Proverbs 13:11
Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathers by labor shall increase.
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(11) Wealth gotten by vanity.—As we should say, “in an unsatisfactory manner,” that is to say, by dishonesty.

Proverbs 13:11. Wealth gotten by vanity — By vain, or deceitful, or wicked practices; shall be diminished — Because the curse of God attends it, and the same corrupt dispositions which incline men to sinful ways of getting riches will incline them to the like sinful ways of spending them. Wealth gotten by vanity will be bestowed upon vanity, and then it will be diminished. That which is obtained by such employments as are not lawful, or not becoming Christians; as by gaming, by the stage, or by any employment which only serves to feed the pride and luxury of mankind, may as truly be said to be gotten by vanity, as that which is got by fraud and lying, and will be diminished; but he that gathereth by labour — By diligence in an honest calling; shall increase — Through the divine blessing, and his property and influence will become greater instead of growing less.13:6. An honest desire to do right, preserves a man from fatal mistakes, better than a thousand fine-drawn distinctions. 7. Some who are really poor, trade and spend as if they were rich: this is sin, and will be shame, and it will end accordingly. Some that are really rich, would be thought to be poor: in this there is want of gratitude to God, want of justice and charity to others. There are many hypocrites, empty of grace, who will not be convinced of their poverty. There are many fearing Christians, who are spiritually rich, yet think themselves poor; by their doubts, and complaints, and griefs, they make themselves poor. 8. Great riches often tempt to violence against those that possess them; but the poor are free from such perils. 9. The light of the righteous is as that of the sun, which may be eclipsed and clouded, but will continue: the Spirit is their Light, he gives a fulness of joy: that of the wicked is as a lamp of their own kindling, easily put out. 10. All contentions, whether between private persons, families, churches, or nations, are begun and carried forward by pride. Disputes would be easily prevented or ended, if it were not for pride. 11. Wealth gotten by dishonesty or vice, has a secret curse, which will speedily waste it. 12. The delay of what is anxiously hoped for, is very painful to the mind; obtaining it is very pleasant. But spiritual blessings are chiefly intended.By vanity - literally, "by a breath," i. e., by a windfall, or sudden stroke of fortune, not by honest labor. The general meaning seems to be that the mere possession of riches is as nothing; they come and go, but the power to gain by skill of hand ("labor") is everything. 11. by vanity—or, "nothingness," that is, which is vain or useless to the public (as card playing or similar vices).

gathereth … labour—(Compare Margin), little by little, laboriously.

By vanity; by vain, or deceitful, or wicked practices. Shall be diminished, because the curse of God attends upon it.

By labour; by diligence in an honest calling. Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished,.... In an unjust or unlawful way, either by robbery and theft, as Aben Ezra; or by fraud and tricking, by overreaching and circumventing others; or by vain practices, as by cards or dice, and by stage playing and the like; or by curious and illicit arts, as necromancy, judiciary astrology, and such like things; whatever is gotten in a wicked way very seldom lasts long; it lessens by little and little till it comes to nothing (f); see Jeremiah 17:11; and sometimes very quickly and suddenly, all at once; thus that mass of riches which the church of Rome has got together by her vain and wicked practices, by her idolatry, pardons, and indulgences, will in one hour come to nought, Revelation 18:17;

but he that gathereth by labour shall increase, or "that gathereth by the hand" or "in it" (g); by hand labour in an honest way, or with the diligent hand, which maketh rich; who labours with his hand and gets by in sufficient to support himself and his family, and to give to the necessities of others; who does not lay it up in coffers, but keeps it in his hand to distribute; such generally thrive and flourish: some copies read it, "he that gathereth, unto the hand" (h), that gathers and puts it into the hands of others; that liberally communicates to the poor; he shall increase, as commonly liberal persons do; so the Targum,

"he that gathereth and giveth to the poor shall increase in substance.''

(f) "De malo quaesitis vix gaudet tertius baeres", Herat. (g) "in manu", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "super manu", Gussetius, p. 310. "super manum", Michaelis, Schultens. (h) "Usque ad manum", Montantus.

