James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 6:2 - 6:2

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James Nisbet Commentary - Proverbs 6:2 - 6:2

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Wisdom directs us not only what to do but what to avoid. The hidden rocks upon which we may strike are all marked. Obedience to the Word of God, whole-hearted and continuous, is our only safety. If we stray, it is not for want of clear direction, but of care in following it.

I. Suretyship (1–5).—All suretyship is not forbidden; such, for example, as that of Reuben and Judah for Benjamin (Gen_42:37; Gen_43:9); and still more, that of Jesus for His people. He became answerable for our liabilities, with the full intention of having to meet them for us. Without this suretyship we should be in despair. But the warning is against rash engagements involving responsibilities which cannot honestly be met.

II. Indolence (6–11).—A wise man will readily receive instruction even from ants. Their industry and providence powerfully reprove the indolent man. ‘Guides’ are parents, teachers, ministers, the Bible. God is the constant ‘Overseer.’ ‘Thou God seest me.’ And He is the ‘Ruler’ and Judge before Whom our account must be given.

III. Mischievous wickedness (12–19).—The poverty of the sluggard comes because of his slothfulness, that of the ‘naughty person’ because of his unwearied activity in evil. All the members of his body—mouth, eyes, feet, fingers—are used as ‘instruments of unrighteousness,’ because the ‘heart’ is wrong. With a slight addition all these features reappear in the description of the seven ‘abominations.’ ‘The sower of discord’ is put in strange company. The God of Peace hates strife and division.


‘How important to heed the warning of the next paragraph—against sloth! The secret of life is to leave no moment unemployed. Every hour should receive some seeds that will fruit in harvests by and by. We cannot continue doing the same thing, but we may turn from it to others. Happy the man who has several interests in his life, so that, when one set of faculties is wearied, he may turn the nervous energy into other channels. Recreation should be a means to an end, driving the red blood through heart and lung, that it may presently return oxygenated to the brain.’