The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But it is abomination to fools . . .—That is, though their clinging to evil prevents the attainment of such objects as are worth desiring. If the verse be interpreted “therefore it is abomination,” &c, the sense will be, “because the satisfaction of desire is pleasant, therefore fools will not give up anything, though evil, on which they have set their minds.”Proverbs 13:19. The desire accomplished is sweet — Whatsoever men earnestly desire the enjoyment of, it is sweet to them; therefore sinners rejoice in the satisfaction of their sinful lusts, and abhor all restraint of them.The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul; the satisfaction of a man’s desires by the enjoyment of the things desired is very acceptable to him; which may be taken either,
1. Of the desire of fools, which may be understood out of the next clause. So the sense of the verse is, It is sweet to sinners to indulge and satisfy their desires, which are wholly carnal and sinful, and for that reason they love sin, and hate the thoughts of leaving it, because their desires are wholly and fully set upon it. Or,
2. Of good desires, or of the desires of wise and good men, as the LXX., and Chaldee, and Syriac, and Arabic interpreters understand it, by the opposition of
fools in the next clause. So the sense may be this. The desires of good men are set upon what is good, and they rejoice when they attain to it, and are grieved when they fall short of it; but the desires of the wicked are set upon sin, and it is a pleasure to them to commit it, and an abomination to them to be hindered from it. Or rather,
3. Of desires in general. Whatsoever men do earnestly desire, the enjoyment of it is very sweet and grateful to them; and therefore sinners rejoice in the pursuit and satisfaction of their sinful lusts, and abhor all restraint and mortification of them. For this is certain and confessed, that many things are understood in these short proverbial speeches which are not expressed.
But; or, and, as this particle properly signifies; or, therefore, as it is frequently used. Proverbs 13:12; such are "the desires of the godly", as the Septuagint render the word;
but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil; they cannot bear the thoughts of parting with their lusts; they are so delightful to them, not knowing anything of the sweetness of the things before mentioned; and which they can never enjoy without departing from sin, to which they are exceedingly averse.The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. but] If with R.V. we retain but, we must understand desire in the first clause in a good sense, as in Proverbs 13:12 : q.d. in spite of the sweetness of good desires accomplished, fools will not forsake evil to attain to it. Balaam’s desire, “let me die the death of the righteous” (Numbers 23:10), would have been “sweet to his soul” in its accomplishment, but it was abomination to him to depart from “the wages of unrighteousness.” (2 Peter 2:15.)
Some, however, would understand the first clause as assigning a reason for what is stated in the second: Because the desire accomplished, &c., therefore it is abomination to fools to depart from the evil on which their heart is set.Verse 19. - The desire accomplished (comp. ver. 12). This is usually taken to mean the desire of what is good and honest, when it is fulfilled and realized, is a source of highest joy and comfort to the wise. Septuagint, "The desires of the pious are sweet to the soul." But it is abomination to fools to depart from evil. The antithesis is not very obvious, but it may be: it is sweet to a good man to obtain his wish; but for a wicked man to leave, to abandon evil to which he clings so fondly, is a detestable alternative. Or the latter clause may mean that the wicked will not give up the evil which makes the satisfaction of their desire impossible. But it is best to take the first clause as a general statement, viz. the satisfaction of desire is pleasant to all men; then the latter member gives a special case and will signify, "For the sake of this pleasure bad men will not give up their evil wishes and plans; they will pursue what they have set their heart upon because they hate the idea of foregoing their evil designs." Septuagint, "The deeds of sinners are far from knowledge," i.e. from practical wisdom, prudence, and piety. The Vulgate introduces quite another thought, "Fools abhor those who flee from evil." Compare the passage in Wisd. 2, concerning the sinner's hatred of the good.
And he that feareth the commandment is rewarded.
The word is thought of as ordering, and thus in the sense of the commandment, e.g., 1 Samuel 17:19; Daniel 9:23, Daniel 9:25. That which is here said is always true where the will of a man has subordinated itself to the authoritative will of a superior, but principally the proverb has in view the word of God, the מצוה κατ ̓ ἐξ. as the expression of the divine will, which (Proverbs 6:3) appears as the secondary, with the תורה, the general record of the divine will. Regarding בּוּז ל of contemptuous, despiteful opposition, vid., at Proverbs 6:30, cf. Proverbs 11:12. Jol records the prevailing tradition, for he translates: "Whoever despises advice rushes into destruction; whoever holds the commandment in honour is perfect." But that ישׁלּם is to be understood neither of perfection nor of peace (lxx and Jerome), but means compensabitur (here not in the sense of punishment, but of reward), we know from Proverbs 11:31. The translation also of יחבל לו by "he rushes into destruction" (lxx καταφθαρήσεται, which the Syr.-Hexap. repeats; Luther, "he destroys himself;" the Venet. οἰχησεταί οἱ, periet sibi) fails, for one does not see what should have determined the poet to choose just this word, and, instead of the ambiguous dat. ethicus, not rather to say יחבּל נפשׁו. So also this יחבל is not with Gesenius to be connected with חבל equals Arab. khabl, corrumpere, but with חבל equals Arab. ḥabl, ligare, obligare. Whoever places himself contemptuously against a word which binds him to obedience will nevertheless not be free from that word, but is under pledge until he redeem the pledge by the performance of the obedience refused, or till that higher will enforce payment of the debt withheld by visiting with punishment. Jerome came near the right interpretation: ipse se in futurum obligat; Abulwald refers to Exodus 22:25; and Parchon, Rashi, and others paraphrase: משׁכּן יתמשׁכּן עליו, he is confiscated as by mortgage. Schultens has, with the correct reference of the לו not to the contemner, but to the word, well established and illustrated this explanation: he is pledged by the word, Arab. marhwan (rahyn), viz., pigneratus paenae (Livius, xxix. 36). Ewald translates correctly: he is pledged to it; and Hitzig gives the right explanation: "A חבלה [a pledge, cf. Proverbs 20:16] is handed over to the offended law with the חבוּלה [the bad conduct] by the despiser himself, which lapses when he has exhausted the forbearance, so that the punishment is inflicted." The lxx has another proverb following Proverbs 13:13 regarding υἱὸς δόλιος and οἰκέτης σοφός; the Syr. has adopted it; Jerome has here the proverb of the animae dolosae (vid., at Proverbs 13:9).
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