The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous has hope in his death.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The wicked is driven away in his wickedness.—Or, is overthrown in his misfortune, i.e., when it comes upon him (comp. Psalm 34:21), for he has none to aid or comfort him.Proverbs 14:32. The wicked is driven away — From God’s favour and presence, and from the society of the righteous, and from all his hopes of happiness, both in this life and in the next; in his wickedness — Or, for his wickedness. The Hebrew, however, ברעת, is literally, in his evil; and may be understood of the evil of punishment: in the day of his trouble, when he shall flee to God for help, he shall be driven away from him. But the righteous hath hope in his death — In his greatest dangers and distresses; yea, even in death itself he hath hope of deliverance from, or of great and everlasting advantage by what he suffers.
hath hope—trusteth (Pr 10:2; 11:4; Ps 2:12), implying assurance of help.Driven away, to wit, in his death, as is gathered from the opposite clause; driven away from God’s favour and presence, and from the society of the just, and from all his hopes of happiness, both in this life and in the next. This expression notes that this is done suddenly, violently, and irresistibly, as the smoke or chaff are driven away by a strong wind.
In his wickedness, or, for his wickedness, Heb. in his evil, which may be understood of the evil of punishment; in the day of his calamity, when he shall flee to God for help.
Hath hope of deliverance from it, or of great and everlasting advantage by it.
In his death; in his greatest dangers and distresses, yea, even in death itself, which therefore he can receive with comfort and confidence. Revelation 13:1; he shall be driven sore against his will; the righteous depart, and desire to depart; but the wicked are driven, and go unwillingly, with reluctance; they would fain flee out of the hand of God, and yet they have no power to withstand; go they must, they are driven forcibly and irresistibly: and it may also denote the suddenness of their death, and the swiftness of their destruction. The driver is not mentioned; it may be understood of the Lord himself, who, in and by a storm of his wrath, hurls them out of their place; or of death, as having a commission from him, when a man has no power over his spirit to retain it; or of angels, good or bad, employed by the Lord in driving their souls to hell upon their separation from their bodies. The circumstance, "in his wickedness", may denote their dying in their sins, unrepented of, unforgiven, and without faith in Christ; in the midst of them, in their full career of sin, under the power, faith, and guilt of it; and as sometimes, in the horror of a guilty conscience, in black despair, without any hope or view of pardon, the reverse of the righteous man; and so will have all their wickedness to answer for, it being not taken away, but found upon them: or this may be expressive of the cause of the wicked man's being driven away, namely, his wickedness; for so it may be rendered and interpreted, "because of his wickedness" (n) it is for that he shall die and go to hell: or it may be rendered, "into his evil" (o); and so denote the everlasting punishment into which he shall go, being driven;
but the righteous hath hope in his death; not in the death of the wicked man, as Aben Ezra, when he shall be delivered, and he can do him no more hurt; but in his own death; he dies as other men; his righteousness, though it delivers him from eternal death, yet not from a corporeal one; though the death of a righteous man is different from others; he dies in Christ, in the faith of him, and in hope of eternal life by him; and to die his death is very desirable: he has a hope of interest in the blessings of grace and glory; which is a good hope through grace; is wrought in him at regeneration; and is founded on that righteousness from whence he is denominated righteous, even the righteousness of Christ; and is of singular use and advantage to him in life: and this grace he exercises at death; it carries him through the valley of death, and above the fears of it; he hopes, though he dies, he shall rise again; and he hopes to be in heaven and happiness, immediately upon his dissolution, and to all eternity; he hopes to see God, be with Christ, angels and good men, for evermore. Jarchi's note is,
"when he dies, he trusts he shall enter into the garden of Eden, or paradise.''The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)32. his wickedness] Lit. his evil; which may mean either, with R.V. text, the evil which he does, his evil-doing, or, with R.V. marg., the evil which he suffers, his calamity. The latter meaning preserves best the parallelism: when calamity overtakes the wicked it crushes him utterly (comp. Psalm 36:12), but even in his last extremity of death the righteous hath hope.
hope in his death] which implies a belief in a future state.
