Proverbs 28:4
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) They that forsake the law praise the wicked.—The mark of extreme wickedness. (Comp. Romans 1:32.)

But such as keep the law contend with them.—Just as the sight of ill-doing was the one thing which roused our Lord to wrath, while insults and wrongs offered to Himself were passed by unnoticed.

Proverbs 28:4. They that forsake the law — That live in contempt of, and disobedience to, God’s law; praise the wicked — Honour their persons, freely and familiarly associate themselves with them, and approve of their sinful practices: all which proceeds from their great likeness to them. But such as keep the law contend with them — Are so far from praising or applauding them, that they severely rebuke them, and to the utmost of their power oppose them in their wicked enterprises.

28:1 Sin makes men cowards. Whatever difficulties the righteous meet in the way of duty, they are not daunted. 2. National sins disturb the public repose. 3. If needy persons get opportunities of oppressing, their extortion will be more severe than that of the more wealthy. 4. Wicked people strengthen one another in wicked ways. 5. If a man seeks the Lord, it is a good sign that he understands much, and it is a good means of understanding more. 6. An honest, godly, poor man, is better than a wicked, ungodly, rich man; has more comfort in himself, and is a greater blessing to the world. 7. Companions of riotous men not only grieve their parents, but shame them. 8. That which is ill got, though it may increase much, will not last long. Thus the poor are repaid, and God is glorified. 9. The sinner at whose prayers God is angry, is one who obstinately refuses to obey God's commands. 10. The success of ungodly men is their own misery. 11. Rich men are so flattered, that they think themselves superior to others. 12. There is glory in the land when the righteous have liberty. 13. It is folly to indulge sin, and excuse it. He who covers his sins, shall not have any true peace. He who humbly confesses his sins, with true repentance and faith, shall find mercy from God. The Son of God is our great atonement. Under a deep sense of our guilt and danger, we may claim salvation from that mercy which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. 14. There is a fear which causes happiness. Faith and love will deliver from the fear of eternal misery; but we should always fear offending God, and fear sinning against him. 15. A wicked ruler, whatever we may call him, this scripture calls a roaring lion, and a ranging bear. 16. Oppressors want understanding; they do not consult their own honour, ease, and safety. 17. The murderer shall be haunted with terrors. None shall desire to save him from deserved punishment, nor pity him.People raise a man of the people, poor like themselves, to power. They find him the worst oppressor of all, plundering them to their last morsels, like the storm-rain which sweeps off the seed-corn instead of bringing fertility. 4. They that forsake … wicked—Wrongdoers encourage one another. They that forsake the law, that live in the contempt of and disobedience to God’s law,

praise the wicked; honour their persons, contrary to Psalm 15:4; freely and familiarly associate themselves with them, and approve of their sinful courses; all which proceeds from their great likeness to them.

Contend with them; are so far from praising or applauding them, that they severely rebuke them, and to the utmost of their power oppose them in their wicked enterprises.

They that forsake the law praise the wicked,.... Who are like them; who forsake and transgress the law, as they do; every like loves its like; wicked men delight in sin, the transgression of the law, and in those that do it. One covetous man will bless and praise another, whom the Lord abhors, and commend his covetousness as frugality and good husbandry: one proud man will call another happy, and praise him as a man of spirit, that will not debase himself, but keep up his authority, rank, and dignity, and not condescend to men of low estates; the workers of wickedness are set up and extolled, and tempters of God, men of atheistical and deistical principles, are not only delivered from the punishment they deserve, but are commended for their bold spirits; see Psalm 10:3. Or, "every wicked man praises those that forsake the law", so Schultens;

but such as keep the law contend with them; that is, with them that forsake it and praise the wicked; they are displeased with them, and show their resentment at them; they tend with them by arguments, and endeavour to convince them of their folly and wickedness; they prove them for it, even though they may be in high places, as John the Baptist reproved Herod. The Targum is,

"they contend with them, that they may return,''

or be converted; they strive and take pains with them, to convince them and bring them to repentance, and to a change of sentiments, life, and manners.

They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. the law] not in its Jewish form, “The Law,” sc. of Moses, but in its wider sense; and so in Proverbs 28:7; Proverbs 28:9, below. See Introd. p. 13.

Verse 4. - They that forsake the Law praise the wicked. This they do because they love iniquity, and like to see it extend its influence, and arm itself against the good, who are a standing reproach to them. St. Paul notes it as a mark of extreme wickedness that gross sinners "not only do the same iniquities, but have pleasure in them that do them" (Romans 1:32). Such as keep the Law contend with them; are angry with them. They are filled with righteous indignation; they cannot hold their peace when they see God's Law outraged, and must have the offenders punished (comp. 1 Kings 19:14; Psalm 74:11. etc.; Psalms 119:136, 139; 139:21). The LXX. connects this verse with the latter part of the preceding, thus: "As an impetuous and profitless rain, thus those who forsake the Law praise ungodliness; but they who love the Law raise a wall around themselves." Proverbs 28:44 They who forsake the law praise the godless;

   But they who keep the law become angry with them,

viz. the godless, for רשׁע is to be thought of collectively, as at Proverbs 28:1. They who praise the godless turn away from the revealed word of God (Psalm 73:11-15); those, on the contrary, who are true to God's word (Proverbs 28:18) are aroused against them (vid., regarding גרה, Proverbs 15:18), they are deeply moved by their conduct, they cannot remain silent and let their wickedness go unpunished; התגּרה is zeal (excitement) always expressing itself, passing over into actions (syn. התעורר, Job 17:8).

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