He that keeps the commandment keeps his own soul; but he that despises his ways shall die.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He that despiseth his ways—i.e., takes no heed to them, whether they please God or not.
despiseth … ways—opposed to keeping or observing, neglects (Pr 16:17) (as unworthy of regard) his moral conduct.The commandment; the commands of God, called by way of eminence the commandment, as the word is oft used emphatically for the word of God, as hath been noted before. fore. His ways; either,
1. His own ways, by not taking heed to his ways, so as to order his conversation aright. Or,
2. The ways of God, who is understood in the former clause.
keepeth his own soul, or "observes" (s) it; he shows that he has a concern for its welfare and peace; for though peace does not arise from keeping the commandments of God, yet such have great peace of soul who do love and keep the law of God; though there is no reward for, yet there is a reward in keeping the divine commands; though salvation is not hereby, yet blessed are they that do his commands; by which it appears they have a right to enter into the city, into eternal happiness, Psalm 119:165;
but he that despiseth his ways: which are at and proper for him to walk in, as Aben Ezra observes; or who is negligent of his ways, does not care in what ways he walks, or what is the issue of them; he walks in the ways of his own heart, and in the sight of his eyes; has his conversation according to the course of this world; walks with a multitude, with a crowd, to do evil, in the broad road which leads to destruction, and yet is quite careless about it: or that despises the ways of the commandment or word of God, which that directs to; for that is a lamp and a light, which men would do well to take heed to, as it shows them the ways in which they should walk; but these they neglect and contemn: or he that despises the ways of God, the ways he himself takes in the salvation of men, all whose ways are mercy and truth; that despises the ways of peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation by Jesus Christ: he
shall die; he is dead in sins already, and he shall die the second death, that neglects and despises so great salvation, and all the ways of the Lord, Hebrews 2:3. There is a "Keri", or marginal reading, which we follow; but the "Cetib", or written text, is, "he shall be killed", or put to death; and so the Syriac version; immediately, by the hand of heaven, by the Lord himself, before his time; or by the judges and civil magistrates; his sins being openly known, as Aben Ezra.He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. despiseth] i.e. pays no heed to them (is careless of, R.V.; negligit, Vulg.), through a contemptuous disregard of “the commandment” which should regulate them. Similarly for despise not, A. V., we have regard not lightly, R.V. in Hebrews 12:5. Contrast Proverbs 16:17.Verse 16. - Keepeth his own soul. Obedience to God's commandments preserves a man's natural and spiritual life (comp. Proverbs 13:13; Proverbs 16:17). So we read in Ecclesiastes 8:5, "Whoso keepeth the commandment (mitsvah, as here) shall feel no evil thing." He that despiseth his ways shall die. He that cares nothing what he does, whether his life pleases God or not, shall perish. Ἀπολεῖται, Septuagint; mortificabitur, Vulgate. The result is understood differently. The Khetib reads, יוּמַת (iumath), "shall be punished with death" according to the penalties enacted in the Mosaic Law. The Keri reads, יָמוּת (iamuth), "shall die," as in Proverbs 15:10; and this seems more in agreement with what we find elsewhere in the book, as in Proverbs 10:21; Proverbs 23:13. This insensate carelessness leads to ruin, whether its punishment be undertaken by outraged law. or whether it be left to the Divine retribution.
How much less a servant to rule over princes.
Thus also with לא נאוה (3 p. Pil. non decet, cf. the adj. Proverbs 26:1) Proverbs 17:7 begins. אף כּי rises here, as at Proverbs 19:7, a minori ad majus: how much more is it unbecoming equals how much less is it seemly. The contrast in the last case is, however, more rugged, and the expression harsher. "A fool cannot bear luxury: he becomes by it yet more foolish; one who was previously a humble slave, but who has attained by good fortune a place of prominence and power, from being something good, becomes at once something bad: an insolent sceleratus" (Fl.). Agur, xxx. 22f., describes such a homo novus as an unbearable calamity; and the author of the Book of Ecclesiastes, written in the time of the Persian domination, speaks, Ecclesiastes 10:7, of such. The lxx translates, καὶ ἐὰν οἰκέτης ἄρξηται μεθ ̓ ὕβρεως δυναστεύειν, rendering the phrase כּשׂרים by μεθ ̓ ὕβρεως, but all other translators had בּשׂרים before them.
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