Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Reproach. True friendship resembles charity, and bears all things, 1 Corinthians xiii. 4. Hebrew now reads Thave, “desire;” instead of Thuane, occasion, or “pretext,” which must have been in the copies of the Septuagint and Vulgate. (Calmet) — Protestants, “through desire, a man having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” The solitary seeks heaven. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Heart. Conformable to his passions. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “unless to lay open his heart.” He wishes to appear wise, and to justify his wicked designs. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Contemneth both God and man, Luke xviii. 4. Hebrew, “is contemned” in his turn. (Calmet) — He is like a man abandoned by the physician. (Op. Imp. in Matt. Hom. 40.)
Ver. 4. Man, who is just and wise. His advice deserves attention, chap. xx. 5.
Ver. 6. Quarrels. Hebrew, “blows.” Septuagint, “death;” (ver. 7.) which are the usual consequences of quarrels.
Ver. 8. Tongued. Hebrew, “calumniator.” He pretends to wish well to those of whom he speaks, or else to guard the company against deceit. (Calmet) — “If the devil be upon the detractor’s tongue, he is in the ears of those who pay attention to him.” (St. Francis de Sales) — Fear, &c., is in the Septuagint, above. The Vulgate retains both this and the new version of St. Jerome.
Ver. 9. Brother. Like him, as both end in poverty, chap. x. 4., and xii. 11.
Ver. 10. Name. Essence, or protection of God. The rich depends on his own wealth.
Ver. 13. Heareth the end of the question, chap. i. 5.
Ver. 14. Infirmity of the flesh, Matthew xxvi. 41. — That is. Theodotion, “is wounded, who shall support?”
Ver. 16. Princes. He easily finds access by showing submission. (Calmet)
Placatur donis Jupiter ipse suis. (Ovid)
Ver. 17. Him. To see that he act with sincerity.
Ver. 18. Lot. Chap. xvi. 33. Septuagint, “silence.” (Calmet) — But Grabe substitutes “lot.” (Haydock)
Ver. 19. Judgments of many are more deserving of credit. Hebrew, “a brother offended, is like a strong place, and their quarrels,” &c. They are not easily reconciled. Civil wars are most terrible. (Calmet)
Ver. 20. Satisfied. Those who are guarded in their words get employment. (Haydock) (Chap. xii. 14.)
Ver. 21. Love it, and speak well or ill, shall receive accordingly, Matthew xii. 37.
Ver. 22. Good wife. Good is not in Hebrew, but should be understood, as it is expressed in the Complutensian (Calmet) and Alexandrian Septuagint. (Haydock) — He that, &c., occurs not in Hebrew, Sixtus V, &c. But it is found in Septuagint and Arabic. The Syriac omits the last sentence. — Wicked. St. Augustine had frequently asserted that a divorce was only of counsel: but this he retracted, when he reflected on this text. (Retractions i. 19.) — The Hebrews, Athenians, and Romans, followed the same practice with adulteresses. (Selden, Ux. iii. 16.; Dem. in Neæram, &c.) — Hermas (past. i. 4.) prescribes that the penitent shall be received again, but not often. In case of divorce, the fathers still permit not a second marriage, that the parties may be reconciled. They enjoin the husband to put away only such as are incorrigible. (St. Augustine, Adul. ii. 3.) (Calmet)
Ver. 24. Brother. The ties of nature are not so strong as those of friendship. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “a man that hath friends must shew himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Protestants) (Haydock) — Ut ameris ama. (Martial)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
1 He that hath a mind to depart from a friend, seeketh occasions: he shall ever be subject to reproach.
2 A fool receiveth not the words of prudence: unless thou say those things which are in his heart.
3 The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sins, contemneth: but ignominy and reproach follow him.
4 *Words from the mouth of a man are as deep water: and the fountain of wisdom as an overflowing stream.
5 It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to decline from the truth of judgment.
6 The lips of a fool intermeddle with strife: and his mouth provoketh quarrels.
7 The mouth of a fool is his destruction: and his lips are the ruin of his soul.
8 The words of the double-tongued are as if they were harmless: and they reach even to the inner parts of the bowels.
Fear casteth down the slothful: and the souls of the effeminate shall be hungry.
9 He that is loose and slack in his work, is the brother of him that wasteth his own works.
10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the just runneth to it, and shall be exalted.
11 The substance of the rich man is the city of his strength, and as a strong wall compassing him about.
12 *Before destruction, the heart of a man is exalted: and before he be glorified, it is humbled.
13 *He that answereth before he heareth, sheweth himself to be a fool, and worthy of confusion.
14 The spirit of a man upholdeth his infirmity: but a spirit that is easily angered, who can bear?
15 A wise heart shall acquire knowledge: and the ear of the wise seeketh instruction.
16 A man’s gift enlargeth his way, and maketh him room before princes.
17 The just is first accuser of himself: his friend cometh, and shall search him.
18 The lot suppresseth contentions, and determineth even between the mighty.
19 A brother that is helped by his brother, is like a strong city: and judgments are like the bars of cities.
20 Of the fruit of a man’s mouth shall his belly be satisfied: and the offspring of his lips shall fill him.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: they that love it, shall eat the fruits thereof.
22 He that hath found a good wife, hath found a good thing, and shall receive a pleasure from the Lord.
He that driveth away a good wife, driveth away a good thing: but he that keepeth an adulteress, is foolish and wicked.
23 The poor will speak with supplications, and the rich will speak roughly.
24 A man amiable in society, shall be more friendly than a brother.
4: Proverbs xx. 5.
12: Proverbs xi. 2.; Ecclesiasticus x. 15.
13: Ecclesiasticus xi. 8.