Proverbs 13:17
A wicked messenger falls into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Falleth into mischief.—And brings those also who sent him into trouble; but “a faithful messenger is health” both to himself and his employers.

Proverbs 13:17. A wicked messenger — Who is unfaithful in the execution of the business committed to his charge; falleth into mischief — Shall not escape punishment from God, or from them who sent him; but a faithful ambassador is health — Procures safety and benefit, as to his master, so also to himself.13:14. The rule by which the wise regulate their conduct, is a fountain yielding life and happiness. 15. The way of sinners is hard upon others, and hard to the sinner himself. The service of sin is slavery; the road to hell is strewed with the thorns and thistles that followed the curse. 16. It is folly to talk of things of which we know nothing, and to undertake what we are no way fit for. 17. Those that are wicked, and false to Christ and to the souls of men, do mischief, and fall into mischief; but those that are faithful, find sound words healing to others and to themselves. 18. He that scorns to be taught, will certainly be brought down. 19. There are in man strong desires after happiness; but never let those expect any thing truly sweet to their souls, who will not be persuaded to leave their sins. 20. Multitudes are brought to ruin by bad company. And all that make themselves wicked will be destroyed. 21. When God pursues sinners he is sure to overtake them; and he will reward the righteous. 22. The servant of God who is not anxious about riches, takes the best method of providing for his children. 23. The poor, yet industrious, thrive, though in a homely manner, while those who have great riches are often brought to poverty for want of judgment. 24. He acts as if he hated his child, who, by false indulgence, permits sinful habits to gather strength, which will bring sorrow here, and misery hereafter. 25. It is the misery of the wicked, that even their sensual appetites are always craving. The righteous feeds on the word and ordinances, to the satisfying of his soul with the promises of the gospel, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of life.Hard - The primary meaning of the original word is permanence (compare Deuteronomy 21:4; Micah 6:2). This may be applied as here to the hard dry rock, to running streams, or to stagnant pools. In either case, the idea is that of the barren dry soil, or the impassable marsh, in contrast with the fountain of life, carrying joy and refreshment with it. 17. A wicked—or, "unfaithful"

messenger falleth into mischief—or, "by mischief," or "evil," and so his errand fails. Contrasted is the character of the faithful, whose faithfulness benefits others.

A wicked messenger, who is unfaithful in the execution of that which is committed to his charge, as appears by the opposite clause,

falleth into mischief; shall not escape punishment from God, or from them who sent him.

Is health; or, wholesome; procureth safety and benefit, as to his master, so also to himself. A wicked messenger falleth into mischief,.... That does not do his errand right, nor deliver his message faithfully; such an one falls from the degree of honour in which he was into disgrace; he loses his master's favour that sent him; he is degraded from his post and office: he falls "by evil", or "into evil" (r); by the evil of sin, into the evil of punishment. So wicked ministers and false teachers, such who transform themselves into the apostles of Christ and into angels of light, who corrupt the word of God, and handle it deceitfully; these shall receive their just condemnation; since they do a deal of mischief to the souls of men, and therefore shall fall into mischief themselves, even into everlasting perdition;

but a faithful ambassador is health; or, "an ambassador of truths" (s); one that performs his embassy well and truly, he is salutary, useful, and profitable to himself, and to them that send him: the word for ambassador is translated an "hinge", Proverbs 26:14; and he is so called, because upon his negotiations abroad the hinge of political affairs turn at home. An ambassador of Christ, who does his work faithfully, keeps back nothing that is profitable, but declares the whole counsel of God; the sound doctrines he delivers are health to the souls of men; as well as he is approved of God and Christ; and so it turns to his own health and advantage, who will hear one day said unto him, "Well done, good and faithful servant", Matthew 25:23.

(r) "in malum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Pisccator, &c. (s) "legatus veritatum", Montanus, Vatablus.

A wicked messenger falleth {h} into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

(h) Brings many inconveniences both to himself and to others.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. falleth] Hitzig and others, by a slight change of vowels, read bringeth, sc. those who sent him, which contrasts better with the bringing of health, or well-being by the faithful messenger. Comp. Proverbs 25:13.

mischief] Rather, evil, R.V.

This proverb must be read in the light of the then common employment of messengers charged with verbal tidings or instructions. The message would in such case depend greatly for its colour and consequences upon the character of the messenger.Verse 17. - A wicked messenger falleth into mischief; misfortune, calamity (Proverbs 17:20). A messenger who is false to his employer shall be detected and punished. The LXX., reading melek for malak, renders, "A rash king shall fall into evils." Such a one adopts inconsiderate measures, makes war unadvisedly, etc. A faithful ambassador (literally, an ambassador of faithfulness, Proverbs 25:13) is health. One who faithfully performs his errand is a source of comfort and satisfaction both to his employer and to those to whom he is sent. Septuagint, "But a wise messenger shall deliver him" - the king. 11 Wealth by means of fraud always becomes less;

     But he that increaseth it by labour gains always more.

We punctuate הון־מהבל (with Makkeph, as in Ven. 1521, Antw. 1582, Frank.-on-the-Oder 1595, Gen. 1618, Leyden 1662), not הון מהבל (as other editions, and e.g., also Lwenstein); for the meaning is not that the wealth becomes less by הבל (Targ., but not the Syr.), or that it is less than הבל (Umbreit), but הון־מהבל is one idea: wealth proceeding from הבל; but הבל tub ;הב, properly a breath (Theod. ἀπὸ ἀτμοῦ or ἀτμίδος), then appearance without reality (Aquila, ἀπὸ ματαιότητος), covers itself here by that which we call swindle, i.e., by morally unrestrained fraudulent and deceitful speculation in contrast to solid and real gain. The translations: ἐπισπουδαζομένη μετὰ ἀνομίας (lxx), ὑπερσπουδαζομένη (Symmachus, Quinta),

(Note: A fragment of an anonymous translation, so called from the place it holds in Origen's Hexapla.)

festinata (Jerome), do not necessarily suppose the phrase מהבּל equals מבהל, Proverbs 20:21 Kerı̂, for wealth which comes מהבל is obtained in a windy (unsubstantial) manner and as if by storm, of which the proverb holds good: "so gewonnen so zerronnen" ( equals quickly come, quickly go). מהבל needs neither to be changed into that unhebraic מהבּל (Hitzig) nor into the cognate מבהל (Ewald), but yet inferior to מהבל in the content of its idea. The contrast of one who by fraud and deception quickly arrives at wealth is one who brings it together in his hand, ἐπὶ χειρός (Venet.), i.e., always as often as he can bear it in his hand and bring it forth (Ewald, Bertheau, Elster, and Lagarde), or according to the measure of the hand, κατὰ χεῖρα (which means "according to external ability"), so that על, which is applied to the formation of adverbs, e.g., Psalm 31:24 (Hitzig) - by both explanations על־יד has the meaning of "gradually," - is used as in the post-bibl. Hebr. על יד על יד equals מעט מעט, e.g., Schabbath 156a (vid., Aruch under על) (distinguish from ביד equals with thought, intentionally, Berachoth 52b). There is scarcely a word having more significations that יד. Connected with על, it means at one time side or place, at another mediation or direction; that which is characteristic here is the omission of the pronoun (על־ידו, על־ידיו). The lxx translates על יד with the unrestrained freedom which it allows to itself by μετ ̓ εὐσεβείας, and has following πληθυνθήσεται another line, δίκαιος οἰκτείρει καὶ κιχρᾷ (from Psalm 37:26).

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