|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 23. - He shall die without instruction. The phrase, "without instruction," is in the original b'eyu musar, literally, "in there not being instruction." The obvious meaning is, because he gave no heed to instruction. So Aben Ezra and Gersom. The Authorized Version is at least ambiguous, and seems to imply that the adulterer has been without instruction, without any to reprove or counsel him. But such is not the case. He has been admonished of the evil consequences of his sin, but to these warnings he has turned a deaf ear, and the teacher says therefore he shall die. The Vulgate supports this explanation, quia non habuit disciplinam "because he did not entertain or use instruction." In the LXX. the idea is enlarged, "He shall die together with these who have no instruction (μετὰ ἀπαιδεύτων)." The b' (בְּ) in b'eyn is causal, and equivalent to propter, as in Genesis 18:28; Jeremiah 17:3. A similar statement is found in Job 4:21, "They die even without wisdom," i.e. because they have disregarded the lessons of wisdom; and Job 36:12, "They shall die without knowledge." And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray; better, as Delitzsch, "He shall stagger to ruin." The verb shagah is used as in vers. 19 and 20, but with a deeper and more dread significance. A climax is reached in the manner in which the end of the adulterer is portrayed. His end is without a gleam of hope or satisfaction. With an understanding darkened and rendered callous by unrestrained indulgence in lust, and by folly which has reached its utmost limits and cannot, as it were, be surpassed, in that it has persistently and wilfully set aside and scorned wisdom and true happiness, the adulterer, like the drunkard, who is oblivious of the danger before him, shall stagger to ruin.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He shall die without instruction,.... Into the evil of sin, and the danger he is in, and so without repentance for it; for instruction is the means of repentance, and productive of it when blessed, Jeremiah 31:19; but it is but just that those who have hated and rejected it in health and life, that when they come to die should have none given them about the evil of sin, the danger of their state, and the way of salvation; or rather "because of instruction" (z); because they would not bear and receive, but neglected, rejected, and despised it, so Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom; or "without correction" (a), or discipline and amendment by it;
and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray; being left to the exceeding great folly of his mind, he shall continue to go astray as he has done from God and his good ways, from the precepts of his law, and the rules of his word; going after his own heart's lusts, which will drown him in perdition. This "folly" may be understood either of his fornication and adultery, which is egregious folly; or of his imagining that he should be able to repent of sin when he pleased, and free himself from the bondage of it, and escape the punishment due unto it.
(z) "eo quod non audivit eruditionem", Pagninus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "propter neglectam institutionem", Piscator; "propter non admissam disciplinam", Noldius, p. 181. (a) "Sine correctione et emendatione", Vatablus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. without instruction—literally, "in want of instruction," having refused it (compare Job 13:18; Heb 11:24).
go astray—literally, "be drunken." The word "ravished" (Pr 5:19) here denotes fulness of punishment.
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