Evil pursues sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repaid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Evil pursueth sinners.—The “snares, fire, and brimstone,” of Psalm 11:6; while the “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over” (Luke 6:38), awaits the righteous.
good … repaid—or, "He (God) will repay good."Evil; evil of punishment proportionable to their evil of sin, as appears from the next clause.
Pursueth; and sooner or later shall certainly overtake them, albeit they please themselves with hopes of impunity.
Sinners; obstinate and incorrigible sinners.
Good; God’s blessings and true happiness.
but to the righteous good shall be repaid; or, "he shall recompense the righteous with good" (u), or "good to the righteous"; that is, God shall do it; for all the good things they have done, from a right principle, and to a right end; which good works of theirs will pursue and follow them; and for all the ill things they have suffered for righteousness's sake, a reward of grace, though not of debt, will be given them; as they have had their evil things here, they shall have their good things hereafter; as well as are often recompensed in this life, either in themselves or in their posterity, as follows.Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 21. - Evil pursueth sinners. Sinners suffer not only the natural consequences of crime in external evil, injury to body, estate, reputation, etc. (Psalm 11:6), but also stings of conscience and remorse; even seeming prosperity is often a chastisement, and long impunity is only augmenting the coming retribution. As the shadow attends the substance, so guilt is attached to sin, and brings with it punishment. To the righteous good shall be repaid; or, he, Jehovah, shall repay good (comp. Proverbs 12:14); Revised Version, "The righteous shall be recompensed with good." They shall have the answer of a good conscience, happiness here and hereafter. Septuagint, "Good shall take possession of (or, overtake) the righteous."
15 Fine prudence produceth favour;
But the way of the malicious is uncultivated.
Regarding שׂכל טוב (thus to be punctuated, without Makkeph with Munach, after Codd. and old editions), vid., p. 84; for the most part it corresponds with that which in a deep ethical sense we call fine culture. Regarding יתּן, vid., at Proverbs 10:10 : it is not used here, as there, impersonally, but has a personal subject: he brings forth, causes. Fine culture, which shows men how to take the right side and in all circumstances to strike the right key, exercises a kindly heart-winning influence, not merely, as would be expressed by ימצא חן, to the benefit of its possessor, but, as is expressed by יתּן חן, such as removes generally a partition wall and brings men closer to one another. The איתן [perennis], touching it both for the eye and the ear, forms the contrast to יתן חן. This word, an elative formation from יתן equals Arab. wtn, denotes that which stretches itself far, and that with reference to time: that which remains the same during the course of time. "That which does not change in time, continuing the same, according to its nature, strong, firm, and thus איתן becomes the designation of the enduring and the solid, whose quality remains always the same." Thus Orelli, Die hebr. Synonyme der Zeit u. Ewigkeit, 1871. But that in the passage before us it denotes the way of the בגדים as "endlessly going forward," the explanation of Orelli, after Bttcher (Collectanea, p. 135), is withdrawn by the latter in the new Aehrenlese (where he reads ריב איתן, "constant strife"). And נחל איתן (Deuteronomy 21:4) does not mean "a brook, the existence of which is not dependent on the weather and the season of the year," at least not in accordance with the traditional meaning which is given Sota ix. 5 (cf. the Gemara), but a stony valley; for the Mishna says: איתן כמשׁמעו קשׁה, i.e., איתן is here, according to its verbal meaning, equivalent to קשׁה (hard). We are of the opinion that here, in the midst of the discussion of the law of the עגלה ערופה (the ritual for the atonement of a murder perpetrated by an unknown hand), the same meaning of the איתן is certified which is to be adopted in the passage before us. Maimuni
(Note: equals R. Moses b. Maimum equals Rambam, so called by the Jews from the initial letters of his name equals Maimonides, d. 1204.)
(in Sota and Hilchoth Rozeach ix. 2) indeed, with the Mishna and Gemara, thinks the meaning of a "strong rushing wdy" to be compatible; but קשׁה is a word which more naturally denotes the property of the ground than of a river, and the description, Deuteronomy 21:4 : in a נחל איתן, in which there is no tillage and sowing, demands for נחל here the idea of the valley, and not primarily that of the valley-brook. According to this tradition, the Targum places a תּקּיפא in the Peshito translation of 15b, and the Venet. translates, after Kimchi, ὁδὸς δὲ ἀνταρτῶν (of ἀνταρτής from ἀνταίρειν) ἰσχυρά. The fundamental idea of remaining like itself, continuing, passes over into the idea of the firm, the hard, so that איתן is a word that interchanges with סלע, Numbers 24:21, and serves as a figurative designation of the rocky mountains, Jeremiah 49:19, and the rocky framework of the earth, Micah 6:2. Thus the meaning of hardness (πετρῶδες, Matthew 13:5) connects itself with the word, and at the same time, according to Deuteronomy 21:4, of the uncultivable and the uncultivated. The way of the בּגדים, the treacherous, i.e., the manner in which they transact with men, is stiff, as hard as stone, and repulsive; they follow selfish views, never placing themselves in sympathy with the condition of their neighbour; they are without the tenderness which is connected with fine culture; they remain destitute of feeling in things which, as we say, would soften a stone. It is unnecessary to give a catalogue of the different meanings of this איתן, such as vorago (Jerome), a standing bog (Umbreit), and ever trodden way (Bertheau), etc.; Schultens offers, as frequently, the relatively best: at via perfidorum pertinacissime tensum; but יתן does not mean to strain, but to extend. The lxx has between 15a and 15b the interpolation: τὸ δὲ γνῶναι νόμον διανοίας ἐστὶν ἀγαθῆς.
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