Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Jump to: Barnes • Benson • BI • Cambridge • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • JFB • KD • Kelly • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Parker • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • TTB • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Righteousness.—See above, on Proverbs 10:2.Proverbs 14:34. Righteousness exalteth a nation — A righteous administration of the government of it, impartial equity between man and man, public countenance given to religion, the general practice and profession of virtue, the protecting and preserving of virtuous men, mercy, humanity, and kindness to strangers and enemies: these things put honour upon a nation, and exalt it in the eyes of God, and of all other nations. But sin is a reproach to any people — Brings contempt and ruin upon them, by provoking both God and men against them.Leviticus 20:17. Its more usual meaning is "mercy," "piety;" hence, some have attached to the word rendered "sin" the sense of "sin-offering," and so get the maxim "piety is an atonement for the people."
exalteth—raises to honor.
is a reproach—brings on them the ill-will of others (compare Pr 13:6).Exalteth a nation; maketh it honourable in the eyes of God, and of all other nations, as it did the ancient Romans.
A reproach to any people; brings contempt and ruin upon them by provoking both God and men against them. Matthew 6:1. It may be put for the whole of true religion, which is an honour to a nation, where it obtains; and is what makes the holy nation, and peculiar people, so truly illustrious; and particularly the righteousness of Christ makes such who are interested in it really great and noble, and promotes and exalts them to heaven and happiness;
but sin is a reproach to any people; where vice reigns, iniquity abounds, profaneness, impiety, and immorality of all sorts prevail, a people become mean and despicable; they fall into poverty and contempt; are neither able to defend themselves, nor help their neighbours, and so are despised by them. The word rendered "reproach" most commonly signifies "mercy" or goodness; and some render it, "and the mercy of a people is a sin offering" (p); or as one: or it is so "to the nations"; it is as good as a sacrifice for sin, of which the word is sometimes used, or better, more acceptable to God, "who will have mercy, and not sacrifice", Matthew 9:13; even beneficence and kindness to the poor, the same with righteousness, as before. I think it may be as well rendered, "the piety" or religion "of the nations is sin" (q); it being idolatry, as Aben Ezra observes: such is the religion of the antichristian nations, who worship idols of gold and silver; and though they may afflict themselves, as Gersom remarks of the idolatrous nations, with fasting and penance, with whippings and scourgings; yet it is nothing else but sin, will worship, and superstition.
(p) "beneficentia expiatio est populi", Grotius; "sacrificium expiatorium", Tigurine version; "velut sacrificium pro peccato", Vatablus, Gejerus; "gratuita beneificentia nationibus est aliquid sacrificium peccati expiatorium", Gussetius, p. 74. (q) "Pietas nationum est peccatium", Munster, Mercerus; "studium nationum peccatum", Cocceius.Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 34. - Righteousness exalteth a nation. "Righteousness" (Proverbs 10:2) is the rendering to all their due, whether to God or man. We are taught the salutary lesson that a nation's real greatness consists not in its conquests, magnificence, military or artistic skill, but in its observance of the requirements of justice and religion. Hesiod, Αργ. 223 -
Οἱ δὲ δίκας ξείνοισι καὶ ἐνδήμοισι διδοῦσιν
Ἰθείας καὶ μή τι παρεκβαίνουσι δικαίου
Τοῖσι τέθηλε πόλις λαοὶ δ ἀνθεῦσιν ἐν αὐτῇ But sin is a reproach to any people; to peoples. The words for "nation" (goi) and "peoples" (leummim) are usually applied to foreign nations rather than to the Hebrews; and Wordsworth sees here a statement a fortiori: if righteousness exalts and sin degrades heathen nations, how much more must this be the case with God's own people, who have clearer revelations and heavier responsibilities! חֶסֶד (chesed) occurs in the sense of "reproach," in Leviticus 20:17, and with a different punctuation in Proverbs 25:10 of this book. Its more usual meaning is "mercy" or "piety;" hence some have explained the clause: "The piety of the peoples, i.e. the worship of the heathen, is sin; and others, taking "sin" as put metonymically for "sin offering," render: "Piety is an atonement for the peoples." But there is no doubt that the Authorized Version is correct (comp. Proverbs 11:11). Thus Symmachus renders it by ὄνειδος, "shame;" and in the same sense the Chaldee Paraphrase. The Vulgate and Septuagint, owing to the common confusion of the letters daleth and resh, have read cheser instead of chesed, and render thus: Vulgate, "Sin makes peoples miserable;" Septuagint, "Sins diminish tribes." The sin of nations contrasted with the righteousness in the first clause must be injustice, impiety, and violence. See a grand passage in the fifth book of St. Augustine's 'De Civitate Dei,' ch. 12.
And when the population diminishes, it is the downfall of his glory.
The honour or the ornament (vid., regarding הדר, tumere, ampliari, the root-word of הדר and הדרה at Isaiah 63:1) of a king consists in this, that he rules over a great people, and that they increase and prosper; on the other hand, it is the ruin of princely greatness when the people decline in number and in wealth. Regarding מחתּה, vid., at Proverbs 10:14. בּאפס signifies prepositionally "without" (properly, by non-existence), e.g., Proverbs 26:20, or adverbially "groundless" (properly, for nothing), Isaiah 52:4; here it is to be understood after its contrast בּרב־: in the non-existence, but which is here equivalent to in the ruin (cf. אפס, the form of which in conjunction is אפס, Genesis 47:15), lies the misfortune, decay, ruin of the princedom. The lxx ἐν δὲ ἐκλείψει λαοῦ συντριβὴ δυνάστου. Certainly רזון (from רזן, Arab. razuna, to be powerful) is to be interpreted personally, whether it be after the form בּגוד with a fixed, or after the form יקושׁ with a changeable Kametz; but it may also be an abstract like שׁלום ( equals Arab. selâm), and this we prefer, because in the personal signification רזן, Proverbs 8:15; Proverbs 31:4, is used. We have not here to think of רזון (from רזה), consumption (the Venet. against Kimchi, πενίας); the choice of the word also is not determined by an intended amphibology (Hitzig), for this would be meaningless.
LinksProverbs 14:34 Interlinear
Proverbs 14:34 Parallel Texts
Proverbs 14:34 NIV
Proverbs 14:34 NLT
Proverbs 14:34 ESV
Proverbs 14:34 NASB
Proverbs 14:34 KJV
Proverbs 14:34 Bible Apps
Proverbs 14:34 Parallel
Proverbs 14:34 Biblia Paralela
Proverbs 14:34 Chinese Bible
Proverbs 14:34 French Bible
Proverbs 14:34 German Bible