The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.—Fraudulent persons (literally, those who “cover” a matter up) pervert the truth, thereby ruining their own characters (inasmuch as in time they can hardly distinguish right from wrong), and losing the favour of Almighty God.
destroy—with violence.The integrity of the upright, their sincere obedience to God’s laws,
shall guide them; shall keep them from crooked and dangerous courses, and lead them in a right and safe way.
The perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them; those wicked devices by which they design and expect to secure themselves, shall be the instrument of their destruction. Revelation 14:4; see Psalm 25:21;
but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them; the perverse ways, words, and actions of such as transgress the law of God, deal treacherously with God and men, as the word (e) signifies, shall be their ruin: the perverse doctrines and worship of the man of sin, and his followers, shall bring destruction upon them, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. The word for "perverseness" is only used here and in Proverbs 15:4; and there plainly signifies the perverseness of the tongue or speech, and so may have respect to corrupt doctrine.The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. perverseness] Some would render slipperiness; as we say, “a slippery fellow.” The noun occurs here only and in Proverbs 15:4, but the cognate verb is found several times in this Book (Proverbs 13:6, Proverbs 19:3, Proverbs 21:12). What is here meant is the trickiness and want of straightforwardness (the opposite of the “integrity” of the former clause) which mark the character and conduct of the treacherous (R.V.).Verse 3. - The integrity - the simple straightforwardness - of the upright shall guide them in the right way, and give them success in their undertakings with the blessing of God (comp. ver. 5). Septuagint, "the perfection of the straightforward" (Proverbs 10:9). The perverseness (seleph); (Proverbs 15:4, and there only. Vulgate, supplantatio; Septuagint, ὑποσκελισμός, "the tripping up," making others fall, putting a stumbling block in others' way. Transgressors; treacherous and deceitful. Such persons shall be caught in their own net (Psalm 35:8); they not only bring punishment on themselves when their evil designs are discovered and frustrated, but they ruin their moral nature, lose all sense of truth and right, and are rejected of God. This clause and the following verse are omitted in the Vatican and some other manuscripts of the Septuagint.
But ruin to those that do evil.
Of the two meanings which מעז (מעוז) has: a stronghold from עזז, and asylum ( equals Arab. m'adz) from עוּז, the contrast here demands the former. 'דּרך ה and 'יראת ה, understood objectively, are the two O.T. names of true religion. It means, then, the way which the God of revelation directs men to walk in (Psalm 143:8), the way of His precepts, Psalm 119:27, His way of salvation, Psalm 67:3 (4); in the N.T. ἡ ὁδὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ, Matthew 22:16; Acts 18:25.; cf. ἡ ὁδός simply, Acts 9:2; Acts 24:14. This way of Jahve is a fortress, bulwark, defence for innocence, or more precisely, a disposition wholly, i.e., unreservedly and without concealment, directed toward God and that which is good. All the old interpreters, also Luther, but not the Graec. Venet., translate as if the expression were לתּם; but the punctuation has preferred the abstr. pro concreto, perhaps because the personal תּם nowhere else occurs with any such prefix; on the contrary, תּם is frequently connected with ב, כ, ל. לתם דרך, integro viae (vitae), are by no means to be connected in one conception (Ziegler, Umbr., Elster), for then the poet ought to have written מעז יהוה לתם־דרך. 29b cannot be interpreted as a thought by itself: and ruin (vid., regarding מחתּה, ruina, and subjectively consternatio, Proverbs 10:16) comes to those who do evil; but the thought, much more comprehensive, that religion, which is for the righteous a strong protection and safe retreat, will be an overthrow to those who delight only in wickedness (vid., on און, p. 143), is confirmed by the similarly formed distich, Proverbs 21:15. Also almost all the Jewish interpreters, from Rashi to Malbim, find here expressed the operation of the divine revelation set over against the conduct of men - essentially the same as when the Tora or the Chokma present to men for their choice life and death; or the gospel of salvation, according to 2 Corinthians 2:15, is to one the savour of life unto life, to another the savour of death unto death.
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