HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY (Old Testament) Proverbs through Ecclesiasticus

 

 

PROVERBS

 

THE BOOK OF PROVERBS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This book is so called, because it consists of wise and weighty sentences, regulating the morals of men; and directing them to wisdom and virtue.  And these sentences are also called Parables, because great truths are often couched in them under certain figures and similitudes.  Ch. Wisdom is introduced speaking in the nine first chapters.  Then to ch. xxv. more particular precepts are given.  W. Ezechias caused to be collected (H.) what comes in the five next chapters, and in the two last.  Some other, or rather Solomon himself, under (W.) different titles, gives us Agur’s and his mother’s instructions, and his own commendations of a valiant woman, (H.) which is prophetical of the Catholic Church.  He also wrote the two next works, besides many other things, which have been lost.  This is the first of those five, which are called “sapiential,” giving instructions how to direct our lives, by the dictates of sound reason.  W. It is the most important of Solomon’s works, though collected by different authors.  C. T. Paine treats Solomon as a witty jester.  But his jests are of a very serious nature, and no one had before heard of his wit.  Watson.

 

 

PROVERBS 1

 

CHAPTER I.

 

Ver. 1.  Israel.  The dignity of the author, and the importance of the subject, invite us to read.  S. Bas. Solomon is the first whose name is placed at the head of any work in Scripture.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  To know.  This is the design of these parables.  C. They tend to instruct both the unexperienced and the wise.  v. 5.  There are three sorts of wisdom: the divine, which is God himself; (c. iii. 16.) the supernatural, which is his gift, to lead us into all virtue; and the worldly, which is mixed with error, &c.  W.  Wisd. vii. 25.

 

Ver. 4.  Subtilty.  Discretion to the innocent.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Wiser.  “Tamdiu audiendum & discendum est, quamdiu nescias, & si proverbio credimus, quamdiu vivas,” says Seneca, ep. 77. Governments.  And be fit to govern others, (W.) as well as himself.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Sayings.  This science was much esteemed.  3 K. x. l.  Eccli. xxxix. 2.

 

Ver. 7.  Fear.  Thus we arrive at charity.  S. Aug. in ep. Jo. ix.  Job xxviii. 28. &c.  This fear includes religion, but not barren speculations.  C. It implies a desire to act, and not simply to understand.

 

Ver. 8.  Mother.  The first precept is to learn of our elders, and the second to resist evil counsels.  v. 10.  W. Our parents have the greatest influence over us.  Solomon presupposes that they are virtuous and well informed.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Entice.  Heb. “deceive.”  C. Pessimum inimicorum genus laudantes.  Tacit. in vit. Agric.

 

Ver. 12.  Pit.  Grave, or hell, like Dathan. Num. xvi.  This shews the greatest rage.  Job xxxi. 31.

 

Ver. 17.  Wings.  If thou attend, therefore, to my instructions, their arts will be vain.  Ven. Bede. They unjustly seek to deceive the pious.  C. Watchfulness will be the best protection against them.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Possessors.  Of money.  C. While they attempt to invade another’s property, they ruin themselves, and come to the gallows.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Streets.  In every place we may learn wisdom.  “The wise learn more from fools, than fools do from the wise,” as Cato well observed.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Fools.  Heb. “and scorners delight in their scorning.”  Prot. Such are the pests of society.  H. They turn piety to ridicule, and will talk about things which they do not understand, like our esprits forts, (C.) or pretended philosophers.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Mock.  God is too much above us to act thus; but he will treat us as an enraged enemy.  C. In hell, the damned will cry in vain.  v. 28.  They had sufficient graces offered while they were alive.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Find me.  Because their repentance was false, like that of Antiochus.  2 Mac. ix. 13. and Ps. xi. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Despised.  Lit. “destracted,” (H.) supposing my threats would not be put in execution.  Heb. “they abhorred.”  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Turning.  Heb. “the ease of the simple,” who have given way to deceit.  C. Them.  The objects of their eager desires, prove their ruin.  Ezec. xvi. 49.

 

Ver. 33.  Evils.  Both the just and the wicked, (v. 31.  H.) shall be treated according to their deserts.  2 Cor. v. 10.  W. Even in this world, the just enjoy the peace of a good conscience.  M.

 

 

PROVERBS 2

 

CHAPTER II.

 

Ver. 1.  If.  This proves free will.  To become truly wise, we must desire it with the same avidity as a miser seeks for riches.  W. We must also pray, (v. 3.) with humility (v. 2.) to God, the giver of wisdom.  v. 6.  Every science which has not Him for the beginning and end, is vain and dangerous.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Salvation.  Prot. “sound wisdom.”  Tushiya (H.) often occurs in this book, and is very comprehensive, (C.) denoting the substance (H.) of goodness, virtue, &c.  Job v. 12.

 

Ver. 8.  Justice.  In his servants.  C. God gives them grace to follow virtue, (H.) and protects them from every danger.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Things.  The danger of such company for young people is very great, as the heart is misled by the understanding, (C.) if it do not itself shew the way to error.  H. We all possess a fund of corruption.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Evil.  These signs prove whom we ought to shun.  S. Aug. depicts his own conduct before his conversion in the darkest colours.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Strange.  Idolatress, (Grot.) or rather the abandoned woman, whether married or not.  C. This description, as well as the former, guards us against heretics, who leave the right way of the Catholic Church, (v. 13.) and devise perverse doctrines of rebellion against princes, &c. as if faith alone were sufficient.  By this faith, Prot. do not mean any article which all must believe, but only that each one must be convinced that he himself is just, and will be saved.  Like the strange woman, they preach a comfortable doctrine, and use sweet speeches.  Rom. xvi. 18.  Their conversion is a very difficult matter, (v. 19.) because they are condemned by their own judgment, (Tit. iii. 11.) and will not admit of the ordinary means of instruction in the Church.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Youth.  Her husband, whom she married young when love is more lasting.  This increases her guilt.  It may also signify her father, or preceptor.

 

Ver. 18.  God.  The law forbids adultery, and all impurities.  Deut. xxiii. 17.  Lev. xx. 10.  Both the parties, guilty of adultery, were punished with death.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Life.  A sincere conversion is so rare among people once addicted to impurity, (H.) which resembles a deep pit.  C. This illness is hardly removed.  M.

 

Ver. 21.  Earth.  Happily.  This was the wish of the carnal Jews.  But the more enlightened raise their thoughts to heaven.

 

 

PROVERBS 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  My son.  God speaks, or the master instructs his disciple.  v. 21.  C. We must remember and love instruction, and reduce it to practice.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Peace.  These prefigured more substantial blessings.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Truth.  Be kind and faithful to all.  Gen. xxiv. 27.  Ps. xxiv. 10.

 

Ver. 4.  Good.  Sept. “forecast good before the Lord and men.”  S. Paul seems to allude to this version, Rom. xii. 17. and 2 Cor. viii. 22.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  All.  God will have nothing by halves. Lean not.  By pride.  2 Cor. xii. 13.  All must be referred to God.  C. In him we may safely trust.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Bones.  Thou shalt enjoy perfect health.

 

Ver. 9.  Fruits.  Sept. add, “of justice;” to intimate that no presents will be acceptable, which have been unjustly acquired.

 

Ver. 11.  Him.  Correction is rather a proof of love than of anger.  Ps. iii. 19.  C. God thus shews that he approves of his servants; and therefore his other promises, which seem of a temporal nature, must be understood with reference to the next life.  W.

 

Ver. 12.  And as.  Sept. “but he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth,” as S. Paul quotes this passage.  Heb. xii. 6.  The verb is now wanting in Heb. or ceab; “as a father” may signify “scourgeth, in piel, (M.) with i prefixed.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Riches.  Heb. peninim, (H.) “pearls.”  Job xxviii. 18.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Glory.  Her hands are full, and she grants favours with profusion, (H.) as with both hands, promising eternal life.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Life.  Like that planted in paradise.  Gen. ii. 9.

 

Ver. 19.  Wisdom.  Hitherto he had spoken of that virtue.  Now he treats of the uncreated wisdom, (C.) which is God the Son.  M.  Jans.  S. Greg. Mor. xii. 4.

 

Ver. 20.  Out.  The higher and lower waters being divided, (C.) or the channels formed to receive the waters.  Piscat. It may also speak of the deluge.  Ven. Bede. With.  Heb. “have distilled dew.”  This is so copious, as to resemble rain in Palestine.  Judg. vi. 37. and 2 K. xvii. 12.

 

Ver. 22.  Mouth.  There have been wise and virtuous men afflicted, v. 11.  But they have borne all with patience, and have merited a more glorious reward than what this earth could afford.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Able.  Prot. “withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.”  Relieve the distressed.  H. They have a title to that wealth, since those who possess it are bound to relieve the indigent.  C. Sept. “refrain not from doing good,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 28.  Present.  Alms in season are doubly valuable.  W. Antigonus acquired the title of Dwswn, “about to give,” as he never gave, (Plutarch) but only promised.

 

Ver. 30.  Cause.  We may defend ourselves; but herein great discretion is necessary.  C. Cum pari contendere anceps est: cum superiore furiosum; cum inferiore sordidum.  Senec. Prov.

 

Ver. 31.  Ways.  Of injustice.  Seek not to attain his prosperity by the same means.  C.

 

Ver. 33.  Want.  Heb. “a curse.” Shall be.  Heb. “he blesseth.”  H.

 

Ver. 34.  Scorners.  Lit. “he will delude the scorners.”  H. He will treat them as they would treat others.  Ps. xvii. 27.  C. Sept. “the Lord resisteth the proud,” &c.  So the apostles quote this passage.  1 Pet. v. 5.  Jam. iv. 6.  H.

 

Ver. 35.  Disgrace.  They are seen by more, and their fall is more dangerous.  C. “A fool extols what is ignominious.”  Pagn.  H.

 

 

PROVERBS 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 1.  Father.  He shews the greatest respect for his parents, v. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  As.  This is not expressed.  H. But Solomon was not the only son of Bethsabee, as S. Luke (iii. 23.) specifies Nathan, his brother.  See 2 K. xii. 24.  Sept. have “beloved in,” &c.

 

Ver. 4.  He.  Heb. is masculine.  C. As David instructed his son, so the latter teaches all how they may learn wisdom.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Beginning.  The first part of wisdom is to desire it.  For nothing hindereth from being just, but that justice is not desired.  S. Aug. in Ps. cxviii. 20.  W. “Wisdom is the principal part; therefore get,” &c.  Prot.  H. It is the one thing necessary.  C. The pearl, to acquire which we must part with every thing else, if required.  Matt. xiii. 46.  M.

 

Ver. 17.  Wickedness.  Acquired thereby, or they make sin their food.  C. xxvi. 6.

 

Ver. 18.  Day.  They are children of light, (Jo. xii. 35.) and give edification, always advancing in virtue.  M.

 

Ver. 19.  Fall.  They are unconcerned about sin, and neither avoid it, nor strive to repent.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Flesh.  All may derive benefit from their consideration.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  From it.  As the heart is the principal part of the body, so the will is the chief power of the soul, from which good or evil proceeds.  W. A clean heart gives life, a corrupt one, death.  Mat. xv. 11. 19.

 

Ver. 24.  From thee.  Neither detract, nor give any countenance to detractors.

 

Ver. 25.  Steps.  Be attentive to thy own affairs.  Prov. xvii. 24.

 

Ver. 26.  Straight.  Heb. “ponder.”  Examine what thou takest in hand, and walk not at random.  Heb. xii. 13.

 

Ver. 27.  For, &c.  What follows in not in Heb. or the Complut. (C.) Sept.  But it is in the Roman, &c. (H.) and in the new edition of S. Jerom, as it was explained by Ven. Bede.  Lyran and Cajetan reject it.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 5

 

CHAPTER V.

 

Ver. 2.  Thoughts.  Or wisdom; and act with discretion. Mind, &c. is omitted in Heb. and S. Jer.  C. By woman all concupiscence, or the inducement to sin, is commonly understood.  We must not think of such things.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Sword.  “It is a crime even to hearken.”  S. Amb. de Abrah. ii. 11.  She seeks thy ruin.  v. 5.  c. ii. 16.

 

Ver. 6.  They.  Heb. “if perhaps thou ponder the path of life.”  Pagn.  H. Or “she ponders not,” &c.  She walks inconsiderately, and consults only her passions.  c. vii. 10.  C. No one can depend on her love.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Strangers.  The world, the flesh, and the devil are such; cruelly devising our ruin.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Strength.  Or children.  v. 16.  Gen. xlix. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Body.  He alludes to a shameful disease, the just punishment of intemperance.  Eccli. xix. 3.

 

Ver. 14.  Evil.  Infirm and worn out, having lost my reputation, &c.  C. Though I lived among the faithful, I was under no restraint.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Well.  Live comfortably on your own property, (Cajet.) with your own wife.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Waters.  Mayst thou have a numerous offspring, (v. 10.) and be liberal.  Many copies of the Sept. &c. have a negation, with Aquila, “let not thy,” &c. (C.) though it my be read with and interrogation, “are the waters of thy fountain to be?” &c.  De Dieu. By not means.  Origen (in Num. xii.) acknowledges both readings.  C. Good  instructions must be given to those who are well disposed, but not to scoffers, or obstinate infidels.  W. Husbands are exhorted to be content with their own wives, (v. 15. 20.) so that the negative particle seems to be here wanting, as it is, c. vi. 17. in MS. 60, (Kennicott) and c. xiv. 33.  Sept. &c.  Capellus.

 

Ver. 17.  Thee.  Stick to thy own wife.  In a moral sense, let those who instruct others, take care not to neglect themselves.

 

Ver. 18.  Vein.  Thou shalt have a numerous progeny.  Ps. lxvii. 28.  Is. xlviii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Love.  This is spoken by way of permission, and to withdraw people from unlawful connections.  Eccle. ii. 1. and 1 Cor. vii. 29.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Ropes.  “Evil habits unrestrained induce a necessity,” (S. Aug. Conf. viii. 5.) though not absolute.  H. The libertine thinks he can get free as soon as he pleases; not being aware of the chains which he is forging for himself.  C. Sin requires punishment.  M.

 

 

PROVERBS 6

 

CHAPTER VI.

 

Ver. 1.  Hand.  Agreements were made by shaking hands, Is. lxii. 8.  Xen. Anab. iii. Stranger.  Sept. “enemy.”  He will presently be such, or thy friend’s creditor will soon lay hold on thee. By standing surety for another, we expose ourselves to be ruined by his negligence.  C. The Persians had a horror chiefly of lying and debts.  Herod. i. 138. All sureties are not condemned, but only such as are inconsiderate.  M. A diligent compliance with engagements is commended.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Make.  Heb. “humble thyself, and made sure thy friend,” (Prot.) entreating (H.) and forcing him to pay his debts.  The Fathers apply this to pastors, who have undertaken to direct others.  Their soul is at stake.  S. Greg.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Harvest.  The economy and diligence of this littel republic is admirable.  Pliny, xxx. 11. Some copies of the Sept. add with S. Amb. (Hex. v. []1. &c.  C.) “or go to the bee, and behold what a worker it is, and how beautiful is its work; whose labours kings and private people use for health.  But it is desirable and glorious to all; and though it be weak in strength, by the love of wisdom it has got forward” (H.) in esteem.  C. Nature has given the form of a monarchy in bees, and of a democracy in the regulations of the ant.  Tournemine.

 

Ver. 11.  A traveller.  Sept. add, “wicked,” and Heb. gives the idea of a robber.  M. But, &c.  This is not in Heb. Complut. or S. Jerom.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Apostate.  Heb. “of Belial, without restraint of religion and law.  C. Deut. xiii. 13.  M. Every one who sins through malice and particularly heretics, employ all their members to pervert others.  W. Mouth.  No reliance can be had on his promises.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Finger.  These signs imply haughtiness, &c.  Ps. xxxiv. 19.  Is. lviii. 9.  The posture indicates the interior sentiments, (S. Amb. off. i. 18.) insomuch, that S. Ambrose would not receive among the clergy one whose gestures were too light.  The Persians still speak by signs.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Detesteth.  This expression does not always mean that the last is worse than the former.  M. All the six sins are damnable, but the seventh is here, most so, being against charity and unity, and the devil’s sin.  W. Lying seems to be reprobated by three different terms.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Instruction.  Given for our improvement, (H.) with charity.  See Deut. vi. 6.  Ps. xviii. 9.

 

Ver. 24.  Stranger.   This is often inculcated, because nothing is more dangerous in youth, nor more contrary to the study of wisdom.

 

Ver. 26.  Woman.  Who is married, exposes her lover to the danger of death.  She chooses the most accomplished men, while the harlot receives the first comer.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Burn.  No one can deal with an adulteress without guilt.  M. All probable occasions of sin must be shunned.  W.

 

Ver. 29.  Clean.  Or be left unpunished.  No crime disturbs the order of society so much, nor is pardoned with more difficulty.

 

Ver. 30.  The fault is not so great, &c.  The sin of theft is not so great, as to be compared with adultery: especially when a person pressed with hunger (which is the case here spoken of) steals to satisfy nature.  Moreover the damage done by theft may much more easily be repaired, then the wrong done by adultery.  But this does not hinder but that theft also is a mortal sin, forbidden by one of the ten commandments.  Ch. Heb. “they will not despise a thief, when he hath stolen to fill his soul, when he is hunger.”  Mont.  H. This was commonly supposed to be his motive, and he was only condemned to make restitution, without any further disgrace.  C. xix. 24.  Ex. xxii. 1.  But what necessity could the adulterer plead?  Both he and the woman must suffer death.  Lev. xx. 10.

 

Ver. 31.  Seven-fold.  Or as much as may be required.  The law never subjected the thief to restore above five-fold.  If he had not enough, his person might be sold.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Folly.  Lit. “want,” inopiam.  Heb. “is faint-hearted, corrupting his own soul, he will do that.”  H.

 

Ver. 35.  Gifts.  “A husband would rather hear that his wife had been slain, than that she had been defiled.”  S. Jer. in Amos vi.

 

 

PROVERBS 7

 

CHAPTER VII.

 

Ver. 1.  Words.  As dangerous temptations always threaten, the same instructions are frequently inculcated.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Thine.  But another’s.  v. 19.  Give thy heart to wisdom, that it may be guarded against impure love.

 

Ver. 6.  Lattice.  No glass was used, on account of the great heat.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Ones.  Not in age, but prudence.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Attire.  Covered with a veil, (Gen. xxxviii. 15.) though different from that of honest women.  C. The wanton are commonly the most gaudy; nullarum fere pretiosior cultus est quam quarum pudor vilis est.  S. Cyp. de Habitu. Prepared, &c.  Heb. “guarded,” (C.) or “subtle of heart.”  Prot. “who makes the hearts of youths take flight.”  Sept.  Cant. vi. 4.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Not…quiet.  Is not in Heb.  C. “She is loud and stubborn, her feet abide not in her house.”  Prot.  H. Chaste women are guarded in their speech, and keep at home.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Prosperity.  Or thy welfare, (Corn. a Lap.  T.) so great is my love for thee.  M. Vows.  And therefore I have a feast prepared.  People might carry home the greatest part of the victim to eat, if they were clean.  Lev. vii. 29.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Cords.  For greater ease, instead of boards, (M.) or the curtains are hung with precious cords from Egypt.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Aloes.  Of Syria, (Jo. xix. 39.) different from ours.  Num. xxxiv. 6.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Inebriated.  Prot. “take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.”  H. This passion is a sort of intoxication.  M.

 

Ver. 19.  My.  Lit. “the man.”  H. She speaks thus out of contempt.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  The day.  Sept. “after many days.”  Heb. “at the day concealed,” or when the people will dwell under tents, (Chal.  C.) or “at the new moon,” when it does not appear.  Piscat. He will not return for a long time, so that we need apprehend no danger from him.  M.

 

Ver. 22.  Lamb.  Prot. “fool to the correction of the stocks,” (H.) or “like a shackle (ábs.) for the chastisement of a fool.”  Mont. Interpreters have read different words.  C. Sinners who have given way to temptations, are as inconsiderate as oxen, or birds which hasten to their own ruin.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Her.  Solomon gave a melancholy proof of this, as well as David, and Amnon.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Death.  There can be no precaution too great.  c. ii. 18.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Voice.  Men are wanting to themselves: they cannot plead ignorance.  C. Wisdom stands on high in the Catholic Church inviting all to virtue and happiness.  W. Some explain this of the light which is communicated to men; but the Fathers apply it to Jesus Christ, some of the expressions regarding his divinity, and others his human nature.  Eccli. xxiv.

 

Ver. 3.  Doors.  Amid disputants, whose eagerness ought to convince us of the preference due to wisdom over all terrestrial concerns.  v. 10.

 

Ver. 10.  Money.  They are generally incompatible.

 

Ver. 12.  Thoughts.  All good comes from God, the eternal wisdom, (C.) which speaks here.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Things.  Power and knowledge are the gift of the Almighty.  Rom. xii. 1.  A prince who resembles God the most, is his best present.  Pliny in Trajan.

 

Ver. 18.  Glorious.  Lit. “proud.”  H. But here it only means great.  Is. ix 15. and lxi. 6.  Riches too commonly nourish pride, and it is very rare to see them joined with justice.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Stone.  So the Sept. translate paz, (H.) which designates a more pure sort of gold.  Gen. ii. 11.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Enrich.  Heb. “grant what is (real goods) an inheritance to them,” &c. Treasures.  Sept. add, “with goods.  If I announce to you daily occurrences, I will admonish you to number the things of the world,” (H.) and all past events.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Possessed.  As Christ was with God, equal to him in eternity.  Jo. i.  Sept. “created,” which many of the Fathers explain of the word incarnate, (see Corn. a Lapide.  Bossuet) or he hath “placed me,” (S. Athan. iii. con. Arian.  Euseb.) a pattern of all virtues.  The Sept. generally render kana, “possessed,” as Aquila does here.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Up.  Heb. “anointed.”  Sept. “he founded.”  Christ was appointed to be the foundation, on which we must be built.  S. Athan. iii. Orat.

 

Ver. 24.  Conceived.  Having yet manifested none of my works.  Since the creation, wisdom only seeks to communicate itself to us.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Poles.  Heb. “head or height of the dust of the world.”  H. I subsisted with the chaos, before things appeared in their present form.  C. The poles denote the north and south, or the four quarters of the world.  M.

 

Ver. 28.  Sky.  Prot. “clouds.”  Pagn. “the air.”  Vulg. æthera.  Sept. “the clouds above.”  H. Moses assigns the higher and lower waters the same origin.  Gen. i. 7.

 

Ver. 29.  Pass.  This is often remarked.  Ps. xli. 8. Earth.  See Job xxxviii. 8.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Forming.  Heb. “one nursed,” (C.) or nursing, nutritius.  Pagn. He was not an idle spectator. Playing.  With ease and surprising variety.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Men.  God saw that all was good, but delighted most in his own image.  M. He prefers  man before all other corporeal creatures.  W. To  him alone below he has granted understanding, and a soul capable of virtue.  The Son has also assumed our nature.  Bar. iii. 37.

 

Ver. 35.  Lord.  Wisdom, or Jesus Christ, is our salvation, happiness, and life.  Sept. “and the will is prepared by the Lord.”  S. Aug. often quotes this to prove the necessity of preventing grace.  Ep. ccxvii. and clxxxvi.  C.

 

Ver. 36.  Death.  Not in itself, (H.) but by adhering to such things as bring death.  M.

 

 

PROVERBS 9

 

CHAPTER IX.

 

Ver. 1.  House.  The sacred humanity, (S. Ignat.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xvii. 20.) or the Church.  S. Greg. Mor. xxxiii. 15. Here we may receive all instruction, the seven sacraments, and the gifts of the Holy Ghost.  Pleasure had mentioned here attractions: now those of true wisdom are set before us.  C. God sent his pastors at all times, to invite people to embrace the latter.  They are all included in the number seven, both before and under the law, as well as in the gospel, where S. Paul styles SS. Peter, James, and John, pillars.  Gal. ii.  This is the literal sense, on which the mystical is grounded, and both are intended by the Holy Ghost, intimating that the uncreated wisdom took flesh of the blessed Virgin, prepared the table of bread and wine, as Priest according to the order of Melchisedec, and chose the weak of this world to confound the strong, as S. Aug. explain this passage.  Sup. and q. 51.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Victims.  Moses ordered the blood to be poured out at the door of the tabernacle, and a part given to the priests, after which the rest might be taken away.  The like was probably done at Jerusalem.  Lev. xvii. 4.  These victims are contrasted with those of pleasure.  c. vii. 14. Mingled.  It was not customary for any but barbarians and the gods to take pure wine.  Some mixed two, others three, five, or even twenty parts of water.  But the scholiast of Aristophanes says, the best method was to have three parts water, and two of wine.  Mercury complains that his wine was half water.  Arist. Plut. v. Sun. i. The Fathers often apply this text to the feast of Jesus Christ in the blessed Eucharist.  C. S. Cyprian (ep. iii.) citeth the whole passage of Christ’s sacrifice in the forms of bread and wine.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Maids.  Sept. “servant men,” the pastors of the church, inviting all to piety in so public a manner, that none can plead ignorance.  S. Greg.  C. To invite.  Prot. “she crieth upon the highest places of the city.”  H. Christ enjoins his apostles to preach on the roofs.  Matt. x. 37.

 

Ver. 4.  One.  Simple, but not inconstant, like children.  1 Cor. xiv. 20.  Pleasure addresses the same, (c. vii. 7.) but for their destruction.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Scorner.  This is the reason why wisdom speaks only to the simple.  The conceited would only laugh at her instructions.  These scoffers represent heretics and libertines.  c. i. 22.  C. Where there is no hope of amendment, prudence and charity require us to be silent, as our rebukes would only procure us enmity, and make the sinner worse.  W. Of such S. John was afraid, and therefore ceased from writing.  3 Jo. 9.  Yet S. Paul commands public reprehension.  1 Tim. v. 20.  M. When there is any prospect of good, all, particularly superiors, are bound to correct.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. i. 9.; and S. Bas. reg. fus. 158.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Occasion.  This word is found in Sept. Syr. and Arab.  We might supply instruction, (C.) with Prot.

 

Ver. 10.  Prudence.  Or “prudence is the science of the saints,” (H.) directing what to choose on all occasions to obtain heaven.  C. The knowledge contained in the holy Scriptures, and possessed by the saints, is superior to all other sciences.  M.

 

Ver. 13.  And full.  Prot. “she is simple and knoweth nothing.”  Sept. “is in want of a piece of bread.”  They have several verses before this, which are here omitted.  H. Wisdom and pleasure are opposed to each other.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Pleasant.  Impure pleasures are more delightful (C.) to sensual men.  H. The prohibition increases appetite.  M.

 

Ver. 18.  Giants.  Who lived when all flesh had corrupted its ways, (Gen. vi. 12.) and were sentenced to hell.  Job xxvi. 5.  Is. xiv. 9.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 10

 

CHAPTER X.

 

Solomon.  This title is not found in Sixtus V. or Sept.  Hitherto the preface extends, shewing the advantages of wisdom.  C. The subsequent chapters more properly contain the parables, and are written with great elegance, so as to oppose vice to virtue.  See Bain.  S. Jer. &c.  W.

 

Ver. 1.  Mother.  A virtuous child cannot be indifferent to the joy of his parents.

 

Ver. 2.  Wickedness.  Riches ill acquired, or tending to corrupt the heart.  Lu. xvi. 9.

 

Ver. 3.  Famine.  Ps. xxxvi. 25.  The prophets and Lazarus rejoice in suffering.

 

Ver. 4.  Poverty.  Even of those who had plenty.  This is true in a spiritual sense likewise.  C. The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.  H. Otiositas mater nugarum, noverca virtutum.  S. Bern. consid. ii. He, &c.  This is not in Heb. Greek, S. Jer. or in several Latin copies.  C. We find it in the Sept.  C. ix. 13. Away.  He derives no benefits from lies.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  He.  Sept. “a son well educated shall be wise, and shall have the unwise for his servant.  An intelligent son has been saved from the heat.  But the wicked son is destroyed by the wind in time of harvest.”  H. A good part of this is not in the original; yet it is received by the Greeks.

 

Ver. 6.  Wicked.  Or, as the Heb. seems to indicate, “the wicked covereth iniquity, by an hypocritical exterior,” (C.) or, “the injury” (Mont.) done to another, (chamas.  H.) “unseasonable, or infinite mourning,” penqoV awron.  Sept.

 

Ver. 7.  Rot.  Heb. “stink.”  His reputation shall be lost.  Gen. xxxiv. 20.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Lips.  He will not bear correction.  M. But suffers the punishment of his own unguarded speeches; or rather the man who hath foolish lips, shall be beaten, v. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Sincerely.  Or Simply, Heb. “in uprightness,” (H.) or innocence.  M. Manifest.  The hypocrite shall be at last detected.

 

Ver. 10.  Sorrow.  Sept. add, “to men as well as to himself.”  C. “But he who chides boldly shall make peace,” (H.) or “work safety,” as the Syr. and Arab. also read, instead of Heb. “a prating fool shall fall.”  “When a man connives at his friend’s failings,…the offender is encouraged to sin on, and to heap up matter for very sorrowful reflections; but the man, who with an honest freedom, prudently reproves him, most effectually contrives his honour and safety.”  The consequences of a virtuous and a vicious friendship, seem to be also expressed in the next verse.  Thus the latter hemistic generally illustrates the first.  But here, part of v. 8. may be improperly inserted.  The two parts of the verses in Proverbs, &c. being arranged in distinct columns, has occasioned sometimes a part, and sometimes a whole verse, to be omitted, as the transcriber might mistake the line.  Kennicott.

 

Ver. 11.  Life.  Or a  never-failing spring, fons perennis, as we should speak in Latin.  C. xiii. 14.  Apoc. vii. 17.

 

Ver. 12.  Sins.  Sept. “all who contend.”  Charity pardons all.  1 Pet. iv. 8.

 

Ver. 13.  Sense.  Lit. “a heart.”  But the Hebrews use this expression in a different sense from what we do, and thus designate a fool.  Ose. vii. 11.

 

Ver. 14.  Confusion.  He speaks inconsiderately, and involves himself in continual dangers, while the wise are cautious in their speech.

 

Ver. 15.  Poverty.  Diffidence hinders the advancement of the poor, as presumption is too common among the rich.  A happy mediocrity is best.  v. 16.

 

Ver. 16.  Life.  In abundance he is not puffed up; but the wicked make use of their fruit or revenue to do evil.  Their works are bad, unless they turn to God by at least an initial love of justice.

 

Ver. 18.  Foolish.  We must neither dissemble our resentment, through hypocrisy, nor manifest it without reason.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Sin.  A prolix discourse on subjects of importance is not reprehended.  S. Aug. Retrac. 1. But it is very difficult to speak  much, without going against some virtue.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Understanding.  Lit. “hear.”  H.  v. 13.

 

Ver. 23.  Man.  He is enabled to see the evil of sin, and to avoid it.  Job xv. 16.

 

Ver. 26.  Him.  He spoils all their projects, (C.) and becomes a nuisance.

 

Ver. 29.  Evil.  conscience upbraids them, and punishment is before their eyes.  H.  Magna vis est conscientiæ.  Cic. pro Mil.

 

Ver. 30.  Earth.  This the Jews frequently experienced.  The more enlightened understood, that such promises regarded also eternity.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 11

 

CHAPTER XI.

 

Ver. 1.  Balance.  Both in commerce, (Deut. xxv. 13.  C.) and in passing sentence on others.  Ven. Bede.

 

Ver. 2.  Wisdom.  God resists the proud.  c. xvi. 18. and xviii. 12. and Jam. iv. 6.

 

Ver. 7.  Solicitous.  Or ambitious.  Heb. “the potent,” or Sept. “the impious.”

 

Ver. 8.  For him.  As comparatively nothing worth to his master.  C. xxi. 18.  Is. xliii. 3

 

Ver. 11.  Overthrown.  Ten just men would have saved Sodom.  Achan alone threw all Israel into confusion.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Mean.  Lit. “indigent” of sense.  H. We must put up with some faults, as none are without.  Hor. i. Sat. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Walketh.  Sept. “the double-tongued,” dissembler, or great talker.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  That is.  Heb. “that hateth those who make agreements is secure.”  Mont.

 

Ver. 16.  Gracious.  Virtuous and beautiful, as God hath granted beauty also for good purposes.  This and virtue tend to the advancement of women, while men can use their strength to acquire riches.  C. Glory.  Sept. Syr. and Arab. add, “of her husband.  But she that hateth righteousness is a throne of disgrace.  The slothful, though rich, shall come to poverty; but the laborious shall retain their riches.”  Two hemistics seem to be lost in Heb.  Kennicott. Most of the additions in the Sept. are only glosses, or useless repetitions, (C.) though they seem not to be so in this place.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  Kindred.  Heb. “flesh.”  Gen. xxix. 14.  The miser is cruel even to himself.

 

Ver. 21.  In hand.  At rest, or making agreements.  God will punish the race of the wicked.

 

Ver. 22.  Foolish.  Beauty, without prudence, leads to ruin, as ornaments are ill bestowed on swine.  The women in the east sometimes wore rings in their noses, (Gen. xxiv. 22.  C.) or hanging down upon them.  Is. iii. 21.  M.

 

Ver. 24.  Others.  Moderation is always requisite.  Heb. “there is one withholding from rectitude, yet for a defect,” (Mont.) being too saving, he is a  loser.  H. Avarice does not always increase riches.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Himself.  He shall receive abundantly.  2 Cor. ix. 6.  The beneficent shall be amply rewarded both in this world and in the next.

 

Ver. 26.  Corn.  In times of scarcity.  See Amos viii. 7.

 

Ver. 29.  House.  By his profligacy, or law-suits, shall be impoverished, (v. 17.  C.) or if he act with violence, he will make his house empty.  Eccli. iv. 35.  M.

 

Ver. 30.  Life.  Producing excellent fruits of virtue and edification.

 

Ver. 31.  Receive.  Punishment, for almost inevitable faults, or be treated according to his deserts.  Sept. Syr. and Arab. “if the just be hardly saved, where shall the impious and the sinner appear?”  1 Pet. iv. 18.  C. Afflictions attend the just in this life.  Shall the wicked escape?  M.

 

 

PROVERBS 12

 

CHAPTER XII.

 

Ver. 1.  Knowledge.  It is a great kindness to shew us our faults.  But God’s grace is necessary to make us reap benefit from correction, (C.) as self-love recoils at it.

 

Ver. 2.  But.  Heb. “and he will condemn the man of devices,” (Mont.  H.) or, “the man of thoughts doth wickedly,” (C.) as he trusts in them, rather than in God.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Diligent.  Heb. “strong or virtuous,” (H.) including all the perfections of the sex, and in particular those of economy and chastity.  C. xiv. 1. and xxxi. 10.

 

Ver. 7.  Turn.  In a moment the wicked is not to be found.  C. x. 25. and Ps. xxxvi. 35.

 

Ver. 8.  Learning.  We apply to those things which we love, and those who study sacred (C.) or useful sciences, shall receive praise.

 

Ver. 9.  Glorious.  Or a boaster, (H.) as many noblemen are, who are involved in debt.  Eccli. x. 30.  M. It is better to have a sufficiency, than to be of noble parentage; and starving through a stupid idea, that work would be disgraceful.

 

Ver. 10.  Beasts.  Those who treat them with cruelty, would do the like with  men.  God gives regulations to let brute beasts have rest.  Lev. xxii. 28.  C.  S. Chrys. in Rom. xxix.

 

Ver. 11.  Idleness.  Heb. “the idle.”  Their company is seducing. He that, &c.  This occurs in the Sept. but not in the Heb. or the new edit. of S. Jerom.  C. Wine.  Or “in taverns.” Holds.  Soldiers have thus been often surprised.  M. “Drunkenness is an incitement to lust and madness, the poison of wisdom.”  S. Amb.

 

Ver. 12.  Men.  They wish to supplant one another.

 

Ver. 13.  Lips.  Liars often become the victims of their own deceit.

 

Ver. 16.  Wise.  It is more difficult to repress, than to avoid anger.  S. Amb. To dissemble, so as to seek an opportunity of revenge, is not commended.

 

Ver. 17.  That.  Heb. “the truth announceth justice.”  We easily give credit to an honest man.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Promiseth.  Sept. “there are, who speaking, wound with the sword; but,” &c.  Heb. bote (H.) means also, making a foolish promise, which causes remorse.  M. This was the case with Herod, when he was pleased with Herodias.  Matt. xiv. 8.  C. Heb. “speaketh like the piercings of the sword,” (Prot.  H.) as detractors, and those who disseminate impious and scandalous maxims do.

 

Ver. 19.  Frameth.  He studies how to escape detection. Heb. “a  lying tongue is but for a moment;” it is presently discovered.

 

Ver. 20.  Deceit.  Or uneasiness.  C. Honi soit qui mal y pense: “let him be covered with shame who thinks evil in it,” seems nearly the same import.  H.

 

Ver. 21.  Sad.  Even if he fall into sin, he will not  lose all hope.  C. The accidents accompanying this life will not overwhelm him.  S. Chrys. Heb. “no evil shall befall the just.”  If he be afflicted here, he will be amply rewarded hereafter.  Sept. “the just will not be pleased with any injustice.”

 

Ver. 23.  Cautious.  Versutus is taken in a good, as well as in a bad sense.  The wise are reserved in speaking.  Prov. xvi. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Grief.  Sept. “a fearful speech troubleth the heart of a (just) man.”  Grabe.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Just.  A true friend will make any sacrifice.  C. “I am convinced that friendship can subsist only among the good,” says Cicero.  Heb. “the just hath more, (C.  Prot.) or is more excellent than his neighbour.”  Sept. “the intelligent just is his own friend; (but the sentences of the impious are contrary to equity.  Evils shall pursue sinners) but the way,” &c.  Grabe.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  Gain.  Heb. and Sept. “his prey,” (C.) or what “he took in hunting.”  Prot.  H.

 

Ver. 28.  Bye-way.  Of vice.  Heb. “and a way which leadeth to death,” or “its paths conduct to death.”  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 13

 

CHAPTER XIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Doctrine.  Or he gives proof of his good education, (C.) and excites even his father to advance in piety.  Ven. Bede. Sept. “is obedient to his father; but the disobedient son is in destruction.”  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Mouth.  In reward of his good speeches.  C. Sept. “of justice the good man eateth; but the souls of the lawless perish before the time.”  C. xii. 13.

 

Ver. 3.  Hath.  Heb. “who openeth his lips inconsiderately, is lost.  Judg. xi. 35.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Willeth not.  Heb. “hath not.”  He only desires riches, or to be converted, and will not labour.  C. xxi. 25.  Eccli. v. 8.

 

Ver. 5.  Confounded.  The detractor is like swine, stirring up dirt.  S. Chrys. 32. ad Pop. The liar is not believed, even when he speaks the truth.  Aristot.

 

Ver. 6.  Sinner.  Sym. “draweth on sin.”  Virtue is the best safeguard.

 

Ver. 7.  Riches.  Such was S. Paul.  2 Cor. vi. 10.  Some affect to be rich, while others are never satisfied.  Semper avarus eget.  Lazarus was very rich in God’s sight.

 

Ver. 8.  Reprehension.  Or is not able to defend himself, like the rich.  C. He is not exposed so much to great revolutions.  Bayn.

 

Ver. 9.  Out.  They are hated as well as their offspring.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Contentions.  As none will yield.  M. Heb. “only by pride cometh contention.”  Prot. “Pride is the mother of all sects.”  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 11.  Haste.  Heb. “by vanity,” and injustice.  Those who become rich on a sudden fall under suspicion, as a Roman objected to Sylla, who had inherited nothing.  Plut. By little.  Heb. “he that gathereth by labour, (Sept. piety) shall increase.”  Prot.  H.

 

Ver. 12.  Hope.  Sept. “(the just shews mercy and lends) better is he who begins heartily to assist, than he who promises and leads to hope.  For a bad (Grabe substitutes good) desire is a tree of life.” Soul.  Prot. “maketh the heart sick.”  H. The pain increases in proportion to our eager desire.  Calvin maintains, that the souls of the blessed are not yet in heaven, but hope: and of course he would establish a sort of purgatory for them.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Come.  To defend what he has asserted, or to pass for a liar.  Heb. “shall be destroyed by it.”  Mont.  H. Those who despise God’s order shall perish. Deceitful, &c.  This is not in Heb. nor in some of the Lat. edit.  C. Sept. “to the deceitful son nothing shall be good.  But the ways of the wise servant shall prosper, and his paths shall be made straight.”  C. xiv. 15.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  That.  Sept. “but the fool is slain in the snare.”  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Grace.  God assists those who strive to be well instructed.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Of the.  Heb. “a wicked ambassador.”  A king generally chooses people like himself.  M. Sept. have read melec.  “A rash king shall,” &c.

 

Ver. 18.  To him.  Heb. “destroy discipline,” so that the most wretched are often noted for immorality.  Sept. “instruction takes away poverty,” as “the whole earth supports the man that has a trade,” tecnion, according to the Greek proverb.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  That is.  Sept. “of the pious, but the works of the impious are far from knowledge.”  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Become.  Sept. “be known.”  A person’s disposition may be seen by the company which he frequents.

 

Ver. 22.  Heirs.  This was more observable under the old law: yet we often seem the distress to which the unjust are exposed.  De male quæsitis non gaudet tertius hæres.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Fathers.  Heirs often lose their property by their misconduct.  Heb. and (H.) Chal. read, “of the poor,” who till their land better than those who have too large farms.  M. Nature requires but little.  C. Sept. “the just shall spend many years in affluence: but the unjust are cut off at once.”  H.

 

Ver. 24.  Betimes.  God has always treated his friends in this manner, to preserve them from sin, or to increase their reward.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 14

 

CHAPTER XIV.

 

Ver. 1.  House.  Giving her children a proper education, and taking care of her house.  C. xii. 4. and Tit. ii. 5.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  And, is not in Heb. Is.  Heb. “but the perverse in his ways despiseth him;” (H.) shewing by his conduct that he cares not for the Lord.  C. Sept. “he shall be dishonoured, that,” &c.

 

Ver. 3.  Pride.  He chastiseth with haughtiness, and is ever quarrelling.

 

Ver. 4.  Empty.  As the land has not bee cultivated.  H. Strength, or number of oxen.  C. “The virtue of the preachers is manifested where there are many converted to produce fruit.”  S. Greg. vii. ep. viii.

 

Ver. 6.  Not.  Because they seek it ill, like the pagan sages.  Sept. “thou shalt seek wisdom among the wicked, and shalt not find it,” &c.

 

Ver. 7.  Prudence.  Thou wilt presently perceive his weakness.  Heb. “abandon a,” &c.  He is not capable of hearing reason: keep at a distance.

 

Ver. 8.  Way.  This science of the saints is the only true wisdom. Erreth.  They are inconstant.  Heb. “is deceit.”  They are bent on it.

 

Ver. 9.  Sin.  C. x. 23.  Heb. “excuse sin,” (C.) or “mock at sin,” (H.) committed by others.  M. Grace, or good-will.  They are agreeable to all.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Stranger.  Such cannot well comfort the afflicted.  A man is alone acquainted with the affections of his own heart.  Sept. “he mixeth not insult” (Sym.) “with strangers.”

 

Ver. 12.  Death.  How many, under the garb of piety, follow their passions!  How many are misled by their singularity, or by unskilful directors!  C. We must suspect our own judgment.  M. If any Turks, Jews, or heretics, lead a moral good life, it seemeth both to themselves and to other ignorant people that they are in the right way to salvation; but their error in faith leadeth them to eternal damnation.  W. The persecutors thought they did God a service by putting the apostles to death.  Will they be excused?  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Laughter.  Sept. “with his counsels,” enjoying the content of a good conscience, and a heavenly reward; while the wicked, with all his self-approbation, shall be punished.

 

Ver. 14.  Above him, Sept. “with content sorrow is not mixed.”  H. Joy.  Such is the condition of earthly things.  Pind. Pyth. viii.

 

Ver. 15.  Innocent.  Good and unsuspecting; (Jos. ix. 14. and 1 Cor. xiii. 7.) or rather credulous.  1 Jo. iv. 1.  C. Sept. “the man who is not bad.” Steps.  Sept. “repenteth.”  H. No, &c.  This occurs (C. xiii. 13.) in several copies: but here it is omitted in Heb. &c.

 

Ver. 17.  Folly.  Wrath betrays us into great extravagances. Hateful.  Heb. also, “hateth” folly.  Sept. “the prudent beareth much.”  Job v. 2.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Many.  “Riches make friends, poverty tries them.”  Syrus. False friends resemble swallows, which retire at the approach of winter.  Cic. ad Heren. iv.

 

Ver. 21.  He…mercy, is not found in Heb. Greek, or Lat. MSS.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Truth.  Those who are kind and faithful.  H.  C. iii. 3. Sept. add, (C.) as a second version, (Grabe) “the workers of evils understand not mercy and truth: but kind and faithful actions are with those who do good.”

 

Ver. 24.  Imprudence.  This they always betray, while the wise use their riches to assist their fellow-creatures, and receive a crown of glory.  H.

 

Ver. 28.  King.  Who formerly was styled “a shepherd,” to remind him of the care with which he ought to seek the welfare of his subjects.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Bones.  As a sound heart preserves the rest of the body, so a good intention often excuses from mortal sin, when the error is not gross.  But envy corrupts the works which seem good, and which cannot bear a strict examination.  S. Greg.  Mor. v. 34.  W. Envy ruins the health.  Menan. ap. Grot. Sept. “a too sensible heart is the,” &c.  This is beautiful; but not quite conformable to the Heb.

 

Ver. 31.  Him.  God takes the poor under his special protection, (Matt. xxv. 40.) and is the distributor of all riches.  What would the rich do without the poor?  C.

 

Ver. 33.  And.  Prot. “but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.”  H. A vessel full of gold makes no noise, while that which contains only a few pieces sounds much.  Munster.  Corn. a Lap. Thus the fool makes a parade of all that he knows.  C. Sept. “but in the heart of fools, it is not known.”  H. Aquila and Theodotion have the negation, (C.) as well as the Syr. and Arab.  See c. v. 16.  Kennicott.

 

Ver. 34.  Miserable.  This sentence ought to be engraven in all public places.  Heb. “and mercy the sinful people,” whom God spares on account of their alms-deeds, (Dan. iv. 24.) or “sin is the shame of peoples.”  C. Montanus renders chesed mercy, and Pagnin “ignominy.”  The former is scarcely intelligible, et misericordia populorum peccatum, unless sin be here taken for a sin-offering, (H.) as it is by Vatab. Grot. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 35.  Nothing.  Lit. “useless,” which often means bad.  H. A servant who does not discharge his duty is such.  Heb. “he that causeth to blush,” and has no economy.  C. Sept. “He removes shame by his good management.  Anger destroys the prudent; but a mild,” &c.  H.

 

 

PROVERBS 15

 

CHAPTER XV.

 

Ver. 1.  Fury.  This was seen in Nabal and Roboam, while Gideon and Abigail shewed the good effects of a mild answer.  Jud. viii. 1. and 1 K. x. 25. and 3 K. xii. 11.

 

Ver. 2.  Knowledge.  It requires to be proposed in a proper manner.

 

Ver. 4.  Life.  This comparison was become proverbial for something very excellent.  Immoderate.  Heb. “perverse.”  C. Evil discourse kills the souls both of those who speak, and of those who pay attention to it.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  In abundant, &c.  Is  omitted in Heb. Chal. and many Greek and Latin copies.  The same idea is expressed in the following verse.

 

Ver. 7.  Unlike.  The wise, or themselves.  Heb. and Sept. “inconstant.”

 

Ver. 8.  Wicked.  Still unconverted.  Eccli. xxxiv. 23.  When they repent, and offer sacrifice with sincerity, they will obtain mercy.  The Donatists abused this text, to prove that baptism conferred by wicked ministers was unavailing.  But S. Aug. shewed them, that Christ was the principal agent, and conferred grace, even though the minister might draw down judgments on his own head.  Con. Parm. ii. 6. Even pagans confessed, that sacrifices, without virtue, could afford no benefit.  “God was more pleased with the prayers of the Lacedemonians, than with all the sacrifices of the Greeks,” say the idolatrous priests in Plato, Alcib. ii.  Seneca de Ben. i. 5.

 

Ver. 10.  Instruction.  Heb. “a heavy punishment.”  H. The mind which gives way to vice, must have embraced some false doctrine.

 

Ver. 11.  Before.  Naked.  The state of the damned is known to God.  C. ix. 18.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Down.  Compunction is salutary, but worldly grief blameable.  C. xxv. 20. and 2 Cor. vii. 10.  S. Greg. past. ii. 10.

 

Ver. 15.  Feast.  Those who repine at their condition are miserable; while the poor may be delivered from many cares.  C.

O vitæ tuta facultas

                        Pauperis angustique laris.  Luc. Phar. v.

Under affliction every thing displeases; but all delights the cheerful temper.

 

Ver. 16.  Content.  Sept. “fear.”  Heb. “with trouble,” which is preferable.  1 Tim. vi. 6.

 

Ver. 17.  Calf.  Or feast after sacrifice.  1 K. xvii. 19.  Lu. xv. 23.

 

Ver. 19.  Thorns.  All seems to them impossible.  C. In agriculture, however, (H.) “in domestic affairs, negligence is attended with more labour than diligence.”  Colum. xii. 2.

 

Ver. 21.  Fool.  He thinks himself the most happy of mortals.  C. Sept. “the ways of the fools are senseless.”  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Counsel.  Heb. “secrecy.” Established.  We put in execution without fear, what has been resolved maturely.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Above.  Lit. “upon the learned.”  H. One path leads to the realms above.  C. The wise must be intent on God.  M.

 

Ver. 26.  Shall by, &c. is not added in Heb. &c. nor in several Latin MSS.

 

Ver. 27.  Troubleth.  With all sorts of temporal misfortunes.  A judge who receives bribes, is accursed.  Ex. xxiii. 8. By, &c. is not here in Heb. but c.. xvi. 6.  S. Cyprian (3 Test.) found it in his copy. Faith, or fidelity and truth, as it is elsewhere expressed.  C. iii. 3.  These virtues move God to pardon.

 

Ver. 28.  Studieth.  And speaks deliberately.  Sept. Rom. is more embarrassed in the rest of this, and the nine first verses of the following chapter, than the Complut. edition.

 

Ver. 30.  Fat.  And contributes to health.  By less noble motives, the mind is gradually raised to the more excellent.

 

Ver. 33.  Lesson.  Or “what teacheth.”  Humility, or docility, as those who acknowledge no master will never be wise.  Matt. xxiii. 12.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 16

 

CHAPTER XVI.

 

Ver. 1.  It is the part of man, &c.  That is, a man should prepare in his heart and soul what he is to say; but after all, it must be the Lord that must govern his tongue, to speak to the purpose.  Not that we can think any thing of good without God’s grace: but after that we have (with God’s grace) thought and prepared within our souls what we would speak; if God does not govern our tongue, we shall not succeed in what we speak.  Ch. He well put into our mouths what we have to say to persecutors.  Lu. xxi. 14.  He often causes us to utter the reverse of what we intended,, as Balaam did.  Num. xxiii.  M. The fairest prospects miscarry without God’s blessing.  The enemies of grace would infer from this text, that the beginning of salvation depends on free-will.  But S. Aug. (con. 2. epist. Pelag. ii. 8.) has solidly refuted them, and Solomon does not mean that man acts alone.  C. viii. 35.  Sept.  Jo. xv. 5. and 2 Cor. iii. 5.  “Man,” says S. Aug. “does no good things, which God does not cause him to perform.”  C. The Scripture cannot contradict itself.  A fresh grace is requisite to execute what God has enabled us to devise, v. 9.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Open.  Or approved.  M. Heb. “pure in his own eyes.”  He sees not his own defects.  C. xxi. 2.  Job xxviii. 23.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Open.  Heb. “roll on,” and refer all to God’s glory.  M.  Ps. xxxvi. 5.

 

Ver. 4.  Day.  His obduracy is of his own choice, and must serve to set the divine justice in the clearest light.  Eccli. xxxii. 14.  Ex. ix. 16.  Others hence infer that predestination is gratuitous, and reprobation in consequence of sin.  It seems rather that temporal goods and evils are here meant.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Hand.  And he seems to be very quiet.  C. xi. 21.  Sept. “but he who putteth his hand in hands unjustly, to make a contract, is,” &c. The, &c. is taken from the Rom. Sept. and occurs before.  C. xv. 27.

 

Ver. 6.  Mercy to the distressed.  C. iii. 3. and xiv. 22.

 

Ver. 7.  Peace.  Thus Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, &c. were admired by their former enemies.

 

Ver. 10.  Judgment.  Or “let it not err,” as people look upon the decisions of kings as so many oracles.  We ought to act in this manner, as long as they are not visibly unjust.  God gave a principal spirit (Ps. l. 14.) to Saul, David, Solomon, and to the judges whom he appointed, 1 K. x. 9.  Deut. xxxiv. 9.  Judg. iii. 10.  C. Solomon was thus enabled to decide difficult cases.  M.  Job xxix. 7.

