King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Proverbs 6

Cautions against rash suretiship. (1-5) A rebuke to slothfulness. (6-11) Seven things hateful to God. (12-19) Exhortations to walk according to God’s commandments. (20-35)

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Cautions against rash suretiship

1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,

2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.

3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.

4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.

5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.

A rebuke to slothfulness

6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:

7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,

8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

Seven things hateful to God

12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.

13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;

14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.

15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Exhortations to walk according to God’s commandments

20 My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.

22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.

23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.

25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.

26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.

27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?

28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.

30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;

31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.

32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.

33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.

34 For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.

35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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.