Proverbs 11:5
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
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(5) Shall direct his way.—Or, make smooth, as Proverbs 3:6. The just man by his exact performance of all duty both towards God and man receives more and more light, and therefore continually sees more clearly how to avoid the difficulties that beset his path. The wicked darkens his conscience more and more by the commission of evil, till he stumbles as in the night (John 11:9), and at last falls, and rises not again.

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 day of wrath - Words true in their highest sense of the great "diesirae" of the future, but spoken in the first instance (compare Zephaniah 1:15-18) of any "day of the Lord," any time of judgment, when men or nations receive the chastisement of their sins. At such a time "riches profit not." 5. direct—or, "make plain"; wicked ways are not plain (Pr 13:17). Shall direct his way; shall bring all his designs and endeavours to a happy issue, by comparing this clause with the next. The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way,.... Or "make it plain" (f); that is, the righteousness of those who are perfect in Christ, complete in him, perfectly justified by his righteousness; that righteousness makes their way plain; it is the direct way, the highway, the pathway to eternal life and happiness; see Proverbs 12:28;

but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness; or, "in his wickedness" (g): in his own wicked way, which he has chosen and delights to walk in; he shall stumble therein, and fall into ruin and destruction, into hell and damnation: or by means or because of it he will fall; his wickedness will be the cause of his fall; as it will be the cause of the fall of Babylon, Revelation 18:2.

(f) "rectam facit", Cocceius; "complanat viam ejus", Schultens. (g) "in impietate sua", Tigurine version, Montanus, Baynus, Michaelis; "improbitate sua", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "in injustitia sua", Cocceius; "in improbitate sua turbulenta", Schultens.

The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
5. direct] Or, make plain, or straight; so that it leads to a prosperous issue. See Proverbs 3:6, note.Verse 5. - The perfect; the upright and honest. Vulgate, "simple;" Septuagint, "blameless." Shall direct - make straight or smooth - his way (Proverbs 3:6). The good man, not blinded by passion, follows a safe and direct path of life; but the wicked, led by his own evil propensious, and losing the light of conscience (John 11:10), stumbles and fails. Septuagint, "Righteousness cutteth straight (ὀρθοτομεῖ) blameless paths, but ungodliness walketh in iniquity." Ὀρθοτομέω occurs in Proverbs 3:6, and nowhere else in the Septuagiut. St. Paul adopts the word in 2 Timothy 2:15. For the third time the favourite theme already handled in three appendixes is taken up:

The mouth of the righteous bringeth forth wisdom,

And the tongue of falsehood shall be rooted up.

Regarding the biblical comparison of thoughts with branches, and of words with flowers and fruits, vid., my Psychol. p. 181; and regarding the root נב (with its weaker אב), to swell up and to spring up (to well, grow, etc.), vid., what is said in the Comm. on Genesis on נביא, and in Isaiah on עוב. We use the word נוּב of that which sprouts or grows, and נבב of that which causes that something sprout; but also נוב may, after the manner of verbs of being full (Proverbs 3:10), of flowing (Gesen. 138, 1, Anm. 2), take the object accus. of that from which anything sprouts (Proverbs 24:31), or which sprouting, it raises up and brings forth (cf. Isaiah 57:19). The mouth of the righteous sprouts, brings forth (in Psalm 37:30, without a figure, יהגּה, i.e., utters) wisdom, which in all relations knows how to find out that which is truly good, and suitable for the end intended, and happily to unriddle difficult complications. The conception of wisdom, in itself practical (from חכם, to be thick equals solid, firm), here gains such contents by the contrast: the tongue - whose character and fruit is falsehood, which has its delight in intentional perversions of fact, and thus increaseth complications (vid., regarding תּהפּכות, Proverbs 2:12) - is rooted up, whence it follows as regards the mouth of the righteous, that it continues for ever with that its wholesome fruit.

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