I will recompense again, saith the Lord;' if, then, thine enemy doth hunger, feed him; if he doth thirst, give him drink; for this doing, coals of fire thou shalt heap upon his head;
Romans 12:20 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
If thine enemy hunger, feed him - Do not withhold from any man the offices of mercy and kindness; you have been God's enemy, and yet God fed, clothed, and preserved you alive: do to your enemy as God has done to you. If your enemy be hungry, feed him; if he be thirsty, give him drink: so has God dealt with you. And has not a sense of his goodness and long-suffering towards you been a means of melting down your heart into penitential compunction, gratitude, and love towards him? How know you that a similar conduct towards your enemy may not have the same gracious influence on him towards you? Your kindness may be the means of begetting in him a sense of his guilt; and, from being your fell enemy, he may become your real friend! This I believe to be the sense of this passage, which many have encumbered with difficulties of their own creating. The whole is a quotation from Proverbs 25:21, Proverbs 25:22, in the precise words of the Septuagint; and it is very likely that the latter clause of this verse, Thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, is a metaphor taken from smelting metals. The ore is put into the furnace, and fire put both under and over, that the metal may be liquefied, and, leaving the scoriae and dross, may fall down pure to the bottom of the furnace. This is beautifully expressed by one of our own poets, in reference to this explanation of this passage: -
"So artists melt the sullen ore of lead,
By heaping coals of fire upon its head.
In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow,
And pure from dross the silver runs below."
It is most evident, from the whole connection of the place and the apostle's use of it, that the heaping of the coals of fire upon the head of the enemy is intended to produce not an evil, but the most beneficial effect; and the following verse is an additional proof of this.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Exodus 23:4,5 If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again...
1 Samuel 24:16-19 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David...
1 Samuel 26:21 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do you harm, because my soul was precious in your eyes this day...
Proverbs 25:21,22 If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink...
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you...
Psalm 120:4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.
Psalm 140:10 Let burning coals fall on them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.
Songs 8:6,7 Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave...
Romans 12:20 Parallel CommentariesBurning Coals Contrary Drink Enemy Feed Fire Food Hate Head Heap Heaping Hunger Hungereth Hungry Need Quench Recompense Something Thirst Thirsteth ThirstyBurning Coals Contrary Drink Enemy Feed Fire Food Hate Head Heap Heaping Hunger Hungereth Hungry Need Quench Recompense Something Thirst Thirsteth ThirstyTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
Romans 12:20 Mobile Bible
Romans 12:20 Bible Suite
Romans 12:20 Biblia Paralela
Romans 12:20 Chinese Bible