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14:1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
14:2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
14:3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.
14:4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.
14:5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
14:6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.
14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.
14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
14:9 Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
14:10 The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
14:11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
14:13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
14:15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
14:16 A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
14:17 He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.
14:18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
14:19 The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
14:20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
14:21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
14:22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
14:23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.
14:24 The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.
14:25 A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.
14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
14:28 In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince.
14:29 He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.
14:30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.
14:31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.
14:32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
14:33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.
14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
14:35 The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.

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Everything King James Bible:Proverbs
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Proverbs
Book: Proverbs
Chapter: 14


1 A Woman who has No fear of God, who is wilful and wasteful,
and indulges her ease, will as certainly ruin her family, as if
she plucked her House down. 2. Here are Grace and Sin in their
true colours. Those that despise God's precepts and promises,
despise God and all his power and Mercy. 3. Pride grows from
that root of bitterness which is in the Heart. The root must be
plucked up, or we cannot conquer this Branch. The prudent words
of Wise men get them out of difficulties. 4. There can be No
advantage without something which, though of little moment, will
affright the indolent. 5. A conscientious Witness will not
dare to represent anything otherwise than according to his
knowledge. 6. A scorner treats Divine things with contempt. He
that feels his ignorance and unworthiness will search the
Scriptures in a humble Spirit. 7. We discover a wicked Man if
there is No savour of Piety in his discourse. 8. We are
travellers, whose concern is, not to spy out wonders, but to get
to their Journey's End; to understand the rules we are to walk
By, also the ends we are to walk toward. The bad Man cheats
himself, and goes On in his mistake. 9. Foolish and profane
men consider Sin a mere trifle, to be made Light of rather than
mourned over. Fools mock at the Sin-Offering; but those that
make Light of Sin, make Light of Christ. 10. We do not know
what stings of Conscience, or consuming passions, Torment the
prosperous sinner. Nor does the world know the peace of mind a
serious Christian enjoys, even in poverty and sickness. 11.
Sin ruins many great families; whilst Righteousness often raises
and strengthens even mean families. 12. The ways of
carelessness, of worldliness, and of sensuality, seem right to
those that walk in them; but self-deceivers prove
self-destroyers. See the vanity of Carnal mirth. 14. Of all
sinners backsliders will have the most terror when they reflect
On their own ways. 15. Eager readiness to believe what others
say, has ever proved mischievous. The whole world was thus
ruined at first. The Man who is spiritually Wise, depends On the
Saviour alone for acceptance. He is watchful against the enemies
of his Salvation, By taking heed to God's Word. 16. Holy fear
guards against every thing unholy. 17. An angry Man is to be
pitied as Well as blamed; but the revengeful is more hateful.

18. Sin is the shame of sinners; but Wisdom is the honour of
the Wise. 19. Even bad men acknowledge the excellency of God's
people. 20. Friendship in the world is governed By
self-interest. It is good to have God our Friend; he will not
Desert us. 21. To despise a Man for his employment or
appearance is a Sin. 22. How wisely those consult their own
interest, who not only do good, but devise it! 23. Labour of
the head, or of the Hand, will turn to some good account. But if
men's religion runs all out in talk and noise, they will come to
nothing. 24. The riches of men of Wisdom and Piety enlarge
their usefulness. 25. An upright Man will venture the
displeasure of the greatest, to bring Truth to Light. 26,27.
Those who fear the Lord So as to obey and serve him, have a
strong ground of confidence, and will be preserved. Let us seek
to this Fountain of Life, that we may escape the snares of
Death. 28. Let all that wish Well to the kingdom of Christ, do
what they can, that many may be added to his Church. 29. A
mild, patient Man is one that learns of Christ, who is Wisdom
itself. Unbridled Passion is folly made known. 30. An upright,
contented, and benevolent mind, tends to health. 31. To
oppress the Poor is to reproach our Creator. 32. The wicked
Man has his soul forced from him; he dies in his sins, under the
guilt and power of them. But godly men, though they have pain
and some dread of Death, have the blessed Hope, which God, who
cannot Lie, has given them. 33. Wisdom possesses the Heart,
and thus regulates the affections and tempers. 34. Piety and
Holiness always promote industry, sobriety, and honesty. 35.
The great King who reigns over Heaven and Earth, will reward
Faithful servants who honour his Gospel By the proper discharge
of the duties of their stations: he despises not the services of
the lowest.

Proverbs 14:10 in the New International Version (NIV) states that “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” With only slight variations of word choice within each, about half the translations I checked agree with what this translation says. The other half prefer “and a stranger does not share its joy.” Such a difference easily opens up a broad avenue for debate with nothing to base opinion on but faith in one translator over another. The words change the meaning in the following ways: where it is “no one else” one can draw the conclusion that nobody at all can feel someone else’s deepest feelings. But if you were to read it “stranger” then one might find that since strangers can not feel the sorrow or joy of the person, friends must be able to. Both interpretations are clearly represented in a number of translations. The only truly different translation I found is that from the Living Bible: “Only the person involved can know his own bitterness or joy—no one else can really share it.” This sides with the “no one else” translation but phrases it differently enough that we see clearly that only the one can feel the bitterness or joy, the other translation does not group the two feelings together.

In understanding this I looked to a few commentaries which helped me make both slight distinctions in meaning between texts and also see the vast differences. I learned that the proverb is most likely speaking in relation to everyday matters for there is no hint at a moral or religious connotation (Toy 287-288). Also, support was found for the proverb to be an expression of human solitude (Kidner 107-108). One commentary translated it as “Every man knows his sorrow, and (therefore) with his joy no pride is mingled.” This introduces a completely new idea behind the proverb, the meaning being that when one remembers one’s bitterness, it keeps that person modest in times of joy. This fourth interpretation of the passage is quite different from the other three and even the commentary from which it came says that is probably not the true translation (Expositor’s).

To interpret this for ourselves we must take into account which translation we agree with. Do we feel that man is indeed an island or do we in fact need a sharing of human emotion on the deepest levels? My feeling would be towards a mixture of both. I call it Hybrid Proverb 14:10 Theory. The theory consists of one knowing it is natural and acceptable to feel alone and cut off from one’s fellow humans, but we must still seek out human companionship and the deepest of friendships. In context of the 21st century we often find ourselves alone, outnumbered by machines and those wielding them better than us. We must turn our attention to God if we are to receive the attention we need and are unable to attain here.

Works Cited

The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol. 5 Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991.

Kidner, Derek, Rev. The Proverbs, an Introduction and Commentary. London: The Tyndale Press, 1972

Toy, Crawford H. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Proverbs. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1948.

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