|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 8. - Better is a little with righteousness (Proverbs 15:16; Psalm 37:16). "Righteousness" may mean here a holy life or just dealing; as without right, or, with injustice, in the second clause, may refer either generally wickedness, or specially to fraud and oppression (Jeremiah 22:13). Says Theognis -
Βούλεο δ εὐσεβέων ὀλίγοις σὺν χρήμασιν οἰκεῖν
Η πλουτεῖν ἀδίκως χρήματα πασάμενος.
"Wish thou with scanty means pious to live,
Rather than rich with large, ill-gotten wealth." Another maxim says to the same effect -
Λεπτῶς καλῶς ζῇν κρεῖσσον η} λαμπρῶς κακῶς. Septuagint, "Better is small getting (λῆψις) with righteousness, than great revenues with iniquity" (see on Proverbs 15:29).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Better is a little with righteousness,.... Gotten in a righteous way, held by a righteous claim, used in a righteous manner, attended with a life of righteousness and holiness; and also along with an interest in the righteousness of Christ, which renders acceptable unto God, yields peace and comfort, and entitles to eternal glory and happiness. A truly righteous man may have but little of this world's goods; but his small pittance is better
than great revenues without right; obtained in an unjust way; detained from the right owner of them, and used in an unrighteous manner, in a course of sin and wickedness: or, "without judgment" (e); how to make use of them aright, and without a righteousness that will justify them at the day of judgment; See Gill on Proverbs 15:16. A little the true church of Christ enjoys in the wilderness; having Christ and his grace, Christ and his righteousness, is better than all the revenues of the church of Rome gotten by the unlawful methods they are; and which, in one hour will come to nought, Revelation 18:17.
(e) "absque judicio", Pagninus, Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. (Compare Pr 15:6, 16, 17).
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