 

Ver. 11.  Bag.  Many read sæculi, “of the world.”  So Ven. Bede, &c.  All God’s appointments are perfectly just.  C. xi. 21.  It was the custom for people to carry balances to weigh money, before it was coined.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Loved.  Yet none are more exposed to flattery and deceit than kings.  Senec. ep. xxi.

 

Ver. 15.  Life.  A mild government resembles a serene sky.  Sen.  Clem.  Job xxix. 23.

 

Ver. 16.  Get.  Sept. “the nests of wisdom…and the nests of prudence;” or Churches of Christ, or places of education, may be intended.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Fall.  Our first parents had given way to pride, before they sinned publicly.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xiv. 13.

 

Ver. 21.  Shall.  Heb. “adds learning,” both to himself and to others.  Those who are wise and eloquent, must be preferred before those who  have only the former qualification.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Heart.  Or knowledge.  H. Wisdom gives beauty to eloquence.

 

Ver. 26.  Mouth.  The want of food.  Eccle. vi. 7.

 

Ver. 27.  Diggeth.  Earnestly pursues. Fire.  Jam. iii. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Words.  Prot. “a whisperer separateth chief friends.”

 

Ver. 30.  Lips.  These motions indicate fury and pensiveness.

 

Ver. 31.  Justice.  To the just longevity is promised.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Valiant.  Sept. Alex. adds, “and a prudent man than a great farmer.”  Gewrgiou.  H. Cities.  To govern the passions is more difficult.  S. Greg. Past. iii. p. Adm. x.  S. Tho. ii. 2. q. 128. a. 6.

Latius regnes avidum domando

                        Spiritum, quam si Lybiam, &c.  Hor. ii. Od. 2.

 

Ver. 33.  Lord.  So the apostles had recourse to them, (Acts i. 26.) as the Cophts and Nestorians still do when there is a dispute about the election of a patriarch.  Renaudot iv. Perpet. i. 7. and 9. This mode may settle disputes.  C. xviii. 18.  But we must not have recourse to it, except where the Church permits, lest we become the dupes of an idle curiosity.  C. Nothing happens by chance.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. v. 9. Sept. “all things come into the breast of the unjust; but all just things proceed from the Lord.”  H.

 

 

PROVERBS 17

 

CHAPTER XVII.

 

Ver. 1.  Victims.  Of which part was used for a feast.  C. vii. 14.  C. Sept. add, “of many goods, and unjust victims.”  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Brethren.  Partaking with them, (Abenezra.  T.  M.) or rather acting as his master’s executor; which evinces the advantages of wisdom, so as to raise a slave above those whom his station requires him to serve.  Such was Joseph, who was tried.

 

Ver. 4.  Lips.  They mutually deceive one another, as well as others.

 

Ver. 6.  Fathers.  Whose virtues they are bound to imitate.

 

Ver. 7.  Eloquent.  Sept. “faithful.”  They cannot be expected from them.

 

Ver. 8.  Expecteth heavenly things.  Sept. “instruction is the reward of good deeds to those who use it.”

 

Ver. 9.  Friends.  Detractors cause dissensions, and even wars.

 

Ver. 10.  Fools.  “A word is enough for the wise.”  Nobilis equus umbra virgæ regitur, ignavus ne calcari quidem.  Q. Curt.

 

Ver. 11.  Angel.  Messenger of death, (M.) which is sometimes inflicted by good, at others by bad, angels of death, or satan.  2 Cor. xii. 7.  Ps. lxxvii. 49.

 

Ver. 12.  Fool.  Heb. “fool in his folly.”  The danger is not greater in meeting (C.) a female bear, though it be the most terrible.  Arist. Anim. ix. 1.

 

Ver. 14.  Water.  It is scarcely possible to prevent the bad effects of detraction.  Frequent quarrels have also risen on account of springs.  Gen. xxvi. 20. Judgment.  And gives up the cause, as being much more prudent.  Mat. v. 25. 40.

 

Ver. 15.  God.  We ought to suspend our judgment, or incline to the more favourable side.  Matt. vii. 1.  Rom. ii. 1.

 

Ver. 16.  He, &c. is not here in Heb. though it be equivalently (v. 19.) where the Sept. are silent.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Distress.  Like the real friend.  C. xviii. 24.

 

Ver. 18.  Hands.  Through joy, or as a mark of his consent.

 

Ver. 19.  Door.  Sixtus V. reads, “mouth:” as some explain the door to mean.  A large door supposes that the house is elevated, and thus exposed to danger from winds, &c.

 

Ver. 24.  Earth.  Wandering and insatiable, and deeming the acquisition of wisdom too difficult.

 

Ver. 26.  No good.  But very criminal.  See Jer. vii. 31.

 

Ver. 27.  Precious and reserved spirit.  This is a mark of wisdom.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 18

 

CHAPTER XVIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Reproach.  True friendship resembles charity, and bears all things.  1 Cor. xiii. 4.  Heb. now reads Thave, “desire;” instead of Thuane, occasion, or “pretext,” which must have been in the copies  of the Sept. and Vulg.  C. Prot. “through desire, a man having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.”  The solitary seeks heaven.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Heart.  Conformable to his passions.  C. Heb. “unless to lay open his heart.”  He wishes to appear wise, and to justify his wicked designs.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Contemneth both God and man.  Lu. xviii. 4.  Heb. “is contemned” in his turn.  C. He is like a man abandoned by the physician.  Op. Imp. in Matt. Hom. 40.

 

Ver. 4.  Man, who is just and wise.  His advice deserves attention.  C. xx. 5.

 

Ver. 6.  Quarrels.  Heb. “blows.”  Sept. “death;” (v. 7.) which are the usual consequences of quarrels.

 

Ver. 8.  Tongued.  Heb. “caluminator.”  He pretends to wish well to those of whom he speaks, or else to guard the company against deceit.  C. “If the devil be upon the detractor’s tongue, he is in the ears of those who pay attention to him.”  S. Fran. de Sales. Fear, &c. is in the Sept. above.  The Vulg. retains both this and the new version of S. Jerom.

 

Ver. 9.  Brother.  Like him, as both end in poverty.  C. x. 4. and xii. 11.

 

Ver. 10.  Name.  Essence, or protection of God.  The rich depends on his own wealth.

 

Ver. 13.  Heareth the end of the question.  C. i. 5.

 

Ver. 14.  Infirmity of the flesh.  Matt. xxvi. 41. That is.  Theodot. “is wounded, who shall support?”

 

Ver. 16.  Princes.  He easily finds access by showing submission.  C.

Placatur donis Jupiter ipse suis.  Ovid.

 

Ver. 17.  Him.  To see that he act with sincerity.

 

Ver. 18.  Lot.  C. xvi. 33.  Sept. “silence.”  C. But Grabe substitutes “lot.”  H.

 

Ver. 19.  Judgments of many are more deserving of credit.  Heb. “a brother offended, is like a strong place, and their quarrels,” &c.  The are not easily reconciled.  Civil wars are most terrible.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Satisfied.  Those who are guarded in their words get employment.  H.  C. xii. 14.

 

Ver. 21.  Love it, and speak well or ill, shall receive accordingly.  Matt. xii. 37.

 

Ver. 22.  Good wife.  Good is not in Heb. but should be understood, as it is expressed in Sept. of Complut. (C.) and Alex.  H. He that, &c. occurs not in Heb. Sixtus V. &c.  But it is found in Sept. and Arabic.  The Syriac omits the last sentence. Wicked.  S. Aug. had frequently asserted that a divorce was only of counsel: but this he retracted, when he reflected on this text.  Ret. i. 19. The Hebrews, Athenians, and Romans, followed the same practice with adulteresses.  Selden, Ux. iii. 16.  Dem. in Neæram, &c. Hermas (past. i. 4.) prescribes that the penitent shall be received again, but not often.  In cae of divorce, the fathers still permit not a second marriage, that the parties may be reconciled.  They enjoin the husband to put away only such as are incorrigible.  S. Aug. Adul. ii. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Brother.  The ties of nature are not so strong as those of friendship.  C. Heb. “a man that hath friends must shew himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”  Prot.  H. Ut ameris ama.  Mart.

 

 

PROVERBS 19

 

CHAPTER XIX.

 

Ver. 1.  Rich, is not in Heb. Sept. Compl. or S. Jerom.  C. But as there is not antithesis between a poor man and a fool, it ought to be inserted, as it is in the Syriac, which reads, “than he who is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.”  The MS. 2 confirms “ways.”  Kennicott.

 

Ver. 2.  Soul.  Wholesome and spiritual.  Heb. “the soul or life is not good.” Stumble.  “The more I make haste, the less I advance,” said Plato; (Rep. 7.) and Augustus often repeated; Sat cito, si sat benè.  Sueton.

 

Ver. 3.  Fretteth.  Lit. “burneth.”  Sept. “blameth.”  Heb. “his heart rageth against the Lord.”  H. Thus Adam tacitly laid the blame on him, as all those who excuse themselves on account of their temper, habits, stars, the violence of temptation, &c.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Only.  Heb. has lo, and the marg. lu, with the Vulg.  C. The former word intimates that the words have no solidity, and the latter that they shall be his only portion who is so foolish as to trust in them.  Sequens dicta non ispa; (Mont.) or ei ipsa, if we follow the margin.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Mind.  Heb. “heart,” intelligence.  C. xv. 32. Loveth.  This does not contradict the gospel; (Jo. xii. 25.) as those who refrain from what the soul would crave to its own detriment, truly love it.

 

Ver. 10.  Fool.  He would eat them, so as to prejudice his health. Princes.  C. xxx. 21.  Such are commonly insolent, and should attend to Ausonius.  Fortunam reverenter habe.

 

Ver. 11.  Wrongs.  The wise man is not vindictive or punctilious.

 

Ver. 12.  Anger.  Is not their dominion enough?  Having none to admonish them, they do not perceive their excesses.

 

Ver. 13.  Through.  It cannot be endured long.  C. Dos est uxoria lites.  Ovid. Art. 1. “Quarrels are a wife’s dowry.”

 

Ver. 14.  Properly.  Sept. “fitted by.”  H. Hence the Fathers dissuade marrying with infidels.  S. Amb. in Lu. xvi. All good comes from God.

 

Ver. 15.  Hunger.  Both temporal and eternal.  C. Non progredi, regredi est.  S. Bernard says, “Not to advance, is to go back.”

 

Ver. 16.  Neglecteth.  Heb. “contemneth.”  In the law of Moses, many transgressions are punished with death, but here that of the soul is meant.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Lendeth.  To receive interest, fœneratur.  H. Such usury is lawful, and God will abundantly reward acts of mercy.  C. He engages his word for the poor.  S. Aug. in Ps. xxxvi.

 

Ver. 18.  Killing.  Prot. “crying;” or by his complaint be not deterred.  H. Chal. agrees with us.  The law permitted parents to sell their children, and to have them stoned to death, if they declared them disobedient, (Deut. xxi. 18.  C.) and riotous, v. 20.  Timely chastisement may prevent such extremities.  H. S. Paul dissuades unnecessary severity.  Col. iii. 21.

 

Ver. 19.  Thing.  A child neglected will continue to steal, or to offend; (C.) while too much harshness will do no good, but tend to the damage of all parties.  H. Anger is productive of the worst effects.

 

Ver. 21.  Firm.  Ignorance and weakness cause men to change.

 

Ver. 22.  Merciful.  Heb. ii. 17.  Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco. Æn. 4. Heb. “the desire of a man is his mercy,” (Mont.  H.) or “shame,” (R. Levi) as it leads to sin.  Gen. vi. 5.  All wish to be esteemed merciful. Man of quality.  Heb. meish, “prœ viro.”  Mont. “Rich man.”  Sept.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Life.  Both temporal and eternal.  C. x. 27.  C. With evil.  Lit. “the worst,” pessima.  H. Sixtus V. “by the most wicked one.”  The devil shall have no power over him.

 

Ver. 24.  Arm-pit.  Or Heb. tsallachath, “in the pot,” out of which he eats; which shews his negligence. Mouth, to eat.  This hyperbole indicates that he is too lazy to take the necessary sustenance.  C. xxvi. 15.  C. Sept. “in his breast unjustly.  Neither will he bring them to his mouth.”  H. He will bestow nothing, and shall reap no benefit from his avarice.  S. Bern. He will not practise what he teaches.  S. Greg. Mor. xii. 10.

 

Ver. 25.  Wicked.  Heb. “scoffer.”  Chastisements have always some good effect either on the sufferer,  or on the spectators, who will be cautioned not to imitate what is wrong.

 

Ver. 26.  Infamous.  Heb. “a son of confusion and reproach;” a spendthrift.

 

Ver. 27.  Not.  Heb. seems to say the reverse.  C. But we may read it with an interrogation.  “Wilt thou cease?” &c.  Or the instruction here meant is of a dangerous nature.  Prot. “that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.”  Sept. “a son who neglects to keep the instruction of his father, shall muse on bad sayings.”  H.

 

Ver. 29.  Hammers, (Sym.) “punishments.”  Sept.  See Judg. v. 25.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 20

 

CHAPTER XX.

 

Ver. 1.  A luxurious thing.  Heb. “a scoffer.”  Chal. “renders one a scoffer.” Drunkenness.  Heb. ssocor, any strong drink, particularly palm-wine.  Intemperance places the strongest obstacles in the way of wisdom.  It causes a person to mock at all sacred things, and to be quarrelsome.  C. xxiii. 29.  Eph. v. 18.

 

Ver. 3.  Reproaches.  It is better not to commence a lawsuit, even when we are in the right.  C. xvii. 11.  C. Plena victoria est ad clamantem tacere.  Val. Max.

 

Ver. 5.  Out.  So David discovered the meaning of the Thecuite, 2 K. xiv. 18.  A wise politician carefully examines everything in a foreign court.

 

Ver. 6.  Faithful.  Few continue steady to their engagements or friends, whom they will assist to a certain point.  In God these two virtues always go together.  Ps. lxxxiv. 11.  But they are rarely found in men.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Look.  It is the duty of kings to administer justice.

 

Ver. 9.  Sin.  Prot. “my sin?”  We know not when it is remitted.  H. Without a special revelation, no one can be secure, 1 Jo. i. 8.  Eccle. ix. 1.  Bayn.  S. Aug. in Ps. cxlix.

 

Ver. 10.  Measures.  In commerce, (C.) as well as in judging.  S. Greg. in Ezec. iv.

 

Ver. 11.  Right.  We may form some judgment of his future conduct, from the inclinations which he manifests in his infancy.

Naturam expellas furca, tamen ipsa recurret,

                        Et mala perrumpet furtim fastidia victrix.  Hor.

 

Ver. 12.  Both.  Consequently he will know all our actions.  Ps. xciii. 9.  We must refer all to him, as he gives us the means of learning.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Sleep.  Sept. “back-biting, that thou mayst not be taken off.”  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Buyer.  This is the common practice; yet it is not without exceptions.  S. Aug. (Trin. xiii. 3.) observes, that the mountebank having promised to tell what every person had in his heart, many came to the theatre, when he told them that they all wished to by cheap, and to sell dear.  They all applauded the remark.  C. Sept. is here defective.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Strangers.  For whom he has bound himself foolishly.  C. vi. 1.  All who have the care of others, must answer for them.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Lying.  Deceit, and unlawful pleasures.  C. ix. 17.  But God mingles disgust with them, and will punish the guilty, at least hereafter.  Worldly enjoyments seem sweet, but they are full of gravel, and hurtful.

 

Ver. 18.  Governments.  Or prudence, else the best designs may prove abortive.

 

Ver. 19.  Lips.  And speaketh much.  These people are unworthy of our friendship.

 

Ver. 20.  Lamp.  Prosperity, or children.

 

Ver. 21.  Blessing.  It is morally impossible that they should have been acquired justly.  C. xiii. 11. and xxi. 5.

 

Ver. 22.  Evil.  And revenge myself.  This belongs to the Lord.  Deut. xxxii. 35.  Man would be too favourable to himself, and would also pronounce his own condemnation, as he is also a sinner.

 

Ver. 24.  Way?  Jer. x. 23.  Independently of God, who can do any good?  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Ones.  Heb. “the saint or holy thing.”  H. Chal. “to make a vow for the sanctuary, and afterwards repent;” having acted  inconsiderately at first.  To attack the persons or relics of the saints, or to plunder what is consecrated to pious uses, will bring on destruction; so also to make vows, and then seek to evade them, will not pass unpunished.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Wheel.  Or triumphal arch, fornicem.  Ven. Bede.  Jans. He will make his enemies lie prostrate under his chariot-wheels, 2 K. xii. 31.

 

Ver. 27.  Lamp.  The breath of life, (Gen. ii. 7.) and the light of man.  1 Cor. ii. 11.

 

Ver. 28.  Clemency.  Such a king need not fear rebellion.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Hairs, and experience.  They have a greater contempt of death and pleasures.  S. Amb. Hex. i. 8.

 

Ver. 30.  Evils.  The wicked shall derive benefit from correction. Belly.  They shall feel the remorse of conscience, as Chal. seems to indicate.  C. A serious illness often causes people to repent.  M.

 

 

PROVERBS 21

 

CHAPTER XXI.

 

Ver. 1.  It.  Though it be free, and may resist grace or embrace virtue.  Is. xlv. 22.  Jer. iii. 14. and vii. 3.  Jos. xxiv. 23.  C. Yet God knows how to turn the heart even of a king, so as to preserve his liberty, with the same ease as a gardener brings the streams of water to his plants.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Mercy.  Sept. “justice and truth.”  H.  See Os. vi. 6.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Heart.  Or when it is proud, it causes the eyes to appear so too.  C. Lamp.  Prot. “ploughing of the wicked is sin.”  When it is done with a bad motive, out of pride.  Heb. “the haughtiness of the eyes, and the enlarging of the heart, are the labour (“tillage.”  Mont. “thought.”  Pagn.) of the wicked; yea, sin.”  H. Those things are their employment, and their sin.  C. Sept. and Vulg. may also mean, “sin is the lamp and exultation of the wicked.”  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Sluggard.  Heb. “hasty man,” as the slothful is ironically styled.  He would see his desires accomplished without labouring; and will never stick to work.  This levity is most injurious to his advancement.

 

Ver. 6.  Death.  Their injustice shall be punished.

 

Ver. 8.  Strange.  Unknown, impure way.  Lev. x. 1.  Deut. xvii. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Top, (domatis) as the roofs in Palestine were flat.  S. Jer. ad Sun. Any inconvenience had better be endured, than to live with the quarrelsome.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Neighbour.  Sym. “he has no idea of friendship.”  Sept. “he shall not be treated with mercy by any man.”  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Knowledge.  These are the effects of chastisements and good company.

 

Ver. 12.  Evil.  He tries every expedient to save him. That.  Sept. “he despises.”  Sym. “throws down.”

 

Ver. 14.  Bosom.  In private.  C. They put all valuable things in the bosom.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  To do judgment.  Or to see it done, while the wicked depend only on the corruption of their judges.

 

Ver. 16.  Giants, in hell.  C. xv. 11.  Job xxvi. 5.  Ezec. xxii. 21.

 

Ver. 17.  Rich.  Economy is constantly recommended.  C. Those who squandered away their goods, were fined by the Areopagites.  Athen. iv. 19.

 

Ver. 18.  Righteous.  Many are deterred from wickedness by the punishment of malefactors, whose injuries are frequently irreparable.  God abandoned Pharao and Aman to save his people.  He treated them as victims of wrath.  Is. xliii. 3.

 

Ver. 20.  Treasure of provisions.  Temporal blessings were promised as a figure of more lasting ones, which are set before Christians.

 

Ver. 22.  Thereof.  Nothing can resist.  Matt. xii. 29.  Eccle. ix. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Mouth,  from eating too much.  Lyran.

 

Ver. 24.  Ignorant.  Heb. “a scoffer.”  Sept. “pestilent.”  H. Such a one is always actuated by pride, when he attempts to turn good advice and religion to ridicule.

 

Ver. 25.  At all.  Hence his desires of riches and wisdom prove fruitless.  C. xiii. 4.

 

Ver. 27.  Wickedness.  Heb. “with an evil thought.”  Mont.  Eccli. xxxiv. 24.  H.

 

Ver. 28.  Obedient.  Attentive, faithful witness, shall speak with triumph, or he who obeys the law, shall gain the victory over the devil, &c.  Phil. ii. 8.

 

Ver. 29.  Face.  Never blushing, or yielding to good advice.

 

Ver. 31.  Battle.  It was kept for no other purpose by the eastern nations, who used oxen to till the land; asses and camels to carry burdens.  Job xxxix. 18.  Ps. xix. 8. and xxxii. 17.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 22

 

CHAPTER XXII.

 

Ver. 1.  Good.  Heb. “a name,” or reputation.  H. It is preferable to riches, but not to be compared with virtue, which is the only solid good; and even to be placed above riches, it must be well grounded.  C. Favour with all.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Another.  They stand in need of one another.  S. Chrys. hom. xxxiv. in 1 Cor. They are equal in God’s sight, who only values real virtue.  He disposes of riches, so that the poor may one day become rich.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Fruit.  Lit. “the end of modesty, (H.) or moderation, which must accompany every virtue.

 

Ver. 5.  Perverse.  They are always in danger and in trouble.

 

Ver. 6.  It is a proverb, is added by S. Jerom, to make the sentence more striking. It.  He is like a tender plant, (C.) or wax, or a new vessel.

Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem

                        Testa diu.  Hor. ep. i. ad Lol.

“Shall wool regain its whiteness after it has been dyed purple?”  S. Jer. ad Lætam. Heb. “initiate a young,” &c.  Proportion your lessons to his capacity, and make him relish them.

 

Ver. 7.  Servant.  He might be sold, &c.  Ex. xxii. 3.  Matt. xviii. 25.  Gell. xx. 1.  Plato (Leg. viii.) would have nothing sold on credit.  These laws appear to be severe; but they are founded on wisdom, as nothing impoverishes more than the facility of borrowing.

 

Ver. 8.  Consumed.  Or beaten with the flail of God’s anger.

 

Ver. 9.  Is.  Heb. “has a good eye,” in opposition to the evil, or malicious one.  Matt. xx. 15. He, &c. is not in Heb. or in the Lat. edit. of Comp. and S. Jer.

 

Ver. 11.  He.  Sept. “the Lord loveth pious hearts.  All the irreproachable are acceptable to him.  The king feeds with lips,” by his just ordinances.  H. Kings hate duplicity; but require that the truth should be disclosed to them in a suitable manner.

 

Ver. 13.  Streets.  Vain excuses of sloth!

 

Ver. 14.  It.  Debauchery resembles hell.  C. xxiii. 23.  C. Facilis descensus Averni, &c.  Æn. vi.

 

Ver. 15.  Folly. Ignorance and innate corruption are corrected by a good education.

 

Ver. 17.  Incline.  Thus Solomon concludes his discourse, (c. xxiv. 23.) in the same manner as he began it, to chap. x.  Some commence the third book of Proverbs in this place; others, c. xxv.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Lips.  Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Ways.  Repeatedly.  Boss. T.  2 Cor. xii. 8.  Amos i. 11.  C. Prot. “have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge?”  “Shalishim,” perfect, (Pagn.) or “three things,” (Mont.) means also (H.) such as might suit princes and great officers.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Sent.  Sept. “are sent to thee.”  Thou mayst become a teacher, (H.) or give satisfaction to thy parents, who have sent thee to my school.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Gate.  Where judges passed sentence.  M.

 

Ver. 25.  Soul.  By imitating him, or by falling a victim to his rage.

 

Ver. 26.  Hands.  Engaging to stand bond.  H.  c. vi. 1. Such a one might be required to pay the debt.  C. xx. 16.

 

Ver. 28.  Set.  The pagans made a god of Terminus, to prevent disputes.  Ovid. Fast. ii. If it be unlawful to disturb land-marks, how much more so is it to give way to novelty in religion?  Deut. xix. 14.  C. Solomon is addressing those who follow the true faith.  Else the conduct of infidel ancestors should not deter any from embracing the truth.  H.

 

Ver. 29.  Obscure.  By industry he shall raise himself to notice.  H. Kings employ those who are most active.  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 23

 

CHAPTER XXIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Sit.  Saul sat at table, and the custom of lying down was adopted only a little while before the captivity.  It was recent among the Romans.  C. Soliti patres considere mensis.  Æn. vii. 170.

 

Ver. 2.  Throat.  Restrain  intemperance and talkativeness.  Eccli. xxxi. 12.  Sept. “stretch forth thy hand, knowing that thou must prepare the like; but if thou be more insatiable, (3.) desire not his meats, for he has them of deceitful life.”  They cannot afford real happiness, (H.) and to vie with the rich would only reduce them to poverty.  Eccli. xiii. 2.  S. Aug. (tr. xlvii. in Joan.) explains this text of the blessed Eucharist, observing, that we must give our life for our brethren, as Christ did for us.  Before communion, we must slay the old man, and subdue our passions. C. Power.  Prot. “if thou be a man given to appetite.”  The situation of a courtier is very critical.  H. Those who eat with the kings of Persia, were nicely observed by an eunuch, lest they should cast their eyes on any of his concubines.  Lucian. de Merced.

 

Ver. 3.  Deceit.  Poison.  He wishes to discover thy secret.

 

Ver. 4.  Prudence.  Be more solicitous for this, than to acquire riches.  C. Yet this wisdom must be sober.  Rom. xii. 3.  1 Tim. vi. 9.  Sept. “being poor, do not stretch forth thyself to the rich, but prudently retire.  v. 2.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Riches.  Sept. “to him, the rich man, he no where appears.  He has prepared,” &c.  H. Like. Heb. “as the eagle, it will fly,” &c.  H. We must therefore fix our hearts on more durable goods.

 

Ver. 6.  Man.  Heb. “eat not bread of an evil eye,” the envious, or rather the sordid miser.

 

Ver. 7.  Like.  Prot. “as he thinketh is his heart, so is he: eat,” &c.  H. He is still convinced that his guests will ruin him: or “like one guarding, or trembling for his soul.”  Sept. “swallowing a hair, he saith,” &c.  He is afraid of expense, and would allow himself as little as possible. Diviner.  Such endeavour to speak what may come to pass, but are full of anxiety; so the miser’s words are contrary to his real sentiments, (C.) as the diviner knows that he is imposing on mankind.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Words.  Thou wilt be disgusted, and repine.  Eccli. xxxi. 25.

 

Ver. 10.  Ones.  Heb. and Sept. “ancient boundaries.”

 

Ver. 11.  Kinsman.  Heb. Gaal, “tutor, defendant, or redeemer,” the Lord (H.) himself.  Lev. xxv. 25.

 

Ver. 16.  Reins.  Inmost affections.

 

Ver. 18.  Thou.  Prot. “surely there is an end.”  Marg. “reward.”  H. The testimony of a good conscience affords the greatest comfort in death.  Sept. “if thou observe these things, thou shalt  have posterity.”  Heb. “hopes.”

 

Ver. 20.  Eat.  Such feasts tend to corrupt the morals, and to misspend time.

 

Ver. 21.  Rags.  At death the insolent shall be exposed to shame.

 

Ver. 23.  Sell.  Acquire as much wisdom as possible, and keep it with care.  C. Sept. “do not drive wisdom from thee.”

 

Ver. 27.  Pit.  It is difficult to overcome this passion, when once it has got possession of the heart.  We must therefore watch over it, and consecrate it in variably to wisdom.  v. 26.

 

Ver. 28.  Him.  Prot. “increaseth the transgressors among men,” (H.) and like a harpy, kills all whom she can entrap.

 

Ver. 29.  Whose father.  S. Jerom has read ab avi, instead of abo, (C.) which is an interjection, (Boch.) alas! or it means, “trouble.”  Sept. “drunkenness,” (Chal.  C.) or “sorrow.”  Prot. Falls.  Sept. “hath sorrows.”  Heb. “babbling,” (Prot.  H.) or discontents of mind.  C. Cause.  Drunkards often fall upon their best friends, as Alexander did on Clytus.  M.

 

Ver. 31.  Yellow.  Or bright, as it is said there is only one red wine in Palestine. Pleasantly.  Heb. “it goeth right,” and is excellent.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Basilisk, (regulus).  Heb. Tsiphoni, (H.) as asp.  Cerastes, &c.  Ps. xc. 13.

 

Ver. 33.  Women.  Wine excites to lust.  C.  See c. xx. 1. Shall.  Sept. “shall these.”  H.

 

Ver. 34.  When.  Sept. “in a great wave.”  Never is reason more wanted, nor less able to perform her duty.

 

Ver. 35.  Drew.  Chal. “plundered.”  Sept. “mocked at me.” Again.  This is the woeful effect of drunkenness, that men are not deterred from it, though they be sensible of its dreadful consequences.  M.

 

 

PROVERBS 24

 

CHAPTER XXIV.

 

Ver. 1.  Like.  Be not allured by their prosperity to  imitate them.  Ps. xxxvi. 1.

 

Ver. 3.  Wisdom and virtue, and not by injustice can the  house be established.

 

Ver. 5.  Valiant, as well as a good economist.  v. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Counsels.  “Consult many what ought to be done, but only a few of the most faithful, or rather thyself alone, what thou art about to do.”  Veget. iii. 9. and 27.

 

Ver. 7.  High.  Thus the fool excuses himself.  But wisdom condescends to our weakness, if we be truly in earnest.  Deut. xxxii. 12.  Mouth.  To defend himself, or to give advice.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Of a fool.  In as much as he is wicked.  Though he may have some pious thoughts, he attends not to them.  H. He thinks how he may commit evil, and renders himself hateful.  C. Heb. “a wicked thought is the sin of folly.”  Sept. “the fool dieth in sins.” Detractor.  Heb. “scoffer.”  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Diminished.  This is the sad consequences of too much dejection.  Eph. iv. 19.  Despairing, they abandon themselves to impurities.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Deliver.  The Jews often put people to death without any formal trial, pretending zeal, as they did S. Stephen, &c.  Our Saviour rescued the adulteress from such a situation, as Daniel had done Susanna.  Yet this text may regard poor debtors.  Ps. lxxi. 4.  C. Christian bishops used all their influence to preserve the lives of those who did not deserve death.  S. Amb. in Ps. cxviii. Ser. viii.  Off. i. 36. and ep. xxv. and xxvi.

 

Ver. 12.  I have.  Heb. “behold, we know not this man.”  Pagn.  H. He is a stranger.  But all mankind are brethren, and have a charge to assist one another, even though they be enemies.  Eccli. xvii. 12.  Ex. xxiii. 4.  C. Keeper.  Heb. notser, “preserver.”  As thou hast received many good things from God, shew mercy to thy neighbour.

 

Ver. 13.  Honey.  Of wisdom, which is most delicious.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Thou shalt.  Heb. “yea, it is the last.”  Mont. “Then there shall be a reward.”  Prot. Thou shalt enjoy old age, or have posterity.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Fall into smaller sins, (S. Greg. vi. in 2 Reg. xv. &c.) or into disgrace, as yippol (H.) rather intimates.  Vat.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xi. 31. Both significations agree with the context.  See Job v. 27.  Matt. xviii. 21.  C. He who is not subject to mortal sin, may still be exposed to  many failings, and venial sins, which do not deprive him of the title of just; whereas the wicked consents to mortal sin, from which he riseth not so easily.  Hence the wise man admonishes us not to lie in wait, or calumniously seek impiety in the house or soul of the just.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  From.  To punish thee.  C. Thus will thy thirst of vengeance be disappointed.  H. The Hebrews believed that there was no evil, which was not caused by sin; and this was true in some sense.  But still God often afflicts his servants, (v. 16,) as the whole book of Job tends to prove.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Contend.  Or Heb. “associate.” Like.  v. 1.  Ps. xxxvi. 1.

 

Ver. 20.  Come.  Prot. “no reward,” (H.) prosperity, &c. as designated also by the lamp.  v. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Detractors.  Or those who speak ill of God or the king.  C. Prot. “that are given to change,” (H.) and relapses.

 

Ver. 23.  These.  Sept. have an addition, and then our C. xxx. to v. 15. after which follows the remainder of this chap. and then the ten first verses of the 31st.  H. Solomon here resumes the sententious style.  C. xxii. 17.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Lips.  And be deemed a friend.  M.

 

Ver. 27.  House, and support thy family.  Before building, great deliberation is requisite.  Lu. xiv. 28.  Those who attempt to instruct others, must first set good example.

 

Ver. 28.  Cause, and necessity.  Sept. “be not a false witness against thy fellow-citizen.”

 

Ver. 29.  Work.  Revenge is often reprobated, though the law allowed of retaliation, which the more virtuous did not insist upon.

 

Ver. 30.  Man.  Those who neglected their land were despised.  C. The ancient Romans esteemed agriculture as a most laudible and profitable employment.  Cato. Rust. i.  Cic. Off. i.

 

Ver. 32.  Which.  Sept. “at last I repented: I looked forward to receive instruction.”

 

Ver. 33.  Said I, is not in Heb.  C. vi. 10.  C. Sept. “I will slumber a while,” to rest.  Sept. “I will enfold my breast in my hands a little.”  H.

 

 

PROVERBS 25

 

CHAPTER XXV.

 

Ver. 1.  These.  Solomon wrote 3,000, and we have only 915 verses extant.  C. The rest perhaps shewed his genius, but were less useful.  Tostat. in 3 K. iv. 9. Men.  Isaias, Sobna, &c.  C. Out of other records, (M.) or “translated” into a language better understood.  Carthus.  Bayn.

 

Ver. 2.  Speech.  The Scriptures will denounce the truth to them, and shew them how to reign with justice.  We must adore the mysteries of God; but are allowed to examine the secret designs of princes.

 

Ver. 3.  Unsearchable.  Their counsellors must not betray their secrets.  Tob. xii. 7.  The greatest enterprises depend on secrecy.

 

Ver. 5.  Justice.  The wicked in a kingdom resemble rust on silver.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Glorious, or a boaster.  H. We must not seek the first places.  Lu. xiv. 10.

Vive sine invidiâ, mollesque inglorius annos

                        Exige; amicitias et tibi junge pares.  Ovid. Trist. iii. 4.

 

Ver. 8.  Not.  Sept. “repent when thy friend may reproach thee.”  H. Friend.  A word spoken in haste may expose him to ridicule.

 

Ver. 9.  Stranger.  It sometimes happens that friends fall out; but if either disclose the secret of the other, he will be deemed infamous.  C.  Jos. con. Ap. 2. S. Ambrose says of his brother Satyrus, “though we had all things in common, yet the secret of our friends was not so.”

 

Ver. 10.  Grace, &c. is no in Heb. Compl. S. Jerom, &c.  But it is in the Sept. “favour and friendship may give liberty; which keep thou for thyself, that thou mayst not be exposed to great shame.  But guard thy ways unchangeably.”  H. Avoid quarrels.

 

Ver. 11.  Time, (Symmachus) “on its wheels,” (Heb.) flowing smoothly, (C.) or “according to his two faces, is apples of gold in network of silver.  The Scriptures have a double sense.  The exterior one leads to that sense which is interior, and more excellent.  Maimonid.  Parkhurst, p. 366. Gold, oranges. Beds.  On such the kings of Parthia slept, and these metals were very common under Solomon, 3 K. x. 27.  Est. i. 6.  C. Mont. renders mascioth “transparent cases.”  Prot. “pictures of silver.”

 

Ver. 12.  Bright.  Heb. chali cathem, “an ornament of fine gold,” (Mont.  Prot.  H.) may probably denote a collar or ring.  The eastern nations wore rings fixed at the top of the ears, and under the nose.  Some were so large that they put their meat through them.  The Scripture often alludes to these customs, which are so different from ours.  Cant. vii. 1.

 

Ver. 13.  Harvest.  In June and July, when the heat was most intense, people of quality had snow from Libanus to mix with what they drank.  Jer. xviii. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Hardness.  Heb. and Sept. “bones.”  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Up.  We must moderate the sensual appetite, (M.) and even the study of wisdom, which is compared to honey.  C. xxiv. 13.  Rom. xii. 3.  Eccle. vii. 17.  C. We must not be too familiar, v. 17.  Ven. Bede.  Cajet.

 

Ver. 17.  Having.  Heb. “being tired of thee.”  No man is so perfect, but he will manifest some defect, and become importunate.  C.

Nulli te facias nimis sodalem.  Mart.

Ver. 20.  And.  Prot. “as he that taketh away a, &c. and as vinegar…to a heavy heart.”  H. The former sentence may be joined with the preceding, as it is improper to deprive a person of his garment, no less than to trust in the faithless; though some would suppose (C.) that this conduct, as well as the mixing of vinegar with nitre, is no less absurd than to attempt to relieve by music those who are extremely afflicted.  Eccli. xxii. 6.  T. But Solomon does not speak of such, but only of those who are “heavy;” and we know that  music has wonderful efficacy in relieving them, (1 K. xvi. 17.) in like manner as this mixture serves to cleanse the skin and garments, (Jer. ii. 22.  C.) and to purify the ears, when they are deafish.  Pliny xxxi. 10.  Vales. lx. As a, &c. is not in Heb.  S. Jer. &c.  C. The Chal. has the latter part, (H.) “grief tries the heart, as fire does silver.  As the worm eats wood, so folly,” &c.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Coals of charity; (S. Chrys. in Rom. xii. 20.) or, if he prove obstinate, his punishment will be the greater.  Geier. The former sense is more received.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Rain; (Sym.  Prot.) or marginal note, “bringeth forth rain.”  H. But S. Jerom, who live in the country, knew that this wind was rather dry; and therefore he has abandoned the Sept. raiseth the clouds.”  Job xxxvii. 9.  Joel ii. 20.  Eccli. xviii. 23.  The countries north of Palestine were not calculated to produce vapours and rain, which came rather from the south.  C. Tongue.  If the hearers would shew their displeasure, detractors would soon be reduced to silence.  S. Jer. ad. Rust.  S. Bern.

 

Ver. 24.  It is.  C. xxi. 9.  Sixtus V. does not insert this verse here.

 

Ver. 25.  Tidings.  Heb. and Sept.  The Vulg. seems rather to speak of a “good messenger.”  Homer said that a good messenger honoured the business most.  Pind.  Pyth. viii.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Falling into disgrace, or sin, occasions the wicked to exult, as if there were no God or religion.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Majesty, viz. of God.  For to search into that incomprehensible Majesty, and to pretend to sound the depths of the wisdom of God, is exposing our weak understanding to be blinded with an excess of light and glory, which hit cannot comprehend.  Ch. When the Church proposes to us any mystery, we have only to believe.  Heb. “but it is glorious to sound their glory,” and see where the wicked end, that we may not envy them.  C. iii. 31.  Ps. xxxvi. 7.  C. Prot. “so for men to search their own glory, is not glory,” but a sin.  H. “It is not good to eat too much honey,” (Chal.) or to sound the glorious words of God and wisdom, or the mysteries of religion.  Sept. “But it is right to reverence glorious speeches,” (C.) with esteem and humility.  Cat. Græc.

 

Ver. 28.  Speaking.  He lays himself open to every attack.  C. xxix. 11.

 

 

PROVERBS 26

 

CHAPTER XXVI.

 

Ver. 1.  Glory and power.  A fool in a high office will endanger himself and the public; (C.) while the virtuous, seeing that merit is not regarded, will not push themselves forward.  Æschines.

 

Ver. 2.  As a bird, &c.  The meaning is, that a curse uttered without cause shall do no harm to the person that is cursed, but will return upon him that curseth; as whithersoever a bird flies, it returns to its own nest.  Ch. Come.  Chal. “shall not come in vain,” if it be just, like that of Noe, Josue, &c.  Heb. “shall not come” (C.) to the person against whom it is uttered, though God will not hold the curser guiltless, as the Vulg. intimates.  H.  Curses, anathemas, &c. vented without reason, do not injure any but those who denounce them.  Yet out of respect for ecclesiastical authority, those who are under censures, must abstain from their functions till they be absolved.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Snaffle.  “Bit,” or muzzle, (camus) to prevent the animal from biting.  H. Sept. Arab. &c. “a goad for an ass.”  But metheg denotes a bridle. (Mont.  H.) asses being there very large, and commonly used for riding.  C. xiii. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Answer not a fool, &c.  Viz. so as to imitate him; but only so as to reprove his folly.  Ch. If thou answer at all, (v. 5.) do it to the purpose, and to prevent others from taking scandal, (C.) as well as to humble the wicked, for his good.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Iniquity.  He is exposed to shame, (Sept.) and must condemn his own folly.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Fair.  Heb. “unequal legs,” or “lifted up,” so, &c.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Mercury.  The god of travellers, who were wont to throw a stone at the foot of his statue, as the Indians (Vincent. Bellor. xxiv.) and Arabs did.  Mahomet would not disturb this superstitious custom.  The Rabbins style these statues Mercolis.  But Sept. &c. give another sense, “as he that bindeth a stone (C.) in the boss of a ring, sfendonh, (M.) or in a sling,” can do no good, but only endanger himself or others, “so,” &c.  Yet margema is never used elsewhere for a sling, and it means undoubtedly “a heap of stones,” (C.) as Mont. substitutes instead of “the sling,” in Pagn.  “As a small piece of precious stone in a heap of stones is lost, so,” &c.  Pole. Syn. Parkhurst in rogom.  H. Honour, or an office, in which he may do harm.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  If.  Heb. “as a thorn goeth up into the,” &c.  Prot.  H. If he attempt to handle or to extract one, he will wound himself the more, as the fool would render truth and wisdom contemptible.  C. Parable.  Sept. “but slavery in the hands of fools” groweth up.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Anger, and prevent lawsuits.  Heb. is variously read and translated.  C. Prot. “the great God, that formed all things, both rewardeth the fool and rewardeth the transgressors.”  Marg. “a great man giveth all, and he hireth the fool,” &c.  Sept. “all the flesh of fools is exposed to many storms, for their excess is punished.”  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Dog.  This is the only animal which is known to do so.  S. Peter uses this comparison to deter any from renouncing the faith; as the Fathers do, to shew the misery attending a relapse.  Sept. here add, “there is a confusion,” &c. taken from Eccli. iv. 25.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Fool.  The ignorant may be convinced that he wants instruction.  C. But “none are worse than the half-learned.”  Quintil. i. Jo. v. 21.

 

Ver. 14.  Bed, which he will scarcely leave, though avarice push him forward.  S. Aug. ser. xxii. or clxiv.

 

Ver. 16.  Seven, or many wise men, who used to speak in a sententious manner.  C. So seven is used, v. 25.

 

Ver. 17.  Anger.  Heb. “passeth by, and meddleth with a quarrel not ot him” pertaining.  H. Such expose themselves foolishly to danger.  Great discretion is requisite to reconcile those at variance.

 

Ver. 19.  Jest.  He will not escape, no more than the person who had committed murder involuntarily, if he were not in a city of refuge.  Num. xxxv. 22.

 

Ver. 20.  Faileth.  Heb. Sym. C. “aboundeth, the fire is bright, or flourisheth.”  Sept.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Dross.  Hence the proud will be detested, and appear contemptible.

 

Ver. 24.  Lips.  He will speak of what he hates much.

 

Ver. 26.  Deceitfully.  Heb. “in desolation.”  He will cringe, but when he finds an opportunity, he will discover his evil designs.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Him.  “Bad advice is worst to him who gives it.”  Varro. Rust. iii. 22.

 

 

PROVERBS 27

 

CHAPTER XXVII.

 

Ver. 2.  Lips.  All hate affectation and vanity.  Jo. v. 51.

 

Ver. 3.  Both.  He is insupportable to himself and to others.  Eccli. xxii. 17.

 

Ver. 4.  And who.  Sept. “but envy (zeal) beareth nothing.”  The more we yield to the envious, the more he is offended at our good behaviour.

 

Ver. 5.  Love.  Which can be of no service to us, while reproof may cause us to amend.

 

Ver. 6.  Enemy.  Joab slew Amasa, while he kissed him.  2 K. xx. 9.  Matt. xxvi. 48.  True friendship is not attentive to outward appearances.

 

Ver. 8.  Place, or vocation, like the prodigal son, Lu. xv.  The Israelites were much attached to their own country, where they might practise the true religion.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  And.  Sept. add, “wine and incense…but accidents tear the soul.”  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Affliction.  He will be less compassionate than a tried friend. Better, &c.  This daily experience evinces.  “Those who purchase land, should consider if there be plenty of water, and a neighbour.”  Pliny xviii. 5. The Persians honour most those who live nearest to them.  Herod. i. 134.

 

Ver. 11.  Thou.  Heb. Complut. and Sixtus V. “I may,” &c.  Sept. “and cast reproaches from thee.”

 

Ver. 14.  In the night.  Or “early in the morning,” de nocte, as the Heb. implies. Curseth.  His importunity will be equally displeasing.  H. Flattery is dangerous, (C.) and unworthy of a free man.  Cic. de Amic.

 

Ver. 16.  Hand.  As it will flow away, such as woman is commonly incorrigible.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Sharpeneth.  Or instructeth.  Fungar vice cotis.  Hor. Art.

 

Ver. 18.  Glorified.  He who serves his master well shall be promoted.

 

Ver. 19.  Are.  Heb. “to men.”  Our hearts have all something similar.  C. Sept. “as faces are not like each other, so neither are the hearts of men.”  They have all come peculiarity.  H. But this agrees not with the original.

 

Ver. 20.  Destruction.  Heb. abaddo, or abadon.  C. xv. 11.  Apoc. ix. 11.  People die, and are plunged in hell daily. Eyes.  Avarice and ambition.  Eccli. xiv. 9.

 

Ver. 21.  Praiseth.  If he be not puffed up, or if all agree in his praises, we may conclude that they are well founded. The, &c. is not in Heb. Comp. S. Jer. or Chal. and destroys the connection.

 

Ver. 22.  Mortar.  Such were used by those who could not afford handmills.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Flocks.  Jo. x. 3.  Eccli. vii. 24.  This may be applied to pastors.

 

Ver. 24.  Generation.  Thou wilt be cited as an example of prudence, if thou hast forseen the change of thy affairs, and provided for it.  In the east it was not unusual to see a general of an army reduced to the meanest condition, and economy is necessary for all.

 

Ver. 26.  Field.  If thou wishest to purchase, or to pay the workmen.

 

Ver. 27.  Milk.  We cannot but admire such frugality.  Sept. are rather different.  C. v. 25, “Be careful of the grass of thy field…that thou mayst have lambs for thy clothing.  Honour the field, that there may be lambs for thee.  27  Son, thou hast from me solid instructions for thy life, and for that of thy servants.”  H.

 

 

PROVERBS 28

 

CHAPTER XXVIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Pursueth.  “A crime is its own punishment.”  Senec. ep. 93.  Lev. xxvi. 36. Dread.  Of any thing terrestrial, as long as the object of his love is not attacked.  Rom. viii. 35.

 

Ver. 2.  Princes.  Who each contend for the sovereign power.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Poor.  It seldom happens that the unjust leave their riches to their children.  C. xiii. 22.  Job xxvii. 16.

 

Ver. 9.  His.  Sept. “he rendereth his prayer abominable.”

 

Ver. 13.  Mercy.  This is true repentance, which enjoins, “not only to bewail past sins, but also to amend.”  S. Amb. ii. Pen. v. Sacramental confession was not required of the Jews, but they confessed their sins, when they laid their hands on the victim, &c.  Lev. iv. and v.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Prudence.  Sept. “riches.”  Poverty is a great temptation to people in authority, more than avarice itself.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Innocent.  Unpunished, if he employ fraud, v. 22.  c. xiii. 21.

 

Ver. 21.  Forsaketh.  Heb. “oppresseth (Sept. selleth) a man.”  C. Neither small nor great bribes must be taken.  Justinian.

 

Ver. 22.  Poverty.  Sept. “the merciful shall have power over him.”  v. 8.  H.

 

Ver. 28.  Men.  Sept. “the just groan,” and all are under “apprehensions.”  C.

 

 

PROVERBS 29

 

CHAPTER XXIX.

 

Ver. 8.  Corrupt.  Heb. “scoffers,” who provoke both God and men.

 

Ver. 9.  Rest; or bring him to hear reason.  C. Sept. “a wise man shall rule nations; but the wicked being angry, is laughed at, and does not frighten.”

 

Ver. 10.  Soul.  they wish to protect the upright.  Ps. cxli.  5.

 

Ver. 13.  Enlightener.  Sept. “visitor,” with punishment, as they seem to speak of palliated usury, which cannot escape God.  See C. xxii. 2.

 

Ver. 18.  Prophecy, by the urim, or by the mouth of prophets, who were in great power and estimation.  3 K. i. 24. and xii. 23. and 2 Par. xxv. 6. and xxviii. 8.  C. Sept. “There shall be none to explain the law to the impious nation.”  H. When pastors are wanting, all goes to ruin.  1 Cor. xi. 4.  Ven. Bede.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Amendment.  S. Jerom (as Evag.) says, after Thucydides: “Ignorance produces confidence, and learning fear.”

 

Ver. 24.  Soul, and exposeth himself to death, though this was only inflicted for stealing a man.  Ex. xxi. 16.  The night-thief might also be killed in the fact.  Ex. xxii. 2.  But if the person who had stolen denied it on oath, he was put to death for perjury.  Lev. v. 1.

 

Ver. 25.  Fall.  Human respects will not long preserve him from sin.  C. Sept. have a double version: “Those who fear and are ashamed of men, shall be thrown down.  But he who confideth in the Lord, shall rejoice.  Impiety overturneth man, while he who trusteth in the Lord shall be saved.”  Grabe.  H.

 

 

PROVERBS 30

 

CHAPTER XXX.

 

Ver. 1.  Gatherer, &c. or, as it is in the Latin, Congregans, the son of Vomens.  The Latin interpreter has given us in this place the signification of the Hebrew names, instead of the names themselves, which are in the Hebrew, Agur, the son of Jakeh.  But whether this Agur be the same person as Solomon, as many think, or a different person, whose doctrine was adopted by Solomon, and inserted among his parables or proverbs, is uncertain.  Ch. Vomiter may denote David, who delivered many excellent canticles; Eructavit cor, Ps. xliv.  De Dieu translates, “The words of him who is recollected the son of obedience.”  The author styles himself foolish, and asks for neither beggary nor riches, (v. 2, 8.) which seems not to agree with Solomon; though there can be no doubt but this chapter is inspired.  C. In effect, that great king might form this petition, being mindful of the instability of human greatness, and confess that of himself he was foolish. Vision.  Heb. massa (H.) generally implies something disagreeable, but here it is put for a collection of moral sentences. With, &c.  Heb. also, “to Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,” (Prot.  H.) friends of Agur, (C.) or his children, (M.) or rather Solomon speaks to all the faithful.  We never find Agur mentioned as a canonical writer; and if he were, he would have been placed after Solomon.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  With me.  He speaks of what he could claim of his own, abstracting from the prophetic light.  C. In his humility, he supposeth that others are more perfect.  The wisest know best their own defects.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Descended.  How then could I acquire such a sublime science?  Deut. xxx. 11.  C. Christ alone could impart it, (Jo. iii. 13.  H.) who is the perfect wisdom.  W. Hands.  Sept. “breast.”  H. It is no less difficult to fathom the designs of Providence.  Some understand the “spirit” of prophecy to be here meant. Son.  Sept. “children.”  But many Greek copies, and all the interpreters, have Son, which the Fathers explain of the second person of the blessed Trinity, specified C. viii. 22.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Is fire-tried; that is, most pure, like gold purified by fire.  Ch.  Ps. xvii. 31.  Jer. xxiii. 29. It cannot deceive.

 

Ver. 6.  And not any thing contrary.  Deut. iv. 2. and xii. 32. Liar.  Our Saviour condemned the false explanations of the Pharisees, as his Church does those of all heretics.

 

Ver. 8.  Words, which are so opposite to thine.  v. 5. Riches.  The former often prompts men to deceive, the latter to grow proud and forget God.

 

Ver. 10.  Accuse.  Sept. “deliver not” to an idolater.  Deut. xxiii. 15.  Rabbins Servant.  Add not to his affliction.  W. We must suppose that the accusation is frivolous or false.  Lyran. A servant may do a person  much injury: but this ought not to deter the other from performing what justice and charity require.

 

Ver. 15.  The horse-leech: concupiscence, which hath two daughters that are never satisfied, viz. lust and avarice.  Ch.

 

Ver. 16.  Womb.  Sept. “the love of a woman,” (H.) a harlot, or rather Heb. “a barren woman.” Enough.  The more fuel, the brighter the flame.  These four similitudes  may denote cruelty, lust, avarice, and prodigality; (C.) or the first and last may be understood (H.) of envy and ambition.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Labour.  Sept. &c. “old age.”  Heb. “the obedience or admonition.”  Those who curse their parents, were sentenced to death.  Lev. xx. 6.

