Proverbs 24:18
Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
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(18) And he turn away his wrath from him.—Upon thee as having sinned more deeply than thine enemy in thus rejoicing at his misfortunes. (Comp. Proverbs 17:5.)

24:17,18. The pleasure we are apt to take in the troubles of an enemy is forbidden. 19,20. Envy not the wicked their prosperity; be sure there is no true happiness in it. 21,22. The godly in the land, will be quiet in the land. There may be cause to change for the better, but have nothing to do with them that are given change. 23-26. The wisdom God giveth, renders a man fit for his station. Every one who finds the benefit of the right answer, will be attached to him that gave it. 27. We must prefer necessaries before conveniences, and not go in debt.See the margin. The meaning is "Thy joy will be suicidal, the wrath of the righteous Judge will be turned upon thee, as the greater offender, and thou wilt have to bear a worse evil than that which thou exultest in." 17, 18. Yet let none rejoice over the fate of evildoers, lest God punish their wrong spirit by relieving the sufferer (compare Pr 17:5; Job 31:29). Understand, upon thee, which is implied in the Hebrew phrase, such defects being usual in that concise language, Psalm 84:11 Proverbs 19:1, and oft elsewhere. This consideration strikes at the root of that sinful and inhuman disposition, which is an expectation of safety or advantage to himself by his enemy’s downfall, which, saith he, by this very mean thou shalt lose, for thine enemy shall be raised, and thy danger greatly increased, by thy provoking both God and him against thee.

Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him,.... Who sees all things, not only external actions, but the heart, and the inward motions of it; and though men may hide the pleasure they feel at the misery of an enemy from others, they cannot hide it from the Lord; nor is this said by way of doubt, but as a certain thing; and which the Lord not barely sees, but takes notice of, and to such a degree as to resent it, and show his displeasure at it by taking the following step;

and he turn away his wrath from him; remove the effects of it, raise him out of his fallen and distressed condition, and restore him to his former prosperous one; and not only so, but turn it upon thee, as Gersom supplies the words, and not amiss; so that there is a strange and sudden change of circumstances; thou that was pleasing thyself with the distress of thine enemy art fallen into the same, and he is delivered out of it; which must be a double affliction to such a man; so that by rejoicing at an enemy, he is doing his enemy good and himself hurt; see Proverbs 17:5.

Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath {f} from him.

(f) To be avenged on you.

18. from him] Some commentators would add, “upon thee”; “et irascatur contra te,” Münster. It is better to leave the proverb as it stands, and to supplement its teaching by such proverbs as Proverbs 24:29, Proverbs 25:21-22.

Verse 18. - Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him. This malignant pleasure at others' misfortunes (which Aristotle, 'Eth. Nic.,' 2:7. 15, calls ἐπιχαιρεκακία) is a sin in the eyes of God, and calls for punishment. And he turn away his wrath from him; and, as is implied, direct it upon thee. But it seems a mean motive to adduce, if the maxim is taken baldly to mean, "Do not rejoice at your enemy's calamity, lest God relieve him from the evil:" for true charity would wish for such a result. Bode considers "his wrath" to be the enemy's ill will against thee, which God by his grace changes to love, and thou art thus covered with confusion and shame for thy former vindictiveness. But the point is not so much the removal of God's displeasure from the enemy as the punishment of the malignant man, either mentally or materially. To a malignant mind no severer blow could be given than to see a foe recover God's favor and rise from his fall. The moralist then warns the disciple against giving way to this ἐπιχαιρεκακία lest he prepare for himself bitter mortification by having to witness the restoration of the hated one, or by being himself made to suffer that evil which he had rejoiced to see his neighbour experience (comp. Proverbs 17:5, and note there). Proverbs 24:18Warning against a vindictive disposition, and joy over its satisfaction.

17 At the fall of thine enemy rejoice not,

     And at his overthrow let not thine heart be glad;

18 That Jahve see it not, and it be displeasing to Him,

     And He turns away His anger from Him.

The Chethı̂b, which in itself, as the plur. of category, אויביך, might be tolerable, has 17b against it: with right, all interpreters adhere to the Kerı̂ אויבך (with i from ē in doubled close syllable, as in the like Kerı̂, 1 Samuel 24:5). וּבבּשׁלו, for וּבהכּשׁלו, is the syncope usual in the inf. Niph. and Hiph., which in Niph. occurs only once with the initial guttural (as בּעטף) or half guttural (לראות). רעו is not adj. here as at 1 Samuel 25:3, but perf. with the force of a fut. (Symmachus: καὶ μὴ ἀρέσῃ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ). The proverb extends the duty of love even to an enemy; for it requires that we do good to him and not evil, and warns against rejoicing when evil befalls him. Hitzig, indeed, supposes that the noble morality which is expressed in Proverbs 24:17 is limited to a moderate extent by the motive assigned in 18b. Certainly the poet means to say that God could easily give a gracious turn for the better, as to the punishment of the wicked, to the decree of his anger against his enemy; but his meaning is not this, that one, from joy at the misfortune of others, ought to desist from interrupting the process of the destruction of his enemy, and let it go on to its end; but much rather, that one ought to abstain from this joy, so as not to experience the manifestation of God's displeasure thereat, but His granting grace to him against whom we rejoice to see God's anger go forth.

(Note: This proverb, according to Aboth iv. 24, was the motto of that Samuel with the surname הקטן, who formulated ברכת המינים (the interpolation in the Schemone-Esre prayer directed against the schismatics): he thus distinguished between private enemies and the enemies of the truth.)

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