The same vivid contrast meets us in a more expanded form in Psalms 73. The “prosperity of the wicked,” in contrast to the hard lot of the righteous, had been the stumbling-block of the writer of the Psalm (Psalm 73:1-16). It was by considering “the end” both of the one and of the other, that his faith was re-established. The wicked are thrust down in their calamity, “How are they become a desolation in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors” (Proverbs 14:19): The righteous hath hope in his death, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory” (Proverbs 14:24). Comp. Psalm 49:14-15. It is to be noticed that in both these Psalms (Psalm 73:24; Psalm 49:15) the same word, take, or receive, is used to express the hope of the Psalmist, as that by which the translation of Enoch is described, God took him (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5).
The LXX. read, “but he that trusteth in his own integrity is righteous,” ὁ δὲ πεποιθὼς τῇ ἑαυτοῦ ὁσιότητι δίκαιος; on which Lange observes, “may not this divergent reading owe its origin to the endeavour to gain an antithesis as exact as possible to the ‘in his wickedness’ of the first clause?”Verse 32. - The wicked is driven away in his wickedness. So the Greek and Latin Versions. In his very act of sin, flagrante delicto, the wicked is defeated, driven from hope and life; as the Revised Version renders, "The wicked is thrust down in his evil doing;" i.e. there is some element of weakness in an evil deed which occasions its discovery and punishment, sooner or later. Thus "murder will out," we say. But the contrast is better emphasized by taking ra in its other sense of "calamity," "misfortune," thus: "In his calamity the wicked is cast down" (Proverbs 24:16). When misfortune comes upon him, he has no defence, no hope; he collapses utterly; all his friends forsake him; there is none to comfort or uphold him (comp. Matthew 7:26, 27). But the righteous hath hope in his death (comp. Ecclus. 1:13). Primarily, the clause means that even in the greatest danger the good man loses not his trust in God. It is like Job's word (if our reading is correct, Job 13:15), "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him;" and the psalmist, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4). Thus the Christian martyrs went joyfully to the stake, and gentle women and little children smiled on the sword which sent them home. It is natural to see in this clause a belief in a future life, and a state of rewards and punishments; and some commentators, holding that this doctrine was net known in pre-exilian days, have taken occasion from its plain enunciation in this paragraph to affix a very late date to our book. There are two answers to be made to this assertion. First, it is capable of proof that the belief in the immortality of the soul, with its consequences in another state, was held, however vaguely, by the Jews long before Solomon's time (see note, Proverbs 12:28); secondly, the present passage is by some read differently, whence is obtained another rendering, which removes from it all trace of the doctrine in question. Thus Ewald and others would read the clause in this way: "The righteous hath hope, or taketh refuge, from his own deeds." There can be no reasonable doubt that the usual reading and translation are correct; but the above considerations show that no argument as to the date of the Proverbs can be safely founded on this verse. The LXX. has a different reading for במותו, "in his death," and translates, "But he who trusteth in his own holiness is just" - which looks like a travesty of Scripture, but probably refers to the consciousness of having a heart right with God and obedient to the requirements of the Divine Law.
And the children of such an one have a refuge.
The so-called בּ essentiae stands here, as at Psalm 68:5; Psalm 55:19; Isaiah 26:4, before the subject idea; the clause: in the fear of God exists, i.e., it is and proves itself, as a strong ground of confidence, does not mean that the fear of God is something in which one can rely (Hitzig), but that it has (Proverbs 22:19; Jeremiah 17:7, and here) an inheritance which is enduring, unwavering, and not disappointing in God, who is the object of fear; for it is not faith, nor anything else subjective, which is the rock that bears us, but this Rock is the object which faith lays hold of (cf. Isaiah 28:16). Is now the וּלבניו to be referred, with Ewald and Zckler, to 'ה? It is possible, as we have discussed at Genesis 6:1.; but in view of parallels such as Proverbs 20:7, it is not probable. He who fears God entails in the Abrahamic way (Genesis 18:19) the fear of God on his children, and in this precious paternal inheritance they have a מחסה (not מחסה, and therefore to be written with Masoretic exactness מחסּה), a fortress or place of protection, a refuge in every time of need (cf. Psalm 71:5-7). Accordingly, ולבניו refers back to the 'ירא ה, to be understood from 'ביראת ה (lxx, Luther, and all the Jewish interpreters), which we find not so doubtful as to regard on this account the explanation after Psalm 73:15, cf. Deuteronomy 14:1, as necessary, although we grant that such an introduction of the N.T. generalization and deepening of the idea of sonship is to be expected from the Chokma.
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