There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)There shall no evil happen to the just.—Comp. our Lord’s promise as to temporal matters for those who “seek the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). and for God’s care in spiritual matters, 1Corinthians 10:13.
mischief—as penal evil.No evil; either,
1. Of sin; or rather,
2. Of suffering or mischief, as the next clause explains this. No such evil shall befall them as doth commonly befall the wicked, who are filled, or overwhelmed, and utterly destroyed by it; whereas good men are supported under their troubles, and shall be delivered out of them, and receive much benefit by them. Psalm 91:10. Or whatever does come to them comes not by chance unto them, but by the decree and will of God, and is overruled for good;
but the wicked shall be filled with mischief; or "with evil" (h), the evil of sin; with malice and wickedness, with all impiety and unrighteousness, with ignorance and error; with all kind of sins, both against the first and second table of the law, and so with all the consequences of sin: with the evil of punishment; with an evil conscience, with the terrors of it; with many distresses here, and with everlasting destruction hereafter. Some understand it of the mischief they devise to others, which they are full of and big with; and "though" they are, as Aben Ezra interprets the word, yet no evil shall happen to the righteous; the mischief contrived by them shall fall upon themselves.There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. evil … mischief] Rather, mischief … evil, with R.V., reversing the meaning of the two Heb. words.Verse 21. - There shall no evil - mischief - happen to the just. The mischief (aven) intended is not misfortune, calamity, but the evil consequences that follow on ill-doing (Proverbs 22:8); from these the righteous are saved. Our Lord goes further, and says (Matthew 6:33), "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these (temporal) things shall be added unto you." Vulgate, "Nothing that happens can make a just man sorrowful;" for he knows it is all for the best, and he looks toward another life, where all seeming anomalies will be cleared up. Septuagint, "The just man takes pleasure in naught that is unjust." The wicked shall be filled with mischief; rather, with evil, moral and physical (Psalm 32:10). The Old Testament takes a general view of God's moral government without regarding special anomalies.
But the wise listeneth to counsel.
Other proverbs, like Proverbs 16:2, say that generally the judgment of a man regarding his character does not go beyond a narrow subjectivity; but there are objective criteria according to which a man can prove whether the way in which he walks is right; but the fool knows not other standard than his own opinion, and however clearly and truly one may warn him that the way which he has chosen is the wrong way and leads to a false end, yet he obstinately persists;
(Note: Vid., kindred proverbs by Carl Schulze, Die bibl. Sprichwrter der deutschen Sprache (1860), p. 50, and M. C. Wahl's Das Sprichwort in der heb.-aram. Literatur, u.s.w. (1871), p. 31.)
while a wise man is not so wise in his own eyes (Proverbs 3:7) as not to be willing to listen to well-meant counsel, because, however careful he may be regarding his conduct, yet he does not regard his own judgment so unerring as not to be inclined ever anew to try it and let it stand the test. Ewald has falsely construed: yet whoever hears counsel is wise. In consequence of the contrast, אויל and חכם are the subject ideas, and with ושׁמע לעצה is brought forward that which is in contrast to the self-complacency of the fool, the conduct of the wise man.
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