|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:15-23 Lawful marriage is a means God has appointed to keep from these destructive vices. But we are not properly united, except as we attend to God's word, seeking his direction and blessing, and acting with affection. Ever remember, that though secret sins may escape the eyes of our fellow-creatures, yet a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, who not only sees, but ponders all his goings. Those who are so foolish as to choose the way of sin, are justly left of God to themselves, to go on in the way to destruction.
Verse 21. - For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord. The obvious meaning here is that as "the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Proverbs 15:3), there is no possibility of any act of immorality escaping God's notice. The consciousness of this fact is to be the restraining motive, inasmuch as he who sees will also punish every transgression. The great truth acknowledged here is the omniscience of God, a truth which is borne witness to in almost identical language in Job: "For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings" (Job 34:21; cf. 24:23 and Job 31:4). So Hanani the seer says to Asa King of Judah, "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth" (2 Chronicles 16:9); and Jehovah says, in Jeremiah, "For mine eyes are upon all their ways, they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes" (Jeremiah 16:17; cf. 32:29); and again, in Hosea, "They are before my face" (Hosea 7:2), and the same truth is re-echoed in the Epistle to the Hebrews, in all probability gathered from our passage, "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13). The ways of man; i.e. the conduct of any individual man or woman; ish, "man," being used generically. Are before the eyes of the Lord; i.e. are an object on which Jehovah fixes his gaze and scrutiny. And he pondereth all his goings. The word "he pondereth" is in the original m'phalles, the piel participle of philles, piel of the unused kal, palas, and appears to be properly rendered in the Authorized Version. This verb, however, has various meanings:
(1) to make level, or prepare, as in Proverbs 4:26 and Proverbs 5:6;
(2) to weigh, or consider accurately, in which sense it is used here.
So Gesenius, Lee, Buxtorf, and Davidson. Jehovah not only sees, but weighs all that a man does, wheresoever he be, and will apportion rewards and punishments according to a man's actions (Patrick). The German commentators, Delitzsch and Zockler, however, look upon the word as indicating the overruling providence of God, just as the former part of the verse refers to his omniscience, and render, "he marketh out," in the sense that the Lord makes it possible for a man to walk in the way of uprightness and purity. There is nothing inherently objectionable in this view, since experience shows that the world is regulated by the Divine government, but it loses sight to some extent of the truth upon which the teacher appears to be insisting, which is that evil actions are visited with Divine retribution.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,.... Both good and bad; the ways of a chaste and virtuous man, who cleaves to his own wife and shuns the harlot, which are approved of by the Lord; and the ways of a lewd man, all the impure thoughts, desires, and contrivances of his mind, and all the steps he takes to commit lewdness, and all the filthy actions he is guilty of, these are all open and naked to the omniscient God: the adulterer seeks the twilight, and flatters himself with secrecy, not considering that the eye of God is upon him; there are many, that, were their filthy actions known to men, they would be ashamed of them; and this consideration greatly deters from them, and puts them upon secret ways of committing them; much more should the consideration of the divine omniscience weigh with them to avoid them; which is the argument here made use of;
and he pondereth all his goings; he not only sees them, but takes notice of them, and observes them, and ponders them in his mind, and lays them up there, in order to bring to an account for them hereafter; yea, he weighs them in the balance of justice, and will proportion the punishment unto them, according to the rules of it; when it must go ill with those that follow such lewd practices, Hebrews 13:4.
Proverbs 5:21 Parallel Commentaries
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