Proverbs 28:5
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
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(5) Evil men understand not judgment.—Or, what is right. For God reveals Himself only to those who fear Him (Psalm 25:14, comp. 1Corinthians 2:11; 1John 2:20); they, by following the light they have, are “guided into all truth(John 16:13); the evil, by continually shutting their eyes to the light, at last can not see it, even if they would (John 12:39, sqq.).

Proverbs 28:5. Evil men understand not judgment — Because their minds are naturally blind, and are further blinded by their prejudices and passions, and by the god of this world, who rules in them, they understand not what is just and right, and what is their duty in all cases and conditions; but they that seek the Lord — By diligent study of his word, and by fervent prayer to him for divine illumination; understand all things — Which are necessary to be known by them, either for the discharge of their present duties to God and men: or for their everlasting happiness.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.The deep interdependence of morality and intellect. We have a right judgment in all things in proportion as our hearts seek to know God. Compare James 1:23-24. 5. (Compare Joh 7:17). Ignorance of moral truth is due to unwillingness to know it. Understand not, because their minds are naturally blind, and are further blinded by their own prejudices and passions, and by the god of this world, who rules in and over them.

Judgment, i.e. what is just and right; what is their duty in all cases and conditions, as judgment is frequently understood.

That seek the Lord, by diligent study of his word, and by fervent prayers to him for advice. All things which are necessary to be known by them, either for the discharge of all their present duties to God and men, or for their everlasting happiness. Evil men understand not judgment,.... Or, "men of wickedness" (b); that are under the governing power of it; who are given up and give up themselves unto it; who, like Ahab, sell themselves to work wickedness: these know not what is just and right between man and man, at least not to do it; they know it not practically; they are wise to do evil, but to do good have no knowledge, Jeremiah 4:22; they know not the law of God, the rule of judgment, justice, and equity; at least not the extensiveness and spirituality of it, Jeremiah 8:7; and much less the Gospel of Christ, which is sometimes so called, Isaiah 42:1. Nor do they notice, as they should, to the judgments of God in the earth; they do not consider his work, and the operation of his hand; the vengeance he takes on wicked men, so Jarchi interprets it; nor do they take any notice of the judgment to come, at which they must appear, and into which they will be brought, and all things done by them;

but they that seek the Lord understand all things; this character describes all good men that seek the Lord, in private and in public, that seek him by prayer and supplication, that wait upon him in the ordinances of his house; and all sensible sinners, who seek to Christ for righteousness, for rest, for life and salvation, for more grace from him, for more communion with him, for a greater degree of knowledge of him, and for immortality and eternal life, his kingdom and glory. And such "understand all things"; not in the most full and absolute sense; for this is proper and peculiar to God: nor all things natural and civil, which truly righteous persons, generally speaking, have the least share of, as arts, sciences, languages, trade and commerce in all its branches; and indeed universal knowledge of these things does not belong to anyone alan: nor all things in a religious sense; not all the difficult passages of Scripture, in which there are many things hard to be understood; but all things necessary to salvation; all things relating to their fallen, depraved, and miserable state and condition by nature, and to the way and means of their recovery and salvation by Christ; all things relating to a spiritual and saving knowledge of God in Christ; and to the knowledge of the person, offices, and grace of Christ; and to the work of the Spirit of God upon the heart; and of the doctrines of the Gospel, according to the measure of the gift of Christ, and so as to be food for their souls: and which understanding is given them, and they attain unto and increase in, by seeking the Lord, and using the means of knowledge, the word and ordinances; see 1 Corinthians 2:15. The Targum and Syriac version render it,

"that understand all good things;''

and so Aben Ezra interprets it: the Arabic version is, "they understand it in all things"; that is, judgment, justice, and equity, in all its branches, and practise it.

(b) "viri mali, (in genitivo casu)", Mercerus; "vel malitiae", Baynus, Gejerus.

Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.
5. The intellectual condition depends upon the moral and spiritual. “Obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge.” Comp. John 7:17.Verse 5. - Evil men understand not judgment; or, what is right. An evil man's moral conception is perverted, he cannot distinguish between right and wrong; the light that was in him has become darkness (comp. Proverbs 29:7). Many men, by giving themselves over to wickedness, awe judicially blinded, according to John 12:89, 40. They who seek the Lord understand all things. These who do God's will, seeking him in prayer, know what is morally right is every circumstance, have a right judgment in all things (comp. Ecclesiastes 8:5; 1 Corinthians 2:15). So 1 John 2:20, "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things;" and our Lord has (declared, "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine" (John 7:17). An exhortation to rural industry, and particularly to the careful tending of cattle for breeding, forms the conclusion of the foregoing series of proverbs, in which we cannot always discern an intentional grouping. It is one of the Mashal-odes spoken of vol. i. p. 12. It consists of 11 equals 4 + 7 lines.

23 Give heed to the look of thy small cattle,

     Be considerate about the herds.

24 For prosperity continues not for ever;

     And does the diadem continue from generation to generation?

25 (But) the hay is gone, and the after-growth appears,

     And the grass of the mountains is gathered:

26 Lambs serve to clothe thee,

     And goats are the price of a field.

27 And there is plenty of goats' milk for thy nourishment,

     And for the nourishment of thy house,

     And subsistence for thy maidens.

