1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the
tongue, is from the LORD.
As we read this, it teaches us a great truth, that we are not
sufficient of ourselves to think or speak any thing of ourselves
that is wise and good, but that all our sufficiency is of God,
who is with the heart and with the mouth, and works in us both to
will and to do,
But most read it otherwise: The preparation of the heart is in
man (he may contrive and design this and the other) but the
answer of the tongue, not only the delivering of what he designed
to speak, but the issue and success of what he designed to do, is of
the Lord. That is, in short,
1. Man purposes. He has a freedom of thought and a freedom of
will permitted him; let him form his projects, and lay his schemes, as
he thinks best: but, after all,
2. God disposes. Man cannot go on with his business without the
assistance and blessing of God, who made man's mouth and teaches
us what we shall say. Nay, God easily can, and often does, cross men's
purposes, and break their measures. It was a curse that was prepared in
Balaam's heart, but the answer of the tongue was a blessing.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the
LORD weigheth the spirits.
1. We are all apt to be partial in judging of ourselves: All the
ways of a man, all his designs, all his doings, are clean in his
own eyes, and he sees nothing amiss in them, nothing for which to
condemn himself, or which should make his projects prove otherwise than
well; and therefore he is confident of success, and that the answer of
the tongue shall be according to the expectations of the heart; but
there is a great deal of pollution cleaving to our ways, which we are
not aware of, or do not think so ill of as we ought.
2. The judgment of God concerning us, we are sure, is according to
truth: He weighs the spirits in a just and unerring balance,
knows what is in us, and passes a judgment upon us accordingly, writing
Tekel upon that which passed our scale with
approbation--weighed in the balance and found wanting; and by
his judgment we must stand or fall. He not only sees men's ways but
tries their spirits, and we are as our spirits are.
3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be
1. It is a very desirable thing to have our thoughts
established, and not tossed, and put into a hurry, by disquieting
cares and fears,--to go on in an even steady course of honesty and
piety, not disturbed, or put out of frame, by any event or change,--to
be satisfied that all shall work for good and issue well at last, and
therefore to be always easy and sedate.
2. The only way to have our thoughts established is to commit
our works to the Lord. The great concerns of our souls must be
committed to the grace of God, with a dependence upon and submission to
the conduct of that grace
(2 Timothy 1:12);
all our outward concerns must be committed to the providence of God,
and to the sovereign, wise, and gracious disposal of that providence.
Roll thy works upon the Lord (so the word is); roll the burden
of thy care from thyself upon God. Lay the matter before him by prayer.
Make known thy works unto the Lord (so some read it), not only
the works of thy hand, but the workings of thy heart; and then leave it
with him, by faith and dependence upon him, submission and resignation
to him. The will of the Lord be done. We may then be easy when
we resolve that whatever pleases God shall please us.
4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the
wicked for the day of evil.
1. That God is the first cause. He is the former of all things and all
persons, the fountain of being; he gave every creature the being it has
and appointed it its place. Even the wicked are his creatures, though
they are rebels; he gave them those powers with which they fight
against him, which aggravates their wickedness, that they will not let
him that made them rule them, and therefore, though he made them, he
will not save them.
2. That God is the last end. All is of him and from him, and therefore
all is to him and for him. He made all according to his will and for
his praise; he designed to serve his own purposes by all his creatures,
and he will not fail of his designs; all are his servants. The wicked
he is not glorified by, but he will be glorified upon. He makes no man
wicked, but he made those who he foresaw would be wicked: yet he made
because he knew how to get himself honour upon them. See
Or (as some understand it) he made the wicked to be employed by him as
the instruments of his wrath in the day of evil, when he brings
judgments on the world. He makes some use even of wicked men, as of
other things, to be his sword, his hand
flagellum Dei--the scourge of God. The king of Babylon is called
5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the
LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
1. The pride of sinners sets God against them. He that, being high in
estate is proud in heart, whose spirit is elevated with his condition,
so that he becomes insolent in his conduct towards God and man, let him
know that though he admires himself, and others caress him, yet he is
an abomination to the Lord. The great God despises him; the holy
God detest him.
2. The power of sinners cannot secure them against God, though they
strengthen themselves with body hands. Though they may strengthen one
another with their confederacies and combinations, joining forces
against God, they shall not escape his righteous judgment. Woe unto
him that strives with his Maker,
6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the
LORD men depart from evil.
