Proverbs 3:29
Devise not evil against your neighbor, seeing he dwells securely by you.
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Proverbs 3:29. Devise not evil, &c. — Any thing injurious or hurtful; against thy neighbour — Against any child of man. Having commanded the doing of good, (Proverbs 3:27-28,) he here forbids the doing or designing any evil. Seeing he dwelleth securely by thee — Relying upon thy integrity: do not, therefore, deceive his trust, and cause him to repent of the confidence which he places in thee, which would be an iniquity hateful even to heathen.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.Securely - i. e., "With full trust," without care or suspicion. Compare Judges 18:7, Judges 18:27.29, 30. Do not abuse confidence and avoid litigation. Devise not evil; any thing injurious or hurtful. Having commanded doing of good, Proverbs 3:27,28, he here forbids doing or designing any evil.

Dwelleth securely by thee; relying upon thine integrity: do not therefore betray thy trust, which is hateful even to heathens. Devise not evil against thy neighbour,.... Or, "plough not evil" (i); turn not up thy heart to find evil against thy neighbour, as the earth is turned up by the plough; see Hosea 10:13. Do not contrive and form schemes in thy mind and thoughts to do him any injury, in his name and character, in his person, property, or family: a good man should devise all the good he can to his fellow creatures, but not evil to any; especially to his neighbour, and as described in the next clause;

seeing he dwelleth securely by thee; having a good opinion of thee, and not suspecting any ill design against him, thinks himself, goods, and family, in safety; and is under no concern to provide for his security, placing his confidence in thee, and perhaps to such a degree as to entrust with his secrets. Now to project evil against such a man is exceeding base; it is doubly sinful; this is an aggravation of the iniquity.

(i) "ne ares", Amama.

Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth {n} securely by thee.

(n) That is, puts his trust in you.

Verse 29. - Devise not evil against thy neighbour. This precept is directed against abuse of confidence. Devise not evil (al takharosh raah). The meaning of this expression lies between "fabricating evil" and "ploughing evil." The radical meaning of kharash, from which takharosh, is "to cut into," "to inscribe" letters on a tablet, cognate with the Greek χαράσσειν, "to cut into." But it is used in the sense of "to plough" in Job 4:18, "They that plough iniquity (khar'shey aven)," and Psalm 129:3, "The ploughers ploughed (khar'shim khar'shim) upon my back" (cf. Hosea 10:13). This also appears from the context to be the meaning in Proverbs 6:14. With these we may compare such expressions as "to plough a lie" (μὴ ἀροτρία ψεύδος, rendered in the Authorized Version, "Devise not a lie"); see Proverbs 7:12, and "to sow iniquity," Proverbs 22:8 - a cognate figure. "To plough evil" is to devise evil, to prepare for it, just in the same way as a ploughman prepares the land for sowing. In this sense the verb is understood by the older commentators and by Ewald and Delitzsch. On the other hand, the verb may be used in its other signification, "to fabricate," and hence "to contrive." The noun kharash is an artificer of iron, etc. (Exodus 35:35; Deuteronomy 27:15). "To fabricate evil" is, of course, as the Authorized Version "to devise evil." The LXX., μὴ τεκτῄνη, from τεκτείνομαι, "to build," inclines to this sense. The Vulgate, ne moliaris, does not clear up the point, though moliri, usually "to contrive," is used by Virgil, 'Georg.,' 1:494, "moliri terrain," of working or tilling the ground. The verb also occurs in Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 12:20; Proverbs 14:22. Seeing he dwelleth securely by thee; i.e. as the Vulgate, cure ille in te habet fiduciam, "when he has confidence in thee;" so the LXX.; or, as the Targum and Syriac, "when he dwells with thee in peace." To dwell (yashar) is in Psalm 1:1 "to sit with any one," i.e. to associate familiarly with him (cf. Psalm 26:4, 5); but it also has the meaning , "to dwell," and the participle yoshev, here used; in Genesis 19:23: Judges 6:21, means "an inhabitant, a dweller." Securely (lavetah); i.e. with full trust (see on ver. 23). Devising evil against a friend is at any time reprehensible, but to do so when he confides in and is altogether unsuspicious of you, is an act of the greatest treachery, and an outrage on all law. human and Divine. It implies dissimulation. It is the very sin by which "the devil beguiled Eve through his subtlety" (Wardlaw). But 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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