Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)His lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.—See above, on Proverbs 13:9.Leviticus 20:9 and Matthew 15:4. The words, "his lamp shall be put out," describe the failure of outward happiness. Or his mother, Heb. and his mother; which is used for or, Exodus 12:5 Leviticus 6:3, and elsewhere.
His lamp; his comfort and happiness, his name and memory, which are oft compared in Scripture to
a lamp or light; shall be put out in obscure darkness; shall utterly perish; he shall die childless, and with ignominy.
his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness; he shall be deprived of his natural sight; see Proverbs 30:17; or the very light of nature shall be extinct in him; and indeed such an one acts as if not guided by it, nor under its influence; or whatsoever favour from the Lord he has enjoyed, it shall be taken from him; his lamp or candle of outward felicity shall be quenched, and burn no longer; see Job 18:5; or his soul, the candle of the Lord, in him, Proverbs 20:27; shall be removed; or he "shall die", not only a corporeal but an eternal death; see Exodus 21:17; "blackness of darkness" (h) as the words may be rendered, are reserved for him in the world to come, and which will be his portion, Jde 1:13.Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. obscure darkness] Better, the blackest darkness, R.V. Lit. the pupil (of the eye) of darkness (comp. “in the pupil of night,” Proverbs 7:9, and note): i.e. in the darkest part, as the pupil is of the eye, of darkness. There is a trace of this in the version here of the LXX., αἱ δὲ κόραι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτοῦ ὄψονται σκότος. In our present Hebrew Bibles, however, the word is corrected in the text to be read into a word which is not found elsewhere, and the meaning of which is uncertain. Vulg. in mediis tenebris.Verse 20. - This is an enforcement of the fifth commandment, by denouncing the punishment which the moral government of God shall exact from the unnatural child. The legal penalty may be seen (Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9); but this was probably seldom or never carried into execution (comp. Matthew 15:4; Mark 7:10). His lamp shall be put out in obscure (the blackest) darkness (comp. Proverbs 13:9). The expression is peculiar; it is literally, according to the Khetib, In the apple of the eye of darkness, as in Proverbs 7:9; i.e. in the very centre of darkness; he will find himself surrounded on all sides by midnight darkness, without escape, with no hope of Divine protection. "Lamp" is a metaphor applied to the bodily and the spiritual life, to happiness and prosperity, to a man's fame and reputation, to a man's posterity; and all these senses may be involved in the denunciation of the disobedient and stubborn child. He shall suffer in body and soul, in character, in fortune, in his children. His fate is the exact counterpart of the blessing promised in the Law. Septuagint, "The lamp of him that revileth father and mother shall be extinguished, and the pupils of his eyes shall behold darkness." Talmud, "Whosoever abandons his parents means his body to become the prey of scorpions." Cato, 'Dist.,' 3:23 -
"Dilige non aegra caros pietate parentes;
Nec matrem offendas, dum vis bonus esse parenti." One of the evil generations denounced by Agur (Proverbs 30:11) is that which curseth parents. Proverbs 20:20, and is internally connected in a diversity of ways.
14 "Bad, bad!" saith the buyer;
And going his way, he boasteth then.
"Bad, bad!" saith one if he hath it;
But when it is gone, then he boasteth of it.
This rendering has many supporters. Geier cites the words of the Latin poet:
"Omne bonum praesens minus est, sperata videntur Magna."
Schultens quotes the proverbs τὸ παρὸν βαρύ and Praesentia laudato, for with Luther he refers ואזל לו to the present possession (אזל, as 1 Samuel 9:7 equals (Arab.) zâl, to cease, to be lost), and translates: at dilapsum sibi, tum demum pro splendido celebrat. But by this the Hithpa. does not receive its full meaning; and to extract from הקּונה the idea to which ואזל לו refers, if not unnecessary, is certainly worthless. Hakkoneh may also certainly mean the possessor, but the possessor by acquisition (lxx and the Venet. ὁ κτώμενος); for the most part it signifies the possessor by purchase, the buyer (Jerome, emptor), as correlate of מכר, Isaiah 24:2; Ezekiel 4:12. It is customary for the buyer to undervalue that which he seeks to purchase, so as to obtain it as cheaply as possible; afterwards he boasts that he has bought that which is good, and yet so cheap. That is an every-day experience; but the proverb indirectly warns against conventional lying, and shows that one should not be startled and deceived thereby. The subject to ואזל לו is thus the buyer; אזל with לו denotes, more definitely even than הלך לו, going from thence, s'en aller. Syntactically, the punctuation ואזל לו [and he takes himself off] (perf. hypoth., Ewald, 357a) would have been near (Jerome: et cum recesserit); but yet it is not necessary, with Hitzig, thus to correct it. The poet means to say: making himself off, he then boasts. We cannot in German place the "alsdann" [then] as the אז here, and as also, e.g., at 1 Samuel 20:12; but Theodotion, in good Greek: καὶ πορευθεὶς τότε καυχήσεται. We may write ואזל לו with Mercha on the antepenult, on which the accent is thrown back, cf. חונן, Proverbs 19:17, but not לּו; for the rule for Dagesh does not here, with the retrogression of the tone, come into application, as, e.g., in אוכל לּחמי, Psalm 41:10. Singularly the Syr. and Targ. do not read רע רע, but רע לרע, and couple Proverbs 20:15 with 14. In the lxx, Proverbs 20:14-19 are wanting.
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