Proverbs 11:19
As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
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(19) As righteousness tendeth to life.—Rather, genuine righteousness tendeth to life.

11:1 However men may make light of giving short weight or measure, and however common such crimes may be, they are an abomination to the Lord. 2. Considering how safe, and quiet, and easy the humble are, we see that with the lowly is wisdom. 3. An honest man's principles are fixed, therefore his way is plain. 4. Riches will stand men in no stead in the day of death. 5,6. The ways of wickedness are dangerous. And sin will be its own punishment. 7. When a godly man dies, all his fears vanish; but when a wicked man dies, his hopes vanish. 8. The righteous are often wonderfully kept from going into dangerous situations, and the ungodly go in their stead. 9. Hypocrites delude men into error and sin by artful objections against the truths of God's word. 10,11. Nations prosper when wicked men are cast down. 12. A man of understanding does not judge of others by their success. 13. A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it. 14. We shall often find it to our advantage to advise with others. 15. The welfare of our families, our own peace, and our ability to pay just debts, must not be brought into danger. But here especially let us consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in becoming Surety even for enemies. 16. A pious and discreet woman will keep esteem and respect, as strong men keep possession of wealth. 17. A cruel, froward, ill-natured man, is vexatious to those that are, and should be to him as his own flesh, and punishes himself. 18. He that makes it his business to do good, shall have a reward, as sure to him as eternal truth can make it. 19. True holiness is true happiness. The more violent a man is in sinful pursuits, the more he hastens his own destruction. 20. Nothing is more hateful to God, than hypocrisy and double dealing, which are here signified. God delights in such as aim and act with uprightness. 21. Joining together in sin shall not protect the sinners. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments. 23. The wicked desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves. 24. A man may grow poor by not paying just debts, not relieving the poor, not allowing needful expenses. Let men be ever so saving of what they have, if God appoints, it comes to nothing. 25. Both in temporal and spiritual things, God commonly deals with his people according to the measure by which they deal with their brethren. 26. We must not hoard up the gifts of God's bounty, merely for our own advantage. 27. Seeking mischief is here set against seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt, even to themselves.Deceitful work - Work which deceives and disappoints the worker; in contrast with the "sure reward" of the second clause.

Omit "shall be" and render, "but he that soweth righteousness worketh a sure reward."

19. Inference from Pr 11:18 (compare Pr 11:5, 6; 10:16). That pursueth evil; who are not overtaken by sin, as a good man may be, Galatians 6:1, but studiously design it, and follow after the occasions of it earnestly, and greedily, and industriously.

As righteousness tendeth to life,.... Or, is unto life: not mere outward acts of moral righteousness; these may be done where there is no principle of spiritual life, and are no other than dead works, and will never bring to everlasting life; indeed the best righteousness of man's is no justification of life, nor can it entitle to it, nor is meritorious of it. Godliness, or true holiness, has the promise of this life and that to come, 1 Timothy 4:8; and so here in the Hebrew text it is, "unto lives" (x), in the plural number. Internal grace, or powerful godliness, which is the new man that is created in righteousness, gives a meetness for everlasting life, and issues in it; particularly the righteousness of Christ, as that is a perfectly justifying one; it makes a man alive in a law sense, and gives a title and claim to eternal life;

so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death; or, it is "to his own death"; it issues in that: not he that is overtaken in a fault, or falls into sin through the infirmity of the flesh and the force of temptation, but such who eagerly follow after it and overtake it; who give up themselves unto it, weary themselves in committing it, draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope; these often by their sins bring diseases upon them, which end in a corporeal death; or by means of which they come into the hand of the civil magistrate, and are capitally punished; and, however, die the second death, or an eternal one, the just wages of sin, Romans 6:23.

(x) "ad vitas", Montanus.

As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
19. As] The Heb. word means so, but has also the sense of firm, stedfast, and is so used of character, Genesis 42:11; Genesis 42:19; Genesis 42:31; Genesis 42:33-34.


He that is stedfast in righteousness is so unto life.

And he that pursueth evil doeth so unto his own death.