1. How the guilt of sin is taken away from us--by the mercy and
truth of God, mercy in promising, truth in performing, the mercy
and truth which kiss each other in Jesus Christ the Mediator--by the
covenant of grace, in which mercy and truth shine so brightly--by our
mercy and truth, as the condition of the pardon and a necessary
qualification for it--by these, and not by the legal sacrifices,
2. How the power of sin is broken in us. By the principles of mercy
and truth commanding in us the corrupt inclinations are purged out
(so we may take the former part); however, by the fear of the
Lord, and the influence of that fear, men depart from evil;
those will not dare to sin against God who keep up in their minds a
holy dread and reverence of him.
7 When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies
to be at peace with him.
1. God can turn foes into friends when he pleases. He that has all
hearts in his hand has access to men's spirits and power over them,
working insensibly, but irresistibly upon them, can make a man's
enemies to be at peace with him, can change their minds, or force
them into a feigned submission. He can slay all enemies, and bring
those together that were at the greatest distance from each other.
2. He will do it for us when we please him. If we make it our care to
be reconciled to God, and to keep ourselves in his love, he will
incline those that have been envious towards us, and vexatious to us,
to entertain a good opinion of us and to become our friends. God made
Esau to be at peace with Jacob, Abimelech with Isaac, and David's
enemies to court his favour and desire a league with Israel. The image
of God appearing upon the righteous, and his particular lovingkindness
to them, are enough to recommend them to the respect of all, even of
those that have been most prejudiced against them.
8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues
1. It is supposed that an honest good man may have but a little of the
wealth of this world (all the righteous are not rich),--that a man may
have but little, and yet may be honest (though poverty is a temptation
yet not an invincible one),--and that a man may grow rich, for a while,
by fraud and oppression, may have great revenues, and those got
and kept without right, may have no good title to them nor make
any good use of them.
2. It is maintained that a small estate, honestly come by, which a man
is content with, enjoys comfortably, serves God with cheerfully, and
puts to a right use, is much better and more valuable than a great
estate ill-got, and then ill-kept or ill-spent. It carries with it
more inward satisfaction, a better reputation with all that are wise
and good; it will last longer, and will turn to a better account in the
great day, when men will be judged, not according to what they had, but
what they did.
9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his
Man is here represented to us,
1. As a reasonable creature, that has the faculty of contriving for
himself: His heart devises his way, designs an end, and projects
ways and means leading to that end, which the inferior creatures, who
are governed by sense and natural instinct, cannot do. The more shame
for him if he do not devise the way how to please God and provide for
his everlasting state.
2. But as a depending creature, that is subject to the direction and
dominion of his Maker. If men devise their way, so as to make
God's glory their end and his will their rule, they may expect that he
will direct their steps by his Spirit and grace, so that they
shall not miss their way nor come short of their end. But let men
devise their worldly affairs ever so politely, and with ever so great a
probability of success, yet God has the ordering of the event, and
sometimes directs their steps to that which they least intended.
The design of this is to teach us to say, If the Lord will, we shall
live and do this or that
and to have our eye to God, not only in the great turns of our lives,
but in every step we take. Lord, direct my way,
1 Thessalonians 3:11.
The Duties of Kings.
10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth
transgresseth not in judgment.
We wish this were always true as a proposition, and we ought to make it
our prayer for kings, and all in authority, that a divine
sentence may be in their lips, both in giving orders, that they may
do that in wisdom, and in giving sentence, that they may do that in
equity, both which are included in judgment, and that in neither
their mouth may transgress,
1 Timothy 2:1.
But it is often otherwise; and therefore,
1. It may be read as a precept to the kings and judges of the earth to
be wise and instructed. Let them be just, and rule in the fear of God;
let them act with such wisdom and conscience that there may appear a
holy divination in all they say or do, and that they are guided by
principles supernatural: let not their mouths transgress in judgment,
for the judgment is God's.
2. It may be taken as a promise to all good kings, that if they
sincerely aim at God's glory, and seek direction from him, he will
qualify them with wisdom and grace above others, in proportion to the
eminency of their station and the trusts lodged in their hands. When
Saul himself was made king God gave him another spirit.
3. It was true concerning Solomon who wrote this; he had extraordinary
wisdom, pursuant to the promise God made him, See
1 Kings 3:28.
11 A just weight and balance are the LORD's: all the weights
of the bag are his work.
1. The administration of public justice by the magistrate is an
ordinance of God; in it the scales are held, and ought to be held by a
steady and impartial hand; and we ought to submit to it, for the Lord's
sake, and to see his authority in that of the magistrate,
2. The observance of justice in commerce between man and man is
likewise a divine appointment. He taught men discretion to make scales
and weights for the adjusting of right exactly between buyer and
seller, that neither may be wronged; and all other useful inventions
for the preserving of right are from him. He has also appointed by his
law that they be just. It is therefore a great affront to him, and to
his government, to falsify, and so to do wrong under colour and
pretence of doing right, which is wickedness in the place of
12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for
the throne is established by righteousness.
1. The character of a good king, which Solomon intended not for his own
praise, but for instruction to his successors, his neighbours, and the
viceroys under him. A good king not only does justice, but it is an
abomination to him to do otherwise. He hates the thought of doing
wrong and perverting justice; he not only abhors the wickedness done by
others, but abhors the wickedness done by others, but abhors to do any
himself, though, having power, he might easily and safety do it.
2. The comfort of a good king: His throne is established by
righteousness. He that makes conscience of using his power aright
shall find that to be the best security of his government, both as it
will oblige people, make them easy, and keep them in the interest of
it, and as it will obtain the blessing of God, which will be a firm
basis to the throne and a strong guard about it.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him
that speaketh right.
Here is a further character of good kings, that they love and
delight in those that speak right.
1. They hate parasites and those that flatter them, and are very
willing that all about them should deal faithfully with them and tell
them that which is true, whether it be pleasing or displeasing, both
concerning persons and things, that every thing should be set in a true
light and nothing disguised,
2. They not only do righteousness themselves, but take care to employ
those under them that do righteousness too, which is of great
consequence to the people, who must be subject not only to the king as
supreme, but to the governors sent by him,
1 Peter 2:14.
A good king will therefore put those in power who are conscientious,
and will say that which is righteous and discreet, and know how to
speak aright and to the purpose.
14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise
man will pacify it.
15 In the light of the king's countenance is life; and his
favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
These two verses show the power of kings, which is every where great,
but was especially so in those eastern countries, where they were
absolute and arbitrary. Whom they would they slew and whom they would
they kept alive. Their will was a law. We have reason to bless God for
the happy constitution of the government we live under, which maintains
the prerogative of the prince without any injury to the liberty of the
subject. But here it is intimated,
1. How formidable the wrath of a king is: It is as messengers
of death; the wrath of Ahasuerus was so to Haman. An angry word
from an incensed prince has been to many a messenger of death,
and has struck so great a terror upon some as if a sentence of death
had been pronounced upon them. He must be a very wise man that
knows how to pacify the wrath of a king with a word fitly
spoken, as Jonathan once pacified his father's rage against David,
1 Samuel 19:6.
A prudent subject may sometimes suggest that to an angry prince which
will cool his resentments.
2. How valuable and desirable the king's favour is to those that have
incurred his displeasure; it is life from the dead if the king be
reconciled to them. To others it is as a cloud of the latter
rain, very refreshing to the ground. Solomon put his subjects in
mind of this, that they might not do any thing to incur his wrath, but
be careful to recommend themselves to his favour. We ought by it to be
put in mind how much we are concerned to escape the wrath and obtain
the favour of the King of kings. His frowns are worse than death, and
his favour is better than life; and therefore those are fools who to
escape the wrath, and obtain the favour, of an earthly prince, will
throw themselves out of God's favour, and make themselves obnoxious to
Pride and Humility.
16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get
understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
Solomon here not only asserts that it is better to get wisdom than gold
but he speaks it with assurance, that it is much better, better beyond
expression--with admiration (How much better!) as one amazed at
the disproportion--with an appeal to men's consciences ("Judge in
yourselves how much better it is" )--and with an addition to the same
purport, that understanding is rather to be chosen than silver
and all the treasures of kings and their favourites. Note,
1. Heavenly wisdom is better than worldly wealth, and to be preferred
before it. Grace is more valuable than gold. Grace is the gift of
God's peculiar favour; gold only of common providence. Grace is for
ourselves; gold for others. Grace is for the soul and eternity; gold
only for the body and time. Grace will stand us in stead in a dying
hour, when gold will do us no good.
2. The getting of this heavenly wisdom is better than the getting of
worldly wealth. Many take care and pains to get wealth, and yet come
short of it; but grace was never denied to any that sincerely sought
it. There is vanity and vexation of spirit in getting wealth, but joy
and satisfaction of spirit in getting wisdom. Great peace have those
that love it.
