Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 24:15-16. Lay not wait, &c., against the dwelling of the righteous — Against his person, or family, or possessions. Do him no injury, either by subtle and secret devices, or, as it follows, by manifest violence. For a just man falleth — Into calamities, of which he evidently speaks both in the foregoing verse, and in the opposite and following branch of this verse; and in this sense the same word, נפל, is used in the next verse, and in many other places. It is never applied to sin; but, when set in opposition to the word riseth up, implies affliction or calamity, as Micah 7:8; Amos 8:4; Jeremiah 25:27; Psalm 34:19-20. These words are commonly, not only in sermons, but in books, applied to the falling into sin; and, that men may the more securely indulge themselves in their sins, and yet think themselves good men, they have added something to them; for the words are commonly cited thus: A just man falleth seven times a day, which last words, a day: or, in a day, are not in any translation of the Bible, much less in the original, but only in some corrupt editions of the vulgar Latin, which, against the plain scope of the context, and the meaning of the words, seems to understand this place of falling into sin. See Bishop Patrick. But the plain meaning is that which is given above, and seven times is put for frequently. The righteous fall frequently into trouble. But the wicked shall fall into mischief — Into unavoidable and irrecoverable destruction, ofttimes in this life, and infallibly in the next. Job 5:19). In contrast with this is the fate of the evildoers, who fall utterly even in a single distress. Lay not wait; do him no injury, either by subtle and secret devices, or, as it follows, by manifest violence.
Against the dwelling of the righteous; against his person, or family, or possession. 1 Samuel 19:11; or to take an opportunity and get into it and plunder it, as follows;
spoil not his resting place: by pulling it down, or stripping it of its furniture; by robbing him of the substance in it, and thus disturbing his rest, and destroying the place of it; or the place where he lies down as a sheep in its fold, or as the shepherd in his cottage, of which the words in the text are used; and so denote that as the righteous man is like a sheep, harmless and innocent, those that lay in wait for him and spoil him are no other than wolves.Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. O wicked man], Or, as a wicked man.
dwelling … resting place] or pasture … fold (R.V. marg.); making the picture pastoral.Verses 15, 16. - A warning against plotting for the ruin of a good man's house, with a view doubtless of profiting by the disaster. Verse 15. - Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous. רָשָׁע (rasha) is vocative (comp. Ezekiel 33:8); taken appositionally, as in Revised Version margin, "as a wicked man," it is senseless; for how could he lay wait in any other character? Spoil not his resting-place. "Spoil," as Proverbs 19:26 (where see note). Drive him not from his house by violence and chicanery. Vulgate, "Seek not impiety in the house of the righteous;" do not attempt to cloak your insidious designs by detecting some evil in the good man, and making yourself the instrument of retribution, as if you were doing God service in afflicting him (John 16:2). Septuagint, "Bring not an ungodly man into the pasture (νομῇ) of the righteous, neither be thou deceived by the feasting of the belly." Proverbs 24:8, and by אויל with Proverbs 24:7; it places the fool and the mocker over against one another.
The undertaking of folly is sin;
And an abomination to men is the scorner.
Since it is certain that for 9b the subject is "the scorner," so also "sin" is to be regarded as the subject of 9a. The special meaning flagitium, as Proverbs 21:27, זמּה will then not have here, but it derives it from the root-idea "to contrive, imagine," and signifies first only the collection and forthputting of the thoughts towards a definite end (Job 17:11), particularly the refined preparation, the contrivance of a sinful act. In a similar way we speak of a sinful beginning or undertaking. But if one regards sin in itself, or in its consequences, it is always a contrivance or desire of folly (gen. subjecti), or: one that bears on itself (gen. qualitatis) the character of folly; for it disturbs and destroys the relation of man to God and man, and rests, as Socrates in Plato says, on a false calculation. And the mocker (the mocker at religion and virtue) is תועבת לאדם. The form of combination stands here before a word with ל, as at Job 18:2; Job 24:5, and frequently. but why does not the poet say directly תועבת אדם? Perhaps to leave room for the double sense, that the mocker is not only an abomination to men, viz., to the better disposed; but also, for he makes others err as to their faith, and draws them into his frivolous thoughts, becomes to them a cause of abomination, i.e., of such conduct and of such thoughts as are an abomination before God (Proverbs 15:9, Proverbs 15:26).
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