The beginning directs to the fut., as is not common in these proverbs, vid., Proverbs 26:26. With ידע, to take knowledge, which is strengthened by the inf. intensivus, is interchanged שׁית לב, which means at Proverbs 24:32 to consider well, but here, to be careful regarding anything. צאן is the small or little cattle, thus sheep and goats. Whether לעדרים (here and at Isaiah 17:2) contains the article is questionable (Gesen. 35. 2 A), and, since the herds are called העדרים, is not probable; thus: direct thy attention to the herds, that is, to this, that thou hast herds. פּני is the external side in general; here, the appearance which the sheep present; thus their condition as seen externally. In Proverbs 27:24 I formerly regarded נזר as a synonym of גּז, to be understood of the produce of wool, or, with Hitzig, of the shearing of the meadow, and thus the produce of the meadow. But this interpretation of the word is untenable, and Proverbs 27:25 provides for Proverbs 27:24, thus understood, no natural continuation of thought. That חסן signifies a store, fulness of possessions, property, and abundance, has already been shown under Proverbs 15:6; but נזר is always the mark of royal, and generally of princely dignity, and here denotes, per meton. signi pro re signata, that dignity itself. With the negative expression in 24a the interrogative in 24b is interchanged as at Job 40:9, with the implied negative answer; ואם, of an oath ("and truly not," as at Isaiah 62:8), presents the same thought, but with a passionate colouring here unnecessary. Rightly Fleischer: "ready money, moveable property, and on the other hand the highest positions of honour, are far more easily torn away from a man, and secure to him far less of quiet prosperity, than husbandry, viewed particularly with respect to the rearing of cattle." In other words: the possession of treasures and of a lofty place of power and of honour has not in itself the security of everlasting duration; but rural economy, and particularly the rearing of cattle, gives security for food and clothing. The Chethı̂b לדור דור is found, e.g., at Exodus 3:15; the Kerı̂ לדּור ודור substitutes the more usual form. If Proverbs 27:25 was an independent whole (Hitzig: grass vanishes and fresh green appears, etc.), then the meaning here and onward would be that in the sphere of husbandry it is otherwise than is said in Proverbs 27:24 : there that which is consumed renews itself, and there is an enlarging circulation. But this contrast to Proverbs 27:24 must be expressed and formed unambiguously. The connection is rather this, that Proverbs 27:23 commends the rearing of cattle, Proverbs 27:24 confirms it, and 25ff. discuss what real advantages, not dependent on the accidents of public and social life, it brings.

I rejoice to agree with Fleischer in the opinion that the perfects of Proverbs 27:25 form a complex hypothetical antecedent to Proverbs 27:26 : Quum evanuerit gramen (sc. vetus) et apparuerint herbae recentes et collecta fuerint pabula montium, agni vestitui tuo (inservient) et pretium agri (sc. a te emendi) erunt hirci, i.e., then wilt thou nourish thy herds of sheep and goats with the grass on thy fields, and with the dried gathered hay; and these will yield for thee, partly immediately and partly by the money derived therefrom (viz., from the valuable goats not needed for the flocks), all that is needful for thy life. He also remarks, under גּלה, that it means to make a place void, empty (viz., to quit the place, vacuer la forteresse); hence to leave one's fatherland or home, to wander abroad; thus, rhetorically and poetically of things and possessions: to disappear. חציר (from חצר, to be green) is hay, and דּשׁא the after-growing second crop (after-grass); thus a meadow capable of being mowed a second time is though of. עשּׂבות הרים (with Dag. dirimens, as e.g., ענּבי Deuteronomy 32:32) are the herbage of the mountains. The time when one proceeds to sheep-shearing, Proverbs 27:25 cannot intend to designate; it sets before us an interesting rural harvest scene, where, after a plentiful ingathering of hay, one sees the meadows again overspread with new grass (Ewald); but with us the shearing of sheep takes place in the month of May, when the warm season of the year is just at hand. The poet means in general to say, that when the hay is mown and now the herbage is grown up, and also the fodder from the mountains (Psalm 106:20) has been gathered home, when thus the barns are filled with plenty, the husbandman is guaranteed against the future on all sides by his stock of cattle. חלב (from חלב, Arab. halyb, with halab) is the usual metaplastic connecting form of חלב, milk. דּי (from דּי, like חי from חי), generally connected with the genitive of the person or thing, for which anything is sufficient (e.g., Proverbs 25:16, דּיּך, to which Fleischer compares Arab. hasbuha, tassuha kifayuha), has here the genitive of the thing of which, or in which, one has enough. The complex subject-conception is limited by Rebia, and the governing דּי has the subordinated disjunctive Legarmeh. עזּים is a word of two genders (epicoenum), Gesen. 107, 1d. In וחיּים the influence of the ל still continues; one does not need to supply it meanwhile, since all that maintains and nourishes life can be called חיים (vita equals victus), e.g., Proverbs 3:22. The lxx translates בּיתך by σῶν θεραπόντων, and omits (as also the Syr., but not the Syro-Hexap.) the last line as now superfluous; but that the maids attending to the cattle - by whom we particularly think of milkers - are especially mentioned, intentionally presents the figure of a well-ordered household, full of varied life and activity (Job 40:29).

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