New International Version
For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
King James Bible
For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
Darby Bible Translation
For they sleep not except they have done mischief, and their sleep is taken away unless they have caused [some] to fall.
World English Bible
For they don't sleep, unless they do evil. Their sleep is taken away, unless they make someone fall.
Young's Literal Translation
For they sleep not if they do not evil, And their sleep hath been taken violently away, If they cause not some to stumble.
Proverbs 4:16 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Except they have done mischief - The night is their time for spoil and depredation. And they must gain some booty, before they go to rest. This I believe to be the meaning of the passage. I grant, also, that there may be some of so malevolent a disposition that they cannot be easy unless they can injure others, and are put to excessive pain when they perceive any man in prosperity, or receiving a kindness. The address in Virgil, to an illnatured shepherd is well known: -
Et cum vidisti puero donata, dolebas:
Et si non aliqua nocuisses, mortuus esses.
Eclog. 3: 14.
"When thou sawest the gifts given to the lad, thou wast distressed; and hadst thou not found some means of doing him a mischief, thou hadst died."
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
LibraryMonotony and Crises
'When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.'--PROVERBS iv. 12. The old metaphor likening life to a path has many felicities in it. It suggests constant change, it suggests continuous progress in one direction, and that all our days are linked together, and are not isolated fragments; and it suggests an aim and an end. So we find it perpetually in this Book of Proverbs. Here the 'way' has a specific designation, 'the way of Wisdom'--that is …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Two Paths
Epistle cxx. To Claudius in Spain .
Twenty-Fourth Day. Firmness in Temptation.
Even on their beds they plot evil; they commit themselves to a sinful course and do not reject what is wrong.
Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way.
Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning's light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it.
Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire-- they all conspire together.
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