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

Proverbs Chapter 29

Proverbs 29:1

pro 29:1

Shall be destroyed - literally, "shall be broken" Pro 6:15. Stress is laid on the suddenness in such a case of the long-delayed retribution.

Proverbs 29:3

pro 29:3

Spendeth ... - The laws of parallelism would lead us to expect "troubleth his father," but that is passed over as a thing about which the profligate would not care, and he is reminded of what comes home to him, that he is on the road to ruin.

The king - The ruler, as the supreme fountain of all justice, and as the ideal judge, is contrasted with the taker of bribers.

Proverbs 29:6

pro 29:6

While the offence of the wicked, rising out of a confirmed habit of evil, becomes snare for his destruction; the righteous, even if he offend, is forgiven and can still rejoice in his freedom from condemnation. The second clause is taken by some as entirely contrasted with the first; it expresses the joy of one whose conscience is void of offence, and who is in no danger of falling into the snare.

Proverbs 29:8

pro 29:8

Scornful men - The men who head political or religious revolutions, who inflame (literally as in the margin) the minds of the people against the powers that be.

Proverbs 29:9

pro 29:9

All modes of teaching - the stern rebuke or the smiling speech - are alike useless with the "foolish" man; there is "no rest." The ceaseless cavilling goes on still.

Proverbs 29:10

pro 29:10

Seek his soul - i. e., "Care for, watch over, his life" (compare Psa 142:4).

Proverbs 29:11

pro 29:11

Mind - The Hebrew word is used sometimes for "mind" or "reason," sometimes for "passion," or "wrath." The reticence commended would include both; but the verb "keepeth it in" (rendered "stilleth," in Psa 65:7) is slightly in favor of the second of the two senses.

Proverbs 29:12

pro 29:12

All his servants are wicked - They know what will please, and they become informers and backbiters.

Proverbs 29:13

pro 29:13

Better, The poor and the oppressor. "Usurer," as in the margin expresses the special form of oppression from which the poor suffer most at the hands of the rich. God has made them both and bestows His light equally on both.

Proverbs 29:15

pro 29:15

Left to himself - The condition of one who has been pampered and indulged. The mother who yields weakly is as guilty of abandoning the child she spoils, as if she cast him forth; and for her evil neglect, there shall fall upon her the righteous punishment of shame and ignominy.

Proverbs 29:18

pro 29:18

Vision - The word commonly used of the revelation of God's will made to prophets. Compare Isa 1:1; Nah 1:1.

When prophetic vision fails, obedience to the Law is the best or only substitute for it, both being forms through which divine wisdom is revealed. Very striking in the midst of ethical precepts is this recognition of the need of a yet higher teaching, without which morality passes into worldly prudence or degenerates into casuistry. The "wise man," the son of David, has seen in the prophets and in their work the condition of true national blessedness. The darkest time in the history of Israel had been when there "was no open vision Sa1 3:1; at such a time the people "perish," are let loose, "are left to run wild."

Proverbs 29:19

pro 29:19

Servant - i. e., A slave, whose obedience is reluctant. He may "understand" the words, but they produce no good effect. There is still lacking the true "answer" of obedience.

Proverbs 29:21

pro 29:21

Son - The Hebrew word occurs here only and is therefore of doubtful meaning. The favored slave, petted and pampered from boyhood, will claim at last the privilege, perhaps the inheritance, of sonship.

Proverbs 29:23

pro 29:23

Honour shall uphold the humble in spirit - Better: The lowly in spirit shall lay hold on honor.

Proverbs 29:24

pro 29:24

On the first discovery of the theft, the person wronged Jdg 17:2, or the judge of the city (marginal reference), pronounced a solemn curse on the thief and on all who, knowing the offender, were unwilling to give evidence against him. The accomplice of the thief hears that curse, and yet is silent, and so falls under it, and "destroys his own soul."

Proverbs 29:25

pro 29:25

The confusion and wretchedness in which the fear of what men can do entangles us, is contrasted with the security of one, who not only "fears" the Lord, so as to avoid offending Him, but trusts in Him as his protector and guide.

Proverbs 29:26

pro 29:26

To trust in the favor of princes is to build upon the sands. The judgment which will set right all wrong will come from the Lord. It is better to wait for that than to run here and there, canvassing, bribing, flattering.

Proverbs 29:27

pro 29:27

The words point out not only the antagonism between the doers of good and evil, but the instinctive antipathy which the one feels toward the other.

Next: Proverbs Chapter 30