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with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Proverbs 16

Proverbs 16 Audio:

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1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.

5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.

9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.

11 A just weight and balance are the LORD’s: all the weights of the bag are his work.

12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.

13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.

14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.

15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.

16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.

18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.

21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.

23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.

24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.

27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.

28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.

29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.

30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.

31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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.” Georgiou. 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.