Proverbs xvi.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. It is the part of man, &c. That is, a man should prepare in his heart and soul what he is to say; but after all, it must be the Lord that must govern his tongue, to speak to the purpose. Not that we can think any thing of good without God’s grace: but after that we have (with God’s grace) thought and prepared within our souls what we would speak; if God does not govern our tongue, we shall not succeed in what we speak. (Challoner) — He will put into our mouths what we have to say to persecutors, Luke xxi. 14. He often causes us to utter the reverse of what we intended, as Balaam did, Numbers xxiii. (Menochius) — The fairest prospects miscarry without God’s blessing. The enemies of grace would infer from this text, that the beginning of salvation depends on free-will. But St. Augustine (con. 2. epist. Pelag. ii. 8.) has solidly refuted them, and Solomon does not mean that man acts alone, chap. viii. 35., (Septuagint) John xv. 5., and 2 Corinthians iii. 5. “Man,” says St. Augustine, “does no good things, which God does not cause him to perform.” (Calmet) — The Scripture cannot contradict itself. A fresh grace is requisite to execute what God has enabled us to devise, ver. 9. (Worthington)

Ver. 2. Open. Or approved. (Menochius) — Hebrew, “pure in his own eyes.” He sees not his own defects, chap. xxi. 2., and Job xxviii. 23. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. Open. Hebrew, “roll on,” and refer all to God’s glory. (Menochius) (Psalm xxxvi. 5.)

Ver. 4. Day. His obduracy is of his own choice, and must serve to set the divine justice in the clearest light, Ecclesiasticus xxxiii. 14., and Exodus ix. 16. Others hence infer that predestination is gratuitous, and reprobation in consequence of sin. It seems rather that temporal goods and evils are here meant. (Calmet)

Ver. 5. Hand. And he seems to be very quiet, chap. xi. 21. Septuagint, “but he who putteth his hand in hands unjustly, to make a contract, is,” &c. — The, &c., is taken from the Roman Septuagint and occurs before, chap. xv. 27.

Ver. 6. Mercy to the distressed, chap. iii. 3., and xiv. 22.

Ver. 7. Peace. Thus Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, &c., were admired by their former enemies.

Ver. 10. Judgment. Or “let it not err,” as people look upon the decisions of kings as so many oracles. We ought to act in this manner, as long as they are not visibly unjust. God gave a principal spirit (Psalm l. 14.) to Saul, David, Solomon, and to the judges whom he appointed, 1 Kings x. 9., Deuteronomy xxxiv. 9., and Judges iii. 10. (Calmet) — Solomon was thus enabled to decide difficult cases. (Menochius) (Job xxix. 7.)

Ver. 11. Bag. Many read sÄ™culi, “of the world.” So Ven. Bede, &c. All God’s appointments are perfectly just, chap. xi. 21. It was the custom for people to carry balances to weigh money, before it was coined. (Calmet)

Ver. 13. Loved. Yet none are more exposed to flattery and deceit than kings. (Seneca, ep. xxi.)

Ver. 15. Life. A mild government resembles a serene sky. (Sen.) (Clem.) (Job xxix. 23.)

Ver. 16. Get. Septuagint, “the nests of wisdom….and the nests of prudence;” or Churches of Christ, or places of education, may be intended. (Calmet)

Ver. 18. Fall. Our first parents had given way to pride, before they sinned publicly. (St. Augustine, City of God xiv. 13.)

Ver. 21. Shall. Hebrew, “adds learning,” both to himself and to others. Those who are wise and eloquent, must be preferred before those who have only the former qualification. (Calmet)

Ver. 23. Heart. Or knowledge. (Haydock) — Wisdom gives beauty to eloquence.

Ver. 26. Mouth. The want of food, Ecclesiastes vi. 7.

Ver. 27. Diggeth. Earnestly pursues. — Fire. James iii. 16. (Calmet)

Ver. 28. Words. Protestants, “a whisperer separateth chief friends.”

Ver. 30. Lips. These motions indicate fury and pensiveness.

Ver. 31. Justice. To the just longevity is promised. (Calmet)

Ver. 32. Valiant. Alexandrian Septuagint adds, “and a prudent man than a great farmer.” Greek: Georgiou. (Haydock) — Cities. To govern the passions is more difficult. (St. Gregory, Past. iii. p. Adm. x.; St. Thomas Aquinas ii. 2. q. 128. a. 6.)

Latius regnes avidum domando

Spiritum, quam si Lybiam, &c. (Horace, ii. Od. 2.)

Ver. 33. Lord. So the apostles had recourse to them, (Acts i. 26.) as the Cophts[Copts?] and Nestorians still do when there is a dispute about the election of a patriarch. (Renaudot iv. Perpet. i. 7. and 9.) — This mode may settle disputes, chap. xviii. 18. But we must not have recourse to it, except where the Church permits, lest we become the dupes of an idle curiosity. (Calmet) — Nothing happens by chance. (St. Augustine, City of God v. 9.) — Septuagint, “all things come into the breast of the unjust; but all just things proceed from the Lord.” (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

1 It *is the part of man to prepare the soul: and of the Lord to govern the tongue.

2 *All the ways of a man are open to his eyes: the Lord is the weigher of spirits.

3 Lay open thy works to the Lord: and thy thoughts shall be directed.

4 The Lord hath made all things for himself: the wicked also for the evil day.

5 Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord: though hand should be joined to hand, he is not innocent.

The beginning of a good way, is to do justice: and this is more acceptable with God, than to offer sacrifices.

6 *By mercy and truth iniquity is redeemed; and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.

7 When the ways of man shall please the Lord, he will convert even his enemies to peace.

8 Better is a little with justice, than great revenues with iniquity.

9 *The heart of man disposeth his way: but the Lord must direct his steps.

10 Divination is in the lips of the king, his mouth shall not err in judgment.

11 Weight and balance are judgments of the Lord: and his work all the weights of the bag.

12 They that act wickedly are abominable to the king: for the throne is established by justice.

13 Just lips are the delight of kings: he that speaketh right things shall be loved.

14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: and the wise man will pacify it.

15 In the cheerfulness of the king’s countenance is life: and his clemency is like the latter rain.

16 Get wisdom, because it is better than gold: and purchase prudence, for it is more precious than silver.

17 The path of the just departeth from evils: he that keepeth his soul keepeth his way.

18 Pride goeth before destruction: and the spirit is lifted up before a fall.

19 It is better to be humbled with the meek, than to divide spoils with the proud.

20 The learned in word shall find good things: and he that trusteth in the Lord is blessed.

21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and he that is sweet in words, shall attain to greater things.

22 Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it: the instruction of fools is foolishness.

23 The heart of the wise shall instruct his mouth: and shall add grace to his lips.

24 *Well ordered words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

25 There is a way that seemeth to a man right: and the ends thereof lead to death.

26 The soul of him that laboureth, laboureth for himself, because his mouth hath obliged him to it.

27 The wicked man diggeth evil, and in his lips is a burning fire.

28 A perverse man stirreth up quarrels: and one full of words separateth princes.

29 An unjust man allureth his friend: and leadeth him into a way that is not good.

30 He that with fixed eyes deviseth wicked things, biting his lips, bringeth evil to pass.

31 Old age is a crown of dignity, when it is found in the ways of justice.

32 The patient man is better than the valiant: and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh cities.

33 Lots are cast into the lap, but they are disposed of by the Lord.



1: Proverbs xvi. 9.

2: Proverbs xx. 24. and xxi. 2.

6: Proverbs xv. 27.

9: Proverbs xvi. 1.

24: Proverbs xv. 13.; Proverbs xvii. 22.