1 Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Cf, the words of the rich fool in Lk 29:5; cf, 16:13.
2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
”Let another man praise thee –
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing t hemselves among themselves, are not wise.
For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth (2 Cor 10:12, 18).
3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.
“Open rebuke” – called the “reproof of life” in 15:31; cf Gal 2:14.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
“Faithful are the wounds of a friend” – called a sign of kindness in Ps 141:5.
7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.
“man that wandereth from his place” – by leaving home, he has lost his security and may be vulnerable to temptation (cf 7:21-23).
9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
“perfume” – cf, the one “perfumed with myrrh and frankincense” (Sol 3:6).
10 Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far off.
Do not fail a friend in need; when in need rely on friendship rather than on mere family relationships.
”brother far off” – either physically or emotionally.
11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.
“That I may answer him that reproacheth me” – a wise son (or student) serves as a powerful testimony that the father (or teacher) who has shaped him has shown himself to be a man of worth.
12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.
“blesseth his friend” – perhaps to win his favor (cf Ps 12:2).
15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
“sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” – develops and molds his character.
18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.
19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.
“the heart of man to man” – the condition of a man’s heart indicates his true character like the reflection of one’s face in a pool of water (see Matt 5:8).
20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
“are never full” – their appetite is insatiable (see Is 5:14).
21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.
“fining pot…gold” – silver and gold were refined to remove their impurities (cf Is 1:25; Mal 3:3).
”So is a man to his praise” – how a person responds to praise is a reflection of one’s character. One must not become proud, and one must be wary of flattery (cf, 12:8; Lk 6:26).
22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.
“mortar” – a bowl (see Num 11:8).
”pestle” – a club-like tool for pounding grain in a mortar.
”will not his foolishness depart from him” – in spite of severe punishment, fools refuse to change (see 26:11; Jer 5:3).
23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
Verses 23-27 – a section praising the basic security afforded by agricultural pursuits – reflecting the agricultural base of the ancient economy.
“Be thou diligent…herds” – like Jacob with Laban’s flocks (Gen 31:38-40).
24 For riches are not forever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?
“doth the crown endure to every generation? ” – a rhetorical question expecting a negative answer. Even kings may lose their wealth and power (see Job 19:9; Lam 5:16).
25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.
“The hay appeareth…grass sheweth itself” – this began in March or April.
26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.
“price of the field” – see 31:16. Sheep and goats sometimes also served as tribute payments (see 2 Kgs 3:4).
27 And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.
”goats’ milk” – commonly drunk along with cows’ milk (see Deut 32:13-14; Is 7:21-22).