Righteousness keeps him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way.—See above on Proverbs 11:5.Keepeth him; either from sin, or from that overthrow which befalls sinners, in the next clause.
The sinner, Heb. the man of sin, who giveth up himself to wicked courses.
but wickedness overthroweth the sinner; it is the cause of his utter overthrow, of his being punished with everlasting destruction. It is, in the Hebrew text, "sin" (b) itself; the sinner is so called, because he is perfectly wicked, as Jarchi observes; he is nothing but sin, a mere mass of sin and corruption. Aben Ezra renders it, "the man of sin"; and it may be well applied to him, who is emphatically called so, and is likewise the son of perdition; who, for his wickedness, will be overthrown and destroyed at the coming of Christ, and with the brightness of it, 2 Thessalonians 2:3.Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. keepeth] Rather, guardeth, as in Proverbs 13:3 above.
him that is upright in the way] “Heb. uprightness of way,” R.V. marg.
the sinner] “Heb. sin,” R.V. marg.Verse 6. - Righteousness keepeth (guardeth) him that is upright in the way; literally, uprightness of way, abstract for concrete, as in the second member, sin for sinner. Those who are good and innocent in the walk of life are preserved from evil, moral and material. Wickedness overthroweth the sinner; literally, sin "Overthroweth," makes to slip. Vulgate, supplantet. The LXX. inverts the clause, "Sin makes the impious worthless (φαύλους)" (see Proverbs 11:3, 5, 6). The verse is omitted in many Greek manuscripts.
And the way of its path is immortality.
All the old versions to the Venet. give אל־ instead of אל־, and are therefore under the necessity of extracting from ודּרך נתיבה a meaning corresponding to this, εἰς θάνατον, in which they are followed by Hitzig: "a devious way leadeth to death." But נתיב (נתיבה) signifies step, and generally way and street (vid., at Proverbs 1:15), not "devious way," which is expressed, Judges 5:6, by ארחות עקלקלות. And that אל is anywhere punctuated thus in the sense of אל is previously improbable, because the Babylonian system of punctuation distinguishes the negative אל with a short Pathach, and the prepositional אל (Arab. ilâ) with a short Chirek, from each other (vid., Pinsker, Einl. p. xxii.f.); the punctuation 2 Samuel 18:16; Jeremiah 51:3, gives no support to the opinion that here אל is vocalized thus in the sense of אל, and it is not to be thus corrected. Nothing is more natural than that the Chokma in its constant contrast between life and death makes a beginning of expressing the idea of the ἀθανασία, which Aquila erroneously read from the אל־מות, Psalm 48:15. It has been objected that for the formation of such negative substantives and noun-adjectives לא (e.g., לא־אל, לא־עם) and not אל is used; but that אל also may be in close connection with a noun, 2 Samuel 1:13 shows. There אל־טל is equivalent to אל יהי טל, according to which it may also be explained in the passage before us, with Luther and all the older interpreters, who accepted אל in its negative signification: and on (the בּ governing) the way ... is no death. The negative אל frequently stands as an intensifying of the objective לא; but why should the Chokma, which has already shown itself bold in the coining of new words, not apply itself to the formation of the idea of immortality?: the idol name אליל is the result of a much greater linguistic boldness. It is certain that אל is here not equivalent to אל; the Masora is therefore right in affirming that נתיבה is written with He raphatum pro mappicato (vid., Kimchi, Michlol 31a, and in the Lex.), cf. 1 Samuel 20:20, vid., Bttcher, 418. Thus: the way of their step is immortality, or much rather, since דּרך is not a fixed idea, but also denotes the going to a distance (i.e., the journey), the behaviour, the proceeding, the walk, etc.: the walking (the stepping over and passing through) of their way is immortality. Rich in synonyms of the way, the Hebrew style delights in connecting them with picturesque expressions; but דּרך always means the way in general, which divides into ארחות or נתיבות (Job 6:18; Jeremiah 18:5), and consists of such (Isaiah 3:16). The distich is synonymous: on the path of righteousness (accentuate בארח צדקה) is life meeting him who walks in it, and giving itself to him as a possession, and the walking in its path is immortality (cf. Proverbs 3:17; Proverbs 10:28); so that to go in it and to be immortal, i.e., to be delivered from death, to be exalted above it, is one and the same thing. If we compare with this, 1 Samuel 14:32, it is obvious that the Chokma begins (vid., Psychol. p. 410) to break through the limits of this present life, and to announce a life beyond the reach of death.
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