Proverbs 10:16
The labor of the righteous tends to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) The labour of the righteous tendeth to life.—For the gains of his honest toil have the blessing of God upon them, and so bring him satisfaction of mind and the power of performing his duties in life; whereas all that the wicked man acquires only helps him to sin yet more, by enabling him to indulge his evil passions.

Proverbs 10:16. The labour of the righteous tendeth to life — The design of his labour is only this, that he may have wherewith to live honestly, without making use of any sinful shifts. Or rather, the fruit or effect of his labour and industry is the preservation of this life, and the obtaining of eternal life, to which an honest and conscientious diligence in a man’s calling greatly contributes. The fruit of the wicked — The fruit of all their labours and endeavours; to sin — Tendeth to sin, serves only for fuel to feed their pride, luxury, and worldly-mindedness, and by that means often causes, or, at least, hastens temporal death, and always, without repentance, issues in eternal death. 10:7. Both the just and the wicked must die; but between their souls there is a vast difference. 8. The wise in heart puts his knowledge in practice. 9. Dissemblers, after all their shuffling, will be exposed. 10. Trick and artifice will be no excuse for iniquity. 11. The good man's mouth is always open to teach, comfort, and correct others. 12. Where there is hatred, every thing stirs up strife. By bearing with each other, peace and harmony are preserved. 13. Those that foolishly go on in wicked ways, prepare rods for themselves. 14. Whatever knowledge may be useful, we must lay it up, that it may not be to seek when we want it. The wise gain this wisdom by reading, by hearing the word, by meditation, by prayer, by faith in Christ, who is made of God unto us wisdom. 15. This refers to the common mistakes both of rich and poor, as to their outward condition. Rich people's wealth exposes them to many dangers; while a poor man may live comfortably, if he is content, keeps a good conscience, and lives by faith. 16. Perhaps a righteous man has no more than what he works hard for, but that labour tends to life. 17. The traveller that has missed his way, and cannot bear to be told of it, and to be shown the right way, must err still. 18. He is especially a fool who thinks to hide anything from God; and malice is no better. 19. Those that speak much, speak much amiss. He that checks himself is a wise man, and therein consults his own peace. 20,21. The tongue of the just is sincere, freed from the dross of guile and evil design. Pious discourse is spiritual food to the needy. Fools die for want of a heart, so the word is; for want of thought.A warning against the conclusion to seek wealth first of all, which men of lower natures might draw from Proverbs 10:15.

"Quaerenda pecunia primum est;

Virtus post nummos?"

Horace, Ephesians 1. i.53.

Such an inference is met by the experience, that while wealth gotten by honest industry is not only, like inherited riches a defense, but also a blessing, the seeming profit (rather than "fruit") of the wicked tends to further sin 1 Timothy 6:10, and so to punishment. Compare Romans 6:21.

16. The industry of the righteous is alone truly successful, while the earnings of the wicked tempt and lead to sin. The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: either,

1. The design of his labour is only this, that he may have wherewith to live honestly, without sinful shifts. Or,

2. The fruit or effect of his labour or industry (as this word labour is most commonly understood, and this best answers to the following clause, where fruit is put instead of this labour) is the preservation and prolongation of this life, and the obtaining of eternal life, to which an honest and conscientious diligence in men’s worldly callings doth in some manner contribute. The fruit of the wicked, the fruit of all their labours and endeavours, to sin; tendeth to sin, serves only for fuel to men’s pride, and luxury, and worldliness, and by that means oft causeth temporal, and always, without repentance, eternal death. The labour of the righteous tendeth to life,.... To natural life, and the support of it; all that he labours for is to get a livelihood for himself and family; that is all he desires, nor does he seek great things for himself: or to spiritual life; so his spiritual exercises in praying, reading, and hearing the word, and waiting upon ordinances, have a tendency to promote and maintain a spiritual life in him: or to eternal life; not that the works of a righteous man (so the Targum, Septuagint, and Arabic versions, render it in the plural number) are meritorious of eternal life; for life and righteousness are not to be had by the works of men, but by the grace of God; yet, as the righteous man labours for the meat which endures to everlasting life, given by the Son of God, his labour may be said to tend to life eternal, John 6:27;

the fruit of the wicked to sin; whatever he enjoys, whether got by labour; though the word seems purposely omitted, as some observe, to signify that is not intended; or whether left him as an inheritance; or whatever way acquired, lawfully or unlawfully; all his revenues and riches, the increase of his substance and fields, are all used to sinful purposes, to pride, luxury, and wantonness; and so tend to death, even death eternal, the just wages of sin.

The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. fruit] or, increase, R.V. It has been thought that a contrast is here drawn between the actual “labour” of the righteous which, however toilsome in itself, has its issue in life, and the “increase,” the fruit of labour, of the wicked, which is sin. Comp. Proverbs 10:2 above. But “labour” may mean “the fruit of labour”, or “increase”, which for the righteous tends to what truly may be called “life.” The same Heb. word is rendered “wages,” Leviticus 19:13, and “reward,” Psalm 109:20.

sin] which involves death, the opposite of “life” in the first clause of the parallelism.

The Speaker’s Comm. suggests that this maxim is intended to guard against a misunderstanding of Proverbs 10:15.Verse 16. - Tendeth to life (Proverbs 11:19). Honest labour brings its own reward in the blessing of God and a long and peaceful life. The fruit of the wicked. All the profit that the wicked make they use in the service of sin, which tends only to death (Romans 6:21). The due reward of honourable industry is contrasted with the gains obtained by any means, discreditable or not. This verse contains another proverb, similarly formed, parallel with the half of Proverbs 10:8 :

He that winketh with the eye causeth trouble;

And a foolish mouth comes to ruin.

Regarding the winking or nipping, i.e., the repeated nipping of the eyes (cf. nictare, frequent. of nicere), as the conduct of the malicious or malignant, which aims at the derision or injury of him to whom it refers, vid., under Proverbs 6:13; there קרץ was connected with ב of the means of the action; here, as Psalm 35:19, cf. Proverbs 16:30, it is connected with the object accus. He who so does produces trouble (heart-sorrow, Proverbs 15:13), whether it be that he who is the butt of this mockery marks it, or that he is the victim of secretly concerted injury; יתּן is not here used impersonally, as Proverbs 13:10, but as Proverbs 29:15, cf. Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 24:20, in the sense of the cause. 10b forms a striking contrast to 10a, according to the text of the lxx: ὁ δὲ ἐλεγχων μετὰ παῤῥησίας εἰρηνοποιεῖ, contrary to the Syr., by the Hebrew text, which certainly is older than this its correction, which Ewald and Lagarde unsuccessfully attempt to translate into the Hebrew. The foolish mouth, here understood in conformity with 10a, is one who talks at random, without examination and deliberation, and thus suddenly stumbles and falls over, so that he comes to lie on the ground, to his own disgrace and injury.

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