Proverbs 21:12
The righteous man wisely considers the house of the wicked: but God overthrows the wicked for their wickedness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked.—Rather, A Righteous one (God) marks the house of the wicked and overthroweth the wicked for (their) destruction. He watches the evil to see whether they will repent (Luke 13:8), and if they will not, at last overthrows them when their iniquity has become full (Genesis 15:16).

21:9. It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. 10. The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. 11. The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. 12. Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. 13. Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. 14. If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? 15. There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. 16. Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. 17. A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. 18. The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. 19. Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. 20. The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. 21. True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. 22. Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. 23. It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. 24. Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry. 25,26. Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. 27. When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. 28. The doom of a false witness is certain. 29. A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me? 30,31. Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Or, The Righteous One (Yahweh) regardeth well the house of the wicked, and maketh the wicked fall into mischief. 12. (Compare Ps 37:35-38; 73:17, 20).

house—family or interests.

overthroweth—either supply "God" (compare Pr 10:24), or the word is used impersonally.

Wisely considereth the house of the wicked; he looketh through its present power and glory (which dazzleth the eyes of others) unto that ruin to which it is designed. But, or now, or that, this being the thing which he wisely considereth,

God overthroweth, or will overthrow in his due time, though for a season he bear with them. The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked,.... Not so much the stately palace he lives in, and the furniture of it, as the glory, splendour, riches, and largeness of his family; the flourishing condition he and they are in: he considers how they came into it, the short continuance of it, and what the end will be, which in a short time wilt be ruin and destruction; and therefore be does not envy their present happiness, or fret at it. Gersom renders it,

"the righteous maketh the house of the wicked to prosper;''

as Joseph did Potiphar's, and Jacob Laban's; or rather the Lord made them to prosper for their sakes. Jarchi interprets the righteous of God himself; who gives his heart, or has it in his heart to cut off the house of the wicked, as follows;

but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness; or removes them into evil, as the Targum; into the evil of punishment, for the evil of sin. Aben Ezra supplies the word "God", as we do; and understands it of God's destroying wicked men for their sins, though they have flourished for a while in this world: but some interpret it of the righteous man, even of a righteous magistrate, who is prudent and diligent in his office; who looks into the houses of wicked men, and inquires who they are that are in them, and how they live; and what they have in their houses, whether stolen goods, the properties of others; or arms, either for treasonable practices or for robberies; and takes them and punishes them according to the laws of God and men.

The righteous man wisely {f} considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

(f) Though the godly admonish them both by words and example of life, yet the wicked will not amend, till God destroys them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. God overthroweth] The difficulty of this proverb lies in the elliptical character of the second clause, which leaves a subject of necessity to be supplied. The A.V. makes man the subject of the first clause, and God of the second. But it is better to render, either with R.V. text:

The righteous man considereth the house of the wicked;

How the wicked are overthrown to their ruin;

or with Ewald and others, and R.V. marg., taking the Righteous One in the first clause to be God (Job 34:17), and retaining the same subject throughout.

One that is righteous considereth the house of the wicked;

He overthroweth the wicked to their ruin.

Both LXX. and Vulg., though differing from one another and from our present Heb. text, make “the righteous” the subject of both clauses.Verse 12. - The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness. The Authorized Version introduces the words "but God" in order to eke out the sense desired; the Revised Version, for the same reason, has, "how the wicked are overthrown;" and both versions signify that the good man contemplates the fortunes and seeming prosperity of the wicked, and, looking to the end of these men, sees how hollow is their success and what a fatal issue awaits them. The Vulgate refers the passage to the zeal of the righteous for the salvation of sinners - a thought quite foreign to the present subject - thus: Excogitat justus de domo impii, ut detrahat impios a malo, "The righteous man reflects concerning the house of the wicked how he may deliver them from evil." The Hebrew is literally, A righteous one looketh on the house of the wicked: he precipitates the wicked to destruction. There is no change of subject in the two clauses, and "a righteous One" (tsaddik) is God, put indeterminately to excite the greater awe (comp. Job 34:17). The Lord keeps the sinners under his eye, that he may punish them at the fit moment (comp. Proverbs 22:12; Job 12:19). The notion of God's moral government of the universe prevails most strongly in every pronouncement of the writer. The LXX. interprets "the house" as heart and conscience, and renders, "A righteous man understands the hearts of the godless, and despises the impious in their wickednesses;" he sees through their outward felicity, knows well its unreality, and despises them for the low aims and pursuits which satisfy them. 6 The gaining of treasures by a lying tongue

   Is a fleeting breath of such as seek death.

One may, at any rate, after the free manner of gnomic resemblances and comparisons, regard "fleeting breath" and "such as seek death" as two separated predicates: such gain is fleeting breath, so those who gain are seeking death (Caspari's Beitrge zu Jes. p. 53). But it is also syntactically admissible to interpret the words rendered "seekers of death" as gen.; for such interruptions of the st. constr., as here by נדּף [fleeting], frequently occur, e.g., Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 32:13; 1 Chronicles 9:13; and that an idea, in spite of such interruption, may be thought of as gen., is seen from the Arab.

(Note: Vid., Friedr. Philippi's Status constructus, p. 17, Anm. 3; and cf. therewith such constructions as (Arab.) mân'u faḍlah âlmanhtâji, i.e., a refuser of the needy, his beneficence equals one who denies to the needy his beneficence.)

But the text is unsettled. Symmachus, Syr., Targ., the Venet., and Luther render the phrase מבקשׁי [seekers]; but the lxx and Jerome read מוקשׁי [snares] (cf. 1 Timothy 6:9); this word Rashi also had before him (vid., Norzi), and Kennicott found it in several Codd. Bertheau prefers it, for he translates: ...is fleeting breath, snares of death; Ewald and Hitzig go further, for, after the lxx, they change the whole proverb into: מות (בּמוקשׁי) הבל רדף אל־מוקשׁי, with פּעל in the first line. But διώκει of the lxx is an incorrect rendering of נדף, which the smuggling in of the ἐπὶ (παγίδας θανάτου) drew after it, without our concluding therefrom that אל־מוקשׁי, or למוקשׁי (Lagarde), lay before the translators; on the contrary, the word which (Cappellus) lay before them, מוקשׁי, certainly deserves to be preferred to מבקשׁי: the possession is first, in view of him who has gotten it, compared to a fleeting (נדּף, as Isaiah 42:2) breath (cf. e.g., smoke, Psalm 68:3), and then, in view of the inheritance itself and its consequences, is compared to the snares of death (Proverbs 13:14; Proverbs 14:27); for in פּעל (here equivalent to עשׂות, acquisitio, Genesis 31:1; Deuteronomy 8:17) lie together the ideas of him who procures and of the thing that is procured or effected (vid., at Proverbs 20:11).

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