who with an honest freedom, prudently reproves him, most effectually contrives his honour and safety.” The consequences of a virtuous and a vicious friendship, seem to be also expressed in the next verse. Thus the latter hemistic generally illustrates the first. But here, part of ver. 8. may be improperly inserted. The two parts of the verses in Proverbs, &c., being arranged in distinct columns, has occasioned sometimes a part, and sometimes a whole verse, to be omitted, as the transcriber might mistake the line. (Kennicott)
Ver. 11. Life. Or a never-failing spring, fons perennis, as we should speak in Latin, chap. xiii. 14., and Apocalypse vii. 17.
Ver. 12. Sins. Septuagint, “all who contend.” Charity pardons all, 1 Peter iv. 8.
Ver. 13. Sense. Literally, “a heart.” But the Hebrews use this expression in a different sense from what we do, and thus designate a fool, Osee vii. 11.
Ver. 14. Confusion. He speaks inconsiderately, and involves himself in continual dangers, while the wise are cautious in their speech.
Ver. 15. Poverty. Diffidence hinders the advancement of the poor, as presumption is too common among the rich. A happy mediocrity is best, ver. 16.
Ver. 16. Life. In abundance he is not puffed up; but the wicked make use of their fruit or revenue to do evil. Their works are bad, unless they turn to God by at least an initial love of justice.
Ver. 18. Foolish. We must neither dissemble our resentment, through hypocrisy, nor manifest it without reason. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Sin. A prolix discourse on subjects of importance is not reprehended. (St. Augustine, Retrac. 1.) — But it is very difficult to speak much, without going against some virtue. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Understanding. Literally, “hear.” (Haydock) (Ver. 13.)
Ver. 23. Man. He is enabled to see the evil of sin, and to avoid it, Job xv. 16.
Ver. 26. Him. He spoils all their projects, (Calmet) and becomes a nuisance.
Ver. 29. Evil. Conscience upbraids them, and punishment is before their eyes. (Haydock) Magna vis est conscientiæ. (Cicero, pro Mil.)
Ver. 30. Earth. This the Jews frequently experienced. The more enlightened understood, that such promises regarded also eternity. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
THE PARABLES OF SOLOMON.
In the twenty following chapters are contained many wise sayings and axioms, relating to wisdom and folly, virtue and vice.
1 A wise son maketh the father glad: but a foolish son is the sorrow of his mother.
2 *Treasures of wickedness shall profit nothing: but justice shall deliver from death.
3 The Lord will not afflict the soul of the just with famine, and he will disappoint the deceitful practices of the wicked.
4 The slothful hand hath wrought poverty: but the hand of the industrious getteth riches.
He that trusteth to lies feedeth the winds: and the same runneth after birds, that fly away.
5 He that gathereth in the harvest, is a wise son: but he that snorteth in the summer, is the son of confusion.
6 The blessing of the Lord is upon the head of the just: but iniquity covereth the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the just is with praises: and the name of the wicked shall rot.
8 The wise of heart receiveth precepts: a fool is beaten with lips.
9 He that walketh sincerely, walketh confidently: but he that perverteth his ways, shall be manifest.
10 *He that winketh with the eye, shall cause sorrow: and the foolish in lips shall be beaten.
11 The mouth of the just is a vein of life: and the mouth of the wicked covereth iniquity.
12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: *and charity covereth all sins.
13 In the lips of the wise is wisdom found: and a rod on the back of him that wanteth sense.
14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the fool is next to confusion.
15 The substance of a rich man is the city of his strength: the fear of the poor is their poverty.
16 The work of the just is unto life: but the fruit of the wicked unto sin.
17 The way of life, to him that observeth correction: but he that forsaketh reproofs, goeth astray.
18 Lying lips hide hatred: he that uttereth reproach, is foolish.
19 In the multitude of words there shall not want sin: but he that refraineth his lips, is most wise.
20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: but the heart of the wicked is nothing worth.
21 The lips of the just teach many: but they that are ignorant, shall die in the want of understanding.
22 The blessing of the Lord maketh men rich: neither shall affliction be joined to them.
23 A fool worketh mischief as it were for sport: but wisdom is prudence to a man.
24 That which the wicked feareth, shall come upon him: to the just their desire shall be given.
25 As a tempest that passeth, so the wicked shall be no more: but the just is as an everlasting foundation.
26 As vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that sent him.
27 The fear of the Lord shall prolong days: and the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
28 The expectation of the just is joy: but the hope of the wicked shall perish.
29 The strength of the upright is the way of the Lord: and fear to them that work evil.
30 The just shall never be moved: but the wicked shall not dwell on the earth.
31 The mouth of the just shall bring forth wisdom: the tongue of the perverse shall perish.
32 The lips of the just consider what is acceptable: and the mouth of the wicked uttereth perverse things.
2: Proverbs xi. 4.
10: Ecclesiasticus xxvii. 25.
12: 1 Corinthians xiii. 4.; 1 Peter iv. 8.