Exposition of Proverbs Chapter 27, by C. H. Spurgeon
Jump to verse: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10a 10b 11 12-13a 13b-14 15 16 17 18-19 20-21 22 23 24-27

Verse 1
1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. {to...: Heb. to morrow day}

Let us never boast of future days and years, or what we mean to do when we come to any age, or what shall be our position when we grow grey. Let us never boast of anything in the future, for we cannot tell what even a day may bring forth.

Verse 2
2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

For he who praises himself writes himself down a fool in capital letters.

Verse 3
3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both. {heavy: Heb. heaviness}

One might endure almost any sort of labor sooner than have to live with one who is perpetually and foolishly angry.

Verse 4
4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? {Wrath...: Heb. Wrath is cruelty, and anger an overflowing} {envy: or, jealousy?}

Envy is a snake in the grass. Christians, beware of envy. You will, perhaps, be tempted to have it in your heart when you see another Christian more useful than you are, or when some Christian brother seems to have more honor than you have. Ah, then! cry to God against it. Never let this venomous reptile be spared for a single moment. The best of men will find envy creeping over them at times; it may be envy of the wicked who are rich. We must seek to overcome that at once. And even envy of the best of men, what is it but covetousness and hatred, and a breach of two commandments? God save us from it!

Verse 5
5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.

That I should love my fellow-man is a good thing; but to have love enough to be able openly to rebuke his faults, is a very high proof of affection, and far better than secret love that is silent when it ought to speak. And yet, how many persons there are who are very angry with you if you give them an open rebuke, and how many there are who are foolish enough to prefer secret love to open rebuke, though they have Solomon’s wisdom to teach them better! Our Lord Jesus Christ has a secret love to his people, yet he never spares them the open rebuke when he knows that it will be good for them.

Verse 6
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. {deceitful: or, earnest, or, frequent}

Beware of the flattering world, believer; beware of the flattering devil, and of the cozening of the flesh. When things go smoothly with you, there may be the greatest danger. Whatever you do in times of storm, keep a good look-out when the sea is calm and the sky is clear.

Verse 7
7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. {loatheth: Heb. treadeth under foot}

“The full soul loatheth” (even that luscious thing) “an honeycomb.” No true preaching will go down with him who is full of himself, full of his own importance. Unless there shall be many of the flowers of rhetoric in the discourse, he will not listen to sound doctrine. “But to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Happy hunger is it when the soul hungereth and thirsteth after righteousness. Then there are no hyper-critical observations about the minister’s delivery, and no carping at words and phrases. It is spiritual food that the soul seeks, and if it can get that, though it may not be to its taste in every respect, there will be a sweetness in it that will make it like a honeycomb.

Verse 9
9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

The Orientals were wont to smear their faces, and especially their hair with ointment and perfume, and those who came near them were pleased with the scent. When you can get a little conversation, especially upon points that help towards godliness, with those of a like frame of mind with you, when you can have sweet communion and fellowship with the people of God, then it is that your hearts are rejoiced as with ointments and perfumes.

Verse 10a
10 Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not;

Have but few friends, but stick closely to them. Above all, cleave closely to that “Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” If he be thine own Friend, and thy father’s Friend, never forsake HIM. Forsake all the world for him, but let not all the world induce thee to forsake him.

Verse 10b
10 Neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

It is very sad that it should be so; but, sometimes, our nearest relatives are the farthest off, and those who ought to help us the most help us least. Many a man has had kindness shown to him by his neighbor, who was but a stranger, when he has had little or no kindness from his own relatives. But there is one Brother into whose house we may always go. So near of kin he is to us, and so loving of heart, that he never thinketh a hard thought of us; but, the more we ask of him, the more delighted he is with us, and is only grieved with us because we stint ourselves in our prayers.

Verse 11
11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

A good son is his father’s honor. If any say of such-and-such a man that he is a bad man, yet, if his children walk orderly, he can answer the slander without speaking a word. Would a bad man have brought up his children in that way? Would they be walking in the fear of God if he had not walked in that way himself? So the sons of God ought to seek, by their consistency, to keep the name of their Father clear of reproach. The consistency of our conduct should be the best answer to the accusations of the infidel.

Verse 12, 13a
12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished. 13a Take his garment that is surety for a stranger.

He that taketh surety is sure, but he that goeth surety for another, and especially for a stranger, will smart for it, perhaps to the day of his death.

Verse 13b, 14
13b And take a pledge of him for a strange woman. 14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

There are some men who always use such sweet words; they are so fond of you that they are up early in the morning to give you their praise, and they continue all day pouring out their flattering unction. Such blessings as these are a curse, and the wise man will loathe these parasitical people who will see no faults, or pretend that they do not see any, but will always be extolling mere trifles as though they were the sublimest virtues. A sensible man is not to be overcome by this flattery.

Verse 15
15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

When there is a little leak in the roof, and the rain keeps dropping through, it is very uncomfortable; but it is ten times more comfortable than it is to have to dwell with a contentious woman.

Verse 16
16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

That is to say, if a man put sweet ointment on his hand, the smell of it would soon be perceived; so, if a woman be of a contentious, angry, quarrelsome disposition, her contentiousness will be discovered, there is no hiding it.

Verse 17
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Hence the usefulness of Christian association, and hence also the evil of sinful company, for one sinner sharpens another to do mischief, just as one saint encourages another to righteousness.

Verse 18, 19
18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured. 19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

If I look into water, I see the reflection of my own face, not another man’s; and if I look into society, I shall probably see men like-minded with myself. How is it that a drunken man always finds out drunken men? How is it that lascivious men always have a bad opinion of the morality of other people? How is it that hypocrites always think other people hypocrites? Why, because they can see the reflection of their own faces. When a man tells me that there is no love in the Church of God, I know it is because he sees his own face, and knows that there is no love in it. You will generally find that men measure other people’s corn with their own bushels. They are sure to mete out to others according to their own measure; and they thus unconsciously betray themselves.

Verse 20, 21
20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. {never: Heb. not} 21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

Many a man, who can bear adversity, cannot bear prosperity. The world’s censures seldom do a Christian any harm, but it is the breath of applause that often gives us the scarlet fever of pride.

Verse 22
22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

No troubles, no afflictions, can of themselves make a fool into a wise man. The sinner remains a sinner, after all providential chastisements, unless sovereign grace interposes.

Verse 23
23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. {look...: Heb. set thy heart}

Be not slothful in business; and, above all, let the Christian be diligent to know the state of his own heart.

Verse 24-27
24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? {riches: Heb. strength} {to...: Heb. to generation and generation?} 25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. 26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. 27 And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. {maintenance: Heb. life}

Those who are diligent generally prosper, and they who are diligent in spiritual things shall have all that their souls need. They shall be clothed with the robe of righteousness, they shall be well fed, and shall be satisfied.

May the wisdom of these proverbs be given to us in daily life, that we may be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves; but, above all, may heavenly wisdom be given to us in all spiritual things, to the praise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Albert Martin messages on Proverbs
Charles Bridges Commentary on Proverbs