|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:10. A godly man would not put even an animal to needless pain. But the wicked often speak of others as well used, when they would not endure like treatment for a single day. 11. It is men's wisdom to mind their business, and follow an honest calling. But it is folly to neglect business; and the grace of God teaches men to disdain nothing but sin. 12. When the ungodly see others prosper by sin, they wish they could act in the same way. But the root of Divine grace, in the heart of the righteous, produces other desires and purposes. 13. Many a man has paid dear in this world for the transgression of his lips.
Verse 10. - A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast. For "regardeth," the Hebrew word is literally "knoweth" (Exodus 23:9); he knows what animals want, what they can bear, and treats them accordingly (comp. Proverbs 27:23). The LXX. translates "pitieth." The care for the lower animals, and their kind treatment, are not the produce of modern sentiment and civilization. Mosaic legislation and various expressions in Scripture recognize the duty. God's mercies are over all his works; he saves both man and beast; he hateth nothing that he hath made (Psalm 36:6; Psalm 145:9; Jonah 4:11; Wisd. 11:24). So he enacted that the rest of the sabbath should extend to the domestic animals (Exodus 20:10); that a man should help the over-burdened beast, even of his enemy (Exodus 23:4, 5); that the unequal strength of the ox and the ass should not be yoked together in the plough (Deuteronomy 22:10); that the ox should not be muzzled when he was treading out the corn (Deuteronomy 25:4): that the sitting bird should not be taken from her little brood (Deuteronomy 22:6), nor a kid seethed in its mother's milk (Exodus 23:19). Such humane injunctions were perhaps specially needed at a time when man's life was little regarded, and animal sacrifices had a tendency to make men cruel and unfeeling, when their symbolical meaning was obscured by long familiarity. These enactments regarding animals, and the mysterious significance affixed to the blood (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:10-14), afforded speaking lessons of tenderness and consideration for the inferior creatures, and a fortiori taught regard for the happiness and comfort of fellow men. Our blessed Lord has spoken of God's ears of flowers and the lower creatures of his hand. But the tender mercies; literally, the bowels, regarded as the seat of feeling. The wicked cannot be supposed to have "tender mercies;" hence it is best to take the word in the sense of "feelings," "affections." What should be mercy and love are in an evil man only hard-heartedness and cruelty.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast,.... Or "knoweth" it (q); knows the worth of it and values it, and takes care of it, and is concerned for the preservation of it; he provides sufficient food for it, and gives it; he does not overwork it, but allows it proper rest from labour; and, if in any disorder, will make use of all suitable means to heal it; see an instance of the care of Jacob, that righteous man, of his cattle, Genesis 33:14; and, on the other hand, see an instance of a wicked man's cruelty to his beast in Balaam, for which he was reproved, Numbers 22:28; by various laws and rules which God has given, it is his will that men should be merciful to their beasts, Deuteronomy 25:4; and such who are so will be more especially pitiful and tenderhearted to their fellow creatures;
but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel; or "are the mercies of a cruel one" (r); the most tender things which are expressed or done by them are nothing but cruelty; and what then must be their more severe expressions and actions? so the most tender concern which antichrist and his followers show to the souls of men breathes nothing but cruelty; the compassionate methods they take to convert heretics, as they call them, are dark dungeons and stinking prisons, racks and tortures, fire and faggots; these are their wholesome severities; this their kindness to men, to deliver them up to the secular power, to inflict pains and punishments on them the most grievous to save their souls. Thus, while the beast of Rome looks like a lamb, he speaks like a dragon, and exercises all the cruelty of the first beast, Rome Pagan, Revelation 13:11.
(q) "novit", Mercerus, Michaelis; so Vulgate Latin. (r) "sunt miserationes crudelis", Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Aben Ezra in Mercerus, so some Jewish writers in Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. regardeth—literally, "knoweth" (Ps 1:6).
mercies … cruel—as acts of compassion ungraciously rendered to the needy. The righteous more regards a beast than the wicked a man.
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