A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that makes haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A faithful man, who is true to God and man, “shall abound with blessings” from God and man. Comp. Job’s description of his own blameless life and the blessings attending it (Job 29).A faithful man, Heb. a man of truth, or truths, who deals truly and justly in all his bargains and transactions with men.
That maketh haste; more than God alloweth him; that taketh the nearest and readiest way to riches, whether it be right or wrong; that is unfaithful and unjust in his dealings.
Shall not be innocent; shall not obtain the blessings which he seeks, but shall bring curses and miseries upon him instead of them. Revelation 17:14. It is in the original, "a man of truths" (x); one that has the truth of grace in him; that knows the grace of God in truth; with whom the truth of the Gospel is; who has learnt it, known it, embraced it, values it, and abides by it; and who has a concern with Christ, who is the truth, who is formed, lives, and dwells in his heart; of whom he has made a good profession, and holds it fast, and whom he cleaves unto. The character of "faithful" belongs both to the true ministers of Christ, who preach the pure Gospel, and the whole of it; who seek not to please men, but God; and not themselves, and their own glory, but the things of Christ, and his glory; and continue to do so in the face of all opposition: and to private Christians, the faithful in Christ Jesus; who truly believe in him, stand by his truths, abide by his ordinances, and are faithful to one another, and continue so till death: these abound with the blessings of the covenant of grace, with all spiritual blessings in Christ, with the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ; they have an abundance of grace in them, given them in conversion, faith, hope, love, humility, and many other graces, in the exercise of which they are made to abound; and they have an abundance of blessings of grace bestowed on them, pardon of sin, a justifying righteousness, adoption, meetness for and right unto eternal life; they have Christ, and all things along with him; so that they may be truly said to have all things, and abound;
but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent; he that is over anxious, and immoderately desirous of being rich, and pursues every method of obtaining his desires, with all his might and main; that labours night and day for it; though he takes no criminal nor unlawful methods, properly so called, nor does he do anything injurious to others, yet he is not innocent; that too much anxiety in him is criminal; nor is he free from covetousness; see Proverbs 23:4; and if he uses any unjust and unlawful means to acquire wealth, and resolves to be rich, right or wrong, "per fas, per nefas", he shall not be innocent, neither before God nor men: so the Targum renders it,
"he that runs into iniquity, that he may be rich;''
and indeed when a man hastily, or in a short time, becomes rich, though he cannot be directly charged with fraud and injustice, yet he is not innocent in the minds of men, or free from their suspicious and jealousies of him. A man that makes haste to be rich is opposed to him that is faithful and true to his word and contracts, and is the same that Juvenal (y) calls "avarus properans"; see 1 Timothy 6:9.A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)20. faithful] i.e., as the second clause shews, one who puts fidelity above gain. Comp. Psalm 15:4.
innocent] Rather, unpunished, A.V. marg. and R.V. οὐκ ἀτιμώρητος ἔσται, LXX.Verse 20. - A faithful man shall abound with blessings. "Faithful," as in Proverbs 20:6, one on whom one can depend, honest and upright. Septuagint, ἀξιόπιστος. The blessings signified are such as come from God and man. Men will utter his name with praise and benediction (comp. Job 29:8, etc.), and God will show his approval by sending material prosperity. He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent (comp. ver. 22, and note there; Proverbs 13:11; Proverbs 20:21; Proverbs 21:5). One who is only anxious to become quickly rich, and is unscrupulous as to means, cannot be "a faithful man," and therefore cannot be blessed. Instead of "innocent," many expositors render "unpunished" (as Proverbs 17:5), which better contrasts with the blessings mentioned in the first hemistich, though the two ideas are coordinate. On this haste of covetousness, Juvenal writes ('Sat.,' 14:173) -
"Inde fere scelerum causae; nec plura venena
Miscuit aut ferro grassatur saepius ullum
Humanae mentis vitium, quam saeva cupido
Immodici census; nam dives qui fieri vult,
Et cito vult fieri. Sed quae reverentia legum,
Quis metus aut pudor est unquam properantis avari?" The Septuagint waters down the gnome, "But the wicked shall not be unpunished."
But he that is stiff-necked shall fall into mischief.
The Piel פּחד occurs elsewhere only at Isaiah 51:13, where it is used of the fear and dread of men; here it denotes the anxious concern with which one has to guard against the danger of evil coming upon his soul. Aben Ezra makes God the object; but rather we are to regard sin as the object, for while the truly pious is one that "fears God," he is at the same time one that "feareth evil." The antithesis extends beyond the nearest lying contrast of fleshly security; this is at the same time more or less one who hardens or steels his heart (מקשׁה לבּו), viz., against the word of God, against the sons of God in his heart, and against the affectionate concern of others about his soul, and as such rushes on to his own destruction (יפּול בּרעה, as at Proverbs 17:20).
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