The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The bloodthirsty hate the upright.—Or, perfect man. “for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness” (2Corinthians 6:14); the life of the perfect man is a continual reproach to them.
But the just (or upright) seek his soul—i.e. care for the life of the perfect; their uprightness shows itself in active help-giving.Proverbs 29:10. The blood-thirsty hate the upright — And consequently seek their ruin, as may be inferred from the following clause; but the just seek his soul — To preserve it. Schultens renders this verse, Bloody men hate the upright, and seek the life of the just.Psalm 142:4).
hate, &c.—(Pr 1:11; Ge 3:4).
seek … soul—that is, to preserve it.Hate the upright, and consequently seek their ruin, as is implied from the following clause.
Seek his soul; either,
1. To require his soul or life at the hands of those who have taken it away. Or,
2. To preserve it from those who attempt to take it away, as this phrase is taken, Psalm 142:4, though commonly it signify to seek to destroy it.
but the just must seek his soul; either the soul of the bloodthirsty, and that either the good of their souls; seek their spiritual welfare, and pray for it, even though they are so cruel and inhuman: or just magistrates will seek after such persons, to punish them for shedding the blood of the upright. Or else the meaning is, that just persons seek the soul of the upright, and make inquisition for the blood of such, to punish for it; which comes to the same sense, as Aben Ezra observes: or rather, such seek to defend and preserve the soul or life of upright men from those that hate and persecute them. Jarchi illustrates it by 1 Samuel 22:23; the Targum is,The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. seek] i.e. care for, as R.V. marg. Comp. Psalm 142:4 [Hebrews 5], where however the Hebrew word, seek, is not the same as here. It is more in accordance with the use of the phrase to seek the life, to render, with R.V. text,
The bloodthirsty hate him that is perfect:
And as for the upright they seek his life.
The LXX. however has: οἱ δὲ εὐθεῖς εὐθεῖς ἐκζητήσουσι ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ; and the Vulg. justi autem quærunt animam ejus.Verse 10. - The bloodthirsty hate the upright; him that is perfect, Revised Version; ὅσιον, Septuagint. His life is a tacit reproach to men of blood, robbers, murderers, and such like sinners, as is finely expressed in the Book of Wisdom 2:12, etc. (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:14). But the just seek his soul. The explanation of this hemistich is doubtful. The following interpretations have been offered:
(1) The just seek the soul of the upright to deliver him from death temporal and spiritual (comp. Proverbs 12:6; Psalm 142:4).
(2) The just seek the murderer's life, take vengeance on him (comp. Psalm 63:9, 10).
(3) "As for the just, they (the murderers) attempt his life," where the change of subject, though by no means unparalleled, is awkward (comp. Psalm 37:14). The second explanation makes the righteous the executioners of vengeance on the delinquents, which does not seem to be the idea intended, and there is no confirmation of it in our book. The interpretation first given has against it the fact that the phrase, "to seek the soul," is used of attempts against the life, not of preserving it. But this is not fatal; and the above seems to be the most likely explanation offered, and gives a good antithesis. Men of blood hate a virtuous man, and try to destroy him; the righteous love him, and do their utmost to defend and keep him safe. If this interpretation is rejected, the third explanation is allowable, the casus pendens - "the just, they seek his life" - may be compared with Genesis 26:15; Deuteronomy 2:23. Septuagint, "But the upright will seek (ἐκζητήσουσι) his life."
4 A king by righteousness bringeth the land to a good condition;
But a man of taxes bringeth it down.
The Hiph. חעמיד signifies to make it so that a person or matter comes to stand erect and stand fast (e.g., 1 Kings 15:4); הרס, to tear down, is the contrary of building up and extending (Psalm 28:5), cf. נהרס, opp. רוּם, of the state, Proverbs 11:11. By 'אישׁ תּר is meant the king, or a man of this kind; but it is questionable whether as a man of gifts, i.e., one who lets gifts be made to him (Grotius, Fleischer, Ewald, Bertheau, Zckler), or as a man of taxes, i.e., who imposes them (Midrash, Aben Ezra, Ralbag, Rosenmller, Hitzig). Both interpretations are possible, for 'תר means tax (lifting, raising equals dedicating), free-will offerings, as well as gifts that are obligatory and required by the laws of nature. Since the word, in the only other place where it occurs, Ezekiel 45:13-16, is used of the relation of the people to the prince, and denotes a legally-imposed tax, so it appears also here, in passing over from the religious sphere to the secular, to be meant of taxes, and that according to its fundamental conception of gifts, i.e., such taxes as are given on account of anything, such as the produce of the soil, manufactures, heritages. Thus also is to be understood Aquila's and Theodotion's ἀνὴρ ἀφαιρεμάτων, and the rendering also of the Venet. ἐράνων. A man on the throne, covetous of such gifts, brings the land to ruin by exacting contributions; on the contrary, a king helps the land to a good position, and an enduring prosperity, by the exercise of right, and that in appointing a well-proportioned and fit measure of taxation.
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