Proverbs 3:25
Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Desolation of the wicked.—That is, the storm which overwhelms them.

3:21-26 Let us not suffer Christ's words to depart from us, but keep sound wisdom and discretion; then shall we walk safely in his ways. The natural life, and all that belongs to it, shall be under the protection of God's providence; the spiritual life, and all its interests, under the protection of his grace, so that we shall be kept from falling into sin or trouble.Under the form of this strong prohibition there is an equally strong promise. So safe will all thy ways be that to fear will be a sin. 25. Be not—or, "You shall not be."

sudden fear—what causes it (Pr 1:27), any unlooked-for evil (Ps 46:3; 91:12; 1Pe 3:14).

desolation—(Pr 1:27).

Be not afraid, i.e. thou shalt not be afraid. For that it is a promise, seems most probable from the context; only it is for greater emphasis delivered in the form of a precept; I allow thee and require thee not to be afraid, which is both thy duty and privilege.

Of sudden fear; for sudden and unexpected evils are most frightful and grievous. And fear is here put for the evils feared, as Proverbs 1:26,27, and oft elsewhere. The desolation of the wicked; either,

1. Actively, which they bring upon thee. Or, rather

2. Passively, which befalls them, when the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, as it is expressed, Isaiah 26:21; and thou mayst be apt to fear lest thou shouldst be involved in the common calamity; but fear not, for God will then hide thee in his chambers, as he promised, Isaiah 26:20.

Be not afraid of sudden fear,.... Of anything terrible that comes unawares, unthought of, by any of the above things mentioned in the preceding note; or by any rumours and reports of danger being near at hand; always think thyself safe in the arms of Wisdom, and under the care of Israel's keeper, who neither slumbers nor sleeps;

neither of the desolation of the wicked when it cometh; either of the desolation which wicked men threaten to bring, and are suffered to bring, upon the godly for the sake of religion; either on their persons or goods, since suffering at their hands in such a cause is to the honour of saints, and for the glory of God; or of the desolation which comes upon the godly, for God is able to deliver him from it, as Noah and his family from the universal deluge, and Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah; or if they promiscuously fall in it, nevertheless it will be well with them to all eternity.

{l} Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.

(l) For when God destroys the wicked he will save his as he did Lot in Sodom.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25. Be not afraid] Dean Plumptre (Speaker’s Comm.) points out that, “under the form of this strong prohibition there is of course an equally strong promise,” so that these two verses add yet another to the advantages to be gained from Wisdom: it confers both strength and beauty (Proverbs 3:22); it preserves alike in action and in repose (Proverbs 3:23-24); it is equal to every emergency of life (Proverbs 3:25-26).

desolation] or, storm, R.V. marg.

of the wicked] This may mean, brought upon thee by the wicked. So Maurer, who compares, “rescue my soul from their destructions.” Psalm 35:17; and Vulg. irruentes tibi potentias impiorum. But it is perhaps better to understand it of the desolation or storm which comes upon the wicked. Comp. Psalm 91:8.

Proverbs 3:27-35. There is a marked change of style in these verses, and they are regarded by Maurer (who describes them as singularia aliqua prœcepta) and others as a separate section. The continuous address is exchanged for the concise sentences or “proverbs,” which form the bulk of the Book.

Verse 25. - Be not afraid; al-tirah, is literally "fear thou not," the future with al preceding being used for the imperative in a dehortative sense, as in Genesis 46:3; Job 3:4, 6, 7 (see Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 127. 3, c); Vulgate, ne paveas. Others, however, render, as the LXX., οὐ φοβηθήσῃ, "Thou shalt not be afraid," in the sense of a promise. The verb yare, from which tirah, is here followed by min, as in Psalm 3:7; Psalm 27:1, and properly means "to be afraid from or before" some person or thing. Sudden; pithom, an adverb used adjectively (cf. like use of adverb khinnam in Proverbs 26:2). Fear (pakhad); as in Proverbs 1:16, the object which excites terror or fear, as any great disaster. The desolation of the wicked (shoath r'shaim) may be taken either

(1) as the desolation made by the violence of the wicked, the desolation or strum which they raise against the righteous (so the LXX., Vulgate, Mariana, Michaelis, Hitzig, and others); or

(2) the desolation which overtakes the wicked, the desolating vengeance executed upon them (so Doderlein, Lapide, Stuart, Muensch., Delitzsch, Wardlaw). The latter is probably the right interpretation, and agrees with the threatening language of Wisdom against her despisers, in Proverbs 1:27, where shdath also occurs. Iu the desolation which shall overwhelm the wicked he who has made Wisdom his guide shall be undismayed, for the Lord is his confidence. The passage was probably suggested by Proverbs 5:21, "Neither shalt thou be afraid of desolation when it cometh." Lee, in loc. cit., says the places are almost innumerable where this sentiment occurs. Compare the fearlessness of the man of integrity and justice, in Horace -

"Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinae."


(Horace, 'Od.,' 3:3, 7, 8.)

"Let Jove's dread arm with thunders rend the spheres,
Beneath the crush of worlds undaunted he appears."


(Francis's Trans.) Proverbs 3:25But more than this, wisdom makes its possessor in all situations of life confident in God:

23 Then shalt thou go thy way with confidence,

     And thy foot shall not stumble.