 

Ver. 19.  Youth.  Heb. “a virgin.”  The “conception of a  mighty man (the Messias.  H.) in a virgin,” is fitly compared to the flight of an eagle in the air, which leaves no trace behind, and is the most difficult to comprehend.  See Jer. xxxi. 22.  Univ. Hist. iii. p. 144, note.  Is. vii. 14.  Parkhurst in álm.  H. Some of the Jews have admitted this explanation.  A. Lap. Others understand that the marks of virginity are equivocal; (Bossuet, &c.) or, if we stick to the Vulg. and Sept. the difference betwixt a child and a young man is extremely great, and almost incomprehensible.  C. Young people who follow their carnal appetite, can no more give an account of their actions than of the course of an eagle, &c.  W. His wanderings are manifold.  The Heb. seems to  contain a prophecy of Christ’s conception.

 

Ver. 23.  Mistress, and is married to her master.  She will generally prove  insolent; like slaves on the throne, Regnabit sanguine multo ad regnum quisquis venit ab exilio.  Suet. Tib. 59.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Bands, like an army.  When one rises or falls, all do the like.  They are so numerous in the East, as to darken the sun and spread destruction.  Joel i. and ii.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  The stellio.  A kind of house lizard, marked with spots like stars, from whence it has its name.  Ch. Heb. semamith.  H. It probably provides food against the stormy season,  like ants.  Bochart.  C. Others understand “the spider,” (Kimchi) or “monkey.”  Vat. &c.

 

Ver. 30.  Meeteth.  If he retreat, he looks back with disdain, till the woods conceal the turpitude of his flight.  Pliny viii. 16.

 

Ver. 31.  Loins.  It rules, and is even terrible to lions.  Pliny x. 21. The terms of the original are found nowhere else, and some understand the horse, the bee, and a soldier in arms.  C. Whom.  Heb. “and Alkum with him.”  Mont. But we know no animal or king of this name;; and it may imply, “in the midst of his court,” or “assembly.”  Chal.  Some Latin copies read, Et Rex, nec est qui resistat ei, (Sixt. V.) which is more conformable to the Heb. (C.) and is here translated, though the Vulg. read, Nec est rex qui, &c.  These four emblems (H.) denote fortitude, chastity, order, and justice.

 

Ver. 32.  Mouth.  Fools ought not to govern.  W. Many might have been deemed wise, if they had continued in a lower station.  C. Heb. “If thou hast acted foolishly in raising thyself, and if thou hast entertained evil thoughts, put thy hand to thy mouth.”  H. Chal. “put not thy,” &c.  Give not way to pride, or to insolent language.  C.

 

Ver. 33.  And.  Heb. “For he who presseth milk.”  C. Prot. “Surely the churning of milk bringeth for butter,” &c.  H. Strife.  Moderation is necessary, (C.) in all actions.  W.

 

 

PROVERBS 31

 

CHAPTER XXXI.

 

Ver. 1.  Lamuel.  This name signifies, God with him; and is supposed to be one of the names of Solomon.  Ch. Grotius would explain it of Ezechias.  But why should we abandon the tradition of both Jews and Christians? Mother; Bethsabee, who it seems was inspired, unless she received these maxims from Nathan.  Solomon always speaks of her with the utmost respect, as a prudent mother may have the greatest influence over the tender minds of her children.  C. i. 8. and xxiii. 25.

 

Ver. 2.  Vows.  She seems unable to express her concern for him when he first mounted the throne, and shewed her the greatest reverence.  3 K. ii. 19.

 

Ver. 3.  Women.  This would destroy thy health, and tend to impoverish the kingdom. Kings, by injustice and ambition.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Give.  Sept. “Do all with counsel.  By advice drink wine.  Lords are inclined to anger; let them not drink wine.”  H. Solomon took this advice.  Eccle. ii. 3.

 

Ver. 5.  Poor.  Solon condemned to death, at Athens, the prince who should get drunk; and the Areopagites excluded from their assembly a judge who had dined in a tavern.  Laert. 1.  Athen. xiii. 2.

 

Ver. 6.  Drink.  Heb. shecar, particularly palm-wine. Are sad.  Heb. “perish,” being sentenced to die; (Mark xv. 23.  Amos ii. 8.) or, who grieve and mourn for one deceased.  On such occasions no food was prepared in the house, but the friends supplied what was necessary, and went to eat and drink with the afflicted.  Eccle. vii. 3.

 

Ver. 7.  More.  Not that intoxication is permitted even to them.

 

Ver. 8.  Pass through life, or the country.  C. Sept. “Open thy mouth and judge righteously.  Render justice to the poor and weak.”  H. Doctrine is best received by those who are more ready to hear than to speak.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Who.  The following verses are in alphabetical order.  They contain a grand eulogy of Bethsabee, who repented, or of a perfect matron.  C. Such are rare, though they may be found.  W. Valiant; industrious.  Price.  Formerly people bought their wives.  C. Is.  Heb. “is far above riches (Prot.  H.) or pearls.”  Lam. iv. 7.

 

Ver. 11.  Spoils, taken in war.  His wife will supply all necessaries.  v. 21.

 

Ver. 13.  Hands, with skill and industry, (C.) or “willingness.”  Heb.  M. Ladies of the highest quality formerly employed themselves in this manner, like Penelope.  Alexander, Augustus, and Charlemagne wore garments, which their sisters or wives had wrought.  Curt. 5.  Suet. 64.  Eginhard.

 

Ver. 14.  Bread; all that is used for meat and drink.  Sept. “riches.”  Grabe, “livelihood:” Bion.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Night, or early in the morning, as soon as the night was over; de nocte.  Heb. “while it is yet night.”  H. Extreme vigilance is required of those who direct others.  “The master must be first up, and last in bed.”  Cato v.

 

Ver. 16.  Considered.  This conduct is suggested by prudence.  C. Cato (Rust. 2.) says, “Do not go only once round the field,” &c.

 

Ver. 17.  Arm; working, and making others obey.

 

Ver. 18.  Night, during a great part of which she will work.

 

Ver. 19.  Strong things, “becoming” (Sept.) her station.  C. Spindle.  She purposes and begins well, trusting in God for perfection and a reward.  W.

 

Ver. 21.  Domestics.  Heb. “house is clothed in purple,” which may be understood of the domestics, though it seems more probably to refer to her husband and children.

 

Ver. 22.  Tapestry, for the beds and floor. Linens, or cotton; byssus.  Ex. xxv. 4.

 

Ver. 23.  Gates.  Chal. “provinces.”  The rich were chosen for judges.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  The Chanaanite, the merchant; for Chanaanite, in Hebrew, signifies a merchant.  Ch. The Phœnicians travelled into all countries.  Traffic was not then deemed a discredit, even to kings. Girdles were worn both by men and women, and were very costly, insomuch that (C.) the kings of Persia assigned cities to furnish their wives with them.  Athen. i. in Antylla. They who practise and teach the law may be said to buy and sell.  W.

 

Ver. 25.  Clothing: it is very beautiful, or wisdom and virtue surround her. Day.  She fears not death, (C.) or future distress of hunger, &c.  Jans.

 

Ver. 26.  Tongue.  She is ever bent on doing good.  H. Very different from many of her sex, who are taken up with vanity and complaints.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Idle, out of a sense of duty, and not though avarice.

 

Ver. 28.  Her.  They were best able to judge of her merit.

 

Ver. 30.  Lord.  Hitherto natural qualifications appear: but to these the Christian matron must add sincere piety: and thus Solomon completes the character of his mother, (C.) who had given him such excellent instructions, or of any accomplished woman.  Outward beauty soon (H.) decays; but the fear of God is more deserving of praise.  W.

 

Ver. 31.  Gates, before all the judges (H.) and people.  M. Good works shall be rewarded at God’s tribunal, (W.) when the vain worldly beauty shall be covered with confusion.  H. This idea of a perfect woman is best verified in the Catholic Church, (S. Aug.  Ven. Bede) though the blessed Virgin, &c. may also be designated.  W. The use of the alphabet herein denotes, that we must begin with a moral good life, if we would penetrate the greater mysteries of the Scriptures.  S. Jerom.  Lam.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES

 

ECCLESIASTES.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This Book is called Ecclesiastes, or the preacher, (in Hebrew, Coheleth) because in it Solomon, as an excellent preacher, setteth forth the vanity of the things of this world, to withdraw the hearts and affections of men from such empty toys.  Ch. Coheleth is a feminine noun, to indicate the elegance of the discourse.  It is very difficult to discriminate the objections of free-thinkers from the real sentiments of the author.  It is most generally supposed that Solomon wrote this after his repentance; but this is very uncertain.  S. Jerom (in C. xii. 12.) informs us that the collectors of the sacred books had some scruple about admitting this; and Luther speaks of it with great disrespect: (Coll. conviv.) but the Church has always maintained its authority.  See Conc. v. Act. 4.  Philast. 132.  C. It refutes the false notions of worldlings, concerning felicity; and shews that it consists in the service of God and fruition.  W.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 1

 

CHAPTER I.

 

Ver. 1.  Jerusalem.  This clearly designates Solomon.  See v. 12.  C. xii. 8.

 

Ver. 2.  Vanities.  Most vain and despicable, (C.) and frustrating the expectations of men.  M. S. Aug. reads vanitantium, and infers that this vanity of sublunary things is an effect of man’s sin.  Yet he afterwards discovered that he had read incorrectly.  Ret. i. 7.

 

Ver. 3.  Labour.  People fight for a mere point; for such is the earth compared with the universe.  Sen. q. Nat.  Hoc est punctum, &c.  Matt. xvi. 26.

 

Ver. 4.  Ever.  Its substance remains, though the form be changed.  C. At the end of time, it will be purified to continue for ever.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Place daily.  Its annual motion is then mentioned.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Spirit.  The sun, (S. Jer.) which is like the soul of the world, and which some have falsely asserted to be animated; or rather (C.) the wind is meant, as one rises in different parts of the world when another falls.  Pliny ii. 27.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Again.  The sea furnishes vapours, &c.  Homer (Il. f.) expresses himself in the same manner.

 

Ver. 8.  Hearing.  In all sciences there are many difficulties.  If a man had arrived at perfect knowledge, his researches would cease.

 

Ver. 10.  New.  Such vicissitudes have occurred before, though we must not infer that the world is eternal; or that there have been many others before this, as Origen would suppose.  Prin. iii. 5. &c.  C. Men’s souls, which are created daily, are nevertheless of the same sort as Adam’s was; and creatures proceed from others of the same species, which have been from the beginning.  S. Tho. p. 1. q. 73.  W. Natural and moral things continue much the same.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Things.  Otherwise we should read of similar events to those which we behold.  The same cause naturally produces the same effect.

 

Ver. 12.  Israel.  This was the case with none of Solomon’s descendants.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Vexation.  Heb. also, “food of wind;” (Sym.) or “choice of the spirit.”  Sept.  People are eager to become learned, and yet find no satisfaction.  H. All natural things are insufficient to procure felicity.  W.

O Curas hominum!  O quantum est in rebus inane!  Persius.

 

Ver. 15.  Perverse.  Habitual and obstinate sinners.  C. Fools, who follow the broad road.  H. Heb. and Sept. “the defect cannot be numbered.”  We know not to what a height the soul of man might have risen, if he had continued faithful.

 

Ver. 16.  Learned.  Solomon was blessed both with a natural genius, which he improved by study, and also he had the gift of supernatural wisdom.  Yet he declares that all is vanity and pain.

 

Ver. 17.  Errors.  Sept. “parables and science.”  But to discern the mistakes of men is a part of wisdom, (C.) and Grabe substitutes “wanderings,” instead of “parables,” after Theodot. as Heb. ealluth (H.) means “errors,” (C.) or “follies.”  Mont.

 

Ver. 18.  Labour.  He is bound to do more for heaven, as he is convinced of his own defects, and of the strict judgments of God.  Wisdom is not true happiness, but the means to obtain it.  W. The more a person knows, the more he is convinced of his own ignorance, (C.) and filled with grief, that wisdom should be so much concealed.  S. Jer. Those who are learned, feel indignant that their disciples should be so dull.  M.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 2

 

CHAPTER II.

 

Ver. 1.  Delights.  He speaks in the name of libertines, (S. Greg. Dial. iv. 4.) or after his conversion.  C. The worldling might object that since wisdom affords not content, it is best to try pleasure.  But this meets not with the approbation of the wise, as all terrestrial joy is short, and can yield no more than a passing consolation.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Why.  Heb. “What doth that?”  Sept. “Why dost thou so?”  Immoderate laughter is a sign of folly.  Eccli. xxi. 23.  C. “Even spiritual joy is a temptation.”  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 3.  Wine, and to lead a temperate life.  C. Prot. “to give myself unto  wine, (yet acquainting mine heart with wisdom) and to lay hold on folly,” &c.  H. I wished to indulge myself in pleasure, yet so as not to lose the reputation of wisdom.  C. v. 9.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Works; palaces, towns, and particularly the temple.  Many, like Solomon, will refrain from wine, and still yield to other excesses.

 

Ver. 5.  Orchards.  Heb. “paradises,” in which fruit-trees were planted.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Family of slaves, “born in my house,” (Prot.) distinct from those whom I got for money.  H. There were generally procured from foreign nations, as the Hebrews obtained their liberty on the sabbatic year. Sheep.  David had the like; but Solomon had also horses.  3 K. x. 21.

 

Ver. 8.  Silver, which became, in consequence, of little value. Singing.  At the court of Persia, people sung all night, and during the feasts.  Athen. xii. and 14. Cups and vessels; (Aq. and Sym.) or, “men and women to,” &c. (Sept.) or, “a field and fields;” (C.) or, Prot. “as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.”  Heb. shidda beshiddoth.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Wisdom, not that which was supernatural, and could not be found amid such delights.  v. 3.  Jam. iii. 17.  I knew that all this was vanity.  C.

Video meliora proboque,

                        Deteriora sequor.  Ovid.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Labour.  Heb. “and this was my portion of all my labour.”  I perceived that I could not thus obtain content.  C. “Thou (O God) hast made us for thyself, and our hearts are restless till they repose in thee.”  S. Aug. Conf. i. 1.  M. Aurelius makes the same confession as Solomon, respecting the insatiable nature of his own heart, and the emptiness of pleasure, &c.

 

Ver. 12.  What.  Heb. “For what man shall come after the king?”  Sept. “after counsel?”  Many other versions may be given of this obscure text.  Solomon stopt at  human wisdom, without consulting the divine; or he asks who shall have greater facility to acquire knowledge than himself, or equal his works?  C. Man’s wisdom compared with God’s is contemptible; though it be preferable to folly.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Darkness and ignorance.  He knows not whither he is going.  Prov. iv. 19. and xvii. 24.  Wisdom is to be preferred before wealth, &c.  C. Consideration directs a person to do good. Alike.  Thus worldlings speak, who reflect not on the life to come.  W. In many respects all resemble one another, though their sentence be very different.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Vanity.  This inference was false, (v. 16.) or my labouring for wisdom was to no purpose.  C. Sept. “I then spoke more in my heart, (for the fool speaks out of his abundance) since this also is vanity.”  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Unlearned.  He answers, (Jans.) or rather continues the objections.  Geier.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Life.  Heb. “I hated life,” as all is attended with anxiety.  Rom. vii. 24.

 

Ver. 19.  Solicitous.  We naturally desire to have our plans perfected.  Solomon had, perhaps, a presentiment of Roboam’s misconduct.  Eccli. xlvii. 27.

 

Ver. 20.  Off, in a sort of despair; suggested by worldly wisdom.  Religion alone can impart steady principles.  C. Prot. “I went about, to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun;” in the transactions of the world.  H.

 

Ver. 21.  Wisdom.  The writings of the wise are often perverted by perverse heretics.  S. Jer. Idle heirs dissipate the possessions, which had been accumulated with such industry.  C. Riches tend to encourage the profligacy of the heir.  M.

 

Ver. 24.  Drink, using with moderation the things which we have acquired, rather than to be solicitous for more, (W.) which may fall into the hands of an idle heir, who is appointed by God, v. 26.  This may also be the plea of libertines, (C.) who would use freely what he has given.  S. Aug. con. Jul. iv. 3.

 

Ver. 26.  Pleased God, though he  may not be his relation.  Prov. xxvi. 16.  Job xiii. 22.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  Heaven, in this world, where alone things change.  S. Jer. Nothing is here perpetual, but to be used in a proper manner.  W. The heart must not be attached to any thing created.  C. Pleasure had been condemned and approved.  C. 2.  He shews that all must have its time.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Stones, with a sling, or to render a field useless.  4 K. iii. 25.  Is. v. 2. Embraces.  Countenance was sometimes prescribed for married people.  Lev. xx. 18. and 1 Cor. vii.  S. Jer.   S. Aug. Ench. 78.  C. Hatred often succeeds love.  v. 8. and 2 K. xiii. 14.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Labour?  What advantage does he derive from any of these things?  C. i. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Consideration.  Lit. “dispute.”  Heb. and Sept. “heart.”  H. Pagn. “He has implanted the desire of immortality in their hearts.” End.  If we could discover the properties of each thing, we should be in raptures; (C.) but as we cannot, this increases our vexation.  M.

 

Ver. 12.  Well; virtuously: or, perhaps, as literally, to enjoy himself.  v. 13.  C. Thus thinks the man of pleasure.  Is. xxii. 31.  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 13.  God.  He gives peace and plenty; and still more, the grace to use these things, so as to obtain heaven.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Feared.  The order of the seasons, &c. teaches men to adore Providence.  S. Jer. He has arranged every thing, how mutable soever.  S. Aug. Conf. i. 6.

 

Ver. 15.  Past.  He causes plants to spring forth afresh.  Heb. Sept. &c. “But will God seek after the oppressed?”  Here commences another objection.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  And then.  Prot. “for there is a time there (v. 1.) for every purpose, and for every work.”  At the day of judgment all will receive their due.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Beasts.  Another doubt; or suggestion of infidels.  S. Greg. Dial. iv. 4.

 

Ver. 19.  Man  hath nothing more, &c. viz. as to the life of the body.  Ch.

 

Ver. 21.  Who  knoweth, &c. viz. experimentally; since no one in this life can see a spirit.  But as to the spirits of the beasts, which is merely animal, and becomes extinct by the death of the beast, who can tell the manner it acts so as to give life and motion, and by death to descend downward, that is, to be no more?  Ch. Few are able to prove that the soul of man is immortal rather that that of beasts, since the bodies of both are subject to the like inconveniences.  The objection is answered C. xii. 7.  C. The difficulty of answering is intimated by “Who?” &c.  Ps. xiv. 1.  M.

 

Ver. 22.  After him.  He knows not who shall be his heir, or how soon he may die.  None returns from the other world to inform him of what is there transacted.  Thus the libertine encourages himself.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 1.  Any.  God suffereth the innocent to be oppressed for a time, that they may merit a greater reward.  Ps. lxxii.

 

Ver. 3.  Born.  It is better to have no existence than to be in eternal misery.  Matt. xxvi. 24.  But the affliction of the just procureth glory for them.  W. The pagan sages observed, that it was “best for mortals not to be born; and if they were, to die very soon.”  Chalcid. and Theognis. But they considered only temporal inconveniences.  Religion has in view the danger of sin, and the desire of eternal happiness.  Rom. vii. 24.

 

Ver. 4.  Industries, or Heb. “righteous actions.”  If one be poor, he is in distress; if rich, he is exposed to envy; so that all is vanity.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Flesh, which he will not labour to sustain; (H.) or he repines at his own past misconduct, and at the affluence of others.

 

Ver. 6.  Mind.  These are the words of the slothful, (C.) or of truth.  H.  Prov. xvii. 1. The indolent will not observe moderation in the application of this sentence.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Things?  He acts as if he were to live for ever, or feared to be starved.

 

Ver. 9.  Therefore  is not in Heb. &c.  The miser had better have some society.  It is advantageous; though to refrain from its comforts, out of piety, is not blamed.  The solitary must be “an angel or a devil.”  C. Society.  Besides the advantages of friendship, this implies that a person must have Jesus Christ with him, that he may rise from sin and death by his assistance.  S. Jer.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Fall into sickness, poverty, or sin.  The saints have withdrawn people from the dangers of the world into monasteries, where they may fight together against the devil.

 

Ver. 12.  Cord.  True charity increaseth in strength as it does in number, (S. Jer.  W.) though friendship may not admit of more than two persons.  H. Some explain this triple cord of the blessed Trinity, or of the three monastic vows, the theological virtues, or the parts of penance, &c.

 

Ver. 13.  Foolish.  Great wisdom and prudence is required of kings; who, like others, are exposed to many vicissitudes.

 

Ver. 14.  Prison.  The exaltation of Joseph, Mardochai, and Daniel, was remarkable.  C. Si fortuna volet, fies de Rhetore Consul.  Juv. Sat. vii.

 

Ver. 15.  Second heir.  M. “They adore the rising (Papinius) more than the setting sun; (Plut. Pomp.) and a person is no sooner on the throne than his successor begins to be courted: (v. 16.) so inconstant are mortals!  C.

 

Ver. 16.  In him.  Many are perfectly unacquainted with the king, who finds so many admirers about his person, and even of these the greatest part begin to be presently disgusted, and wish for another change.

 

Ver. 17.  Keep.  Here many begin the fifth chap. as Solomon alters his style, and gives many important instructions.  C. For.  Heb. “rather than that fools should offer sacrifice, since they know not that they are doing wrong.”  Mont. Do not imitate hypocrites, (H.) who have the appearance of sanctity, while they despise God’s orders.  Jer. vii. 2.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 5

 

CHAPTER V.

 

Ver. 1.  Few.  As none can arrive at the perfect knowledge of God, they should be reserved in speaking of Him.  W. De Deo etiam vera loqui periculosum.  Cic. de Nat. In prayer, (C.) we must not pretend to give him any information, like the heathens.  Matt. vi. 7.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Folly.  Under anxiety a person is naturally disturbed with dreams, in which some true ideas may present themselves; in like manner, as a great talker will say some things respecting God, which may not be reprehensible, though the greatest part of his discourse will be nothing to the purpose.  This is another abuse.  All must speak of God and religion, though few are able to do it, with propriety!  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Pay it.  Deut. xxiii.  Vows must be fulfilled.  W. God requires that we should keep the commandments; (Lu. x. 28.) and if we engage ourselves to perform some work of supererogation, he expects that we should be faithful.  To vow is of counsel; but to comply with it is of precept.  An abuse too common among the Jews is here condemned.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Sin by making a vow, above thy strength, (Chal.  Pineda) or by speaking what may excite the passions.  Thaumat.; Bossuet Angel guardian assigned to each one, (W.) or the priest, who took cognizance of vows.  C. Providence, or “foresight” in me to avoid the evil.  Heb. and Sept. “it is an error,” (H.) or sin of ignorance, for which certain victims were specified.  Lev. v. 4.  The neglect of vows could not be thus expiated.  C. Use no allurements to lust.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Number.  Those who observe dreams, are filled with apprehension.  The Jews were very subject to this superstition.  C. As dreams are vain, so are many words or excuses to evade a vow.  Jun.  Grot. Such pretences must not be made.  S. Jer.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  These.  God will bring the wicked to judgment, (C.) and shew for what design he left them in power.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Him.  An appeal may be made to the king or to God.  Reges in ipsos imperium est Jovis.  Hor. iii. ode 1. Heb. “the king serves, (Mont.) or is served by the field.”  Prot.  H. All have a mutual dependence on each other, and thus the vanity of men and the order of Providence appear.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Money.  Avarice is like a dropsy, (C.) or poison, infecting all the person.  Sallust. The miser is the slave, and not the possessor, of his riches, (S. Chrys.) like Tantalus, who could not drink, though in the midst of waters.  Hor. i. Sat. 1. Nescis quo valeat nummus, quem præbeat usum.

 

Ver. 10.  Them.  He shews the vanity of the great.

 

Ver. 11.  Sleep.  Is not the health and content of the poor to be preferred?

 

Ver. 12.  Owner.  When they are taken away, they bring greater sorrow, (C.) and even when present, they fill the mind with anxiety.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Affliction.  Heb. “by an evil affair,” or accident.  C. Who.  Heb. “and there is nothing in his hand.”  H. As temporal riches prove detrimental to their owners, so do false philosophy and heresy to those who follow them.  S. Jer.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Labour.  All must die in this manner.  But it is most afflicting that he was formerly rich, and must leave his son indigent.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Sorrow.  The person whose riches have been taken away, had made a bad use of them, (C.) living like a miser.  It would be more rational to indulge in the pleasures which they afford, though this is also vain.  C. iii. 14.

 

Ver. 19.  Delight, while he observes due moderation.  His life passes away sweetly.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 6

 

CHAPTER VI.

 

Ver. 2.  Thereof.  “Di tibi divitias dederunt artemque fruendi.”  Hor. i. Ep. 4. The proper use of riches is rare.  C. Misery.  Riches do not make people happy.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Than he, since the latter has injured no one, nor experienced any evil in the world, (C.) by his own fault; (M.) whereas the miser has both hurt himself and others, and has neglected to make himself friends of the mammon of iniquity.

 

Ver. 4.  He.  The infant, though some explain it of the miser.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Mouth.  We are always providing food.  S. Jer. The rich are wholly bent on pleasure; or the poor cannot get a sufficiency.

 

Ver. 8.  Life.  The wise poor shall be blessed.  Heb. “the poor knowing how to walk before the living,” (H.) in society (C.) among the saints.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Know.  Enjoyment has the advantage over hope.  Heb. “better is the sight of the eyes than the going of the soul,” which denotes her desires.  C. Presumption.  Heb. “vexation.”  H.

 

Ver. 10.  He, &c.  This is plainly spoken of Christ, whose name was given before he was born; (S. Jer.  W.) or men resemble each other in all ages, (C. i. 9.  C.) being proud, fragile, &c.

 

Ver. 11.  Disputing.  Are we better acquainted with nature than former ages?  This is another subject of confusion.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 7

 

CHAPTER VII.

 

Ver. 1.  Above him.  We are intent on things which regard us not, while we neglect the important concerns of heaven.  Hebrew may be joined with the preceding.  C. Prot. (11.) “seeing there are many thing which increase vanity, what is man the better?  12.) for who knoweth?” &c.  H. Some strive to obtain riches or honours, which will prove fatal to them.  C. None can perfectly know the nature of things either present or future.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Name.  “It is necessary for the sake of others,” (S. Aug. de B. Vid. xxii.) particularly for those who have to direct souls.  S. Greg. in Ezec.  C. In this second part is shewn that felicity is procured by a good life.  W. Death.  Speaking of the just, for death is the beginning of sorrows to the wicked.  C. Some nations mourned on the birth-day of their children.  Val. Max. ii. 6.  Eurip in Ctes.

 

Ver. 3.  Come.  While at birth-day feasts (Gen. xl. 20.  Matt. xiv. 6.) people give themselves up to joy, and cherish the idea of living long.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Anger.  That is, correction, or just wrath and zeal against evil, (Ch.) is preferable to a misguided complaisance.  Prov. xxvii. 6.  C. Anger, when rightly used, helps us to correct our faults.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Mourning.  They submit willingly to correction, (S. Jer.) or think seriously on the dangers of sin and God’s judgments.

 

Ver. 6.  Wise man.  Much prudence is requisite to correct with fruit, and to persuade the sinner that he is under a mistake.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Laughter.  It is loud and soon over.  Eccli. xxi. 23.  Lu. xxvi. 5.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Oppression.  Lit. “calumny.”  The most perfect can  hardly bear it.  Heb. “oppression (or calumny of others.  C.) will make the wise insane, and a present will ruin the heart.”  Mont. Avarice blinds us.  H. Deut. xvi. 19. “a corrupt judge examines ill the truth.”

 

Ver. 9.  Speech.  Heb. “thing.”  The best projects often are seen to fail. Beginning, as the auditor is on longer kept in suspense. Presumptuous.  Rashness must not be confounded with courage.  C. Hasty and immoderate anger is hurtful.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Bosom, as in its proper place.  The wise may feel its impressions, but he immediately makes resistance.

 

Ver. 11.  Foolish.  Men endeavour to excuse themselves by the manners of the age.  But there have always been both good and evil.  C. i. 10.  C. Corruption was prevalent in former times as well as now.  M.

 

Ver. 12.  With.  Heb. also, “above, or much as riches.”  C. These are impediments in the hands of the reprobate, while they promote virtue in the good.”  S. Amb. Lu. viii. n. 85. The man who has only wisdom, cannot do as much good as those who are also rich.  C. The moderate use of riches helps the servants of God, while they do not set their hearts upon them.  W. The sun, to men on earth.

 

Ver. 13.  Them.  Money may procure necessaries for the body; (H.) but wisdom gives a long and happy life.  Prov. iv. 10.  Bar. iii. 28.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Despised.  God never neglects first.  Trid. Ses. vi. 11. He detests sin, and at last abandons the obstinate, though he never fails to offer sufficient graces.  A person who is of an unhealthy constitution, or involved in sin, cannot be cured by man alone.  Yet we must not cease to preach, &c. while we expect all from God, who gives the increase.  1 Cor. iii. 7.

 

Ver. 15.  Complaint.  Prosperity and adversity succeed each other, that we may be neither elated nor dejected too much.  S. Bern. ep. xxxvi. If we enjoy the advantages of nature, we must be thankful; if we feel pain, we must cheerfully submit to God’s will.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Vanity, during this miserable life. Wickedness.  This seemed more incongruous under the old law, when long life was promised to the just, (C.  Ps. lxxii. 3.  Ex. xx. 12.) though it chiefly regarded heaven.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  Over just, viz. By an excessive rigour in censuring the ways of God in bearing with the wicked. Ch. Give not way to scruples, (S. Bern.) nor to self-conceit.  Alcuin. Become.  Heb. “perish,” being oppressed with majesty.  Lorin.  T.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Overmuch.  No sin can be tolerated.  C. But as all offend in many things, (v. 21.  H.) they are encouraged to rise again with diligence and sorrow.

 

Ver. 19.  From him.  Who is otherwise withdrawn, &c.  Heb. “take hold of this, and not neglect that: for he who feareth God, will walk with all them.”  He will avoid all extremes both of virtue and vice.  C. Prot. and Mont. “he shall come forth of them all,” and advance towards heaven.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  City.  It has the advantage over more strength.  C. ix. 16.

 

Ver. 21.  Not.  1 Jo. i. 8.  Crates said it was “impossible to find one who falls not.”  Laert. vi.  H. We must not flatter ourselves with impeccability, v. 18.  C. See Seneca. Clem. i. 6.  Peccavimus omnes, &c. and de Ira. i. 28.  M.

 

Ver. 23.  Thy.  We must be satisfied with a good conscience, as we cannot control the thoughts and words of all.  S. Amb.  Of. i. 1.

 

Ver. 24.  Me.  This is a proof of having made great progress in wisdom, since the half-learned are the most presumptuous.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Much.  Prot. “the which is far off, and exceeding deep, who can find it out?”  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Reason.  Of all things.  In this natural wisdom consists.  Sept. “and number.”  He examined the pretensions of philosophy, which attempted thus to predict future events; but found that it was all deceit, like a harlot.  Olympiod. He explored the qualities of different things, as an arithmetician counts numbers.  M.

 

Ver. 27.  Her.  He speaks by experience, (S. Jer.) as none perhaps ever fell more terribly victims of impure love.  C. Though a plurality of wives was then permitted, Solomon did wrong in marrying strangers; and in suffering himself to be deluded by them, so as to erect temples to their respective idols.  H. All the attractions of women are replete with danger, and can only be overcome by God’s grace, and by flight.  1 Cor. iv. 8.  Prov. vii. 22. and xxii. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Man.  The superior part of the soul rarely thinks of good; but the sensual part always inclines to evil. W. Solomon found danger from all women, (S. Jer.) and there is none who may not prove fatal to those who are off their guard.  C. Yet some are doubtless innocent, like the bless Virgin.  H.

 

Ver. 30.  Right.  He fell by his own free-will.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xiv. 11.  W. The great corruption of the world is not, therefore, to be attributed to God.  Eph. iv. 23.  Our first parents were led by curiosity to examine whether the fruit was good, &c. (S. Cyr. Cat. ii.  Chal.  Boss.) or mankind, in general, make useless enquiries. And he.  Heb. and Sept. “they,” &c.  C. Of the word.  That is, of this obscure and difficult matter (Ch). if this sentence have any connection with the preceding.  It is placed at the head of the next chapter in Heb.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Most.  Sept. “he whose face is impudent, shall be hated.”  The truly wise and virtuous man is always polite and affable.  C. As we may form a probable conjecture of a person’s disposition from his countenance, so we may judge of man’s virtue by their actions.  They are right and meritorious when the intention is good, (W.) and the works themselves blameless.

 

Ver. 2.  I.  Prot. add, “counsel thee, to keep, &c.  “Obey the king and God.”  H.  1 Pet. ii. 17. Solomon proposes his own example, or speaks in the name of the just. God.  The law of Moses, confirmed with an oath, or the engagement to be faithful to the king.  2 K. v. 3. 1 Par. xxix. 24.

 

Ver. 3.  Face.  This courtiers observe, while many Christians neglect God. Work.  Defend not what has been said or done amiss.

 

Ver. 4.  So?  The eastern kings rule with absolute sway.  Prov. xvi. 14.

 

Ver. 5.  Answer.  Heb. “judgment.”  He knows when to reprove even kings with effect; like Nathan, Elias, or S. Ambrose.  2 K. xii. 1. and 3 K. xviii. 17.

 

Ver. 6.  Man.  Solomon often reminds him of his misery.  Sept. and Theod. “man is possessed of much knowledge,” as they read dahth for rahth.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Past.  Prot. and Sept. “that shall be.”  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Spirit from leaving the body, or the wind from blowing.  There is no quarter given by death; so the wicked cannot escape vengeance.

 

Ver. 9.  Hurt.  Those who are despised in elevated situations, might have been happy in obscurity.

 

Ver. 10.  Works.  In life and death hypocrites are mixed with the unjust; and this excites indignation.

 

Ver. 11.  Fear.  Thus they abuse the patience of God, and grow worse, because he is good.  His time will come.  Apoc. xvi. 15  Eccli. v. 4.  2 Pet. iii. 10.

 

Ver. 12.  Face.  If God shew such clemency to the wicked, will he disregard his servants?  Greek interpreters have read in a different meaning.  C. Sept. “the sinner has done evil from that time, and for a long while,” (T.) &c.  See S. Jer.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Let.  Or, Heb. “it shall not,” &c.  Prot.  H. Faith evinces that the wicked will be punished. But.  Heb. “like a shadow.”  Sept. “under the shade,” in prosperity.

 

Ver. 14.  Vain, or afflicting.  Hence some have denied Providence.  Jer. xii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  No good for a man, &c.  Some commentators think the wise man here speaks in the person of the libertine, representing the objections of these men against divine Providence, and the inferences they draw from thence, which he takes care afterwards to refute.  But it may also be said, that his meaning is to commend the moderate use of the goods of this world, preferably to the cares and solicitudes of worldlings, their attachment to vanity and curiosity, and presumptuously diving into the unsearchable ways of divine providence.  Ch.  C. ii. 24. and iii. 12.  Eccli. xv.  C. Felicity is not attached to temporal prosperity, nor are the afflicted always miserable.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Distraction of politicians, (Grot.) and of all human affairs.

 

Ver. 17.  Reason.  We know in general that God does all for his own glory, and for the welfare of his elect.  But we cannot account for his treatment of mankind in particular cases.  Rom. xi. 33.  S. Jer.   C. Say.  Sept. “speak what thing soever, that he may know he,” &c.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 9

 

CHAPTER IX.

 

Ver. 1.  Of God.  He seems to treat both alike, so that the just themselves cannot say whether their sufferings be a punishment or a trial.  S. Jer.  C. Knoweth not certainly, and in an ordinary manner.  W. Hatred.  Heb. and Sept. “yet love and hatred man  knoweth not.”  H. Prosperity or adversity proves nothing.  C. Mortals cannot tell whether their afflictions tend to their greater improvement, like Job’s, or they are in punishment of sin, like those of Pharao, and of the Egyptians.  This they shall know after death.  W. Yet the wicked know already that they are displeasing to God.  Salmeron in 2 Cor. xii.  “The just and…their works are in the hand of God, even love and hatred; men know not,” &c.  Dieu.  Amama.

 

Ver. 2.  But.  Heb. joins this with the preceding not,by all that is before them.  All things come alike to all, there is one event to,” &c.  Prot.  H. The pagans distinguished real goods and evils from those which were only apparent, like prosperity and adversity, which are determined only by the good or bad use.  S. Jer. Thus religion looks upon virtue and vice in the former light; and riches, poverty, &c. in the latter.  It may be difficult to decide, whether, under adversity, the just have supported themselves better by virtue, or the wicked by vanity.  God will manifest the truth.  C. Perjured.  Heb. and Sept. “swearer, so he that fears an oath.”  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Evil.  People hence take occasion to indulge in vice, (C. viii. 14.) though the conduct of God be irreproachable.  C. Shall.  Heb. “they go to the dead.”  H. Many think that these are the sentiments of the impious.

 

Ver. 4.  There.  Even those who have had the vanity to claim divine honours, never could persuade themselves that they would escape death.  But the just forms a different conclusion from the wicked.  He looks upon his life only as a preparation for the other, (Heb. xi. 13.  Eph. ii. 19.) while libertines make haste to enjoy the fleeting pleasure.  Is. xxii. 13.  To the former death seems desirable, (C. iv. 2. and vi. 3.) to the latter it is a subject of consternation; and he prefers the vilest creature living, to the most noble when dead.  C. Heb. “for whosoever is chosen (yebuchar.  Marg. yechubar, “is united”) to all the living, has hope; for a,” &c.  H. Moderns generally follow the marginal reading of the Masorets.  C. “For who shall live for ever?”  Sym.  “Who partakes with all the living?  There is hope.”  Sept.  H. During life alone the sinner may amend.  C. ii. 3.  The Gentiles are preferred before the Jews.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Know nothing more, viz. As to the transactions of this world, in which they have now no part, unless it be revealed to them; neither have they any knowledge or power now of doing any thing to secure their eternal state, (if they have not taken care of it in their lifetime) nor can they now procure themselves any good, as the living always may do, by the grace of God.  Ch.

 

Ver. 7.  God.  Be grateful to him, and make a good use of his benefits, (S. Jer. exp. 2.) or these are the words of libertines.  Boss.   S. Jer. 1. explicat.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  White.  As in times of joy, and among people of quality.  C. x. 17.  Prov. xxxi. 23. Head.  Our Saviour reproaches the Pharisees for neglecting this.  Lu. vii. 45.

 

Ver. 9.  Wife.  Some translate, “the woman,” or harlot; as if the wicked still spoke.

 

Ver. 10.  Earnestly.  Live in delights, or perform many good works.  C. ii. 5.  Our Lord seems to allude to this passage.  What thou dost, do quickly.  Jo. xiii. 27.

 

Ver. 11.  All.  Thus it appears to the inattentive, and to the wicked.  For Solomon frequently  inculcates that Providence directs all wisely.  Human industry is not always attended with success.  Deut. xxix. 19.  This is a fresh proof of the vanity of all things.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  With.  Heb. adds, “evil.” Net, (Mont.) or hook.  H. Them.  They may use precautions; but, without God’s aid, they will not succeed.  Ps. cxxvi. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  And the siege, &c.  Heb. has only “great bulwarks over or against it.”  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Afterward, is not in Heb.  The poor man was unnoticed before.  C. Vulg. insinuates that he met with no return of gratitude, which is but too common; (H.) and this shews the vanity of the world.

 

Ver. 16.  Heard?  Eccli. xiii. 28.  Men are so unjust as to despise wisdom, if it be in a poor man.  The prudence of an individual has often saved cities, as was the case at Abela, and Bethulia; (2 K. xx. 22.  C.) and Syracuse was defended a long time by Archimedes against the whole Roman army.  Plut. in Marcel.

 

Ver. 17.  Fools.  Though the wise often meet with contempt, it is only among fools, who form the majority.  C. Vain declaimers in the Church shew their own folly, as well as that of their hearers.  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 18.  Things.  A woman saved Abela; and Achan almost ruined Israel.  Want of prudence in a general is often fatal.  Virtues are connected, as well as vices.  C. For one transgression, many acts of virtue are lost.  S. Jer.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 10

 

CHAPTER X.

 

Ver. 1.  Ointment.  A fly cannot live in it.  Pliny xi. 19. Hence the smallest faults must be avoided, (C.) and superfluous cares, (S. Greg.) as well as the conversation of the wicked, (Thaumat.) particularly of heretics.  S. Aug. con. Fulg. 14. Detractors may be compared to flies: they seek corruption, &c.  A little leaven corrupteth the whole lump.  1 Cor. v. 6.  C. The wicked infect their companions, and vice destroys all former virtues.  W. Wisdom, or “a small…folly is more precious than wisdom,” &c. of the world.  1 Cor. i. 25. and iii. 18.  Dulce est desipere in loco.  Hor. iv. ode 12. Heb. “folly spoils things more precious than wisdom.”  A small fault is often attended with the worst consequences, (C. ix. 18.) as David and Roboam experienced.  2 K. xxiv. and 3 K. xii. 14.  C. Sept. “a little wisdom is to be honoured above the great glory of foolishness.”  Prot. “dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking flavour; so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Hand, to do well or ill.  Deut. i. 39.  Jon. iv. 11.  Chal.

 

Ver. 3.  Fools.  People judge others by themselves.  C. Thus Nero could not believe that any were chaste.  Suet.

 

Ver. 4.  Place.  If the devil tempt or persuade thee to sin, repent and humble thyself; or if thou hast offended the great, shew submission.

 

Ver. 5.  Prince, who seems to have been guilty of any indiscretion.

 

Ver. 6.  Rich.  Such were chosen magistrates.  Ex. xviii. 21.  Prov. xxviii. 16. and xxx. 21.

 

Ver. 8.  Him.  Those who disturb  the state or the Church, shall be in danger.

 

Ver. 9.  Stones.  Landmarks or walls.  Prov. xxii. 18. Them.  God will punish his injustice, in meddling with another’s property.

 

Ver. 10.  Made blunt.  After being repeatedly sharpened, (C.) it will be more difficult to cut with it, and will expose the person to hurt himself, v. 9.  H. Man, since original sin, is in a similar condition. Wisdom.  The wise perform great things even with bad tools.  Heb. “wisdom is the best directress.”  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Silence.  Prot. “without enchantment, and a babbler is no better.”  H. But he compares the detractor to a serpent, (C.) as he infuses the poison into all who pay attention to him.  S. Jer.  S. Bern.

 

Ver. 12.  Grace.  Pleasing and instructive.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Tell him.  How foolish, therefore, is it to speak about every thing!

 

Ver. 15.  City.  Being so stupid, that they know not, or will not take the pains to find what is most obvious.  C. Thus the pagan philosophers knew all but what they ought to have known; (S. Jer.) and many such wise worldlings never strive to discover the paths which lead to the city of eternal peace: like him who contemplated the stars, and fell into a ditch.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  When thy.  Heb. lit. “whose,” cujus, as v. 17.  H. S. Jerom give two senses to this passage, the literal and the mystical, according to his usual custom.  The dominion of young men and of luxurious judges is reproved, as well as innovations in matters of religion.  Is. iii. 4.  Those are blessed who have Christ for their head, descending from the patriarchs and saints, (over whom sin ruled not, and who of course were free) and from the blessed Virgin, who was “more free.”  They have the apostles for princes, who sought not the pleasures of this world, but will be rewarded, in due time, and eat without confusion.  T. 7.  W. Child.  Minorities often prove dangerous to the state, while regents cannot agree. Morning, as children eat at all times.  This may relate to the ruler who is a child in age, or in knowledge, though it seems rather to refer to his counsellors.  Is. v. 11.

 

Ver. 17.  Noble.  Royal extraction, (Esqlwn genesqai.  Eurip. Hec.) and education, afford many advantages which others, who raise themselves to the throne, do not enjoy.  Heb. “the son of those in white,” (C.) or “of heroes.”  Mont. Eurim, (H.) or Chorim seems to have give rise to the word Hero.  The advantages of birth only make the defects of degenerate children more observable.  C. Heroum filii noxæ.  “The sons of heroes are a nuisance,” (H.) was an ancient proverb. Season.  The time was not fixed; but it was deemed a mark of intemperance to eat before noon, when judges ought to have decided causes.  Dan. xiii. 7.  Acts ii. 15.

 

Ver. 18.  Through.  If we neglect our own, or other’s soul, (H.) in the administration of Church, (S. Jer.) or state, all will go to ruin.

 

Ver. 19.  Feast.  As if they were born for this purpose, (Phil. iii. 19.  C.) fruges consumere nati.  Hor. i. ep. 2. Money.

Scilicet uxorem cum dote fidemque et amicos,

                        Et genus, et formam regina pecunia donet.  Horace, i. ep. 6.)

Heb. “money answers all purposes,” (H.) to procure meat, drink, &c.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Said.  Pigeons are taught to carry letters in the east, and Solomon alludes to this custom, or he makes use of this hyperbole to shew, that kings will discover the most secret inclinations by means of spies.  We must not speak ill even of those who are worthy of blame.  v. 16.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 11

 

CHAPTER XI.

 

Ver. 1.  Waters.  Sow thy seed where it may produce a good crop.  C. Be charitable to all.  Lu. vi. 30.  Indiscrete faciendum bene.  S. Jer. Assist those in distress, (C.) even though they may be ungrateful, or unable to make a return.  Lu. xiv. 12.  T. In this third part we are exhorted to serve God with perseverance.  Of all virtues, the works of mercy avail most.  Matt. xxv.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Eight.  To as many as thou art able, (C.) especially to those who are of the household of faith, (Gal. vi. 10.  H.) whether under the old or the new Testament, signified by the numbers, seven and eight.  W.  S. Jer. Mandatum accipis octo illis partem dare, fortasse benedictionibus, (S. Amb. in Lu. vi. n. 49.) which intimates, that we must apply ourselves to the pursuit of al virtues, as the number eight denotes perfection.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  If the tree fall, &c.  The state of the soul is unchangeable, when once she comes to heaven or hell: and the soul that departs this life in the state of grace, shall never fall from grace; as on the other side, a soul that dies out of the state of grace, shall never come to it.  But this does not exclude a place of temporal punishment for such souls as die in the state of grace: yet not so as to be entirely pure; and therefore they shall be saved, indeed, yet so as by fire.  1 Cor. iii. 13. 14. 15.  Ch. After death, none can merit.  W. “He who shall not have cultivated his field, (the soul) shall after this life experience the fire of purgation, or eternal punishment.”  S. Aug. de Gen. con. Man. iii. 20.  H. The souls in purgatory have their names inscribed in heaven, like the ancient saints, who were detained in the bosom of Abraham.  C. They fall, therefore, to the south.  Let people dispense their alms to all, as the clouds rain upon the just and unjust, (H.) upon the cultivated and the barren land, and let them do it before death.  They know not how soon it may lay them low.  C. By looking at the branches of a tree, we may conclude which way it will fall; so we may form a judgment of our future state, by reflecting on our present dispositions.  “Our branches are our desires, by which we stretch ourselves to the south, if they be spiritual,” &c.  S. Bern. ser. xlix.  The liberal are not concerned where they bestow charity.  People will gather up the fruit both on the north and south, and they who have given alms will find them (Abenezra; Mercer.) laid up in the heavenly tabernacles.  H. This agrees with the sequel.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Reap.  Those who are too circumspect in their alms-deeds, will often pass over such as stand in need, (S. Jer.) and people who reflect on the difficulties of a virtuous life, will never begin.  S. Greg. iii. Past. xvi. and Mor. xxvii. 5.

 

Ver. 5.  Spirit.  In a man, or of the wind.  Why then wouldst thou judge of the merit of thy petitioner? or pretend to determine why God has made thee rich and him poor?

 

Ver. 6.  Better.  Be kind to all during life.  Gal. vi. 10.  C. Do good, both in youth and in old age, (W.) lest, if thou shouldst grow remiss, all would be lost.  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 8.  And the.  Heb. “for they are many.  What comes to pass is vanity.”  Mont. Nothing can more effectually repress the love of this world.  Eccli. vii. 40.  After Solomon has presented the objections of the wicked, he comes to this conclusion.

 

Ver. 9.  Eyes.  He speaks ironically, (C.) or exhorts to spiritual joy and moderation.  S. Greg. Mor. xxiv.

 

Ver. 10.  Anger.  All turbulent passions, and evil or carnal pleasures.  S. Jer.

 

 

ECCLESIASTES 12

 

CHAPTER XII.

 

Ver. 1.  Not.  Prevent old age, to procure a stock of virtues.  H. Solomon refutes the former sentiments of the wicked, which he had perhaps once entertained.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Before the sun, &c.  That is, before old age: the effects of which upon all the senses and faculties are described in the following verses, under a variety of figures.  Ch. All are exhorted to live well, before death come to deprive them of their senses and all helps: and to continue in expectation of judgment, the signs of which are given, as Matt. xxiv.  W.  S. Jer. Rain.  One misery succeeds another, the understanding is darkened, and the senses become dull.  C. The Jews explain v. 2. 7. of the future distress of their nation under captivity.  S. Jer.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  House.  The sides, (S. Jer.) or rather the arms.  C. Some understand prelates, or angels.  Thaumat. And the powers that are in heaven shall be moved.  Mar. xiii. 25.  H. Men.  The arms, (Chal.) or thighs, (Smith) or those who were formerly the most robust. Number.  The rest have been lost, and what remain are of little service for chewing meat.  C. Holes.  Spectacles, (Geier) as if they had been already in use.  C. Heb. “windows.”  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Doors.  The lips, (C.) feet, (Chal.) nostrils, (Vat.) or the trachea and pulmonary arteries. Bird.  The cock-crowing; or at the least sound their slumbers are broken. Deaf.  Heb. “be low.”  The ears cannot enjoy music, nor can the voice of the old people please.  2 K. xix. 25.

 

Ver. 5.  Way.  They shall walk bent down, and afraid of rough ground. Flourish.  Their head shall become white, like the almond-flower.  Jer. i. 11. Fat.  Sept. “heavy.” Destroyed.  The hair shall fall off.  C. Concupiscence shall be extinct.  Vat.  T. Eternity.  The body being consigned to the grave, and the soul to the region of spirits, to have no farther concern with the transactions of the world.  H.  Job vii. 9. Street.  This custom is often mentioned.  Herod. ii. 85.  Lu. vii. 32. The women dance, having one (C.) or two old people disfigured in the midst of them, to recount the actions of the deceased.  Brun.

 

Ver. 6.  Cord.  The nerves. Fillet.  Veins, or the spermatic vessels, (C.) and the soul.  S. Jer. Cistern.  When the bladder, &c. become disordered.  Num. xxiv. 7.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  It.  Man is composed of two distinct parts; the destination of which we ought never to forget.  Thus the objection of infidels (c. iii. 19.) is refuted.  Plato and some of the ancients had the same idea of the soul’s spiritual nature; though some took it to be an aerial body.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Ecclesiastes.  “The preacher.”  W. He returns to his first proposition, and having pushed the objection of free-thinkers as far as possible, shews us what we ought to believe and practise.  He establishes the distinction of soul and body, the advantage of instruction, (v. 11.) without meddling with things too high, (v. 12.) the obligation of fearing God, (v. 13.) and future retribution.  v. 14.  This is the sum of all sound morality.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Profitable.  Heb. “pleasing.”  Utile dulci.  H. Perhaps he condemns his attempt to know all things.  c. i. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  In.  The ground, (H.) to keep a tent in its proper place.  He seemed before to have placed the wise on the same level with fools.  C. vi. 8. 11. and vii. 1.  C. Shepherd.  God, or Solomon.  The Jews explain it of Moses, and his successors, who taught the people.

 

Ver. 12.  Not.  I have had experience of all. End.  They can teach nothing farther.  C.

Tenet insanabile multos

                        Scribendi cacoethes.  Juv. Sat. vii.

Impious productions abound, while those which promote piety are too scarce.  When the same truths are enforced, as those which the Scriptures contain, we cannot be accused of writing many books.  Orig.  Philoc. v.  S. Jer. Flesh.  It ruins the health.

