Verse 30. "favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain, &c." - III. Here is the summing up of the character. 1. Favour, j chen, grace of manner may be deceitful, many a fair appearance of this kind is put on, assumed for certain secular or more unworthy purposes; it is learned by painful drilling in polished seminaries, and, being the effect of mere physical discipline, it continues while the restraint lasts; but it is rq seeker, a lie, a mere semblance, an outward varnish. It is not the effect of internal moral regulation; it is an outside, at which the inside murmurs; and which, because not ingenuous, is a burden to itself.
2. Beauty, ypyh haiyophi, elegance of shape, symmetry of features, dignity of mien, and beauty of countenance, are all lbh hebel, vanity; sickness impairs them, suffering deranges them, and death destroys them.
3. "But a woman that feareth the Lord," that possesses true religion, has that grace that harmonizes the soul, that purifies and refines all the tempers and passions, and that ornament of beauty, a meek and quiet mind, which in the sight of God is of great price: - She shall be praised. - This is the lasting grace, the unfading beauty.
Verse 31. "Give her of the fruit of her hands " - This may be a prayer. May she long enjoy the fruit of her labours! May she see her children's children, and peace upon Israel! And let her own works praise her in the gates. - Let what she has done be spoken of for a memorial of her; let her bright example be held forth in the most public places. Let it be set before the eyes of every female, particularly of every wife, and especially of every mother; and let them learn from this exemplar, what men have a right to expect in their wives, the mistresses of their families, and the mothers of their children. Amen.
MASORETIC NOTES ON THIS BOOK
Number of verses in the book of Proverbs, 915.
Middle verse, chap. xvi. 18.
The Syriac reckons 1863 verses.
The Arabic concludes thus: - "The discipline of Solomon written out by the friends of Hezekiah, king of Judah, the interpretation or translation of which is extremely difficult, (but) is now completed by the assistance and influence of the Son of God." IN the introduction to the book of Proverbs, among the several collections of a similar nature which are mentioned there, I have referred to M. Galand's Maximes des Orientaux. From this work, as contained in the supplement to the Bibliotheque Orientale, I have translated the following selection. They will serve to show the curious reader how many sayings similar to those of Solomon still abound in the East.
I fear God; and beside him I fear none, but that man who fears him not.
He who knows not his Maker cannot know himself.
Godliness is the greatest wisdom, and implety the greatest of follies.
The fear of God is the greatest safeguard.
To sin once is too much; but a thousand acts of devotion towards God are not sufficient to honour him.
If a man foresaw his end, and his exit from life, he would abhor his actions, and their deceitfulness.
Life is a sort of sleep, from which many awake not but in death.
The life of man is a path that leads to death.
The orphan is not the person who has lost his father; but he who has neither wisdom, nor a good education.
Want of good sense is worse than all the degrees of poverty.
Nothing so effectually hides what we are as silence.
He who has least wisdom has most vanity.
There is no greatness of soul in avenging one's self.
The heart of the fool is in his mouth, and the tongue of the wise man is in his heart.
He who runs with a slack rein, guided only by hope, encounters the last moment of his life, and falls.
Envy has no rest.
When you have once received a benefit, render yourself not unworthy of it, by a want of gratitude.
The desire of revenge is a constant hinderance to a happy and contented life.
When you have got an advantage over your enemy, pardon him, in returning God thanks for that advantage.
When you are in prosperity, you need seek no other revenge against him who envies you than the mortification he has from it.
How advantageous must wisdom be to its possessor, seeing it is of so great value as not to be purchased by money! Nothing obtains pardon more speedily than repentance.
There is no disease so dangerous as the want of common sense.
Of all vices, vanity and a love of contention are the most difficult to be corrected.
Visiting your neighbour is no crime, but your visits should not be so often repeated, as to induce him to say, It is enough.
If a prince would worship God in truth, he must remain in his limits, be true to his treaties, be content with what he has, and suffer patiently the privation of what he has not.
Nothing so much resembles flowers planted on a dunghill, as the good which is done to an ignorant or worthless man.
In whatsoever company or society you be, engage not in those matters which concern the whole; for if you succeed, the whole company will attribute the success to itself; and if you succeed not, each person will lay the blame on you.
When the soul is ready to depart, what avails it whether a man die on a throne or in the dust? Take and give with equity.
We need not be surprised when those who ask or seek for improper things, fall into misfortunes which they did not expect.
Riches dwell no longer in the hand of a liberal man, than patience in the heart of a lover, or water in a sieve.
As soon as a person takes pleasure in hearing slander, he is to be ranked in the number of slanderers.
That which a man suffers for this world, fills his heart with darkness; but that which he suffers for the other, fills it with light.
The greatest repose which a man can enjoy, is that which he feels in desiring nothing.
One seldom finds that which he seeks, when he searches for it with impatience.
Do not reproach a man for the sin which he has committed, when God has forgiven him.
He who pushes a jest farther than good breeding requires, shall never fail to be hated or despised.
He who is worthy of being called a man, is unshaken in adversity, humble in prosperity, active and bold in danger; and, if he be not learned, has at least a love for learning.
The man who is governed by his passions is in a worse state than the most miserable slave.