24 When thou liest down, thou are not afraid,

     But thou layest thyself down and hast sweet sleep.

25 Thou needest not be afraid of sudden alarm,

     Nor for the storm of the wicked when it breaketh forth.

26 For Jahve will be thy confidence

     And keep thy foot from the snare.

The לבטח (cf. our "bei guter Laune" equals in good cheer), with ל of the condition, is of the same meaning as the conditional adverbial accusative בּטח, Proverbs 10:9; Proverbs 1:33. Proverbs 3:23 the lxx translate ὁ δὲ πούς σου οὐ μὴ προσκόψῃ, while, on the contrary, at Psalm 91:12 they make the person the subject (μήποτε προσκόψῃς τὸν κ.τ.λ.); here also we retain more surely the subject from 23a, especially since for the intrans. of נגף (to smite, to push) a Hithpa. התנגּף is used Jeremiah 13:16. In Proverbs 3:24 there is the echo of Job 11:18, and in Proverbs 3:25 of Job 5:21. Proverbs 3:24 is altogether the same as Job 5:24 : et decumbes et suavis erit somnus tuus equals si decubueris, suavis erit. The hypothetic perf., according to the sense, is both there and at Job 11:18 (cf. Jeremiah 20:9) oxytoned as perf. consec. Similar examples are Proverbs 6:22; Genesis 33:13; 1 Samuel 25:31, cf. Ewald, 357a. ערבה (of sleep as Jeremiah 31:26) is from ערב, which in Hebr. is used of pleasing impressions, as the Arab. ‛ariba of a lively, free disposition. שׁנה, somnus (nom. actionis from ישׁן, with the ground-form sina preserved in the Arab. lidat, vid., Job, p. 284, note), agrees in inflexion with שׁנה, annus. אל, Proverbs 3:25, denies, like Psalm 121:3, with emphasis: be afraid only not equals thou hast altogether nothing to fear. Schultens rightly says: Subest species prohibitionis et tanquam abominationis, ne tale quicquam vel in suspicionem veniat in mentemve cogitando admittatur. פּחד here means terror, as Proverbs 1:26., the terrific object; פּתאם (with the accus. om) is the virtual genitive, as Proverbs 26:2 חנּם (with accus. am). Regarding שׁאה, see under Proverbs 1:27. The genitive רשׁעים may be, after Psalm 37:18, the genit. subjecti, but still it lies nearer to say that he who chooses the wisdom of God as his guiding star has no ground to fear punishment as transgressors have reason to fear it; the שׁאה is meant which wisdom threatens against transgressors, Proverbs 1:27. He needs have no fear of it, for wisdom is a gift of God, and binds him who receives it to the giver: Jahve becomes and is henceforth his confidence. Regarding ב essentiae, which expresses the closest connection of the subject with the predicate which it introduces, see under Psalm 35:2. As here, so also at Exodus 18:4; Psalm 118:7; Psalm 146:6, the predicate is a noun with a pronominal suffix. כּסל is, as at Psalm 78:7; Job 31:24, cognate to מבטה and מקוה,

(Note: According to Malbim, תּקוה is the expectation of good, and כּסל, confidence in the presence of evil.)

the object and ground of confidence. That the word in other connections may mean also fool-hardiness, Psalm 49:14, and folly, Ecclesiastes 7:25 (cf. regarding כּסיל, which in Arab. as belı̂d denotes the dull, in Hebr. fools, see under Proverbs 1:22), it follows that it proceeds from the fundamental conception of fulness of flesh and of fat, whence arise the conceptions of dulness and slothfulness, as well as of confidence, whether confidence in self or in God (see Schultens l.c., and Wnsche's Hosea, p. 207f.). לכד is taking, catching, as in a net or trap or pit, from לכד, to catch (cf. Arab. lakida, to fasten, III, IV to hold fast); another root-meaning, in which Arab. lak connects itself with nak, nk, to strike, to assail (whence al-lakdat, the assault against the enemy, Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitsch. xxii. 140), is foreign to the Hebr. Regarding the מן of מלכד, Fleischer remarks: "The מן after the verbs of guarding, preserving, like שׁמר and נצר, properly expresses that one by those means holds or seeks to hold a person or thing back from something, like the Lat. defendere, tueri aliquem ab hostibus, a perculo."

(Note: Hitzig rejects Proverbs 3:22-26 as a later interpolation. And why? Because chap. 3, which he regards as a complete discourse, consists of twice ten verses beginning with בּני. In addition to this symmetry other reasons easily reveal themselves to his penetration. But the discourses contained in chap. 1-9 do not all begin with בני (vid., Proverbs 1:20); and when it stands in the beginning of the discourse, it is not always the first word (vid., Proverbs 1:8); and when it occurs as the first word or in the first line, it does not always commence a new discourse (vid., Proverbs 1:15 in the middle of the first, Proverbs 3:11 in the middle of the fourth); and, moreover, the Hebr. poetry and oratory does not reckon according to verses terminated by Soph Pasuk, which are always accented distichs, but they in reality frequently consist of three or more lines. The rejected verses are in nothing unlike those that remain, and which are undisputed; they show the same structure of stichs, consisting for the most part of three, but sometimes also only of two words (cf. Proverbs 3:22 with Proverbs 1:9, Proverbs 1:10), the same breadth in the course of the thoughts, and the same accord with Job and Deuteronomy.)

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