Proverbs 27:4
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) But who is able to stand before envy?—Rather, jealousy. (Comp. Proverbs 6:34.) “Wrath” and “anger” rage for awhile like a storm, and then subside; but jealousy can never be completely set at rest.

Proverbs 27:4. Wrath is cruel — And doth many barbarous things; and anger is outrageous — Often depriving a man of the proper use of his reason, and hurrying him into many mischiefs and miseries; but who is able to stand before envy? — Envy is worse than both of them, 1st, Because it is more unjust and unreasonable, as not being caused by any provocation, as wrath and anger are; but proceeding from mere malignity of mind, whereby a man is grieved for another man’s happiness, in which he ought to rejoice; 2d, Because it is more deeply rooted and implacable, whereas the other passions are commonly allayed; and, 3d, Because it is more secret and undiscernible, and therefore the mischievous effects of it are hardly avoidable, whereas wrath and anger discover themselves, and so forewarn and forearm a man against danger.

27:1 We know not what a day may bring forth. This does not forbid preparing for to-morrow, but presuming upon to-morrow. We must not put off the great work of conversion, that one thing needful. 2. There may be occasion for us to justify ourselves, but not to praise ourselves. 3,4. Those who have no command of their passions, sink under the load. 5,6. Plain and faithful rebukes are better, not only than secret hatred, but than love which compliments in sin, to the hurt of the soul. 7. The poor have a better relish of their enjoyments, and are often more thankful for them, than the rich. In like manner the proud and self-sufficient disdain the gospel; but those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, find comfort from the meanest book or sermon that testifies of Christ Jesus. 8. Every man has his proper place in society, where he may be safe and comfortable.Envy - Better, as in the margin, the violence of passion in the husband who thinks himself wronged (compare Proverbs 6:34). 4. envy—or, "jealousy" (compare Margin; Pr 6:34), is more unappeasable than the simpler bad passions. Envy is worse than both of them, partly, because it is more unjust and unreasonable, as not caused by any provocation, as wrath and anger are, but only proceeding from a malignity of mind, whereby a man is grieved for another man’s happiness, in which he should rejoice; partly, because it is more deeply rooted and implacable, whereas the other passions are commonly allayed; and partly, because it is more secret and undiscernible, and therefore the mischievous effects of it are hardly avoidable; whereas wrath and anger discover themselves, and so forewarn and forearm a man against the danger.

Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous,.... Or "an inundation" (x); it is like the breaking in of the sea, or a flood of mighty waters, which know no bounds, and there is no stopping them: so cruel and outrageous were the wrath and anger of Simeon and Levi, in destroying the Shechemites; of Pharaoh, in making the Israelites to serve with hard bondage, and ordering their male children to be killed and drowned; and of Herod, in murdering the infants in and about Bethlehem;

but who is able to stand before envy? which is secret in a man's heart, and privately contrives and works the ruin of another, and against which there no guarding. All mankind in Adam fell before the envy of Satan; for it was through the envy of the devil that sin and death came into the world, in the Apocrypha:

"Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.'' (Wisdom 2:24)

Abel could not stand before the envy of Cain; nor Joseph before the envy of his brethren; nor Christ before the envy of the Jews, his bitter enemies; and, where it is, there is confusion and every evil work, James 3:14. An envious man is worse than an angry and wrathful man; his wrath and anger may be soon over, or there may be ways and means of appeasing him; but envy continues and abides, and works insensibly.

(x) "inundatio", Michaelis, so Montanus, Vatablus, Tigurine version, "exundatio", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "inundatio salcans", Schultens.

Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before {b} envy?

(b) For the envious are obstinate, and cannot be reconciled.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. envy] Rather, jealousy. Comp. Proverbs 6:34.

Verse 4. - Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous. Again substantives are used, as in ver. 3, "Cruelty of wrath, and overflowing of anger." Figure to yourself the fierceness and cruelty of a sudden excitement of anger, or the bursting forth of passion which, like a flood, carries all before it; these may be violent for a time, yet they will subside when they have spent themselves. But who is able to stand before envy? or rather, jealousy. The reference is not so much to the general feeling of envy as to the outraged love in the relation of husband and wife (see Proverbs 6:34, and note there). Song of Solomon 8:6, "Love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the flashes thereof are flashes of fire, a very vehement flame." Such jealousy does not blaze forth in some sudden outbreak, and then die away; it lives and broods and feeds itself hourly with fresh aliment, and is ready to act at any moment, hesitating at no means to gratify itself, and sacrificing without mercy its victim. Septuagint, "Pitiless is wrath, and sharp is anger; but jealousy (ζῆλος) submits to nothing." Proverbs 27:44 The madness of anger, and the overflowing of wrath -

   And before jealousy who keeps his place!

Here also the two pairs of words 4a stand in connection; אכזריּוּת (for which the Cod. Jaman has incorrectly אכזריות) is the connecting form; vid., regarding אכזרי, Proverbs 5:9. Let one imagine the blind, relentless rage of extreme excitement and irritation, a boiling over of anger like a water-flood, which bears everything down along with it - these paroxysms of wrath do not usually continue long, and it is possible to appease them; but jealousy is a passion that not only rages, but reckons calmly; it incessantly ferments through the mind, and when it breaks forth, he perishes irretrievably who is its object. Fleischer generalizes this idea: "enmity proceeding from hatred, envy, or jealousy, it is difficult or altogether impossible to withstand, since it puts into operation all means, both secretly and openly, to injure the enemy." But after Proverbs 6:34., cf. Sol 8:8, there is particularly meant the passion of scorned, mortified, deceived love, viz., in the relation of husband and wife.

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