|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:4. The well-spring of wisdom in the heart of a believer, continually supplies words of wisdom. 5. The merits of a cause must be looked to, not the person. 6,7. What mischief bad men do to themselves by their ungoverned tongues! 8. How base are those that sow contention! and what fatal effects may be expected from small beginnings of jealousy! 9. Omissions of duty, and in duty, are fatal to the soul, as well as commissions of sin. 10,11. The Divine power, made known in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, forms a strong tower for the believer, who relies on the Lord. How deceitful the defence of the rich man, who has his portion and treasure in this world! It is a strong city and a high wall only in his own conceit; for it will fail when most in need. They will be exposed to the just wrath of that Judge whom they despised as a Saviour. 12. After the heart has been lifted up with pride, a fall comes. But honour shall be the reward of humility. 13. Eagerness, with self-conceit, will expose to shame. 14. Firmness of mind supports under many pains and trials. But when the conscience is tortured with remorse, no human fortitude can bear the misery; what then will hell be? 15. We must get knowledge, not only into our heads, but into our hearts. 16. Blessed be the Lord, who makes us welcome to come to his throne, without money and without price. May his gifts make room for him in our souls.
Verse 5. - It is not good to accept the person of the wicked. To "accept the person" is to show partiality, to be guided in judgment, not by the facts of a case, or the abstract principles of right or wrong, but by extraneous considerations, as a man's appearance, manners, fortune, family. (For the expression, comp. Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 1:17; and in our book, Proverbs 24:23; Proverbs 28:21.) The Septuagint phrase is θαυμάσαι πρόσωπον, which St. Jude adopts (ver. 16). Other writers in the New Testament use λαμβάνειν πρόσωτον in the same sense; e.g. Luke 20:21; Galatians 2:6). To overthrow (turn aside) the righteous in judgment is not good (comp. Isaiah 10:2). The construction is the same as in Proverbs 17:26. The LXX. adds in the second clause, οὐδὲ ὄσιον, which makes the sentence clear; not seeing this, the Vulgate renders, ut declines a veritate judicii. The offence censured is the perversion of justice in giving sentence against a righteous man whose cause the judge has reason to know is just.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is not good to accept the person of the wicked,.... For a judge to have respect to a wicked man in a cause before him, and to favour him, because he is a rich man, or a relation, or he has received some kindness from him; none of these things should have any influence upon him
to overthrow the righteous in judgment: though he may be a poor man and a stranger, and to whom the judge is under no private and personal obligation; yet justice ought to be done without any respect to persons; to do otherwise is not only not good, but very bad, very sinful and criminal; it is contrary to law and justice; it is doing injury to men, and is repugnant to the will of God, and offensive to him, Leviticus 19:15.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. accept the person—(Compare Ps 82:2). "It is not good" is to be supplied before "to overthrow."
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