|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:4. God makes use of the wicked to execute righteous vengeance on each other; and he will be glorified by their destruction at last. 5. Though sinners strengthen themselves and one another, they shall not escape God's judgments. 6. By the mercy and truth of God in Christ Jesus, the sins of believers are taken away, and the power of sin is broken. 7. He that has all hearts in his hand, can make a man's enemies to be at peace with him. 8. A small estate, honestly come by, will turn to better account than a great estate ill-gotten. 9. If men make God's glory their end, and his will their rule, he will direct their steps by his Spirit and grace. 10. Let kings and judges of the earth be just, and rule in the fear of God. 11. To observe justice in dealings between man and man is God's appointment.
Verse 6. - By mercy and truth iniquity is purged; atoned for. The combination "mercy and truth" occurs in Proverbs 3:3 (where see note), and intimates love to God and man, and faithfulness in keeping promises and truth and justice in all dealings. It is by the exercise of those graces, not by mere external rites, that God is propitiated (see on Proverbs 10:2). A kind of expiatory value is assigned to these virtues, which, indeed, must not be pressed too closely, but should be examined by the light of such passages in the New Testament as Luke 11:41; Acts 10:4. Of course, such graces show themselves only in one who is really devout and God fearing; they are the fruits of a heart at peace with God and man, and react on the character and conduct. The LXX., which places this distich after ver. 27 of ch. 15, translates, "By alms and faithfulness (πίστεσιν) sins are cleansed," confining the term "mercy" to one special form, as in one reading of Matthew 6. l, "Take heed that ye do not your righteousness [al. alms] before men." By the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. The practice of true religion, of course, involves abstinence from sin; and this seems so unnecessary a truth to be formally stated that some take the "evil" named to be physical, not moral evil; calamity, not transgression. But the two clauses are coordinate, and present two aspects of the same truth. The first intimates how sin is to be expiated, the second how it is to be avoided. The morally good man meets with pardon and acceptance, and he who fears God is delivered from evil. So we pray, in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses, and deliver us from evil." Septuagint, "By the fear of the Lord every one declineth from evil" (comp. Proverbs 14:27).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged,.... Or "expiated" (d), and atoned for: not by the mercy and truth of men; not by alms deeds or showing mercy to the poor; nor by speaking truth and keeping promises, and doing justice between man and man; for, though these are duties to be performed, they will not atone for sin; and may be done by persons destitute of the grace of God, and whose iniquities are not purged or pardoned: but by the mercy and truth of God; through his "mercy", in sending Christ to be the propitiation for sin; and through his "truth", in fulfilling his promises concerning Christ; and particularly concerning pardon on the foot of his sacrifice and satisfaction, where mercy and truth have met together: or through the grace and truth come by Jesus Christ; or through his atoning sacrifice, by which he has finished transgression, made an end of sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity; in which there is a rich display of his own and of his father's grace and mercy, truth and faithfulness;
and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil; having that put into their hearts, and excited and influenced by the grace and goodness of God, men are engaged to abstain from evil, and the appearance of it; it teaches them to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly and godly in this world.
(d) "expiabitur", Montanus, Vatablus; "expiatur", Tigurine version, Mercerus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis, Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. By mercy and truth—that is, God's (Ps 85:10); He effects the atonement, or covering of sin; and the principles of true piety incline men to depart from evil; or, "mercy" and "truth" may be man's, indicative of the gracious tempers which work instrumentally in procuring pardon.
purged—expiated (as in Le 16:33; Isa 27:9, Hebrew).
Proverbs 16:6 Parallel Commentaries
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