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that
keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
1. It is the way of the upright to avoid sin, and every thing
that looks like it and leads towards it; and this is a highway marked
out by authority, tracked by many that have gone before us, and in
which we meet with many that keep company with us; it is easy to find
and safe to be travelled in, like a highway,
To depart from evil is understanding.
2. It is the care of the upright to preserve their own souls, that they
be not polluted with sin, and that by the troubles of the world they
may not be put out of the possession of them, especially that they may
not perish for ever,
And it is therefore their care to keep their way, and not turn aside
out of it, on either hand, but to press towards perfection. Those that
adhere to their duty secure their felicity. Keep thy way and God will
18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit
before a fall.
1. Pride will have a fall. Those that are of a haughty spirit,
that think of themselves above what is meet, and look with contempt
upon others, that with their pride affront God and disquiet others,
will be brought down, either by repentance or by ruin. It is the honour
of God to humble the proud,
It is the act of justice that those who have lifted up themselves
should be laid low. Pharaoh, Sennacherib, Nebuchadnezzar, were
instances of this. Men cannot punish pride, but either admire it or
fear it, and therefore God will take the punishing of it into his own
hands. Let him alone to deal with proud men.
2. Proud men are frequently most proud, and insolent, and haughty, just
before their destruction, so that it is a certain presage that they are
upon the brink of it. When proud men set God's judgments at defiance,
and think themselves at the greatest distance from them, it is a sign
that they are at the door; witness the case of Benhadad and Herod.
While the word was in the king's mouth,
Therefore let us not fear the pride of others, but greatly fear pride
19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly,
than to divide the spoil with the proud.
This is a paradox which the children of this world cannot understand
and will not subscribe to, that it is better to be poor and humble than
to be rich and proud.
1. Those that divide the spoil are commonly proud; they value
themselves and despise others, and their mind rises with their
condition; those therefore that are rich in this world have need
to be charged that they be not high-minded,
1 Timothy 6:17.
Those that are proud and will put forth themselves, that thrust, and
shove, and scramble, for preferment, are the men that commonly
divide the spoil and share it among them; they have the world at
will and the ball at their foot.
2. It is upon all accounts better to take our lot with those whose
condition is low, and their minds brought to it, than to covet and aim
to make a figure and a bustle in the world. Humility, though it should
expose us to contempt in the world, yet while it recommends us to the
favour of God, qualifies us for his gracious visits, prepares us for
his glory, secures us from many temptations, and preserves the quiet
and repose of our own souls, is much better than that high-spiritedness
which, though it carry away the honour and wealth of the world, makes
God a man's enemy and the devil his master.
Benefits of Wisdom.
20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso
trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
1. Prudence gains men respect and success: He that handles a matter
wisely (that is master of his trade and makes it to appear he
understands what he undertakes, that is considerate in his affairs,
and, when he speaks or writes on any subject, does it pertinently)
shall find good, shall come into good repute, and perhaps may
make a good hand of it.
2. But it is piety only that will secure men's true happiness: Those
that handle a matter wisely, if they are proud and lean to their
own understanding, though they may find some good, yet they will have
no great satisfaction in it; but he that trusts in the Lord, and
not in his own wisdom, happy is he, and shall speed better at
last. Some read the former part of the verse so as to expound it of
piety, which is indeed true wisdom: He that attends to the word
(the word of God,
shall find good in it and good by it. And whoso trusts in the
Lord, in his word which he attends to, is happy.
21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness
of the lips increaseth learning.
1. Those that have solid wisdom will have the credit of it; it will
gain them reputation, and they shall be called prudent grave
men, and a deference will be paid to their judgment. Do that which
is wise and good and thou shalt have the praise of the same.
2. Those that with their wisdom have a happy elocution, that deliver
their sentiments easily and with a good grace, are communicative of
their wisdom and have words at will, and good language as well as good
sense, increase learning; they diffuse and propagate knowledge
to others, and do good work with it, and by that means increase their
own stock. They add doctrine, improve sciences, and do service to the
commonwealth of learning. To him that has, and uses what he has,
more shall be given.
22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath
it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
1. There is always some good to be gotten by a wise and good man: His
understanding is a well-spring of life to him, which always
flows and can never be drawn dry; he has something to say upon all
occasions that is instructive, and of use to those that will make use
of it, things new and old to bring out of his treasure; at least, his
understanding is a spring of life to himself, yielding him
abundant satisfaction; within his own thoughts he entertains and
edifies himself, if not others.
