Proverbs 15:8
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.—And their prayers also (Isaiah 1:11). The worthlessness of sacrifice without obedience (comp. 1Samuel 15:22) may be here especially mentioned, because men are apt to think that what involves cost and trouble must be pleasing to God, even when not accompanied with what alone He cares for, a loving heart.

The prayer of the upright is his delight.—Even when offered by itself, without sacrifice.

Proverbs 15:8-9. The sacrifice of the wicked — Or the religious services, yea, the best and most costly of them, one kind being put for all the rest; is an abomination to the Lord — Because not offered with a sincere desire to glorify him, nor from a principle of faith and love, but is made a cloak for sin, is used to silence the clamours of conscience, and commute for the neglect of obedience to God’s moral commands: see the margin. It is justly observed by Mr. Scott here, that “the most costly sacrifices of the wicked, under the Mosaic law, must have been an abomination to the Lord; because their whole way was abominable to him, and because of their corrupt motives; and the case is precisely the same with all external acts of worship, nay, with the largest oblations, and most liberal alms of the impenitent and unbelieving, under the Christian dispensation. For, by them, they either mean nothing determinate, or they intend to cover their sins, to bribe their Judge, to make compensation for past, or to purchase indulgences for future transgressions: they put their services in the stead either of Christ’s atonement, or of holy obedience; they present them with hypocritical hearts; and they grossly affront the holy God by supposing that he can be imposed on by forms or gifts, or pleased by them while they are enemies to his justice, his authority, and his grace.” But the prayer of the upright is his delight — Their cheapest and meanest services, even their very prayers, are acceptable, yea, highly pleasing to him, and prevail for great blessings from him.15:3. Secret sins, services, and sorrows, are under God's eye. This speaks comfort to saints, and terror to sinners. 4. A good tongue is healing to wounded consciences, by comforting them; to sin-sick souls, by convincing them; and it reconciles parties at variance. 5. If instruction is despised, reprove men rather than suffer them to go on undisturbed in the way to ruin. 6. The wealth of worldly men increases their fears and suspicions, adds strength to their passions, and renders the fear of death more distressing. 7. We use knowledge aright when we disperse it; but the heart of the foolish has nothing to disperse that is good. 8,9. The wicked put other things in the stead of Christ's atonement, or in the place of holy obedience. Praying graces are his gift, and the work of his Spirit, with which he is well pleased. 10. He that hates reproof shall perish in his sins, since he would not be parted from them.Not so - The word translated "so" is taken by some in its etymological force as "strong," "firm," and the passage is rendered "the heart of the fool disperseth (supplied from the first clause) what is weak and unsteady," i. e., "falsehood and unwisdom." The Septuagint takes it as an adjective, "the heart of the fool is unstedfast." The phrase as it stands in the King James Version is, however, of frequent occurrence Genesis 48:18; Exodus 10:11; Numbers 12:7. 8, 9. The sacrifice [and] prayer—are acts of worship.

way … followeth … righteousness—denote conduct. God's regard for the worship and deeds of the righteous and wicked respectively, so stated in Ps 50:17; Isa 1:11.

The sacrifice; all the religious services, yea, the best and most costly of them; one kind being put for all the rest.

The prayer; the cheapest and meanest services. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,.... Even those sacrifices which were of divine appointment under the former dispensation, when offered by wicked men, without faith in Christ, without any sense of sin, repentance for it, and reformation from it; when these were used as a cloak for sin, under which they sheltered and satisfied themselves, and went on in sin; when they brought them "with a wicked mind", as in Proverbs 21:27; when either what they brought were not according to the law, the lame and the blind; or were not their own, but robbery for burnt sacrifice; or supposing that these would atone for their sins of themselves; when either of these, or all this, was the case, it was an abomination to the Lord; see Isaiah 1:11. Wherefore much more must Pagan sacrifices be an abomination to him; which were not of his appointing, and were offered to devils, and not to him; and which were many of them very inhuman and shocking; as giving a man's firstborn for his transgression, and the fruit of his body for the sin of his soul: and so likewise Papal sacrifices, the sacrifice of the mass; the bloodless sacrifice, the offering up again of the body and blood of Christ, they pretend to; which, as it is wicked and blasphemous, is an abomination to the Lord, and perhaps is chiefly intended. Sacrifice may stand for every religious duty performed by a wicked man, being hypocritically done, and with no good view; and all their good works, which seem to be so; and are either not according to the word and will of God, being never commanded by him, of which sort are many among the Papists; or they are not done in faith, and so sin, and do not spring from love to God; but are done with a heart full of enmity to him, and are not directed to his glory: in short, whatever is done by them, let it have ever such an appearance of devotion and goodness; yet if it is placed in the room of Christ, and used to the setting aside of his righteousness, satisfaction, and sacrifice, it is an abomination to the Lord;

