Romans 12:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."

King James Bible
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

Darby Bible Translation
If therefore thine enemy should hunger, feed him; if he should thirst, give him drink; for, so doing, thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.

World English Bible
Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in doing so, you will heap coals of fire on his head."

Young's Literal Translation
I will recompense again, saith the Lord;' if, then, thine enemy doth hunger, feed him; if he doth thirst, give him drink; for this doing, coals of fire thou shalt heap upon his head;

Romans 12:20 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

If thine enemy hunger, feed him - Do not withhold from any man the offices of mercy and kindness; you have been God's enemy, and yet God fed, clothed, and preserved you alive: do to your enemy as God has done to you. If your enemy be hungry, feed him; if he be thirsty, give him drink: so has God dealt with you. And has not a sense of his goodness and long-suffering towards you been a means of melting down your heart into penitential compunction, gratitude, and love towards him? How know you that a similar conduct towards your enemy may not have the same gracious influence on him towards you? Your kindness may be the means of begetting in him a sense of his guilt; and, from being your fell enemy, he may become your real friend! This I believe to be the sense of this passage, which many have encumbered with difficulties of their own creating. The whole is a quotation from Proverbs 25:21, Proverbs 25:22, in the precise words of the Septuagint; and it is very likely that the latter clause of this verse, Thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, is a metaphor taken from smelting metals. The ore is put into the furnace, and fire put both under and over, that the metal may be liquefied, and, leaving the scoriae and dross, may fall down pure to the bottom of the furnace. This is beautifully expressed by one of our own poets, in reference to this explanation of this passage: -

"So artists melt the sullen ore of lead,

By heaping coals of fire upon its head.

In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow,

And pure from dross the silver runs below."

It is most evident, from the whole connection of the place and the apostle's use of it, that the heaping of the coals of fire upon the head of the enemy is intended to produce not an evil, but the most beneficial effect; and the following verse is an additional proof of this.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

if thine.

Exodus 23:4,5 If you meet your enemy's ox or his donkey going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again...

1 Samuel 24:16-19 And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words to Saul, that Saul said, Is this your voice, my son David...

1 Samuel 26:21 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do you harm, because my soul was precious in your eyes this day...

Proverbs 25:21,22 If your enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink...

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you...

coals.

Psalm 120:4 Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.

Psalm 140:10 Let burning coals fall on them: let them be cast into the fire; into deep pits, that they rise not up again.

Songs 8:6,7 Set me as a seal on your heart, as a seal on your arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave...

Library
A Reasonable Service
TEXT: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."--Romans 12:1. There is perhaps no chapter in the New Testament, certainly none in this epistle, with which we are more familiar than this one which is introduced by the text; and yet, however familiar we may be with the statements, if we read them carefully and study them honestly they must always come to us not only in the
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

April 6. "As we have Many Members in one Body, So we Being Many are one Body in Christ" (Rom. xii. 4, 5).
"As we have many members in one body, so we being many are one body in Christ" (Rom. xii. 4, 5). Sometimes our communion with God is cut off, or interrupted because of something wrong with a brother, or some lack of unity in the body of Christ. We try to get at the Lord, but we cannot, because we are separated from some member of the Lord's body, or because there is not the freedom of His love flowing through every organic part. It does not need a blow upon the head to paralyze the brain; a blow
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Another Triplet of Graces
'Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.'--ROMANS xii. 12. These three closely connected clauses occur, as you all know, in the midst of that outline of the Christian life with which the Apostle begins the practical part of this Epistle. Now, what he omits in this sketch of Christian duty seems to me quite as significant as what he inserts. It is very remarkable that in the twenty verses devoted to this subject, this is the only one which refers to the inner secrets
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Still Another Triplet
'Be of the same mind one toward another. Set not your mind on high things, but condescend to things that are lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits.'--Romans xii. 16 (R.V.). We have here again the same triple arrangement which has prevailed through a considerable portion of the context. These three exhortations are linked together by a verbal resemblance which can scarcely be preserved in translation. In the two former the same verb is employed: and in the third the word for 'wise' is cognate with
Alexander Maclaren—Romans, Corinthians (To II Corinthians, Chap. V)

Cross References
Genesis 42:25
Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man's silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey. After this was done for them,

2 Kings 6:22
"Do not kill them," he answered. "Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master."

Proverbs 25:21
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

Matthew 5:44
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Luke 6:27
"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,

Romans 12:21
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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