2. There is nothing that is good to be gotten by a fool. Even his
instruction, his set and solemn discourses, are but folly, like
himself, and tending to make others like him. When he does his best it
is but folly, in comparison even with the common talk of a wise man,
who speaks better at table than a fool in Moses's seat.
23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth
learning to his lips.
Solomon had commended eloquence, or the sweetness of the lips
and seemed to prefer it before wisdom; but here he corrects himself, as
it were, and shows that unless there be a good treasure within to
support the eloquence it is worth little. Wisdom in the heart is
the main matter.
1. It is this that directs us in speaking, that teaches the
mouth what to speak, and when, and how, so that what is spoken may
be proper, and pertinent, and seasonable; otherwise, though the
language be ever so fine, it had better be unsaid.
2. It is this that gives weight to what we speak and adds
learning to it, strength of reason and force of argument, without
which, let a thing be ever so well worded, it will be rejected, when it
comes to be considered, as trifling. Quaint expressions please the ear,
and humour the fancy, but it is learning in the lips that must convince
the judgment, and sway that, to which wisdom in the heart is
24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and
health to the bones.
The pleasant words here commended must be those which the
heart of the wise teaches, and adds learning to
words of seasonable advice, instruction, and comfort, words taken from
God's word, for that is it which Solomon had learned from his father to
account sweeter than honey and the honey-comb,
These words, to those that know how to relish them,
1. Are pleasant. They are like the honey-comb, sweet to the
soul, which tastes in them that the Lord is gracious;
nothing more grateful and agreeable to the new man than the word of
God, and those words which are borrowed from it,
2. They are wholesome. Many things are pleasant that are not
profitable, but these pleasant words are health to the bones, to
the inward man, as well as sweet to the soul. They make the
bones, which sin has broken and put out of joint, to
rejoice. The bones are the strength of the body; and the good word
of God is a means of spiritual strength, curing the diseases that
Malice and Envy.
25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end
thereof are the ways of death.
This we had before
but here it is repeated, as that which is very necessary to be thought
1. By way of caution to us all to take heed of deceiving ourselves in
the great concerns of our souls by resting in that which seems
right and is not really so, and, for the preventing of a
self-delusion, to be impartial in self-examination and keep up a
jealousy over ourselves.
2. By way of terror to those whose way is not right, is not as it
should be, however it may seem to themselves or others; the end of it
will certainly be death; to that it has a direct and certain
26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth
craveth it of him.
This is designed to engage us to diligence, and quicken us, what our
hand finds to do, to do it with all our might, both in our worldly
business and in the work of religion; for in the original it is, The
soul that labours labours for itself. It is heart-work which is
here intended, the labour of the soul, which is here recommended to us,
1. As that which will be absolutely needful. Our mouth is continually
craving it of us; the necessities both of soul and body are pressing,
and require constant relief, so that we must either work or starve.
Both call for daily bread, and therefore there must be daily labour;
for in the sweat of our face we must eat,
2 Thessalonians 3:10.
2. As that which will be unspeakably gainful. We know on whose errand
we go: He that labours shall reap the fruit of his labour; it
shall be for himself; he shall rejoice in his own work and
eat the labour of his hands. If we make religion our business,
God will make it our blessedness.
27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is
as a burning fire.
28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth
There are those that are not only vicious themselves, but spiteful and
mischievous to others, and they are the worst of men; two sorts of such
are here described:--
1. Such as envy a man the honour of his good name, and do all they can
to blast that by calumnies and misrepresentations: They dig up
evil; they take a great deal of pains to find out something or
other on which to ground a slander, or which may give some colour to
it. If none appear above ground, rather than want it they will dig for
it, by diving into what is secret, or looking a great way back, or by
evil suspicions and surmises, and forced innuendos. In the lips of a
slanderer and backbiter there is as a fire, not only to brand
his neighbour's reputation, to smoke and sully it, but as a burning
fire to consume it. And how great a matter does a little of this
fire kindle, and how hardly is it extinguished!
2. Such as envy a man the comfort of his friendship, and do all they
can to break that, by suggesting that on both sides which will set
those at variance that are most nearly related and have been long
intimate, or at least cool and alienate their affections one from
another: A froward man, that cannot find in his heart to love
any body but himself, is vexed to see others live in love, and
therefore makes it is his business to sow strife, by giving men
base characters one of another, telling lies, and carrying ill-natured
stories between chief friends, so as to separate them one
from another, and make them angry at or at least suspicious of one
another. Those are bad men, and bad women too, that do such ill
offices; they are doing the devil's work, and his will their wages
29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into
the way that is not good.
