He that has pity on the poor lends to the LORD; and that which he has given will he pay him again.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Lendeth unto the Lord.—Who “for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich” (2Corinthians 8:9), and Who regards all done to one of his poor brethren as done unto Himself (Matthew 25:40).Proverbs 19:17. He that hath pity on the poor — And relieves their necessities; lendeth unto the Lord — Doth not empoverish, but enrich himself: for the Lord takes what is done to them as done to himself, because it is done to those whom he has appointed in his own stead to be his receivers, and whom he hath, in a peculiar manner, commended to the care and charity of all other men. He therefore will not fail to make a full compensation; he will return the benefit done to others, with large interest and increase of blessings, upon the beneficent man and his posterity.Matthew 25:40.
hath pity—shown by acts (compare Margin).Lendeth unto the Lord; who takes what is done to them as done to himself, because it is done to them whom God, as to this particular, hath put in his own stead, to be his receivers, and whom God hath in a peculiar manner commended to the care and charity of all other men.
and that which he hath given will, he pay him again; either in this life, in things temporal and spiritual, increasing his worldly substance, blessing his posterity, granting him larger measures of grace, indulging him with his gracious presence, and giving him peace of mind, which passeth all understanding; or in the world to come; not as a reward of debt, but of grace; see Ecclesiastes 11:1.He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. that which he hath given] Better, his deed, A.V. marg.; or his good deed, R.V. Comp. Matthew 25:34-40.Verse 17. - He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord. English Church people are familiar with this distich, as being one of the sentences of Scripture read at the Offertory. The word for "poor" is here dal, "feeble" (see on vers. 1 and 4). It is a beautiful thought that by showing mercy and pity we are, as it were, making God our debtor; and the truth is wonderfully advanced by Christ, who pronounces (Matthew 25:40), "Inasmuch as ye have done it mite one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (see on Proverbs 11:24; 28:27). St. Chrysostom ('Hom.,' 15, on 1 Corinthians 5), "To the more imperfect this is what we may say, Give of what you have unto the needy. Increase your substance. For, saith he, 'He that giveth unto the poor lendeth unto God.' But if you are in a hurry, and wait not for the time of retribution, think of those who lend money to men; for not even these desire to get their interest immediately; but they are anxious that the principal should remain a good long while in the hands of the borrower, provided only the repayment be secure, and they have no mistrust of the borrower. Let this be done, then, in the present case also. Leave them with God, that he may pay thee thy wages manifold. Seek not to have the whole here; for if you recover it all here, how will you receive it back there? And it is on this account that God stores them up there, inasmuch as this present life is full of decay. But he gives even here also; for, 'Seek ye,' saith he, 'the kingdom of heaven, and all these things shall be added unto you.' Well, then, let us look towards that kingdom, and not be in a hurry for the repayment of the whole, lest we diminish our recompense. But let us wait for the fit season. For the interest in these cases is not of that kind, but is such as is meet to be given by God. This, then, having collected together in great abundance, so let us depart hence, that we may obtain beth the present and the future blessings" (Oxford transl.). That which he hath given will he pay him again; Vicissitudinem suam reddet ei, Vulgate, "According to his gift will he recompense him." גִּמוּל (gemul), "good deed" (Proverbs 12:14, where it is rendered "recompense"). Ecclus. 32(35):10, etc., "Give unto the Most High according as he hath enriched thee; and as thou hast gotten give with a cheerful eye. For the Lord recompenseth, and will give thee seven times as much." There are proverbs rife in other lands to the same effect. The Turk says, "What you give in charity in this world you take with you after death. Do good, and throw it into the sea if the fish does not know it, God does." And the Russian, "Throw bread and salt behind you, you get them before you" (Lane).
And it is a glory for him to be forbearing toward transgression.
The Syr., Targum, Aquila, and Theodotion translate האריך אפו by μακροθυμία, and thus read האריך; but Rashi, Kimchi, and others remark that האריך is here only another vocalization for האריך, which is impossible. The Venet. also translates: Νοῦς ἀνθρώπου μηκυνεῖ τὸν θυμὸν ἑαυτοῦ; the correct word would be αὐτοῦ: the discretion (intellectus or intelligentia; vid., regarding שׂכל, Proverbs 3:4) of a man extends his anger, i.e., brings it about that it continues long before it breaks out (vid., Proverbs 14:29). One does not stumble at the perf. in view of Proverbs 19:7, Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 16:26, and the like; in the proverbial style the fut. or the particip. is more common. In the synonymous parallel member, תפארתּו points to man as such: it is an honour to him to pass by a transgression (particularly that which affects himself), to let it go aside, i.e., to forbear revenge or punishment (cf. Arab. tjâwz 'aly); thus also the divine πάρεσις (Romans 3:25) is designated by Micah 7:18; and in Amos 7:8; Amos 8:2, עבד stands absol. for the divine remission or passing by, i.e., unavenging of sin.
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