The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Beholding the evil and the good.—Waiting till the iniquity of the one is full (Genesis 15:16), watching to aid the other (Psalm 34:15; Psalm 34:17).Proverbs 1:7 would not be complete without this assertion of His omni-present knowledge. The eyes of the Lord; his knowledge and providence.
The evil; who are first mentioned, because they either doubt of or deny God’s providence. Hebrews 4:13; and also of the providence of God with respect to all persons in general, and to his own people in particular; and as he is infinite and immense, omnipresent and in all places of the world, so his omniscience and providence reach everywhere, to places most distant and secret, and to persons in them, who cannot be concealed from him, since he fills heaven and earth, Jeremiah 23:23;
beholding the evil and the good; meaning not evil things and good things, though that is true; the one he beholds with dislike, the other with pleasure; but evil men and good men: he beholds them as from a watch tower, as the word (u) signifies, from above, from heaven, where he is; see Psalm 33:13. By "evil" men may be meant both profane sinners and carnal professors; such as are more openly wicked, and declare their sin, as Sodom, or more secretly so; he sees into all the wickedness there is in their hearts, all their secret devices against his people; the works done by them in the dark, as well as their more open ones; and his eyes are upon all of them, to bring them into judgment at the last day: his eyes are particularly on the proud, to abase them; such as are under a disguise of religion, and have a form of godliness, he has his eyes upon; he sees through all their disguises; he knows on what foot they took up their profession; he discerns between that and true grace; he sees how they retain their lusts with their profession; observes the springs and progress of their apostasy; and will fix his eyes on the man without a righteousness, not having on the wedding garment, and order him into outer darkness. He also beholds "good" men; he sees all their bad things, their sins, and corrects them for them; their good things, their graces, and the exercise of them; their good works, the fruits of his own grace; their weaknesses, and supports and strengthens them; their wants, and supplies them; their persons, and never withdraws his eyes from them: these are on them continually, to protect and defend them; nor will he leave them till he has brought them safe to heaven; see 1 Chronicles 16:9.The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)3. beholding] Rather, keeping watch upon, R.V. σκοπεύουσι, LXX. The word is commonly used of a watchman (1 Samuel 14:16; 2 Samuel 13:34; 2 Samuel 18:24), and calls up the figure of the Almighty observing, as it were, from His lofty watch-tower in heaven all the doings of the dwellers upon earth. The same word is rendered, looketh well to, Proverbs 31:27.Verse 3. - The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding - keeping watch on - the evil and the good. The omnipresence and omniscience of Jehovah, the covenant God, is strongly insisted upon, and the sacred name recurs continually in this and the next chapter, and indeed throughout this Book of the Proverbs (see Wordsworth, in loc.). The LXX. renders the verb σκοπεύοιυσι "are watching," as from a tower or high place. To the usual references we may add Ecclus. 15:18, 19 Ecclus. 23:19, 20. Corn. a Lapide quotes Prudentius's hymn, used in the Latin Church at Thursday Lauds -
"Speculator adstat desuper,
Qui nos diebus omnibus
Actusque nostros prospicit
A luce prima in vesperum."
"For God our Maker, ever nigh,
Surveys us with a watchful eye;
Our every thought and act he knows,
From early dawn to daylight's close."
When misfortune befalls him, the godless is overthrown;
But the righteous remains hopeful in his death.
When the subject is רעה connected with רשׁע (the godless), then it may be understood of evil thought and action (Ecclesiastes 7:15) as well as of the experience of evil (e.g., Proverbs 13:21). The lxx (and also the Syr., Targ., Jerome, and Venet.) prefers the former, but for the sake of producing an exact parallelism changes במותו [in his death] into בתמּו [in his uprightness], reversing also the relation of the subject and the predicate: ὁ δὲ πεποιθὼς τῇ ἑαυτοῦ ὁσιότητι (the Syr.: in this, that he has no sin; Targ.: when he dies) δίκαιος. But no Scripture word commends in so contradictory a manner self-righteousness, for the verb חסה never denotes self-confidence, and with the exception of two passages (Judges 9:15; Isaiah 30:2), where it is connected with בּצל, is everywhere the exclusive (vid., Psalm 118:8.) designation of confidence resting itself in God, even without the 'בה, as here as at Psalm 17:7. The parallelism leads us to translate ברעתו, not on account of his wickedness, but with Luther, in conformity with במותו, in his misfortune, i.e., if it befall him. Thus Jeremiah (Jeremiah 23:12) says of the sins of his people: בּאפלה ידּחוּ, in the deep darkness they are driven on (Niph. of דחח equals דחה), and Proverbs 24:16 contains an exactly parallel thought: the godless stumble ברעה, into calamity. Ewald incorrectly: in his calamity the wicked is overthrown - for what purpose then the pronoun? The verb דחה frequently means, without any addition, "to stumble over heaps," e.g., Psalm 35:5; Psalm 36:13. The godless in his calamity is overthrown, or he fears in the evils which befall him the intimations of the final ruin; on the contrary, the righteous in his death, even in the midst of extremity, is comforted, viz., in God in whom he confides. Thus understood, Hitzig thinks that the proverb is not suitable for a time in which, as yet, men had not faith in immortality and in the resurrection. Yet though there was no such revelation then, still the pious in death put their confidence in Jahve, the God of life and of salvation - for in Jahve
(Note: Vid., my Bibl.-prophet. Theol. (1845), p. 268, cf. Bibl. Psychologie (1861), p. 410, and Psalmen (1867), p. 52f., and elsewhere.)
there was for ancient Israel the beginning, middle, and end of the work of salvation - and believing that they were going home to Him, committing their spirit into His hands (Psalm 31:6), they fell asleep, though without any explicit knowledge, yet not without the hope of eternal life. Job also knew that (Job 27:8.) between the death of those estranged from God and of those who feared God there was not only an external, but a deep essential distinction; and now the Chokma opens up a glimpse into the eternity heavenwards, Proverbs 15:24, and has formed, Proverbs 12:28, the expressive and distinctive word אל־מות, for immortality, which breaks like a ray from the morning sun through the night of the Sheol.
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