|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:17,18. The pleasure we are apt to take in the troubles of an enemy is forbidden. 19,20. Envy not the wicked their prosperity; be sure there is no true happiness in it. 21,22. The godly in the land, will be quiet in the land. There may be cause to change for the better, but have nothing to do with them that are given change. 23-26. The wisdom God giveth, renders a man fit for his station. Every one who finds the benefit of the right answer, will be attached to him that gave it. 27. We must prefer necessaries before conveniences, and not go in debt.
Verse 18. - Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him. This malignant pleasure at others' misfortunes (which Aristotle, 'Eth. Nic.,' 2:7. 15, calls ἐπιχαιρεκακία) is a sin in the eyes of God, and calls for punishment. And he turn away his wrath from him; and, as is implied, direct it upon thee. But it seems a mean motive to adduce, if the maxim is taken baldly to mean, "Do not rejoice at your enemy's calamity, lest God relieve him from the evil:" for true charity would wish for such a result. Bode considers "his wrath" to be the enemy's ill will against thee, which God by his grace changes to love, and thou art thus covered with confusion and shame for thy former vindictiveness. But the point is not so much the removal of God's displeasure from the enemy as the punishment of the malignant man, either mentally or materially. To a malignant mind no severer blow could be given than to see a foe recover God's favor and rise from his fall. The moralist then warns the disciple against giving way to this ἐπιχαιρεκακία lest he prepare for himself bitter mortification by having to witness the restoration of the hated one, or by being himself made to suffer that evil which he had rejoiced to see his neighbour experience (comp. Proverbs 17:5, and note there).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him,.... Who sees all things, not only external actions, but the heart, and the inward motions of it; and though men may hide the pleasure they feel at the misery of an enemy from others, they cannot hide it from the Lord; nor is this said by way of doubt, but as a certain thing; and which the Lord not barely sees, but takes notice of, and to such a degree as to resent it, and show his displeasure at it by taking the following step;
and he turn away his wrath from him; remove the effects of it, raise him out of his fallen and distressed condition, and restore him to his former prosperous one; and not only so, but turn it upon thee, as Gersom supplies the words, and not amiss; so that there is a strange and sudden change of circumstances; thou that was pleasing thyself with the distress of thine enemy art fallen into the same, and he is delivered out of it; which must be a double affliction to such a man; so that by rejoicing at an enemy, he is doing his enemy good and himself hurt; see Proverbs 17:5.
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