|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 26. - A wise king scattereth the wicked (ver. 8). The verb is zarah, which means "to winnow, or sift." The king separates the wicked and the good, as the winnowing fan or shovel divides the chaff from the wheat. The same metaphor is used of Christ (Matthew 3:12), "Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (comp. Jeremiah 15:7). Septuagint, "A winnower (λικμήτωρ) of the ungodly is a wise king." And bringeth the wheel over them. The threshing wheel is meant (see Isaiah 28:27; Amos 1:3). This was a wooden frame with three or four rollers under it armed with iron teeth. It was drawn by two oxen, and, aided by the weight of the driver, who had his seat upon it, it crushed out the grain, and cut up the straw into fodder. Another machine much used in Palestine was made of two thick planks fastened together side by side, and having sharp stones fixed in rows on the lower surface. It is not implied that the king employed the corn drag as an instrument of punishment, which was sometimes so used in war, as possibly may be inferred from 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Chronicles 20:3; and Amos 1:3. The idea of threshing is carried on, and the notion is rather of separation than of punishment, though the latter is not wholly excluded. The wise ruler will not only distinguish between the godless and the good, but will show his discrimination by visiting the evil with condign puuishment. Septuagint, "He will bring the wheel upon them;" the Vulgate has curiously, Incurvat super eos fornicem, "He bends an arch over them," which Latin commentators explain as a triumphal arch, meaning that the king conquers and subdues the wicked, and celebrates his victory over them. A patent anachronism which needs no comment!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A wise king scattereth the wicked,.... Or "fans them away" (i); separates them from his good counsellors, courtiers, and subjects; scatters them from his presence and court, and breaks their counsels and confederacies one with another; he discovers, discountenances, and discourages them; See Gill on Proverbs 20:8;
and bringeth the wheel over them; alluding to the custom of the eastern nations turning a cart wheel over the grain in threshing it out, and agreeably to the metaphor in the preceding clause; see Isaiah 28:27. Though some think it refers to a sort of punishment inflicted on malefactors in those times and countries, by putting them under harrows drawn on wheels, as breaking upon the wheel has been since used; see 2 Samuel 12:31. The Arabic version understands it of exile. Jarchi interprets the wise king of the Lord, and the wicked of Pharaoh and his host, on whom he brought the wheel, or gave measure for measure, and punished in a way of retaliation; and to this sense it is by some (k) interpreted,
"as the wheel turns over, just in the same place, so as the wicked hath done, it shall be done to them.''
It may be applied to Christ, the wise King, who scatters all his and our enemies; whose fan is in his hand, and he wilt thoroughly purge his floor, Matthew 3:12.
(i) "ventilat", Junius & Tremellius, Schultens. (k) Vid. Schindler. Lexic. Colossians 109. & Weemse's Christ. Synagog. l. 1. c. 6. s. 8. p. 187.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. (Compare Pr 20:8).
bringeth … over them—The wheel was used for threshing grain. The figure denotes severity (compare Am 1:3).
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