|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
23:12-16 Here is a parent instructing his child to give his mind to the Scriptures. Here is a parent correcting his child: accompanied with prayer, and blessed of God, it may prove a means of preventing his destruction. Here is a parent encouraging his child, telling him what would be for his good. And what a comfort it would be, if herein he answered his expectation! 17,18. The believer's expectation shall not be disappointed; the end of his trials, and of the sinner's prosperity, is at hand.
Verse 17. - Let not thine heart envy sinners, when thou seest them apparently happy and prosperous (comp. Proverbs 3:31; Proverbs 24:1, 19; Psalm 37:1; Psalm 73:3). The Authorized Version, in agreement with the Septuagint, Vulgate, Arabic, and other versions, takes the second clause of this verse as an independent one: but it seems evidently to be constructionally connected with the preceding, and to be governed by the same verb, so that there is no occasion to insert "be thou." But be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. Jerome, corrected, would read, Non aemuletur cor tuum peccatores, sed timorem Domini tota die, As Delitzsch and Hitzig, followed by Nowack, have pointed out, the Hebrew verb, קָנָא (kana), is here used in two senses. In the first clause it signifies to be envious of a person: in the second, to be zealous for a thing, both senses combining in the thought of being moved with eager desire. Ζηλοτυπέω is used in this double sense, and aemulor in Latin. So the gnome comes to this - Show your heart's desire, not by envy of the sinner's fortune, but by zeal for true religion, that fear of the Lord which leads to strict obedience and earnest desire to please him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let not thine heart envy sinners,.... Their present prosperity and happiness, the pleasure, profit, and honour, they seem to enjoy; all which is but a shadow, fading had temporary; and yet good men are apt to envy it in their hearts, if they do not express it with their lips; and are ready to murmur and think it hard that they should be in straitened circumstances while the wicked are in flourishing ones; and inwardly fret and are uneasy at it, which they should not, Psalm 37:1; or do not "emulate" or "imitate" (z) them, or do as they do, thinking thereby to enjoy the same prosperity and happiness; choose not their ways, nor desire to be with them, to have their company, or be ranked among them, Proverbs 3:31;
but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long; let the fear of God be always before thine eyes and in thine heart; be continually in the exercise of fear, which is attended with faith and trust in the Lord; with love and affection to him, and joy and delight in him; be constantly employed in the duties of religion, private and public, which the fear of God includes; and this will be a preservative from envying, murmuring, and fretting at the outward happiness of wicked men; and from joining with them in their evil ways. Aben Ezra, and who is followed by some others, render it, "but emulate or imitate the men that fear the Lord all the day long" (a); be followers of them, and do as they do; let their constant piety and devotion stir up a holy emulation in thee to copy after them and exceed them; but the former sense is best.
(z) "ne aemuletur", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius et Tremellius, Piscator, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. (a) "Aemulare virum timentem, Jehovam", Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17, 18. (Compare Margin). The prosperity of the wicked is short.
Proverbs 23:17 Parallel Commentaries
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