The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesses the habitation of the just.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He blesseth the habitation of the just.—The word rendered “habitation” often signifies “pasture,” “sheepfold,” and this is a relic of the time when the Israelites led a nomad life and had no fixed habitations; so the cry, “To your tents, O Israel!” (1Kings 12:16) was still in use long after the settlement in Canaan. By some there is thought to be a distinction intended between the well-built “house” of the wicked and the slightly constructed cottage of the humble just man, no better than a shepherd’s hut.Proverbs 3:33-35. The curse of the Lord is in the house, &c. — Not only upon his own person, but upon his posterity, and upon all his domestic concerns. But he blesseth the habitation — Hebrew, נוה, the cottage, or sheepcot, that is, the dwelling, however mean; of the just — The blessing of God is upon him, his house and family, and all his concerns. Surely he scorneth the scorners — He will expose to scorn and contempt all proud and insolent sinners, who make a mock at sin, (Proverbs 14:9,) and at God and religion, and who despise all counsels and means of amendment: for those that exalt themselves shall certainly be abased. But he giveth grace unto the lowly — Namely, favour, both with himself and with men, as this phrase is often used. The LXX. render this verse, The Lord resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the lowly; and St. Peter and St. James have quoted it according to them, 1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6. The wise shall inherit glory — Shall enjoy it, not only for a season, as wicked men often do, but as an inheritance, constantly and for ever; but shame shall be the promotion of fools — Instead of that glory which they greedily seek, they shall meet with nothing but ignominy. The reading in the margin, Shame exalteth the fools, or, as some render the clause, The elevation of fools shall turn to their confusion, seems more agreeable to the Hebrew: that is, the more they have been elevated, “the more their folly shall be known, and their fall become more fatal.” 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.In the house of the wicked; not only upon his own person, but also upon his posterity, and upon all his domestical concerns. Malachi 2:2; he is accursed amidst his greatest affluence, and sometimes from a plentiful estate is reduced to penury and want: and Aben Ezra interprets it, "the curse of want"; and the Vulgate Latin version is, "want from the Lord is", &c.
but he blesseth the habitation of the just; the righteous man, as before described; he is blessed himself, having the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and his sins forgiven him for his sake; and what he has of worldly substance, though it be ever so little, he has it with a blessing; and therefore it is better than the riches of many wicked men; his house, though it is but a courage, as the word (k) here signifies, is blessed with the presence of God in it; his family, his children, and servants, are blessed, having his instructions and example, and especially when made effectual by the grace of God; as the house of Obededom was blessed for the sake of the ark, so is a just man's house, being a "bethel", an house of God, blessed on account of his worship in it; see 2 Samuel 6:11.The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 33. - The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. From ver. 33 to the end of the discourse the contrast is continued between the condition of the wicked and the just, the scornful and the lowly, the wise and the fools. In the verse before us a further reason is given why the prosperity of the wicked is not enviable. The curse of Jehovah dwells in and rests upon his house. The curse; m'erah, from arav, "to curse." This word only occurs five times in the Old Testament once in Deuteronomy, twice in Proverbs (here and in Proverbs 28:27), and twice in Malachi. The nature of the curse may be learned from Deuteronomy 28:20, where it is the infliction of temporal misfortunes ending with the "cutting off" of the wicked (see Psalm 37:22). It is a hovering evil, the source of constant misfortune. LXX., κατάρα. Cf. "the cursing" (alah) against thieves and swearers in Zechariah 5:4. But he blesseth the habitation the just. The contrast to the former, as in Deuteronomy 28:2-6. He blesseth; i.e. both temporarily and spiritually. Blessing does not exclude affliction, but "trials" are not "curses" (Wardlaw). Both the LXX. and the Vulgate render, "But the habitations of the just shall be blessed," the LXX. having read the pual future (y'vorak), "they shall be blessed," for the piel future (y'varik), "he shall bless," of the text. The habitation; naveh, from navah, "to sit down," "to dwell." A poetic and nomad (Fleischer) word usually understood of a small dwelling is tugurium, the shepherd's hut or cottage, "the sheepcote" of 2 Samuel 7:8. The LXX. ἕπαυλις, and tho Vulgate hubitaculam, favour the suggestion of Gejerus, that a contrast is here made between the large house or palace (bayith) of the wicked and the small dwelling of the just. In Proverbs 21:20 and Proverbs 24:15 the word is rendered "dwelling."
27 Refuse no manner of good to him to whom it is due
When it is in thy power to do it.
28 Say not to thy neighbour, "Go, and come again,
To-morrow I will give it," whilst yet thou hast it.
Regarding the intensive plur. בּעליו with a sing. meaning, see under Proverbs 1:19. The form of expression without the suffix is not בּעלי but בּעל טוב; and this denotes here, not him who does good (בעל as Arab. dhw or ṣaḥab), but him to whom the good deed is done (cf. Proverbs 17:8), i.e., as here, him who is worthy of it (בעל as Arab. âhl), him who is the man for it (Jewish interp.: מי שׁהוא ראוי לו). We must refuse nothing good (nothing either legally or morally good) to him who has a right to it (מנע מן as Job 22:7; Job 31:16),
(Note: Accentuate אל־תמנע טוב, not אל־תמנע־טוב. The doubling of the Makkeph is purposeless, and, on the contrary, the separating of טוב from מבעליו by the Dechi (the separating accent subordinate to Athnach) is proper. It is thus in the best MSS.)
if we are in a condition to do him this good. The phrase ישׁ־לאל ידי, Genesis 31:29, and frequently, signifies: it is belonging to (practicable) the power of my hand, i.e., I have the power and the means of doing it. As זד signifies the haughty, insolent, but may be also used in the neuter of insolent conduct (vid., Psalm 19:14), so אל signifies the strong, but also (although only in this phrase) strength. The Keri rejects the plur. ידיך, because elsewhere the hand always follows לאל in the singular. But it rejects the plur. לרעיך (Proverbs 3:28) because the address following is directed to one person. Neither of these emendations was necessary. The usage of the language permits exceptions, notwithstanding the usus tyrannus, and the plur. לרעיך may be interpreted distributively: to thy fellows, it may be this one or that one. Hitzig also regards לרעיך as a singular; but the masc. of רעיה, the ground-form of which is certainly ra‛j, is רעה, or shorter, רע. לך ושׁוּב does not mean: forth! go home again! but: go, and come again. שׁוּב, to come again, to return to something, to seek it once more.
(Note: Thus also (Arab.) raj' is used in Thaalebi's Confidential Companion, p. 24, line 3, of Flgel's ed. Admission was prevented to one Haschmid, then angry he sought it once more; he was again rejected, then he sought it not again (Arab. flm yraj'), but says, etc. Flgel has misunderstood the passage. Fleischer explains raj', with reference to Proverbs 3:28, by revenir la charge.)
The ו of ישׁו אתּך is, as 29b, the conditional: quum sit penes te, sc. quod ei des. "To-morrow shall I give" is less a promise than a delay and putting off, because it is difficult for him to alienate himself from him who makes the request. This holding fast by one's own is unamiable selfishness; this putting off in the fulfilment of one's duty is a sin of omission - οὐ γὰρ οἶδας, as the lxx adds, τὶ τέξεται ἡ ἐπιοῦσα.
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