Proverbs 11:1
A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XI.

(1) A false balance is abomination to the Lord.—A similar proverb is found in Proverbs 20:23, and praise of just weights, Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10. The repetition suggests that this form of cheating had become common in the time of Solomon, when the commerce of Israel began to develop. If so, there would be good reason for these frequent warnings, for it would have been useless to raise the superstructure of a religious life, as is the intention of this book, without first laying the foundation of common honesty between man and man.

A just weight.—Literally, stone, stones having been used for weights from early times. (Comp. Leviticus 19:36.) A standard weight, “the king’s stone,” seems to have been kept by David (2Samuel 14:26).

Proverbs 11:1. A false balance — The use of all false weights and measures in commerce; is abomination to the Lord — Highly abominable to him, both because this wickedness is practised under a colour of justice, and because it is destructive of human society, and especially of the poor, whose patron the Lord declares himself to be: see on Leviticus 19:35. “This rule may hold, not in commerce only, but also in our judgments, and in our whole conduct toward our neighbour. In every thing respecting him, employ the balance of equity, void of all selfish views, passions, and prejudices. Let justice and truth ever hold the scale; and always do to him what you would have done to yourself.”11:1 However men may make light of giving short weight or measure, and however common such crimes may be, they are an abomination to the Lord. 2. Considering how safe, and quiet, and easy the humble are, we see that with the lowly is wisdom. 3. An honest man's principles are fixed, therefore his way is plain. 4. Riches will stand men in no stead in the day of death. 5,6. The ways of wickedness are dangerous. And sin will be its own punishment. 7. When a godly man dies, all his fears vanish; but when a wicked man dies, his hopes vanish. 8. The righteous are often wonderfully kept from going into dangerous situations, and the ungodly go in their stead. 9. Hypocrites delude men into error and sin by artful objections against the truths of God's word. 10,11. Nations prosper when wicked men are cast down. 12. A man of understanding does not judge of others by their success. 13. A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it. 14. We shall often find it to our advantage to advise with others. 15. The welfare of our families, our own peace, and our ability to pay just debts, must not be brought into danger. But here especially let us consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in becoming Surety even for enemies. 16. A pious and discreet woman will keep esteem and respect, as strong men keep possession of wealth. 17. A cruel, froward, ill-natured man, is vexatious to those that are, and should be to him as his own flesh, and punishes himself. 18. He that makes it his business to do good, shall have a reward, as sure to him as eternal truth can make it. 19. True holiness is true happiness. The more violent a man is in sinful pursuits, the more he hastens his own destruction. 20. Nothing is more hateful to God, than hypocrisy and double dealing, which are here signified. God delights in such as aim and act with uprightness. 21. Joining together in sin shall not protect the sinners. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments. 23. The wicked desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves. 24. A man may grow poor by not paying just debts, not relieving the poor, not allowing needful expenses. Let men be ever so saving of what they have, if God appoints, it comes to nothing. 25. Both in temporal and spiritual things, God commonly deals with his people according to the measure by which they deal with their brethren. 26. We must not hoard up the gifts of God's bounty, merely for our own advantage. 27. Seeking mischief is here set against seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt, even to themselves.This emphatic reproduction of the old rule of Deuteronomy 25:13-14 is perhaps a trace of the danger of dishonesty incidental to the growing commerce of the Israelites. The stress laid upon the same sin in Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10; bears witness to the desire of the teacher to educate the youth of Israel to a high standard of integrity, just as the protest of Hosea against it Hosea 12:7 shows the zeal of the prophet in rebuking what was becoming more and more a besetting sin.

A just weight - literally, as in the margin, indicating a time when stones rather than metal were used as a standard of weight. Compare Deuteronomy 25:13.

CHAPTER 11

Pr 11:1-31.

1. (Compare Margin). The Hebrews used stones for weights.

just—complete in measure. A false balance, the use of all false weights and measures in commerce,

is abomination, i.e. highly abominable, as the abstract signifies; which is opposed to the false opinion of men, who account it a fineness of wit, or, at worst, but a trivial fault.

