HORSE: Related to war (Job 39:19,21), but is stubborn
and vain (Psa 147:10; 33:17), unrepentant (Jer 8:5,6), and must first be
chastised -- the whip (Jam 3:3; 1Co 4:21).
DONKEY: An unclean animal, but could be redeemed and
loosed on Sabbath (Luk 13:15), more submissive (Isa 1:3) and peaceful (Zec 9:9;
Joh 12:14), but still needed guidance (halter).
ROD: Guidance, as provided by a shepherd. Lit
"scepter": perhaps of Christ (Isa 11:4).
See Mat 7:6.
Practically illustrated by the incident of the question of
John's baptism: "By whose authority?" (Mat 21:24-27; cp Luk 20:1-8).
DRINKING VIOLENCE: That is, planning violence while
drinking (cp Pro 4:17).
Such a parable does not proceed smoothly, but falls of its own
IT WILL NOT TAKE PLACE, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN: Judah will
be safe from the depredations of Syria and Israel; God has guaranteed
A drunkard is insensible to pain! cannot be
AS A DOOR TURNS ON ITS HINGES, SO A SLUGGARD TURNS ON HIS
BED: "We have never encountered one who was attached to his bed quite as
securely as a door is attached to its hinges. All these sayings are lively
caricatures of human weaknesses... The door turning on its hinges may serve a
useful purpose, allowing entrance to a room while keeping out the wind, but the
sluggard turning on his bed performs no service of any kind. This seems like a
caricature of a man who cannot make up his mind. Is indecision really one of the
effects of sloth? We can imagine that men who experience difficulty in making
decisions would answer this question with an emphatic No. They spend much mental
energy in their careful weighing of arguments and so they multiply the tasks
which a sluggard would scheme to avoid. They would attribute their difficulties
to an excess of caution, never to sloth" (PrPr).
"What an incredible picture is brought to the mind: a person
starving to death but too lazy of pick up the food that is right there in front
of him. How many people do you know that profess to be Christians yet would have
great difficulty telling you where in the Bible the book of Hebrews is? Could
they even tell you if it was in the OT or the NT? Could they even tell you if
there was such a book in the Bible? Yet, there are few households in first world
countries that don't have a Bible somewhere in them" (KT).
Or, perhaps, "like one who takes a passing dog by the ears"
LIKE ONE WHO SEIZES A DOG BY THE EARS: "This surely
would be bad for the dog and bad also for the one who interfered. The intervener
can rarely do any good in such a matter and he may easily do harm. Probably the
only way in which such interference can end the original dispute is by turning
the wrath of both combatants upon the would-be peacemaker" (PrPr 147).
IS A PASSER-BY WHO MEDDLES IN A QUARREL NOT HIS OWN:
"Adults often reveal less capacity for learning than children. They have the
advantage of books containing all the accumulated wisdom of mankind, and beyond
all this and permeating a great deal of it, there is the instruction that has
come direct from God, yet the knowledge is very little used. Life is full of
avoidable evils through men ignoring principles or rules of conduct which are
perfectly well known, and which have had their wisdom demonstrated in every
"Sometimes the individual failure is so obvious that almost
all observers smile at it. I recall two instances of this kind in which the
facts were related by the victim when sufficient time had passed for him to join
in the amusement... The other case was that of a young man who, when returning
home one night, chanced to pass a low part of the city where there was a quarrel
between man and wife. The young fellow, perceiving that the woman was being
ill-treated, gallantly went to her assistance. He was, as he expressed it,
'getting on very nicely' in his contest with the man when the ungrateful woman
came up behind and hit her champion on the head with a saucepan. According to
his own account, the young man spent a carefree hour in the gutter before he
came back to consciousness of this painful life. Then, as he limped slowly
homeward, he began dimly to recall to memory certain maxims regarding the
unwisdom of meddling with strife that does not belong to us" (PrPr).
Basic idea: a bright glaze covering an impure
A COATING OF GLAZE: Heb "kesep sigim". KJV's "silver
dross" is basically meaningless. The NIV rendering is based on Hittite "zapzagu"
("glaze"), Ugaritic "spsg" (MNIV 99).
A LYING TONGUE HATES THOSE IT HURTS: "This is certainly
not a principle of human conduct to light our way through life; but it is a
primary fact of human weakness which we need to recognize. Keen observers in
each generation discover the fact for themselves, and sometimes remark on it as
a paradox. Yet it was more perfectly stated in the Proverbs of Solomon than ever
by writers of later days.
"The converse truth has also been noted, although perhaps not
put in this definite form: the truthful tongue loves those who are blest by it.
There is nothing so fruitful of love as the practical works of love. Action
sometimes has to precede feeling. Works of love may be undertaken only from a
sense of duty, or for the love of Christ, and eventually the worker will develop
a genuine love for the unattractive people who benefit by his labours"