In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)In the way of righteousness is life.—Comp. above on Proverbs 10:2, “Righteousness delivereth from death.”Proverbs 12:28. In the way of righteousness is life, &c. — The practice of righteousness, though it expose a man to some dangers and inconveniences in the world, through the corruption of mankind, and the malice of the devil, yet it will certainly lead a man to life and happiness; whereas the end of all the wicked is death and destruction. Matthew 7:14. Christ, and righteousness and holiness in and by him, are the way, the truth, and the life, or the true way to eternal life; and all in this way now live spiritually, and shall live eternally, John 14:6;
and in the pathway thereof there is no death; no condemnation to them that are in Christ, the way, and are justified by his righteousness; the law's sentence of death shall not be executed on them, though it passed upon them in Adam; spiritual death shall not again prevail over those who are passed from death to life; nor shall they be hurt at the second death; they shall never die that death, it shall have no power over them; life and immortality are the sure effects of being in the way of righteousness. The Targum renders it, "the way of the perverse": and the Septuagint version, "of those that remember evil": and the Syriac and Arabic versions, "the way of angry men is unto death": and so the Vulgate Latin version,
"the out of the way path leads to death:''In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. no death] The rendering to death, i.e. the pathway (sc. common and well-trodden, or, of evil men) leadeth to death, is supported by LXX. εἰς θάνατον, and Vulg. ducit ad mortem.Verse 28. - In the way of righteousness is life (comp. Proverbs 10:2). For the promise of temporal prosperity which the Jew saw in such passages as these we substitute a better hope. And in the pathway thereof - of righteousness - there is no death. Many combine the two words thus: "no death," i.e. immortality; but examples of such combination are not forthcoming, and the anomaly is not necessitated by the failure of the usual rendering to afford an adequate sense. The Greek and Latin versions are noteworthy. Septuagint, "The ways of the revengeful (μνησικάκων) are unto (אֶל, not אַל) death." St. Chrysostom refers ('Hom. 16 in Ephesians') to this rendering: "He here speaks of vindictiveness; for on the spur of the moment he allows the sufferer to act in order to cheek the aggressor; but further to bear a grudge he permits not; because the act then is no longer one of passion, nor of boiling rage, but of malice premeditated. Now, God forgives those who may be carried away, perhaps upon a sense of outrage, and rush out to resent it. Hence he says, 'eye for eye;' and yet again 'The ways of the revengeful lead to death." Vulgate, "A devious path leads to death" - a path, that is, which turns aside from the right direction, a life and conversation which are alien from justice and piety. But both the Septuagint and the Vulgate have missed the right meaning of the words in question; derek nethibah, "pathway." Many see in this verse a plain evidence that the writer believed in the immortality of the soul. We have reason to suppose that such was his faith, but it cannot be proved from this passage, though we may consider that he was guided to speak in terms to which later knowledge would affix a deeper interpretation (see Proverbs 14:32, and note there). It is Jesus Christ "who hath brought life and immortality (ἀφθαρσίαν) to light through the gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10). Writers in Solomon's time could speak only darkly about this sublime and comforting hope, though later, as in the Book of Wisdom and throughout most of the Apocryphal books, it formed a common topic, and was used as a reason for patience and resignation.
And they that deal truly are His delight.
The frame of the distich is like Proverbs 11:1, Proverbs 11:20. אמוּנה is probity as the harmony between the words and the inward thoughts. The lxx, which translates ὁ δὲ ποιῶν πίστεις, had in view עשה אמונים (עשׂה אמוּנים, cf. Isaiah 26:2); the text of all other translations agrees with that commonly received.
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