To the Lord; partly because this wickedness is acted under a colour of justice; and partly because it is destructive to human society, and especially to the poor, whose patron the Lord owneth himself to be.

A false balance is abomination to the Lord,.... Under which are included all false weights and measures, and all fraudulent practices in commerce and dealing; which are forbidden by the Lord, and are abominable to him, as being injurious to the estates and properties of men: and more especially must be abominable in professors of religion, as being contrary to the grace of God; for though there may be common honesty where there is not the grace of God, yet there cannot be the true grace of God where there is not honesty; for the grace of God teaches to deny all such worldly lusts;

but a just weight is his delight; or a "perfect stone" (c); the ancient practice being to make use of stones for weights; Now to give just weight, and also just measure, and to do justly in all civil dealings with men, is what God requires, and is well pleasing in his sight (d); see Leviticus 19:35. This may be understood of balances and weights in religious affairs; the balance of the sanctuary is the word of God, with which all doctrines are to be weighed, and, if found wanting, they are to be rejected; this is agreeable to the will of God: false balances are abominable to him; such as carnal reason, vain philosophy, and the traditions of men, used by antichrist and his followers; the harlot, described in some preceding chapters, opposed to Wisdom or Christ, who directs to the search of the Scriptures, and the use of them to try doctrines by, John 5:39; see Acts 17:11.

(c) "lapsis perfectus", Montanus, Gejerus. (d) , &c. Phocylid. Poem. Admon. v. 12, 13.

A false {a} balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

(a) Under this word he condemns all false weights, measures and deceit.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. a just weight] Lit. a full, or perfect stone, from the early use of stones as weights. So Eng. stone; Germ, stein. It is an enactment of the Mosaic Law here repeated and enforced: Deuteronomy 25:13; Deuteronomy 25:16; Leviticus 19:35-36. Comp. Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10; Proverbs 20:23. See Introd. p. 13.Verse 1. - A false balance; literally, balances of deceit (Proverbs 20:23). The repetition of the injunctions of Deuteronomy 25:13, 14 and Leviticus 19:35, 36 points to fraud consequent on increased commercial dealings, and the necessity of moral and religious considerations to control practices which the civil authority could not adequately supervise. The standard weights and measures were deposited in the sanctuary (Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 27:25; 1 Chronicles 23:29), but cupidity was not to be restrained by law, and the prophets had continually to inveigh against this besetting sin (see Ezekiel 45:10; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:11). Honesty and integrity are at the foundation of social duties, which the author is now teaching. Hence comes the reiteration of these warnings (Proverbs 16:11; Proverbs 20:10). A just weight; literally, a perfect stone, stones having been used as weights from early times. So we read (2 Samuel 14:26) that Absalom weighed his hair "by the king's stone" (eben). From this point the proverbs fall into the series connecting themselves with Proverbs 10:25 :

27 The fear of Jahve multiplies the days of life;

     But the years of the godless are shortened.

This parable, like Proverbs 10:25, also corresponds with the O.T. standpoint, having in view the present life. The present-life history confirms it, for vice destroys body and soul; and the fear of God, which makes men contented and satisfied in God, is truly the right principle of longevity. But otherwise also the pious often enough die early, for God carries them away מפני הרעה from the face of the evil, Isaiah 57:1.; or if they are martyrs for the truth (Psalm 44:23, cf. Psalm 60:6), the verification of the above proverb in such cases moves forward (Wisd. 4:7ff.) into eternity, in which the life of the pious continues for ever, while that of the godless loses itself with his death in the state of everlasting death. Proverbs 9:11, cf. Proverbs 3:2, resembles 27a. Instead of תּקצרנה, תקצרנה was to be expected; but the flexion does not distinguish the transitive קצר (Arab. ḳaṣara) and intransitive קצר (Arab. ḳaṣura) as it ought.

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