|Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible|
Righteousness exalteth a nation,.... Administered by the government, and exercised by subjects towards one another; doing justice between man and man: this exalts a nation, as it did the people of Israel, while practised among them; this sets a people above their neighbours, and high in the esteem of God and men; and is attended with privileges and blessings, which make a nation great and honourable. Some understand this of aims deeds, or beneficence to the poor; which, both in the Hebrew and Greek languages, is called righteousness; See Gill on Matthew 6:1. It may be put for the whole of true religion, which is an honour to a nation, where it obtains; and is what makes the holy nation, and peculiar people, so truly illustrious; and particularly the righteousness of Christ makes such who are interested in it really great and noble, and promotes and exalts them to heaven and happiness;
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
Two proverbs follow regarding the state and its ruler:
Barnes' Notes on the Bible
Reproach - The word so rendered has this sense in the Targum of Leviticus 20:17. Its more usual meaning is "mercy," "piety;" hence, some have attached to the word rendered "sin" the sense of "sin-offering," and so get the maxim "piety is an atonement for the people."
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
But sin is a reproach to any people - I am satisfied this is not the sense of the original, וחסד לאמים חטאת vechesed leummim chattath; which would be better rendered, And mercy is a sin-offering for the people. The Vulgate has, Miseros autem facit populos peccatum, "sin makes the people wretched." Ελασσονουσι δε φυλας ἁμαρτιαι; "But sins lessen the tribes." - Septuagint. So also the Syriac and Arabic. The plain meaning of the original seems to be, A national disposition to mercy appears in the sight of God as a continual sin-offering. Not that it atones for the sin of the people; but, as a sin-offering is pleasing in the sight of the God of mercy, so is a merciful disposition in a nation. This view of the verse is consistent with the purest doctrines of free grace. And what is the true sense of the words, we should take at all hazards and consequences: we shall never trench upon a sound creed by a literal interpretation of God's words. No nation has more of this spirit than the British nation. It is true, we have too many sanguinary laws; but the spirit of the people is widely different.
Geneva Study Bible
Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
King James Translators' Notes
to any...: Heb. to nations
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. Righteousness-just principles and actions.
exalteth-raises to honor.
Proverbs 14:34 Parallel Commentaries
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible