Proverbs 11:21
Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Though hand join in hand.—For this sense comp. Isaiah 28:15, sqq. The passage may also mean “hand to hand,” i.e., from one generation to another; or, what is most probable, “the hand to it,” i.e., assuredly. For the general sense of the verse, comp. Psalms 37

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.literally, "hand to hand." The meaning of which is, "Hand may plight faith to hand, men may confederate for evil, yet punishment shall come at last;" or "From hand to hand, from one generation to another, punishment shall descend on the evil doers." 21. The combined power of the wicked cannot free them from just punishment, while the unaided children of the righteous find deliverance by reason of their pious relationship (Ps 37:25, 26). Though hand join in hand; though they are fortified against God’s judgments by a numerous issue, and kindred, and friends, and by mutual strong combinations or confederacies. Shall not be unpunished; they shall be punished even in their own persons, as well as in their posterity. They shall not be able either totally to prevent God’s judgment, or to delay it from coming in their days.

The seed of the righteous, not only their persons, but their children, shall be delivered, without any such auxiliaries, by God’s special providence. Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished,.... Though they give the hand to one another, unite in their counsels, enter into combinations, confederacies, and strict alliances, and join all their force and strength together; or though with both hands, with all their might and main, endeavour to secure themselves, yet they shall not go unpunished. This may be exemplified in the kings of the earth, that will join each other, and gather their armies together, to make war against Christ; when they will be conquered, taken, and slain, Revelation 19:19. Jarchi interprets it, "from hand to hand", and explains it thus; from the hand of God into their hand shall come the reward of their work, and shall not go unpunished: to which may be added, even though there may be a succession of parents and children, and their substance may be handed down from the one to the other, yet at last just punishments will take place. To which is opposed,

but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered; these are the seed of the church in all successive ages; the seed that are accounted of by the Lord for a generation; particularly the remnant of the woman's seed, that keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ; against whom the dragon, the old serpent the devil, was wroth, and went forth to make war, in order utterly to destroy them; but they escaped his hands, were delivered from him, and preserved by the power and grace of God, as a seed to serve him, Revelation 12:17.

{l} Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.

(l) Though they make many friends, or think themselves sure, yet they will not escape.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. Though hand join in hand] Lit. hand to hand. This obscure phrase may mean either, though men clasp one another’s hands in strong confederacy (χειρὶ χεῖρας ἐμβαλὼν, LXX.); or, preserving more closely the parallel, from generation to generation, the idea being that of the Second Commandment, Exodus 20:5.

The rendering, My hand upon it, R.V. marg. (sit dextra fidei testis), though forcible, is hardly in keeping with the style of this Book. The same phrase occurs Proverbs 16:5.Verse 21. - Though hand join in hand (Proverbs 16:5); literally, hand to hand, which may be taken variously. The Septuagint and some other versions take the phrase in the sense of unjust violence: "He who layeth hand upon hand unjustly;" Vulgate, manus in manu, "hand in hand," which is as enigmatical as the Hebrew. Some Jewish interpreters consider it an adverbial expression, signifying simply "soon." Some moderns take it to mean "sooner or later," as the Italian da mano in mano, or, in succession of one generation after another (Gesenius, Wordsworth). Others deem it a form of adjuration, equivalent to "I hereby attest, my hand upon it!" And this seems the most probable interpretation; assuredly the Divine justice shall be satisfied by the punishment of the wicked (comp. Psalm 37.). The Authorized Version gives a very good sense: "Though hands be plighted in faith, and men may associate together in evil, the wicked shall not go unpunished" (comp. Isaiah 28:15). St. Gregory ('Mor. in Job,' lib. 25.) takes a very different view: "Hand in hand the wicked shall not be innocent;" for hand is wont to he joined with hand when it rests at ease, and no laborious employment exercises it. As though he were saying, "Even when the hand rests from sinful deeds, yet the wicked, by reason of his thoughts, is not innocent" (Oxford transl.). This exposition is, of course, divorced from the context. The seed of the righteous. This is not "the posterity of the righteous," but is a periphrasis for "the righteous," as in Psalm 24:6; Psalm 112:2, "the generation of the righteous" (comp. Isaiah 65:23). The climax which some see here - as if the author intended to say, "Not only the good themselves, but their descendants also shall be delivered" - is non-existent and unnecessary. Septuagint, "But he that soweth righteousness shall receive a sure reward," which is another rendering of the second member of ver. 18. Shall be delivered; i.e. in the time of God's wrath (vers. 4, 23; Proverbs 2:22). There follow now two proverbs regarding kindness which brings injury and which brings honour:

It fares ill, nothing but ill, with one who is surety for another;

But he who hateth suretyship remaineth in quietness.

More closely to the original: It goes ill with him; for the proverb is composed as if the writer had before his eyes a definite person, whom one assails when he for whom he became security has not kept within the limits of the performance that was due. Regarding ערב with the accus. of the person: to represent one as a surety for him, and זר as denoting the other (the stranger), vid., at Proverbs 6:1. The meaning of רע ירוע is seen from Proverbs 20:16. ירוע is, like Proverbs 13:20, the fut. Niph. of רעע, or of רוּע equals רעע, after the forms ימּול, יעור (Olsh. 265e). The added רעע has, like עריה, Habakkuk 3:9, the same function as the inf. absol. (intensivus); but as the infin. form רע could only be inf. constru. after the form שׁך, Jeremiah 5:26, the infinitive absol. must be רוע: Thus רע is an accus., or what is the same, an adverbial adj.: he is badly treated (maltreated) in a bad way, for one holds him to his words and, when he cannot or will not accomplish that which is due in the room of him for whom he is bail, arrests him. He, on the contrary, who hates תוקעים has good rest. The persons of such as become surety by striking the hands cannot be meant, but perhaps people thus becoming surety by a hand-stroke - such sureties, and thus such suretyship, he cannot suffer; תוקעים approaches an abstract "striking hands," instead of "those who strike hands" in connection with this שׂנא, expressing only a strong impossibility, as חבלים, Zechariah 2:7, 14, means uniting together in the sense of combination.

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