Say not you, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Wait on the Lord and he shall save thee.—Do not look for vengeance on enemies (for they are to be forgiven), but for deliverance from their attacks; forget their malice, remember only God’s love for thee, and trust in Him. (Comp. 1Peter 3:13, Romans 8:28.)Proverbs 20:22. Say not thou, I will recompense evil — While we live in the world, we must expect to have injuries done us, affronts given, and much trouble wrongfully created to us. But we must not revenge ourselves; no, not so much as design or think of any such thing. We must not say, no, not in our hearts, I will return evil for evil; but must wait on the Lord, to whom it belongs to execute vengeance, and to deliver his people from all their enemies. We must refer ourselves to him, and leave it to him to plead our cause, or reckon with those that do us wrong, in such a way and manner as he shall think fit, and in his own due time.Romans 12:17, Romans 12:19). Note that man is not told to wait on the Lord in expectation of seeing vengeance on his enemies, but "He shall save thee." The difference of the two hopes, in their effect upon the man's character, is incalculable. Say not thou in thy heart; give not way to any such evil thoughts or purposes.
Wait on the Lord, to whom it belongs to execute vengeance, and to deliver his people from all their enemies. Deuteronomy 32:35;
but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee; commit thyself and cause to God; leave it with him to avenge thy wrongs; wait upon him in the way of thy duty, and wait his own time to do thee justice; he will at the proper season, and in his own way, save thee from thine enemy, and make a righteous retribution to him.Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. Comp. Romans 12:17; Romans 12:19.Verse 22. - Say not thou, I will recompense evil (Proverbs 24:29). The jus talonis is the natural feeling of man, to do to others as they have done unto you, to requite evil with evil. But the moralist teaches a better lesson, urging men not to study revenge, and approaching nearer to Christ's injunction, which gives the law of charity, "Whatsoever ye would (οπσα α}ν θέλητε) that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" (Matthew 7:12). The Christian rule is expounded fully by St. Paul (Romans 12:14, 17, etc). It was not unknown to the Jews; for we read in Tobit 4:15, "Do that to no man which thou hatest;" and Hillel enjoins, "Do not thou that to thy neighbour which thou hatest when it is done to thee." Even the heathens had excogitated this great principle. There is a saying of Aristotle, preserved by Diogenes Laertius, "Act towards your friends as you would wish them to act towards you." The Chinese have a proverb, "Water does not remain on the mountain, or vengeance in a great mind." Wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee. The pious writer urges the injured person to commit his cause to the Lord, not in the hope of seeing vengeance taken on his enemy, but in the certainty that God will help him to bear the wrong and deliver him in his own good time and way. The Christian takes St. Peter's view, "Who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good?" (1 Peter 3:13), knowing that "all things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28; comp. Ecclus. 2:2, 6). Septuagint, "Say not, I will avenge myself on my enemy, but wait on the Lord, that (ἵνα) he may help thee." The last clause may be grammatically rendered thus, but it is more in accordance with the spirit st' the proverb, as Delitzsch observes, to regard it as a promise. Vulgate, et liberabit te.
And for strangers take him as a pledge.
The same proverb PRomans 27:13, where קח, with the usual aphaeresis, here interchanges with it the fuller form לקח, which is also found at Ezekiel 37:16. To this imperative חבלהוּ is parallel: take him as a pledge (Theodotion, Jerome, the Venet. and Luther); it is not a substantive: his pledge (Targ.), which would require the word חבלתו (חבלו); nor is it to be read with the Syr. חבלהוּ, one pledges him; but it is imperative, not however of the Piel, which would be חבלהוּ, and would mean "destroy him;" but, as Aben Ezra rightly, the imperative of Kal of חבל, to take as a pledge, Exodus 22:25, for חבלהוּ without any example indeed except חננני, Psalm 9:14; cf. Psalm 80:16. The first line is clear: take his garment, for he has become good for another (cf. Proverbs 11:15), who has left him in the lurch, so that he must now become wise by experience. The second line also is intelligible if we read, according to the Chethı̂b, נכרים (Jerome, the Venet.), not נכריּם, as Schultens incorrectly points it, and if we interpret this plur. like בנים, Genesis 21:7, with Hitzig following Luther, as plur. of the category: take him as a pledge, hold fast by his person, so as not to suffer injury from strange people for whom he has become surety. But the Kerı̂ requires נכריּה (according to which Theodotion and the Syr., and, more distinctly still than these, the Targ. translates), and thus, indeed, it stands written, Proverbs 27:13, without the Kerı̂, thus Bathra 173b reads and writes also here. Either נכריּה is a strange woman, a prostitute, a maitresse for whom the unwise has made himself surety, or it is neut. for aliena res (lxx Proverbs 27:13, τὰ ἀλλότρια), a matter not properly belonging to this unwise person. We regard נכרים in this passage as original. בעד coincides with Proverbs 6:26 : it does not mean ἀντὶ, but ὑπέρ; "for strange people" is here equivalent to for the sake of, on account of strange people" is here equivalent to for the sake of, on account of strange people (χάριν τῶν ἀλλοτρίων, as the Venet. translates it).
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