1 These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
3 The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.
5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:
7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.
8 Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.
9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:
10 Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.
14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.
15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.
17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.
18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
20 As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.
21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.
23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
1-3 God needs not search into any thing; nothing can be hid from him. But it is the honour of rulers to search out matters, to bring to light hidden works of darkness. #4,5|. For a prince to suppress vice, and reform his people, is the best way to support his government. #6,7|. Religion teaches us humility and self-denial. He who has seen the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus, will feel his own unworthiness. #8-10|. To be hasty in beginning strife, will bring into difficulties. War must at length end, and might better be prevented. It is so in private quarrels; do all thou canst to settle the matter. #11,12|. A word of counsel, or reproof, rightly spoken, is especially beautiful, as fine fruit becomes still more beautiful in silver baskets. #13|. See what ought to be the aim of him that is trusted with any business; to be faithful. A faithful minister, Christ's messenger, should be thus acceptable to us. #14|. He who pretends to have received or given that which he never had, is like the morning cloud, that disappoints those who look for rain. #15|. Be patient to bear a present hurt. Be mild to speak without passion; for persuasive language is the most effectual to prevail over the hardened mind. #16|. God has given us leave to use grateful things, but we are cautioned against excess. 17|. We cannot be upon good terms with our neighbours, without discretion as well as sincerity. How much better a Friend is God than any other friend! The oftener we come to him, the more welcome. #18|. A false testimony is dangerous in every thing. 19|. Confidence in an unfaithful man is painful and vexatious; when we put any stress on him, he not only fails, but makes us feel for it. #20|. We take a wrong course if we think to relieve those in sorrow by endeavouring to make them merry. #21,22|. The precept to love even our enemies is an Old Testament commandment. Our Saviour has shown his own great example in loving us when we were enemies. #23|. Slanders would not be so readily spoken, if they were not readily heard. Sin, if it receives any check, becomes cowardly. #24|. It is better to be alone, than to be joined to one who is a hinderance to the comfort of life. #25|. Heaven is a country afar off; how refreshing is good news from thence, in the everlasting gospel, which signifies glad tidings, and in the witness of the Spirit with our spirits that we are God's children! #26|. When the righteous are led into sin, it is as hurtful as if the public fountains were poisoned. #27|. We must be, through grace, dead to the pleasures of sense, and also to the praises of men. #28|. The man who has no command over his anger, is easily robbed of peace. Let us give up ourselves to the Lord, and pray him to put his Spirit within us, and cause us to walk in his statutes.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.