Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Do they not err that devise evil?—Comp. Wisdom Of Solomon 5:6-7.
Mercy and truth.—God will be merciful, and also fulfil His promises of protection and reward to them (Wisdom Of Solomon 3:9).
mercy and truth—that is, God's (Ps 57:3; 61:7).Do they not err? they do certainly err from the right way, and mistake their mark, and shall miss of that advantage and felicity which they promise to themselves by such practices.
That devise; that do not only commit it, but make it their design, and study, and business; that are artists or masters in it, as the word signifies.
1. Mischief to men. Or,
2. Any kind of wickedness against God or men; for the expression is general; and this seems best to agree to the following clause.
Mercy and truth; either,
1. From men; men shall deal truly and kindly with them, partly because such men by their carriage obliged them to do so, and partly because God inclineth their hearts to it. Or,
2. From God, to whom these two properties are jointly ascribed in divers places of Scripture.
That devise good; that designedly and industriously apply themselves to the doing of all good offices to God and men.
but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good; who devise liberal things, to do good to the poor and needy; to their neighbours, their fellow creatures and fellow Christians: such receive grace and "mercy" at the hands of God, and his "truth" will appear in making good all promises to them; mercy and truth will preserve them from the evil way, and guide them in the right way, so that they shall not err as others do; neither from the doctrines of grace and truth, nor from the practice of them.Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. The LXX. add:
They understand not mercy and faith who are devisers of evil,
But things merciful and faithful are with them who devise good.Verse 22. - Do they not err that devise evil? or, Will they not go astray? The question is an emphatic mode of asserting the truth. They who meditate and practise evil (Proverbs 3:29; Proverbs 6:14) go astray from the right way - the way of life; their views are distorted, and they no longer see their proper course. Thus the remorseful voluptuary bemoans himself, "We have erred from the way of truth, and the light of righteousness hath not shined unto us We wearied ourselves in the way of wickedness and destruction; yea, we have gone through deserts, where there lay no way; but as for the way of the Lord, we have not known it" (Wisd. 5:6, etc.), Mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good. God's blessing will rest upon them. The combination of "mercy and truth" is found in Psalm 61:7; in Wisd. 3:9 and 4:15, and in 1 Timothy 1:2 we have "grace and mercy" (see note on Proverbs 3:3, where the two words occur in connection; and comp. Proverbs 16:6; Proverbs 20:28). The two graces in the text signify the love and mercy which God bestows on the righteous, and the truth and fidelity with which he keeps the promises which he has made. The Vulgate makes the two graces human, not Divine: "Mercy and truth procure blessings." The Septuagint renders, "The good devise mercy and truth." It adds a paraphrase not found in the Hebrew, "The devisers of evil know not mercy and faith; but alms and faith are with the devisers of good."
But the fool loseth his wits and is regardless.
Our editions have ירא with Munach, as if חכם ירא were a substantive with its adjective; but Cod. 1294 has חכם with Rebia, and thus it must be: חכם is the subject, and what follows is its complex predicate. Most interpreters translate 16b: the fool is over-confident (Zckler), or the fool rushes on (Hitzig), as also Luther: but a fool rushes wildly through, i.e., in a daring, presumptuous manner. But התעבּר denotes everywhere nothing else than to fall into extreme anger, to become heated beyond measure, Proverbs 26:17 (cf. Proverbs 20:2), Deuteronomy 3:26, etc. Thus 16a and 16b are fully contrasted. What is said of the wise will be judged after Job 1:1, cf. Psalm 34:15; Psalm 37:27 : the wise man has fear, viz., fear of God, or rather, since האלהים is not directly to be supplied, that careful, thoughtful, self-mistrusting reserve which flows from the reverential awe of God; the fool, on the contrary, can neither rule nor bridle his affections, and without any just occasion falls into passionate excitement. But on the other side he is self-confident, regardless, secure; while the wise man avoids the evil, i.e., carefully goes out of its way, and in N.T. phraseology "works out his own salvation with fear and trembling."
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