Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Hell and destruction.—See above on Proverbs 15:11.Proverbs 27:20. Hell and destruction are never full — The grave devours all the bodies which are put into it, and is always ready to receive and devour more and more without end; so the eyes of man are never satisfied — That is, his desires, which work and discover themselves by his eyes.Ecclesiastes 1:8. Hell and destruction are never full; the grave devours all the bodies which are put into it, and is always ready to receive and devour more and more without end.
The eyes, i.e. the desires, which work and discover themselves by the eyes, 1Jo 2:16, and other senses; for otherwise the eyes in themselves are neither capable of satisfaction nor of dissatisfaction. Ezekiel 39:11; and by the Septuagint there Polyandrion, which is the name the Greeks give to a burying place, because many men are buried there; and with the Latins the dead are called Plures (o), the many, or the more; and yet the grave is never satisfied with them, Proverbs 30:16. Or hell, the place of everlasting damnation and destruction, is meant, which has received multitudes of souls already, and where there is room for more, nor will it be full until the last day;
so the eyes of man are never satisfied; as not the eyes of his body with seeing corporeal objects, but still are desirous of seeing more, and indeed everything that is to be seen, and are never glutted, Ecclesiastes 1:8; so neither the eyes of the carnal mind, or the lusts of it, which are insatiable things, let the objects of them be what they will; as in an ambitious man, a covetous person, or an unclean one.
(o) Plauti Trinum, Acts 2. Sc. 2. v. 14.Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. Hell and destruction] See Proverbs 15:11, note.
full] Rather, satisfied, the Heb. word being the same as at the end of the verse. Comp. Ecclesiastes 1:8; Ecclesiastes 4:8.Verse 20. - Hell and destruction are never full. "Hell" is sheol, the under-world, Hades, the place of the departed; "destruction" is the great depth, the second death, personified (see on Proverbs 15:11, where the terms also occur). These "are never satisfied," they are insatiable, all-devouring (comp. Proverbs 30:16; Isaiah 5:14; Habakkuk 2:5). So the eyes of man are never satisfied. The verb is the same in both clauses, and ought to have been so translated. The eye is taken as the representative of concupiscence in general. What is true of "the lust of the eyes" (1 John 2:16) is true of all the senses; the craving for their gratification grows as it is fed. Therefore the senses should be carefully guarded, lest they lead to excess and transgression. "Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity," said the psalmist, "and quicken me in thy way" (Psalm 119:37). The LXX. here introduces a paragraph not in the Hebrew or the Latin Versions: "He that fixes (στηρίζων) his eye [i.e. staring impudently] is an abomination to the Lord, and the uninstructed restrain not their tongue." Proverbs 27:9 and Proverbs 27:10. It is directed against cringing, noisy complimenting:
He who blesseth his neighbour with a loud voice, rising early in the morning,
It is reckoned as a curse to him.
The first line is intentionally very heavy, in order to portray the empressement of the maker of compliments: he calls out to another his good wishes with a loud voice, so as to make the impression of deep veneration, of deeply felt thankfulness, but in reality to gain favour thereby, and to commend himself to greater acts of kindness; he sets himself to meet him, having risen up (השׁכּים, adverbial inf. abs.; cf. Jeremiah 44:4 with Jeremiah 25:4) early in the morning, to offer his captatio benevolentiae as speedily as possible; but this salutation of good wishes, the affected zeal in presenting which is a sign of a selfish, calculating, servile soul, is reckoned to him as קללה, viz., before God and every one who can judge correctly of human nature, also before him who is complimented in so ostentatious and troublesome a manner, the true design of which is thus seen. Others understand the proverb after the example of Berachoth 14a, that one ought to salute no one till he has said his morning's prayer, because honour is due before all to God (the Book of Wisdom, 10:28); and others after Erachin 16a, according to which one is meant who was invited as a guest of a generous lord, and was liberally entertained, and who now on the public streets blesses him, i.e., praises him for his nobility of mind - such blessing is a curse to him whom it concerns, because this trumpeting of his praise brings upon him a troublesome, importunate crowd. But plainly the particularity of 'בּקול וגו lays the chief emphasis on the servility manifested; and one calls to mind the case of the clients besieging the doors of their patrons, those clientes matutini, each of whom sought to be the first in the salutatio of his distinguished wealthy patron.
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