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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Proverbs Chapter 11

Proverbs 11:9

pro 11:9

Through knowledge - Better, By the knowledge of the just, shall they (i. e., the neighbors) be delivered.

Proverbs 11:11

pro 11:11

The blessing of the upright - Probably the prayers which he offers for the good of the city in which he dwells, and which avail to preserve it from destruction (compare Gen 18:23-33); or "the blessing which God gives the upright."

Proverbs 11:12

pro 11:12

None but the man "void of wisdom" will show contempt for those about him. The wise man, if he cannot admire or praise, will at least know how to be silent.

Proverbs 11:13

pro 11:13

The man who comes to us with tales about others will reveal our secrets also. Faithfulness is shown, not only in doing what a man has been commissioned to do, but in doing it quietly and without garrulity.

Proverbs 11:14

pro 11:14

Counsel - See Pro 1:5 note. This precept may well be thought of as coming with special force at the time of the organization of the monarchy of Israel. Compare Kg1 12:6.

Proverbs 11:15

pro 11:15

See the marginal reference. The play upon "sure" and "suretiship" in the the King James Version (though each word is rightly rendered) has nothing corresponding to it in the Hebrew, and seems to have originated in a desire to give point to the proverb.

Proverbs 11:16

pro 11:16

Or, "The gracious woman wins and keeps honor, as (the conjunction may be so rendered) strong men win riches."

Proverbs 11:18

pro 11:18

Deceitful work - Work which deceives and disappoints the worker; in contrast with the "sure reward" of the second clause.

Omit "shall be" and render, "but he that soweth righteousness worketh a sure reward."

Proverbs 11:21

pro 11:21

literally, "hand to hand." The meaning of which is, "Hand may plight faith to hand, men may confederate for evil, yet punishment shall come at last;" or "From hand to hand, from one generation to another, punishment shall descend on the evil doers."

Proverbs 11:22

pro 11:22

The most direct proverb, in the sense of "similitude," which has as yet met us.

Jewel of gold - Better, ring; i. e., the nose-ring Gen 24:22, Gen 24:47; Isa 3:21.

Without discretion - literally, "without taste," void of the subtle tact and grace, without which mere outward beauty is as ill-bestowed as the nose-ring in the snout of the unclean beast. If we may assume that in ancient Syria, as in modern Europe, swine commonly wore such a ring to hinder them doing mischief, the similitude receives a fresh vividness.

Proverbs 11:24

pro 11:24

Withholdeth more than is meet - i. e., Is sparing and niggardly where he ought to give. The contrast is stated in the form of a paradox, to which the two following verses supply the answer. Some render, "There is that withholdeth from what is due," i. e., from a just debt, or from the generosity of a just man.

Proverbs 11:25

pro 11:25

Liberal soul - literally, "the soul that blesses," i. e., gives freely and fully. The similitudes are both of them essentially Eastern. Fatness, the sleek, well filled look of health, becomes the figure of prosperity, as leanness of misfortune Pro 13:4; Pro 28:25; Psa 22:29; Isa 10:16. Kindly acts come as the refreshing dew and soft rain from heaven upon a thirsty land.

Proverbs 11:26

pro 11:26

In the early stages of commerce there seems no way of making money rapidly so sure as that of buying up grain in time of famine, waiting until the dearth presses heavily, and then selling at famine prices. Men hate this selfishness, and pour blessings upon him who sells at a moderate profit.

Proverbs 11:27

pro 11:27

Procureth - Better, striveth after. He who desires good, absolutely, for its own sake, is also unconsciously striving after the favor which attends goodness.

Proverbs 11:28

pro 11:28

Branch - Better, leaf, as in Psa 1:3; Isa 34:4.

Proverbs 11:29

pro 11:29

He that troubleth ... - The temper, nigardly and worrying, which leads a man to make those about him miserable, and proves but bad economy in the end.

Proverbs 11:30

pro 11:30

Winneth souls - Better, a wise man winneth souls. He that is wise draws the souls of people to himself, just as the fruit of the righteous is to all around him a tree of life, bearing new fruits of healing evermore. The phrase is elsewhere translated by "taketh the life" Kg1 19:4; Psa 31:13. The wise man is the true conqueror. For the Christian meaning given to these words, see the New Testament reference in the margin.

Proverbs 11:31

pro 11:31

The sense would appear to be, "The righteous is requited, i. e., is punished for his lesser sins, or as a discipline; much more the wicked, etc." Compare Pe1 4:18.

Proverbs 11:1

pro 11:1

This emphatic reproduction of the old rule of Deu 25:13-14 is perhaps a trace of the danger of dishonesty incidental to the growing commerce of the Israelites. The stress laid upon the same sin in Pro 16:11; Pro 20:10; bears witness to the desire of the teacher to educate the youth of Israel to a high standard of integrity, just as the protest of Hosea against it Hos 12:7 shows the zeal of the prophet in rebuking what was becoming more and more a besetting sin.

A just weight - literally, as in the margin, indicating a time when stones rather than metal were used as a standard of weight. Compare Deu 25:13.

Proverbs 11:2

pro 11:2

A rabbinic paraphrase of the second clause is: "Lowly souls become full of wisdom as the low place becomes full of water."

Proverbs 11:4

pro 11:4

The day of wrath - Words true in their highest sense of the great "diesirae" of the future, but spoken in the first instance (compare Zep 1:15-18) of any "day of the Lord," any time of judgment, when men or nations receive the chastisement of their sins. At such a time "riches profit not."

Proverbs 11:7

pro 11:7

Significant words, as showing the belief that when the righteous died, his "expectation" (i. e., his hope for the future) did not perish. The second clause is rendered by some, "the expectation that brings sorrow."

Next: Proverbs Chapter 12