{e} Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth {f} by labour shall increase.

(e) That is, goods evil gotten.

(f) That is, with his own labour.

11. by vanity] i.e. by untrustworthy methods, such as speculation, gambling, high rate of interest with poor security (comp. Proverbs 21:6), in contrast to hard work, by labour (lit. with the hand). The word vanity in this sense of what is unreliable and transitory is a key-word of the Book of Ecclesiastes.

The LXX. and Vulg. render in haste, quick returns, ἐπισπουδαζομένη (with the addition μετὰ ἀνομίας), festinata.Verse 11. - Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished; literally, wealth by a breath; i.e. wealth obtained without labour and exertion, or by illegitimate and dishonest means, is soon dissipated, is not blessed by God, and has no stability. Vulgate, "riches acquired hastily;" Septuagint, "substance gotten hastily with iniquity." This makes the antithesis more marked, the contrast being between wealth gotten hastily and that acquired by diligent labour. Cito nata, cito pereunt, "Quickly won, quickly gone" (see on Proverbs 20:21; 21:5). Says the Greek maxim -

Μὴ σπεῦδε πλουτεῖν μὴ ταχὺς πένης γένῃ

"Haste not for wealth, lest thou be quickly poor." He that gathereth by labour; literally, with the hand, handful after handful. Vulgate, paulatim, "little by little," by patient industry. Labor improbus omnia vincit. Septuagint, "He that gathereth for himself with piety shall be increased." Then is added, "A good man is merciful and lendeth," from Psalm 37:26. The Septuagint here uses the term εὐσέβεια, which is received in St. Paul's pastoral Epistles and St. Peter's, taking the place of the earlier phrase, φόβος Κυρίου, Two proverbs of the character of the righteous and of the effect of righteousness:

A deceitful thing the righteous hateth;

But the godless disgraceth and putteth to shame.

With דּבּר in the sphere of an intelligible generality (as here of falsehood, or Psalm 41:9 of worthlessness) a concrete event is in view, as with דּברי in the following plur. a general fact is separated into its individual instances and circumstances (vid., at Psalm 65:4); for דבר means not only the word in which the soul reveals itself, but also any fact in which an inner principle or a general fact or a whole comes forth to view. The righteous hateth all that bears in it the character of a falsehood (punctuate דּבר־שׁקר with Gaja, cf. Proverbs 12:19), but the godless ... Should we now, with Bertheau, Hitzig, and others, translate "acteth basely and shamefully"? It is true that both Hiphs. may be regarded as transitive, but this expression gives not right contrast to 5a, and is pointless. We have seen at Proverbs 10:5 that הבישׁ, like השׂכּיל, has also a causative signification: to put to shame, i.e., bring shame upon others, and that Proverbs 19:26, where מבישׁ וּמחפּיר are connected, this causative signification lies nearer than the intrinsically transitive. Thus it will also here be meant, that while the righteous hateth all that is false or that is tainted by falsehood, the godless on the contrary loves to disgrace and to put to shame. But it is a question whether יבאישׁ is to be derived from בּאשׁ equals בּושׁ, and thus is of the same meaning as יבישׁ; הבאישׁ, Isaiah 30:5, which there signifies pudefactum esse, is pointed הבאישׁ, and is thus derived from a יבשׁ equals בּושׁ, vid., 2 Samuel 19:6. But הבאישׁ occurs also as Hiph. of בּאשׁ, and means transitively to make of an evil savour, Genesis 34:30, cf. Exodus 5:21, as well as intransitively to come into evil savour, 1 Samuel 27:12. In this sense of putidum faciens, bringing into evil savour, יבאישׁ occurs here as at Proverbs 19:26, suitably along with יחפיר; Proverbs 19:26 is the putidum facere by evil report (slander), into which the foolish son brings his parents, here by his own evil report, thus to be thought of as brought about by means of slander. The old translators here fall into error; Luther renders both Hiphils reflexively; only the Venet. (after Kimchi) is right: ὀζώσει (from an ὀζοῦν as trans. to ὀζεῖν) καὶ ἀτιμώσει, he makes to be of ill odour and dishonours.

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