 

Ver. 13.  All man.  The whole business and duty of man.  Ch. This is the sum of all profitable doctrine.  W. He who does not fear God, deserves not the title of man.  He is nothing but vanity.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Error.  Or hidden and secret things.  Ch. Heb. “with every secret thing,” (Prot.  H.) “every inadvertency.”  Sept.  Sym.  C.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES

SOLOMON’S CANTICLE OF CANTICLES.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This book is called the Canticle of Canticles, that is to say, the most excellent of all canticles: because it is full of high mysteries, relating to the happy union of Christ and his spouse; which is here begun by love; and is to be eternal in heaven.  The spouse of Christ is the Church: more especially as to the happiest part of it, viz. perfect souls, every one of which is his beloved; but above all others, the immaculate and ever blessed Virgin mother.  Ch. The bridegroom is Christ, as God and man.  His praises and those of his spouse are recorded by various speakers.  Solomon has given us three works; for beginners, the more advanced, and the perfect; as the philosophers teach ethics, physics, and metaphysics.  All the holy Scriptures contain spiritual food, but they are not all fit for every person.  Heb. v. 13.  With what humility ought we not, therefore, to read this most perfect and mystical canticle, as the sentiments of spiritual love are expressed in the same words as that of worldlings, and we are more inclined to follow our own judgment and carnal notions!  W. None, therefore, should dare to peruse this work, who has not mastered his passions, having his conversation in heaven.  H. The Jews would not allow any to read it before the age of thirty.  Orig. and S. Jer. Some of the fathers and commentators have even asserted that the mystical sense is the only one which pertains to this book, (Theod.  Durham.  T.) and it is certainly the true and principal one, though allusion may be made to the marriage of Solomon with Pharao’s daughter, (C.  Bossuet.  D.) or with a Tyrian princess, (c. iv. 8. and 3 K. xiii. 5.) or with Abisag.  Rabbins. Grotius shews the corruption of his own heart in his impure comments, as Theodorus, of Mopsuestra, is blamed by the second Council of Const. iv. a. 68.  The name of God never, indeed, occurs; as he is represented under the idea of the bridegroom, &c. and the piece is allegorical.  It might be divided into seven scenes, or nights, as the marriage feast lasted so long.  Gen. xxix. 22.  During this time the bridegroom saw his spouse seldom, and with great reserve, (C.) as was the custom with the Lacedemonians.  Plut. in Lyc. We might also refer all to six nights, or to the six ages of the Church, conformably to the system of De la Chetardie and Bishop Walmesley on the Apocalypse. I.  Age.  C. i. 2. marks the ascension of Christ, and the propagation of Christianity; v. 4. 5. persecutions; v. 6. 7. vocation of the Gentiles; v. 12. protection granted by Christ.  II.  C. ii. 3. peace under Constantine; v. 11. 17. troubles excited by Arius.  III.  C. iii. 1. irruption of barbarians; v. 4. does not overturn the Church; v. 6. they are converted; v. 11. and Christ is more glorified, as Apoc. xix.  IV.  C. iv. 5. the Latin and Greek Churches; v. 8. the Chaldees, lions, and Greeks, leopards, (Dan.) are converted; the Turks obtain dominion; v. 12. the Greek schismatics cut off: v. 16. the Church is persecuted, but protected.  V.  C. v. 2. Dew marks the cooling of charity, (S. Aug.) when Luther appeared; c. vi. 3. yet the Church triumphs, particularly after the Council of Trent.  VI.  C. vi. 9. after the sounding of the sixth trumpet, the Jews are converted, and adorn the Church, in spite of antichrist’s power; v. 11. she addresses the synagogue, v. 12.  C. viii. 2. obtains leave to go into the house of her mother, as the apostles were of Jewish extraction; v. 7. the constancy of the martyrs appears; (see Rondet.) v. 8-14. the Church pants for her speedy union with her beloved.  We may justly admire her authority, in preserving this and the former work of the canon, notwithstanding the internal and external evidence, and the ill use made of them by infidels, which seemed to militate against them.  The Prot. Chateillon styles this “a wicked book.”  Several passages may, no doubt, be abused by a corrupt heart: but what is there so holy, which may not be perverted?  When we meditate on this canticle, we ought to remember the admonition given by the Church in the Mass: “Let hearts be on high;” and Oh! that all might answer with truth: “We have them to the Lord!”

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 1

 

CHAPTER I.

 

Canticles.  Heb. shir hashirim asher Lishlomo, “the Canticle of Canticles which is for (H.) or according to Solomon,” (M.) dictated to him by the Holy Ghost.

 

Ver. 1.  Let.  Heb. yishakeni, (H.) “kiss or instruct me,” as if to insinuate the we must raise our thoughts from carnal to spiritual things. The.  Heb. “kisses.” His mouth.  Others I reject.  M. The synagogue prays for Christ’s coming, as the Church does for his glorious appearance.  W. The figures of the law and predictions afford not satisfaction; only the Messias can bring it to mankind.  Orig. They shall all be taught by God.  Jo. vi. 45.  Heb. i. 2.  H. Breasts.  Heb. also, “loves.”  But the former is the primary signification of (M.) dodec.  Christ, in his divine and human nature, is the source of all our good.  His graces are manifested.  He instructs and feeds us with the truths contained in Scripture, and in tradition, (H.) or in the Old and New Testament.  Ven. Bede, &c. Spiritual delights are to be preferred before all terrestrial ones.  From the incarnation of Christ, and sanctification of man, all other graces proceed.  T. At first the spouse speaks to the bridegroom in the third person, to show her respect, though he was certainly present.  Her companions attend her.  C. Wine.  All seem to agree that these words are addressed to the bridegroom: which shews that they must be understood in the mystical sense.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Ointments.  The bosom used to be perfumed.  Athen. xv. 5. and xv. 14. Thy name.  Thou thyself.  The preaching of the gospel produced a wonderful change in the world.  2 Cor. ii. 15.  C. The Church honours the name of Jesus on the second Sunday after the Epiphany.  A. Butler, p. 130.  H. Thee.  The martyrs and Christian virgins are inflamed with divine love.

 

Ver. 3-4.  To, &c. is in the Sept.; but not in Heb. or Complut.  C. Grace must draw, and then people will run.  Jo. vi. 44. and xii. 32.  Phil. iii. 12.  S. Amb.  Bossuet. Rooms.  Where there is abundance of wine and ointments.  The extraordinary favours of heaven are not granted to all.  Matt. xiii. 11.  C. Righteous.  The apostles, and faithful souls, (H.) and all who form a right judgment of things, (M.) having their thoughts, works, and actions composed.  T. Black.  Or brown.  v. 5.  H. The Egyptians were of a less fair complexion, and she had been exposed to the sun.  v. 5.  C. The synagogue gloried in her advantages; but the Gentiles being chosen by Christ, obtain the palm.  Theod. Though outwardly afflicted, the Church is inwardly fair.  W. Cedar. Or of the Arabs, who dwelt in tents, made of black goat’s hair.  C. The tents of the eastern kings were equal in magnificence to our palaces.  Bernier, Valle, &c.

 

Ver. 5.  Altered.  Heb. “looked upon me,” (Prot.) or “darted his rays at me.”  Mont.  H. The Church of the Gentiles was quite disfigured before Christ chose it.  Persecutors afterwards strove to tarnish its beauty, but in vain. Vineyard.  My face (C.) and person I have not regarded, while I was attentive to serve others.  H. Pastors, who are chosen against their will, sometimes pay so much attention to the welfare of their flock, that they neglect their own interior, and fall into small faults, which Christ will know how to excuse and pardon.  Ezec. xxxiii. 2.  S. Bern. ser. xxx.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Liest.  Heb. “makest thy flock to rest.”  Prot.  H. Mid-day.  She represents herself and her beloved as guarding flocks, which were usually driven into some shady place during the heat of the day, when the shepherds took their innocent recreations. Wander.  Sept.  Prot.  But  marginal note has, “as one that is veiled,” which was the mark of a common woman.  Gen. xxxviii. 14.  The Gentile Church is eager to be guided by the one true Shepherd, and adheres to him with the greatest fervour, (C.) during the heat of persecution.  Cassiod. We ought to imitate the solicitude of the spouse, and hide ourselves under the shadow of the cross when we are tempted.  Isai. xxv. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  If.  Christ comforts his Church.  W. He doubts not of her fidelity.  M. But the very insinuation, which she had made, causes him to give her this sort of rebuke.  God is jealous.  Ex. xxxiv. 14.  He punishes the smallest faults.  The spouse perceives this, and runs towards him. Thyself.  He who is ignorant of himself, must be so likewise of God, (C.) and will be sentenced to feed goats.  S. Jer. ep. xxii. ad Eustoc. Kids.  Which had been detained at home.  They will naturally seek their mothers.  All creatures will raise the soul to God.  Job xii. Shepherds.  Though in the midst of a perverse generation of idolaters and philosophers, the Church will continue steadfast.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Company.  Heb. “mare.”  Such were preferred, as more gentle and swift.  Pharao had probably made his son-in-law a present of a magnificent chariot.  Theocritus (xviii.) compares the beauty of Helena to a Thessalian horse in a chariot, so that this idea is not low.  Gen. xliv. 14.  Os. x. 11.  C. Horsemen.  Prot. “horses.”  H. Heb. susa.  Sept. h ippoV means also “cavalry,” as well as a mare.  The Church has nothing to fear.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  As, &c.  Heb. “with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.”  Prot. Sept. here read like the Vulg. c instead of b before thurim, which signifies chains, (v. 10.  H.) as well as turtles.  We cannot say that this bird has cheeks.  C. It is an emblem of the Church mourning, and ever true to her beloved, (Orig. &c.) who bestows a variety of graces on different people.  1 Cor. xii. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  While.  The Church meditates on his passion and resurrection.  W. Repose.  Or bed.  Thus our Saviour was treated.  Matt. xxvi. 7.  Lu. vii. 37.  C. Odour.  The virtues of the Church please him.  M. The saints, before and since his coming, pray with all earnestness.  Apoc. v. 8.

 

Ver. 12.  Abide.  Heb. adds, “all night.”  Christ remained nine months in the virgin’s womb.  C. The faithful discover him in both the Testaments, (H.) and meditate on his sufferings.  Myrrh is a bitter but odoriferous liquor.

 

Ver. 13.  Cyprus.  A shrub with leaves like the olive-tree, and fruit growing in clusters, of a very agreeable smell.  See Pliny, xii. 24.  Christ has given us his sacred blood on the cross, and in the blessed Eucharist.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Behold.  Christ praiseth his spouse.  W. Doves.  Sharp-sighted, and reddish.  Gen. xlix. 12.  The Holy Ghost came upon Christ in the form of a dove.  Matt. iii. 16.  We must imitate his simplicity, (Matt. x. 16.) and have a pure and single eye, or intention, (Matt. vi. 22.  C.) inviolably to please God.  Orig. The Church decides matters of controversy, without any mistakes.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Behold.  The spouse makes a return of praise, and thanksgiving for her repose, to Christ.  W. The corporal beauty of Solomon or of our Saviour is not fully ascertained; but their inward perfections are often proclaimed. Flourishing.  Heb. “green.”  Sept. “shaded.”  Est. i. 5. This bed was the womb of the blessed Virgin, the cross, or any faithful soul.  S. Bernard says it is a monastery, retired and adorned with all virtues.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Beams.  Prelates. Rafters.  Virtuous subjects.  M. Cypress.  The are both odoriferous and incorruptible.  The cypress has leaves from top to bottom, and grows not so large as the cedar.  Pliny, xii. 17.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 2

 

CHAPTER II.

 

Ver. 1.  I am.  The spouse compares herself to a lily, as she is the fairest flower on the bed, (C.) or Christ may here speak.  W.  Isa. xi. 1.  Orig. He praises himself first, that his spouse may hear her own eulogy.  M.

 

Ver. 2.  Thorns.  The bridegroom enhances the praise of his spouse.  The Church, surrounded by infidels and persecutors, maintains her beauty and station.  Heretics, &c. are no better than thorns.  Orig.   C. The Church excels all other societies.  In her communion the innocent are preferred before sinners, and among the former, the blessed Virgin surpasses all.

 

Ver. 3.  As.  The Church praises Christ, resting secure under his protection.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Cellar.  This was not under ground.  Homer (Od. b. 237.) places the wine near the nuptial bed.  C. In me.  Heb. “he brought me to the banquetting-house, and his banner over me was love.”  Prot.  H. He has shewn me the greatest tenderness.  Only the religion of Christ lays before us our duties to God, to ourselves, and neighbours.  C.  S. Tho. ii. 2. q. 26.  H. The holy Spirit came on the assembled disciples, who were deemed to be drunk, and Christ nourishes the pious soul with the wine of his own blood. M.

 

Ver. 5.  Flowers.  Heb. “bottles.” Languish.  Sept. “am wounded.”  H. Those who enter upon the paths of virtue, are often deprived of consolations.  C. They must support themselves by reflecting on the words and sufferings of Christ.  S. Amb. ps. cxviii. ser. 5.  Boss.

 

Ver. 6.  Hand.  After peace comes affliction: grace is followed by glory.  Prov. iii. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  I.  Christ permits not his Church to be persecuted, till she be able to bear it.  W. Roes.  Sept. “armies and power;” the angels and apostles, who have spread the gospel through the world.  It would seem that the Jewish women loved hunting, (C.) like those of Phœnicia and Lacedæmon.  Æneid. i.  They were going to sing, (C.) the morning epithalamium, (Theocrit. xviii.) after the first night of the marriage.  The second meeting takes place, v. 8. 17.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  The.  Feeling the protection of Christ, the Church preacheth boldly the truth against pagans and heretics.  W. She knows the voice of the shepherd, (Jo. viii. 47. and x. 2.) and keeps at a distance the wolves in sheep’s clothing, or pretended reformers, who would scatter the flock. Hills.  She sees him returning in the evening with the utmost speed of a stag, as the Heb. implies.  C. ii. 9. and viii. 14.

 

Ver. 9.  Hart, (Prov. v. 18.) which is swifter that the dogs.  Xenoph. Cuneg. This animal is said to destroy serpents, as Christ did the power of the devil.  Theod. Wall.  Under the old law, Christ was only seen in figure.  He manifested himself in the new.  Yet our sins separate him from us.  Is. lix. 2.  He is concealed in the sacred mysteries, (C.) and his humanity keeps from our sight the glory of his divinity, which alone can impart full content.  S. Amb.  S. Bern. He shewed a glimpse of it at his transfiguration, and by his miracles.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Arise.  He sings under the window, to v. 16. My dove, is taken from the Sept.  C. Christ invites his spouse to approach, though he shews not himself as yet; and orders his pastors to root out heresies.  v. 25.  W. She is ever faithful, and rejoices in him.  2 Cor. xi. 2.  Matt. ix. 15.  Eph. v. 26.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Winter.  The rigour and darkness of the old law give place to that of light and love.  Orig. After persecution had ceased, pruning became more necessary.  C. The Israelites and the world were redeemed in spring, and the ceremonies of the law were abolished at the same season.  M.

 

Ver. 12.  Pruning.  Prot. “singing of birds.”  H. But the former version is better.  Sept. Sym. &c. Turtle.  Which returns in spring.  Is. viii. 9.  C. It denotes the preaching of the gospel, (S. Cyr. ador. 15.) or rather the sighs of a holy soul in exile.

 

Ver. 14.  Rock.  Wild pigeons retire thither.  Varro, iii. 7.  Koilhn eiseptato petrhn.  Il. 20. Ser. xlviii. 28.  C. Holy souls seek protection in the wounds of their Saviour.  S. Greg.  S. Bern. ser. lxi. Wall.  In the holy Scriptures, which defend the Church.  She is brought to light for the edification of all.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Foxes.  They hurt vines, (Theoc. 5.) and denote false prophets.  Ezec. xiii. 4.  S. Aug.  Ps. lxxx. For.  Heb. “and our vines of Semadar.”  v. 13.  C. Foxes breed in spring, and greatly infested the country.  Judg. xv. 4.

 

Ver. 16.  Feedeth.  “His flock.”  Sept.  He still retains the fragrancy of lilies.  As married people are two in one flesh, (Eph. v. 31.) Christ and his Church are irrevocably united.  C. She reposes in him.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Break.  Or “yield a refreshing air,” (aspiret) in the morning, (H.) and evening, when she begs he will return, (Theod.) as she could not enjoy his company in the day-time.  C. i. 1. and iv. 6. Bether.  Or the lower Bethoron, near Jerusalem.  These short visits in the night, shew the vicissitudes of comfort and dryness in the most perfect.  Those who are still addicted to their passions, and to the world, can have no pretensions to such favours, which amply repay any passing desolation.  S. Bern. ser. lxxiv.  C.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  Bed.  The Church, finding Christ by his own revelation, and not by philosophy, holds him fast.  W. He had delayed coming at the usual hour, to give us to understand, that he is not found amid delights, nor in a crowd, but that we must seek him diligently, like Magdalene.  Jo. xx.  S. Amb. de Isaac. The apostles endeavoured to convert the synagogue, but their offers were rejected, and the guards, or princes, persecuted them.  M.  C. v. 7.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  City.  To prevent fires, &c.  God will require the souls of the flock at the hands of his pastors.

 

Ver. 4.  Me.  She was perhaps dead.  Women had separate apartments, to which none but the husband could have access.  Gen. xxiv. 28.  At the end of the marriage-feast, the bride was conducted to her husband’s house.  Matt. xxv. 1.  C. The Jews shall in the end acknowledge Christ, (W.) as the Church desires.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  I.  The bridegroom (C.) speaks as c. ii. 7. (W.) and c. viii. 4.  He retires early.

 

Ver. 6.  Who.  The female companions of the spouse, (C.) or the bridegroom’s friends, (M.) admire her at a distance.  C. vi. 9. and viii. 5.  C. The converted Gentiles change the desert of the world into a paradise, by their good works, which ascend like a perfume.  S. Greg.  They admire their own conversion, and proclaim that we must fight for heaven, (W.) and adore Christ, the God-man; imitating all his virtues, (H.) and preaching his gospel.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Bed.  Being stationed at the door to prevent any alarm, v. 8.  C. In the Church Christ finds his repose, and daily produces the only heirs of heaven.  Ven. Bede. The angels, saints and pastors watch to defend it against the spirits of darkness.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Litter.  Sept. to conduct his spouse with solemnity; or a throne; though it most probably denotes the bridal bed.  C. Heb. apiron.  Greek, foreion.

 

Ver. 10.  Going.  Prot. “covering of it of purple.”  H. Death must be endured, if necessary, for the sake of the faith, as this is the highest degree of charity.  W. He, &c.  Heb. “is prepared for the beloved above the,” &c.  See Od. v. 660.  C. Prot. and Pagn. “the midst thereof being paved (Mont. set on fire) with love for (Mont. by) the daughters.”  H. The most desirable things adorn the litter, or the Church, that all may come to her, who has God to guide her decisions.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Go.  All are invited to come to Christ, who, in his sacred humanity, which he took of his mother, was crowned in heaven, after his passion.  W.  S. Greg.  Alcuin. The synagogue crowned him with thorns, and gave him the hard bed of the cross.  S. Bern. S. Anselm, &c. Bethsabee  might live to see the marriage of her son, who owed the crown to her.  3 K. i. 18.  Prov. iv. 3.  Both the parties were crowned, (Is. lxi. 10.) and no doubt Solomon would display his usual magnificence.  The diadem was a bandage, adorned with embroidery, and precious stones.  C.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 1.  How.  Christ again praises the beauty of his Church.  W. The dialogue takes place in the country.  H. From corporal beauty, which is often dangerous, and the portion of the most dissolute, we must raise our minds to spiritual advantages, which the Holy Ghost has here in view. Within.  S. Amb. “besides thy taciturnity.”  Sept. “silence.”  Rabbins, &c. “hair.”  Prot. “within thy locks.”  But what renders this version of tsammathec (H.) suspicious is, that none of the ancients knew of it, and the hair is afterwards specified.  C. vi. 4.  Moreover, Isaias, (xlvii. 2.) uses it for (C.) “turpitude,” (S. Jer.) or the parts which are usually “covered.”  Sept.  H. Si qua latent, meliora putat.  Met. 1500. All the glory of the king’s daughter is within.  Ps. xliv. 14.  Modesty and silence are the best encomium.  C. The Lord praises the intention, occupations and doctrine of the Church, the twins of faith and good works; the preaching of Christ’s passion without shame, (v. 3.) and the administration of the sacraments, which, like the neck, unite the members to their head; so that they become invincible, (v. 4.) whether they be of Jewish or Gentile extraction, v. 5.  W. Up.  Heb. and Sept. “appear.”  Jerusalem was the highest part of the country; (H.) and coming up and down often means no more than coming or going.  Jug. xi. 3. and xv. 11.  C. The hair of goats in Lycia was beautifully curled.  Ælian xvi. 30. Women used such false hair.  Mart. xii. 45. Though the hair be only an ornament, it is not to be neglected; so the pious Christian will always treat with respect the ceremonies established chiefly for the instruction of the ignorant.  C. Those simple and fervent souls, by their numbers, adorn the Church, as hair does the body.  S. Greg. The external and internal perfections of the spouse deserve commendation.  M.

 

Ver. 2.  Them.  Those who lay aside the old man, and receive baptism, are filled with grace, to bring forth the fruits of virtue.  S. Aug. Doct. ii. 6. Pastors in particular, must lay aside worldly cares, and attend to their flocks.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Scarlet.  Preachers of the gospel (S. Greg.) must speak with elegance, and have their lips dyed with the blood of Christ, and purified with coals from the altar.  C. So, if we may use the words of a living critic, who is sometimes accurate, “a commentator ought to study at the foot of his crucifix, and write with ink drawn from the heart of Jesus.”  H. Pomegranate.  Plump and ruddy, representing the purity of the Church, and of virgins, who are its “flower,” (S. Cyp.) and bring forth fruits of good works.  S. Aug. de Virg.

 

Ver. 4.  Bulwarks.  Heb. Thalpiyoth, “at the height of the defiles,” probably in Libanus, when David conquered Syria.  Thalassar, Thelmela, &c. were such “heights.”  Bucklers, to be used in case of need, or for ornament.  Thus the neck of the spouse was adorned with chains and pearls.  The Church is this tower, the pillar of truth, 1 Tim. iii.  Matt. xvi. 18.  Apostles and prelates are her bucklers.

 

Ver. 5.  Roes.  This comparison does not seem happy: but exactitude is not required.  C. Indeed if we were to take all in the literal sense, a very grotesque figure would arise, with a head like Carmel, a nose like a tower, &c. which shews that the tropological or allegorical sense must be adopted.  D. The two Testaments given for our instruction, (c. i. 2.) or the charity towards God and our neighbour, may be meant.  Theod.

 

Ver. 6.  Retire.  In the morning, (Sanct.) or rather the bridegroom takes his leave early, promising to return in the evening.  C. ii. 17.  C. Myrrh.  To Calvary, where the fervent will pour forth their prayers, and learn mortification.  C. Christ dwells in mortified and devout minds.

 

Ver. 7.  Thee.  All must be pure before they enter heaven, as the blessed Virgin was on earth, (W.) and the Church is still.  Eph. v. 27.  C. Before his departure, Christ heaps praises on her.

 

Ver. 8.  Thou.  Heb. “look from.” Libanus.  So Jerusalem is called, Zac. xi. 3.  Ribera.  M. Amana.  Sept. “faith.”  By it and charity, we must do good.  S. Aug.  Ps. lxvii.  Amanus separates Cilicia from Syria. Sanir is the name given by the Phenicians to Hermon, (Eusebius) beyond the Jordan.  1 Par. v. 23. Leopards.  It is not fit for women to hunt such beasts.  Ovid (Met. x. 10.) thus speaks of Venus: Nuda genu, vestemque ritu succincta Dianæ, &c.  The Church leaves Jerusalem to preach the gospel without fear.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Wounded.  Symmachus, “given.”  Sept. Prot. “ravished.”  Mystic writers suppose, that the spouse had been guilty of some negligence; or, on the contrary, that her deportment was most enchanting, bent on God, and on good works.  C. Sister.  So Assuerus styles himself brother of Esther. xv. 12.  Christ died for the unity of his Church.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Spices.  He returns her compliment.  C. i. 2.

 

Ver. 11.  Lips.  Teachers who accommodate their instructions to the capacity of their audience, (C.) giving milk to children.  Heb. v. 13.  H.  1 Cor. iii. 2. In allusion, perhaps, to this passage, (C.) it was customary to give milk and honey to the new baptized.  Tert. coron. Garments.  Which were perfumed, (Gen. xxvii. 17.  Ps. xliv. 9.) and imply good works, (2 Cor. v. 3.  Rom. xiii. 14.  C.) and the external service and prayers of the Church, which ascend like incense.  Ps. cxl. 2.  M.

 

Ver. 12.  Up.  She is perfectly chaste.  Prov. v. 14.  The Church excludes from her society all unbelievers and schismatics.  The wicked serve to exercise the virtuous.  Her pastors explain the Scriptures, the fountains of saving knowledge.  C. Christ is also a fountain.  Zac. xiii. 1. and Jo. vii. 37.  M.

 

Ver. 13.  Plants.  The various orders of clergy and laity. Cyprus, (c. i. 13.  C.) whence a  healing oil is extracted.  Theod. Prot. “camphire.”  H. Spikenard is twice mentioned, as it may be well mixed with cyprus and saffron.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Cinnamon.  Very rare.  Ex. xxx. 23. Libanus, or “incense.”  Heb.

 

Ver. 15.  Libanus.  The law of the gospel was proclaimed by the apostles, who were Jews.  They explained the pure doctrine of the Scriptures, and converted many.

 

Ver. 16.  Wind.  At different times.  Let all nations be convinced of thy beauty.  C. The holy Spirit enabled the apostles to convert the world.  Nys.  Rupert. All temptations, whether proceeding from cruelty or deceit, “make constant souls more grateful to God.”  W.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 5

 

CHAPTER V.

 

Ver. 1.  Apple-trees.  The spouse, submitting to God’s will, is content to suffer.  W. She addresses her beloved, and as he had praised her, under the similitude of a delightful garden, she invites him into it.  C. I, &c.  Christ again approves of her patience, and invites the saints to congratulate with her.  W. He always hears his Church.  Matt. xxviii. 20.  Mark xi. 24.  C. The saints had prayed for Christ’s coming; and, accordingly, (Is. lviii. 9.) he takes flesh of the most pure virgin.  S. Athan. Synop. Comb.  Sept. “bread.” Milk.  Chal. “white wine.”  But (C.) mile and wine may be taken together.  Clem. Pæd. i. 6. The chaste delights of retired and penitent souls are thus described: (C.) Dulciores sunt lacrymæ orantium quam gaudia theatrorum.  S. Aug. Ps. cxxviii.  “The tears of penitents are the wine of angels, because in them is the odour of life.”  S. Bern. ser. 30. Inebriated.  Not so as to lose reason.  Gen. xliii. 34.  C. Prot. marg. “be drunk with loves.”  H.  Prov. v. 19. and vii. 18.  This wine of love, is the blessed Eucharist, which maketh virgins to spring forth, (Zac. ix. 17.) and is a foretaste of heaven.  Ps. xxxv. 9.  It makes us forget the old man, (C.) and raise the mind to God.  S. Cyp. ep. 63. To this feast Christ invites his disciples.  Matt. xxvi. and 1 Cor. xi.  M. Myrrh.  Implies that they must be mortified.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Knocking.  The spouse had retired to rest, as her beloved delayed longer than usual.  But love is ever on the watch.  C. She wished to meditate, but is called upon to assist others, and excited by Christ’s own example.  W. Dew.  Having been out in the evening, preceding this fourth night.  This denotes imperfect Christians, who remain, indeed, attached to the head, but are a disgrace to it, by their scandalous lives.  S. Aug. tr. 37 in Jo.  S. Greg.  C. Such was the state of many in the days of Luther, who accordingly joined the first reformers.  See Philips’s Life of Card. Pole. p. 364.  H. Nights.  Anacreon (ode 1.) has something similar.  Christ knocks by his inspirations and chastisements, and he is better heard in the night of tribulation.  Apoc. iii. 20.  C. Heretics began to blaspheme Christ, after the Church had only enjoyed a short peace, (M.) after the ten persecutions.

 

Ver. 3.  Garment.  By this is designated the tunic, which was undermost.  H. Feet.  People in that climate had their feet bare in the house, and even on journies only wore sandals: so that frequent washing was requisite.  Gen. xviii. 4. and 1 Tim. v. 10.  These excuses were vain, and Christ would not regard them.  Matt. xxv. 1.  Lu. xii. 35.  Theod.  C. The care of souls brings on many external occupations, which contemplative men would decline.  S. Greg.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Touch.  Of me, (Cassiod.) or rather of the door or window.  I was grieved that I had made him wait so long.  C. Heb. “were moved for him.”  Prot. marg. “or (as some read) in me.”  Pagnin prefers this; Sept. and Mont. the former explanation of halaiv.  H. Grace moves us to begin and prosecute good works.  S. Greg. Nyssen.  Theod. Christ gives it more abundantly, to make the champions of the Church contend with adversity.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Arose.  The Church employs herself in active life, still retaining a desire to return to contemplation.  v. 8.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Love.  She seems  insensible to the insults received.  C. The Church prays to the saints on earth, and in heaven.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Ruddy.  Or shining.  Et color in niveo corpore purpureus.  The divine and human nature, or the conception and sufferings of Christ are thus described.  C. The spouse gives this admirable description of her beloved.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Gold.  God is the head of Christ, (1 Cor. xi. 3.) and is most pure.  N. The guards of Solomon were powdered with gold dust.  Jos. Ant. Branches.  Elatæ, or fruits of the male palm-tree.  Theod.  Plin. xiii. 4.

 

Ver. 13.  Set by.  Prot. “as sweet flowers.” Choice.  Lit. “the first.”  v. 5.  H. The modesty and words of Christ excited admiration.  1 Pet. ii. 21.  Jo. vii. 46.  C. He exhorted sinners to repent, and rebuked the obstinate.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Hyacinths.  Or purple veins.  C. Prot. “hands are as gold rings set with the beryl.”  Heb. “full of Tharsis,” (H.) or precious stones, (M.) from that country, (Ex. xxviii.) with which his rings were ornamented.  C. Sapphires.  His belt or garment is thus ornamented.  Sanchez. The works of Christ proceeded from his infinite charity for mankind, whose salvation he greatly desired, (Mar. vii. 37. and 1 Cor. xv. 22. and 1 Tim. ii. 4.) so that none can  perish but by their own fault.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Lovely.  Heb. and Sept. “desires.”  M. The beauty of Christ is chiefly interior; and all must aim at this perfection, who would be his spouses.  Ps. xliv. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Seek.  The fervent resolve to seek Christ, wherever he may be.  W. His praises excite many to love him.  M.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 6

 

CHAPTER VI.

 

Ver. 1.  Lilies.  The church teaches, that God is delighted with the pious desires and works of the faithful.  W. She answers the question which had been put to her.  C. God associates lilies, or the perfect, to his angels.  He “feeds his flock,” and “is fed,” on works of piety, as Heb. and Sept. imply both.  M.

 

Ver. 2.  Beloved.  She speaks thus, when she finds him, and runs to his embraces, having found what trouble her neglect had occasioned.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Thou.  Christ again commends his Church, which is well composed of distinct orders, some governing, others retired from the world, and the rest exercising works of mercy, amid its troubles, who altogether form a complete army, terrible to all her enemies.  W. Jerusalem.  Which was then one of the finest cities in the east.  C.  The Catholic Church resembles the heavenly Jerusalem.  Theod. Terrible.  So great is the power of love, (Rom. viii. 35.) in the martyrs, and of the Church, against infidels!  C. She is lovely to Christ, and terrible to the wicked.  Even her spouse is wounded by her glance.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Turn.  The more one contemplates God’s majesty, the more he will be convinced that it is incomprehensible.  W. To pry into mysteries, may cause Christ to retire.  Theod. &c.

 

Ver. 7.  Number.  The true pastors are  numerous, but hirelings more so.  The faithful are innumerable, and all are united in the same faith.  W. The spouse and the queens represent the more prefect; the concubines, or wives of inferior degree, those who are led by fear; and the maidens, such as are languid and negligent.  Orig. The Roman Church is at the head of all metropolitan, episcopal, and parochial Churches.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Who.  The companions of the spouse, (C.) or the synagogue, admire the Christian Church.  W. Morning.  Aurora.  The Church dissipated the darkness of paganism; she appeared as the moon under persecution, and as the sun, after the conversion of Constantine.  C. The like will happen in the days of antichrist.  Ven. Bede. The religion of the patriarchs may be compared to the morning-star: that of Moses, to the moon; and of Christ, to the sun.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Aminadab.  The devil, (Theod.) or probably some renowned general.  Aquila explains it “of the people’s leader,” (C.) or “munificent one.”  Mont. I knew not what forced me to flee with such speed, as if I had been panic-struck, (C.) or the spouse professes that she knew not that he had retired into the garden of nuts, or she would not have been under apprehensions of his being ill-treated by Aminadab, as Christ was by Pilate.  M.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 7

 

CHAPTER VII.

 

Ver. 1.  What?  Christ commends the Jews, who shall at last embrace the faith with great fervour.  W. Thou.  Heb. and Sept. “ye.”  They  join this sentence with the preceding chapter.  H. Companies.  Heb. “as it were the choir (or dance) of Mahanaim,”( C). where Jacob saw the camps of angels, near the Jaboc.  H.  Gen. xxxii. These dances might be proverbial.

 

Ver. 4.  Ivory.  Preachers communicate the sentiments of the Church, (C.) which prevails against the gates of hell.  Cassiod.

 

Ver. 5.  Carmel.  Shaded with trees.  C. Heb. “purple,” which colour was sometimes given to the hair.  Propert. ii. 18. Channels.  Of the dyers.  Heb. “to beams.”  C. Prot. “the king is held in the galleries” to view thee.  H. Christ was all charity, and the faithful are twice dyed, with the love of God, and of their neighbour.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Grapes.  The Church triumphs over her adversaries, and feeds her children.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Up.  Christ shed his blood on the cross, and enabled his Church, composed of Jews and Gentiles, who were before barren, to produce a numerous progeny.  C. Mouth.  Heb. and Sept. “nose.”

 

Ver. 9.  Lips.  Sept. “sufficient for my lips and teeth.”  H. The wine in that country was very thick, when kept a long time.  It here denotes charity, or the gospel truths.  Lu. v. 37.  Acts ii. 13.  Heb. “causing the lips of them who sleep to speak,” (C.) as the apostles did, in transports of zeal.  Theod. Yet the reading of the Sept. Aquila, &c. seems preferable.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Turning.  The Church is submissive to Jesus Christ, and is entirely actuated by the Spirit.  C. She takes the words, as it were out of his mouth, (v. 9.) and answers, worthy, &c. acknowledging that all the praise belongs to him.

 

Ver. 11.  Villages.  She begs that he would come and remain with her.  W. She accompanies him into the country, on the morning after the fifth night.  There Christ affords the purest delights, (v. 12.  C.) and the Church (M.) becomes his mother, while she instructs and feeds others.  S. Greg. hom.  M.

 

Ver. 13.  Mandrakes.  Heb. dodai comes from the same root as dodi, “my breasts or loves.”  v. 12.  H. It may denote oranges, as mandrakes are not spring-fruits.  Gen. xxx. 14.  C. Yet (H.) married women eagerly sought after mandrakes.  Here they may signify such as are fit to gain souls to Christ.  M. And the old. Or great abundance.  Lev. xxvi. 10.  Matt. xiii. 52.  C. She acknowledges Christ to be the Saviour of all, under the Old and the New Testament.  W. A doctor of the Church shews Christ in the prophets, and figures of the law, as well as manifested in the gospel.  Aponius, &c.  C.

 

 

CANTICLE OF CANTICLES 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Mother.  The synagogue continues to pray for Christ’s coming.  W. Her request has been heard, and He has assumed our nature; so that we may receive from him all the marks of tenderness, and none but the carnal will shew any signs of contempt.  The spouse wishes to manifest her love without restraint, and to be delivered from the shame of sterility, (C.) or the Church desires to see Christ in heaven, and to praise him.  M.

 

Ver. 2.  Teach me economy, on which subject Xenophon represents the newly married entertaining themselves. Wine.  Mar. xv. 23.  Os. xiv. 8.  Nectar was of this description, (C.) being composed of wine, honey, and odoriferous flowers.  The best was made at Babylon.  Athen. i. 25. and ii. 2. These liquors intimate all the virtues, which Christ has taught; the practice of which affords him the greatest satisfaction.  Jo. xiv. 23.  They are best learnt in retirement, (C.) and from our great teacher.  Mic. iv. 2.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Jerusalem.  Sept. add, “by the armies and powers of the field,” as c. ii. 7. and iii. 5.  H. The spouse presently awakes after the sixth night, and goes out.  C. Christ admonishes all not to disturb those who would serve him.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Flowing.  Thus speak the companions of the spouse; and the bridegroom, turning to her alone, reminds her of an adventure.  The Jews would put this in the mouth of the spouse.  C. Corrupted.  Heb. and Sept. “fell in labour, there she was delivered who bore thee.”  H. Christ redeemed Eve, who had been seduced to eat the forbidden fruit, and by his sacred blood on the cross, awoke and healed our fallen nature.  C. The court of heaven admires the Church of the Gentiles, and every pious soul ascending from this world, particularly the blessed Virgin.  The synagogue was corrupt, when she called for the death of the Son of God, and said, His blood be upon us, &c.  We have no king but Cæsar.  W. Grace must go before, that our free-will may also walk forward.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Arm.  Working by charity.  Gal. v. 6.  H. Women in the east imprint what they like most on their bosom and arms, or carry bracelets and gems on those parts, with similar inscriptions.  Os. ii. 2.  Is. iii. 20.  S. Clem. Pæd. ii. 11. Christ must live in us.  C. Tota ejus species exprimatur in nobis.  S. Amb. Isaac viii. Jealousy.  That is, zealous and burning love.  Ch. Hell.  Or the grave, which subdues all.  Love is a violent passion.  C. Nullus liber erit, si quis amare velit.  Prop. ii. Christ gave his life to redeem mankind, and the martyrs have joyfully endured torments and death, to evince their love.  C. Flames.  Heb. “a flame of God,” or most vehement.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Drown it.  As other fires may be extinguished.  He who sinks under persecution, has not real charity.  Temptation does not weaken a person, but shews what he is.  Ecclus. xxxiv. 9.  C. He shall.  Worldlings will ridicule his parting with temporal delights, for those which do not appear: but the true lover will make no account of the former.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Our sister.  Christ styles the Church his own and the synagogue’s sister, promising her many benefits.  W. The relations of the spouse wish to have her married, though she seemed young.  Ezec. xvi. 7. Spoken to, concerning marriage, or its consummation.  Gen. xxxiv. 6.  Dan. xiii. 57.  C. The synagogue had but few to give her proper instructions.  M. But Christ would provide her, if she were not wanting to herself.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Cedar.  Procuring for her a rich and steady husband to protect her.  These are the words of the bridegroom.  The Christian Church seemed weak at first.  But her pastors and martyrs caused her to triumph over all the powers of hell.  C. Those who correspond with the first grace, are furnished with others.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  The.  The bridegroom, in the character of a countryman, asserts that he would not give his vineyard or spouse (C.) for all the king’s riches.

 

Ver. 12.  Before me.  I am satisfied with my spouse. The peaceable.  Heb. and Sept. “Solomon.”  H. Retain them, and also pay the keepers their wages.  I envy not all the treasures of the world; nor would put them in competition with my vineyard, or spouse.  The synagogue of Moses and Solomon degenerated, while the Church of Christ has continued faithful, and has always some good workmen.  S. Greg.  Ven. Bede, &c.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Hearken.  The seventh morning is come, and I must depart to the mountains.  C. ii. 17. and iv. 6.  Christ, before his ascension, exhorts his Church to present her petitions.  He is always ready to hear her, and to grant her aid, in every emergency.  See S. Amb. de Virg. xvi. 99. The virtuous pray that her requests may be granted, (H.) and are eager to know what they are.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Flee.  The Church consents that her beloved should ascend to heaven, as he still remains with her.  Ven. Bede.  S. Bern. ser. ix.  Qui habitat.  C. The whole Church militant requests that he would ascend thither, for the good of all his servants, begging for an abundant supply of grace, that we may ascend the high mountains of perfect charity, and zeal for God’s honour; and that eh would make our souls such hills and gardens, adorned with all the flowers and fruits of virtue, in which he may vouchsafe to dwell.  Amen.  W. Flee to heaven, and draw me with thee.  C. i. 4.  M.

 

 

WISDOM

 

THE BOOK OF WISDOM.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This book is so called, because it treats of the excellence of Wisdom, the means to obtain it, and the happy fruits it produces.  It is written in the person of Solomon, and contains his sentiments.  But is is uncertain who was the writer.  It abounds with instructions and exhortations to kings and magistrates to administer justice in the commonwealth, teaching all kinds of virtues under the general names of justice and wisdom.  It contains also many prophecies of Christ’s coming, passion, resurrection, and other Christian mysteries.  The whole may be divided into three parts: In the six first chapters, the author admonishes all superiors to love and exercise justice and wisdom.  In the next three, he teacheth that wisdom proceedeth only from God, and is procured by prayer, and a good life.  In the other ten chapters, he sheweth the excellent effects, and utility of wisdom and justice.  Ch. Their authority is surely greater than that of the Jews, (C.) whom Prot. choose to follow.  H. Before they attack us, they must, however, answer this prescription.  C. S. Iræn. Clem. Alex. Origen, S. Athan. &c. attribute this book to Solomon; and, though S. Jerom and S. Aug. call this in question, they maintain its divine authority.  Sometimes the Fathers abstain from urging it against the Jews, because they reject it, for the same reason as our Saviour proved the immortality of the soul, against the Sadducees, from the books of Moses alone, though other texts might have been adduced.  The Councils of Carthage, 419, Florence, Trent, &c. declare this book canonical, (W.) agreeably to the ancient Fathers.  S. Aug. Præd. xiv. and de Civ. Dei. xvii. 20. &c. Philo (S. Jer.) the elder, (W.  M.) one of the Sept. (Geneb.) might compile this work from the sentences of Solomon, preserved by tradition, as Sirach’s son did that of Ecclesiasticus; (W.) or it is styled “Solomon’s Wisdom,” (Sept.  H.) on account of its resembling his works, in like manner as the Second of Kings is called Samuel’s, though he wrote none of that book.  W. Sixtus (Bib. viii. hær. ix.) and others, maintain, that this was written originally in Heb. and some think by Solomon; being translated by the Sept.  But these go too far.  C. The nine first chapters seem, however, to be the production of Solomon, though the latter may have been added by the Greek translator, (Houbigant) who must, therefore, have been divinely inspired.  H. The sentiments are very grand, (C.) and contain a prediction of the sufferings of the just one, whence we may infer, that the name of the author was originally in the title, like that of all other prophets.  The arguments which Calmet adduces, to prove that Solomon was not the author of the first part of this work, may easily be refuted.  In the New Testament, that part is frequently quoted, whence we may gather, that it was allowed to be the work of Solomon.  Houbig. præf. p. 176. Some style this work Panaretos, as being an exhortation to all virtues.  C. All the five sapiential books (Prov. &c.) are cited under the title of Wisdom in the mass-book.  Superiors are here admonished to act with justice, and taught that wisdom is to be obtained by prayer, and by a good life.  C. ix.  Its effect and utility (W.) form the subject of the latter part.  See Apocrypha, vol. i. p. 597.  H.

 

 

WISDOM 1

 

CHAPTER I.

 

Ver. 1.  Goodness.  Entertain just sentiments of the Deity, and avoid all duplicity.  This truth is placed in the strongest light in the five first chapters, or preface.

 

Ver. 3.  Unwise.  He shews that their wisdom is all folly, and that they cannot withstand his power.  C. There are mortal sins of thought.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Subject.  Or “enslaved to sin.”  H. Soul and body are intimately connected, so that the actions of one defile the other, and banish wisdom.

 

Ver. 5.  Discipline.  The instructive light of the Holy Ghost. Understanding.  Those who deny God or Providence, (C.) and lead a wicked life, are abandoned.  H. Not abide.  Elegcqhsetai: “He shall be connected or manifested,” shewing that he will not acquit the guilty, v. 6.  M. When Solomon fell, his wisdom ceased.  Iniquity soon betrays itself.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  That.  S. Aug. reads hic, “this who,” more correctly than hoc, as it refers to the spirit, (C.) which having made and filled all things, must be perfectly acquainted with every action.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Jealousy.  God is strong and jealous.  Ex. xx.  C. He examines the smallest deviation from the paths of rectitude.  H.

 

Ver. 12.  Seek not with such eagerness (zelare) your own ruin, (C.) by an evil life, (W.) or rather thrown not the blame on death, as if you were necessitated to sin.  God created man to be immortal.

 

Ver. 14.  Health.  Good.  Gen. i. 31.  C. Poison, or medicine, (W.) medicamentum.  W. Poison and wild beasts become noxious to man only after sin.  It is this which infects the veins.  All may derive an antidote from Jesus Christ.

 

Ver. 16.  It.  Sept. auton. Death.  The wicked strive M. to draw upon themselves the second death (C.) as they will not repent.  W.  Is. xxviii. 15.  H.

 

 

WISDOM 2

 

CHAPTER II.

 

Ver. 1.  Right.  He shews how the wicked brought death into the world, and expresses the sentiments of the epicureans, as in Ecclesiastes.  The six first chapters are a sort of paraphrase of the nine first of Proverbs, in which the attractions of virtue and of pleasure are contrasted, &c.  C. Remedy.  Lit. “refreshment.”  Sept. “healing.” Hell, or the grave.  H. They reject as fabulous, the accounts of people being raised to life by miracle.  C. They suppose that the soul is mortal, and that there is neither reward nor punishment after death.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Nothing.  Sept. “by chance.”  The epicureans imagined that the first man was produced by the conflux of atoms.  Lucret. i. 5.  C. Smoke, or vanishes like it. And speech.  Budæus would substitute “a little spark.” Speech may be used for “thing.”  Our life is something like a spark.  M. Speech is an effect of the rational soul, as a spark comes from fire.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Sealed, like one in the tomb.  Matt. xxvii. 66.  The epicureans were well convinced of the fragility of our nature: but they drew false inferences from it, pretending that we should enjoy ourselves now, as there will be no future life.  This they ought to have proved.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Come.  From the disbelief of future rewards and punishments proceeds the epicure’s life. W.

 

Ver. 7.  Time.  Sept. Alex. “of spring.”  H. Youth is the spring of life.  The voluptuous conclude, from the transitory nature of things, that we should make use of them.  Would it not be more rational to despise them?  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Worth.  Strange maxims! which few will dare to proclaim, though they act according to them.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Just.  Infidels are not content to live in riot: they also persecute the just.  W. This passage points out the conduct of the Jews towards our Saviour, in so striking a manner, that Grotius would assert it has been altered by some Christian.  But the Fathers adduce it as a clear prediction (C.) of the Jewish malice.  Matt. xxvii. 41.  Mar. xiv. 53.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Knowledge.  The prophets spoke to sinners in the name of God, and many of them lost their lives in the cause.  Christ appeared as a new star, to promote their welfare; yet this only serves to irritate them.  C.  Jo. viii. 16.

 

Ver. 20.  Words.  Or he shall be punished for what he has said.  Syr. Vat. &c.  Matt. xxvi. 61.  C. We shall hence form a judgment of his real merits, (M.) unless this be spoken ironically; as if the just had foolishly flattered himself with the divine protection.  Matt. xxvii. 43.  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Secrets.  The disbelief of mysteries leads to a dissolute life, and to the persecution of the just.  W. The pagans knew not the advantages of suffering, and even the apostles were ignorant of the mystery of the cross, till after the resurrection.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Envy.  Lucifer thought that the honour of the hypostatic union (C.) belonged to the angelic, rather than to the human nature; and this he was guilty of envy, (H.) and strove to become like the most High.  Is. xiv. 14.  S. Bern. ser. xvii. in Cant.  Corn. A. Lap. &c.

 

 

WISDOM 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  Of death, is not in Sept.  During life the just are protected by God, (Lu. xii. 7.) and still more in death.  This passage is very applicable to martyrs.  C. Temporal death is to the just the road to happiness, where they shall not incur damnation, or the torment of death.  Though the martyrs seem to be utterly destroyed, they pass to joys eternal and unspeakable.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Die.  In this the wicked are not under a mistake; but they err when they suppose that the just shall be no more.  If the hopes of the pious where confined to this world, they would be the most miserable of all.  1 Cor. xv. 19.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Holocaust.  The sufferings (M.) which they have voluntarily endured, cause them to be pleasing to God.  H.  Zac. xiii. 9. Time of judgment, or of death.  C. Sept. “at the time of their visitation, they shall shine, and,” &c.  v. 7.  Matt. xiii. 43.  H.  Zac. xii. 6.

 

Ver. 8.  Judge.  All the just shall approve of God’s condemning the wicked.  W. They shall be invested with power, (Apoc. ii. 26.  Matthew xix. 28.) which, like that of Christ, will be of a spiritual nature, (H.) and will appear most terrible at the last day.  Matt. xxviii. 18.  Apoc. xix. 6.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Elect.  Sept. add, “and a visitation for his saints.”  Charity secures both faith and hope; which, without it, are unavailing to happiness.  H. Those who have the virtue of hope, will await the completion of God’s promises.

 

Ver. 12.  Foolish.  Dissolute, as the sequel shews.  Prov. ix. 13.  Rom. i. 26.  The family of the wicked imitate his conduct, and become his torment.  C. This is often the case.  In the moral sense, the sensuality and works of the impious are corrupt.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Barren.  The Jews deemed this a reproach.  But it is better than to have children by a crime.  M. Fruit.  Her good works shall serve instead of children for her glory, at the hour of death.

 

Ver. 16.  Perfection.  Lit. “shall be in consummation,” or wholly destroyed.  H. They shall not come to age, or Sept. “initiated.”  The pagans excluded the base-born from their mysteries, as the Church does from holy orders; and experience shews, that the fruits of adultery are often miserable, (C.) and while they imitate their parents, they can have no hope.  v. 18.

 

Ver. 18.  Trial.  Lit. “of knowing” (H.) the works of all.  The crime of adulterers is not imputed to their offspring; and it sometimes happens, that the children of saints are cast away.

 

 

WISDOM 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 1.  Glory.  The offspring of the chaste is happy, (C.) and honourable: (H.) very different from that of adulterers.  C. Bodily chastity is a great virtue; but purity of faith is more requisite to please God, being the foundation of all virtues.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Itself.  Virtue extorts the esteem even of worldlings.  Antiochus wept for Onias.  2 Mac. iv. 37.  C. Sublatum ex oculis quærimus invidi.  Hor. iii. od. 24. Conflicts.  In the cause of continence.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Slips.  Vitulamina, a word, to which the people were so habituated, that it could not be altered.  S. Aug. de Doct. xii. Yet some read better (C.) plantationes.  S. Bonav.  Lyran. The offspring of the unchaste will not prosper.  C. iii. 16.

 

Ver. 6.  Beds.  Lit. “sleep,” somnis, upnwn.  C. vii. 2.  H. Whether the children live or die, they are a reproach to their parents, as those who see them enquire about their birth.

 

Ver. 7.  Death.  He is always ready; but dies in his youth.  C. Whenever death comes, it is for his advantage, and if he depart in his youth, his immaculate life is to be preferred before the old age of the wicked.  v. 16.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Away.  Like Henoch.  Gen. v. 24.  Heb. xi. 5.  C. “Bad conversations corrupt the best manners.”  1 Cor. xv. 33.  Is. lvii. 1.  But could not God have supported the just under temptation?  Undoubtedly.  His judgments are unsearchable.  S. Aug. de Præd. xiv.  C. The holy doctor thence proves, that those who die in a just state, might have forfeited it, if they had lived longer.  God knew this possibility, and that it would not take place, and his foreknowledge agrees with man’s free-will, which some, inclining to Pelagianism, would controvert.  They objected to this authority: and he was therefore obliged to prove that the book of Wisdom is canonical.  Ib.  W.

 

Ver. 12.  Bewitching.  Thus the pleasures and goods of the world are well described.  For as fascination consists in a delusion of the people, who suppose that their senses are deceived by vain appearances; so it is the mistake of worldlings to believe that the objects of their desires are real goods, and contain no danger.

 

Ver. 19.  Speechless.  The damned shall have no excuse, being condemned by their own conscience, (W.) which shall be instead of a thousand witnesses.  M. In three words, three different punishments are specified.

 

Ver. 20.  Against.  Conscience will condemn or acquit those who have no other law.  Rom. ii. 15.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 5

 

CHAPTER V.

 

Ver. 1.  Then.  At the day of judgment.  The just and the reprobate know each other’s condition.  Lu. xvi. 20. Labours.  Defrauding them of their wages, (Lev. xix. 13.) or plundering them.  Sept. “despised, (C.) or frustrated his labours.”  H. Worldlings deride those who strive to obtain the goods of eternity, (C.) and think they labour in vain.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Within.  Or among themselves. Repenting.  In despair. Reproach.  We diverted ourselves with turning them to ridicule.  C. This change of sentiment (H.) proceeds not from the love of virtue, and is useless.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  God.  As they styled themselves truly, through the merits of Christ.  C. ii. 18.

 

Ver. 6.  Understanding in not in the Rom. (C.) or the Alex. copy.  H. Some read “of justice.”  Ephes. v. 11.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Post.  Sept. “fame.”

Fama malum quo non aliud velocius ullum.

                        Mobilitate viget, viresque acquirit eundo.  Æn. iv.

 

Ver. 13.  Virtue.  How quickly passes the life of man, (Prov. xxx. 18.) and how few leave behind them a good reputation!  Many of those whose actions are recorded in history, were falsely admired, (C.) and indeed the scourges of mankind.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Such, &c.  This is not in the original; but supplied to complete the sense, (C.) as otherwise the following remarks would seem to be the confession of the damned in hell, (H.) or before the judgment-seat.  Castro. The past time is used to shew the certainty of the event.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Dust.  Sept. Ps. i. 4.  Lit. “like the tender beard, (H.) or wool.”  Lanugo.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Care.  Lit. “thought.”  H. God thinks and provides for them.