but the prayer of the upright is his delight: the prayer of such, whose hearts are right with God; who have right spirits renewed in them; are Israelites indeed; have the truth of grace and root of the matter in them; are honest, sincere, and upright in heart: the prayer of such, which is an inwrought one, wrought in his heart by the Spirit of God, and so comes from God, and is his own breathing in him, must be well pleasing to him; that which is fervent, earnest, and importunate, which cometh not out of feigned lips, but from the heart, and is put up with a true heart, in the sincerity of it; the prayer of faith, the cry of the humble; the prayer which is addressed to God as a Father, in the name of Christ the Mediator, which comes perfumed with the incense of his mediation, introduced with the celebration of the divine perfections, contains humble confessions of sin and unworthiness, ascribes all blessings to the grace of God, and expresses thankfulness for favours received, is very acceptable and delightful to God; though it is the prayer of a poor, mean, despicable creature in his own eyes, and in the eyes of others, Psalm 102:17. This stands opposed to the pompous rites and ceremonies, the gaudy worship and costly sacrifices, of wicked men; such as used by the Papists.

The {b} sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

(b) That thing is abominable before God, which the wicked think to be most excellent, and by which they think most to be accepted.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. See Genesis 4:3-5; Hebrews 11:4; Hebrews 11:6.Verse 8. - The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination unto the Lord. The costly sacrifice of the wicked is contrasted with the prayer, unaccompanied with sacrifice, of the upright. The first clause occurs again in Proverbs 21:27, and virtually in Proverbs 28:9. But in the latter passage the prayer of the wicked is denounced as abomination. Sacrifice, as legal and ceremonial, would be more naturally open to the charge of deadness and unreality; while prayer, as spontaneous and not legally enjoined, might be deemed less liable to for realism; all the more hateful, therefore, it is if not offered from the heart. The worthlessness of external worship without obedience and devotion of the heart is often urged by the prophets (see 1 Samuel 15:22; Isaiah 1:11, etc.; Jeremiah 6:20; Hosea 5:6; Amos 5:22; see also Ecclus. 31:18, etc.). The lesson was needed that the value of sacrifice depended upon the mind and disposition of the offerer, the tendency being to rest in the opus operatum, as if the external action was all that was necessary to make the worshipper accepted. This text was wrested by the Donatists to support their notion of the inefficacy of heretical baptism. St. Augustine replied that the validity of the sacrament depended not on the spiritual condition of the minister, but on the appointment of Christ. The text has also been applied to confirm the opinion that all the acts of unjustified man are sin. The truer view is that God's grace does act beyond the limits of his visible Church, and that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit concurs with the free will of man before he is formally justified. The second clause recurs virtually in ver. 29. The πραΰ́της σοφίας (James 3:13) commended in Proverbs 15:1 is here continued:

The tongue of the wise showeth great knowledge,

And the mouth of fools poureth forth folly.

As היטיב נגּן, Isaiah 23:16, means to strike the harp well, and היטיב לכת, Isaiah 30:29, to go along merrily, so היטיב דּעת, to know in a masterly manner, and here, where the subject is the tongue, which has only an instrumental reference to knowledge: to bring to light great knowledge (cf. 7a). In 2b the lxx translate στόμα δὲ ἀφρόνων ἀναγγέλλει κακά. From this Hitzig concludes that they read רעות as 28b, and prefers this phrase; but they also translated in Proverbs 13:16; Proverbs 14:28; Proverbs 26:11, אוּלת by κακίαν, for they interpreted the unintelligible word by combination with עולת, and in Proverbs 12:23 by ἀραῖς, for they thought they had before them אלות (from אלה).

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