Bible Text & Cross-references:
1 Seek *not to be like evil men, neither desire to be with them:
2 Because their mind studieth robberies, and their lips speak deceits.
3 By wisdom the house shall be built, and by prudence it shall be strengthened.
4 By instruction the store-rooms shall be filled with all precious and most beautiful wealth.
5 A wise man is strong: and a knowing man, stout and valiant.
6 Because war is managed by due ordering: and there shall be safety where there are many counsels.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he shall not open his mouth.
8 He that deviseth to do evils, shall be called a fool.
9 The thought of a fool is sin: and the detracter is the abomination of men.
10 If thou lose hope, being weary in the day of distress, thy strength shall be diminished.
11 *Deliver them that are led to death: and those that are drawn to death, forbear not to deliver.
12 If thou say: I have not strength enough: he that seeth into the heart, he understandeth, and nothing deceiveth the keeper of thy soul, and he shall render to a man according to his works.
13 *Eat honey, my son, because it is good, and the honeycomb most sweet to thy throat.
14 So also is the doctrine of wisdom to thy soul: which when thou hast found, thou shalt have hope in the end, and thy hope shall not perish.
15 Lie not in wait, nor seek after wickedness in the house of the just, nor spoil his rest.
16 For a just man shall fall seven times, and shall rise again: but the wicked shall fall down into evil.
17 When thy enemy shall fall, be not glad, and in his ruin let not thy heart rejoice:
18 Lest the Lord see, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
19 Contend not with the wicked, nor seek to be like the ungodly.
20 For evil men have no hope of things to come, and the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
21 My son, fear the Lord, and the king: and have nothing to do with detractors.
22 For their destruction shall rise suddenly: and who knoweth the ruin of both?
23 These things also to the wise: *It is not good to have respect to persons in judgment.
24 They that say to the wicked man: Thou art just: shall be cursed by the people, and the tribes shall abhor them.
25 They that rebuke him shall be praised: and a blessing shall come upon them.
26 He shall kiss the lips, who answereth right words.
27 Prepare thy work without, and diligently till thy ground: that afterward thou mayst build thy house.
28 Be not witness without cause against thy neighbour: and deceive not any man with thy lips.
29 *Say not: I will do to him as he hath done to me: I will render to every one according to his work.
30 I passed by the field of the slothful man, and by the vineyard of the foolish man:
31 And behold it was all filled with nettles, and thorns had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall was broken down.
32 Which when I had seen, I laid it up in my heart, and by the example I received instruction.
33 Thou wilt sleep a little, said I, thou wilt slumber a little, thou wilt fold thy hands a little to rest.
34 And poverty shall come to thee as a runner, and beggary as an armed man.
11: Psalm lxxxi. 4.
13: Proverbs xxv. 16. and 27.
23: Leviticus xix. 15.; Deuteronomy i. 17. and xvi. 19.; Ecclesiasticus xlii. 1.
29: Proverbs xx. 22.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Like. Be not allured by their prosperity to imitate them, Psalm xxxvi. 1.
Ver. 3. Wisdom and virtue, and not by injustice can the house be established.
Ver. 5. Valiant, as well as a good economist, ver. 4. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Counsels. “Consult many what ought to be done, but only a few of the most faithful, or rather thyself alone, what thou art about to do.” (Veget. iii. 9., and 27.)
Ver. 7. High. Thus the fool excuses himself. But wisdom condescends to our weakness, if we be truly in earnest, Deuteronomy xxxii. 12. Mouth. To defend himself, or to give advice. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Of a fool. In as much as he is wicked. Though he may have some pious thoughts, he attends not to them. (Haydock) — He thinks how he may commit evil, and renders himself hateful. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “a wicked thought is the sin of folly.” Septuagint, “the fool dieth in sins.” — Detractor. Hebrew, “scoffer.” (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Diminished. This is the sad consequences of too much dejection, Ephesians iv. 19. Despairing, they abandon themselves to impurities. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Deliver. The Jews often put people to death without any formal trial, pretending zeal, as they did St. Stephen, &c. Our Saviour rescued the adulteress from such a situation, as Daniel had done Susanna. Yet this text may regard poor debtors, Psalm lxxi. 4. (Calmet) — Christian bishops used all their influence to preserve the lives of those who did not deserve death. (St. Ambrose in Psalm cxviii. Ser. viii. Off. i. 36., and ep. xxv., and xxvi.)
Ver. 12. I have. Hebrew, “behold, we know not this man.” (Pagnin) (Haydock) — He is a stranger. But all mankind are brethren, and have a charge to assist one another, even though they be enemies, Ecclesiasticus xvii. 12., and Exodus xxiii. 4. (Calmet) — Keeper. Hebrew notser, “preserver.” As thou hast received many good things from God, shew mercy to thy neighbour.
Ver. 13. Honey. Of wisdom, which is most delicious. (Menochius)
Ver. 14. Thou shalt. Hebrew, “yea, it is the last.” (Montanus) — “Then there shall be a reward.” (Protestants) — Thou shalt enjoy old age, or have posterity. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Fall into smaller sins, (St. Gregory vi. in 2 Reg. xv. &c.) or into disgrace, as yippol (Haydock) rather intimates. (Vatable) (St. Augustine, City of God xi. 31.) — Both significations agree with the context. See Job v. 27., and Matthew xviii. 21. (Calmet) — He who is not subject to mortal sin, may still be exposed to many failings, and venial sins, which do not deprive him of the title of just; whereas the wicked consents to mortal sin, from which he riseth not so easily. Hence the wise man admonishes us not to lie in wait, or calumniously seek impiety in the house or soul of the just. (Worthington)
Ver. 18. From. To punish thee. (Calmet) — Thus will thy thirst of vengeance be disappointed. (Haydock) — The Hebrews believed that there was no evil, which was not caused by sin; and this was true in some sense. But still God often afflicts his servants, (ver. 16,) as the whole book of Job tends to prove. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Contend. Or Hebrew, “associate.” — Like. Ver. 1., and Psalm xxxvi. 1.
Ver. 20. Come. Protestants, “no reward,” (Haydock) posterity, &c., as designated also by the lamp, ver. 14. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Detractors. Or those who speak ill of God or the king. (Calmet) — Protestants, “that are given to change,” (Haydock) and relapses.
Ver. 23. These. Septuagint have an addition, and then our chap. xxx. to ver. 15., after which follows the remainder of this chapter and the ten first verses of the 31st. [chapter.] (Haydock) — Solomon here resumes the sententious style, chap. xxii. 17. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Lips. And be deemed a friend. (Menochius)
Ver. 27. House, and support thy family. Before building, great deliberation is requisite, Luke xiv. 28. Those who attempt to instruct others, must first set good example.
Ver. 28. Cause, and necessity. Septuagint, “be not a false witness against thy fellow-citizen.”
Ver. 29. Work. Revenge is often reprobated, though the law allowed of retaliation, which the more virtuous did not insist upon.
Ver. 30. Man. Those who neglected their land were despised. (Calmet) — The ancient Romans esteemed agriculture as a most laudible and profitable employment. (Cato, Rust. i.; Cicero, Off. i.)
Ver. 32. Which. Septuagint, “at last I repented: I looked forward to receive instruction.”
Ver. 33. Said I, is not in Hebrew, chap. vi. 10. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “I will slumber a while,” to rest. Septuagint, “I will enfold my breast in my hands a little.” (Haydock)