Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Sit. Saul sat at table, and the custom of lying down was adopted only a little while before the captivity. It was recent among the Romans. (Calmet) — Soliti patres considere mensis. (Virgil, Æneid vii. 170.)
Ver. 2. Throat. Restrain intemperance and talkativeness, Ecclesiasticus xxxi. 12. Septuagint, “stretch forth thy hand, knowing that thou must prepare the like; but if thou be more insatiable, (3.) desire not his meats, for he has them of a deceitful life.” They cannot afford real happiness, (Haydock) and to vie with the rich would only reduce them to poverty, Ecclesiasticus xiii. 2. St. Augustine (tr. xlvii. in Joan.) explains this text of the blessed Eucharist, observing, that we must give our life for our brethren, as Christ did for us. Before communion, we must slay the old man, and subdue our passions. (Calmet) — Power. Protestants, “if thou be a man given to appetite.” The situation of a courtier is very critical. (Haydock) — Those who eat with the kings of Persia, were nicely observed by an eunuch, lest they should cast their eyes on any of his concubines. (Lucian. de Merced.)
Ver. 3. Deceit. Poison. He wishes to discover thy secret.
Ver. 4. Prudence. Be more solicitous for this, than to acquire riches. (Calmet) — Yet this wisdom must be sober, Romans xii. 3., and 1 Timothy vi. 9. Septuagint, “being poor, do not stretch forth thyself to the rich, but prudently retire,[“] ver. 2. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Riches. Septuagint, “to him, the rich man, he no where appears. He has prepared,” &c. (Haydock) — Like. Hebrew, “as the eagle, it will fly,” &c. (Haydock) — We must therefore fix our hearts on more durable goods.
Ver. 6. Man. Hebrew, “eat not bread of an evil eye,” the envious, or rather the sordid miser.
Ver. 7. Like. Protestants, “as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: eat,” &c. (Haydock) — He is still convinced that his guests will ruin him: or “like one guarding, or trembling for his soul.” Septuagint, “swallowing a hair, he saith,” &c. He is afraid of expense, and would allow himself as little as possible. — Diviner. Such endeavour to speak what may come to pass, but are full of anxiety; so the miser’s words are contrary to his real sentiments, (Calmet) as the diviner knows that he is imposing on mankind. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Words. Thou wilt be disgusted, and repine, Ecclesiasticus xxxi. 25.
Ver. 10. Ones. Hebrew and Septuagint, “ancient boundaries.”
Ver. 11. Kinsman. Hebrew Gaal, “tutor, defendant, or redeemer,” the Lord (Haydock) himself, Leviticus xxv. 25.
Ver. 16. Reins. Inmost affections.
Ver. 18. Thou. Protestants, “surely there is an end.” Marginal note, “reward.” (Haydock) — The testimony of a good conscience affords the greatest comfort in death. Septuagint, “if thou observe these things, thou shalt have posterity.” Hebrew, “hopes.”
Ver. 20. Eat. Such feasts tend to corrupt the morals, and to misspend time.
Ver. 21. Rags. At death the indolent shall be exposed to shame.
Ver. 23. Sell. Acquire as much wisdom as possible, and keep it with care. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “do not drive wisdom from thee.”
Ver. 27. Pit. It is difficult to overcome this passion, when once it has got possession of the heart. We must therefore watch over it, and consecrate it invariably to wisdom, ver. 26.
Ver. 28. Him. Protestants, “increaseth the transgressors among men,” (Haydock) and like a harpy, kills all whom she can entrap.
Ver. 29. Whose father. St. Jerome has read ab avi, instead of abo, (Calmet) which is an interjection, (Bochart) alas! or it means, “trouble.” Septuagint, “drunkenness,” (Chaldean; Calmet) or “sorrow.” (Protestants) — Falls. Septuagint, “hath sorrows.” Hebrew, “babbling,” (Protestants; Haydock) or discontents of mind. (Calmet) — Cause. Drunkards often fall upon their best friends, as Alexander did on Clytus. (Menochius)
Ver. 31. Yellow. Or bright, as it is said there is only one red wine in Palestine. — Pleasantly. Hebrew, “it goeth right,” and is excellent. (Calmet)
Ver. 32. Basilisk, (regulus). Hebrew Tsiphoni, (Haydock) as asp. (Cerastes, &c.) (Psalm xc. 13.)
Ver. 33. Women. Wine excites to lust. (Calmet) See chap. xx. 1. — Shall. Septuagint, “shall these.” (Haydock)
Ver. 34. When. Septuagint, “in a great wave.” Never is reason more wanted, nor less able to perform her duty.
Ver. 35. Drew. Chaldean, “plundered.” Septuagint, “mocked at me.” — Again. This is the woeful effect of drunkenness, that men are not deterred from it, though they be sensible of its dreadful consequences. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
1 When thou shalt sit to eat with a prince, consider diligently what is set before thy face:
2 And put a knife to thy throat, if it be so that thou have thy soul in thy own power.
3 Be not desirous of his meats, in which is the bread of deceit.
4 Labour not to be rich: but set bounds to thy prudence.
5 Lift not up thy eyes to riches which thou canst not have: because they shall make themselves wings like those of an eagle, and shall fly towards heaven.
6 Eat not with an envious man, and desire not his meats:
7 Because, like a soothsayer, and diviner, he thinketh that which he knoweth not. Eat and drink, will he say to thee: and his mind is not with thee.
8 The meats which thou hadst eaten, thou shalt vomit up: and shalt lose thy beautiful words.
9 Speak not in the ears of fools: because they will despise the instruction of thy speech.
10 Touch not the bounds of little ones: and enter not into the field of the fatherless:
11 For their near kinsman is strong: and he will judge their cause against thee.
12 Let thy heart apply itself to instruction: and thy ears to words of knowledge.
13 *Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die.
14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
15 My son, if thy mind be wise, my heart shall rejoice with thee:
16 And my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips shall speak what is right.
17 *Let not thy heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long:
18 Because thou shalt have hope in the latter end, and thy expectation shall not be taken away.
19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise: and guide thy mind in the way.
20 Be not in the feasts of great drinkers, nor in their revellings, who contribute flesh to eat:
21 Because they that give themselves to drinking, and that club together, shall be consumed: and drowsiness shall be clothed with rags.
22 Hearken to thy father, that beget thee: and despise not thy mother when she is old.
23 Buy truth, and do not sell wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the just rejoiceth greatly: he that hath begotten a wise son, shall have joy in him.
25 Let thy father and thy mother be joyful, and let her rejoice that bore thee.
26 My son, give me thy heart: and let thy eyes keep my ways.
27 For a harlot is a deep ditch: and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
28 She lieth in wait in the way as a robber, and him whom she shall see unwary, she will kill.
29 Who hath wo? whose father hath wo? who hath contentions? who falls into pits? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
30 Surely they that pass their time in wine, and study to drink off their cups.
31 Look not upon the wine when it is yellow, when the colour thereof shineth in the glass: it goeth in pleasantly,
32 But in the end, it will bite like a snake, and will spread abroad poison like a basilisk.
33 Thy eyes shall behold strange women, and thy heart shall utter perverse things.
34 And thou shalt be as one sleeping in the midst of the sea, and as a pilot fast asleep when the stern is lost.
35 And thou shalt say: They have beaten me, but I was not sensible of pain: they drew me, and I felt not: when shall I awake and find wine again?
13: Proverbs xiii. 24.; Ecclesiasticus xxx. 1.
17: Proverbs xxiv. 1.