Proverbs 21:3
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) To do justice and judgment, &c—See above on Proverbs 10:2.

Is more acceptable than sacrifice.—See above on 15:8.

21:1 The believer, perceiving that the Lord rules every heart as he sees fit, like the husbandman who turns the water through his grounds as he pleases, seeks to have his own heart, and the hearts of others, directed in his faith, fear, and love. 2. We are partial in judging ourselves and our actions. 3. Many deceive themselves with a conceit that outward devotions will excuse unrighteousness. 4. Sin is the pride, the ambition, the glory, the joy, and the business of wicked men. 5. The really diligent employ foresight as well as labour. 6. While men seek wealth by unlawful practices, they seek death. 7. Injustice will return upon the sinner, and will destroy him here and for ever. 8. The way of mankind by nature is froward and strange.Compare the marginal reference. The words have a special significance as coming from the king who had built the temple, and had offered sacrifices that could not be numbered for multitude" 1 Kings 8:5. 3. (Compare Ps 50:7-15; Isa 1:11, 17). Justice and judgment; the conscientious performance of all our duties to men.

Than sacrifice; than the most costly outward services offered to God, joined with the neglect of our moral duties to God or men. The same thing is affirmed 1 Samuel 15:22 Hosea 6:6 Micah 6:7.

To do justice and judgment,.... The moral duties of religion, what is holy, just, and good, which the law requires; what is agreeably to both tables, piety towards God, and justice to men; that which is just and right between man and man; which, especially if done from right principles and with right views,

is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice; not than any sacrifice; than the sacrifice of a broken heart, or the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, or of acts of goodness and beneficence, or of a man's whole self to the Lord; but than ceremonial sacrifices; which, though of divine institution, and typical of Christ, and when offered up in the faith of him, were acceptable to God, while in force; yet not when done without faith and in hypocrisy, and especially when done to cover and countenance immoral actions; and, even when compared with moral duties, the latter were preferable to them; see 1 Samuel 15:22.

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. Comp. 1 Samuel 15:22; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:6-8.

Verse 3. - To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. The superiority of moral obedience to ceremonial worship is often inculcated (see note on Proverbs 15:8, and below, ver. 27; and comp. Micah 6:6-8 and Matthew 12:7). "Justice" and "judgment" (tsedakah and mishpat) are combined in Genesis 18:19; 2 Samuel 8:15; Job 37:23; Isaiah 56:1, etc. They imply equity and justice proceeding, not from bare regard to law, but from the principle of love. Septuagint, "To do justify and to speak the truth are more pleasing to God than the blood of sacrifices." Proverbs 21:33 To practice justice and right

   Hath with Jahve the pre-eminence above sacrifice.

We have already (vol. i. p. 42) shown how greatly this depreciation of the works of the ceremonial cultus, as compared with the duties of moral obedience, is in the spirit of the Chokma; cf. also at Proverbs 15:8. Prophecy also gives its testimony, e.g., Hosea 6:7, according to which also here (cf. Proverbs 20:8 with Isaiah 9:8) the practising of צדקה וּמשׁפּט (sequence of words as at Genesis 18:19; Psalm 33:5, elsewhere צדק ומשׁפט, and yet more commonly משׁפט וצדקה) does not denote legal rigour, but the practising of the justum et aequum, or much rather the aequum et bonum, thus in its foundation conduct proceeding from the principle of love. The inf. עשׂה (like קנה, Proverbs 16:16) occurs three times (here and at Genesis 50:20; Psalm 101:3); once עשׂו is written (Genesis 31:18), as also in the infin. absol. the form עשׂה mro and עשׂו interchange (vid., Norzi at Jeremiah 22:4); once עשׂהוּ for עשׂותו (Exodus 18:18) occurs in the status conjunctus.

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