 

Ver. 17.  Crown.  The Scripture thus represents the glory of the blessed, because there is nothing more desirable than independence.  But the happiness of the elect will be to throw their crowns at the foot of God’s throne, (Apoc. vii. 10.  C.) in whom they find every advantage.  S. Aug. ser. i. de vit. apost.

 

Ver. 18.  Armour.  Sept. “he will take zeal, his complete armour.”  H. See Is. lix. 17.  Eph. vi. 16.  C. The misery of the damned is unchangeable.  W.

 

Ver. 21.  Unwise.  “As we have sinned in all, we are wounded by every thing.”  S. Greg. hom. 25.  Ev.

 

Ver. 22.  Directly.  Straight to the mark.  M.

 

Ver. 23.  Casting.  He alludes to the ballista, used to throw stones.  Jos. x. 11.  These comparisons shew the power of God over all nature.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 6

 

CHAPTER VI.

 

Ver. 1.  Wisdom, &c.  This is not in Greek, and seems out of its place, being taken from Prov. xvi. 32. or Eccles. ix. 16.  C. The connection with the preceding is observable in the next verse.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Kings.  The author puts these words in the mouth of Solomon to give them greater weight, (C.) or rather (H.) as the inspiration of God is the most unexceptionable authority, and it would be of no service to introduce a false personage speaking; these nine first chapters were written by Solomon, though the original has since disappeared.  This has been the case with respect to the original text of Tobias and Judith, (Houbigant) as well as to that of the many canticles and parables which Solomon wrote.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Power.  All power is from God, and to be respected, even though the magistrate should sometimes abuse his authority.  W.  Rom. xiii. 1. They must render an account to the common master.  2 Par. xix. 6.

 

Ver. 6.  Rule.  How severely did God chastise Moses, David, and Ezechias.

 

Ver. 7.  Little, and ignorant.  Those in power ought to know, and to perform their duty.

 

Ver. 8.  Equally.  In proportion to their exigencies, or he punishes all as they deserve.  It is not clear that he speaks of grace, as the Pelagians would assert, (C.) abusing this passage.  See S. Aug. ep. cvi. or clxxxvii.

 

Ver. 9.  Mighty.  This cannot be too often inculcated, (v. 6.) lest the great should forget God and themselves.  C. Each must render an account of his charge, and be punished accordingly if he offend.  S. Greg. hom. ix.  Evang.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Kings.  Sept. “tyrants.”  But this title was nor formerly odious.

 

Ver. 11.  Just.  Sept. “holy.”  The Jewish judges were generally priests. Answer.  The sovereign judge, to whom Job and David confidently appeal.

 

Ver. 13.  Seek her.  With the assistance of divine grace.  Deut. xxx. 11.  Rom. x. 6.  The advantages of wisdom invite us to seek her.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Door.  Ready to introduce herself.  H.  Prov. i. 20. and viii. 34. and ix. 1.)

 

Ver. 16.  Think.  With eager desire to be guided by her maxims.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Providence.  To facilitate our just designs.  Prov. ix.  M. She is on the watch to save us.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Discipline.  We must begin with a sincere desire of instruction, and submit to correction, (C.) if we would come near to God, v. 20.  H. Wisdom is attained by this gradation.  W.

 

Ver. 21.  Everlasting is not in Greek.  Wisdom conducts to the throne, (v. 22.  C.) which shall last for ever.  H. The sense of the Vulg. is very just.  C. v. 17.

 

Ver. 24.  Now.  The pagans attributed the invention of wisdom to Socrates, or to Pythagoras.  But she proceeds from the bosom of God, and was practised long before their times.

 

Ver. 25.  Envy.  I will not imitate such.  C. vii. 13.  Wisdom ought to be diffused.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  World.  The wicked is ransomed and healed by the wise.  Philo.

 

 

WISDOM 7

 

CHAPTER VII.

 

Ver. 1.  Myself.  Solomon acquired wisdom, and all others may do it.

 

Ver. 6.  Out.  Augustus asked a little before his death: “Have we acted our part (personæ) well enough?”  Suet. Life is like a stage; before and after which, all are equal.

 

Ver. 7.  Wherefore, as I had no advantage over others naturally, I asked for the wisdom requisite to fill so important an office.  3 K. ix. 10.  C. Solomon, whose sayings are here recorded, prayed for wisdom.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Preferred.  I did not ask for extensive dominions, &c.  C. In Prov. viii. 10. &c. as well as here, some things refer to the uncreated, and others to created wisdom.  M.

 

Ver. 13.  Not.  Ecclus. xx. 32.  Matt. xxv. 25.  Such disinterestedness deserves to be imitated by all the learned.  C. vi. 25.

 

Ver. 14.  God.  Coming near to him.  C. vi. 20. and 1 Cor. vi. 16.  The wise do not seek for glory; but it follow them.

 

Ver. 15.  Would.  With sincerity, and in a sententious and captivating manner.  3 K. ix. 24.  C. Thoughts.  Præsumere has this meaning.  H. Presumption is far removed from true wisdom.  Solomon manifested his greatness of soul by his buildings, and wise regulations.

 

Ver. 18.  Times.  Or “things.”  S. Amb. Abr. ii. 7. Times past, present, and future, (Orig. hom. xxi.) or the three seasons;; autumn, the beginning of the civil year, summer the end, and spring or winter, the middle.  Grot. Their.  The “seasons,” as the Greek implies, (C.) and the vicissitudes of heat and cold.  M.

 

Ver. 22.  Holy.  These are the proper epithets of the spirit of wisdom, (W.) or of the Holy Ghost.  Corn. a Lap.  Lorin. They  may also be applicable to the wisdom which resides in man: one, in essence, manifold, in its operations, subtle, knowing all things; (c. i. 7.) eloquent, to persuade; (C.) Greek, “easily moved, or moving,” eukinhton, (H.) active.  Gr. “open (C.) or entire.”

 

Ver. 24.  For wisdom, which is the same with the Spirit, and the Son of God.  v. 25.

 

Ver. 25.  Glory.  As S. Paul testifies of Jesus Christ.  Heb. i. 3.  Euseb.  Demon. Evang. iv. 5. It may also be understood of the wisdom given to the prophets and saints.  v. 27.  Plato thought this to be a vapour, or fire proceeding from God.  In Protag. Philo. de Som. Some apply the passage to the blessed Virgin.  Corn. a Lap. v. 26.  C.  See Prov. i. 2.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Goodness.  This is particularly noticed, as he speaks of the favours received.  It was also an effect of infinite goodness, that the Deity should communicate itself substantially, in the generation of the Son, and the procession of the Holy Ghost.  M.

 

Ver. 27.  Prophets.  No age or nation has been left destitute by God.  Among the Gentiles, Job was a saint.  H. The philosophers also knew God, (Rom. i. 21.) and taught many important truths, (C.) though they erred in other respects, and dishonoured their profession.  True religion has always subsisted, and saints, (H.) yea even pagan philosophers, have borne witness to the truth.  Clem. Alex. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Evil.  Or disgrace.  Grot. The brightest days are succeeded by night.  The divine wisdom never fails, though that of man is subject to change, as Solomon has taught us by his own woeful example.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 1.  She.  The uncreated wisdom is infinite; and the created is the most excellent of God’s gifts.  W. Sweetly.  God is every where present, (S. Bern.) and directeth all with ease.  S. Aug. ep. ad Dard. q. i.

 

Ver. 4.  Works.  Directing us to imitate them, as much as possible.  H. She teaches us how to refer all to God, (M.) while mere philosophers stop at vain speculations, and barren admiration of the Deity.

 

Ver. 6.  Are.  Wisdom is an universal teacher.  But she particularly inculcates virtue.  All science which has not this tendency is vain.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Speeches.  Rhetoric, (Grot.) or doubtful matters, as Solomon discovered the real mother.  3 K. iii. 27. Arguments.  Greek, “riddles,” which were much in fashion.  3 K. x. 1.  C. Wonders.  Such as comets and eclipses.  M. When Anaxagoras discovered the latter, he durst not write, but only instructed his disciples in secret, for fear of being taken for an atheist, or magician.  Plut. in Nicias. The sciences, which are now common, were formerly confined to few; and the people looked upon eclipses as so many prodigies. The wise man is possessed of all natural sciences, and can predict the changes of weather, &c. Ages.  Forming a judgment of futurity from past occurrences.

 

Ver. 13.  After me.  He speaks to the great, who are more sensible of glory.  Solomon’s fame would have continued untarnished, if he had not fallen, (C.) and we may hope that he repented, and verified this prediction.  H. It is not certain that he obtained immortal glory.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Of me.  Wisdom is the best protection. Good and valiant.  These are the two most essential qualifications of kings.

 

Ver. 19.  Received.  “By lot,” sortitus, (H.) to exclude all preceding merit.  S. Aug. de Gen. lit. x. 18. Good soul.  Natural dispositions (Pineda) are perfected by grace and labour.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  More good.  The pre-existence of souls seems to be insinuated, though this is not clear, and the opinion is now rejected.  Some are born with a better disposition for learning than others.  S. Aug. con. Jul. iv. 3. Yet none possess any seeds of virtue by nature, or are more infected than others, with original sin, as some heretics would assert.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Continent.  All good must come from God.  H. Chastity cannot be preserved without his aid.  S. Aug. Conf. vi. 11. Yet this seems not to be the literal sense.  Solomon prays for the acquisition of wisdom, (C.  Eccli. vi. 28. and xv. 1.  M.) which includes continence, religion, and every virtue.  H.

 

 

WISDOM 9

 

CHAPTER IX.

 

Ver. 1.  God.  This prayer, which continues to the end of the book, is a paraphrase of 3 K. iii. 6. &c. with several additional instructions, to remind people in authority of the love of justice.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  King.  Hence it appears, that the sentiments of Solomon are expressed.  W. Judge.  This is the first duty of a king. Thy sons.  He ought to govern his people, remembering that they are God’s creatures and children.

 

Ver. 8.  Beginning.  In thy eternal decrees, or when thou madest choice of Israel.  H. The temple was greater, but very like the tabernacle: only the court of the priests was divided from that of the people.  In the desert, the whole camp was considered a the court of the latter.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  With thee.  The uncreated wisdom is God himself: that which is communicated to man is his gift.  v. 10.  W. World.  Prov. viii. 22.  This request shews what idea Solomon had of God’s majesty, for which he was preparing a temple.

 

Ver. 17.  Thought.  How shall we govern as we ought, and act as thy vicegerents, without thy Spirit?  Prov. xvi. 10. and 2 K. xiv. 17.

 

Ver. 19.  Whosoever, &c. is not in the Sept.  But men includes as much.  H. The saints have been preserved from the contagion and punishments of the world only by means of the divine benefit.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 10

 

CHAPTER X.

 

Ver. 2.  Sin.  Hence it is clear, that our first parent repented, (W.) and was saved.  Gen. v. 5.  S. Iræn. iii. 34.  S. Aug. ep. xcix. ad Evod.  Corn. a Lap.  C. Things.  Before sin, he submitted willingly; but afterwards, he was forced to use all his ingenuity to preserve this dominion.

 

Ver. 3.  The unjust.  Cain.  We have no proof of his repentance.

 

Ver. 4.  Cause.  The wickedness of the race of Cain.  C. Just.  Noe. Wood.  Who would have thought that such a vessel would save mankind, &c. amid the raging storms?  Noe must have been an able mechanic: (C.) but God both directed him, and closed up the door.  Gen. vii. 16.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  She knew the just.  She found out and approved Abraham, (C.) Sem, or Heber, who took no part in building the tower. S. Aug. de Civ. Dei.  C. xvi. 4. To God.  Many say that Abraham was at first addicted to idolatry.  Philo.  S. Aug. &c. But not after he was directed by the light of heaven.  C. Strong.  Gave his strength to stand firm against the efforts of his natural tenderness, when he was ordered to sacrifice his son.  Ch. Against.  Lit. “in.”  To obey God was true compassion to his son, though it might have deprived him of this life.  H. How many virtues did not Abraham manifest on this occasion!  S. Amb. Off. ii. 5.

 

Ver. 6.  The just man.  Lot. Pentapolis.  The land of the five cities, Sodom, Gomorrah, &c.  Ch.

 

Ver. 10.  The just.  Jacob. Of God.  Or heaven open, and angels ascending and descending.  Gen. xxxviii. 12.

 

Ver. 11.  Deceit.  Laban’s craft did not prevent Jacob from growing rich.  H.

 

Ver. 12.  Enemies.  Laban and Esau.  C. Conflict with the angel.  Ch.

 

Ver. 13.  Just.  Joseph.  Ch. Sinners.  His brethren, &c.  Sept. “from sin” of adultery.  M. Pit.  Or prison, to which he was confined at the instigation of Potiphar’s wife, always preserving his virtue.  C. He had also been let down into an old pit by his brethren.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Kingdom.  Which he ruled under Pharao.  Gen. xli. 40.  C. The Hebrews styled all in high authority kings.  Grot.

 

Ver. 16.  God.  Moses.  Ch. Num. xii. 7.  Ps. civ. 26. &c.

 

Ver. 21.  Eloquent.  They would, if possible, have sounded forth thy praise.  Dionys. The Hebrews had been kept in ignorance, and afraid to speak.  C. Infants, and dumb people, might also, by miracle, join in the song.  H.

 

 

WISDOM 11

 

CHAPTER XI.

 

Ver. 1.  Prophet.  Moses, (Ch.) by whose ministry the Hebrews were delivered, (H.) and governed with the utmost prudence.  Num. xii. 26.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Their enemies.  The Amalecites, (Ch.) and all others, who durst attack Moses.  Deut. iii. 1.

 

Ver. 5.  By what things, &c.  The meaning is, that God, who wrought a miracle to punish the Egyptians by thirst, when he turned all their waters into blood, (at which time the Israelites, who were exempt from those plagues, had plenty of water) wrought another miracle in favour of his own people in their thirst, by giving them water out of the rock.  Ch. The Egyptians were thus tormented by thirst, though so near the Nile; and the Hebrews were refreshed in a barren desert.  Ex. vii. 20.

 

Ver. 7.  River.  The Nile, to which the Egyptians gave divine honours.  C. Thou.  Sept. “disturbed with corrupted blood, in punishment of the infanticide decree, thou gavest,” &c.

 

Ver. 14.  By their punishments, &c.  That is, that the Israelites had been benefited and miraculously favoured in the same kind, in which they had been punished.  Ch. Benefited.  After war, peace is more agreeable.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Serpents.  The Egyptians adored asps, and fed them at their tables, without receiving any harm.  Ælian. Hist. xvii. 5. Dumb beasts.  Viz. frogs, sciniphs, flies, and locusts.  Ch.

 

Ver. 24.  Repentance.  If people neglect to reform their conduct in this world, they must expect to be treated with all severity in the other.

 

Ver. 25.  It.  Sin and disorder is the work of man, deserving hatred.  C. God created nothing evil, nor is there any but one God, as the Manichees pretended.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Called.  Into existence, or into its proper place.  Rom. iv. 17.

 

Ver. 27.  All.  Awaiting their amendment, and unwilling to destroy thy creatures.  C. xii. 10.  Hence thou didst not exterminate the Egyptians at once.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 12

 

CHAPTER XII.

 

Ver. 1.  O how.  Sept. “for incorruptible is thy Spirit;” which S. Athanasius (ad Serap.) adduces as a proof of the Holy Ghost’s divinity.  C. God loves the soul of man.  Grot.

 

Ver. 5.  Consecration.  Lit. sacrament, or land.  That is, the land sacred to thee, in which thy temple was to be established, and man’s redemption to be wrought.  Ch.

 

Ver. 8.  Wasps.  These were the auxiliaries of the Hebrews.  Deut. vii. 20.  S. James saved Nisibis from the Persian army, by praying for gnats to descend.  Theod. Philot. i. The inhabitants of Belgrade incensed bees, by fire and smoke, to attack the troops of Amurath.  Bonf. iv. dec. 3.

 

Ver. 10.  Natural.  We are all by nature children of wrath.  Eph. ii. 3.  H. But the Chanaanites were accursed by Noe, (Gen. ix. 25.) and were brought up in wickedness (Ps. lvii. 4.) by their parents.  S. Aug. de Bapt. ii. 8. Changed.  Because they would not employ well the time allowed them.  C. By custom, malice became as it were natural, after nature was corrupted.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Pardon.  Or impunity.  C. “Thou art angry, and yet are tranquil.  S. Aug. Conf. i. 4.

 

Ver. 12.  Done?  Shall the clay say to the potter, why hast thou made me thus?  Is. xlv. 9. and lxiv. 8.  We know, that under a just God, no one is miserable, unless he deserve it.  v. 15.

 

Ver. 15.  Punished.  S. Aug. ep. 106.  Some have read incorrectly: “Thou condemnest him who ought not to be punished, and deemest him a stranger to thy virtue,” which S. Greg. (Mor. iii. 11.) explains of Jesus Christ, the victim of sinners; other, of people born in sin, (Lyran.) while some would hence prove the decree of reprobation.  Duran. But it is needless to explain a  text which the Greek shews to be inaccurate.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Hope.  Under a God of such clemency, none should despair.

 

Ver. 27.  God.  Who destroyed their idols: yet they did not serve him, (W.) which was true of all the pagans.  Rom. i. 21.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 13

 

CHAPTER XIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Vain.  Sept. “foolish by nature, who are ignorant of God.”  H. In this and the three following chapters, the miseries of idolatry are described, to shew the value of wisdom and piety.  C. Without the knowledge of God, all is darkness.  1 Cor. ii. 2.  S. Just. dial. Is.  He who is, must be the most proper name of God.  Ex. iii. 14.  Philosophers could perceive that all creatures had a beginning, and that there must be some first cause or God, whom some confessed, but did not honour as they ought.  Rom. i.  W. Could not.  Inasmuch as they were vain.  H.

 

Ver. 2.  Fire.  The chief god of the Persians. Wind.  Zephyrus, &c. Air.  Which is perhaps the wind.  Socrates was accused of adoring nothing, but heaven and the clouds, (Aristot. nub.) as the Jews were.  Nil præter nubes et Cœli numen adorant.  Juv. xiv. 97. Stars.  The zodiac, or pleiads.  This species of idolatry was most ancient and general. Water.  The ocean, Neptune, &c.  The Egyptians adored water above all, as the origin of other things.  Hence they were punished first by it.  Philo, vit. Mor. 1. Moon.  These were mostly the objects of worship, under the names of Baal, Astarte, (C.) the Phœbus, or Dianæ of the Romans.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Thereby.  God is announced by the heavens, and by all creatures.  Ps. xviii. 1.  Rom. i. 20.  “Who can look up to heaven, and be so foolish as not to allow that there is a God?”  Cic. Harusp.

 

Ver. 10.  Of men.  The pagans in general took the material statue to be the residence of a god.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei.  C. vii. 6. and viii. 13. The more learned regarded the figures of the sun, &c. as his representations, while others supposed that Jupiter meant the heavens, Juno the air, Vulcan, fire, &c. Hand.  This is to abuse antiquity.  The idol of the Arabs was a rough stone.  In more polished nations, the workmanship of Praxiteles, Phidias, &c. was more regarded.  C. As no creature deserves to be esteemed a god, much less do the works of men’s hands.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Vermilion.  The ancients greatly esteemed this colour, (C.) and painted with it the statues of their gods on festival days, and the bodies of those who had the honour of a triumph.  Pliny, xxxiii. 6.

 

Ver. 15.  Iron.  Baruch (vi. 26.) ridicules the same custom, and the other prophets intimate that the pagans took these statues to be really gods, otherwise their practice was no more blameable than that of the Jews, who fastened the cherubim to the ark with gold, and carried them.  But the latter did not believe that the Deity resided personally in those images; no more that we do, that Christ is attached to his image on the cross.  This distinguishes the behaviour of the faithful from that of pagans.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 14

 

CHAPTER XIV.

 

Ver. 1.  Him.  The folly of exposing one’s life, without necessity, to such imminent danger at sea, is great; though much less than to confide in idols, (C.) which are commonly made of more corruptible wood than ships.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Waves.  Of the Red sea, (Vat.) through which the Israelites passed, (W.) or rather hast taught navigation to Noe, (v. 6.) and enabled him to build the finest vessel that ever appeared.

 

Ver. 5.  Saved.  Before the invention of the compass, long voyages were deemed the effects of rashness, or of great confidence in Providence.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Cometh.  By which Noe was preserved, (Corn. a Lap.) or criminals are executed.  Jansenius The author foretells the redemption of mankind on the cross.  W.  Gal. iii. 13.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei.  C. xv. 26.  S. Amb. Ps. cxviii. ser. 8.

 

Ver. 12.  Fornication.  Invention of idols brought people to give way to spiritual fornication, and corruption of manners.  W. They freely practised what was sanctioned by the example of their gods.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. ii. 7. and 3 K. xiv. 24. and 4 K. xxiii. 7. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Beginning.  Truth is always prior to falsehood.  H. Josephus (Ant. i. 4.) says, idolatry commenced in the 8th generation, and the Jews assert, under Enos.  “Then began the name of God to be profaned,” as the Chal. &c. translate, Gen. iv. 26.  S. Jer. q. Heb. The corruption of morals was the natural consequence.  v. 12. Ever.  Christ shall destroy them.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Servants.   This was at first done privately, and made the way for public idolatry.  Calvin attempts to refute this assertion, maintaining that Laban’s idols were more ancient, and not images.  But this argument is nugatory, as theraphim may be rendered either images, (Prot. 1552.) or idols.  Prot. 1603.  The latter version is preferable, as Laban called them his gods, and the Greek and Latin have idols.  It is also certain, that Ninus set up the image of his father, Jupiter Belus, to be honoured by the people, before Abraham’s time; and the fathers agree, that the making of images in memory of the dead, was the first occasion of idolatry.  S. Chrys. hom. 87. in Matt.  S. Jer. in Osee ii. &c.  W. Nimrod ordered divine honours to be paid to his deceased son.  Gul. Paris. Leg. Yet this fact is not certain.  Diophante, the Lacedemonian, assigns the same origin to idolatry as is here given.  Grot.

 

Ver. 18.  Ignorant.  The arts of sculpture and painting may be prejudicial, (C.) and were therefore banished by Moses from his republic, (Philo) as the Jews were so prone to idolatry.  C. xv. 4.  The case is different with us.  H.

 

Ver. 21.  Name.  It cannot with propriety be given to any but God.  W. The Jews explain this of the name Jehovah, which they will never pronounce.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Children.  This was done by the Chanaanites, Hebrews, &c.  C. xii. 23.  Is. lvii. 5. Hidden.  The sacrifices of Ceres, Bacchus, &c. were performed in the dark, and horrible impurities were committed.  Eph. v. 12. Madness.  Before they be initiated in the mysteries of Ceres, or prostitute themselves in honour of the deities of impurity, (Jos. Ant. xviii. 4.) in the very temples.  Quo non prostrat femina templo?  Juv. ix.  C. Many crimes proceed from idolatry.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Mad.  Like the Bacchanalian women, running crowned with serpents, and eating raw flesh. Lies.  The delusions of the devil, or the fraud of priests. Easily.  Those who believe not in religion, or in the power of him by who they swear, can give no security by an oath.  They fear no harm.  v. 29.  Yet they are perjured if they believe Jupiter, for example, to be a god, (S. Aug. ep. 54. ad Pub.) and if they do not, they are impious; abusing an oath, which is in itself sacred.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Just.  Lit. “the punishment of sinners always walketh about,” &c.  H. “The stone does not hear thee speaking, but God punishes the deceiver.”  S. Aug. The pagans supposed that their idols sometimes punished perjury.  Juv. Sat. viii. It is God who does it.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 15

 

CHAPTER XV.

 

Ver. 1.  Mercy.  The pagans have no real respect for their gods: the fear them not.  C. But we know that Thou governest all, (H.) and will punish us, if we transgress.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Us.  He wrote after the captivity, when the Jews abhorred idolatry, (C.) as they might also do at the beginning of Solomon’s reign.  H. Picture.  It is not certain that the art was known in the days of Moses, or that he expressly forbade it.  Pliny says it was discovered at Corinth, by making the outlines of a man’s shadow on the wall.  Afterwards one colour was used, till a variety was found to represent things more perfectly, (L. xxxv. 3. 4.) so as to deceive the senses, for which reason it is styled a fruitless labour.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Clay.  In death, those who have trusted in creatures, shall be abandoned by all.

 

Ver. 11.  Worketh.  God gives life, and also the rational soul.  Gen. ii. 7.

 

Ver. 12.  Evil.  This is the maxim of worldlings.  C. Virtus post nummos.  Hor. i. ep. 1. Our occupations are like those of children.  They presently perish, or we must quit them.  S. Chrys. hom. xlvii. ad Pop. We must strive to act our part well.  Libertines deem this life a comedy, and represent religion as an imposition.  C. They are like atheists, as they leave the true God, who seek gain by idols.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  In their pride, they threaten more than they can perform, (Is. xvi. 6.) or they take images to be gods, which infants only imagine are men, as Lactantius observes, quoting Lucilius,

Ut pueri infantes credunt signa omnia ahena

                        Vivere et esse homines.   H.

Measure.  They become insolent, and despise and persecute the servants of God.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Beasts.  They are deformed, (H.) and seem to have been cursed by God, like the serpent.  Gen. iii. 14.  C. Fled from.  Or “have banished” (Lorin.) God’s praise, claiming it for themselves.  M.

 

 

WISDOM 16

 

CHAPTER XVI.

 

Ver. 1.  Things.  Sept. “therefore by similar things they,” &c.  H. The Egyptians were punished for their idolatry by beasts, though they worshipped them, (H.) being infested with insects, frogs, locusts, &c. (C. xii. 23.  Ex. viii. and x.  C.) and seeing their first-born perish for their cruelty.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Meat.  The second time, God gave them in his anger: but still he dealt favourably with his people, (Ex. xvi. 13.  Num. xi. 7.  C.) punishing them as a father, for their amendment.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  They indeed desiring food, &c.  He means the Egyptians; who were restrained even from that food which was necessary, by the frogs and the flies that were sent amongst them, and spoiled all their meats.  Ch. Ex. viii. 3.  C. These.  The Israelites.  Ch. New meat.  Quails.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Sign of salvation.  The brazen serpent, an emblem of Christ our Saviour; (Ch.) and of the obedience which they should shew to God’s commands.  C. The sign could have no inherent value; but, as a token of God’s favour, was the means of curing the people.  W.

 

Ver. 12.  Plaster, malagma.  The remedy ordained by God was not  naturally efficacious.  C. “Every wound of the soul has its medicine in the Scriptures.”  S. Aug.  Psalm xxxvi.

 

Ver. 17.  The fire had more force.  Viz. When the fire and hail mingled together laid waste the land of Egypt.  Ex. ix.  Ch. This destroyed the useful cattle, but not such as infested the Egyptians.  W. The water seemed to nourish the flames.  3 K. xviii. 39.

 

Ver. 18.  Mitigated.  The Egyptians could not banish the insects with fire and smoke, (Jans.) or the storm sent by God, did not exterminate the sciniphs, which had caused the magicians to acknowledge a miracle.  Ex. viii. 18.  The frogs and flies were already gone.  Ib. 11. and 31.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Angels.  See Ex. xvi.  W. If angels stood in need of food, they could have nothing more delicious.  So water is styled honey, to denote its excellence.  Ps. lxxvii. 25.  Lev. xx. 24.  Joel iii. 18. Taste.  These expressions are figurative.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Sustenance.  Lit. “substance,” which some explain (C.) of God himself preparing this delicious food.  Naz. or. xlix. Liked.  So that if a person wished to eat an egg, &c. the manna became one, without altering its appearance, which is the case in the blessed Eucharist.  Valentia, 4 disp. 6. &c. But this opinion supposes a continued miracle, which seems not necessary, and it is generally believed that the taste alone was changed, which S. Aug. and others restrain to God’s faithful servants, otherwise the Hebrews could not have been disgusted with manna.  Num. xi. 6. and xxi. 5.  To these it was therefore simply manna.  But the others found in it whatever they could desire.  S. Greg. Mor. vi. 9. Yet according to others, (H.) both enjoyed the same privilege.  M. We cannot account for men’s fancies.

 

Ver. 26.  Word.  Deut. viii. 3.  Matt. iv. 4.  Fruits, of themselves, could not support man.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Light.  Those who desire to receive any favour must seek it with diligence, as the manna was to be gathered before sun-rise.  Clarius.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Water.  The ungrateful and negligent shall find their hopes frustrated, (C.) as well as the wicked, who expect salvation (W.) without a change of manners.  H. Ingratitude stops the fountain of grace.  M.

 

 

WISDOM 17

 

CHAPTER XVII.

 

Ver. 1.  Souls.  The Egyptians, who were punished with horrible darkness, as they had followed an unjust, dark, and cruel policy against the Hebrews.

 

Ver. 2.  Providence, and day-light, like incorrigible slaves, in prison.  C. The Egyptians were three days in darkness, (Ex. x. 22.) and the Gentiles continued without faith in God, till after Christ’s resurrection.  W. Only few served him, before that glorious event.

 

Ver. 3.  Sins.  This interior darkness was punished with the exterior one.  C. Forgetfulness.  Of each other, being concerned only for themselves, (H.) or they seemed to be forgotten by Providence, or buried in Lethean, most dismal obscurity.  The interpreter thus mentions Cocytus, without sanctioning poetical fables.  Job xxi. 33.  M. Exceeding.  Greek, “spectres.”  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Fire.  Like lightning, which would not allow them leisure to distinguish objects.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Rebuked.  Or chastised.  H.   The magicians could not imitate this miracle, nor secure themselves from its horrors.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Fear.  the Egyptians kept serpents in their houses, and fed them.  But now, neglecting to shew this attention, they were affrighted with their hissing. Air.  Or could live.  They seemed to wish for death, (C.) like the damned, but it fled from them.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Things.  The wicked are most cowardly.  C. “Crimes  may be safe; they cannot be secure.”  Sen. ep. xcvii.

 

Ver. 11.  Thought.  And giving way to despair, when it is extreme.

 

Ver. 12.  Expectation.  Or fear.  Such an one is filled with a mortal anxiety.

 

Ver. 14.  Them.  From the sight of spectres, and remorse of conscience.

 

Ver. 15.  Irons.  Darkness forced them to stay where they were.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Birds.  Nothing can afford comfort to the affrighted.  M.

 

 

WISDOM 18

 

CHAPTER XVIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Their.  The Hebrews’ (M.) or rather the Egyptians’ voice.  The land of Gossen was preserved from these horrors, (C.) though such Egyptians as might be found there, were exposed to them; and their dismal lamentations made the people of God appreciate their own happiness.  They are styled saints, (H.) as the Church is holy, and has always some saints in her society.  Out of it there is no sanctity.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Therefore.  “Instead of those things, ” (Gr.) darkness and complaints, (H.) God led away his people in triumph.  Hab. iii. 3. A harmless sun.  A light that should not hurt or molest them; but that should be an agreeable guest to them; (Ch.) or the desert should receive them, where they should be provided with food.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Was.  Lit. “began.”  H. In Egypt, the Hebrews themselves were unacquainted with the law, which was given at their arrival at Sinai, and by means of the Greek version, and the propagation of the gospel, it was more divulged.  C. The unwritten law was, however, better preserved in that nation, than in any other: and the Jews were selected, in order that they might communicate the treasure to all.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  One child.  Viz. Moses.  Ch. He was preserved to be the leader of the Hebrews, when the Egyptians were drowned (W.) in the Red Sea.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Fathers.  God had assured the patriarchs, that he would visit his people, and Moses had told them what would take place, during the night of their deliverance.  Ex. iv. 22. and xi. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Men.  The patriarchs.  Their children, the Israelites, offered in private the sacrifice of the paschal lamb; and were regulating what they were to do in their journey, when that last and most dreadful plague was coming upon their enemies.  Ch. Alike.  The feast was a bond of union with God and their neighbour, (C.) and the Hebrews resolved to be always true to one another both in prosperity and adversity.  H. Fathers.  Abraham, &c.  Songs usually accompanied feasts, and the promises made to the patriarchs filled the Hebrews with confidence that they would shortly take possession of Chanaan.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Noblest.  The first-born (Ch.) of Pharao, and those of slaves and cattle, were slain.  Ex. xii.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Course.  This description of the decree, or angel of the Lord, is most magnificent.  The Church applies it to Christ’s nativity, who is thought to have been born at midnight.  C. It insinuates his coming, when the world should enjoy a profound peace, though buried in the darkness of ignorance.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Visions.  These informed the Egyptians, that their miseries were not to be attributed to any natural cause.  The dying proclaimed the same, as Moses had done.  Ex. xi. 4.

 

Ver. 23.  Living.  Whom the angel was prevented from attacking.  Num. xvi. 47.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Priestly.  Lit. robe of the poderis, (H.) “reaching down to the feet,” and made of sky-blue linen, with pomegranates and bells at the bottom.  C. The colours represented the four elements.  H. See S. Jer. ep. cxxviii.  Joseph. iii. 8. Fathers.  The twelve descendants of Jacob, whose names appeared in the stones of the breast-plate.  Ex. xxviii. 17. Majesty.  On a golden plate worn by the high priest on his forehead, was inscribed “Holiness to the Lord.”  Ib. xxxvi.  C. Sanctitas Jehova.  M.

 

Ver. 25.  Afraid.  Or shewed a regard for them.  H. Great is the power of a saint, of holy vestments, and of prayer.  M. Enough.  God did not intend to exterminate his people, as he had done the first-born of Egypt.  C.

 

 

WISDOM 19

 

CHAPTER XIX.

 

Ver. 1.  Knew.  God foresaw the malice of the Egyptians against his people, but as not the author of it.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Care.  Lit. “solicitude,” (H.) so that they would not allow them time to prepare victuals.

 

Ver. 4.  Necessity.  God permitted them to be blinded by their own obstinacy.  C. They rushed headlong into the channel of the Red Sea.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Beginning.  It seemed susceptible of any form; and the elements appeared to be of another nature.  The fire burnt in water, the sea retired, &c.  C. v. 21. and xvi. 24.

 

Ver. 7.  Field.  Like a meadow, (C.) germinans, “growing grass.”  Sept.  H. Pliny (xiii. 25.) attests, that “the Red Sea, and all the eastern ocean, are full of wood.”  The Hebrews passed with as much ease as in a desert, (Ps. cv. 9.  Is. lxiii. 13.) or place of pasture, while the sea seemed to be in quest of other channels.  C.  Gen. i. 9.  H.

 

Ver. 12.  Thunders.  Which took place at the destruction of Sodom, for their warning.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  In another.  Lit. “but there was another respect (or punishment) of them, because unwillingly they received strangers.”  Gen. xix. 1.  H. The Amorrhites would not admit the Israelites.  Num. xxi. 21.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Laws.  Or “rights,” justitiis.  The Hebrews acknowledged the civil authority (M.) of Pharao, though they adopted not his religion.  C. xviii. 4.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  Changed.  The meaning is, that whatever changes God wrought in the elements by miracles in favour of his people, they still kept their harmony by obeying his will.  Ch. He answers the objection of philosophers, who argued against the possibility of miracles, as being against the established laws of nature.  But they induce no more confusion than the various strings of a harp, when they are touched with skill, though they have each their respective name and sound.  The ancients frequently compared the harmony of the universe to a musical instrument.  See plut. Macrob. som. ii. Sight.  Sept. add, “of what happened” (H.) in those miraculous changes.

 

Ver. 18.  Water.  Men, &c. passed through the Red Sea, while frogs got into houses.

 

Ver. 20.  Therein.  For the punishment of the Egyptians.  C. xvi. 18.  C. Food.  Manna.  Ch. Sept. “immortal food,” ambrosia.  H. Place.  This conclusion agrees very well with the preceding observations.  But it seems some thing should be said respecting the original petition for wisdom; whence we conclude, with Grotius, that the work is imperfect: (C.) though this is by no means clear, as the prayer is sufficiently expressed in the nine first chapters, if not in the whole book, and God answers it, 3 K. ix.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS

 

ECCLESIASTICUS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

 

This book is so called from the Greek word that signifies a preacher: because, like an excellent preacher, it gives admirable lessons of all virtues.  The author was Jesus, the son of Sirach,  of Jerusalem, who flourished about two hundred years before Christ.  As it was written after the time of Esdras, it is not in the Jewish canon; but is received as canonical and divine by the Catholic Church, instructed by apostolical tradition, and directed by the Spirit of God.  It was first written in Hebrew, but afterwards translated into Greek by another Jesus, the grandson of the author, whose prologue to this book is the following: Ch.

 

THE PROLOGUE.

 

The knowledge of many and great things hath been shewn us by the law, and the prophets, and others that have followed them: for which things Israel is to be commended for doctrine and wisdom: because not only they that speak must needs be skilful, but strangers also both speaking and writing, may by their means become most learned.  My grandfather, Jesus, after he had much given himself to a diligent reading of the law, and the prophets, and other books, that were delivered to us from our fathers, had a mind also to write something himself, pertaining to doctrine and wisdom; that such as are desirous to learn, and are made knowing in these things, may be more and more attentive in mind, and be strengthened to live according to the law.  I entreat you, therefore, to come with benevolence, and to read with attention, and to pardon us for those things wherein we may seem, while we follow the image of wisdom, to come short in the composition of words; for the Hebrew words have not the same force in them, when translated into another tongue.  And not only these, but the law also itself, and the prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their own language.  For in the eight and thirtieth year coming into Egypt, when Ptolemy Evergetes was king, and continuing there a long time, I found there books left, of no small nor comtemptible learning.  Therefore I thought it good, and necessary for me to bestow some diligence and labour to interpret this book: and with much watching and study, in some space of time, I brought the book to an end, and set it forth for the service of them that are willing to apply their mind, and to learn how they ought to conduct themselves, who purpose to lead their life according to the law of the Lord.

 

If some forbear to urge the authority of this book, in disputes with the Jews, we need not be surprised, as there were other proofs against them.  We often act with Prot. in the same manner, even using their versions, &c.  H. It was alleged in the controversies about baptism and grace, and no one thought of rejecting its testimony.  C. xxxiv. 30.  S. Cyp. ep. 65.  S. Aug. Bap. vi. 34. Grat. ii. 11. &c. The Councils of Ephesus, 3d Carthage, (c. 47.) Francfort, 8th Toledo, and Trent, ought to settle all doubts on this head.  The Jews themselves have a great regard for the book, (though the Thalmud condemns it for admitting more persons than one in God) and seem to have copied many sentences from it into the two Syriac alphabets of Ben Sira.  This may be the work which S. Jerom (Pref. in Sal.) testifies he saw in Heb. as that test cannot at present be found.  C. See ep. 115.  D. But this is no proof that it was not extant in S. Jerom’s time, and the many variations between the Greek copies themselves and the Vulg. may owe their rise to the different translators omitting some parts of it.  H. The same person seems to have translated this and the former book into Latin in the earliest ages, though the present work is more obscure, because the Greek is less beautiful, of which the Rom. edit. is deemed the most correct; though the Compl. agrees with the Vulg.  He appears to have given frequently a double version, for fear of not having expressed the full sense in the first, unless the additions be his, or some other person’s glosses, which have crept into the text.  C. If this be the case, near one hundred verses ought to be cut off, yet as they are published without any distinction by the Church, perhaps it  would be as well to adhere to the former sentiment, or to suspend our judgment.  C. ix. 12.  H. Many of the Fathers quote this book as the production of Solomon, because it contains many of his sentences preserved by tradition, (M.) and resembles his works.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xvii. 20. The Greek styles it “The Wisdom of Jesus, the son of Sirach.”  He has imitated (H.) the Proverbs to c. xxiv. Ecclesiastes to c. xlii. 15. where wisdom ends her exhortation, and the Canticle in the remainder of the work, praising God and the great men of the nation, down to Simon II.  Vales. in Euseb. iv. 22.  C. The last chapter contains a prayer, which may be in imitation of the book of Wisdom.  This work is often styled  Panaretos, a collection of pious maxims, (H.) or a “receptacle of all virtues.”  W. Many think it was composed between A.M. 3711. and 3783; (Torniel.) but it seem rather to have appeared in times of persecution, (c. 36.) after Philopator had been incensed against Simon II. for opposing his entrance into the sanctuary, (c. l. 4. &c.) for which he ordered the Jews in Egypt to be cruelly butchered, (2 Mac.) and after Epiphanes, the Syrian monarch, had commenced his most cruel persecution of that people, and of Onias III. twenty-two years after the death of Simon II. (c. xxxv. and l.) A.M. 3828.  B.C. 176.  Euseb.  Grot.  Usher.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 1

 

CHAPTER I.

 

Ver. 1.  Wisdom.  In this book, Wisdom is taken for the Deity, the Son, or the gift communicated to men.  Prov. iii. 19.  Wisd. vii. 25.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  God.  This is eternal and unsearchable, more than the sand of the sea, &c.  Is. xl. 12.  H. Man cannot comprehend God’s works.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Created.  Or “generated,” if it be understood of the Son.  S. Athan.  Bos. The wisdom which is given to man, was in God before the creation.  Prov. viii. 22.  C. The decree regarding the incarnation was from eternity.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Commandments.  The wise will observe the law (Deut. iv. 6.  H.) and the Scriptures.  This verse is not in the Gr. of Rome, &c. but it is in the edit. of Complut. and Camerarius.

 

Ver. 9.  In the Holy Ghost, or from himself.  See Wisd. i. 5. and vii. 22.  Gr. omits these words.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Joy.  Eternal glory is the fruit of the fear of the Lord; not that this virtue sufficeth, but it is the beginning, grounded on true faith, and bringeth forth other virtues, and fruits of the Holy Ghost, and a joyful crown in the end.  W. The virtuous enjoy or deserve honour.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Womb.  Grace has prevented them.  H. They are free from evil dispositions.  Wisd. viii. 19.  Job xxxi. 18. Women; feminis, or rather seminis.  C. Gr. “it shall be intrusted to their seed.”  H. “His mercy is fixed with their seed.”  Syr.  M. This includes both men and women.

 

Ver. 17.  Religiousness, or proper application of knowledge.  H. A learned impious man is most dangerous.  This and the two next verses are not in Greek.

 

Ver. 27.  Sin, by vigilance or by repentance.

 

Ver. 29.  To him, as may be seen in the lives of the patriarchs.

 

Ver. 32.  Sinner.  Such imagine that God’s service is insupportable.  W.

 

Ver. 35.  Faith, or fidelity.  M. The meek shall possess the land.  Matt. v. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 39.  Down.  Pride is usually thus treated.  Matt. xxiii. 12.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 2

 

CHAPTER II.

 

Ver. 1.  God.  All must be tried.  Tob. xii. 13.  Heb. xii. 6.  Lu. xxiv. 46.  But God will grant sufficient grace.  1 Cor. x. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Humble.  Gr. “regulate thy heart, and endure, and make not haste in the time of trouble,” (H.) inflicted by God.  Grot. But not impatient.  Is. xxviii. 16. Clouds.  Lit. “overcast,” obductionis.  H. Desire not death, in order to be covered from the miseries of life; for that would (W.) border on despair.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Patience.  Or expectation of being relieved.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Humiliation.  It shews what they really are.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Enlightened.  With  joy.  Is. lviii.  M. This verse is not in Greek.  To avoid such frequent repetitions, it would be well to mark the passage in different characters, (H.) or between crotchets, as in the French version.  C. Yet the Greek editions are not uniform.  See Drusius and Hæschel.

 

Ver. 14.  Ways.  Attempting to reconcile the service of the world with that of God, who rejects hypocrites, (H.) the inconstant, and faint-hearted.  v. 15. and 3 K. xviii. 21.  C. Virtues and sins will receive their due.  W.

 

Ver. 20.  Hearts.  With God’s grace (H.) to fight manfully.  C. Sanctify.  Greek, “humble their souls, saying, we shall,” &c. v. 22.  H. Prayer, vigilance, and humility are the best dispositions to resist the devil.

 

Ver. 22.  Men.  He alludes to 2 K. xxiv. 14.  In this world, God punishes with mercy; in the next, with severity.  Dan. xiii. 23.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 3

 

CHAPTER III.

 

Ver. 1.  Love.  The progeny of God’s children brings forth the fruits of obedience and love.  W. Wisdom teaches every virtue.  C. This verse is not in Greek.

 

Ver. 3.  Seeking.  Greek, “and hath confirmed the judgment,” &c.  H. God will revenge any disrespect shewn to parents.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Father.  Greek, “Lord…mother (8.) and will serve them,” &c.  H. Though you may feed your parents, you are still much in their debt.  S. Amb. in Lu. ii. and xviii.  Ex. xx. 12.  Job iv. 3.

 

Ver. 9.  Father.  Greek adds, “and thy mother.”  C. Grabe marks this in another character, and substitutes “them” for him.  v. 10. And his, &c. is wholly omitted.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Foundations.  S. Aug. (de Civ. Dei. xxii. 8.) gives a memorable instance.  The pagans deemed such curses most terrible.  Orpheus.  Gen. ix. 25. They are executed upon the wicked.

 

Ver. 12.  Thee.  Boast not of thy superior talents, nor say any thing disrespectful.

 

Ver. 13.  A father.  Greek, “mother.”  Alexander was ashamed of having Philip for his father, pretending that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon.  His mother Olympias, with much ingenuity, wrote to him, that he would thus make Juno her powerful rival!

 

Ver. 15.  Fail.  Bis pueri senes.  They do not lose the character of fathers, how infirm soever, (C.) and those can never truly serve the invisible Deity, who despise their fathers, his visible images on the earth.  Philo.  Decal.

 

Ver. 16.  Sin.  Or ill-nature.  Greek, “instead of sins, (17.) a house shall be built up for thee.”  H. Thy family shall increase.  Ex. i. 21.  C. Alms, prayer, and sacrifice for parents merit reward.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Of.  Greek, “Like a blasphemer is,” &c.  C. He who reviles his father, meditates blasphemy against the Deity.  Menander.

 

Ver. 19.  Meekness.  Here a new subject begins.  Goodness begets love.  S. Amb. Off. ii. 7.

 

Ver. 20.  Greater.  The dignity of a person should be the measure of his humility, (S. Amb. de virg. 31.) as the most elevated are the most exposed to pride.  Humility is taught only by true wisdom and the gospel.  Matt. xi. 29.  Philosophy  may inspire us with the contempt of riches, &c.  C. Yet humility is the most indispensable duty, and no less essential than delivery to an orator.  S. Aug. ep. 118. ad Diosc. All human greatness comes from God, who requires us to shew our gratitude by humility.  W.

 

Ver. 22.  In, &c.  The mysterious nature of God and providence, cannot be comprehended: and in many things we must confess our ignorance.  Life is often spent in idle researches.

 

Ver. 26.  Suspicion.  Gr. Comp. “their vain suspicion hath deceived many and their wicked thought has ruined their judgment.  Not having the apples of the eye, thou wilt be deprived of light; and being ignorant, do not speak.”  The latter sentence is marked by Grabe as wanting in his copy, as it is in the Vat. if we may believe the London edit. (H.) which, however, is not an exact copy, no more than any of the other editions, of that famous MS.  Grabe.

 

Ver. 27.  Heart.  Which fears neither God nor man.  S. Bern. cons. 1. Those who have not shewn mercy, can expect none.  H. The impenitent see their folly, like Antiochus, when it is too late.  C. They have loved the danger, which shall overtake them.  Prov. i. 26.  He seems to refute those who believed in fate, and would take no precautions.  C. Those who live in sin, tempting God to the last hour, generally perish.  W.

 

Ver. 29.  Wicked.  Greek, “hard,” obdurate in sin, like Pharao.  Rom. ii. 5.  H. Sorrows.  Or crimes, as the word often implies, and the punishment thereof.  C. “Sin, by its own weight, leads to another, (S. Greg. Mor. xxv. 12.) and while custom is not resisted, a necessity arises.”  S. Aug. Conf. viii. 5.

 

Ver. 30.  Congregation.  The proud or obstinate sinner will take no advice.  Prov. xviii. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Understand.  Greek, “shall devise a parable, and the ear of the hearer is the desire of a wise man.”  H.

 

Ver. 33.  Water, &c.  He delights to instruct the attentive.  C. Resist.  Greek, “shall expiate, or obtain pardon for sins.”  Dan. iv. 24. and Lu. xi. 41.  “Alms-deeds are a sort of baptism, which may be often repeated” to advantage.  S. Amb. or. Max. “When we bestow any thing, it is not of our own, but the gift of Christ.  We give bread…He, the poor, renders us the kingdom of heaven.”  S. Jerom in Ps. cxxxiii.  God becomes our debtor.  S. Chrys. hom. liii. and lviii. Our inheritance is secured.  S. Cyp. de Op. But then charity and repentance must accompany our alms.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. 21. ult.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 4

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

Ver. 1.  Alms.  Gr. “life,” and of what is necessary to support it.  Si non pavisti, occidisti.  S. Tho. (ii. 2. q. xxxii. 5.) quoting the offices of S. Amb. though the sentence is not to be found there.  C. Christians are not master of what is superfluous, no more than those who have the goods of the Church.  S. Chrys.  Corn. a Lap. Turn.  Gr. “draw not after thee indigent eyes.”  H. Make not the poor wait, long for relief.  2 Cor. ix. 7.  Rom. xii 8.  Prov. viii. 28.  C. Qui tarde dat, diu noluit.  Sen. Ben. i. 1. Fames et mora bilem in nasum concitant.  Plaut.

 

Ver. 5.  For…anger, and behind, &c. is not in Gr.  H. He thrice repeats the same injunction.  Ex. xxii. 22.  C. Deal not cruelly with the poor; for God will revenge their injuries.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Of the.  Gr. “and bow,” &c.  H. Submission to magistrates is enforced.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  And…owest, is not in Gr.  H. People in office must attend to all.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  One.  Or “sanctuary.”  They shall be honoured like priests.  Is. lxi. 6.  Birth, rather than merit, gave a title to the Jewish priests; but those who are wise shall minister in a more glorious temple.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  In temptation, &c.  The meaning is, that before wisdom will choose any for her favourites, she will try them by leading them through contradictions, afflictions, and temptations, the usual noviceship of the children of God.  Ch. Gr. “for sideways or through crooked paths she shall walk with him at first, (19.) she,” &c.  H. The narrow path leads to heaven, (Matt. vii. 13.) and to virtue.  Hesiod.

 

Ver. 21.  To him.  And explain why she has treated him so roughly.

 

Ver. 22.  Enemy.  Gr. “ruin.”  This road leads to eternal misery.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Time.  For all things.  Eccl. iii. 1.  All depends on the proper season.

 

Ver. 24.  Ashamed, to ask for relief, (v. 25.  C.) or to say the truth, as the martyrs have done. This is not in Greek.

 

Ver. 25.  Sin.  Thus to refuse asking for what is necessary to support life, would be criminal. Grace.  When we refrain from doing things truly shameful.  C. xli.  C. To abhor sin is glorious; but to yield to it, through shamefacedness, or not to reprove it, is vicious.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  Fall.  Excuse not his faults, (C.) lest thou partake in them.

 

Ver. 28.  Hide, &c. is not in the Alex. copy, though inserted by Grabe.  H. Ostentation is blameable; still we must in defence of the truth.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Tongue.  Gr. “by speech, wisdom shall be known, and instruction by the word of the tongue.”

 

Ver. 30.  Lie.  Gr. “of thy want of information.”  Yet Grabe and the Comp. edit. have lie, &c.  H. Always yield to the truth, (C.) and never tell a lie, but speak the truth at proper times.  W.

 

Ver. 32.  River.  Useless resistance is to be avoided; and when it is requisite to oppose the demands of the great, we must do it with reserve.  v. 33.  C.

 

Ver. 33.  Strive.  Gr. “unto death strive for the truth, and the Lord God will fight for thee.”  H. The saints were modest, but intrepid.  C. All must rather lose their lives than act against justice or truth.  W.

 

Ver. 34.  Works.  Perform what thou hast promised.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 5

 

CHAPTER V.

 

Ver. 1.  Unjust.  The translator styles riches unjust, because they often proceed from, or tend to injustice.  They can afford no protection in death.  Ps. xlviii. 17.  Lu. xi. 19. and xvi. 9.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Heart.  If no man can oppose thee, remember God’s judgments.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  How mighty am I? is not in Gr. though read by S. Cyp. and S. Aug. Spec. Sennacherib’s vain boasting was soon punished.  Is. xxxvii. 36.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Rewarder.  Gr. “is long-suffering, he will not let thee escape.”

