Verse 32. "He that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city. " - It is much easier to subdue an enemy without than one within. There have been many kings who had conquered nations, and yet were slaves to their own passions. Alexander, who conquered the world, was a slave to intemperate anger, and in a fit of it slew Clytus, the best and most intimate of all his friends, and one whom he loved beyond all others.
The spirit of this maxim is so self-evident, that most nations have formed similar proverbs. The classical reader will remember the following in HOR., Odar. lib. ii., Od. 2: - Latius regnes, avidum domando Spiritum, quam si Libyam remotis Gadibus jungas, et uterque Poenus Serviat uni.
"By virtue's precepts to control The furious passions of the soul, Is over wider realms to reign, Unenvied monarch, than if Spain You could to distant Libya join, And both the Carthages were thine." FRANCIS.
"And the following from OVID is not less striking: " - Fortior est qui se, quam qui fortissima vincit Moenia, nec virtus altius ire potest.
"He is more of a hero who has conquered himself, than he who has taken the best fortfied city." Beyond this self-conquest the highest courage can not extend; nor did their philosophy teach any thing more sublime.
Verse 33. "The lot is cast into the lap " - On the lot, see the note on Num. xxvi. 55. How far it may be proper now to put difficult matters to the lot, after earnest prayer and supplication, I cannot say. Formerly, it was both lawful and efficient; for after it was solemnly cast, the decision was taken as coming immediately from the Lord. It is still practiced, and its use is allowed even by writers on civil law. But those who need most to have recourse to the lot are those who have not piety to pray nor faith to trust to God for a positive decision. The lot should never be resorted to in indifferent matters; they should be those of the greatest importance, in which it appears impossible for human prudence or foresight to determine.
In such cases the lot is an appeal to God, and he disposes of it according to his goodness, mercy, and truth. The result, therefore, cannot be fortuitous.