Proverbs 17:26
Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.
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(26) Also.—Among other evil things. The subject of perversion of justice is again taken up.

To punish.—Especially by fining.

To strikei.e., scourge. (Comp. Deuteronomy 25:1-3.)

For equity—i.e., when they have acted uprightly.

17:19. If we would keep a clear conscience and a quiet mind, we must shun all excitements to anger. And a man who affects a style of living above his means, goes the way to ruin. 20. There is nothing got by ill designs. And many have paid dear for an unbridled tongue. 21. This speaks very plainly what many wise and good men feel very strongly, how grievous it is to have a foolish, wicked child. 22. It is great mercy that God gives us leave to be cheerful, and cause to be cheerful, if by his grace he gives us hearts to be cheerful. 23. The wicked are ready to part with their money, though loved, that they may not suffer for their crimes. 24. The prudent man keeps the word of God continually in view. But the foolish man cannot fix his thoughts, nor pursue any purpose with steadiness. 25. Wicked children despise the authority of their father, and the tenderness of their mother. 26. It is very wrong to find fault for doing what is duty. 27,28. A man may show himself to be a wise man, by the good temper of his mind, and by the good government of his tongue. He is careful when he does speak, to speak to the purpose. God knows his heart, and the folly that is bound there; therefore he cannot be deceived in his judgment as men may be.Nor to strike ... - Better, and to strike the noble (in character rather than in rank) is against right. Compare John 18:28. 26. Also—that is, Equally to be avoided are other sins: punishing good subjects, or resisting good rulers. Also: this particle seems to have relation to the next foregoing proverb, to imply that it is a very evil thing for children to cause grief to their parents, as it is also to do what here follows.

To punish the just; for parents, or princes, or rulers, to whom alone this power belongs, to punish innocent and good men;

is not good; is highly evil and abominable, as is implied. See above, Proverbs 17:20 16:29 17:10, &c.

Nor to strike princes for equity; nor to smite magistrates, either with the hand or tongue, for the execution of justice, as condemned persons are apt to do. Or, as some learned interpreters render it, nor for princes to strike any man for equity, or for doing his duty, or what is just. So this clause best agrees with the former. Besides, it belongs to princes or ms, strafes to punish or strike. Also to punish the just is not good,.... It is evil, and an abomination to the Lord, Proverbs 17:15. Evildoers indeed should be punished; but to punish the righteous also, as well as them, is far from being commendable;

nor to strike princes for equity: to strike princes, judges, civil magistrates, for doing the duty of their place and office, for doing that which is just and equitable among men, is very criminal, who ought to be encouraged and supported therein. Or it may be rendered, nor "that princes should strike for that which is right" (b) or cause men to be stricken, scourged, and whipped for doing well. The Targum is,

"nor to smite the righteous, who say right things;''

and so the Syriac version renders it, "righteous ones"; and the word signifies ingenuous liberal persons, good men, such as princes are or ought to be; and who should neither be stricken in the due discharge of their office, nor strike others that do well.

(b) "principes percuiere ob rectitudinem", Mercerus; "propter recta facta", Piscator, Gataker.

Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes {n} for equity.

(n) For their well doing.

26. Also] beside other things that are “not good”; as “also” is used in Proverbs 19:2.

punish] Lit. mulct, or (as R.V. marg.) fine.

strike] i.e. inflict the severer punishment of scourging. Deuteronomy 25:1-3.

princes] Rather, the noble, R.V. The Heb. word properly denotes character, liberal, free-handed (Gesen. Lex. s.v.), and so comes to be applied to rank or office. See Proverbs 19:6, where the same word is rendered the prince, A.V., but, in keeping with the parallelism, the liberal man, R.V. text. For illustration of the proverb comp. John 18:23.Verse 26. - Also (gam). This may be intended to connect this verso with what was said above (ver. 23) about the perversion of justice; or, as is more probable, it is used to emphasize what is coming, To punish the just is not good. Damnum inferre justo, Vulgate; ζημιοῦν, Septuagint; and the word has a special reference to punishment by fire. Nor to strike princes for equity; the expression, "is not good," being understood from the former clause. "Princes" are the noble in character rather than in position only. Two forms of evil are named, viz. to punish the innocent, and to visit with contumely and injury the man of high character who cannot be induced to pervert justice. Revised Version, nor to smite the noble for their uprightness. So virtually the Vulgate, Septuagint, and Syriac. Another rendering is, "to strike the noble is against right," which seems feeble and less suitable to the parallelism. 20 He that is of a false heart findeth no good;

     And he that goeth astray with his tongue falleth into evil.

Regarding עקּשׁ־לב, vid., Proverbs 11:20. In the parallel member, נהפּך בּלשׁונו is he who twists or winds (vid., at Proverbs 2:12) with his tongue, going about concealing and falsifying the truth. The phrase ונהפּך (the connecting form before a word with a prep.) is syntactically possible, but the Masora designates the word, in contradistinction to ונהפּך, pointed with Pathach, Leviticus 13:16, with לית as unicum, thus requires ונהפּך, as is also found in Codd. The contrast of רעה is here טוב, also neut., as Proverbs 13:21, cf. Proverbs 16:20, and רע, Proverbs 13:17.

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