 

Ver. 5.  And add.  Gr. “to add.”  Take not occasion from God’s goodness to offend him.  H. He will punish at last.  Jans. Though you may have taken pains to repent, are you assured of being forgiven?  Eccle. ix. 1.  A relapse calls for greater severity, though the graces of God are without repentance.  Rom. xi. 29.  He does not recall his favours, but he hates the ungrateful, v. 6.  Bell. Just. iii. 4.  C. Satisfaction must be made even after the sin has been remitted.  W. This may be feared.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Looketh.  Gr. “shall rest” in hell, to punish the abuse of mercy.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Day.  A rabbin being asked when one must repent? answered, the day before death.  But we know not when that will take place!  Then, replied he, we must repent to-day.  Drus. “God has promised thee pardon, if thou repent, but he has not promised thee to-morrow.”  S. Aug.  Ps. cxiv.

 

Ver. 12.  The way.  Greek, “thy knowledge or sentiment, and let thy speech be one,” (H.) that men may depend upon thee.

 

Ver. 13.  Word.  Comp. adds, “of God.”  But the Rom. edit. has, “be quick to hear, and answer slowly.”  Jam. i. 19.  “It is safer to hear than to preach.”  S. Aug. lix. in Jo. Constancy in virtue will obtain the promised peace.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Lest.  Gr. “honour and infamy is in speech; and the tongue of man proves his ruin.”  H. Nothing can be productive of better or of worse consequences.  Prov. xviii. 21.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Be.  Gr. “ensnare not by thy tongue, (17.) for evil confusion is upon the thief, and great condemnation on the double-tongued.  18.)  Be not ignorant in any thing, great or small.”  H. The detractor is more dangerous than the thief.  He pierces without being seen.  Eccle. x. 11.  Prov. xxvi. 20.  Rom. i. 29.

 

Ver. 18.  Great.  Only examine the justice of the cause; or, according to the Greek, commit no fault of ignorance, nor say, “I did not think.”  C. Acknowledge thy friend in his poverty, as well as in his greatness.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 6

 

CHAPTER VI.

 

Ver. 1.  Instead.  Gr. “and instead,” &c.  Syriac begins this chapter with the preceding verse, with which this is connected.  Detraction will separate friends.

 

Ver. 2.  Extol.  This conduct is inimical to true friendship, which requires that we should make allowance for one another’s faults.  C. Like.  Gr. “lest thy soul be torn away like a bull.  Thou wilt eat,” &c.  H. Vulg. is better.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Wilderness.  Thus was Nabuchodonosor humbled.  Dan. iv.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Appeaseth.  Gr. “and an eloquent tongue multiplies good words.”  H. The affable gain our affections.  Gideon pacified the incensed Ephraimites by a mild answer.  Jud. viii.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Counsellor. Only few are capable of this office, (H.) or of keeping a secret.  Yet we must have peace, if possible, with all.  Rom. xii. 18.  C. The Scythians condemned many friends, no less than many wives, (Luc. Tox.) and Aristotle (Eth. ix. 10.) commends this maxim of Hesiod: mhte poluxeinoV mht azeinoV; “neither to have too many guests, or intimate friends, nor to be without any.”

 

Ver. 7.  Get.  Lit. “dost possess a friend, possess him in trial,” (H.) as the Greek also has it.  But the Heb. term kanah, means likewise, “to acquire,” and a friend ought to be chosen with judgment. It is too late to try him after he has been received.  C. One must try much before a companion be chosen, that he may be afterwards preserved.  Plut. “Possess not friends quickly, but those whom thou hast obtained, reject not with disgrace.”  Solon.  Laert. i. and ii. 8.

 

Ver. 8.  Trouble.  Such are interested friends; but true friendship is a kind and perfect agreement in all divine and human affairs.”  Cic.  S. Aug. c. Acad. iii. Religion must be the foundation.

 

Ver. 9.  Reproaches.  Disclosing all your imperfections.  C. “The closest alliances, being broken, produce the most bitter enmities.”  Pliny, xxxvii. 4.

 

Ver. 12.  Humble.  “Friends must have a respect for each other.”  Cic.

 

Ver. 13.  Friends.  Such as have been just described.  Of these the maxim of Bias may be true, that people should “love as if they were to hate,” at some future period.  Laert. i. Entire confidence becomes those who are friends indeed.

 

Ver. 14.  Defence.  Jonathas and Chusai saved David.

 

Ver. 16.  And immortality, is not in Greek.  C. But shews the meaning of life is this place; as a true friend will not cease to give good advice for eternity.  H. But even in this world, nothing can be more advantageous.  C. Amicus magis necessarius est quam ignis et aqua.  Cic.  S. Amb. off iii. Him.  Cicero himself says, “friendship can subsist only among the virtuous.”  Yet these, judging others by themselves, are more easily imposed upon, and ought, therefore, to address themselves to God.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Be.  He will instill into his friend sentiments of piety, if he have them not before.  Amicitia similes invenit aut facit.  “Pythagoras desires that in friendship one should be formed of many.”  Cic. v. 11.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Wisdom.  A good education will, at last, bring forth fruit, though the passions may choke the good seed for a time.  C. “Take wisdom for the provision on thy journey, from youth to old age.”  Bias.  Laert. i.

 

Ver. 22.  Trial.  Such stones were used to try people’s strength, (Zach. xii. 3.  C.) or to try gold.  Vat. The Syriac explains it of a precious stone.  But the first idea is preferable.  Many will not so much as attempt to become acquainted with wisdom and piety.

 

Ver. 23.  Name.  Perhaps the author may compare the Greek word Sophia, (C.) with Tsopuie, (H.) “hidden,” or with the Greek term, zophos, which means “darkness.”  See c. xliii. 8. and xlvi. 1.  The original Heb. test is lost, so that we cannot determine to what word allusion is made.  See Corn. a Lapide, who has written the best commentary on this book. But, &c. is not in Greek.  C. Many prefer learning before piety.  But S. Aug. says, the unlearned rise and take the kingdom of heaven, while we with our learning, devoid of heart, (or charity.  H.) behold we fall into the dirt.  Conf. viii. 8.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Thee.  She will even seek thee first.  Wisd. vi. 14.  Prov. viii.  Matt. vii. 7. Gotten.  Continence does not here signify being chaste, (C.) though this is one of the fruits of wisdom.  Wisd. viii. 21.  Gal. v. 23.  H.

 

Ver. 30.  Firm.  Lit. “bases of virtue;” (H.) which is not in Gr. and rather embarrasses the sentence; (C.) though it may signify, that if we serve the Lord with fidelity, our building will never be overturned.  H.

 

Ver. 35.  Wise.  Lit. “prudent.”  The Latin has this epithet, because old people are not always such, though it may be expected of them.  C. “While wisdom increases, all other faculties decrease.”  S. Jer. ad Nepot.

 

Ver. 36.  Morning, with the utmost diligence.  C. “The very meeting of the wise is of advantage; and thou mayst learn something of a great man, though he open not his mouth.”  Sen. ep. xciv.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 7

 

CHAPTER VII.

 

Ver. 2.  Evils.  Gr. “injustice.”  Evil communications corrupt good manners, (H.) or the punishment of sin follows it commission.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Not.  Gr. “not in.”  H. Seven-fold: more abundantly.  Osee x. 11.  Job iv. 5.  Gal. vi. 7.  C. The wicked shall receive the fruit of their wickedness.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Honour.  Ambition is the source of ruin to men and empires.  Jam. iii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  God.  Gr. “the Lord, and affect not wisdom (sofizou) before the king.”  H. Of ourselves we are despicable; and kings love not those whose superior talents seem to eclipse their own.  David’s valour excited the hatred of Saul, and Alexander “was indignant that Antipater (his general,  H.) had conquered, thinking his own glory was diminished by that which another acquired.”  Curt. vi.

 

Ver. 6.  Integrity.  A judge is expose to many dangers.  2 Par. xix. 6.  C. “He must be prudent and firm.”  Plato, 2 Rep. What will become of those who push themselves forward?  S. Chrys. hom. xxxiv. in Heb. xiii.

 

Ver. 8.  To sin.  Correct not thy severity by too great indulgence, nor entangle thyself with the sins of othres, as with a chain.  Is. v. 18.

 

Ver. 9.  Mind.  If thou hast committed a fault, despair not, but pray, (v. 10.) avoiding presumption.  v. 14.

 

Ver. 12.  Soul.  Whether the person have incurred a fault or not, we ought to shew pity, reflecting on our own frailty.  1 Cor. x. 12.

 

Ver. 13.  Devise.  Lit. “plough.”  But Heb. Charasch, means also to machinate. Brother.  We cannot hence infer, with Grotius, that the Jews allowed themselves to deceive strangers.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Good, but very pernicious, (Mat. v. 37.  Apoc. xxi. 8.  S. Aug. Mend.) though some have thought that lies might be told to prevent evil.  Orig. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Repeat not.  Make not much babbling by repetition of words, but aim more at fervour of heart.  Ch. A supplication ought to be drawn up in a concise manner.  H. Judges and orators should speak with due reserve.  Prayer must be unceasing: yet many words must not be used to inform God of our wants.  Our Saviour seems to allude to this text.  Mat. vi. 7.

 

Ver. 16.  High.  Gen. ii. 15. and iii. 18.  The patriarchs and the most famous Roman generals followed this employment.

 

Ver. 19.  On the flesh, is not in Greek.  Christ appears to have had this passage in view, Mark ix. 44.  Many suppose that both allude to the fire which burnt dead bodies, &c. in the vale of Hinnon.  But all allow that the inextinguishable flames of hell are meant.  Whether the fire and worms be corporeal or not has been questioned: the Greek Fathers, and the Church of Florence, generally maintain the negative, and the Latins assert it on better grounds.  S. Thomas adopts the opinion of many of the Fathers, who explain the worm to denote the remorse of conscience.  Yet many take it to be a worm, though not like those with which we are acquainted.  Horreo vermem mendacem et mortem vivacem.  S. Bern. cons. v.  See S. Jer.  Is. lxvi.  A. Lap.  S. Greg. Dial. iv. 29.  S. Aug. De C. xx. 10.  S. Amb. vii. in Lu. xiv.  C. Fire and the worm of conscience are both eternal.  W. The punishment at least is such, and more intense than we can conceive.

 

Ver. 21.  Wife.  The virtuous never approved of divorcing any but the incorrigible.  C. Dis.

 

Ver. 27.  Man.  The Jews in general embraced the married state in their youth.  S. Paul prefers virginity.  1 Cor. vii. 8.

 

Ver. 28.  Hateful.  To marry such a cone would be an occasion of divorce, which is always odious.

 

Ver. 29.  Groanings, in child-bed, and (C.) during thy infancy.  M.  Job iv. 4.

 

Ver. 33.  Priests.  Gr. “priest, and give him the portion which is enjoined thee, the first-fruit, and for negligence, and the gift of the shoulders, and the,” &c. v. 35.  H. Arms.  That is, with all thy power: or else by arms (brachiis) are here signified the right shoulders of the victims, which by the law fell to the share of the priests.  See v. 35. (Ch.) Ex. xxix. 28.  Lev. vii. 22.

 

Ver. 34.  Few offerings, if thou be poor.  Sa. Be alone with the priest when thou dost confess, and imitate the small number.

 

Ver. 36.  Poor.  They and Levites are always to be invited.  Deut. xii. 19. and xiv. 26.

 

Ver. 37.  Dead: detained in purgatory.  W. And restrain not grace from the dead.  Withhold not from them the benefit of alms, prayers, and sacrifices.  Such was the doctrine and practice of the Church of God, even in the time of the Old Testament.  And the same has always been continued from the days of the apostles in the Church of the New Testament.  Ch. Meat was also placed on the tombs of the deceased, for the benefit of the poor.  Tob. iv. 18.  S. Aug. Conf. vi. 2.

 

Ver. 38.  Walk.  Gr. “mourn.”  H. It was customary to join those who mourned for the dead, and to offer them meat, and endeavour to comfort them.  C. Diss.

 

Ver. 39.  Love, being approved both by God and man.

 

Ver. 40.  End.  Gr. “things;” death, judgment, and either hell or heaven.  H. This consideration is a powerful preservative against sin.  W. For who would dare to offend his judge, if he believed that the next moment he would be arraigned before his dreadful tribunal?  C. “We die daily,” &c.  S. Jer. ad Heliod.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 8

 

CHAPTER VIII.

 

Ver. 2.  Bring.  Gr. “overweigh thee,” (H.) or turn the balance of the judge (C.) against thee, by  money, (H.) which sometimes will corrupt kings.  It is better, therefore, to avoid all law-suits.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Fire.  v. 13.  Prov. xxvi. 20.  Such contests are full of danger.

 

Ver. 5.  Family.  Or “ancestors.”  They will be accused of having neglected thy education.  People generally associate with those of the like dispositions.

 

Ver. 13.  Sinners.  Gr. “a sinner, lest thou be burnt in the fire of his flame, when he shall be enraged.  H. This is not the time for reprehension.  C. The envoys of Ezechias prudently answered nothing to Rabsaces.  S. Jer. in Is. xxxvi. Useless correction must be avoided.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Words.  Thus the Pharisees attacked our Saviour.  Matt. xxii. 15.  In popular assemblies it is dangerous, but sometimes requisite to oppose bold declaimers.  C. ix. 25.

 

Ver. 16.  Power.  Thou must consider the debt as thy own.  Prov. vi. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Love.  Gr. “keep the word secret.  21) Do no hidden thing before a stranger.”  H. The skilful alone must be consulted.  W.

 

Ver. 22.  Evil.  Gr. “false kindness.”  The rest is omitted.  H. Samson was undone by Dalilia.  When Pompey was going on an embassy, he was taken by king Gentius, who wished to extort his secret from him; but he put his finger in the flame of a candle, that he might see that all his attempts would be fruitless.  V. Max. iii. 3.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 9

 

CHAPTER IX.

 

Ver. 1.  Lest.  “A husband should teach his wife to be chaste by his own example.”  Lact. Relig. vi.

Ipse miser docui quo posset ludere pacto

                        Custodes eheu! nunc premor arte meâ.  Tibul.

 

Ver. 4.  Dancer.  Gr. “musician, lest,” &c.  H. The same person is often given to both music and dancing, (M.) and these arts are very dangerous.  Met. xiv. 6. The dances in the East were more licentious than ours.

 

Ver. 5.  Gaze.  It is not always possible to avoid seeing them; but the greatest caution is requisite.  Job xxxii. 1.  Mat. v. 28.  C. Jealousy and all dangerous occasions must be avoided.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Streets.  Gr. “retired parts,” where bad women dwell.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Up.  Gr. “of a fine appearance.”  Grabe substitutes, “who has found favour.”  H. The Fathers condemn too much dressing as a mark of levity and incontinence.

 

Ver. 12.  Nor, &c. is also admitted in many copies, though found in the Comp. and Ald edit.  C. Grabe replaces it on the authority of Clem. (Pæd. ii. 7.) as he does many other passages, which are erroneously left out in several editions.  Prolog. t. 4. c. 3.  It would therefore be injurious to the word of God, if we were always to reject the additions in the Vulg. which are not in the Vat. Gr. copy; and they must not all at least be considered as interpolations.

 

Ver. 16.  Envy not.  If thou hast faith and wisdom, thou wilt rather dread his punishment.  Ps. xxxvi. 1. and Prov. iii. 31.  C. He is like a summer flower, that is quickly cut down.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Wrong.  Gr. “applauses of the unjust.  Remember that they will not be justified even to hell.”  H. The world itself will finally approve only of virtue.  C. The wicked will be condemned both by God and man.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  It.  Gr. “Know what thou art…walking on the pinnacles of the city.”  H. The same sense is given in the Vulg. as people walking among armed men in a rage, are exposed to imminent danger.  M.

 

Ver. 21.  Beware.  Gr. “aim at.”  Examine the person to whom thou intrusteth a secret.

 

Ver. 24.  Artificers.  All strive to excel in their profession.

 

Ver. 25.  Hateful.  Satirists are dangerous.  C.

Dummodo risum

                        Excutiat sibi, non cuiquam parcet amico.  Hor.  i. sat. 4.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 10

 

CHAPTER X.

 

Ver. 1.  Judge.  Gr. “instruct.”  Ch. The example of rulers is very powerful.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Therein.  Regis ad exemplum totus componitur orbis.  Claud. As a whole city is infected with the vices of princes, so it may be corrected by their good behaviour, (continentiâ.)  Cic. Leg. 3.

 

Ver. 3.  Rulers.  All who wish to live under just kings.  Prov. xxix. 4.

 

Ver. 4.  It, as he did David. Job xxxiv. 30.  Dan. ii. 20.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  The scribe.  That is, the man that is wise and learned in the law.  Ch. It also denotes an officer.  Judg. v. 14.  God must give light and success.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Injury, out of revenge.  H.  Lev. xix. 18. “Cæsar used to forget nothing but injuries.”  Cic. Ligar. This at least is the character of a great man.  S. Aug. ep. 138. and 54.

 

Ver. 7.  Men.  It invades the rights of the former, and disturbs the repose of mankind. All.  Gr. is obscure, “and from both proceeds  injustice;” (C.) or, “it shall act unjustly.”  H. Pride attacks both God and man.  Grot.

 

Ver. 8.  Deceits.  Hence kingdoms are changed.  W. The ambition and luxury of subjects (Cato) and the negligence of the rulers, bring on confusion.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. v. 13.

 

Ver. 9.  Man.  The desire of plunder, or of glory, occasions revolutions.  H. Covetousness is the root of all evils, and causes people to abandon the faith.  1 Tim. vi. 10.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Bowels, and would have no compassion for others or for himself.  Some Gr. copies leave out as far as sale, but Grabe replaces the omission from the Comp.

 

Ver. 14.  Beginning, or summit; arch.  C. Thus Lucifer and Adam fell by pride.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xii. 6.  All sin, being a contempt of God, springs from pride, (Prosper. contemp. iii. 3.) and from an inordinate self-love.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Sin, because man abandons God’s law, and falls into all misery.  W. The proud easily yield to all sorts of iniquity.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Disgraced.  Gr. “hath taken an exemplary vengeance, and hath,” &c.  H. Them, as he did the giants, Sodom, Nabuchodonosor, &c.

 

Ver. 17.  Stead.  Lu. i. 52.  C. “Thales being asked what was difficult to be seen; replied, a tyrant grown old.”  Laert. 1.

 

Ver. 18.  Nations, the Chanaanites, who submitted to the yoke: or rather the Hebrews.  C. Gr. “instead of them.”

 

Ver. 19.  Foundation: overturning Sodom, Babylon, and even Jerusalem, for their sins.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Wise.  When Diogenes was exposed to sale, and asked what he could do, he answered, “I know how to command free men.”  Laert. 6. Joseph and Daniel obtained authority by their wise conduct.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Desert.  Let not avarice deprive thee of the necessities of life, nor do any thing beneath thy dignity.  Lu. xxi. 19.

 

Ver. 33.  Glorified.  Gr. “honoured on account of his knowledge, and the rich is, ” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 34.  And.  Greek omits this sentence: (C.) yet Grabe has, And the man who is without honour in wealth, how much more so will he be in poverty?  H.  Eccle. vii. 12.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 11

 

CHAPTER XI.

 

Ver. 1.  Men.  Merit is preferable to high birth, as it surmounts difficulties.  C. Those who humble themselves, like Daniel, or fall under the oppression of others unjustly, as Joseph did, shall be exalted by God.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Look.  “The most robust is farthest removed from wisdom.”  Cicero. The beauty of the soul must be regarded.  S. Amb. Virg. 3.  C.

Forma bonum fragile est, quantumque accedit ad annos

Fit minor, et spatio carpitur ipsa suo.  Ovid, Art. 2.

 

Ver. 3.  Sweetness.  Honey was more esteemed before sugar became common.  As the little bee produces such sweetness, so the less beautiful often by their abilities surpass the comely.

 

Ver. 5.  Throne.  Gr. “pavement.”  Dionysius II. tyrant of Syracuse, was forced to turn schoolmaster at Corinth.  C. Crown.  Abdalonymus, a gardener, was placed on the throne of Sidon; (Curt. 4.) and several Roman emperors had been of the meanest condition.  Pliny xxxv. 18.  David was a shepherd.

 

Ver. 6.  Others, like Samson, Sedecias, Bajazet, &c.

 

Ver. 7.  Man, as David did Miphiboseth.  2 K. xvi. 4.  Constantine the Great grieved for having put his son Crispus to death on too weak evidence; and Theodosius repented for the sentence he had rashly passed on the inhabitants of Thessalonica.  Even though the sentence should happen to be just, it would be wrong to pronounce it too hastily.

 

Ver. 8.  Discourse.  This is a mark of impertinence.  Prov. xviii. 13.  C. Let others finish their sentence, and wait if there be any elder or better informed to speak.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Escape.  God will grant thee riches without so much solicitude (Lyran.) or rather meddle not with too many things, as that is the way to succeed in none, and destroys all repose.

 

Ver. 16.  Sinners.  They are all born in sin.  But some appear to have worse dispositions than others.  Ps. lvii. 4.  C. God is not the author of iniquity.  H. He punishes in order to save, though he be offended by the wicked choice of man.  C. Blindness of heart and obduracy are punishments of sin.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Ever.  All things work together for the good of the elect.  Rom. viii. 8.  H. God never abandons first.  Trid. Ses. vii. 11. The wicked often abuse graces.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Covenant.  All the Israelites partook in covenants entered into between God and their fathers, which became their own by circumcision, as we become entitled to the alliance of Christ by baptism.

 

Ver. 22.  Place.  If God bestow not riches, it may be for thy advantage.

 

Ver. 24.  Fruit.  Prosperity was a sign of God’s favour, under the old law.  Now nothing is more equivocal, and the poor are declared blessed.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Myself.  Neither the poor nor the rich can be independent of God.  H. Perhaps no one does to hold this language.  But many act as if they thought themselves gods, and some have claimed divine honours.  4 K. xviii. 34.  Is. xiv. 13.  Ezec. xxix. 3.

 

Ver. 28.  Death, in old age, (Grot.) or rather after the soul’s departure.  The pagans had not this consolation.  Their hopes were confined to the earth; and as they saw many honest people miserable, they introduced a chimerical idea of happiness, consisting in virtue alone.  The views of Christians are chiefly bent on future rewards.

 

Ver. 29.  Hour.  The last of life.  It demonstrates the vanity of past pleasures.  Even a momentary toothache will banish the recollection of such delights.

 

Ver. 30.  Children.  If they take wicked ways, it is a stain on their father’s memory; and though the latter were blameless, it must greatly disturb their repose.  C. Children may here denote the works of man, which can only then be pronounced perfect, when he is incapable of falling from the state of virtue.  H.

Dicique beatus

                        Ante obitum nemo supremaque funera debet.  Metam. iii.

Solon inculcated this truth to Crœsus, and when the latter was about to be burnt to death by Cyrus, he called thrice upon Solon’s name; the reason of which being told the conqueror, he took pity on the fallen king, and treated him with great respect.  Laert. 1. Plut. in Solon These sages only regarded the goods of this life.  But the Christian’s real happiness commences after death.  Mors…gratio missionis est.  S. Amb. Mort. viii.

 

Ver. 36.  Own.  So Herod destroyed his wife’s family, and Paris stole Helen.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 12

 

CHAPTER XII.

 

Ver. 1.  To whom.  All must not be admitted into the house, nor treated with marks of particular esteem.  Yet daily alms must be given without too scrupulous an enquiry.  Lu. vi. 30.  C. It would be wrong to encourage sinners, who would run to their ruin.  But we must relieve the penitent.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Lord.  Christ rewards what good is done to his poor brethren.

 

Ver. 3.  For.  Gr. (4.) “Give to the pious, and receive not the sinner, (6.) Do,” &c.  H. The gospel enjoins us to do good to all.  S. Aug. (Dort. iii. 16.) and S. Tho. (ii. 2. q. xxxii. a ix.) explain this in a spiritual sense, that we must not partake in the crimes of others.  We may also make presents to the virtuous, and pass over people of a different character, particularly when they would abuse our gifts.  The honest poor must be preserved.

 

Ver. 10.  Rusteth.  So his malice always returns, (C.) and he shews what he is.  Vat. Christianity does not blame due reserve  in treating with those whom we know not, or who have formerly injured us.  Though we must love them from our heart, yet we need not intrust our secrets to them, nor even to every friend.  Joab always retained a hatred for Abner, and Absalom for his brother and father, though they dissembled their resentment.  C. So the wicked commonly act.  H. We must love, but not trust them, being wise as serpents.  Matt. x.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Of him.  Gr. adds, “and thou shalt be to him as one who has rubbed a mirror, (of brass from the rust.  It returns perpetually.  C.) and shalt know that the rust is not removed for ever.  Grabe.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Beasts.  Vipers, &c.  Why should they familiarize themselves with such?  Some Italians still handle serpents without fear, pretending that they are the descendants of S. Paul.  C. But he was never married, (1 Cor. vii.  H.) and they are rather of the race of the Marsi, who formerly claimed the same privilege, having made use of some drugs to prevent the poison.  The ancients believed that they could charm serpents.

 

Ver. 16.  Blood.  Jer. xli. 6.  Samson yielded to the tears of women.  Judg. xiv. 16. and xvi. 6.

 

Ver. 18.  Eyes.  Is taken from v. 16.  It is not in Gr.  H. His tears are like those of crocodiles, which cry when they are going to kill a man.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 13

 

CHAPTER XIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Pride.  We are naturally prone to it, and the friendship and manners of the proud will increase it.  C. If, therefore, the rich be not virtuous, it is dangerous to keep their company, (W.) both for this and the next world.

 

Ver. 3.  Kettle.  Made of iron.  It will presently be broken.  So the poor must suffer, if they marry, or have society with those who are much above their rank.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Thou?  Distrust those who promise much.  C. Spem pretio non emo.  Ter.

 

Ver. 8.  Drawn.  Lit. “exhaust.”  H. He will feast thee, while he wants thy service, or he will come to dine with thee, and thus reduce thee to distress.  Prov. xxiii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Humbled.  By foolishly attempting to rival the sumptuous feasts of the great.  V. 9. and 11. are not in the Greek.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Wisdom.  Depend not on others’ bounty.  M. When the cause of God is at stake, be firm, like S. Paul.  C. Pusillanimity in a superior might cause him to neglect his duty.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Concerning, &c. is not expressed in Gr.  H. If a person be so weak as to disclose his secret to a great man, he will never be trusted by him.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Awake.  Be cautious even in sleep, if possible; or seem not to hear what passes at court.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Himself.  Similarity of manners and of condition is favourable to friendship.  C. The good and bad cannot be friends, their manners are so different.  Cic.

 

Ver. 21.  Lamb.  Christ has taught people of different tempers to embrace the faith, which shows his admirable power.  Is. xi. 6.

 

Ver. 25.  Away.  Ps. lxi. 4.  C. “It is human to push those who are falling.”  Cic. pro Rabir.

 

Ver. 26.  Helpers.  Who prevent his ruin, (C.) and turn his words to good sense.  M. Proud.  Gr. “what should not be disclosed,” aporrhta.  H.  C. Their “fault increases, being fed by applause.”  S. Greg. Mor. iv. 29.

 

Ver. 28.  Clouds.  People suppose that the rich must possess genius.  Hor. ii. Sat. iii. “Every one honours the rich.”  Theog.  C. Exception of persons hinders many good counsels, and promotes evil.  W.

 

Ver. 30.  Ungodly.  The abuse of riches is alone blameable.  All things are clean for the clean, while the wicked perverts every advantage.

 

Ver. 31.  Evil.  Sorrow will manifest itself.  C. Imago animi vultus.  Cic. Decorat. iii.

 

Ver. 32.  Find.  Few are perfectly sincere.  C. Gr. “a cheerful countenance is the vestige of a heart in good things, (H.  prosperity.   M.) and the discovery of parables is the effect of laborious enquiries.”  H. Study makes the countenance serious.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 14

 

CHAPTER XIV.

 

Ver. 1.  Mouth.  He is perfect.  James iii. 2.

 

Ver. 3.  Envious.  Who will neither use his wealth himself, nor bestow it.  The true use of riches is to take a sufficiency, and to relieve the poor.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Gathereth.  Gr. “taketh from his,” &c.  H. Such misers are continually derided, but will never be cured.  Eccle. ii. 18. and vi. 2.  An old proverb says, “The miser doth nothing right but when he dies.”  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Envieth.  By refusing himself the necessaries of life, he rejects God’s gifts, and scandalizes his neighbour.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Wickedness.  Persisting covetous till death, as is commonly the case.

 

Ver. 11.  Offerings.  Make a proper use of what God has bestowed.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  The covenant of hell.  The decree by which all are to go down to the regions of death, (Ch.) which hell frequently denotes.  H. Under the old law, all went down into some part of hell.  W. Hath been. Gr. “hath not,” &c.  We know not when we shall die, though all must taste of death, (H.) and therefore we must make haste to do good.  M. Shall, or “is, he shall die the death,” (Gen. ii. 17.) as the Greek has this sentence.  v. 18.  H.

Certo veniunt ordine Parcæ,

                        Nulli jusso cessare licet.  Sen. Hercul.

 

Ver. 15.  Sorrows.  Gr. “toils,” or what thou hast amassed with much care.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Take.  Alms-deeds will ensure the remission of sins.  This usury is lawful.  We must also keep up a good society with our friends.  C. Justify.  Gr. “sanctify thy soul (17.) for.”  Grabe.  H. Some read “love,” or divert thy soul by lawful amusements.  The argument is addressed to Jews and Gentiles.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Fade.  Gr. “grow old like a garment.  For the covenant from the beginning is, he shall die the death.  Like a leaf flourishing on a bushy tree.”  H. Homer has the same thought, Il. vi.

 

Ver. 20.  End.  The fruits of the Spirit are alone immortal.  v. 21.  Gal. vi. 8.

 

Ver. 27.  Glory.  As under the miraculous pillar.  Ex. xxiv. 17.  He who shall abide with wisdom shall have nothing to fear.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 15

 

CHAPTER XV.

 

Ver. 1.  Good.  Gr. “these things, and he who possess the knowledge of the law will find her,” (C.) or, “he who keeps the law, will receive her.”  Grabe.  1 Cor. iv. 20.  H. All who resolve to be virtuous, will have God’s grace, which preventeth them, and continueth to afford them assistance.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Married.  Lit. “from virginity.”  H. Those who have been espoused in youth have the most durable love for one another.  Prov. ii. 17.  Mal. ii. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  She.  Or Gr. “he shall open his mouth, (6.) he shall find joy and a crown of exultation, and shall inherit,” &c.  H. Church, or assembly of the people.  In both, the wise shall be heard with respect.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Praise.  Or Gr. “a proverb,” Prov. xvii. 7. and xxvi. 7.  C. David invites even dragons to praise God, but sinners never.  S. Chrys. orat. prebyt.  Ps. xlix. 16. The person who preaches will, and lives not accordingly, injures God.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Wisdom.  Gr. “it was not sent to him, (C.) or he was not commissioned by the Lord.  For praise shall be spoken in wisdom, and the Lord will give him success.”

 

Ver. 11.  She.  Ignorance and vice are defects, and consequently not the work of God, but of the perversion of free-will.  See Jam. i. 13.  Ezec. xxxiii. 11.  S. Aug. Grat. &. lib. ii.  C. Beza says, that God ordained Adam’s fall, but for a good end; and decreed justly what men unjustly perform, (ref. Castel. ii.) which is refuted here, and Deut. vii. 11. &c.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Counsel.  Many explain this of Adam, before his fall, when he stood not in need of asking continually for God’s assistance.  S. Aug. correp. ii. n. 35. But if we examine the context, it shews that man, in his present state, is declared inexcusable if he yield to sin, as he has still free-will, which may avoid it, with the grace of God, (C.) which is always ready to support us.  Gr. subjoins, (v. 16.) “if thou wilt, thou shall keep the commandments, even to execute faithfully the good pleasure.  (17.) He.” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Precepts.  These would never be imposed, if man were not free.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  And fire.  Or, good and evil, as the Vulg. explains it, (v. 18.) though the Gr. be silent.  H. The law written on the heart, as well as on the tables of stone, shews man his duty; and he has free-will to comply with it.  Deut. xxx. 15.  Jer. xxi. 8.  C. He may enjoy every advantage of life, denoted by these two elements.  Lyr.

An quod in his vitæ causa est, hæc perdidit exul

His nova fit conjux; hæc duo magna putant.  Ovid, Fast. 4.

 

Ver. 21.  Commanded.  He only permitted the wickedness of Semei, (2 K. xvi. 10.) and the persecutors of his people, whose hearts are already bent on evil.  S. Aug. Grat. & lib. xx.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 16

 

CHAPTER XVI.

 

Ver. 1.  Rejoice.  Gr. “desire not an useless multitude of children,” &c.

 

Ver. 2.  Labours.  All will end in ruin which springs from corruption.  H. Achab and Gedeon had seventy sons, but all were presently exterminated, while Abraham had a numerous posterity by his son Isaac.

 

Ver. 7.  Out.  They shall perish by civil and foreign wars, (C.) and by God’s indignation.  Deut. xxxii. 23.  H. They who yield to the fire of concupiscence, will feel God’s wrath for ever.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Of their word, is not in Gr. but may imply the effrontery of the Sodomites, who were not ashamed of openly professing their brutality.  Ezec. xvi. 49.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Six hundred thousand footmen, &c.  Viz. the children of Israel, whom he sentenced to die in the wilderness.  Num. xiv. (Ch.) Ex. xii. 37.

 

Ver. 14.  Off.  The virtuous shall be rewarded.  Rom. ii. 6.  Gr. “the patience of the impious shall not delay.”  He shall soon be punished, (H.) while he who gives only a cup of cold water to the poor, shall find a recompense.  Matt. x.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  And, &c. is not in Gr. the different editions of which vary.  C. Instead of this sentence, Grabe inserts from the Comp. “the Lord hardened Pharao, that he might not know him, that his surprising works might be manifest under heaven.  To every creature his mercy is evident, and he has divided his light from darkness with adamant.  H. His counsels are unsearchable, and the good are entirely separated from the reprobate.  1 Tim. vi. 16.  Lu. xvi. 26.

 

Ver. 16.  High.  God would not be God if he were indifferent about virtue.  None of his creatures can be beneath his notice.  All the world is but like a drop of water to him.  Is. xl 15. 22.  He cannot be distracted.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  And.  Gr. “his ways.”  v. 21.  H. God’s threats and promises touch not the sinner.

 

Ver. 22.  Testament.  The law, or the judgment, which God shall pronounce.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  And their.  The heavenly bodies continue their courses, (Grot.  Jans.) and all things still subsist, (H.) being formed and preserved by an intelligent being.  He refutes the epicureans.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Be.  Gr. “they shall not disobey his order for ever.”  H. After the sun, &c. had been regulated on the fourth day, God set in order sublunary things.  v. 30.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Forth, the glory and power of God upon the earth.  Ch. Before.  Gr. “hath covered its (the earth’s) face, and into it,” &c.  H. All living creatures shall return to dust.  Ps. ciii. 29.  C. Rational and brute creatures praise God by answering the ends designed by him.  W.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 17

 

CHAPTER XVII.

 

Ver. 1.  And made.  This is transposed in Gr. to the end of the third verse.  H. The creation of other things had been specified before.  Man was designed to be immortal, and was made like to God in his soul, which is spiritual, intelligent, &c.  But sin caused his days to be shortened.  C. By original sin, he lost the justice which he had at first received.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Dominion.  This is greatly diminished since the fall.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Evil.  Man has understanding, and may merit, which brutes cannot.

 

Ver. 7.  Hearts.  God will bring them to judgment, and has given them a law.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Life.  The observance of which will insure life both now and for ever.  Rom. x. 5.  This was the peculiar privilege of Israel, (C.) though the natural law had the same effect, and God had left none without sufficient light.  H. The law was for a trial of obedience.  Gen. ii.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Everlasting.  The gospel has perfected or fulfilled the law.  Matt. v. 17.

 

Ver. 11.  Saw.  When he gave the law on Mount Sinai.  Ch.  Ex. xx. 18. Voice.  Thunder.  Ps. xxviii. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Neighbour.  Of whom the second table, or the seven last precepts of the law, speak.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Eyes.  He conducted them in the pillar, and always watched over them.  Gr. Rom. adds, “their ways are bent on evils from youth, and he could not.”  Comp. “for every man is bent on evils from youth, and they could not from stony hearts make them fleshy, (Ezec. xxxvi. 26.  C.) for in the division of the nations of all the earth (14.) over,” &c.  Grabe.

 

Ver. 15.  God.  Comp. adds, “he nourishes him as his first-born with instruction, and dividing the light of love, he does not abandon him.”  H. But the Rom. edit. agrees with us.  God declared himself king of Israel, (C.) and its guardian, while he intrusted other nations to angels.  Orig.  S. Aug.  Ps. cxxxviii.  Glossa.  Deut. xxxii. 8.

 

Ver. 16.  Ways.  He suffers them not to follow their own inclinations, like the Gentiles; but chastises them if they have done wrong.  Acts xiv. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Covenants.  Gr. “injustices were not concealed from him, and all,” &c.  H. God.  Complutensian adds, “but the Lord being good, and knowing his work, neither left nor abandoned them, still sparing them.”  Heb. xiii. 5.  H. This is a gloss omitted in the Rom. edit.  Ps. lxxvii. 34.

 

Ver. 18.  Alms, and all good works are placed in God’s treasury, and as a ring which a person wears on his finger with the utmost care.  Jer. xxii. 24.  Cant. viii. 6. Eye.  Gr. Comp. adds, (C.) “dividing to his sons and daughters penance, (19.)  And.”  H. The Rom. and Ald. edit. agree with the Vulg. Head.  Giving a crown of glory. And shall, &c. is not in Greek.  It implies that the wicked will be punished like Core.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Offend less: minue offendicula.  That is, remove sins, and the occasions of sins.  Ch.

 

Ver. 24.  And.  Gr. “return to the Highest, and be converted from injustice, (for he shall lead from darkness to the light of health) and greatly abhor abomination.  Who shall praise the most high in hell, instead of the living, and of those who make a return of praise, or confession?  Praise perisheth from the dead, as from one who has had no being.  The living and sound of heart shall praise the Lord.  (28.) How,” &c.  H.  Ps. lxxxvii. 11.  C. We cannot merit perseverance, but must pray for it incessantly.  W.

 

Ver. 25.  Go to the side, &c.  Fly from the side of satan and sin, and join with the holy ones that follow God and godliness.  Ch. Christ is styled the father of the age to come.  Is. ix.  M.

 

Ver. 29.  Immortal.  We all stand in need of a pardon.  C. And.  Gr. (30.) “what…and it fails.  And flesh and blood shall study evil. (31.) He.”  H. We cannot exact absolute perfection from any mortal.  But still a person may be watchful, and trust in God’s mercies.  C. xviii.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 18

 

CHAPTER XVIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Together, as to their substance, though they received different forms successively, as Moses relates.  Both writers are divinely inspired.  S. Aug. de Gen. ad Lit. iv. 33.  W.  S. Tho. i. p. 974. a. 2. Some suppose that all things were really formed in an instant, and that the order described by Moses is only as we should conceive it.  Cajet. This passage only means that God alone was the creator both of the sun and of man, and without him nothing was made, (Jo. i.  Ps. xxxii. 15.) as he gave existence to all, koinh, “in common.”  C. And he.  Gr. “and there is no other besides him who steers the world with the palm of his hand.  And all things obey his will;; for he is king of all, in his might, separating what is holy among them from the profane.  (2.) He has enabled no one to,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Added.  The works speak for themselves, though man be silent.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Begin.  God is so great and incomprehensible, that when an has done all that he can to find out his greatness and boundless perfections, he is still to begin: for what he has found out, is but a mere nothing, in comparison of his infinity.  Ch. It is best to adore him in silence and humility.  C.

Ver. 7.  Grace.  Gr. “utility.”  H. Evil.  What can man do for or against God?  Job xxii. 3.  Ps. xv. 2.

 

Ver. 8.  Years.  Seneca fixes on the same number; (Brev. Vitæ. 3.) Macrobius on seventy, for the life of man; which nearly agrees with the author of Ps. lxxxix. 10.  H. It seldom happens that people exceed 70, or 100 years.  But what is this compared with eternity?  C. Gr. “a hundred years are many…so are a thousand years in the day of the age,” or of aiwnoV, eternity.  H.  Ps. lxxxix. 4. and  2 Pet. iii. 8.

 

Ver. 9.  Them.  Human misery calls forth God’s pity.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Flesh.  It is infinite and disinterested.  Man assists his neighbour expecting a recompense, and remembering that he may be distressed.

 

Ver. 14.  Judgments.  To execute his orders.  Here ends the discourse begun c. xiv. 22.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Complaint.  Gr. “reproach.”  H. The manner of giving, enhances the value of the gift, or even surpasses it.  C.

Super omnia vultus

                        Accessere boni, nec iners pauperque voluntas.  Met. 8.

 

Ver. 20.  Medicine.  This is more requisite and easy to do in the maladies of the soul, which are brought on by our own fault.  Principiis obsta.  C. Mercy.  Greek, “propitiation in the hour of visitation,” (H.) or punishment.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Sick.  Rom. Gr. adds, “by abstinence, and in the time of sins, manifest a conversion.”  H. If we take precautions to avoid illness, why should we neglect the concerns of our soul? Conversation, or good conduct.

 

Ver. 22.  Always.  These admirable maxims seem copied from the gospel.  Lu. xviii. 1.  C. The same spirit dictated all the Scriptures.  H. Those pray always who neglect not this duty at proper times, and are always resolved to do so.  S. Aug. ep. 121. q. ad Prob.  W. Gr. “be not hindered from performing thy vow in good time, and wait not to be justified, (H.) or to put it in execution till death.  Deut. xxiii. 21.  Before thou takest a vow,” &c.  Examine well if thou intend to perform it.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  God.  Can we expect that he will hear what we do not ourselves?  To approach his majesty, without repentance and attention, is presumptuous.  We must ask God to open our lips, and do what lies in us.  Trid.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Face, saying to the reprobate, Depart, &c.  C. vii. 40.  Matt. xxv. 41.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Riches.  By their good use, lay up a treasure in heaven, and be always humble.  C. xi. 27.

 

Ver. 26.  God.  All things continually change.  C. Rotam volubili orbe versamus.  Boet. cons. 2. Reflect on Aman and Mardochai.  C.

Quem dies vidit veniens superbum,

                        Hunc dies vidit fugiens jacentem.  Sen. Thyeste.

 

Ver. 27.  Thing.  Mindful of the reverse of fortune.  C. xi. 30.  Prov. xxviii. 14.  C. Sloth, and repent.  Greek adds, “the fool will not observe the season.”  H.

 

Ver. 28.  Her.  It is a rare thing to discern and give due praise to merit.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  And judgments.  Gr. “full of accuracy.”  Some add the title “restraint of the soul.”  H.

 

Ver. 31.  Enemies.  This motive will make the most impression on those who are slaves to their passions.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Small.  Lit. “nor in those which are small.”  H. Composed of the meanest citizens.  Quarrels and sin are there almost inevitable.  C. Gr. “rejoice not in high living; nor beg for its symbol,” (H.) or feast, in which each person contributed his share, sumbolh, as the next verse implies.  C. Symbolum dedit, cænavit.  Ter. And.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 19

 

CHAPTER XIX.

 

Ver. 1.  Little.  Small expenses, often repeated, will ruin an estate, (H.) and the neglect of venial sins is of the most dangerous consequence.  C. The best way to avoid great faults, is to guard against small ones.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Off.  From God (C.) and religion.  See Gen. xix. 33. and 2 K. xi. 1.  Os. iv. 11.

 

Ver. 3.  Number.  Of the living.  H. The venereal disease seems to be described.

 

Ver. 4.  Credit.  To harlots.  1 Cor. vi. 18.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Hateth.  Gr. “resisteth pleasure, shall crown his life.  He who guardeth his tongue, shall live without contention: and he,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  He.  Gr. omits this explication of the preceding verse.

 

Ver. 8.  Not.  Only to God and his minister.  Friends do not require to be informed of such things.  Gr. “disclose not the conduct of others.” Be.  Gr. “be not.”  Do not boast of sins which thou hast not committed, (C.) as S. Aug. did before his conversion.  H. But the Vulg. seems preferable.  C. In ordinary conversation to reveal our faults would be dangerous, but not in confession, or in religious orders, for advancement in virtue.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Hate thee.  Whether thou hast spoken of thy own or of others’ faults, he will distrust thee.

 

Ver. 10.  Burst thee.  Like poison, or as new wine (C.) does a leathern bottle.  H. This expression well implies the eagerness which some manifest to divulge a secret injurious to their neighbour.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Understood.  Gr. “done it.”  H. For want of coming to a timely explanation, many friendships are broken, owing to groundless surmises.

 

Ver. 15.  Committed.  Or “a false report,” commissio.  C. Gr. “a foolish calumny.”  H. Monere et moneri proprium est veræ amicitiæ.  Cic.

 

Ver. 17.  Him.  Gentle means must be first tried.  Matt. xviii. 15.  Gal. vi. 1.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Place.  Love true piety.  C. Disposition.  Gr. “complying with.”  H. The Complut. has several additions which are not in the Rom. edit.  C. Grabe inserts them.  But it is not necessary to mark here every such variation.  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Unjust.  S. James (iii. 15.) describes true and false wisdom.  Rom. xvi. 19.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Wickedly.  Gr. “in black,” (H.) wearing the robes of mourning.  Grot.

 

Ver. 24.  And.  Gr. “there,” &c.  H. The hypocrite abstains from exterior crimes, only through fear.  C. False pretence of piety, is hypocrisy; and it is wrong for a superior to reveal his secret faults to his subjects.  Reason must direct.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Countenance.  Yet this is not always the case.  v. 28.  We may sometimes condemn a person unjustly, on such outward appearances.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Lying.  Gr. “a reproof which is not seemly; and there is one,” &c.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 20

 

CHAPTER XX.

 

Ver. 1.  Prayer.  A friend’s excuses must be heard.  C. Gr. “and he who apologises shall be preserved from ruin.”  Grabe adds, “how good it is for one who has been rebuked,” &c. v. 4.  H. Thus the guilty merit pardon, and the innocent obtain a greater reward, and satisfy for former offences.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Maiden.  Or “woman,” (H.) who has been entrusted to his care.  M. Such people are not free from concupiscence, which must be restrained by the virtue of chastity.  S. Aug. c. Jul. vi. 14.

 

Ver. 8.  Hated.  As the pests of society.  See Cic. off. 1.

 

Ver. 9.  Loss.  The prosperity of the wicked must not be envied.  Ps. xxxviii. 1, 8.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Glory.  Galba “would have been universally deemed worthy of the empire, if he had not reigned.”  Tacit. Hist. 1. Adrian VI. thought the pontificate the greatest misfortune to which he had been exposed; and this observation ws engraven on his tomb. Estate.  By merit.

 

Ver. 12.  Sevenfold.  As the merchandise was good for nothing, which the miser had obtained for a little money, thinking to save thereby.

 

Ver. 13.  Graces.  Or favours bestowed with ill-nature.

 

Ver. 14.  Sevenfold.  He expects more.  C. His intention is full of guile, who flattereth and detracteth for the sake of gain.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Much.  As Dido did.  “This is to make a display of favours to excite hatred.”  Sen. Ben.

 

Ver. 16.  Hateful.  He seems to distrust you, and will not permit his goods to be of any service.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Have.  Gr. “say I have,” &c. His.  Gr. “my,” as also v. 18.  H. Such is the language of the fool.

 

Ver. 19.  That, &c.  Riches and poverty are both wrong to misers and fools.  Gr. “he had as well be without any thing.”  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Pavement.  It is equally destructive.

 

Ver. 21.  Grace, (acharis) impolite and importunate.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Shall.  Gr. adds, “not.”  Yet if a person has had the will to offend, he must repent, though the could not put it in execution.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  Himself.  Being afraid to beg for necessaries, or given too much.

 

Ver. 25.  Nothing.  People are always displeased, when a promise is broken.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Man.  “It is the vice of slaves.”  Arist. Ethic.

 

Ver. 27.  Lying.  He exposes honour and virtue, without making restitution.  C. He throws all into confusion, and we can trust him with nothing.  M.

 

Ver. 29.  A.  Gr. adds a title, “discourses of proverbs.”

 

Ver. 30.  And…exalted, is not in Gr. but explains the meaning of the former sentence. Escape.  Gr. “obtain pardon for iniquity.”  H. The great will protect him.

 

Ver. 31.  Make.  Gr. “like a bit in the mouth, remove corrections.”  Ex. xxiii. 8.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Both?  He who, through a false humility refuses to take charge of others, resembles a man who locks up his corn in time of scarcity.  S. Greg. Part. iii. 26.  Matt. xxv.  C. Wisdom must be shewn for the benefit of others.  W.

 

Ver. 33.  Folly.  He may still appear to have some sense, and injures none. It is convenient to conceal faults, provided they be amended.  W.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 21

 

CHAPTER XXI.

 

Ver. 1.  Thee.  The just may offend: but the wicked relapse continually.

 

Ver. 2.  Hold.  Gr. “bite,” (C.) in the same sense.  M. Serpents sting in secret: so all sins inveigle the soul.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Lion.  Yet only those are hurt, who consent to sin.  The devil may go round about, (1 Pet. v. 8.) and tempt; (C.) he cannot bit, except a man willingly expose himself, and come near.  v. 2.

 

Ver. 4.  Remedy.  In man.  H. Only the sovereign physician can cure it.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Riches.  As they make enemies arise.  Gr. subjoins, “so the house of the proud shall be made desolate.”  H. Roboam lost ten tribes by an insolent answer, and the Tarquins were expelled for their pride.

 

Ver. 6.  Speedily.  God is the protector of the poor.  Ps. x. 5.

 

Ver. 7.  Sinner.  He rejects all medicines.  How shall he be cured?  C. They who fear God, will examine their actions when they are warned.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  By him.  And to avoid his reproaches.  Gr. “knoweth when he is ruined.”  H. He is more reserved, and escapes the dangers of talkativeness.

 

Ver. 9.  Winter.  This season is unfit for building; so the man who borrows, may be forced to pay again (C.) before it is convenient for him.  H. Injustice will bring on ruin.  Jer. xxiii. 13.  Some Gr. copies have, “stones for a heap over his tomb,” as Achan and Absalom were treated.  Reputation, or goods ill-acquired, will not continue long.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Fire.  All their grandeur will end in smoke.  H. Mal. iv. 1.  Matt. xiii. 30.

 

Ver. 11.  Stones.  It is broad and easy.  Matt. vii.

 

Ver. 12.  Thereof.  Practice makes perfect.  A painter may produce a better piece by this means, than one who is more acquainted with theory, (C.) and neglects it.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Bitterness.  True wisdom promotes the general good.

 

Ver. 16.  Of life.  Which never fails.  Jo. iv. 14. and vii. 38.

 

Ver. 20.  Church.  Or assembly, Job xxix. 11. 21.  C. All good people dislike senseless talk, and approve of what is edifying.  W.

 

Ver. 21.  Fool.  All is in confusion, like a heap of ruins.

 

Ver. 22.  Hand.  He esteems instruction burdensome.

 

Ver. 23.  Low.  A smiling countenance is commendable, but loud laughter is to be avoided.  Clem. Pæd. ii. 5. It causes too great a change, (Plato, Rep. 3.) and is a mark of folly.  Eccle. vii. 5.  S. Aug. c. Acad. ii. 2.

 

Ver. 25.  House.  And meddles with the concerns of others.  C. Of the mighty, is not in Gr.  The wise will not easily receive  invitations.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Window.  Gr. “door” with impudence.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Heart.  Understanding.  H. The wise speak with reflection.  Prov. xvi. 23.

 

Ver. 30.  While the ungodly, &c.  He condemneth and curseth himself; inasmuch as by sin he takes part with the devil, and is, as it were, his member and subject.  Ch. In vain does he lay the blame of his sins on the devil.  v. 3.  C. He condemns himself by imitating the wicked.  Lu. xix.  W.

 

Ver. 31.  By all.  Gr. “in the neighbourhood.”  The rest is omitted.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 22

 

CHAPTER XXII.

 

Ver. 1.  Sluggard.  Who neglects his own and others’ welfare.  C. Disgrace.  He is still despised here, and punished eternally.  Matt. xxv. 30.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Pelted.  Gr. “compared to a lump of dung.”  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Loss.  “I wish,” said Augustus, “I had never married, or that I had died without children.”  Suet.

 

Ver. 4.  Inheritance.  Her wisdom and economy.  Prov. xxxi. 29.  Women had no inheritance among the Jews, when they had brothers.

 

Ver. 5.  Bold.  In speaking and acting without restraint.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Mourning.  S. Jer. (ep. ad Julian) quoting this sentence, calls it “divine Scripture.”  Prov. xxv. 20. Of time.  Or “stripes and instruction well-timed, are wisdom.”  H. Only the wise know how to correct with advantage.

 

Ver. 7.  Fool.  Who is incapable of understanding.  Those who have sense may be corrected, though they may have taken evil courses.

 

Ver. 9.  This?  The Athenian philosophers and Festus derided S. Paul.  Acts xvii. 32.

