Proverbs 11:23
The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
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(23) The desire of the righteous is only good, and therefore it, being in accordance with the will of God, is granted to them.

The expectation of the wicked is wrath.—Rather, presumption; they do not ask in the way or for the things which God wills they should (James 4:3), and therefore it is mere presumption on their part to expect the fulfilment of their desires.

Proverbs 11:23. The desire of the righteous is only good — “The righteous desire nothing, but that it may be well with all men; but the wicked wish for trouble and disturbance to all others but themselves, that they may execute their malice and wrath upon those whom they hate.” — Bishop Patrick. Or, rather, the meaning is, the desires and expectations of the righteous shall end in their good and happiness, but the desires and expectations of the wicked shall be disappointed, and end in the wrath of God.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.The most direct proverb, in the sense of "similitude," which has as yet met us.

Jewel of gold - Better, ring; i. e., the nose-ring Genesis 24:22, Genesis 24:47; Isaiah 3:21.

Without discretion - literally, "without taste," void of the subtle tact and grace, without which mere outward beauty is as ill-bestowed as the nose-ring in the snout of the unclean beast. If we may assume that in ancient Syria, as in modern Europe, swine commonly wore such a ring to hinder them doing mischief, the similitude receives a fresh vividness.

23. (Compare Pr 10:28).

wrath—is that of God.

The desire; either,

1. Properly so called. So the sense is, His desires are generally and constantly to do good to men, as wicked men’s designs are to do hurt, and to execute wrath and hatred against them. Or rather,

2. The object, or event, or effect of their desire, as appears from the next clause, where

expectation is clearly put for the object or event of it. And the sense of the proverb seems to be this, The desires and expectations of the righteous shall end in their good and happiness, but the desires and expectations of wicked men shall be sadly disappointed, and end in the wrath of God and their utter ruin. The desire of the righteous is only good,.... Or, "what is good" (z); only good is the object of it. His desire is to do good, and that only; though be does not always do what he would do: as he delights in the law of God, after the inward man; as he is a righteous, holy, and good man, and would be conformable thereunto, and serves it with his mind, will, and affections; his desires are to the Lord, and to the remembrance of his name; he desires his favour, the discoveries of his love, communion with him, and communications of grace from him; he desires all spiritual good things, and everything that is good, for himself and others, and which he desires in submission to the will of God; and all things do work for and issue in his good. Good is what he is continually desirous of, wishing and praying for; and good is what he has eventually here and hereafter: though there may be many irregular and unlawful desires in him at times, and all things he has may not seem good; yet acting as a good man, his desires are only good, and there is nothing attends him but what is for his good;

but the expectation of the wicked is wrath; what he is desirous of, wishing, and looking for, is wrath and vengeance upon all that displease him, and he is angry with; he desires no good to them, but evil; he desires and hopes for nothing but what is offensive to God, and will bring upon him his fierce wrath and sore displeasure; so that eventually nothing else will be the fruit and consequence of his expectation and hope; and some are so shockingly profane, and so dreadfully hardened, that they wait for hell, as Jarchi on the place observes; they look for damnation and expect it, and are easy about it.

(z) "tantummodo bonum quid est", Michaelis; "tantum bonum", Cocceius; "nihil cupiunt quod bonum non sit", Mercerus; "tamen bonum quid", Gussetius, p. 39.

The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked {m} is wrath.

(m) They can look for nothing but God's vengeance.

23. wrath] Strictly, outpouring, or overflowing, sc. of (God’s) wrath. Comp. Hebrews 10:27; and rod τοῦ θυμοῦ τῆς ὀργῆς, Revelation 19:15.

Stated in full the proverb would be: That which the righteous desires is good, and therefore his desire when accomplished brings good or prosperity to himself; whereas the wicked, who desires evil, has nothing to look for but the just reward of evil, the displeasure of Almighty God.Verse 23. - (Comp. Proverbs 10:28.) The desire of the righteous is only good. They want only what is just and honest, and therefore they obtain their wiches. The expectation of the wicked - that on which they set their hope and heart - is wrath (Proverbs 11:4), is an object of God's wrath. Other commentators, ancient and modern, take the clause to imply that the wishes of evil men, animated by wrath and ill temper, are only satisfied by inflicting injuries on others. Delitzsch would translate ebrah, "excess," "presumption," as in Proverbs 21:24. But the first interpretation seems most suitable (scrap. Romans 2:8, 9). The LXX., pointing differently, for "wrath" reads "shall perish." Three proverbs regarding benevolence:

17 The benevolent man doeth good to his own soul,

     And the violent man brings trouble on his own flesh.

Many interpreters reverse the relation of subject and predicate (Targ. only in 17b, after the phrase ודמוביד, for which the Syr. has only ומובד): qui sibi ipsi benefacit, is quidem erga alios quoque benignus praesumitur, quum caritas ordinata a se ipsa incipiat; qui vero carnem suam male habet, est crudelis erga alios (Michaelis). But this cannot be established; for certainly it occurs that whoever does good to himself does good also to others, and that whoever is hard against himself also judges and treats others harshly; but in by far the greatest number of cases the fact is this, that he who does not deny anything to himself is in relation to others an egoist, and this is not a "benevolent man;" and, on the contrary, that he who denies to himself lawful enjoyments is in relation to others capable of self-denial and self-sacrifice, and thus is the contrast of a "violent man." The word of Sirach, 14:5, ὁ πονηρὸς ἑαυτῷ τίνα ἀγαθὸς ἔσται, to which Bertheau appeals, alludes to the niggard, and it is true indeed that this עכר שׁארו, but not every עכר שׁארו, is a niggard. Thus the "benevolent man" and the "violent man" will be the two subject conceptions, and as it is said of the benevolent (חסר as e.g., Hosea 6:6, of a more restricted sense, as Isaiah 57:1) that he does good (גּמל, viz., טוב, Proverbs 31:12), so of the violent (unmerciful) (אכזרי as Proverbs 12:20; Jeremiah 6:23; Jeremiah 50:42) that he brings evil on his own flesh (lxx αὐτοῦ σῶμα); for שׁארו as a parallel word to נפשׁו (cf. p. 141) signifies not blood-relations (Symm., Jerome, Luther, and Grotius), but it has here, as at Micah 3:2, its nearest signification, from which it then comes to signify those who are of our flesh and blood. But for that reason the meaning of the poet cannot be that given by Elster: "he who exercises benevolence toward others creates within himself a determination which penetrates his whole being with generous and fruitful warmth, as on the other hand the feeling of hatred deprives the heart of him who cherishes it of the true fountain of life." If this were meant, then soul and spirit, not soul and flesh, would stand in parallelism. The weal and woe refers thus to the divine retribution which requites the conduct of a man toward his neighbours, according to its character, with reward or punishment (Hitzig, Zckler).

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