Proverbs 3:34
Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) Surely he scorneth the scorners.—Rather, If, or, Although he scorns the scorners, yet to the lowly he giveth grace. Another form of the teaching of Proverbs 1:24-33. If man rejects God’s offers of mercy, they will in time be withdrawn from him. And so, as man deals with God, will God at last deal with him. (Comp. Leviticus 26:23-24; Psalm 18:25-26; Psalm 81:11-12; Romans 1:24-26.) The verse is quoted in James 4:6 and 1Peter 5:5.

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.Surely - Better, If he scorneth the scorners, i. e., Divine scorn of evil is the complement, and, as it were, the condition, of divine bounty to the lowly (compare the marginal reference and the Proverbs 1:26 note).34. The retribution of sinners, as in Ps 18:26. He scorneth, he will expose to scorn and contempt, the scorners; proud and insolent sinners, who make a mock at sin, Proverbs 14:9, and at God and religion also, and despise all counsels and means of amendment. Compare Psalm 1:1 Proverbs 1:22.

He giveth grace, to wit, favour, both with himself and with men, as this word and phrase is used, Exodus 3:21 11:3 12:36 Ecclesiastes 9:11 Luke 2:52Surely he scorneth the scorners,.... That make a mock at sin, a jest of religion, that scoff at the doctrines of the Gospel and the professors of it; these the Lord looks upon, laughs at, and has them in derision. The Greek version and two apostles render it, "he resisteth the proud", 1 Peter 5:5. Such who are haughty and arrogant, that exalt themselves and despise others; as those of a pharisaical spirit are and do, are abhorred and despised by the Lord; he sets himself against them, is their enemy, "and scatters them in the imagination of their hearts", Luke 1:51. L'Empereur observes (l) that this version is quite agreeable to the Hebrew text and the sense of Jewish writers: R. Alshech says, that rendered "scorners", are such who will not look upon the divine Being, but go on boldly in sin, as if there was no God; and Kimchi explains the word by who exalt themselves, or are proud; and because proud men yield to none, but resist others, hence the verb is used, by the Septuagint, to resist; agreeably to which the Targum is,

"he shall drive away;''

and Alshech,

"he shall destroy;''

and Gersom,

"God shall make others mock them;''

which is, to resist them;

but he giveth grace unto the lowly; or humble souls; such who are made truly sensible of sin, and lie low in their own sight on account of it; who, sensible of the imperfection and insufficiency of their own righteousness, submit to the righteousness of Christ; ascribe their salvation, and all the blessings of it, to the free grace of God; own the deficiency of their duties, and disclaim all merit in them; think the worst of themselves, and the best of others; and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and are patient under every adverse dispensation of Providence; knowing what their deserts are, how undeserving of any favour, and how deserving of the divine displeasure. Now God first gives grace to these persons to make them thus humble and lowly which they are not naturally, and then he gives them more grace, according to his promise; and it is in proof of God's giving more grace to such persons that the Apostle James produces this passage, Proverbs 4:6. Grace is God's gift, first and last, what is had in first conversion, in after supplies, and for perseverance to the end: sanctifying, justifying, pardoning, and adopting grace, are the pure gifts of God, of his own favour and good will, without any merit, motive, or condition in the creature; and which he gives liberally and bountifully; for not favour with men is here meant, as some think, but the grace of God.

(l) Not. in Mos. Kimchi p. 34, 35.

Surely {q} he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.

(q) He will show by his plagues that their scorn will turn to their own destruction, Pr 1:26.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. Surely … but] Or, Though … yet, R.V. margin. For the thought comp. James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5.

scorners] See Proverbs 1:22, note.

Verse 34. - Surely he scorneth the scorners; literally, if with regard to the scorners he scorneth (im lalletsim hu yalits); i.e. he repays scorn with scorn; or, as Rabbi Salomon, "He renders to them so that they fall in their own derision (reddit ipsis ut in sua derisione corruant)." He renders their schemes abortive. He resists them. The scorners (letsim) are those who treat with scoffing regard the precepts and truths of God; the arrogant, proud, insolent, here placed in contrast with "the lowly." Vulgate, derisores; LXX., ὐπερήφανοι, "the overbearing." The לְ for (l'ha), prefixed to letsim, signifies "with regard to," as in Job 32:4 (cf. Psalm 16:3, "With regard to the saints (lik'ddshim), in them only I delight"). But he giveth grace unto the lowly; or, on the other hand, the לְה prefixed to laanayim, "to the lowly," having that antithetical force here as in Job 8:20. The lowly (anayyim); Vulgate, mansueti; LXX., ταπωῖνοι; properly, "the afflicted," with added notion of submission and lowly demeanour, and hence the meek, gentle - the gentle towards man, and the abased and lowly before God. St. James (James 4:6) quotes the LXX. of this passage, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." With the exception of substituting Κύριος for Θεός (cf. 1 Peter 5:5), our Lord's parable of the Pharisee and publican illustrates the teaching of this verse (Luke 18:9-14). Proverbs 3:34His relation to men is determined by their relation to Him.

As for the scorners, He scorneth them,

But to the lowly He giveth grace.

Most interpreters render the verse thus: "If the scorner He (even He, in return) scorneth, so He (on the other hand) giveth grace to the lowly." For the sequence of the words in the consequence, in which the precedence of the verb is usual, e.g., Leviticus 12:5, we are referred to Proverbs 23:18, cf. Proverbs 24:14; but why had the poet placed the two facts in the relation of condition and consequence? The one fact is not the consequence but the reverse of the other, and accordingly they are opposed to each other in coordinated passages, Psalm 18:26. The Vav in such antitheses has generally the meaning of "and on the other hand," e.g., Job 8:20, while the lxx, Targ., Syriac, and Jerome altogether pass over the אם as if it did not exist. Ziegler translates: "Truly! the scorner He scorneth;" but an affirmative אם does not exist, the asseveration after the manner of an oath is negative. Bertheau's expedient would be more acceptable, by which he makes the whole of Proverbs 3:34 the protasis to Proverbs 3:35; but if this were intended, another subject would not enter into Proverbs 3:35. Thus 34a and 34b are two independent parallel passages; אם־ללּצים is the protasis: if as regards the scorners, i.e., if His conduct is directed to the scorners, so He scorneth. The ל denotes relation, and in this elliptical usage is like the ל of superscription, e.g., Jeremiah 23:9. הוּא is the emphatic αὐτός: He on the contrary, and in a decisive way (Ewald, 314ab). Instead of יליץ fo there might have been used יליצם (for הליץ, where it occurs as a governing word, has the accusative, Proverbs 19:28; Psalm 119:51), but we do not miss the object: if it relates to scorners (thus also Lwenstein translates), so it is He in return who scorneth. The lxx renders it: κύριος ὑπερηφάνοις ἀντιτάσσεται, ταπεινοῖς δὲ δίδωσι χάριν; cf. James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5. הוּא is used as a name of God (Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xvi. 400), on which account it is rendered like יהוה by κύριος. A ὑπερήφανος (appearing above others, i.e., overbearing) is the לץ, according to the definition Proverbs 21:24. the expression of the talio is generalized in ἀντιτάσσεται (resists them). For עניים the Kerı̂ has ענוים: ענו (from ענה, the ground-form ענו, Arab. 'anaw) is the lowly (ταπεινός), or he who bends himself, i.e., the gentle and humble, the patient, and the passive עני, he who is bowed down, the suffering; but the limits of the conception are moveable, since in עני is presupposed the possession of fruit-virtues gained in the school of affliction.

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