 

Ver. 10.  For the fool.  In the language of the Holy Ghost, he is styled a fool that turns away from God to follow vanity and sin.  And what is said by the wise man against fools is meant of such fools as these.  Ch. Their wicked life is worse than death.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Day.  There was a longer time assigned for great men.  Gen. l. 3.  Num. xx. 30. and Deut. xxxiv. 8. Life.  This is understood of those who have lost all reason, or sense of religion.  S. Monica wept for her son, hoping that he would repent, as a certain bishop had comforted her.  S. Aug. Conf. iii. ult.

 

Ver. 17.  Lead?  Gold alone is heavier.  But the fool is compared with lead, and is most insupportable.

 

Ver. 19.  Wood.  Such were used in the walls of Jerusalem, (4 Mac. ii.) and of the temple and palace.  3 K. vi. 36. and vii. 12.

 

Ver. 21.  Cost.  Of lime.  C. Gr. omits this comparison, as well as the 23d verse.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Not fear.  This seems contrary to what goes before.  But fools are sometimes intrepid even to harshness.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Resentment.  Or “sense,” (H.) by means of pungent reprimands.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Away, (Gr.) Lit. “will knock them down,” dejiciet.  H. Deliberate provocations (v. 27.) are pardoned with more difficulty than a sudden impulse of wrath.  v. 26.  On such occasions we may withdraw our confidence, but not our charity and patience.  Matt. v. 11.  C. A true friend will not be lost for a temporal damage; but he must not be slighted.  W.

 

Ver. 29.  Inheritance.  Gr. adds, “for poverty is not always contemptible, nor is the senseless rich worthy of admiration.”  H.

 

Ver. 32.  Of him.  Yet I will not follow their example.  C. If my friend has behaved ill to me, he will be the greatest sufferer.  H.

 

Ver. 33.  Not.  Ps. cxl. 3.  Who can sufficiently guard his tongue?  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 23

 

CHAPTER XXIII.

 

Ver. 1.  By them.  Viz. the tongue and the lips, mentioned in the last verse of the foregoing chapter.  Ch. We cannot resist of ourselves, and must therefore pray to God.  W. We have need of a good master to correct our eagerness in speaking.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Ignorances, &c.  That is, that the scourges and discipline of wisdom may restrain the ignorances, that is, the slips and offences which are usually committed by the tongue and the lips.  Ch. The tongue is a restless evil.  Jam. iii. 8.

 

Ver. 3.  Over me.  The noblest motives are not always proposed first.

 

Ver. 5.  Eyes.  God never makes such presents, but he permits us to fall in punishment of former transgressions.  C. Coveting.  Gr. “from thy servants all giant-like affection.  Vain hopes and desires remove from me; and thou shalt possess him who wishes to serve thee without ceasing.”  Grabe.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Foolish, (infrunitæ) is used in this sense by Seneca.  C. Greek has not this epithet.  The title, “instruction of the mouth,” follows, (H.) to v. 20.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Them.  Gr. Alex. has only (9.) “swearing, (10.) and have not a custom of naming the Most High.”  Other editions have “the holy one.”  H. Rash and false oaths are forbidden.  Jer. iv.  Matt. v.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Sin.  “No swearing is secure.”  S. Aug. Slaves were forced to confess the truth by torments; free-men took an oath; and priests gave their word.  Plut. Prob.

 

Ver. 13.  Dissemble.  Gr. “despise.”  He will be punished, at least, by God.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  In vain.  Without a design to execute, (Grot.) or through levity, or rather falsely.  Ex. xxiii. 1.  Deut. v. 11.

 

Ver. 15.  Opposite.  Or equal.  Gr. “clothed with death.”  He denotes blasphemy, (Lev. xxiv. 14.) or the invitation to idolatry, (Deut. xiii. 1.) or calumny.  v. 17.  Lev. xix. 12.  C. In oaths God is called to witness, as being unable to deceive.  But blasphemy attributes to him or to others what does not belong to them.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Merciful.  Or true believers, Assideans.  1 Mac. ii. 42.

 

Ver. 17.  Of sin.  A Hebrew idiom, to imply something criminal.  Those who have laid aside shame, are capable of any wickedness.

 

Ver. 18.  Men.  Treat thy parents with no less regard, (C.) even though thou shouldst be exalted in dignity.  Lyr. Thus thou wilt be rewarded, (C.) of if thou transgress, wilt be brought to judgment.  Bossuet. Gr. “thou shalt sit,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 19.  Nativity.  Wish not that thou hadst not been born of such parents.  Grot.

 

Ver. 20.  Life.  For who will admonish him?

 

Ver. 21.  Two.  The first is a passionate man, (v. 22.) the second a libertine, (v. 23.) and the third an adulterer.  v. 25.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Hot.  With any furious passion, (Vat.) or anger, (C.) avarice, (W.) or lust.  M.

 

Ver. 23.  Mouth.  Gr. “body.” Fire.  Shameful disease will come upon him.  C. xix. 3.  His brutal passion will never be satiated.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Sweet.  He is not delicate in his choice.  H. All obstacles increase his irregular desires.  Prov. ix. 17.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  And.  Gr. “the eyes of men are his dread.”  H. Such is the folly of the adulterer!

 

Ver. 30.  And he.  Gr. “and where,” &c.  He shall be stoned.  Lev. xx. 10.  C. Taken.  Gr. subjoins (v. 32.) “so,” &c.  H. If carnal adultery be thus punished, how much more will spiritual adultery, schism, and apostacy from the Catholic religion?  W.

 

Ver. 38.  Shall.  Gr. “that thou shouldst be taken under his protection.”  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 24

 

CHAPTER XXIV.

 

Ver. 1.  Wisdom.  Gr. title, “the praise of wisdom.”  Here the book of Ecclesiastes is imitated.  H. See also Prov. viii. and Wisd. vii. 24. and viii. 1.  The pagans boasted of their philosophy.  But it was not to be compared with the true religion, which the Israelites possessed. Own self.  Lit. “soul.”  She alone is capable of this office.  C. In God.  Referring all the glory to him.  M. This sentence is not in Gr.  H. The second person of the Trinity proclaims his own praises.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Power.  The temple, rather than in the schools of Athens.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  And.  Gr. (5.) “I came out of the mouth of the Highest, (6.) and as,” &c.  H. He alludes to the darkness which covered the earth.  Gen. i. 2.  Job xxxviii. 9.  Many explain this of the uncreated wisdom, born in the womb of the blessed Virgin; and the Church, in her office, applies it to her in a mystical sense.  But it seems literally to refer to the wisdom and grace granted to the saints, which enlightens every man, and presides over the creation.

 

Ver. 7.  Cloud.  Guiding the Israelites (Ex. xiii. 21.) or near the throne of God.  Wisd. ix. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Penetrated.  Gr. “walled in.”

 

Ver. 11.  By.  Gr. “with all,” &c.  H. Lord.  Israel was chosen gratuitously.  C. Gr. of whom?

 

Ver. 12.  Rested.  Gr. “gave rest to my tent.”  H. So Virgil says, requierun. flumina cursus.  M. God offers grace, but forces none to accept of it.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  And take, &c. is not in Gr.  H. This may be explained of the true religion, or (C.) of the word of the Father.  S. Aug. Trin. i. 12. In the Church only is effectual grace, (W.) or none will receive it, who refuses to hear the Church.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Created.  Or engendered.  Prov. viii. 22. Him.  As his priestess, directing all the ministers of the temple.  C. Christ is begotten by the understanding, and the Holy Ghost proceeds from love.  Creation is not here taken strictly.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  His.  Gr. “of his inheritance, (17.) I,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  Sion.  Beyond the Jordan.  Gr. “Hermon.”  Deut. iv. 48.

 

Ver. 18.  Cades-barne.  Num. xx. 1.  Gr. “Engaddi,” (C.) or Rom. and Alex. edit. “on the sea shore.”  H.

 

Ver. 19.  In the streets, in not in Gr.  C. Grabe inserts, by the waters.  H. These trees flourish most in such situations, and people delighted to walk under them in hot countries.

 

Ver. 20.  Myrrh.  Which distills through the bark, without any incision.

 

Ver. 21.  Onyx.  A shell-fish in the Indies, which feeds on the spica nardi, and hence becomes odoriferous. Aloes, (gutta) the finest myrrh. Not cut.  Gr. “in a tent.” And my, &c. is not in Gr.  Wisdom is compared to what was most esteemed.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Honour.  Rich and pleasant.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  I, &c.  Grabe restores this verse, and, instead of the next, has, “but I am given to all my children, being born myself for ever, to those who are specified by him.  (26.) Come,” &c.  H. The text seems to be corrupt.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Life.  Christ declares himself to be, the way, the truth, and the life.

 

Ver. 27.  Spirit.  Greek, “remembrance.”  It has not the following verse.

 

Ver. 29.  Thirst.  Without being ever disgusted.  Jo. iv. 13.  C. Experience of carnal delights is quite the reverse.  S. Greg. hom. xxxvi.  Ev. The more grace a person has, the more he desireth and receiveth from God.  W.

 

Ver. 30.  Sin.  Or lose their labour.  They shall be directed in the paths of life.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  They.  Gr. “all these things are the book of the covenant of the most high God, the law which Moses gave unto us, an inheritance to the synagogues of Jacob.”  Grabe puts in a different character from the Compl. “Lose not strength in the Lord, but stick to him, that he may strengthen you.  The Lord Almighty is the only God, and there is no other Saviour.”  Then follows, (v. 35.) “who,” &c.  H. Everlasting.  Provided his life correspond with his doctrine.  No occupation can be more glorious.  C. Let thy Scriptures be my chaste delights: let me not be deceived in them, nor deceive others by them.  S. Aug. Conf. xi. 2.  C.  Dan. xii.  M.

 

Ver. 32.  Truth.  They are equally certain, and no more is required.  C. He that loves has fulfilled the law.  H.

 

Ver. 34.  King.  Viz. Christ, who by his gospel, like an overflowing river, hath enriched the earth with heavenly wisdom.  Ch. Ever.  The Lord (H.) is a king, (Carriers) who, &c. v. 35.  H. Solomon’s wisdom is also praised.  C. The sceptre of David remained till the captivity, and the royal family continued in esteem till Christ.  Yet David was only a figure of Christ, the eternal king.  W.

 

Ver. 35.  Phison.  Or Phase of Colchis, which rises in Armenia, like the Tigris and Euphrates, all which overflow their banks at the beginning of summer, on account of the snow melting.

 

Ver. 36.  Harvest.  The snow of Libanus make the Jordan swell at Pentecost.  Jos. iii. 15.

 

Ver. 37.  Light.  Giving to all the light of reason, and to Israel the law.  Ps. cxlvii. 20. Gehon.  Or Araxes, which descends from Armenia into the Caspian sea, though some erroneously take it to be the Nile, (C.) which overflows at the same time as the Euphrates.  Pliny xviii. 18.  Solon xlvi.

 

Ver. 38.  Of her.  Christ was the first that had perfect knowledge of heavenly wisdom.  Ch. This is the privilege of God.  Gr. “the first hath not perfect,” &c.

 

Ver. 40.  Rivers of saving waters, on all, but particularly (H.) on Judea.  v. 42.  Gr. “and like a ditch (dioryx.  C.) from a river, and as an aqueduct, I came into paradise,” (H.) like the four rivers aforesaid.  Gen. ii.

 

Ver. 44.  Off.  He alludes to the conversion of the Gentiles.

 

Ver. 45.  I will.  Many Fathers explain this of Christ’s descent into hell.  But as it occurs not in the Gr. if may be considered as the tradition of the first Christians, who gave this version, (C.) or they found it in their copies.  H.

 

Ver. 46.  Prophecy.  Of no less authority.  The prophets had ceased for some time before Christ.  C. Them.  Gr. “to ages of ages.  See,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 47.  I.  Wisdom, or the author of this book.  C. xxxiii. 18.  Wisd. vii. 13.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 25

 

CHAPTER XXV.

 

Ver. 1.  Pleased.  Wisdom still speaks.  Solomon often makes similar division, to make the deeper impression.  Prov. xxx. 15. 24.

 

Ver. 4.  Fool.  Gr. “adulterer, devoid of sense.”  Is. lxv. 20.  C. Luxuria…senectuti fœdissima.  Cic. off. i.

 

Ver. 5.  Age?  Wisdom, says Bias, “is more durable than other possessions.”  Laert.

 

Ver. 9.  Things.  Gr. “nine suppositions I have blessed in my heart,” (H.) or thought that they may confer felicity.  But the tenth will certainly do it.  C. xiv.

 

Ver. 10.  Enemies.  Not out of revenge, but for the glory of God.  See Matt. v. 43.

 

Ver. 12.  A true.  Gr. “prudence.”  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Things.  Gr. adds, “for light (15.) he that,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  It.  This is not in the edit. of Rome, or of Aldus: but it is in the rest.  Fear commonly begins the work of salvation, and love perfects it.  1 Tim. i. 5.  C. All happiness in this life is grounded on the fear of God.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Evil.  Gr. reads not this; but the Syriac does, omitting the two next verses.  C. Heresy is described under the idea of a wicked woman, concealing her malice.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Choose.  Lit. “see.”  H. Some supply “send any plague,” &c.

 

Ver. 21.  Enemies.  Which they wish, or may behold.  C. xviii. 31.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Head.  Or poison, as the Heb. rosh signifies both.  Rondet.

 

Ver. 23.  Woman.  Gr. “enemy.”  C. Revenge is the passion of little souls, and of women.  Juv. xiii. Dragon.  This is not exaggerated, if we reflect on the evils occasioned by Eve, Dalila, Athalia, &c.  C. “A woman is the greatest wild-beast.”  Menander.

 

Ver. 24.  Sackcloth.  And is black when passion bursts forth, though women too frequently conceal their anger to take deeper vengeance.

 

Ver. 25.  Groaned.  Gr. “shall fall.” Little.  Gr. “bitterly.”  He cannot avoid hearing of his wife’s misconduct.  H. She will raise him enemies on all sides.

 

Ver. 26.  Her.  I could wish no greater evil to the worst of enemies.  Eccles. vii. 27.

 

Ver. 27.  Man.  He cannot advance.  C. Semper habet lites.  Juv. vi.

 

Ver. 28.  Beauty.  Other qualifications of more importance must be regarded.  H. He should choose one who may be a companion and assistant in domestic concerns.  Grot.

 

Ver. 30.  A. Gr. “If she bring a fortune to her husband,” (H.) she will continually upbraid him with it, and cover him with confusion.  v. 29.  C. Lay-leadership in spiritual things is so unreasonable, that few heretics will endure it.  W.

 

Ver. 32.  Happy.  A lazy wife will give no content.

 

Ver. 33.  Die.  Eve tempted her husband, and thus we are all involved in sin.  1 Tim. ii. 14.

 

Ver. 34.  Water.  Incontinency.  C. xxvi. 15.  Prov. v. 15.  If water find a hole, it will presently flow away.  Women were kept much at home in the East, as they are in many parts of Europe.  C. Retirement and silence are the characteristics of a wise woman.  Æschyl. Thebas.

 

Ver. 35.  She will.  Gr. “cut her off from thy flesh.”  Grabe and Comp. add, (H.) “give a bill of divorce or her dowry, and send her away.”  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 26

 

CHAPTER XXVI.

 

Ver. 1.  Double.  Uneasiness deprives a person of much comfort.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  To a, &c. is not in Gr.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Fourth.  A jealous wife.  v. 8.

 

Ver. 6.  City.  When all are charge with a crime, or when all rise up against a man.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Woman.  Gr. adds, “against another woman.”

 

Ver. 9.  With.  Gr. “and the scourge of the tongue, which,” &c.  H. Back-biting occasions the four evils aforesaid.  Grot.

 

Ver. 10.  Woman.  When oxen move, the yoke moves also: Thus heresy will suffer none to rest.  W. The yoke ought to fit the neck, and not be fastened to the horns.  Colum. ii. 2.

 

Ver. 11.  Hid.  She will be given to debauchery.  S. Chrys.  C. Romulus ordered wives to be slain, like adulteresses, who had drunk wine at home.  V. Max. vi. 3.

 

Ver. 12.  Eye-lids.  Shewing her impudence.  2 Pet. ii. 14.  Is. iii. 16.

 

Ver. 13.  Herself.  From gazing at men.  C. Love manifests itself by the eyes.  Propert.

 

Ver. 15.  Hedge.  Or “stake,” palum, (H.) on which tents are fixed.  Gen. xxxviii. 14.  C. Fail.  Incontinence will at last ruin her health.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Bones.  The Catholic faith is the ground of all virtues.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Worth.  Lit. “exchange.”  Gr. (H.) such a wife is above all price.  M.

 

Ver. 20.  Continent. Adhering to virtue.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Holy.  Made of gold, and placed in the sanctuary.  M.

 

Ver. 23.  Soles.  Gr. “heels.”  Comp. “solid pavement.”  A long addition follows in this edition, which is inserted by Grabe, (H. but is not in the best copies.  C.) instead of the following verse.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Poverty.  The Romans provided for veteran soldiers, as Louis XIV. did with great magnificence.  C. Greenwich hospital is for the same purpose.  H. Despised.  Solomon make the same complaint.  Eccle. ix. 15.

 

Ver. 27.  To sin.  He is less excusable, as he knows what he abandons.  Jer. ii. 12.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Two.  Gr. “scarcely is a merchant exempt from negligence, and the seller of wine, and eatables, (Grot.) or retailer (Voss. kaphloV) shall not be justified from sin.”  H. Negligence.  That is, from the neglect of the service of God: because the eager pursuit of the mammon of this world, is apt to make men of that calling forget the great duties of loving God above all things, and their neighbours as themselves. A huckster.  Or a retailer of wine.  Men of that profession are both greatly exposed to danger of sin themselves, and are too often accessary to the sins of others.  Ch. Lips.  Innkeepers talk too much to please, and thus fall into danger.  Prov. x. 19.  W. They are also exposed to lying, (M.) and to adulterate their merchandise.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 27

 

CHAPTER XXVII.

 

Ver. 1.  Poverty.  Gr. “the indifferent thing,” as the Stoics represented money.  C. vii. 20. Sinned.  Hence proceeds the danger to which little merchants are exposed.  Involuntary povery is very miserable.  Prov. xxx. 9

 

Ver. 2.  Fast.  Anacharsis styled “the market-place the receptacle of mutual cheating.”  Laert. 1. The seller praises his goods to get them off: (Hor.) the buyer says it is bad.  Prov. xx. 14.  The next verse is a gloss omitted in Gr.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Fear.  By this the soul is preserved in a good state.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Thoughts.  The more he thinks on some things, the more is he perplexed.  C. After sin is purged away, there remains some defects like dust.  Ps. l. 4.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Affliction.  Gr. “thought,” (H.) or speech.  C. A young man being brought to Socrates, that he might pass judgment on his dispositions, the philosopher ordered him to “speak.”  Cic.

 

Ver. 7.  As.  Gr. “the fruit shews the dressing,” &c.

 

Ver. 9.  Honour.  The desire of justice is the sure method to obtain it.  The rest is not in Gr.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Iniquities.  They fall deeper, or sin entails punishment.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  A.  Gr. “the speech of the wise man is wisdom throughout: but,” &c.  H. The fool always mixes something improper with what good he speaks.  C. Sun.  The wise man preserves his virtue, whether it appear or not.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Keep.  Gr. “wait an opportunity.”  H. Go but seldom.  Their discourse tends to promote iniquity, (v. 14.) and blasphemous oaths, (v. 15.) and bloodshed.  v. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Ears.  The Jews did so, when they heard blasphemy.  Acts vii. 56.  M.

 

Ver. 17.  Mind.  In Egypt, those who disclosed a secret to the enemy, were condemned to have their tongues cut out.  Diod. ii. 2.

 

Ver. 19.  Him.  He will never trust thee more.  v. 22.

 

Ver. 20.  Friend.  Sept. Rom. and Alex. “enemy.”  H. This crime is like murder.  The Romans sometimes solemnly renounced the friendship of those who had offended them, as Germanicus and Caius did that of Piso.  Tacit. An. 2.  Suet. 3.

 

Ver. 22.  Because.  Gr. “for one may bind up a wound, and an insult may be pardoned.  But he who hath revealed secrets, hath lost all hope,” (H.) or “confidence.”  v. 24.  c. xxii. 27.

 

Ver. 25.  Off.  Some Gr. copies have, “he who knows him will depart from him.”  It is difficult to guard against a false friend, who winks as if he desired to please us, (C.) while he really seeks our ruin.  v. 26.

 

Ver. 28.  Wound.  Gr. “deal wounds.  He,” &c.  H. Traitors, in the dark, often wound their fellows, (C.) or themselves.  M.

 

Ver. 29.  Setteth.  Gr. “layeth a snare, shall perish in it.”

 

Ver. 30.  Him.  God will punish, when the sinner has perhaps forgotten his offence.  C. Such are often chastised here, and always hereafter.  W.

 

Ver. 33.  Them.  He shall feel the indignation of God, (C.) and shall repine.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 28

 

CHAPTER XXVIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Sins.  To seek revenge out of rancour, or contrary to justice, is a grievous sin.  W. Retaliation was tolerated, (Ex. xxi. 24.) but love was not to be laid aside.  Deut. xxxiii. 35.  Lev. xxi. 17.  Ps. vii. 5.  Mat. vii. 2.

 

Ver. 2.  Forgive.  This charity enforces, when the offender is penitent, if the remission of punishment be not contrary to justice and discipline.  W. Mat. vi. 12,. and xviii. 32.  Lu. vi. 37.  We all stand in need of pardon.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  And doth.  Gr. “who will expiate his sins?”  Is God bound to receive his victims or prayers while he entertains such dispositions?  C.

 

Ver. 7.  In his commandments.  Supply the sentence out of the Greek thus: Remember corruption, and death, and abide in the commandments, (Ch.) which condemn revenge.  Ex. xxiii. 4.  C. Comp. “and do not rage or menace thy neighbour with destruction and death; yea, stick to the commandments.  Be mindful of the precepts, and be not angry with thy neighbour; and of the covenant,” &c. v. 9.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Ignorance.  He uses a softer term.  In effect, most quarrels proceed from a misunderstanding.  “Every sinner is ignorant.”

 

Ver. 12.  Burneth.  The more fuel, the greater will be the blaze.

 

Ver. 13.  And a, &c. is not in Gr.  Prov. xix. 12. and xxvi. 21.

 

Ver. 16.  Third.  Who carries stories between friends, to set them at variance.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  It, &c. is omitted in Greek.  H. Indiscreet reports often cause dissensions.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Labours.  Causing their husbands to suspect them.

 

Ver. 22.  Their own.  Gr. “the.”  Detraction separates many friends.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Hell.  Or rather “the grave.”

 

Ver. 26.  Its.  Gr. “it shall not take hold of the pious, and they shall not,” &c.  H. Their virtue shall quickly shine forth.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Hear.  Gr. “lo, hedge in thy possessions with thorns: bind up thy silver and gold.”  H. To pay attention to detraction is as bad as to utter it.  W.

 

Ver. 29.  Just.  Gr. “a door and bolt,” &c. as v. 28.  If people guard their property with so much care, why do they make light of words?  H. These ought to be weighed with more attention than money, and we ought to spare no pains or expense on this head.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Tongue.  Gr. “by them, lest thou fall before him who lays snares.”  C. xxix.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 29

 

CHAPTER XXIX.

 

Ver. 1.  Hand.  That is, he that is hearty and bountiful in lending to his neighbour in his necessity.  Ch. Fœnus, in this book means simply “lending.”  Rondet. This is a work of mercy, and a sort of alms.  Justice requires that the thing should be restored, and if any refuse on purpose, he is as bad as a thief.  W. He who lends will receive usury from the Lord.  Prov. xix. 17.  Ps. xxxvi. 21. In hand.  Rich.

 

Ver. 2.  Time.  The neglect of this causes many to be unwilling to lend.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Hands.  Like slaves.  Macrob. 1. Others kiss the face, neck, &c.  Acts xx. 37.

 

Ver. 7.  Found it.  Seeming to make thee partaker of his good fortune, (Jans.) or he will keep the other half as his own.  Grot.

 

Ver. 9.  Injuries.  Thus one loses both money and friends.  Must we then never lend?  If the person be poor, we must be ready to give.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  And delay.  Or lit. “and for an alms, drag him not along.”  H. Let not the fraud of many deter thee from assisting the poor, for the sake of God and justice.  C. Si fraudaris pecunia acquiris justitiam.  S. Amb. Tob. iii. n. 11.

 

Ver. 12.  Commandment.  Deut. xv. 7.  Else where is your merit?

 

Ver. 13.  Friend.  He is entitled to partake of all thy goods.  If he be only thy fellow-creature, assist him; and God will reward thee.  Mat. vi. 19.

 

Ver. 15.  Heart.  Gr. “thy store-houses,” the poor.  C. I never read that one who was liberal to the poor came to an evil death, as he has so many to intercede for him, whose prayers must be heard.  S. Jer. ad Nepot. Works of mercy produce the best fruits.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Himself.  Yet he will not engage his word for more than he can pay, (v. 27.  c. viii. 16.) nor encourage the negligence of debtors.  Prov. vi. 1.

 

Ver. 19.  Life.  Or his subsistence, (c. xix. 28.) though some answered for the person of another.  3 K. xx. 39.

 

Ver. 20.  And.  Gr. “will turn away the goods of his surety, (21.) and the ungrateful in mind will abandon his redeemer.”  H. “All hate the ungrateful,” (Cic. off. ii.) and the Persians punished such with death.  Xenop. Cyr. i. Him.  Gr. subjoins v. 23.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Estate, (dirigentes) whose affairs were prosperous.  M. Hence Solomon dissuades any rash engagements.

 

Ver. 25.  Things.  Tax-gatherers may deserve to fall into this misery.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Not.  Prudence requires that we should not ruin ourselves to help others.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  Shame.  Clothing is like a portable house.  Grot. Man stands in need of little, and those who are content will not need to borrow.  v. 29.

 

Ver. 31.  Shall.  Or “has formerly entertained” those, who now reproach him, make him serve in the meanest offices, and at last cast him forth.  It may also signify that people who receive ungrateful vagabonds, will be required to serve them, and had better keep them out.  v. 33.  C. Gr. “thou shalt entertain and give drink to the most disagreeable things.”  H.

 

Ver. 32.  Others.  Gr. “me.”  M. Travellers carried their provisions with them.  C.

 

Ver. 33.  Give.  Gr. “depart, stranger, from the face of glory; for,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 34.  Lender.  Who demands his money, and upbraids his debtor.  M.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 30

 

CHAPTER XXX.

 

Ver. 1.  He.  Gr. prefixes “on children.”  H. And not, &c. is omitted in Gr.  It may signify, and not beg, (C.) or steal.  H. The welfare of the country depends on the good education of children, which cannot be performed without correction, (C.) though this should never be used till more gentle means have been tried.  Fenelon on Educ. The neglect of correction proceeds from a misplaced tenderness, (Prov. xiii. 24.) which in the end proves most prejudicial both to the child and to the public.  H. See Plato, rep. ii. and vii.  Arist. pol. vi.  Cic. off. ii.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Them.  Gr. “his acquaintance.”  H. He sees himself re-born in his son.  v. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Wounds.  To which he has exposed himself for his child’s welfare, (2 Cor. xii. 15.  Raban.) or if he neglect correction, he will have to bewail the wounds which his son’s imprudence shall occasion.  Syr. Vat. Gr. Comp. “He who rubs, (Rom. edit.) cherishes his son,” &c.  C. The eldest brother must take care of the rest, so as even to expose himself to danger.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Horse.  A colt full of spirit, when properly broken in, will answer best, so a proper education corrects impetuous tempers.  Plut. apop. in Them.

 

Ver. 10.  Laugh.  “Smiling he must be feared.”  S. Greg. Mor. xx. 3.

 

Ver. 11.  Devices.  Gr. “sins of ignorance.”  Youth is incapable of guiding itself, being destitute of experience, and too confident.  Prov. xxix. 45.

 

Ver. 13.  Thee.  “Very few excel their father.”  Hom. Odys.  E. This is sometimes to be attributed to the neglect of education.  C. Gr. subjoins, “on health.”  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Evils.  Health is better than riches.  Pythag. &c.

 

Ver. 15.  Justice.  This is the first of all advantages.  C. Thales pronounced him happy who was healthy and rich, and whose “soul was well tutored.”  Laert. Gr. “health and a good constitution are preferable to all gold, and a,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  Rest.  In the grave.  He speaks not of the soul.  Job iii. 13.

 

Ver. 18.  Grave.  The dead cannot partake of them, (C.) so neither can the sick of their great possessions.  H. It was customary to place meat on the tombs of the dead.  C. The pagans invited them to eat; (S. Epip. Ancor.) but the faithful intended it for the poor, who might pray (C.) for the deceased.  M.  C. vii. 37.  Tob. iv. 18. The kings of France were served at table till they were placed in the tomb, and in many monasteries the usual portion is assigned the dead for thirty days, and given to the poor.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Sighing.  Thus meat is useless to those whom God visits with sickness.  See c. xx. 3.

 

Ver. 22.  Sadness.  For temporal things, but trusting in Providence.  1 Pet. v. 7.  Grief for sin is alone of service.  2 Cor. vii. 10.  C. Pusillanimity must be avoided.  W.

 

Ver. 23.  A never.  Gr. “the joy,” &c.  Prov. xvii. 22. and 2 Cor. ix. 7.

 

Ver. 24.  Have.  Gr. “love thy soul, and comfort thy heart, and drive,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Many.  Bringing on maladies, and driving people into despair, v. 22.  It was thought that the sad could not prophesy.  4 K. iii. 15.  Hermas ii.  Mand. iii.  More Neb. ii. 37.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Envy.  Or jealousy.  These passions banish joy.  Envy is like rust.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Always.  Gr. “will mind the meats which it shall eat.”  H. It will feast and enjoy content.  This verse and the following chapters are in a much less natural order in the Gr. editions, till c. xxxvii.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 31

 

CHAPTER XXXI.

 

Ver. 1.  Riches.  Lit. “honesty” has this sense.  H. The study of virtue and of the Scriptures removes temptations of the flesh.  S. Jer. ad Rust.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Hand.  With too much anxiety.  C. Gr. “the solicitude of watching will drive away slumber, and a grievous malady will moderate sleep,” (Grabe.  H.) or “sleep will alleviate a severe illness,” as experience evinces.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Poor.  All have  not equal success.  Prov. x. 22.  Ps. cxxvi. 1.  Drus.

 

Ver. 5.  Justified.  He is exposed to various temptations.  1 Tim. vi. 9.

 

Ver. 7.  To it.  Being a sort of idol.  Col. iii. 5. C. Woe.  Gr. “and every,” &c.

 

Ver. 8.  Nor, &c.  Gr. (9.) who, &c.  “Pride is the worm of riches.”  S. Aug. “In delights, chastity is endangered; and humility in the midst of riches.”  S. Bern. conv. Cler. xxx. Not to transgress, on such occasions, is the greatest miracle.  C. Man has free will, and those are happy, who, by God’s grace, do not abuse it.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  In, &c.  Gr. Alex. “and wisdom (Grabe substitutes the Church) shall proclaim his alms.”  H. God will bless his riches.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Be, &c.  Gr. “do not open,” (H.) shew not too much greediness.

 

Ver. 14.  Wicked.  Jealous or avaricious, as if the person feared lest he should have to prepare the like sumptuous entertainment.  Prov. xxiii. 1.  Judas blamed the profusion of Magdalene.  Jo. xii. 5.

 

Ver. 15.  Face.  Or portion set before him.  1 K. i. 5.  C. When.  Gr. “wheresoever it, (H.) or he (C.) shall look, stretch forth thy hand, and strive not with him in the dish.  Judge,” &c.  Let the envious person (H.) or the master be served first.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Use.  Gr. “in all act considerately.  Eat like a man,” &c. (H.) not like a beast.

 

Ver. 20.  First.  Yet not too soon, lest the others should seem to be gluttons.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Of all.  Gr. “of them.  How,” &c.  H. Politeness is grounded on virtue.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Wine.  Gr. specifies nothing, and to eat much is unwholesome.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Choler.  Or the cholic.  The intemperate, infrunito, (C.) Gr. “insatiable,” cannot sleep.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Vomit.  Some have omitted this term as indelicate; but the Scripture does not approve of intemperance, while it advises the preventing of a disorder.  A man’s stomach may sometimes be innocently overcharged.  On such occasions, an emetic was prescribed.  The ancients had nt the same horror of it as moderns.  Prov. xxiii. 8.  C. Cicero, addressing Cæsar, says, Cum te vomere post cænam velli dixisses.  Pro. R. Dejot. And thou.  Gr. “hear,” &c.

 

Ver. 27.  Quick.  Intemperance and idleness are the great sources of illness.

 

Ver. 28.  Bread.  And other provisions; while the miser is contemned.  Prov. xxii. 9.  C. Bread supports the body, and instruction the soul.  If it be bad, it does the reverse.  W.

 

Ver. 30.  Challenge.  Not to fight, or rather (H.) to drink.  Is. v. 22.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Rebuke.  Or disorder.  Gr. “prove,” (H.) or “lay open.”  C. Consilium retegis Lydo.  Hor. iii. ode 21.

 

Ver. 32.  Taken.  Gr. “is as good as life,” &c. Thou shalt.  Gr. “what,” &c.

 

Ver. 33.  With.  Gr. “destitute of wine, (35.) and this was created to,” &c.

 

Ver. 35.  And not.  Greek, (36.) “sufficient wine taken in season is the,” &c.

 

Ver. 37.  Sober.  Greek, (39.) “wine,” &c.  H. Anacharsis said that “the vine bore three clusters; the first of pleasure, the second of drunkenness, the third of discontent.”  Laert. i.

 

Ver. 42.  Reproach.  Alexander transfixed Clytus for so doing.  Curt. viii. Again.  By the pernicious custom of drinking healths, which still prevails in some countries, (C.) and occasions people to get drunk.  Drus. Such abuses ought to be discouraged by every one.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 32

 

CHAPTER XXXII.

 

Ver. 1.  Ruler.  Or king of the feast, alluding to an ancient custom.  Est. i. 8.  C. Nec regna vini sortiere talis.  Hor. Athen. Dipn.  Plut. Symp. i. q. 14. Humility is most requisite for those in power, and it is most difficult to contemn vain honours, when enjoyed.  S. Greg. pastor.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Contribution, towards the feast, (M.) or company.  This sentence is not in Gr. “rejoice on their account, and for the excellent disposition, mayst receive a corner.”  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Music.  Which usually accompanied the meals of the rich.  Hor. ii. ode 11. “A lyre is handed round, on which each one plays.  When Themistocles confessed that he knew not how, he was deemed deficient.” indoctior.  Tusc. i. Quint. i.

 

Ver. 6.  Words.  Some Gr. copies have, “where there is a concert, pour,” &c.  C. And be.  Gr. “and utter not wise sayings out of season.”

 

Ver. 7.  Wine was not used at all meals.  C. After they were ended, the pagans sung in honour of Bacchus, or of great mane.  Plut. Sym. But the Jews directed their hymns to God.  Mat. xxvi. 30.  Philo, Contemp.

 

Ver. 9.  Hear.  Gr. (10.) “young man speak if there be wanted of thee; scarcely twice if thou be asked.  Sum up thy speech, much in few words.  Be knowing and still silent.  (11.) In the,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Thee.  Gr. implies to be equal.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Storm.  Lit. “hail.”  Gr. “thunder.”  H. It comes forth at the same time as the lightning, but travels slower.  C. For.  Gr. (15.) “at,” &c.  H. Young people must leave the table, and take recreation.

 

Ver. 17.  Bless.  This is taught by the light of reason, (C. v. 7.) and the omission before or after meals betrays a want of faith and gratitude, particularly in Christians. Replenisheth.  Gr. “inebriateth thee with his goods.”  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Light.  They shall advance in virtue and glory.  Prov. iv. 18.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Excuse.  Lit. “comparison.”  “He will bend the law to his desires.”  Thus heretics interpret Scripture.  H. Gr. “he will find condemnation.”

 

Ver. 24.  Without counsel; or “by himself,” (C.) cum eo. And.  Gr. “do nothing without counsel, and in acting do not repent,” (H.) but execute what has been prudently devised.  C. God directs; yet he would have us to ask advice.  W.

 

Ver. 25.  Rugged way.  The end of which is unknown.  Lu. xiv. 28.  C. Lest.  Gr. “and keep a guard over thy children.  In every good work confide in thy soul; for,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  In faith.  That is, follow sincerely thy soul in  her faith and conscience, (Ch.) when it is well informed.  Gr. “in every good work believe thy soul; for,” &c.  C. Act not in opposition to it.  W. Rondet and Grotius would read, “in every work believe in God with all thy soul.” All that is not of faith is sin, (Rom. xiv. 23.) inasmuch as it is against conscience.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 33

 

CHAPTER XXXIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Evils.  God will make all turn to the advantage of the elect.

 

Ver. 3.  To him.  God will fulfill all his promises.  C. Gr. continues, “as the interrogation (H.) of the Urim, (dhlwn.  C.) prepare what to say, and so thou shalt be heard.  Put on instruction, and thus reply.”  H. Speak not without being prepared.

 

Ver. 5.  Cart.  Inconstant and grating.  C. The wicked turn from one vice to another, as heretics devise many errors, not having their heart established in grace.  Heb. xiii. 9.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Him.  And will be unmanageable, (M.) when he has any thing to ridicule.  C. Qui captat risus.  Hor. i. Sat. 4.

 

Ver. 7.  Another.  God’s will alone appoints one to be holy or fine; and another to be stormy, or dedicated to labour.  C. And one.  Gr. “and all the light of the day throughout the year proceeds from the sun.”

 

Ver. 8.  The sun.  Gr. “and he distinguished the seasons and holidays (10.) some,” &c.

 

Ver. 10.  Great.  Gr. “holy.”  H. Thus all men are by nature equal.  Yet what difference do we not find in their condition?  Some live in obscurity, who  might have shone upon the throne; and this is God’s will.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Station.  Exterminating the Chanaanites.  God disposes of all with sovereign power and justice.  Rom. ix. 29.

 

Ver. 14.  Ordering.  All depend on God.  C. “The predestination of the saints is nothing but the foreknowledge and preparation of God’s benefits, by which those are most certainly liberated who obtain their freedom.  But where are the rest left; except in the mass of perdition, by the just judgment of the Deity?  S. Aug. Persev. xiv. n. 35, and Corrept. xiii. n. 42.

 

Ver. 15.  Another.  Lights and shades both contribute to form the beauty of a picture.  H. Antitheses adorn a discourse, as opposite things do the universe.  S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xi. 18. God will make the wicked subservient to his glory.

 

Ver. 16.  Of all.  Solomon, Ezechias, &c. made various collections of similar maxims.  C. The books of the Machabees were alone written after this in the Old Testament.  M. Gr. places what follows after C. xxx. 26.  These four verses may be regarded as a sort of preface.  H.

 

Ver. 21.  Change thee.  That is, so as to have this power over thee.  Ch. Be inflexible on this head.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  The pre-eminence.  That is, be master in thy own house, and part not with thy authority.  Ch. Let not thy wife or servants rule in thy name.  M.

 

Ver. 25.  Fodder.  Gr. prefixes “on slaves.”  H. They were bought like horses.  Aristotle (Œcon. i. 5.) gives the like instructions on their treatment.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  A still.  Gr. “the neck, (28.) torture,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 31.  Faithful, is not expressed in Gr. but must be understood. Blood.  Taking him prisoner at the hazard of thy life.  The like misfortune might easily have befallen thee.  C. Seneca (ep. 47.) says, “live so with thy inferior, as thou wouldst have thy superior live with thee.”

 

Ver. 33.  Thou.  Gr. “on what road wilt thou seek for him?”

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 34

 

CHAPTER XXXIV.

 

Ver. 1.  The.  Gr. “on dreams.  The,” &c.  H. No dependence can be had on the pretended interpretation of dreams, which do not come from God; (C.) as some do.  Mat. i.  Dan. ii.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Man.  When he turns away from the mirror, it appears no more.  Jam. i. 23.

 

Ver. 4.  Unclean.  This text has been abused, to prove that the sinner cannot confer grace in the sacraments.  C. But Christ does this by his ministry.  S. Aug. Ps. x. n. 6.

 

Ver. 5.  Deceitful.  Gr. “divinations, and auguries, and dreams, are vain.”

 

Ver. 6.  Travail.  Such things cannot be explained.  Twenty people will all give different interpretations. High, as those of Jacob, Joseph, &c. were.  Yet it is difficult to make the discrimination.  S. Greg. dial. iv. 48. Homer admits of two sorts of dreams.  Odys. xix.

 

Ver. 7.  Them.  The devil takes advantage of their weakness, and they have recourse to magic, &c.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Law, which forbids attention to dreams.  Lev. xix 26.  Is. viii. 20.  A. Lap. No part of the law shall perish; and some will always explain it truly.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  What.  Gr. “A man who has travelled, knows much,” &c.  H. Thus Ulysses became so wise, (Homer) as well as the ancient philosophers, Pythagoras, &c.  S. Jer. ad Paulin. The knowledge derived from books will not suffice.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Experienced.  Gr. “much abroad, shall abound with subtlety.  (11.) I,” &c.

 

Ver. 12.  And.  Gr. “And I know more than I announce.”  Grabe’s edit.

 

Ver. 13.  For.  Gr. “On account of these things I have been saved:” (H.) by my great experience, which gives weight to my instructions.

 

Ver. 14.  Is.  Gr. “shall live.  (15.) For…them.  (16.) He,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  From falling, or when a person is fallen.

 

Ver. 21.  Mockeries.  Some Gr. copies have “gifts.”  Such unjust presents or sacrifices, God will abhor.  Is. xli. 8.  Deut. xxiv. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Lord.  Gr. (23.) “most…wicked, nor,” &c.

 

Ver. 26.  Bread.  Gr. “a livelihood, killeth his neighbour; and he sheddeth blood, who keepeth back the hire of the workman.”  H.

 

Ver. 28.  Labour?  So, if your sacrifices be ill-gotten, they will not be received; and if you relapse, you will be as bad as ever.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Dead.  Lit. “is baptized by or from the dead;” baptizatur a mortuo.  H. S. Cyprian thought this text was peremptory against the baptism of heretics; and Donatists were of the same opinion.  They seem not to have read, if he touch him again, which entirely alters the meaning.  S. Aug. admonishes them of this; though he explains it of the pagan rather than of the Jewish purifications, to which it refers.  Num. xix. 11.  See S. Aug. c. Cres. i. 24. and ii. 25. c. Petil. i. 9.  S. Cyp. ep. ad Quint.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Prayer.  A relapse  makes the former repentance unless.  Mat. xviii. 33.  W.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 35

 

CHAPTER XXXV.

 

Ver. 1.  Offerings.  He cannot otherwise observe the law.  H. Virtue is the most acceptable sacrifice.  C. The sacrifices of penance, of justice, and of praise, are to be preferred before all external ones.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  And to.  Gr. (4.) “He,” &c.  H. The peace-offering and that for sin, as well as the oblation of fine flour and of praise, (which is the most perfect of all) are noticed.  C. External sacrifice must not be neglected.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Sacrifice.  Gr. adds, “of praise.”  H. This was the true spirit of the law.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Lord.  The poor, who present a virtuous heart, are more acceptable than the rich, who are buried in sin, though the latter may offer the most splendid sacrifices.  H. God requires that all should do according to their abilities.  If they have nothing, they must fulfill the commandments, and he will be satisfied.  Some have inferred from Ex. xxiii. 16. that the poor were rejected.  But the meaning of the law is here explained.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Heart.  Lit. “mind.”  Gr. “eye,” (H.) free from avarice.  2 Cor. ix. 7.

 

Ver. 11.  Sanctify: “set apart” for the use of the ministers, and of the temple.  C. God will reward thee much more.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Wicked; defective.  Lev. xxii. 21.  Mal. i. 7.  Gr. “curtailed, or ill-acquired,” (C.) or “do not bribe” God; (dorokopei. Grot.) as the word is used 2 Mac.  God will not regard our gifts, to let our offences escape punishment.  Is. xlii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  For, &c. is not in Greek.  God will protect the defenceless.  H.

 

Ver. 21.  He, or “it.”  C. Prayer is personified, and presents itself before God.

 

Ver. 22.  Them, the Gentiles, &c.  v. 23.  Gr. “will not delay to punish them, till he crush the loins of the unmerciful.  And,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Unjust Egyptians, Syrians, and Greeks, who then oppressed the Jews.

 

Ver. 24.  Adam, who was not spared.  C. Gr. “of men and their desires.”  H. Our version seems to be taken from the Heb.  D. Adam sometimes denotes any man.  M.

 

Ver. 26.  The.  Gr. “mercy is beautiful,” &c.  Ps. ix. 10.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 36

 

CHAPTER XXXVI.

 

Ver. 1.  Have.  He has pointed out the conditions for prayer, and now he gives a model.  The Jews were at this time dispersed and subservient to the Egyptians or Syrians, which greatly afflicted them.  C. And shew.  Gr. (2.) “send.”

 

Ver. 2.  That.  Gr. Rom. omits the rest.  But Grabe retains, “all nations which seek not after thee.”  H. This prayer implies a prediction of the Gentiles’ conversion, as the psalms do frequently in like terms.  Ps. lxiv.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Sanctified, by chastising us, or by protecting our fathers in the desert.

 

Ver. 10.  End of our sufferings.  The malice of our enemies is at the height.

 

Ver. 11.  Escapeth the sword.  Deut. xxxii. 36.  He foretells the event, or wishes that they may be chastised, in order that they may enter into themselves, and adore the true God.

 

Ver. 12.  Other lord.  The Syrian and Egyptian monarchs sometimes claimed divine honours.  Dan. vii. 25. and xi. 36.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  That.  Gr. transposes the rest, and has only, and thou, &c.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  First-born.  Ex. iv. 22.  Wives, children, servants, were called after their lord or father.  Is. iv. 1. and lxiii. 19.  Jer. vii. 10.

 

Ver. 15.  Rest, where the temple is built.  2 Par. vi. 41.  Ps. cxxxi. 8.

 

Ver. 16.  Words, predictions, as heretofore; or with thy favours.

 

Ver. 18.  Thee.  The Jews were more faithful after the captivity.  The author seems to beg for the coming of the Messias.

 

Ver. 19.  People, which thou hast prescribed.  Num. vi. 24.  C. Direct.  Gr. “All shall know.” Art.  Gr. “Lord art the God of ages.”  H. Here the prayer ends.  C. The author continues to instruct.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Another.  Thus act discreetly in the pursuit of knowledge.  The good may be distinguished from bad, as easily as venison can from other meats.  C. As there is a difference of meats, so must discretion be used in words, in the choice of a wife, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 22.  Resist.  Gr. “requite it,” as it deserves.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Man.  Yet in marriage the temper of the person is to be considered.

 

Ver. 24.  More.  Love is the most violent of all the passions, and nothing can afford greater content than a virtuous and consoling wife.  C. xxvi. 21.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Good, is not in Greek, but the context shews that it is necessary.  H. By concord small possessions increase, as by discord the greatest are lost.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  Want.  If he be not so at first, servants will soon ruin his affairs.

 

Ver. 28.  Rest, or abode with his wife and family.  The Jews in general married, and such as delayed were deemed suspicious characters.  Prov. xxvii. 8.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 37

 

CHAPTER XXXVII.

 

Ver. 1.  Death.  Gr. explains this: (C.) I mean (2.) “a companion and friend turned?” &c.  H. True friendship is most necessary, and false most dangerous.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Will.  Grotius suspects that not is wanting.  Yet, if a false friend take up arms, it will only be (C.) for his own belly.  M. Not is ill-omitted in the Comp. edit. in the last part of the following verse.

 

Ver. 7.  Snare.  Greek Rom. and Alex. has at the end (C.) of v. 11, “with him that suspecteth thee.”  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Stake, or stumbling-block.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Treat not.  The negation is omitted in the Vulg. (H.) which speaks ironically in the three following verses.  Gr. “consult not with him who suspecteth thee, and hide thy counsel from those who are jealous of thee.  With a woman,” &c.  Consult not, is always understood.  Among the Jews, polygamy occasioned much jealousy. Envious miser.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Nor.  Gr. “with the merciless concerning kindness, with the sluggard concerning any work.  With one hired for the year, concerning coming to an end:” sunteleiaV.  H. He will never finish his work, or think he has sufficient wages.

 

Ver. 15.  God, and is enlightened, as well as a good friend, v. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  It.  Gr. “more faithful than it,” the well regulated heart.  H. It will give the best counsel, if we be not guided by passion.

 

Ver. 18.  Holy is not in Gr. but must be understood.  C. The soul or heart, which is attentive to God, (v. 17.) will be the best guide.  H. All good advice proceeds from the Lord.  S. Aug. Doct. prol. 7. We must always have recourse to him, though we must use our best endeavours.  W.

 

Ver. 20.  In.  Gr. “Reason is chief of every work, and counsel must go before every action.”  H. We must distrust our own lights.

 

Ver. 21.  Them.  The heart gives birth to good or evil, which the tongue utters.  Matt. xii. 34. and xv. 18. Soul.  What will science, without charity, profit him, if he should even gain the world?  Matt. xvi. 26. and 1 Cor. xiii. 1.

 

Ver. 23.  Hateful.  His sophisms are soon discovered.  Gr. “there is one wise, hateful in his discourses: he shall be devoid of all wisdom.”

 

Ver. 25.  Soul.  Being replenished with wisdom, he communicates it to others, and obtains an eternal reward.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  But.  Gr. “And.”  The wisest must soon die: Even the race of Israel shall end: But the virtuous shall be for ever remembered.  v. 29.  H. The blessed in heaven live for ever.  W.

 

Ver. 30.  Life.  Attempt nothing above thy strength: or Gr. try what agrees with thy health or soul, (C.) and see thou give it not what is hurtful to it.”  H. S. Paul (1 Cor. xi.) exhorts every one to prove or try himself and his own conscience.  W.

 

Ver. 31.  Soul.  “We must not dispute about tastes.”  H. They are as various as men’s faces.  All conditions do not suit every person.

 

Ver. 33.  Choler, or indigestion.  “Gluttony has slain more than the sword.”  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 38

 

CHAPTER XXXVIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Honour and pay.  Prov. viii. 9.  C. Gr. adds, “with his fees.”  H. The health of body and soul must be regarded.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  King.  Physicians were formerly kept at the king’s expense.  Pliny xxix. 1.

 

Ver. 4.  Them, as he will all superstitious remedies.  C. “A crowd of physicians killed Cæsar,” said Adrian, on his death-bed.  They often try experiments, and kill with impunity.  Pliny xxix. 1. Yet we must not condemn the prudent use of medicine.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Wood, of various sorts.  Grot. Many suppose that he alludes to the miracle of Moses, (Ex. xv. 25.) who thus was supernaturally informed (C.) of the effects of a certain wood.  T.  M.  S. Aug. q. lvii. in Ex.

 

Ver. 6.  The.  Gr. “that his or its virtue  might be known by man.”

 

Ver. 7.  These plants. And of.  Gr. “Of these the maker of ointments shall compose a mixture and his works are not yet finished, when peace (health) from him appears on the face of the earth.”  H. Disease flee before him; so powerful are his medicines, that the very smell effects a cure.

 

Ver. 9.  Thee.  We must neither trust too much in physicians, (2 Par. xvi. 12.) nor despise them, as this would be tempting God.

 

Ver. 10.  Sin.  All diseases are in consequence of original sin, and many are inflicted for actual transgressions.  Jo. ix. 2. and 1 Cor. xi. 30.  Num. xii. 10.  C.

 

Ver. 11.  Then.  Gr. “as being no longer.  Yet give,” &c.  H. Be converted and offer sacrifice, as if there were no hopes of life.  Still do not despair.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Thou.  Gr. “a sweet smell (success) shall be in their hands.”  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Physician.  This state is very troublesome, and a punishment of sin.  v. 10.

 

Ver. 16.  Burial.  Thus we must shew our respect for the deceased.  The Jews also prayed for them.  2 Mac. xii. 42.  C. “The care…and pomp of funerals are rather the consolations of survivors than of service to the dead.”  S. Aug. cura 2.

 

Ver. 17.  For.  Gr. “and shed burning tears of mourning, (18) and lament for,” &c.  H. Sorrow would be unsuitable for the saints, and useless for the damned, who being rebellious to God do not deserve our lamentations.  Yet nature dictates, and people expect we should allow something to the first emotions of sorrow, (C.) for a day or two; and we may receive the consolatory visits of our friends, during the seven days of mourning.  C. xxii. 13.  Jo. xi. 19.  S. Paulin. ad Pam. To avoid the evil reports of men, we must shew ourselves to be really sorry; yet we must not suffer grief to hurt our health.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  And the, &c. is not in Greek.  Excessive sorrow brings on sickness, and renders us unfit for any thing.

 

Ver. 20.  Aside, in solitude. Substance; or what the poor has to live on, will seem sweet or bitter according as he is affected with joy or grief.

 

Ver. 21.  End.  This is the chief utility derived from attending funerals.

