|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:19. Confidence in an unfaithful man is painful and vexatious; when we put any stress on him, he not only fails, but makes us feel for it. 20. We take a wrong course if we think to relieve those in sorrow by endeavouring to make them merry. 21,22. The precept to love even our enemies is an Old Testament commandment. Our Saviour has shown his own great example in loving us when we were enemies. 23. Slanders would not be so readily spoken, if they were not readily heard. Sin, if it receives any check, becomes cowardly. 24. It is better to be alone, than to be joined to one who is a hinderance to the comfort of life. 25. Heaven is a country afar off; how refreshing is good news from thence, in the everlasting gospel, which signifies glad tidings, and in the witness of the Spirit with our spirits that we are God's children! 26. When the righteous are led into sin, it is as hurtful as if the public fountains were poisoned. 27. We must be, through grace, dead to the pleasures of sense, and also to the praises of men. 28. The man who has no command over his anger, is easily robbed of peace. Let us give up ourselves to the Lord, and pray him to put his Spirit within us, and cause us to walk in his statutes.
Verse 22. - For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. This expression has been taken in various senses. It has been thought to mean that the forgiveness of the injured person brings to the cheek of the offender the burning blush of shame. But heaping coals on the head cannot naturally be taken to express such an idea. St. Chrysostom and other Fathers consider that Divine vengeance is implied, as in Psalm 11:6, "Upon the wicked he shall rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind shall be their portion;" and Psalm 140:10, "Let burning coals fall upon them." Of course, in one view, kindness to an evil man only gives him occasion for fresh ingratitude and hatred, and therefore increases God's wrath against him. But it would be a wicked motive to act this beneficent part only to have the satisfaction of seeing your injurer humbled or punished. And the gnome implies that the sinner is benefited by the clemency shown to him, that the requital of evil by good brings the offender to a better mind, and aids his spiritual life. "Coals of fire" are a metaphor for the penetrating pain of remorse and repentance. The unmerited kindness which he receives forces upon him the consciousness of his ill doing, which is accompanied by the sharp rain of regret. St. Augustine, "Ne dubitaveris figurate dictum...ut intelligas carbones ignis esse urentes poenitentiae gemitus, quibus superbia sanatur ejus, qui dolit se inimicum fuisse hominis, a quo ejus miseriae subvenitur" ('De Doctr. Christ.,' 3:16). Lesetre quotes St. Francis de Sales, who gives again a different view, "You are not obliged to seek reconciliation with one who has offended you; it may be rather his part to seek you; yet nevertheless go and follow the Saviour's counsel, prevent him with good, render him good for evil: heap coals of fire on his head and on his heart, which may burn up all ill will and constrain him to love you" ('De l'Am. de Dieu,' 8:9). And the Lord shall reward thee. This consideration can scarcely be regarded as the chief motive for the liberality enjoined, though it would be present to the kind person's mind, and be a support and comfort to him in a course of conduct repugnant to the natural man. He would remember the glorious reward promised to godliness by the prophet (Isaiah 58:8, etc.), and how Saul had expressed his consciousness of David's magnanimity in sparing his life. "Thou art more righteous than I; for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil... wherefore the Lord reward thee good for that thou hast done unto me this day" (1 Samuel 24:17, 19 and 1 Sam 26:21).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For thou shall heap coals of fire upon his head,.... Not to increase his punishment and damnation, the more aggravated by kindness shown him; but to bring him by such means to a sense of former injuries, and to shame for them, repentance of them, and love of the person injured, and carefulness for the future of doing him any further wrong;
and the Lord shall reward thee: with good things, for all the good done to thine enemy, whether it has the desired effect on him or not; or whether he rewards thee or not; see Romans 12:20.
Proverbs 25:22 Parallel Commentaries
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