He that rebukes a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that flatters with the tongue.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He that rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour . . .—i.e., when the man reproved comes to his senses, and finds how true a friend the reprover has been to him. Or, the words may perhaps mean, He that rebuketh a man (that is going) backwards. (Compare Jeremiah 7:24, and James 5:20.)Proverbs 28:23. He that rebuketh a man — That reproves him for his faults, though he may displease, nay, anger him at the first; afterward shall find more favour than he that flattereth — When the person reproved comes calmly to consider the fidelity, good intention, and disinterestedness of the reprover, and the benefit coming to himself by the reproof, and withal the baseness and mischief of flattery, he will entertain a greater regard for such a man, than for one that humours him in every thing, and, with flattering words, countenances and encourages him in those practices which ought to be reprehended.Afterwards; when he comes calmly to consider the fidelity of the reprover, and the benefit coming to himself by the reproof, and withal the baseness and mischief of flattery.
"he that rebukes a man before him;''
openly, to his thee: but rather it may be rendered "behind"; that is, as Cocceius interprets it, apart, alone, privately, and secretly, when they are by themselves; which agrees with Christ's instructions, Matthew 18:15;
afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue; for though the reproofs given him may uneasy upon his mind at first, and may be cutting and wounding, and give him some pain, and so some dislike to the reprover; yet when he coolly considers the nature and tendency of the reproof, the manner in which it was given, and the design of it, he will love, value, and esteem his faithful friend and rebuker, more than the man that fawned upon him, and flattered him with having done that which was right and well; or, as the Targum, than he that divideth the tongue, or is doubletongued; and so the Syriac version; see Proverbs 27:5.He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 23. - He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour. The word rendered "afterwards" (postea, Vulgate), אַחֲרַי (acharai), creates a difficulty. The suffix cannot be that of the first person singular, which would give no sense; hence most interpreters see in it a peculiar adverb attached to the following verb, "shall afterwards find." Delitzsch. Lowenstein, end Nowack take it for a noun with the termination -ai, and translate, "a man that goeth backward," "a backslider" (as Jeremiah 7:24). Hence the translation will run, "He who reproveth a backsliding man," i.e. one whom he sees to be turning away from God and duty. He shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue (comp. Proverbs 27:6; Proverbs 29:5). A faithful counsellor, who tells a man his faults, brings them home to his conscience, and checks him in his downward course, will be seen to be a true friend, and will be loved and respected both by the one whom he has warned and advised and by all who are well disposed. James 5:19, "If any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him. let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and stroll hide a multitude of sins." "Laudat adulator, sed non est verus amator." The flatterer says only what is agreeable to the man whom he flatters, and thus makes him conceited and selfish and unable to see himself as he really is: the true friend says harsh things, but they are wholesome and tend to spiritual profit, and show more real affection than all the soft words of the fawning parasite. Septuagint, "He that reproveth a man's ways shall have more thanks than he who flattereth with the tongue."
Fleeth to the pit; let no one detain him.
Luther translates: "A man that doeth violence to the blood of any one," as if he had read the word עשׁק. Lwenstein persuades himself that עשׁק may mean "having oppressed," and for this refers to לבוּשׁ, having clothed, in the Mishna נשׁוּי, רבוּב, Lat. coenatus, juratus; but none of all these cases are of the same nature, for always the conduct designated is interpreted as a suffering of that which is done, e.g., the drawing on, as a being clothed; the riding, as a being ridden, etc. Of עשׁק, in the sense of the oppression of another, there is no such part. pass. as throws the action as a condition back upon the subject. This is valid also against Aben Ezra, who supposes that עשׁק means oppressing after the forms אנוּר, שׁדוּד, שׁכוּן, for of שׁכוּן, settled equals dwelling, that which has just been said is true; that אנוּר is equivalent to אגר, cf. regarding it under Proverbs 30:1, and that שׁדוּד, Psalm 137:8, is equivalent to שׁדד, is not true. Kimchi adds, under the name of his father (Joseph Kimchi), also שׁחוּט, Jeremiah 9:7 equals שׁוחט; but that "slaughtered" can be equivalent to slaughtering is impossible. Some MSS have the word עשׂק, which is not inadmissible, but not in the sense of "accused" (Lwenstein), but: persecuted, exposed to war; for עשׁק signifies to treat hostilely, and post-bibl. generally to aspire after or pursue anything, e.g., עסוק בּדברי תורה, R. עשׂ (whence Piel contrectare, cf. Isaiah 23:2, according to which עשׁק appears to be an intensifying of this עשׂה). However, there is no ground for regarding עשׁק
(Note: Bttcher supposes much rather עשּׁק equals מעשּׁק; also, Proverbs 25:11, דבּר equals מדבּר; but that does not follow from the defectiva scriptio, nor from anything else.)
as not original, nor in the sense of "hard pressed;" for it is not used of avenging persecution, but: inwardly pressed, for Isaiah 38:14 עשׁקה also signifies the anguish of a guilty conscience. Whoever is inwardly bowed down by the blood of a man whom he has murdered, betakes himself to a ceaseless flight to escape the avenger of blood, the punishment of his guilt, and his own inward torment; he flees and finds no rest, till at last the grave (בור according to the Eastern, i.e., the Babylonian, mode of writing בּר) receives him, and death accomplishes the only possible propitiation of the murderer. The exhortation, "let no one detain him," does not mean that one should not lay hold on the fugitive; but, since תּמך בּ does not mean merely to hold fast, but to hold right, that one should not afford him any support, any refuge, any covering or security against the vengeance which pursues him; that one should not rescue him from the arm of justice, and thereby invade and disturb the public administration of justice, which rests on moral foundations; on the other side, the Book of Prov; Proverbs 24:11., has uttered its exhortation to save a human life whenever it is possible to do so. The proverb lying before us cannot thus mean anything else than that no one should give to the murderer, as such, any assistance; that no one should save him clandestinely, and thereby make himself a partaker of his sin. Grace cannot come into the place of justice till justice has been fully recognised. Human sympathy, human forbearance, under the false title of grace, do not stand in contrast to this justice. We must, however, render אל־יתמכו־בו not directly as an admonition against that which is immoral; it may also be a declaration of that which is impossible: only let no one support him, let no one seek to deliver him from the unrest which drives him from place to place. This is, however, in vain; he is unceasingly driven about to fulfil his lot. But the translation: nemine eum sustinente (Fleischer), is inadmissible; a mere declaration of a fact without any subjective colouring is never אל reven si g seq. fut.
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