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time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.” As the fish and the bird go with much hope and promise of good to the bait and snare, so men frequently fall into evil by those very means from which they expected considerable benefit to themselves, Esth. v. 12; Ps. lxix. 22; 2 Sam. xiii. 28; Luke xii. 19, 20. It is hiere likewise intimated, that as the wisdom of man can easily deceive simple birds, so the providence and power of God can be too hard for all the wisdom of men, and censure them in their own counsels, Job v. 12–14; Prov. xi. 5, 6. He can suddenly infatuate them, Isai. xix. 11-15; or start up some unexpected circumstance, which shall vary the nature of the whole business, though otherwise admirably contrived, 1 Sam. xxiii. 27, 28; Job xxii. 10; Ps. lxiv. 7.
13. This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me:
14. There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it:
15. Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same
16. Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength : nevertheless the
poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.
These verses may be considered, either as the observation of another vavity, namely, the disrespect which is shewn to wisdom when it is orerclouded with poverty, and which is exemplified in the narration or parable of a little city delivered from a great king by a poor despised man; or in relation to the sentiments immediately preceding, thus: Though it be true, that events sometimes happen contrary to second causes, so that even wise men are disappointed of those ends which regularly should have followed their exertions, yet wise dom still ought not to be despised in the meanest persons; for as in some instances it pleases God to deny success to the most proper and probable causes, in others be gives great deliverance by means unknown and unpremeditated. The general scope of the passage is, to demonstrate the excellent advantage of wisdom, and how highly it is to be valued, though it be as a treasure in an earthen vessel, 2 Cor. iv. 5 ; or presented to us by mean hands, as David blessed God for the wise counsel of Abigail, i Sam. xxv. 32, 34. and as Naaman rejected not the advice of a little maid, 2 Kings v. 2, 3, 4. Wisdom, only in a woman, saved a city from de. struction, 2 Sam. xx. 16–22.—“ It seemed great unto me.” However the wisdom of the poor man was undervalued by others, it appeared very great to me; so much the great. er, as his means of attaining it were inconsiderable.-" There was a little city, and few men within it.” Here, in a parable, Solomon manifests the excellency of wisdom, by the greatness of the danger from which it extri. cates, represented by a little city, with few men, and weak defence, assaulted by a powerful monarch, with a numerous army,
and strong bulwarks; so that the disadvantage was entirely on the side of the city.--"Now there was found in it a poor wise man.” He found in it: verbs active of the third
person are used sometimes passively, Isai. ix. 6; Hos. x. 2. God oftentimes makes one wise and holy man a means of delivering a whole people, Prov. xi. 11 ; Gen. 1. 20; 2 Kings ii. 12; 1 Sam. xvii. 8, 9, 51, 52; Deut. xxxii. 30.
“ And he by his wisdom delivered the city,” • as one Archimedes at Syracuse did more by his ingenuity towards the defence of that city, than all the rest that were in it, 'Ey dopor Bénsurus Tonhãs xôiges vxã.-"Yet no man remembered that poor man.” This deliverance being effected by one of no account, and from whom there was no expectation of any such service, no person looked after him to return him any thanks, or to make him any recompence, 2 Cor. iv. 7.“ Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength,” ch. vii. 19; Prov. xxi. 22. and xxiv. 3, 4, 5. Hence we are taught to consider the comparative goodness of things, and to prefer that which is most excellent, i Cor. xii, and vii. 38; 1 Sam. xv. 22.
17. The words of wise men are heard in quiet, more than the cry of him that ruleth
“ Are heard,” that is, ought to be heard; as, “a son honoureth his father,” Mal. i. 6.i.e. he ought honour him.-" In quiet ;" either, are to be delivered with submission and meekness, Prov. xxv. 12; 1 Kings. xii. 7; or, are to be received with a tractable and calm spirit, devoid of pride or contradiction, Job xxix. 21, 22; Jam. i. 21. A wise man, speaking without clamour, contention, and ostentation, will more compose the spirits of his hearers by his weighty and seasonable advice, and more powerfully prevail with them by his sober and serious counsel, than all the angry and passionate words of such as possess a larger measure of power, but who have no skill to manage it: Ille regit dictis animos et pectora mulcet.
18. Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
“ Wisdom is better than weapons of war.” Wisdom is not only superior to strength, but to strength armed and seconded with military provisions: the poor man's wisdom not only delivered the city from the great king and his numerous army, but from his bulwarks and fortifications which he had raised against it. “ But one sinner destroyeth much good.” By the opposition between a sinner and a wise man, it is evident that the wise man here described is also a godly man ; since God usually infatuates and defeats the counsels of worldly wisdom, 2 Sam. xv. 21; Isai. xix. 11–14. and xliv. 25; 1 Cor. i. 19. Some render the words, Qui in uno peccat. He that in war, through folly and inadvertency, commits one error, may destroy a whole army: for it is said, In bello non licet his peccare. That one error of Absalom, in preferring the counsel of Hushai to Ahithophel's, ruined his enterprize. But the term “ one sinner" is rather to be understood in opposition to the “ one poor wise man," ver. 15. as indicating, that one wicked