The way of man is fraudulent and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The way of man is froward and strange.—The words may also mean “Tortuous is the way of a man who is laden with sin.” (Comp. Proverbs 2:15.)The way of man; the course of his life. Of man; of every man; of man by nature and in his corrupt estate; of a wicked or impure man, to whom the pure is opposed in the next clause.
Strange; estranged from God and from man’s primitive integrity, and from the rule of his actions, reason and Scripture; in which respects wicked men are called strangers, Psalm 54:3 Ezekiel 44:7, and elsewhere.
But as for the pure, his work is right; but he whose heart is pure and upright, his conversation is agreeable to it.
but as for the pure, his work is right. God is pure, purity itself, in comparison of whom nothing is pure; and his work in creation, providence, and grace, is right; there is no unrighteousness in him; and this sense is favoured by the Septuagint and Arabic versions: or rather every good man, who, through the pure righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and through his precious blood being sprinkled on him, or rather through being washed in it, and through the grace of God bestowed on him, is pure, wholly cleansed from sin; has a pure heart, speaks a pure language, and holds the mystery of faith in a pure conscience or conversation: and his work, or the work of God upon him, is right and good; or his work of faith, which he exercises on God, is hearty and genuine: and even his works, as the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, have it in the plural number; all his good works are right; being done from love, in faith, in the name and strength of Christ, and to the glory of God.The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. The way of man is froward and strange] Rather, very crooked is the way of a man laden with guilt; as was the way of David when he was laden with the guilt of adultery, 2 Samuel 11. The annals of crime in every land and age illustrate the proverb.Verse 8. - The way of man is froward and strange; Vulgate, Perversa via viri, aliens est. Both this and the Authorized Version miss the antithesis between the guilty and the pure man, which is intended. In וזר, translated "and strange" (which seems to mean "alien from what is right"), the vav is not the copulative, but part of the word, which is an adjective signifying "laden with guilt;" so that the clause ought to be rendered, "Crooked is the way of a guilty man" (see note on Proverbs 2:15, where, however, the word is different, though the idea is analogous). An evil man's way of life is not open and straightforward, simple and uniform, but stealthy, crooked, perverse, whither his evil inclinations lead him. Septuagint, "To the crooked (σκολιοὺς) God sendeth crooked ways;" which recalls Psalm 18:26, "With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the perverse thou wilt show thyself froward." God allows the wicked to punish themselves by falling into mischief. As for the pure, his work is right; or, straight (Proverbs 20:11). The pure in heart will be right in action; he follows his conscience and God's law, and goes direct on his course without turning or hesitation. The LXX. refers the clause to God: "for pure and right are his ways." Proverbs 21:2 to Proverbs 21:8, where it closes as it began.
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes;
But a weigher of hearts is Jahve.
A proverb similar to Proverbs 16:2 (where דּרכי, for דּרך, זך for ישׁר, רוּחות for לבּות). God is also, Proverbs 17:3, called a trier, בּחן, of hearts, as He is here called a weigher, תּכן. The proverb indirectly admonishes us of the duty of constant self-examination, according to the objective norm of the revealed will of God, and warns us against the self-complacency of the fool, of whom Proverbs 12:15 says (as Trimberg in "Renner"): "all fools live in the pleasant feeling that their life is the best," and against the self-deception which walks in the way of death and dreams of walking in the way of life, Proverbs 14:12 (Proverbs 16:25).
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