World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
11 Maintain Peace. I have already stated that this clause must be separated from what goes before, for this is a new sentence. Now, to be at peace, means in this passage — to act peacefully and without disturbance, as we also say in French — sans bruit, (without noise.) In short, he exhorts them to be peaceable and tranquil. This is the purport of what he adds immediately afterwards — to do your own business: for we commonly see, that those who intrude themselves with forwardness into the affairs of others, make great disturbance, and give trouble to themselves and others. This, therefore, is the best means of a tranquil life, when every one, intent upon the duties of his own calling, discharges those duties which are enjoined upon him by the Lord, and devotes himself to these things: while the husbandman employs himself in rural labors, the workman carries on his occupation, and in this way every one keeps within his own limits. So soon as men turn aside from this, everything is thrown into confusion and disorder. He does not mean, however, that every one shall mind his own business in such a way as that each one should live apart, having no care for others, but has merely in view to correct an idle levity, which makes men noisy bustlers in public, who ought to lead a quiet life in their own houses.
Labor with your hands. He recommends manual labor on two accounts — that they may have a sufficiency for maintaining life, and that they may conduct themselves honorably even before unbelievers. For nothing is more unseemly than a man that is idle and good for nothing, who profits neither himself nor others, and seems born only to eat and drink. Farther, this labor or system of working extends far, for what he says as to hands is by way of synecdoche; but there can be no doubt that he includes every useful employment of human life.