30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his
lips he bringeth evil to pass.
Here is another sort of evil men described to us, that we may neither
do like them, nor have any thing to do with them.
1. Such as (like Satan) do all the mischief they can by force and
violence, as roaring lions, and not only by fraud and insinuation, as
subtle serpents: They are violent men, that do all by rapine and
oppression, that shut their eyes, meditating with the closest
intention and application of mind to devise froward things, to
contrive how they may do the greatest mischief to their neighbour, to
do it effectually and yet securely to themselves; and then moving
their lips, giving the word of command to their agents, they
bring the evil to pass, and accomplish the wicked device,
biting his lips (so some read it) for vexation. When the
wicked plots against the just he gnasheth upon him with his
2. Such as (like Satan still) do all they can to entice and
draw in others to join with them in doing mischief, leading them in
a way that is not good, that is not honest, nor honourable, nor
safe, but offensive to God, and which will be in the end pernicious to
the sinner. Thus he aims to ruin some in this world by bringing them
into trouble, and others in the other world by bringing them into
The Sovereignty of Divine Providence.
31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in
the way of righteousness.
1. It ought to be the great care of old people to be found in the
way of righteousness, the way of religion and serious godliness.
Both God and man will look for them in that way; it will be expected
that those that are old should be good, that the multitude of their
years should teach them the best wisdom; let them therefore be found in
that way. Death will come; the Judge is coming; the Lord is at
hand. That they may be found of him in peace, let them be
found in the way of righteousness
(2 Peter 3:14),
found so doing,
Let old people be old disciples; let them persevere to the end in
the way of righteousness, which they long since set out in, that
they may then be found in it.
2. If old people be found in the way of righteousness, their age
will be their honour. Old age, as such, is honourable, and commands
respect (Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head,
but, if it be found in the way of wickedness, its honour is forfeited,
its crown profaned and laid in the dust,
Old people therefore, if they would preserve their honour, must still
hold fast their integrity, and then their gray hairs are indeed a
crown to them; they are worthy of double honour. Grace is
the glory of old age.
32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and
he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
This recommends the grace of meekness to us, which will well become us
all, particularly the hoary head,
1. The nature of it. It is to be slow to anger, not easily put
into a passion, nor apt to resent provocation, taking time to consider
before we suffer our passion to break out, that it may not transgress
due bounds, so slow in our motions towards anger that we may be quickly
stopped and pacified. It is to have the rule of our own spirits, our
appetites and affections, and all our inclinations, but particularly
our passions, our anger, keeping that under direction and check, and
the strict government of religion and right reason. We must be lords of our anger, as God is, Nahum 1:3. Æolus sis, affectuum tuorum--Rule your passions, as Æolus rules the winds. 2. The honour of it. He that gets and keeps the mastery of his passions is better than the mighty, better than he that by a long siege takes a city or by a long war subdues a country. Behold, a greater than Alexander or Cæsar is here. The conquest of ourselves, and our own unruly passions, requires more true wisdom, and a more steady, constant, and regular management, than the obtaining of a victory over the forces of an enemy. A rational conquest is more honourable to a rational creature than a brutal one. It is a victory that does nobody any harm; no lives or treasures are sacrificed to it, but only some base lusts. It is harder, and therefore more glorious, to quash an insurrection at home than to resist an invasion from a broad; nay, such are the gains of meekness that by it we are more than conquerors.
33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
Note, 1. The divine Providence orders and directs those things which to us are perfectly casual and fortuitous. Nothing comes to pass by chance, nor is an event determined by a blind fortune, but every thing by the will and counsel of God. What man has neither eye nor hand in God is intimately concerned in. 2. When solemn appeals are made to Providence by the casting of lots, for the deciding of that matter of moment which could not otherwise be at all, or not so well, decided, God must be eyed in it, by prayer, that it may be disposed aright (Give a perfect lot, 1 Samuel 14:41,Ac+1:24), and by acquiescing in it when it is disposed, being satisfied that the hand of God is in it and that hand directed by infinite wisdom. All the disposals of Providence concerning our affairs we must look upon to be the directing of our lot, the determining of what we referred to God, and must be reconciled to them accordingly.
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Proverbs' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".