|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:23. A bargain made by fraud will prove a losing bargain in the end. 24. How can we form plans, and conduct business, independently of the Lord? 25. The evasions men often use with their own consciences show how false and deceitful man is. 26. Justice should crush the wicked, and separate them from the virtuous. 27. The rational soul and conscience are as a lamp within us, which should be used in examining our dispositions and motives with the revealed will of God. 28. Mercy and truth are the glories of God's throne. 29. Both young and old have their advantages; and let neither despise or envy the other.
Verse 25. - It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy. This verse, which is plainly a warning against rash vows, has received more than one interpretation. The Vulgate has, Ruina est homini devorare sanctos, which is explained to mean that it is destruction for a man to persecute the saints of God. But the word devorare is not certain, as the manuscripts vary between this and four other readings, viz. devotares, denotare, devovere, and devocare. The Authorized Version signifies that it is a sin to take for one's own consumption things dedicated to God, as firstfruits, the priests' portions, etc.: or a man's snare, i.e. his covetousness (1 Timothy 6:9), leads him to commit sacrilege. So Wordsworth. But it is best, with Delitzsch, to take יָלַע (yala) as the abbreviated future of לוּע or לָעַע, "to speak rashly;" and then kodesh, "holiness," will be an exclamation, like korban (Mark 7:11). The clause will then run, "It is a snare to a man rashly to cry, Holiness!" equivalent to "It is holy!" i.e. to use the formula for consecrating something to holy purposes. Septuagint, "It is a snare to a man hastily to consecrate something of his own" (comp. Ecclesiastes 5:2, 4, etc.). And after vows to make inquiry; i.e. after he has made his vow, to begin to consider whether he can fulfil it or not. This is a snare to a man, strangles his conscience, and leads him into the grievous sins of perjury and sacrilege. Septuagint, "For after vowing ensueth repentance."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy,.... Which is separated to sacred uses, is devoted to the Lord, as firstfruits, tithes, offerings, &c. which if a man converts to his own use is sacrilege, and this is a sin and a snare, and brings ruin on him; see Malachi 3:8;
and after vows to make inquiry: that is a sin and a snare also; a man should first inquire before he vows, whether it is right for him to make a vow, and whether he is able to keep it; it is too late after the vow is made to inquire about the lawfulness or expedience of it, and how to find out ways and means to dissolve it and be clear of it; for it is better not to vow, than to vow and not pay, Ecclesiastes 5:4; when a thing is in a man's own hands, he may do what he will; but when he has devoted it to another use, it is no longer in his power; as the case of Ananias and Sapphira shows, Acts 5:1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. devoureth … holy—or, better, "who rashly speaks promises," or "devotes what is holy," consecrating any thing. This suits better the last clause, which expresses a similar view of the results of rashly vowing.
Proverbs 20:25 Parallel Commentaries
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