Proverbs 15:11
Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
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(11) Hell and destruction.—“Hell” is here the general name for the unseen world (Hades) beyond the grave, so called, according to one derivation, from its always “asking” for more victims, and never being satisfied. (Comp. Proverbs 27:20.) “Destruction” (Abaddon) is the lowest hell, corresponding to the “abyss” of Luke 8:31; Revelation 9:1; Revelation 9:11; the abode of evil spirits and the lost. (For the thought, comp. Job 26:6, and Psalm 139:8.)

15:11. There is nothing that can be hid from the eyes of God, not even man's thoughts. 12. A scorner cannot bear to reflect seriously within his own heart. 13. A gloomy, impatient, unthankful spirit, springing from pride and undue attachment to worldly objects, renders a man uneasy to himself and others.Better, There is a grievous correction, i. e., nothing less than death, to him that forsaketh the way. 11. Hell—(Ps 16:10).

destruction—or, "Abaddon," the place of the destroyer. All the unseen world is open to God, much more men's hearts.

Destruction; put for the place of destruction, by a usual metonymy; the place and state of the damned, of which men know nothing but by Divine revelation.

The hearts; whose thoughts and affections, though they lie deep, discover themselves by outward signs and actions.

Hell and destruction are before the Lord,.... Or "the grave" (a), which is the pit of destruction; where bodies being put, putrefy, and are destroyed by worms: this is known by the Lord, even the grave of everyone from the beginning; the graves of Adam, Abel, Abraham; he knows where their dust lies, and will raise it up again at the last day. Hades, or the invisible state of the departed, as the Septuagint has it, is manifest before him; he knows where departed spirits are; what their condition and employment be; and so the place and state of the damned, known by the name of "hell"; and may be called "destruction", where soul and body are destroyed by the Lord with an everlasting destruction; and is the destruction which the broad way of sin leads unto. Now though we know not where this place is, who are there, and what the torments endured in it; yet all is before the Lord, and known to him: "tophet" is ordained of old; everlasting fire is prepared by the Lord for devils and wicked men; see Job 26:6;

how much more then the hearts of the children of men? which, though desperately wicked, are known by him; who is the searcher of the hearts and the trier of the reins of the children of men: he to whom hell is naked, and can look into that outer darkness, the blackness of darkness, can look into a man's heart, a second hell, in which all manner of wickedness is, and observe it all; he needs no testimony of man; he knows what is in man, all his secret thoughts, wicked purposes, designs, and devices; see Jeremiah 17:9.

(a) "sepulchrum", Munster, Piscator, Mercerus, so Ben Melech.

{d} Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

(d) There is nothing so deep or secret that can be hid from the eyes of God, much less man's thoughts.

11. Hell and destruction] Sheol and Abaddon with “The grave,” and “Destruction” in the marg. R.V. In their preface the Revisers explain that “with a view to obviate inevitable misunderstanding,” they “have left in the historical narratives the rendering (of A.V.) ‘the grave,’ or ‘the pit,’ with a marginal note, ‘Heb. Sheol,’ to indicate that it does not signify the place of burial; while in the poetical writings they have put most commonly ‘Sheol’ in the text, and ‘the grave’ in the margin.”

In like manner, “Abaddon, which has hitherto been known to the English reader of the Bible only from the New Testament (Revelation 9:11), has been introduced in three passages (Job 26:6; Proverbs 15:11; Proverbs 27:20), where a proper name appeared to be required for giving vividness and point.” Comp. for the thought, Job 26:6; Psalm 139:1-16.

Verse 11. - Hell and destruction are before the Lord. The two words rendered "hell" and "destruction" are respectively Sheol and Abaddon, Infernus and Perditio, Ἅιδης and ἀπώλεια (comp. Proverbs 27:20). The former is used generally as the place to which the souls of the dead are consigned - the receptacle of all departed spirits, whether good or bad. Abaddon is the lowest depth of hell, the "abyss" of Luke 8:31; Revelation 9:2, etc.; 20:l, etc. The clause means that God's eye penetrates even the most secret corners of the unseen world. As Job (Job 26:6) says, "Sheol is naked before him, and Abaddon hath no covering" (comp. Psalm 139:7, etc.). How much more then the hearts of the children of men? (For the form of the expression, comp. Proverbs 11:31 and Proverbs 19:7; and for the import, Proverbs 16:2; Proverbs 21:2; Jeremiah 17:10.) If God knows the secrets of the world beyond the grave, much more does he know the secret thoughts of men on earth. The heart is the source of action (see Matthew 15:19, etc.). Proverbs 15:1111 The underworld [Sheol] and the abyss are before Jahve;

     But how much more the hearts of the children of men!

A syllogism, a minori ad majus, with אף כּי (lxx τῶς οὐχὶ καὶ, Venet. μᾶλλον οὖν), like 12:32.

(Note: In Rabbin. this concluding form is called קל וחמר (light and heavy over against one another), and דּין (judgment, viz., from premisses, thus conclusion), κατ ̓ ἐξ. Instead of the biblical אף כי, the latter form of the language has כּל־שׁכּן (all speaks for it that it is so), על־אחת כּמּה וכמּה (so much the more), אינו דּין, or also קל וחמר (as minori ad majus equals quanto magis); vid., the Hebr. Rmerbrief, p. 14.)

אבדּון has a meaning analogous to that of τάρταρος (cf. ταρταροῦν, 2 Peter 2:4, to throw down into the τάρταρος), which denotes the lowest region of Hades (שׁאול תּחתּית or תּחתּיּה 'שׁ), and also in general, Hades. If אבדון and מות are connected, Job 37:22, and if אבדון is the parallel word to קבר, Psalm 88:12, or also to שׁאול, as in the passage similar to this proverb, Job 26:6 (cf. Job 38:17): "Shel is naked before Him, and Abaddon has no covering;" since אבדון is the general name of the underworld, including the grave, i.e., the inner place of the earth which receives the body of the dead, as the kingdom of the dead, lying deeper, does the soul. But where, as here and at Proverbs 27:10, שׁאול and אבדון stand together, they are related to each other, as ᾅδης and ταρταρος or ἅβυσσος, Revelation 9:11 : אבדון is the lowest hell, the place of deepest descent, of uttermost destruction. The conclusion which is drawn in the proverb proceeds from the supposition that in the region of creation there is nothing more separated, and by a wide distance, from God, than the depth, and especially the undermost depth, of the realm of the dead. If now God has this region in its whole compass wide open before Him, if it is visible and thoroughly cognisable by Him (נגד, acc. adv.: in conspectu, from נגד, eminere, conspicuum esse) - for He is also present in the underworld, Psalm 139:8 - then much more will the hearts of the children of men be open, the inward thoughts of men living and acting on the earth being known already from their expressions. Man sees through man, and also himself, never perfectly; but the Lord can try the heart and prove the reins, Jeremiah 17:10. What that means this proverb gives us to understand, for it places over against the hearts of men nothing less than the depths of the underworld in eternity.

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