1 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
“Through desire a man, having separated himself” – refers to a person who alienates himself from others because of his selfish desires.
“intermeddleth with all wisdom” – the selfish person rejects wisdom and has an argumentative spirit.
2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
“no delight…But that his heart may discover itself” – the fool has no desire for wisdom but I sonly driven by the selfish desires of the heart (cf, Ecc 10:3).
3 When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
4 The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
“deep waters” – profound or obscure (cf 20:5).
“wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook” – a wise man’s words are refreshing and a source of life (see 1:23; 13:14; see also 10:11).
5 It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in Judgment.
“to accept the person of the wicked” – to show partiality to the ungodly person (see 17:15). Favoritism of any kind was condemned in the law (see Lev 19:15; Deut 1:17; 16:19).
6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
“contention” – a fool is quick to quarrel (see 17:14, 19; 20:3).
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
“words of a talebearer” – words of a gossip are as pleasant to a wise man’s words (cf 16:21, 23), but they promote dissension (see 11:13; 26:20,22).
“as wounds” – Lit “as bits greedily swallowed.” Gossip is like tasty food but has disastrous conseq
“they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” – where they are thoroughly digested and so are carried about and live on and on.
9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
“name of the LORD” – the “name” equals the person, since it expresses his nature and qualities (see Ex 3:14-15).
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honor is humility.
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
“A man’s gift maketh room for him” – a referrence to the effectiveness of a bribe.
17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbor cometh and searcheth him.
A warning to Judgest to hear both sides of a case (cf Deut 1:16), but applicable to many situations.
18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
“The lot causeth contentions to cease” – reaching a decision through the casting of lots was one way of settling a dispute (cf, Matt 27:35).
19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
“a brother offended” – cf, Esau’s anger because of the blessing Jacob received from Isaac (Gen 27:41).
20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LORD.
“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing” – see 12:4.
“obtaineth favor of the LORD” – identical to 8:35, where finding wisdom brought such favor.
23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly” – Lit “a man of many [companies] comes to ruin.” One must choose friends carefully (see 12:26; 17:17).
“a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” – true friends do not turn away in tough times. It is better to have a true friend than many false friends.