Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Hand. Agreements were made by shaking hands, Isaias lxii. 8. (Xenophon, Anab. iii.) — Stranger. Septuagint, “enemy.” He will presently be such, or thy friend’s creditor will soon lay hold on thee. By standing surety for another, we expose ourselves to be ruined by his negligence. (Calmet) — The Persians had a horror chiefly of lying and debts. (Herodotus i. 138.) — All sureties are not condemned, but only such as are inconsiderate. (Menochius) — A diligent compliance with engagements is commended. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Make. Hebrew, “humble thyself, and made sure thy friend,” (Protestant) entreating (Haydock) and forcing him to pay his debts. The Fathers apply this to pastors, who have undertaken to direct others. Their soul is at stake. (St. Gregory) (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Harvest. The economy and diligence of this little republic is admirable. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xxx. 11.) — Some copies of the Septuagint add with St. Ambrose, (Hex. v. 1., &c.; Calmet) “or go to the bee, and behold what a worker it is, and how beautiful is its work; whose labours kings and private people use for health. But it is desirable and glorious to all; and though it be weak in strength, by the love of wisdom it has got forward” (Haydock) in esteem. (Calmet) — Nature has given the form of a monarchy in bees, and of a democracy in the regulations of the ant. (Tournemine)
Ver. 11. A traveller. Septuagint add, “wicked,” and Hebrew gives the idea of a robber. (Menochius) — But, &c. This is not in Hebrew, Complutensian, or St. Jerome. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Apostate. Hebrew, “of Belial,[“] without restraint of religion and law. (Calmet) — Deuteronomy xiii. 13. (Menochius) — Every one who sins through malice and particularly heretics, employ all their members to pervert others. (Worthington) — Mouth. No reliance can be had on his promises. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Finger. These signs imply haughtiness, &c., Psalm xxxiv. 19., and Isaias lviii. 9. The posture indicates the interior sentiments, (St. Ambrose, off. i. 18.) insomuch, that St. Ambrose would not receive among the clergy one whose gestures were too light. The Persians still speak by signs. (Calmet)
Ver. 16. Detesteth. This expression does not always mean that the last is worse than the former. (Menochius) — All the six sins are damnable, but the seventh is here most so, being against charity and unity, and the devil’s sin. (Worthington) — Lying seems to be reprobated by three different terms. (Calmet)
Ver. 23. Instruction. Given for our improvement, (Haydock) with charity. See Deuteronomy vi. 6., and Psalm xviii. 9.
Ver. 24. Stranger. This is often inculcated, because nothing is more dangerous in youth, nor more contrary to the study of wisdom.
Ver. 26. Woman. Who is married, exposes her lover to the danger of death. She chooses the most accomplished men, while the harlot receives the first comer. (Calmet)
Ver. 27. Burn. No one can deal with an adulteress without guilt. (Menochius) — All probable occasions of sin must be shunned. (Worthington)
Ver. 29. Clean. Or be left unpunished. No crime disturbs the order of society so much, nor is pardoned with more difficulty.
Ver. 30. The fault is not so great, &c. The sin of theft is not so great, as to be compared with adultery: especially when a person pressed with hunger (which is the case here spoken of) steals to satisfy nature. Moreover the damage done by theft may much more easily be repaired, than the wrong done by adultery. But this does not hinder but that theft also is a mortal sin, forbidden by one of the ten commandments. (Challoner) — Hebrew, “they will not despise a thief, when he hath stolen to fill his soul, when he is hunger.” (Mont.[Montanus?]) (Haydock) — This was commonly supposed to be his motive, and he was only condemned to make restitution, without any further disgrace, chap. xix. 24., and Exodus xxii. 1. But what necessity could the adulterer plead? Both he and the woman must suffer death, Leviticus xx. 10.
Ver. 31. Seven-fold. Or as much as may be required. The law never subjected the thief to restore above five-fold. If he had not enough, his person might be sold. (Calmet)
Ver. 32. Folly. Literally, “want,” inopiam. Hebrew, “is faint-hearted, corrupting his own soul, he will do that.” (Haydock)
Ver. 35. Gifts. “A husband would rather hear that his wife had been slain, than that she had been defiled.” (St. Jerome in Amos vi.)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Documents on several heads.
1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, thou hast engaged fast thy hand to a stranger.
2 Thou art ensnared with the words of thy mouth, and caught with thy own words.
3 Do, therefore, my son, what I say, and deliver thyself: because thou art fallen into the hand of thy neighbour. Run about, make haste, stir up thy friend:
4 Give not sleep to thy eyes, neither let thy eye-lids slumber.
5 Deliver thyself as a doe from the hand, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard, and consider her ways, and learn wisdom:
7 Which, although she hath no guide, nor master, nor captain,
8 Provideth her meat for herself in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou rise out of thy sleep?
10 *Thou wilt sleep a little, thou wilt slumber a little, thou wilt fold thy hands a little to sleep:
11 And want shall come upon thee, as a traveller, and poverty as a man armed. But if thou be diligent, thy harvest shall come as a fountain, and want shall flee far from thee.
12 A man that is an apostate, an unprofitable man, walketh with a perverse mouth,
13 He winketh with the eyes, presseth with the foot, speaketh with the finger.
14 With a wicked heart he deviseth evil, and at all times he soweth discord.
15 To such a one his destruction shall presently come, and he shall suddenly be destroyed, and shall no longer have any remedy.
16 Six things there are, which the Lord hateth, and the seventh his soul detesteth:
17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that deviseth wicked plots, feet that are swift to run into mischief,
19 A deceitful witness that uttereth lies, and him that soweth discord among brethren.
20 My son, keep the commandments of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.
21 Bind them in thy heart continually, and put them about thy neck.
22 When thou walkest, let them go with thee: when thou sleepest, let them keep thee, and when thou awakest, talk with them.
23 Because the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light, and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
24 That they may keep thee from the evil woman, and from the flattering tongue of the stranger.
25 Let not thy heart covet her beauty, be not caught with her winks:
26 For the price of a harlot is scarce one loaf: but the woman catcheth the precious soul of a man.
27 Can a man hide fire in his bosom, and his garments not burn?
28 Or can he walk upon hot coals, and his feet not be burnt?
29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife, shall not be clean when he shall touch her.
30 The fault is not so great when a man hath stolen: for he stealeth to fill his hungry soul:
31 And if he be taken, he shall restore seven-fold, and shall give up all the substance of his house.
32 But he that is an adulterer, for the folly of his heart shall destroy his own soul:
33 He gathereth to himself shame and dishonour, and his reproach shall not be blotted out:
34 Because the jealousy and rage of the husband will not spare in the day of revenge,
35 Nor will he yield to any man’s prayers, nor will he accept for satisfaction ever so many gifts.
10: Proverbs xxiv. 33.