Proverbs 14:17

An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs
Charles Bridges

"A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,
and a man of wicked intentions is hated."

Different gradations of sin are here opposed to each other--the sudden passion and the deliberate purpose; the gust and the continuance of the storm. A hasty temper convicts us of foolishness before our fellowmen. What frightful mischief may be the consequence of an angry word! How fearfully did the "man after God's own heart" suffer the fire to burst out! (1 Sam. 25:21.) Who then, with this example before us, will dare to relax the watch?

But are these sins of temper matters of sorrow and humiliation? Does the remembrance of their cost to our crucified Friend exercise our constant watchfulness and prayerful resistance? Is not our loving Father's rod sometimes needful to bring conviction of their guilty foolishness? Oh, for a rich vouchsafement [bestowal] of that "love which is not easily provoked" (1 Cor. 13:5). "Let us give our hearts no rest, until we have purged their gall, and tempered them with the sweetness and gentleness of our Lord and Savior," says Daille.

But sin grows from weakness to willfulness. Diodati has said, "The first makes a man contemptible, and the second abominable." Wicked devices, cherished malice, one act preparing for another almost aiming at the uttermost, all this shows the true picture of man--hateful and hating one another. Such a man is hated of God as an abomination. Man holds him up to his righteous scorn. Absalom's pillar, the monument to his name, is to this day the object of universal contempt*. The hatred of Haman's wicked devices is perpetuated from generation to generation. Why are these warnings, if we do not regard them? Our dignity is our likeness to God! What shame and degradation must there be in this contrariety to him!

*Calmet mentions the habit of passing travelers throwing stones at Absalom's pillar to show their hatred of a son's rebellion against his father, and that now the accumulation of stones hides the lower part of the monument. This tradition is confirmed by recent travelers.

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