Proverbs 13:21
Evil pursues sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repaid.
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(21) 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.

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.The connection is somewhat obscure. Either, "Satisfied desire is pleasant, therefore it is an abomination to fools to depart from the evil on which their minds are set;" or, "Sweet is the satisfaction of desire, yet the wicked will not depart from the evil which makes that satisfaction impossible." 21. (Compare Pr 11:31).

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. Evil pursueth sinners,.... They pursue the evil of sin, and the evil of punishment pursues them, and at last overtakes them; their damnation, though it may seem to slumber and linger, it does not; it is upon the full speed after them, and will quickly seize upon them. Some understand this of the evil of sin in the conscience, which pursues the sinner, and fills him with terror;

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.

(u) "et justis reddet bonum", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "justes remunerabit Deus bono", Michaelis; "justis autem bonum rependet", Tigurine version, Piscator, so Cocceius.

Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed.
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." Four proverbs follow, whose connection appears to have been occasioned by the sound of their words (שׂכל ... כל, בדעת ... ברע, רשׁע ... רישׁ).

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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