He that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; but he that hates gifts shall live.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He that is greedy of gain.—Ill-gotten gain, especially bribes, as is seen in the next line.
Troubleth his own house.—The word used of Achan (Joshua 7:25).
Gifts.—Bribes taken by a judge. (Ecclesiastes 7:7.)Proverbs 15:27. He that is greedy of gain — That seeketh wealth by unjust practices, which the opposite clause shows to be the sense intended; troubleth his own house — Bringeth God’s displeasure and destruction upon himself and his family, whom he designed to enrich, honour, and establish; but he that hateth gifts — Bribes given to pervert judgment; he who refuses them, not with dissimulation, nor only from prudential considerations, but from a hearty abhorrence of all unrighteousness; shall live — Shall preserve himself and (which may be understood out of the former clause) his family from ruin.Luke 16:9 had a point of contact with this proverb, through the version then popularly used in the synagogues of Palestine?
hateth gifts—or, "bribes" (Ex 23:8; Ps 15:5), and is not avaricious.He that is greedy of gain, that seeketh wealth by unjust courses, as appears from the opposite clause,
troubleth his own house; bringeth God’s curse and destruction upon himself and his family, whom he designed to enrich and establish.
That hateth; who refuseth them not with dissimulation, nor only from prudential reasons, but from a hearty abhorrency of all unrighteousness. Gifts, i.e. bribes given to corrupt judgment. See Exodus 18:21 23:8 Deu 16:19.
Shall live; shall preserve himself and (which is understood out of the former clause) his family from ruin. Habakkuk 2:9; that seeks riches by unlawful means, that gathers the mammon of falsehood, or unrighteousness, as the Targum; he entails a curse and brings ruin and destruction upon his family; the Septuagint and Arabic versions are, he "destroys himself"; or "his own soul", as the Syriac version; it may be understood of a man that is over anxious and eager to be rich, and hurries on business, and gives his servants no proper time for food and rest; See Gill on Proverbs 11:29;
but he that hateth gifts shall live; that rejects them with abhorrence, when offered to bribe him to pervert judgment, or to do an unjust thing; otherwise gifts may be lawfully received from one friend by another; the sin is when they are given and taken for the sake of doing what is base and sinful; and a man that shakes his hand from receiving gifts on such a basis, he and his family shall prosper and increase in worldly things; and, doing this from a right principle of grace, shall live comfortably in a spiritual sense, and thrive and flourish in his soul, and live an eternal life hereafter; see Psalm 16:5.He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. gifts] The proverb, though universal in its moral, is Oriental in its form. Gifts “play a very important part in the social life of the East” (see Smith’s Dict. of Bible, Gift). Hence they form at once the bait by which “he that is greedy of gain” is lured, as Gehazi was, to the “troubling of his own house,” and the test, in the lofty disregard of them, of incorruptible honour and integrity.Verse 27. - He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house (Proverbs 11:29). The special reference is doubtless to venal judges, who wrested judgment for lucre. Such malefactors were often reproved by the prophets (see Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 10:1, etc.; Micah 3:11; Micah 7:3). But all ill-gotten gain brings sure retribution. The Greeks have many maxims to this effect. Thus -
Κέρδη πομηρὰ ζημίαν ἀεὶ φέρει And again -
Τὰ δ αἰσχρὰ κέρδη συμφορὰς ἐργάζεται
"Riches ill won bring ruin in their train." An avaricious man troubles his house in another sense. He harasses his family by niggardly economies and his domestics by overwork and underfeeding, deprives his household of all comfort, and loses the blessing of God upon a righteous use of earthly wealth. The word "troubleth" (akar, "to trouble") reminds one of the story of Achan, who, in his greed, appropriated some of the spoil of the banned city Jericho, and brought destruction upon himself and his family, when, in punishment of the crime, he and all his were stoned in the Valley of Achor (Joshua 7:25). So the covetousness of Gehazi caused the infliction of the penalty of leprosy upon himself and his children (2 Kings 5:27). Professor Plumptre ('Speaker's Commentary,' in loc.) notes that the Chaldee Targum paraphrases this clause, referring especially to lucre gained by unrighteous judgments, thus: "He who gathers the mammon of unrighteousness destroys his house;" and he suggests that Christ's use of that phrase (Luke 16:9) may have had some connection with this proverb through the version then popularly used in the Palestinian synagogues. He that hateth gifts shall live (comp. Ecclesiastes 7:7). Primarily this refers to the judge or magistrate who is incorruptible, and gives just judgment, and dispenses his patronage without fear or favour; he shall "prolong his days" (Proverbs 28:16), And in all cases a man free from covetousness, who takes no bribes to blind his eyes withal, who makes no unjust gains, shall pass a long and happy life undisturbed by care. We see here a hope of immortality, to which integrity leads. The LXX., with the view of making the two clauses more marked in antithesis, restricts the application thus: "The receiver of gifts destroyeth himself; but he who hateth the receiving of gifts liveth." The Vulgate and Septuagint, after this verse, introduce a distich which recurs in Proverbs 16:6. The Septuagint transposes many of the verses at the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next.
But a man of understanding goeth straight forward.
Regarding חסר־לב, vid., at Proverbs 6:32 (cf. libı̂b, which in the Samaritan means "dearly beloved," in Syr. "courageous," in Arab. and Aethiop. cordatus); אישׁ תּבוּנה, Proverbs 10:23, and ישּׁר, with the accus. of the way, here of the going, Proverbs 3:6 (but not Proverbs 11:5, where the going itself is not the subject). In consequence of the contrast, the meaning of 21a is different from that of Proverbs 10:23, according to which sin is to the fool as the sport of a child. Here אוּלת is folly and buffoonery, drawing aside in every kind of way from the direct path of that which is good, and especially from the path of one's duty. This gives joy to the fool; he is thereby drawn away from the earnest and faithful performance of the duties of his calling, and thus wastes time and strength; while, on the contrary, a man of understanding, who perceives and rejects the vanity and unworthiness of such trifling and such nonsense, keeps the straight direction of his going, i.e., without being drawn aside or kept back, goes straight forward, i.e., true to duty, prosecutes the end of his calling. לכת is accus., like Proverbs 30:29, Micah 6:8.
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