The rendering of R.V. marg., So (in like manner), connecting this proverb with that of the preceding verse, is less forcible and less in accordance with the style of this Book.

Verse 19. - This verse is not to be connected with the preceding, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "so righteousness," etc., each couplet in these chapters being independent, the connection, such as it is, being maintained by the use of catchwords, such as "righteous," "wicked," "upright," etc. As righteousness tendeth to life. The various uses of the first word כֵן (ken) have led to different renderings. The Authorized Version takes it for "as;" the Revised Version as an adjective: He that is steadfast in righteousness. It is, perhaps, better, with Nowack, to regard it as an adverb: "He who is honestly, strictly, of righteousness, is to life." The meaning is plain: real, genuine righteousness hath the promise of this life and of that which is to come (1 Timothy 4:8). The LXX., reading בֵן (ben), translate, "A righteous son is born for life." He that pursueth evil (Proverbs 13:21); Septuagint, "the persecution of the impious," i.e. that which an impious man inflicts. But the Authorized Version is correct, and the clause means that he who practises evil brings ruin eventually on himself - a warning trite, but unheeded (comp. Proverbs 1:18). Proverbs 11:1919 Genuine righteousness reaches to life,

     And he who pursues evil does it to his death.

The lxx translate υἱὸς δίκαιος, and the Syrian follows this unwarrantable quid pro quo; the Bible uses the phrase בן־עולה and the like, but not בן־צדקה. The Graec. Venet. (translating οὕτω) deprives the distich of its supposed independence. The Targ. renders כּן with the following ו as correlates, sic ... uti; but כן in comparative proverbs stands naturally in the second, and not in the first place (vid., p. 10). Without doubt כן is here a noun. It appears to have a personal sense, according to the parallel וּמרדּף, on which account Elster explains it: he who is firm, stedfast in righteousness, and Zckler: he who holds fast to righteousness; but כן cannot mean "holding fast," nor does מכונן; - "fast" does not at all agree with the meaning of the word, it means upright, and in the ethical sense genuine; thus Ewald better: "he who is of genuine righteousness," but "genuine in (of) righteousness" is a tautological connection of ideas. Therefore we must regard כן as a substantival neuter, but neither the rectum of Cocceius nor the firmum of Schultens furnishes a naturally expressed suitable thought. Or is כּן a substantive in the sense of 2 Kings 7:31? The word denotes the pedestal, the pillar, the standing-place; but what can the basis refer to here (Euchel)? Rather read "aim" (Oetinger) or "direction" (Lwenstein); but כן does not take its meaning from the Hiph. הכין. One might almost assume that the Chokma-language makes כּן, taliter, a substantive, and has begun to use it in the sense of qualitas (like the post-bibl. איכוּת), so that it is to be explained: the quality of righteousness tendeth to life. But must we lose ourselves in conjectures or in modifications of the text (Hitzig, כּנּס, as a banner), in order to gain a meaning from the word, which already has a meaning? We say דּבּר כּן, to speak right (Numbers 27:7), and עשׂות כּן, to do right (Ecclesiastes 8:10); in both cases כּן means standing equals consisting, stedfast, right, recte. The contrast is לא־כן, 2 Kings 7:9, which is also once used as a substantive, Isaiah 16:6 : the unrighteousness of his words. So here כן is used as a substantive connected in the genitive, but not so that it denotes the right holding, retaining of righteousness, but its right quality - שׁל־צדקה אמתּה, as Rashi explains it, i.e., as we understand it: genuineness, or genuine showing of righteousness, which is not mere appearance without reality. That כּנים denotes such people as seek to appear not otherwise than what they truly are, is in favour of this interpretation. Such genuine righteousness as follows the impulse of the heart, and out of the fulness of the heart does good, has life as its result (Proverbs 19:23), an inwardly happy and externally a prosperous life; on the other hand, he who wilfully pursues evil, and finds in it satisfaction, brings death upon himself: he does it to his death, or if we make (which is also possible) רדּף the subject: it tends to his death. Thus in other words: Love is life; hatred destroys life.

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