My son, fear you the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Them that are given to change.—Perhaps rather, those who think differently.Proverbs 24:21-22. My son, fear thou the Lord and the king — Honour and obey both God and the king, and all in authority. He properly puts God before the king, because God is to be served in the first place, and our obedience is to be paid to kings only in subordination to God, and not in those things which are contrary to God’s will and command; and meddle not with them that are given to change — Hebrew, שׁונים אל תתערב
עם, literally, mix not thyself with changers, or changeable persons, that is, join not in the counsels, practices, or familiar conversation of those that love changes; that are unstable in their obedience to God, or to the king, and are prone to rebel against either of them. For their calamity shall rise suddenly — An unexpected and dreadful evil shall unavoidably and violently seize on them. And who knoweth the ruin of them both — Who can conceive how sudden and sore the destruction will be, both of them that fear not God, and of them that fear not the king! For they have two potent and terrible enemies; whom, if they will not obey out of conscience, as their duty enjoins them, yet they ought to obey, at least, for their own sakes, and for fear of those severe punishments which will certainly be inflicted on all rebels and disobedient persons.
meddle … change—(Compare Margin), literally, "mingle not yourself," avoid the society of restless persons.Fear thou the Lord and the king; honour and obey both God and the king, and all in authority. He puts God before the king, because God is to be served in the first place, and our obedience is to be giver, to kings only in subordination to God, and not in those things which are contrary to the will and command of God, as is manifest both from plain Scripture, as Acts 5:29, and from the judgment and practice of wise and sober heathens.
Meddle not with them, Heb. mix not thyself with them, either in their counsels and practices, or in familiar conversation, that are given to change; that love or use changes; that are unstable in their obedience to God or to the king, and are prone to rebellion against either of them. Those men that wickedly forsake God, and break his laws, are said to change their God, Jeremiah 2:11, and to
change God’s judgments and ordinances, Isaiah 24:5 Ezekiel 5:6. 1 Peter 2:13;
and meddle not with them that are given to change; in political things; that are for new laws, new forms of government, a new ministry, and a new king; never easy with the government under which they are, but are continually entering into plots, conspiracies, and rebellions, who, instead of fearing God and the king, change the laws and commandments of God and the king, and therefore to be shunned. Some render it, "with rebels"; the Targum and Syriac version, "with fools"; as all such persons are, and should be avoided as scandalous and dangerous: mix not with them, as the word (s) signifies; keep no company, and have no conversation with them, lest you be brought into danger and mischief by them. Or who are given to change in religious things; make innovations in doctrine and practice, always love to hear or say some now thing; turn with every wind, and shift as that does; are tossed about with every wind of doctrine, fickle and inconstant, carried about like meteors in the air, with "divers and strange doctrines"; such as disagree with the perfections of God, the doctrines of Christ and his apostles, the Scriptures of truth, the analogy of faith, anti form of sound words; and so the word here used signifies "divers", and is so rendered Esther 3:8; and may design such who hold doctrines and give into practices divers and different from the faith once delivered to the saints, and from the institutions and appointments of Christ; innovations in doctrine and worship ought not to be admitted of; and such who are for introducing them should not be meddled or mixed with; they should not be countenanced and encouraged; they should not be attended upon or given heed unto; have no fellowship, and join not in communion with them. This is interpreted by some of such who repeat (t) their sins after repentance, or who return a second time to their wickedness after they have repented, as Ben Melech observes.
(s) "ne misceas te", Pagninus, Montanus; "ne commisceto te", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, so Michaelis, Schultens. (t) "cum iterantibus", Pagninus, Montanus; "sub iniquitates suas"; so some in Vatablus, Baynus.My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. given to change] i.e. are of a revolutionary and subversive spirit, whether in religion or in politics.Verses 21, 22. - An injunction urging loyalty to God and the king. Verse 21. - Fear thou the Lord and the king. The king is God's vicegerent and representative, and therefore to be honoured and obeyed (see Ecclesiastes 8:2; Ecclesiastes 10:20; 1 Peter 2:17). Meddle not with them that are given to change. There is some doubt about the intepretation of the last word שׁונִים (shonim), which may mean those who change, innovators (in which transitive sense the verb does not elsewhere occur), or those who think differently, dissidents, who respect neither God nor the king. The verb שָׁנָה signifies transitively "to repeat," and intransitively "to be changed;" so it may be most accurately translated here, with Delitzsch, "those who are otherwise disposed," who have not the proper sentiments of fear and honour for God and the king. St. Jerome has, Et cum detractoribus non commiscearis, by which word he probably means what we call revolutionists, persons who disparage and despise all authority. Septuagint, "Fear God and the king, and disobey neither of them." The verse has been largely used as a text by preachers who desired to recommend loyalty and to censure disaffection and rebellion. It has been a favourite motto for discourses on the Gunpowder Treason and the execution of Charles I.
Assault not his resting-place.
16 For seven times doth the righteous fall and rise again,
But the wicked are overthrown when calamity falls on them.
The ארב [lying in wait] and שׁדּד [practising violence], against which the warning is here given, are not directed, as at Proverbs 1:11; Proverbs 19:26, immediately against the person, but against the dwelling-place and resting-place (רבץ, e.g., Jeremiah 50:6, as also נוה, 3:33) of the righteous, who, on his part, does injustice and wrong to no one; the warning is against coveting his house, Exodus 20:17, and driving him by cunning and violence out of it. Instead of רשׁע, Symmachus and Jerome have incorrectly read רשׁע daer, and from this misunderstanding have here introduced a sense without sense into Proverbs 24:15; many interpreters (Lwenstein, Ewald, Elster, and Zckler) translate with Luther appositionally: as a wicked man, i.e., "with mischievous intent," like one stealthily lurking for the opportunity of taking possession of the dwelling of another, as if this could be done with a good intent: רשׁע is the vocative (Syr., Targ., Venet.: ἀσεβές), and this address (cf. Psalm 75:5.) sharpens the warning, for it names him who acts in this manner by the right name. The reason, 16a, sounds like an echo of Job 5:19. שׁבע signifies, as at Psalm 119:164, seven times; cf. מאה, Proverbs 17:10. וקם (not וקם) is perf. consec., as וחי, e.g., Genesis 3:22 : and he rises afterwards (notwithstanding), but the transgressors come to ruin; בּרעה, if a misfortune befall them (cf. Proverbs 14:32), they stumble and fall, and rise no more.
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