|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:17-21. To these words, to this knowledge, the ear must be bowed down, and the heart applied by faith and love. To live a life of delight in God and dependence on him, is the foundation of all practical religion. The way to know the certainty of the word of truth, is to make conscience of our duty. 22,23. He that robs and oppresses the poor, does so at his peril. And if men will not appear for them, God will. 24,25. Our corrupt hearts have so much tinder in them, that it is dangerous to have to do with those that throw about the sparks of their passion.
Verse 22-ch. 24:22. - Here commence the "words of the wise." Verse 22. - This and the following verse form a terrastich, which connects itself in thought with ver. 16. Rob not the poor, because he is poor. The word for "poor" is here dal, which means "feeble," "powerless" (see on Proverbs 19:4), and the writer enjoins the disciple not to be induced by his weakness to injure and despoil a poor man. Neither oppress the afflicted in the gate. The gate is the place of judgment, the court of justice (comp. Job 31:21). The warning points to the particular form of wrong inflicted on the lowly by unjust judges, who could give sentences from which, however iniquitous, there was practically no appeal.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Rob not the poor, because he is poor,.... And cannot help himself; cannot go to law with him that has injured him, and defend his own cause; which the other knowing, is the more emboldened to spoil and defraud him, which is an aggravation of his sin: or, "for he is poor" (g); to rob any man is an evil and an injurious thing; but to rob the poor is cruel and barbarous; rather something should be given them, and not anything taken from them: or, "though he is poor" (h); let not that be an inducement to injure him, but the contrary;
neither oppress the afflicted in the gate; or "the poor" (i); the same as before, only a different word used: when he comes into a court of judicature, which was usually held in the gates of a city, Ruth 4:1; and applies for redress of any grievance, do not crush him in the gate, or oppress him in judgment; nor wrest his cause, and do him wrong; but let him have justice done him, though poor. Some understand this of using the poor ill, when they come to their gates to beg; which sense is favoured by the Septuagint version; but the former is best. One might have expected, after such a preface or introduction as in the preceding verses, that something of more importance, something more spiritual and evangelical, would have followed: this shows the great regard the Lord has to the poor, and how much they are on his mind, and how near they lie to his heart; especially the poor of the flock, worried and spoiled by antichrist; see Zechariah 11:7.
(g) "nam tenuis est", so some in Mercerus. (h) "Etsi"; so some in Mercerus; "quamvis", Lutherus. (i) "inopem", Schtultens, so Cocceius; "pauperem", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22, 23. Here follow ten precepts of two verses each. Though men fail to defend the poor, God will (Pr 17:5; Ps 12:5).
in the gate—place of public gathering (Job 5:4; Ps 69:12).
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