 

Ver. 23.  Thee.  A man on his death-bed, or already dead, is introduced speaking.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Him.  Gr. “thyself.”  He is at rest, we hope; (H.) be thou so too.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  A scribe; that is, a doctor of the law, or a learned man.  Ch. Sorrow (H.) and too much employment, are injurious to learning.  C. Sapientiæ otia negotia sunt.  S. Bern. ser. 85. Cant. When pastors have leisure, they would do well to write, in imitation of S. Paul, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Work: engraving on gold, or silver, or on precious stones.

 

Ver. 29.  Sitting.  Such was the ancient custom of smiths, (C.) who carried all their implements with them, and laboured with much pain.  Chardin.

 

Ver. 34.  Glazing.  The earthen vessel would otherwise spoil all but oil and water.  C.

 

Ver. 37.  Dwell.  Gr. “travel,” to get a livelihood, (Grot.) or to acquire wisdom, (C. xxxiv. 9. and xxxix. 5.) and walk about like the ancient philosophers.  They shall not be chosen magistrates.  C.

 

Ver. 38.  Spoken.  They have not leisure to attend the lectures of sages; (H.) nor are they ever quoted by them.

 

Ver. 39.  World, giving children to the commonwealth, (M.) and employing themselves in useful arts.  The Jews would not allow magicians, players, &c. to reside in their country. Craft.  They pray that they may succeed in their employment, while some also strive to comply with their religious duties.  C. Applying.  Gr. refers this to the following chapter, “As for him who applies his soul and meditates on the law of the Most High, he will,” &c.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 39

 

CHAPTER XXXIX.

 

Ver. 1.  Ancients.  The Essenes (Jos. Bel. i. 7.) and Therapeuts (Philo. Comtemp.) were most famous of all for doing so.  In general the Jews despise the learning of foreign nations: but some have applied themselves to it, particularly Philo, Josephus, &c.  1 Mac. i. 11. and 2 Mac. vi. 11. Prophets.  These required the utmost study, before the coming of Christ.  1 Pet. i. 11.  Dan. ix 9.  C. The virtuous must follow both an active and contemplative life.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Sayings, or history of Abraham, &c. Parables.  This was most in vogue.  3 K. x. But mechanics abstained from this study.  C. xxxviii. 38.  C. To meditate well, 1. knowledge; 2. virtue; 3. humility; and 4. hope, are requisite.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Governor or the province or army.  The most enlightened were chosen, like Joseph.  Daniel i. 4. &c.

 

Ver. 5.  Men.  Travelling was very requisite, (C. xxxiv. 11.) and history records the actions of the bad as well as the good, for the instruction of the public.

 

Ver. 6.  Pray.  Diligence and prayer are the means to acquire wisdom.  C. iv. 13.

 

Ver. 9.  Lord, being in a sort of rapture, and enlightened by Him.

 

Ver. 13.  Generation.  With what care de we not preserve the Scripture? &c.

 

Ver. 15.  Thousand.  Children or other men. Rest, in death.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  With.  Gr. “as the moon in the first quarter,” dicomhnia. H.   The Vulg. has read Diomhnia, “divine transport.”  The author declares that he was inspired.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  By.  Gr. “Hear me, ye holy children.” Offspring.  Lit. “fruits.”  H. He speaks to the children of Israel, the people of God: whom he exhorts to bud forth and flourish with virtue.  Ch.

 

Ver. 19.  Bring.  Gr. “praise a canticle.”

 

Ver. 20.  Voice.  Gr. “songs of your lips, (H.) and with ancient lyres,” &c.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Waters.  At the world’s creation, or at the passage of the Israelites.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Salvation.  None can prevent the salvation of God’s elect.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Wonderful, or new.  C. The greatest miracles cost him nothing.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Time.  The veil shall be withdrawn, and Providence will appear.  Gr. “all things are made for their use.”

 

Ver. 28.  That.  Gr. “as he changed the waters into saltness,” (H.) at Sodom, (C.) “his ways are plain for the saints: so to sinners they are stumbling-blocks.”  v. 30.  The Red Sea gave a passage to Israel, and overwhelmed the Egyptians.  H. Him. God does all with grandeur.  He poured his graces upon Israel, and overwhelmed the giants in the deluge.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Good and, is omitted in Gr.  Before the fall, all was happiness.  Now, the wicked have still some mixture of good.  v. 32.  Bossuet.

 

Ver. 31.  Water and fire.  These are requisite to prepare bread.  The Romans refused them to the enemies of the state. Cluster.  Gr. “blood,” as Deut. xxxii. 14.  C. God gives the necessaries of life, which the virtuous use well, for their reward; and the wicked ill, to their ruin.  W.

 

Ver. 32.  Evil.  The good or bad use of them decides all.  Wisd. xiv. 11.  Rom. viii. 18.  Tit. i. 15.

 

Ver. 33.  Spirits.  Storms (Ps. x. 7. and cxlviii. 8.) good angels, (Gen. xix. 11.  Is. xxxvii. 36.) or rather devils: who, though created in holiness, fell, and became executioners of the wicked.  C. They abused their free-will, and are eternally punished.  W.

 

Ver. 34.  Destruction, and final ruin of the impious, or at the least day.  C. Appease.  God is pleased with the execution of justice.  M. Yet the devils cannot obtain a reconciliation; neither do they act to please God, having their wills obstinately bent against his, though they be forced to obey.  H.

 

Ver. 36.  Beasts.  Wolves, &c. with which the country was infested.  Deut. vii. 22. and xxii. 24. Sword.  War.

 

Ver. 37.  Feast.  Gr. “rejoice,” as at a feast.  Ezec. xxxix. 16. Word.  They will be ready at the first sign.  C. All creatures, but the rebel angels and man, obey God.  H.

 

Ver. 38.  Resolved.  Lit. “confirmed” in this opinion by a divine light.  v. 16. 21.

 

Ver. 39.  Time.  If we receive  not at first, we must have patience.

 

Ver. 40.  That.  Even sin contributes to manifest the justice and mercy of God; and we are not to judge of his works, but to praise  him; as every thing is created for wise purposes, and evil proceeds from our abuse of things.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 40

 

CHAPTER XL.

 

Ver. 1.  Labour, “anxiety,” ascolia.  M. All misery (C.) is in consequence of original sin.  W. The life of man is a trial.  Job vii. 1. and xiv. 1. Of all.  The earth, (C.) which covers us, when all other things cast us away.  Pliny ii. 63.

 

Ver. 4.  Purple.  Lit. “hyacinth,” (H.) or violet colour.  Purple was more like scarlet.

 

Ver. 5.  Knowledge.  He is disquieted by restless (C.) and frightful dreams.  v. 6.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Fear, or no reason for it.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Beast.  Their instinct causes them to fear death, to fight, &c.

 

Ver. 9.  Moreover.  Gr. “death,” &c. are all destined for the wicked.

 

Ver. 12.  Out, and severely punished.  C. They shall not appear in the book of life.

 

Ver. 14.  Rejoice.  The corrupt judge once rejoiced: but now he shall mourn.  H. The possessions and grandeur of the unjust shall end in a moment, like a clap of thunder.  Ps. xxxvi. 36.  Prov. x. 25.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  And make.  Gr. “they are unclean,” (H.) and will produce no fruit.

 

Ver. 16.  Weed.  Lit. “verdure.”  Gr. Achei, (H.) properly denotes the rush, papyrus, which grows on the banks of the Nile, (Gen. xli. 2.  C.) and was used for fuel.  Alpin. i. 7.  Matt. vi. 30. Thus the wicked will presently (C.) be treated.  M.

 

Ver. 17.  Grace.  The beneficent will produce fruits, like those of paradise.  Gen. ii. 8.

 

Ver. 18.  That is.  Gr. “and of one that.” In it.  Gr. “and more than both is one discovering a treasure,” (H.) who finds himself rich, without labour or injustice.

 

Ver. 19.  Both.  Thus Judith, Zenobia, &c. ennobled their husbands.  Prov. xxxi. 10.

 

Ver. 20.  Wisdom.  Virtue gives more content to the soul than corporal pleasures do to the body.  It brings us near to God.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Green.  “The sight of no colour is more agreeable to the eyes.”  Pliny xxxvii. 1. The Church is more excellent than the synagogue.  W.

 

Ver. 23.  Husband.  Their union is closer, and they can best assist each other.

 

Ver. 25.  Counsel.  By this the Romans conquered the world.  1 Mac. viii. 31.  Prov. xi. 14.

 

Ver. 26.  Heart, and make people presumptuous; while piety gives real courage.  Ps. xxvi. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  It, or “him.”  H. The virtuous man is covered with glory.

 

Ver. 29.  Indigent.  Gr. “live not by begging,” being too lazy to work, or incurring this punishment for thy sins.  Lev. xxvi. 16.  Ps. cviii.  Deut. xv. 4.  Involuntary poverty is a most severe scourge.  C. All are bound too labour for what is needful; (W.) some by prayer, others by trade, &c.  H.

 

Ver. 30.  Meat.  Such is the condition of the parasite, (C.) and of the beggar.  H.

 

Ver. 32.  Unwise.  Some read, “impudent man,” with the Gr. Fire.  He shall feel the inconveniences of poverty; (H.) yet will not work, being lost to all shame.  C. Plato (Leg. 11.) orders magistrates to “clear the country of such an animal,” zwou, (H.) and the Lacedemonians suffered no beggars among them.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 41

 

CHAPTER XLI.

 

Ver. 1.  Death is terrible to all, but most to those who live comfortably.  C. O vita misero longa, felici brevis.  Sen.

 

Ver. 3.  Sentence, pronounced on Adam and all his posterity.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Flesh.  “It is a great consolation to share the fate of all.”  Sen.  Provid. v.

 

Ver. 6.  What.  Gr. “why wouldst thou refuse to submit to the?” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Life.  Thou wilt not be asked how long, but how well thou hast lived.  No one will then envy thy long life.  C. It will be in vain to plead that the length or shortness of life has occasioned thy sins; for God does all with justice and for the best, if men would use rightly his benefits.  W. Thou wilt not repine at having lived too short a time.  M. An evil life will be alone condemned.  Wisd. v.  D.

 

Ver. 8.  Ungodly.  They adopt the wicked manners of their parents (C.) and companions, and thus become still more criminal.  H.

Œtas parentum pejor avis tulit

                        Nos nequiores, mox daturos

                        Progeniem vitiosiorem.  Hor. ii. ode 6.

This was terribly verified in the three French assemblies, which overturned the Church and state.  A. 1793.  See Barruel.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Father.  He is rather their executioner, (C.) and would have been less cruel, if he had murdered them while they were innocent.  Wisd. xii. 10.  H.

 

Ver. 12.  Portion.  It would have been better for them never to have existed.  Mat. xxvi. 24.  This the case of heresiarchs.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  From.  Gr. “go to destruction.”  H. It is their destination (C. xl. 11.  C.) and choice.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Body.  The death of the body is bewailed in the just, but that of the soul also of wicked people calls for our tears.  They will soon perish.  Ps. ix. 7.

 

Ver. 15.  Great.  The concern which all have for a good name, is one of the strongest proofs of the souls’ immortality.  Prov. xxii. 11.

 

Ver. 17.  Peace, with docility, (Mat. xi. 25.) or in the midst of prosperity, be on your guard.  C. xx. 32.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Have a shame, &c.  That is to say, be ashamed of doing any of these things, which I am now going to mention: for though sometimes shamefacedness is not to be indulged, yet it is often good and necessary; as in the following cases.  Ch. Disciples ought to esteem what their masters teach, though they do not perceive the reasonableness of what they assert.  W.

 

Ver. 20.  Opinion.  Grotius corrects the Gr.  “It is not laudable to be incredulous in all.”

 

Ver. 21.  Mother.  Thy misconduct seems to redound to their dishonour, as if they had not given thee a proper education.

 

Ver. 22.  People.  They will stone thee.  Remember the fate of Roboam.  3 K. xii.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  And of.  Lit. “out of respect for the,” &c.  De veritate Dei & testamento.  H. The same words occur C. xlii. 2.; whence Jansenius thinks they have been transferred hither.  Most refer them to what goes before.  Blush for lying, which is contrary to the truth of God; and for the other sins which injure his covenant. Meat.  This posture betrays idleness or pride.

 

Ver. 25.  Harlot.  The eyes must be chaste.  Jer. ix. 21.  Mat. v. 28. Kinsman, when he is poor, and refusing to assist him.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Turn.  Gr. “of taking away a portion and gift,” made already to God or men; (27) “of considering attentively another’s wife; of being too busy about his,” &c.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 42

 

CHAPTER XLII.

 

Ver. 1.  Men.  Here the Gr. concludes the former chapter very properly, (H.) as we must be ashamed of doing these things, and not of those which follow.  C. “Of repeating [and] of the speech which thou hast heard, and of revealing secret words; (things.  H.) and thou shalt be truly bashful, (aiscunthroV.  C.) and find favour with every man.”  Grabe’s edit.  H. Thereby.  In such cases we must shew a holy impudence, like Jeremias, i. 10. 18.

 

Ver. 2.  Covenant.  We must be ashamed of transgressing these, (C. xli. 24.) but not of complying with them.  This is the first duty of man. Ungodly.  Blush not to oppose such a judgment, (C.) though all the judges should be against thee.  Follow no collusion of man to do evil.  H. Pass sentence without respect of persons, (Deut. i. 16.  C.) whether the parties be thy companions, or only travellers.  v. 3.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Friends.  Be not ashamed to leave something to thy friends, though relations may grumble; or execute thy friend’s will exactly.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Little.  Be scrupulously exact in thy dealings, but not afraid of advancing thy fortune by lawful means.

 

Ver. 5.  Buying.  This regards magistrates, who must correct such frauds.  Gr. “of the money (C.) to purchase from merchants.”  H. We may examine whether the coin by good, and strive to get things as cheap as we can. Bleed.  Great severity was formerly used.  C. xxx. 12.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Keeping.  Lit. “a seal.”  H. All must be locked up.

 

Ver. 7.  In.  Not out of distrust so much, as to keep servants honest.  All who have written on economy give the same rules.

 

Ver. 8.  Men.  So Daniel discovered the malice of the two ancients.  Dan. xiii. 46.  Admonish the aged not to enter into disputes, or strive with the young.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Knoweth.  Lit. “who is hidden.”  H. An unmarried woman was styled Halma, or “hidden.”  Is. vii. 11.  C. Pass away.  Gr. “abuse.”  H. Some read adultera, (Sixt. V.  Jans.) instead of adulta, improperly.  It was deemed shameful for a parent not to have his daughter married soon.  1 Cor. vii. 36. Hateful.  Deut. xxiv.

 

Ver. 10.  Barren.  And thus fall into contempt.  Deut. vii. 14.  If she committed adultery she must die; or if she were only suspected, she must drink the waters of jealousy.  Num. v. 17.  Husbands would often seek a divorce, on such occasions; which would involve the father in fresh difficulties.

 

Ver. 11.  Multitude, who will accuse thee of negligence.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Body’s.  Lit. “man’s.”  But females are included in this term.  H. It was also necessary to guard the Greeks, and pagans in general, against a criminal affection for boys.

 

Ver. 13.  Man.  Gr. “woman.”  Malice is natural to her.  Beauty becomes her ruin, as well as that of others.  C. The Fathers compare women to a load-stone.  S. Bas. Men who come near them, are greatly exposed.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Better, &c.  That is, there is, commonly speaking, less danger to be apprehended to the soul from the churlishness, or injuries we receive from men, than from the flattering favours and familiarity of women.  Ch. Josephus (c. Ap. ii.) attributes this sentence to Moses, and prefers the worst man to the best woman, as Euripides does in Clem. Strom. iv.  C. But this is ridiculous. Reproach.  This explains what sort of good the woman aforesaid has done; she had fostered the passions of men, and brought them to shame, which all the malevolence of an enemy could not have done.  H. The company of women is therefore more dangerous.  C. ix.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Remember, or publish.  He praises God and the great men of his nation, to the end of the book, (C.) or to C. l. 29.  H. By.  Lit. “in.”  H. I have only abridged what the sacred Scriptures relate.

 

Ver. 16.  Work.  The world displays God’s glory and power.  Ps. xviii. 6.

 

Ver. 17.  Saints, in heaven, or rather the Israelites.  Ps. cxlvii. 20.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Signs.  Lit. “sign,” the order of the stars, &c.  H. Yet God does not study these things, to discover what will happen.  He is the author of nature.  C. From his works we are to form some idea of his greatness.  Job xxviii. &c.  W.

 

Ver. 25.  Another.  By this opposition the world subsists, according to Linus, Epimenides, &c.  Hanc Deus et melior litem natura diremit.  Met. i.  See C. xxiii. 16.

 

Ver. 26.  He.  Gr. “one thing establishes the good of another,” (H.) serving as a counterpoise.  C. Black colours cause the white to shine forth.  Youth is guided by the experience of old age.  M.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 43

 

CHAPTER XLIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Shew.  We cannot behold these things without admiration of God.

 

Ver. 2.  High.  The sun is the most excellent of all irrational creatures, affording light (W.) and heat for the production of things; (H.) whence Aristotle (de Anima ii.) styles it “father of men and of gods.”  Yet it is inferior to man, being devoid of reason.  All creatures manifest God’s majesty; the little as well as the great.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Hastened.  Some Gr. copies read “slackened,” alluding to Jos. x. 13.

 

Ver. 6.  In all.  Gr. Comp. “to stand guard.”  Other copies agree with the Vulg. though embarrassed. World.  To mark out the seasons.  Gen. i. 14.  Ps. ciii. 19.

 

Ver. 7.  Day.  The lunar system prevailed only after the captivity.  The Passover was celebrated on the 14th of the moon of Nisan.

 

Ver. 8.  Name.  Meni is used for the moon, (Jer. lxv. 11.) which resembles the Gr. mén, “month.”  This is also derived from méné, “the moon.”  We know not what Heb. words were used.  C. vi. 23.  The two former may both come from manah, “to divide.”

 

Ver. 9.  Armies.  The stars, &c. are compared to a camp or army.

 

Ver. 11.  Judgment.  The angels are not pure before God; (Job iv. 18. and xv. 15.) or rather the stars obey his orders.  Bar. iii. 34.  Judg. v. 20.  Ps. cxviii. 91.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  Brightness.  Mille trahit varios adverso sole colores.  Æn. 5.

 

Ver. 14.  Judgment, to punish the wicked.  Ex. xiv. 24.  Is. xxxvii. 36.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Birds, sent to give information by letters, as the Egyptians still do.  Bochart i. 2.  Is. lx. 5. Tempests execute God’s judgments.  Job xxxviii. 22.

 

Ver. 16.  Broken, as from huge mountains.  Job xxxviii. 39.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Strike.  Gr. “upbraid, (Drus.) or make the earth fall in labour,” odinesen.  Grabe.  H.

 

Ver. 19.  Lightning.  Gr. “flying, he.”  H. Locusts.  “They cover the cornfields with a destructive cloud.”  Pliny xi. 29.

 

Ver. 20.  Shower, as if God were about to drown the world.  The melting of snow occasions dreadful inundations.  C. Its whiteness sometimes deprives people of their sight.  Xenoph. Anab. iv.

 

Ver. 21.  Thistles.  Gr. “stakes,” pointed as it were with steel.  M.

 

Ver. 22.  Crystal, or ice.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Burn.  Cold destroys verdure no less than fire.  Gen. xxxi. 40.

 

Ver. 24.  Overpower it.  Gr. “give joy; (25.) with,” &c.  H. Warmth and rain restore beauty to the earth, after the horrors of winter.

 

Ver. 25.  Still.  Lit. “silent.”  Matt. viii. 26. Lord.  Gr. Rom. “Jesus planted it;” which is a mistake for nhsouV, islands.  C. “He planted islands in it.”  Grabe thus corrects the Alex. copy, though it agree with the Rom. and Aldine editions.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Thereof.  Ps. cvi. 23.  “He who has not sailed has seen nothing evil.”  Possidip.

 

Ver. 27.  Monstrous.  Gr. “creation of whales.”  H.

 

Ver. 28.  Is.  Gr. “his angel gives a prosperous journey.” Regulated.  Gr. “blended.”  H. If God be angry, all will go to the bottom.  Grot.

 

Ver. 29.  All.  Lit. “in all.”  Every thing obeys God.  C. xlii. 15.  Eccle. xii. 13.

 

Ver. 30.  Him.  So the Gr. reads.  Vulg. seems to say, “boasting in all, what shall we be able to do?”  What is man, fighting against the Lord!  C.

 

Ver. 32.  His.  Gr. “exalting the Lord, exert your power; and labour, for you will not come up to him: (35.) who,” &c.  H. He is above all praise.  Ps. cxliv. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 35.  From.  Gr. “many hidden things are,” &c.  H. The angels, and many secrets of nature, have not been mentioned.  C.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 44

 

CHAPTER XLIV.

 

Ver. 1.  Gr. prefixes, “A Hymn of the Fathers.”  The author here imitates the third work of Solomon.  H. He had given rules for all virtues; and he now sets before us those who had put them in practice.  C. It was the custom to sound forth the praises of these fathers in the temple and synagogues.  v. 15.  Grot.

 

Ver. 2.  Glory.  Gr. adds, “in them.”  He was the author of all their virtues, (H.) and has acquired much glory by their means, (C.) among men; though his essential glory can never increase.

 

Ver. 3.  In the.  Gr. “futurity by their predictions.”  Kings, judges, and prophets are praised.  H. The virtuous are justly styled kings.  Gen. xxiii.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  The present.  Gr. “the people by counsels, and by the knowledge of the office of scribes of the people.  Wise in speech by their instruction.  (5.) Seeking out,” &c.  H. Prudence and eloquence ought to appear in a ruler.

 

Ver. 5.  Tunes.  The Hebrews, and David in particular, were famous for music.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  In.  Gr. “established in power, living,” &c. (H.) like Abraham, Ezechias, &c.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Generations.  Lit. “race of their nation.”  But this is omitted in Greek.

 

Ver. 8.  Born.  Gr. “some of them have left a name,” (H.) or posterity.  Deut. xxv. 6.

 

Ver. 9.  Them.  This may be understood of the wicked Israelites, or of the sons of Abraham by Agar, &c.

 

Ver. 10.  Mercy.  Assideans, (1 Par. vi. 41. and 1 Mac. vii. 13.) or true Israelites.

 

Ver. 14.  Peace.  The Jews were very solicitous about this.  Gen. xxxv. 8.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Into.  Gr. “a model of penance to past or future generations.”  H. The Latin fathers suppose that Henoch was translated to heaven, or to the earthly paradise.  It is the tradition both of Jews and Christians that he is still alive, and will come to oppose Antichrist, (Apoc. xi. 3.  Gen. v. 22.  Heb. xi. 5.  C.) when he will preach penance, (W.) chiefly to the Gentiles, while Elias will address himself to the Jews.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  A.  Gr. “an exchange,” to save mankind.  Gen. vi. 8. and viii. 21.  C. Noe was perfect, (W.) which does not exclude some human failings.  H.

 

Ver. 20.  Multitude.  His name implies as much.  C. He was father of all who believed in Christ.  W.

 

Ver. 21.  Faithful.  He received the sign of circumcision, and was ready to sacrifice Israel.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  In his.  Gr. “that the nations should be blessed in his posterity.” Dust.  Lit. “a heap.”  H.  Gen. xii. 2. and xxii. 17.

 

Ver. 23.  Earth.  In Arabia, and from the Red Sea to the Euphrates.  This was verified in David.  Ps. lxxi.  Gen. xiii. 14.

 

Ver. 25.  Jacob.  The promises made to Abraham were confirmed to Isaac and Jacob.  H. These were also blessed in Abraham.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Tribes.  Giving him so many children, who inherited Chanaan.

 

Ver. 27.  Men.  The Israelites.  v. 10.  Gr. “the man,” Joseph; though the Gr. of the Rom. edit. would refer it to Moses.  C. Grabe corrects his copy agreeably to the Vulg.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 45

 

CHAPTER XLV.

 

Ver. 1.  Men.  Pharao, Jethro, and the whole nation of the Hebrews, whom he governed as a father, being the mildest of men.  Num. xii. 23.  His life was a continued miracle, and he was honoured more than any prophet, (ib. vi.  Acts vii.  C.) seeing God’s works more clearly, but not his substance.  Ex. xxxiii.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Saints, patriarchs or angels, as he saw God face to face. Enemies.  The Egyptians, Amalecites, and all who rebelled against God. Cease.  Removing the scourges which he had inflicted.  His serpent devoured those of the magicians, who were confounded before him.

 

Ver. 3.  Kings.  Pharao, Og, &c. Glory, when he had passed by.  Ex. xxxiii. 22.

 

Ver. 4.  Meekness, giving him these necessary qualifications to rule a rebellious people.  v. 1.

 

Ver. 5.  Heard.  Gr. “made him hear his voice.”

 

Ver. 6.  Face, familiarly. Life, by observing which, the Hebrews might live.  Thus the trees of life and of knowledge were a sort of remedy against death and ignorance.  Gen. ii. 9.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  His.  Gr. “holy, like to himself his brother of the,” &c.  H.  Ps. cv. 16. He was the interpreter of Moses, and honoured with the high priesthood.  Aaron and his posterity were bound to be faithful to the law.  v. 19.  C. Their priesthood was to last till Christ appeared, a priest forever of the order of Melchisedech.

 

Ver. 9.  Robe.  Lit. “stole,” (H.) which was a long robe, used in the East by both sexes. Crowned.  Gr. “confirmed” him in his dignity.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  To the.  Gr. “enclosing his legs, (H. breeches. C.) and the robe hanging down to the feet, (poderé) and the garment over the shoulders,” (H. ephod) which met at the breast, where the rational were fixed.  See Ex. xxviii.  C. Many.  Gr. “spheres, (H. or pomegranates.  Ex. xxviii. 23.  C.) with many little bells,” (H.) to admonish the people of his coming.

 

Ver. 12.  Man.  Beseleel, who made the greatest part.  C. Gr. “of an embroiderer, with the rational of judgment, and the signs (manifestation.  C.) of truth.  H. Thus the Sept. commonly describe the Urim and Thummim.  Ex. xxviii. 6.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Tribes.  Gr. “sons.”  H. Their names were engraven on 12 stones.

 

Ver. 14.  Holiness, or “holy to the Lord.”  Ex. xxviii.  C. Work.  Gr. “works very rich.”  H. This regards all his attire.  The high priest only used it in the temple, on grand festivals.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  His.  Gr. Comp. “their.”  H. Some of the ordinary priests offered the daily holocausts.

 

Ver. 18.  Filled.  Consecrated.  Lev. viii. 26.

 

Ver. 19.  Testament.  It prefigured that of Christ, which lasts for ever.  Heb. vii.  C. Execute.  Gr. “serve him, both by executing the priestly office, and by blessing the people,” &c.  H. This was one of the high priest’s functions.  Num. vi. 23.  The rest might offer sacrifice and incense, except on the day of expiation, (Lev. xvi.) and on solemn festivals, though the Scripture is silent on the latter head.

 

Ver. 21.  Law.  The most important causes were to be tried before the high priest, who, with this brethren, were the interpreters of the law.  Matt. ii. 6.

 

Ver. 24.  Fire.  Thus consuming 250 men.  Num. xvi. 30.

 

Ver. 26.  Eat.  The skin of holocausts were along given to the priests.

 

Ver. 27.  People.  Having only 2,000 cubits round their cities.  Num. xxxv.  The priests were thus interested to keep the people to their duty, as their own subsistence depended on the devotion and gifts of the latter.  C. They had no distinct territory, like the rest of the tribes.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Imitating.  Gr. “by shewing a zeal in the fear of the Lord.”  Num. xxv. 11.

 

Ver. 31.  That he.  Or so he made a covenant with Aaron, that he, &c.  C. Gr. “and (Grabe puts according to) the covenant made to David…that the king’s son successively should alone inherit, the inheritance of Aaron was for his posterity.  May he impart wisdom to your heart,” &c. He made.  Gr. “glory during their age.”  H. The sacred writer pours forth this prayer for God’s ministers, (C.) that their good things and glory may never end, as long as the Jewish dispensation should last.  He is equally solicitous for the priesthood as for the sceptre of David.  In both the families of Aaron and David children succeeded to their father’s dignity, and God had made a covenant for that purpose.  H. David assisted the priests, and greatly advanced God’s service.  1 Par. xxiii.  W. His eulogy is given C. xlvii.; and he is here only mentioned (C.) as a comparison.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 46

 

CHAPTER XLVI.

 

Ver. 1.  Jesus, the son of Nave.  So Josue is named in the Greek Bibles.  For Josue and Jesus signify the same thing, viz. a Saviour; (Ch.) and Nave is the Greek pronunciation of Nun; (H.) or this is an old fault of transcribers.  C. Among.  Gr. “in the prophecies.”  H. He was endued with the prophetic spirit, and was raised up by God as a noble figure of the great prophet.  Deut. xviii. 15.  C. He succeeded Moses in the temporal power; the spiritual belonged to the sons of Aaron.  Num. xxvii.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Israel.  He led the people into Chanaan, and divided it among them.

 

Ver. 3.  Hands.  To pray, (Vat.) or fight, (Boss.) or to give a signal.  Jos. viii. 26.  A. Lap. Stretched.  Literally, threw (H.) darts, romphœas.

 

Ver. 4.  The.  Gr. “he conducted the wars of the Lord.”  C. Other edit. agree with us.

 

Ver. 5.  In.  Gr. “by his hand,” (H.) and order, so that the day-light continued 24 hours.

 

Ver. 7.  Adversaries.  The hail destroyed more than the sword.  Jos. x. 11.

 

Ver. 8.  Power.  Gr. “complete armour for his warfare was before the Lord, since he,” &c.  They found it was impossible to resist such weapons.  H. One.  “Follow God,” was a maxim of the ancient sages, which they even attributed to Apollo.  Josue and Caleb did so in opposition to the rebels.  Num. xiv. 24.  C. The rest all perished, (W.) if we except those who were not 20 years old, or who did not join in the murmurs of the seditious.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Mercy, and piety, (C.) endeavouring to prevent the murmurs of the people, which would draw upon them destruction, as the event shewed.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Land.  Hebron, when he was 85 years old.  Jos. xiv. 6.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Lord.  Abimelec must be excepted, (C.) as he was only an usurper.  H. The Judges were all saved, though some have been great sinners.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Place.  At the resurrection, which the Jews firmly believed.  Ezec. xxvii. 3.

 

Ver. 16.  People.  Though he disapproved of their resolution.  1 K. viii. 6.  Os. xiii. 11.

 

Ver. 17.  And the.  Sixt. V. &c. read, “and he beheld  the God.”  1 K. iii. 7.  C. Vulg. may signify also, “God beheld Jacob,” (Gr.) with a favourable eye, and enabled Samuel to restore their fallen state, and to recover the ark.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Because.  Gr. has not faithful, or what follows.  C. Yet Grabe’s copy retains pistoV orasewV, “faithful in seeing” into futurity; so that his predictions were always verified, and he acquired the confidence of all.  1 K. iii. 20.  Prophets were former styled seers: yet they could not behold God, as he inhabits light inaccessible.  1 Tim. vi. 16.  H. Light.  S. James (i. 17.) seems to allude to this passage.  M.

 

Ver. 19.  Without.  Gr. “fed with milk.”  1 K. vii. 6.  The Philistines were discomfited, and continued peaceable during the rest of Samuel’s government.

 

Ver. 21.  Tyrians, who were auxiliaries, or in league with the Philistines.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Shoe.  So Abraham declared he would not receive the latchet of a shoe from the king of Sodom.  Gen. xiv. 23. Him.  All confessed his integrity, before he delivered up the sovereign power to Saul.  1 K. xii.

 

Ver. 23.  Nation.  Foretelling that Israel should be defeated.  Some doubt whether the soul of Samuel appeared; but it seems clear from this passage, (1 K. xxviii. 18.  C. Diss.) as he could not otherwise be praised for it.  W.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 47

 

CHAPTER XLVII.

 

Ver. 1.  Nathan.  Many other prophets lived at the same time.  But he was most conspicuous, and crowned Solomon.  C. Gr. “and after him Nathan arose to prophesy,” (H.) and keep up the succession.

 

Ver. 2.  Flesh.  Gr. “peace-offering.”  The fat was deemed most delicate.

 

Ver. 3.  Played.  Tearing them to  pieces with the greatest ease.  1 K. xvii. 34.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Nation.  Who were no longer under the control of the Philistines.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Thousand.  This was sung in the cities, (1 K. xviii. 7.  C.) and excited the envy of Saul, who nevertheless could not prevent David’s exaltation.  H. Did he, or the people who praised the Lord and David.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Horn.  Power and glory.  H. For ever, is not in Gr.  David defeated the Philistines at the beginning of his reign.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Glory.  Contained in the Psalms.  H. He was always very grateful.  C. His pure and sincere heart pleased God more than his other works.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Altar.  Of holocausts.  Moses had not appointed singing.

 

Ver. 12.  Set.  Lit. “adorned the times.” Of his.  Gr. “while they praised his holy name, and sounded forth holiness early.”  H. David strove to give all perfection to the sacred ceremonies of religion, that the people might be attracted to the tabernacle, (C.) and serve the Lord with gladness.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Sins.  Remitting the punishment, (2 K. xii. 13.  C.) and the guilt also, (H.) in consequence of his repentance. Covenant.  Engaging that his posterity should enjoy the throne (2 K. vii. 12.  C.) if they continued faithful.  Ps. cxxxi. 11.  sup.c. xlv. 31.

 

Ver. 14.  Enemies.  The piety of David was thus rewarded.  H. It must have been the greatest satisfaction to him, to see so wise a son on the throne, and all in perfect peace.  3 K. i. 48. and iv. 24.  C. These blessings were a reward of his virtue.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Youth.  When other are less informed.  This serves to place the apostacy of Solomon in a more striking light.  C. The author seems astonished both at the wisdom and at the folly of this prince, (H.) and apostrophises him.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Earth.  Or explored all the secrets of nature, retexit.  3 K. iv. 29.

 

Ver. 18.  Interpretations of riddles.  Hence people praised the Lord.  3 K. x. 24.

 

Ver. 20.  Copper, (aurichalcum.)  Gr. “tin.”  2 Par. ix. 13.

 

Ver. 21.  Thyself.  Lit. “thy thighs.”  Gr. “sides.”  Syr. “strength.” Subjection.  Lit. “thou hadst power over thy body,” (H.) using it as if it belonged not to God.  He was guilty of excess in marrying a thousand wives, and yielding to idolatry, (C.) fearing to displease those whom he loved to his own ruin.”  S. Aug. de Gen. ad lit. xi. 42. Dreadful infatuation!  H.

 

Ver. 22.  Defiled.  Consecrating some even to Moloch, (Pineda vii. 11.) or having children by those whom the law prohibited.  Deut. vii. 2. and xxiii. 2.  C. His sins were punished: yet God’s mercy preserved his posterity.  W.  Ps. lxxxviii.

 

Ver. 23.  Rebellious.  (Gr.) Lit. “hard.”  H. Jeroboam was at the head of it.  3 K. xii. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  Lord.  David’s piety caused the sceptre to be still preserved in his family, (H.) though Solomon’s conduct deserved to lose it.  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Of the.  Gr. “a root from him,” to govern a part, while Jeroboam reigned over the other tribes of Jacob.  H. God fulfilled his promises to Jacob and David.  M.

 

Ver. 26.  Fathers.  Some would hence infer, that Solomon died penitent.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  Folly.  A most imprudent prince, despised by the whole nation.  He answered the people roughly, and lost the ten tribes; but idolatry was his greatest folly, and from this he was never reclaimed.  3 K. xiv. 22.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Jeroboam.  Though not of his seed, as we only find Roboam mentioned of all the thousand wives of Solomon.  He left behind him Jeroboam, notwithstanding his desire to have him slain; and this man brought ruin on the nation.  H. Sin.  This is the usual title given to this introducer of idolatry.  He engaged the ten tribes in the worship of the golden calves, which ruined the state and religion of Israel.

 

Ver. 31.  Vengeance, (defensio) and put, &c. in not in Gr.  Theglatphalasar and Salmanasar carried the tribes away into captivity.  1 Par. v. 26. and 4 K. xiv. xvii. 6.  C. Many hereupon opened their eyes, (M.) as we may hope.  Those who returned with the rest of the Jews relapsed not, at least into idolatry, in such an open manner.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 48

 

CHAPTER XLVIII.

 

Ver. 1.  Torch.  He was animated with a burning zeal, (M.) like John the Baptist, admonishing kings, &c.  Jo. v. 35.  Lu. i. 17.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  And they.  Gr. “and by his zeal he diminished them.  By,” &c.  H. He slew the priests of Baal, and many perished by famine.  4 K. xviii.  Grot.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Heaven.  That it should not rain for three years and a-half.  3 K. xvii. 1. Thrice.  First upon his sacrifice, and twice to destroy fifty soldiers.  Ib. 38. and 4 K. i. 10.  C.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Man.  The son of the widow of Sarepta.

 

Ver. 6.  Destruction.  The prophets are said to perform what they foretell; to indicate the certainty of the event.  Elias denounced death to Achab, Jezabel, Ochozias, and the two Jorams.  4 K. ix. 12. and 2 Par. xxi. 12. &c.  C. Brokest.  Gr. “those in honour from,” &c. alluding to (H.) Ochozias and Joram.  4 K. i. 16. and 1 Par. xxi. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Judgment.  Gr. “the reprimand of the Lord,” for betraying fear, (3 K. xix. 3. 9. 12.  H.) or the reprimand regarded Israel.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Penance.  Gr. “reward,” (H.) or punish the guilty.  Hazael and Jehu were anointed by Eliseus, though by order of Elias. Thee.  Eliseus was called from the plough, and adhered to his master, who governed the sons of the prophets in large communities.

 

Ver. 10.  Jacob.  Prot. reject the authority of this book, partly (H.) on account of this (W.) ancient tradition.  Enoch and Elias will appear in the days of antichrist, to convert many.  The Jews will then agree with the Patriarchs, and embrace the religion of Christ.  C. Elias came in the person of John the Baptist, at the first coming of our Saviour, but he will come in person before his second appearance.  H. The application which Christ makes of the prediction of Malachy (iv. 6.) to the Baptist, does not exclude this more distant accomplishment.  Elias is still alive in some part of the world, as well as Enoch, whom S. Aug. styled “the first-born (primogenitor) of our resurrection.”  De Civ. Dei. xv. 19.  4 K. ii. 11.

 

Ver. 11.  Friendship.  Like Eliseus, or the disciples of both.  C. Gr. “who slept in love, for we also shall live indeed; (13.) Elias,” &c.  H. When we shall witness thy return, if we prove faithful, we may expect an immortal name, and not otherwise.  C. He speaks in the person of those who shall live at that time.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Eliseus.  Who received his double spirit, with his garment.  4 K. ii. 15. Prince.  Joram.  4 K. iii. 14. and vi. 32.

 

Ver. 14.  Overcome.  Or “escape.”  Gr. Syr.  He knew what Giezi and the Syrians were doing, at a distance.  4 K. v. 26. and vi. 12. Prophesied.  Or raised the dead to life.  4 K. xiii. 21.  C. On his death-bed (v. 15.) he also foretold the victory of Joas.  Ib. 14.  Vatab. &c. The miracle wrought by his relics (H.) shewed that he was a true prophet.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Thereof.  From Gehon, a fountain on the west.  2 Par. xxxii. 30.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Lifted.  Gr. “removed from Lachis, and, “&c.  4 K. xviii. &c.

 

Ver. 23.  He was.  Gr. “and he purified (H. or redeemed, C.) them by the hand (ministry) of Isaias. (24.) He,” &c.  H. Prayer prevailed when troops were insufficient.  4 K. xix.  W.

 

Ver. 25.  Sight.  Gr. “vision.”  All his predictions were verified.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Life.  Fifteen years.  Is. xxxviii. and 4 K. xl. 11.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  At last.  After the captivity, (Is. ii. 2.  C.) or in the days of the Messias.  M.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 49

 

CHAPTER XLIX.

 

Ver. 1.  Perfumer.  The Scripture reproaches this king alone with no fault.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Directed.  Gr. “prosperous in converting the people.”  4 K. xxii. and 2 Par. xxiv.  H. He began when he was only eight years old: but set to work more effectually ten years afterwards.  The prophets complain of the disorders which prevailed before that period.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Sinners.  Or “sins,” when iniquity was become fashionable.  He consulted no false policy, (H.) but boldly exerted himself in God’s service, and even invited the Israelites out of his dominions to come and celebrate the passover.  2 Par. xxxiv. 6.  C. They belonged, in effect to him, as the twelve tribes were all promised to David’s family, and the kingdom of Jeroboam was only a rebellion.  C. xlvii. 23.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Sin.  The two former effaced their sins by repentance, and never tolerated idolatry, which even Josaphat and Asa did, (3 K. xxii. 43. &c.  C.) not destroying the high places.  Many others yielded not to idol worship.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Despised.  Gr. “they failed,” and lost the crown.

 

Ver. 7.  They gave.  Achaz called in to his assistance the king of Assyria, who afterwards claimed the kingdom as tributary to him, 4 K. xviii. 7. 14.  Gr. “He (God. C. Alex. copy has They) gave their horn,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Holiness.  Jerusalem, which was styled holy, in the sicles of Simon. Desolate.  No one came to the festivals.  Lam. i. 4.

 

Ver. 9.  Renew.  To foretell the destruction and establishment of kingdoms.  Jer. i. 5, 10.

 

Ver. 10.  Cherubims.  Ezec. i. 4. and viii. 1. and x. 1.

 

Ver. 11.  Rain.  Denoting great misery.  Ezec. xiii. 11. and xxxviii. 22.  C. And of.  Lit. “to do good,” (H.) or to announce the liberation of the penitent captives.  Ezec. xviii. 21. and xxiii. 16. &c.

 

Ver. 12.  Place.  C. xlv. 15.  The Pharisees adorned the tombs of the prophets.  Matt. xxiii. 29.  Daniel is not mentioned among them, because he lived at court.

 

Ver. 13.  Hand.  Most precious.  Jer. xxii. 24.  Cant. viii. 6.

 

Ver. 14.  Josedec.  He was a noble figure of Christ, and helped build the temple.  Agg. i. 2. and ii. 3.  Zac. iii. 1. and vi. 11.

 

Ver. 15.  Houses.  He laboured much for the people’s welfare.  2 Esd. v.

 

Ver. 16.  Henoch.  Before the deluge.  M. He stood up for the Lord, amid the most corrupt people, and was translated.  C. xliv. 16.  He and Joseph have many advantages over the rest.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Joseph.  He has not been named, but designated.  C. xliv. ult.  C. Who.  Gr. the “ruler,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  They prophesied.  That is, by being carried out of Egypt, they verified the prophetic prediction of Joseph.  Gen. l.  Ch.  Carriers. This sentence is omitted in Gr.  H. See c. xlviii. 14. Joseph had intimated that the Israelites should leave Egypt.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Men.  The former was the father of the faithful, before the deluge; the latter after.  C. Beginning.  Gr. “in the creation” was appointed to rule.  H. He alone among men was innocent, coming from the hands of God, and he might glory that he had no other father.  C. Eve enjoyed the like privileges.  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 50

 

CHAPTER L.

 

Ver. 1.  Simon I. was “styled the just, on account of his piety towards God, and his good-will to his countrymen.”  Jos. xii. 2.  Many apply what follows to him.  Eus. Salien. M. &c. But Simon II. is more probably meant, who opposed the entrance of Philopator into the sanctuary, after he had offered sacrifice for him, in the pompous manner here described.  Boss.  iii.  Mac.  C. Temple.  Which began to want repairs.  M. Simon II. reigned twenty years.  C.  Jos. xii. 4.  H. The first lived in the time of Ptolemy I. of Egypt, when this book was written; and dies before it was translated, under Ptolemy III. about three hundred years before Christ.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Walls.  Gr. analhmma, “the repairs (or elevated building, Mello.  2 Par. xxii. 5.) round the temple,” including the court of the Gentiles, which had not been finished.  Ezec. xl. 5.  It was necessary to build at the edge of the mountain, (C.) and the wall was three hundred cubits from the bottom.  This was more than double the height of the temple, as it was only one hundred and twenty cubits high.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Out.  Of the reservoirs.  But he repaired them.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Destruction.  When it was in the most imminent danger from Philopater.  3 Mac.  Bos.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Enlarge.  Gr. “fortify.” Conservation.  Gr. “when in the midst of the people, coming out of the house of the veil.  (6.) He,” &c.  H. Leaving the most holy place, he was surrounded by crowds of sacred ministers, (v. 14.) or rather on the day of expiation, he came into the court of the people, to purify them.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Cloud.  He was a far superior to the other priests in majestic appearance and attire, as Lucifer is to other stars, &c. v. 11.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  So did.  Gr. “on the temple of the Most High,” with dazzling effulgence.  Jos. Bel. vi. 6.

 

Ver. 11.  Forth.  Gr. adds, “fruits.” Rearing.  Gr. “elevated to the clouds.”  H. Robe.  Stole, or violet tunic.  C. Power.  That is, with all his vestments, denoting his dignity and authority, (Ch.) and extremely rich, as virtus often implies.  C. xliv. 3.  C. Gr. has, “boasting.”

 

Ver. 12.  Vesture.  Gr. “enclosure of holiness,” peribolhn.  H. His splendid attire of gold and jewels, cast a dazzling light all around.  C. He was pleased to offer the peace-offering for the king of Egypt, (Bossuet) to honour him, though another priest might have done it.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Palm.  A forest of young ones shoots up from its roots; (Job xxix. 18.) so the high priest shone among the other children of Aaron.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  King.  Gr. “Almighty” King, pantokratoroV.  H. He presented an unblemished victim, with all due solemnity.  Lev. iii. 1.

 

Ver. 16.  Grape.  Pouring wine upon the fire.  Ex. xxix. 40.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Prince.  Gr. “universal king.”  H. The whole sacrifice was pleasing to him.

 

Ver. 18.  God.  Gr. “the Highest.”  He had required these sacrifices, as memorials of his covenant, and sovereign dominion.  Lev. xxiii. 34.

 

Ver. 20.  House.  Gr. Comp. and Grabe, “sound, sweet melody was made.”

 

Ver. 21.  Office, leitourgian autou, “his service.”  H. The people prayed for king Ptolemy, to whom they were subject; though the high priest possessed almost sovereign power.  The Egyptian monarch was present, (C.) and at the end of the sacrifice expressed his resolution to go into the inmost recesses of the temple, from which the people endeavoured to dissuade him.  Finding their efforts to be in vain, “they all (addressing themselves to God) said with one accord.”  3 Mac. ii.  Grabe substitutes, “wherefore the high priest, Simon, kneeling down before the temple, and stretching forth his hand with solemnity, made this prayer.”

 

Ver. 23.  Prayer.  Gr. “adoration, that they might receive a blessing from the Most High.”  H. Power.  In keeping Philopator out of the temple.  God granted his request, (C.  litaneiaV) “and scourged him who was so insolent and bold…throwing him like a reed, unable to move, and speechless on the pavement.”  2 Mac. ii. 26.  After Philopator’s guards had removed him, the high priest congratulated the people, (v. 26.) expressing his abhorrence of their enemies in general, though the only mentions three neighbouring nations which had shewn a particular enmity to the Jews, when a contrary behaviour might have been expected.  v. 28.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  Now.  A the sight of these wonders, the author exhorts the people to be grateful, and full of hope.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  His, Simon’s, (M.) or God’s days.  When he may judge it convenient.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  Abhorreth.  Viz. with a holy indignation as enemies of God and persecutors of his people.  Such were then the Edomites, who abode in Mount Seir, the Philistines, and the Samaritans, who dwelt in Sichem, and had their schismatical temple in that neighbourhood.  Ch. This was the source of continual dissensions.  Joseph. xi. 8. and xii. 2.  Jo. iv. 20. The Jews and Samaritans are still at variance.  The former, in the days of Esdras, pronounced a curse against the latter, forbidding any of them to become converts to their religion, (Grot.) which, if true, shews a very blameable malice.  See Deut. xxvii. 4.  H. Which, &c. is omitted in Gr.  These three nations had evinced the greatest hatred towards the Jews, and thus deserved to be accounted objects of horror, though if the author harboured any ill-will, his conduct is not praised, (C.) but only recoreded.  H. The Samaritans consisted of Assyrians, Jews, &c. and therefore are styled no nation; and they were foolish in mixing idolatry with the true worship.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Seir.  Gen. xiv. 6.  All the Greek copies read corruptly “of Samaria.” Foolish.  Thus Christ said, you adore what you know not.  Jo. iv. 22.  C.  See 4 K. xvii. 29.  W.

 

Ver. 29.  Jesus.  He declares his name, and concludes with wishing peace to the observers of these maxims.  Grotius thinks that this was inserted by the grandson, (C.) who translated the work into Greek.  H. But there is no reason for this supposition.  Solomon puts his name at the beginning and at the end of Ecclesiastes, and he frequently commends his own instructions, as this author does.  C. xxxiii. 17. and xxxix. 16. and li. 19.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Steps.  He…shall have the light of life.  Jo. viii. 12.  M. Some Gr. copies add, “and to the pious he has given wisdom.  Blessed be the Lord for ever.  So be it.  So be it.”  H.

 

 

ECCLESIASTICUS 51

 

CHAPTER LI.

 

Ver. 1.  Sirach.  This prayer may be in imitation of the book of Wisdom.  H. Grotius assigns it to the grandson, without reason; as the author continues to speak of his travels, &c.  He seems to have lived under Onias III. and under Seleucus and Antiochus Epiphanes, of Syria, to whom he was probably accused, and hence took occasion to retire into Egypt, where Ptolemy Epiphanes was king.  C. Others think (H.) that he was accused before Ptolemy Lagus, when he took Jerusalem.  M. We know too little of his life to decide any thing.  C.  See c. l. 1.  H. Saviour.  When we are not able to make a return, we must shew greater marks of gratitude, and particularly to God, for the favours which we have not deserved.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  By.  To accuse me.  Zac. iii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Gates.  Gr. “many.”  H. He exaggerates the danger to which he was exposed, as he was not miraculously delivered from the flames, &c. (C.) though this might be the case.  At least he thanks God for preserving him (H.) from the various torments which were then in use.

 

Ver. 6.  In.  Gr. “from the midst of a fire which I did not enkindle,” or deserve by any crime.

 

Ver. 7.  Hell.  The grave.  I was preserved like Jonas.  C. Unjust.  Gr. “the accusation was made to the king, by an unjust tongue.  My soul approached unto death, and my life,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  World.  Shewn to Noe, Joseph, &c.  C. Nations.  Gr. “enemies.”  v. 12.

 

Ver. 13.  Thou.  Gr. “I raised my supplicating voice from the earth, and I,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  The Father.  Grotius asserts boldly, that it should be, “my Father,” and that some Christian has changed this.  But his authority may be rejected, when he brings no proof; and Bossuet has solidly refuted him.  The passage clearly proves the belief of the second person, and seems to allude to Ps. cix. 1.  Drus. Vat. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  When.  He now gives some account of himself, and exhorts all to seek for wisdom.  H. He was advanced in years, when he fell into the aforesaid danger, after his travels.  C. xxxiv. 9.  C. Wisdom is most easily acquired, while a person is innocent.  Eccle. xii.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  After her.  Being convinced that prayer is requisite for the preservation and improvement of such a treasure.  See 3 K. iii. 8.  C. And.  Gr. “from the flower as of a ripening grape.  My heart,” &c.

 

Ver. 22.  Wisdom.  Gr. “instruction for myself.”  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Wrestled.  Against pleasure, idleness, &c.  This shews how arduous a task it is to attain wisdom.  C. Confirmed.  Greek, “in earnest.”

 

Ver. 27.  Knowledge.  Gr. Alex. “time of harvest.”  Grabe substitutes, “in purification,” (H.) or the practice of virtue.  Wisd. i. 4.

 

Ver. 28.  Heart.  Or understanding, as the Heb. place this in the heart.  3 K. iii. 9.

 

Ver. 29.  Her.  I did it, with all solicitude.  Cant. v. 4.  Jer. iv. 19.  C.

 

Ver. 30.  Tongue.  Eloquence, (M.) which I will exert in praising him.

 

Ver. 31.  Gather.  Gr. “dwell in the,” &c.  H. He addresses those who are walking in the broad road.

 

Ver. 33.  Silver.  Only good-will is necessary, which all may have.  Is. lv. 1.  Rom. x. 6.  Wisd. vi. 13.

 

Ver. 36.  Gold.  The wise man has more opportunities of enriching himself than others; but he despises unnecessary wealth.  C. We must labour for wisdom more than for riches, and we shall be rewarded hereafter.  W.

 

Ver. 38.  The time.  It is never too soon to be wise.  In doing good let us not fail, (Gal. vi. 9.) in order to obtain that food, which remains for ever.  Is. vi. 7.  Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is all man.  Eccle. xii. 13.  C. This is the sum of the sapiential works, and of all the Scriptures: To depart from evil is understanding.  Job xxviii. 28.  H.

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