The wise - The person who follows the dictates of wisdom, as mentioned above, shall inherit glory; because, being one of the heavenly family, a child of God, he has thereby heaven for his inheritance; but fools, such as those mentioned chapters 1 and 2, shall have ignominy for their exaltation. Many such fools as Solomon speaks of are exalted to the gibbet and gallows. The way to prevent this and the like evils, is to attend to the voice of wisdom.
A marked change in style. The continuous exhortation is replaced by a series of maxims.
From them to whom it is due - literally, as in the margin. The precept expresses the great Scriptural thought that the so-called possession of wealth is but a stewardship; that the true owners of what we call our own are those to whom, with it, we may do good. Not to relieve them is a breach of trust.
Procrastination is especially fatal to the giving impulse. The Septuagint adds the caution: “for thou knowest not what the morrow will bring forth.”
A protest against the tendency to worship success, to think the lot of the “man of violence” enviable, and therefore to be chosen.
The true nature of such success. That which people admire is an abomination to Yahweh. His “secret,” i. e., His close, intimate communion as of “friend with friend,” is with the righteous.
The thought, like that which appears in Zechariah 5:3-4, and pervades the tragedies of Greek drama, is of a curse, an Ate, dwelling in a house from generation to generation, the source of ever-recurring woes. There is, possibly, a contrast between the “house” or “palace” of the rich oppressor and the lowly shepherd‘s hut, the “sheep-cote” 2 Samuel 7:8 ennobled only by its upright inhabitants.
Surely - Better, If he scorneth the scorners, i. e., Divine scorn of evil is the complement, and, as it were, the condition, of divine bounty to the lowly (compare the marginal reference and the Proverbs 1:26 note).
The margin conveys the thought that “fools” glory in that which is indeed their shame. Others take the clause as meaning “every fool takes up shame,” i. e., gains nothing but that.