Proverbs 3:28
Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3:27-35 Our business is to observe the precepts of Christ, and to copy his example; to do justice, to love mercy, and to beware of covetousness; to be ready for every good work, avoiding needless strife, and bearing evils, if possible, rather than seeking redress by law. It will be found there is little got by striving. Let us not envy prosperous oppressors; far be it from the disciples of Christ to choose any of their ways. These truths may be despised by the covetous and luxurious, but everlasting contempt will be the portion of such scorners, while Divine favour is shown to the humble believer.Procrastination is especially fatal to the giving impulse. The Septuagint adds the caution: "for thou knowest not what the morrow will bring forth."27, 28. Promptly fulfil all obligations both of justice and charity (compare Jas 2:15, 16). The former verse forbade the denial, and this forbids the delay of this duty.

Unto thy neighbour; unto any man, as the word neighbor is commonly used in Scripture, as hath been oft proved.

I will give, to wit, what is thy due, in manner before expressed, or what thou needest; for this word is generally used concerning free or charitable gifts, and not concerning due debts.

Say not unto thy neighbour,.... Either to whom thou art indebted, and who comes for the payment of a just debt; or to any poor and indigent person that applies for alms:

go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; go home, and come tomorrow, and I will pay thee what I owe thee; or do not trouble me now, come another time, and perhaps I may relieve thy wants: this should not be said, because a man cannot be sure of tomorrow that he shall ever see it; nor may it be in the power of his hands, should he live unto the morrow, to do as he promises; his substance may be taken from him; and besides, in the mean time, the poor object may perish for want of relief;

when thou hast it by thee; money to pay thy debts with, or to give alms to the poor; and therefore should give readily and at once, and not make any excuses and delays; "bis dat, qui cito dat". Some make this to be part of the covetous man's words, saying, "and there is with thee"; or thou hast enough, thou hast no need to ask of me; thou hast what thou askest; thou art not in want; thou art richer than I; but the other sense is best. The Septuagint and Arabic versions add,

"for thou knowest not what the day following may bring forth;''

or may happen on it.

Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. Give (Proverbs 3:27); and not only so, but give promptly. We may compare Seneca’s saying, “ingratum est beneficium, quod diu inter manus dantis hæsit; nam qui tarde fecit, diu noluit.”

Verse 28. - The precept of this and that of the preceding verse are very closely related. The former precept enjoined the general principle of benevolence when we have the means; this carries on the idea, and is directed against the postponement of giving when we are in a position to give. In effect it says, "Do not defer till tomorrow what you can do today." This "putting off" may arise from avarice, from indolence, or from insolence and contempt. These underlying faults, which are incompatible with neighbourly good wilt, are condenmed by implication. Unto thy neighbour; l'reayka, "to thy friends," the word being evidently used distributively. Reeh is "a companion" or "friend" (cf. Vulgate, amico tuo; Syriac, sodali tuo), and generally any other person, equivalent to the Greek ὁ πλησίον, "neighbour." The Authorized Version correctly renders "come again," as shav is not merely "to return," but to return again to something (so Delitzsch); cf. Vulgate, revertere; and as the words, "tomorrow I will give thee," show. The LXX. adds, "For thou knowest not what the morrow may bring forth," probably from Proverbs 17:1. If viewed in respect of the specific claims which servants have for work done, the precept is a re-echo of Leviticus 29:13 and Deuteronomy 24:15. In illustration of the general scope of the passage, Grotius quotes, "A slow-footed favour is a favour without favour." Seneca says in the same spirit, "Ingratum est beneficium quod diu inter manus dantis haesit," "The benefit is thankless which sticks long between the hands of the giver" (Seneca, 'Benef.,' 1:2); cf. also Bis dat qui cito dat. Proverbs 3:28The first illustration of neighbourly love which is recommended, is readiness to serve:

27 Refuse no manner of good to him to whom it is due

     When it is in thy power to do it.

28 Say not to thy neighbour, "Go, and come again,

     To-morrow I will give it," whilst yet thou hast it.

Regarding the intensive plur. בּעליו with a sing. meaning, see under Proverbs 1:19. The form of expression without the suffix is not בּעלי but בּעל טוב; and this denotes here, not him who does good (בעל as Arab. dhw or ṣaḥab), but him to whom the good deed is done (cf. Proverbs 17:8), i.e., as here, him who is worthy of it (בעל as Arab. âhl), him who is the man for it (Jewish interp.: מי שׁהוא ראוי לו). We must refuse nothing good (nothing either legally or morally good) to him who has a right to it (מנע מן as Job 22:7; Job 31:16),

(Note: Accentuate אל־תמנע טוב, not אל־תמנע־טוב. The doubling of the Makkeph is purposeless, and, on the contrary, the separating of טוב from מבעליו by the Dechi (the separating accent subordinate to Athnach) is proper. It is thus in the best MSS.)

if we are in a condition to do him this good. The phrase ישׁ־לאל ידי, Genesis 31:29, and frequently, signifies: it is belonging to (practicable) the power of my hand, i.e., I have the power and the means of doing it. As זד signifies the haughty, insolent, but may be also used in the neuter of insolent conduct (vid., Psalm 19:14), so אל signifies the strong, but also (although only in this phrase) strength. The Keri rejects the plur. ידיך, because elsewhere the hand always follows לאל in the singular. But it rejects the plur. לרעיך (Proverbs 3:28) because the address following is directed to one person. Neither of these emendations was necessary. The usage of the language permits exceptions, notwithstanding the usus tyrannus, and the plur. לרעיך may be interpreted distributively: to thy fellows, it may be this one or that one. Hitzig also regards לרעיך as a singular; but the masc. of רעיה, the ground-form of which is certainly ra‛j, is רעה, or shorter, רע. לך ושׁוּב does not mean: forth! go home again! but: go, and come again. שׁוּב, to come again, to return to something, to seek it once more.

(Note: Thus also (Arab.) raj' is used in Thaalebi's Confidential Companion, p. 24, line 3, of Flgel's ed. Admission was prevented to one Haschmid, then angry he sought it once more; he was again rejected, then he sought it not again (Arab. flm yraj'), but says, etc. Flgel has misunderstood the passage. Fleischer explains raj', with reference to Proverbs 3:28, by revenir la charge.)

The ו of ישׁו אתּך is, as 29b, the conditional: quum sit penes te, sc. quod ei des. "To-morrow shall I give" is less a promise than a delay and putting off, because it is difficult for him to alienate himself from him who makes the request. This holding fast by one's own is unamiable selfishness; this putting off in the fulfilment of one's duty is a sin of omission - οὐ γὰρ οἶδας, as the lxx adds, τὶ τέξεται ἡ ἐπιοῦσα.

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