Proverbs 21:15 MEANING

Proverbs 21:15
(15) But destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.--This may also mean, "It is a terror to the workers of iniquity (to do right)." They are afraid to trust such promises as Matthew 6:33. They think they will be ruined if they do not cheat their neighbours when they have an opportunity.

Verse 15. - It is joy to the just to do judgment. The righteous feel real pleasure in doing what is right; they have the answer of a good conscience, and the feeling that they are, as far as they can, making God's will their will, and this brings deep comfort and stable joy (see some contrary experiences, ver. 10 and Proverbs 10:23; Proverbs 15:21). But destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity. The Authorized Version, by inserting "shall be," and making this clause a separate assertion, obscures the force of the original, which, as in Proverbs 10:29 (where see note), contrasts the effect of right-doing on the good and the evil. It is a joy to the former, "but destruction [or, 'terror'] to them that work iniquity." Et pavor operantibus iniquitatem, Vulgate. They cannot trust themselves to do rightly without fear; they cannot commit the result to God, as the righteous do; if ever they do act uprightly, it is against their inclination, and such action will, as they fear, bring them to ruin. Septuagint, "It is the joy of the righteous to do judgment; but a holy man is abominable (ἀκάθαρτος) among evil doers." So Wisd. 2:15, "He [the rightous] is grievous unto us even to behold: for his life is not like other men's, his ways are of another fashion... he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness (ἀκαθαρσιῶν)."

21:9. It is best to shun bitter contention by pouring out the heart before God. For by prudence and patience, with constant prayer, the cross may be removed. 10. The evil desires of a wicked man's heart, lead to baseness in his conduct. 11. The simple may be made wise by punishments on the wicked, and by instructions to those who are willing to be taught. 12. Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them. 13. Such as oppress the poor by beating down wages, such as will not relieve according to their ability those in distress, and those in authority who neglect to do justice, stop their ears at the cry of the poor. But doubtless care is to be used in the exercise of charity. 14. If money can conquer the fury of the passions, shall reason, the fear of God, and the command of Christ, be too weak to bridle them? 15. There is true pleasure only in the practice of religion. 16. Of all wanderers in the ways of sin, those are in the most dangerous condition who turn aside into the ways of darkness. Yet there is hope even for them in the all-sufficient Saviour; but let them flee to him without delay. 17. A life of worldly pleasure brings ruin on men. 18. The righteous is often delivered out of trouble, and the wicked comes in his stead, and so seems as a ransom for him. 19. Unbridled passions spoil the comfort of all relations. 20. The plenty obtained by prudence, industry, and frugality, is desirable. But the foolish misspend what they have upon their lusts. 21. True repentance and faith will lead him that relies on the mercy of God in Christ, to follow after righteousness and mercy in his own conduct. 22. Those that have wisdom, often do great things, even against those confident of their strength. 23. It is our great concern to keep our souls from being entangled and disquieted. 24. Pride and haughtiness make men passionate; such continually deal in wrath, as if it were their trade to be angry. 25,26. Here is the misery of the slothful; their hands refuse to labour in an honest calling, by which they might get an honest livelihood; yet their hearts cease not to covet riches, pleasures, and honours, which cannot be obtained without labour. But the righteous and industrious have their desires satisfied. 27. When holiness is pretended, but wickedness intended, that especially is an abomination. 28. The doom of a false witness is certain. 29. A wicked man bids defiance to the terrors of the law and the rebukes of Providence. But a good man asks, What does God require of me? 30,31. Means are to be used, but, after all, our safety and salvation are only of the Lord. In our spiritual warfare we must arm ourselves with the whole armour of God; but our strength must be in the Lord, and in the power of his might.It is joy to the, last to do judgment,.... It is with pleasure he does it; he delights in the law of God, after the inward man, and finds much peace of mind and joy in the Holy Ghost in keeping it, and observing its commands, which are holy, just, and good; yea, it gives him pleasure to see justice done by others; both by private persons in their dealings with one another; and especially by judges putting the laws in execution, as their office requires; whereby much good comes to a nation in general, and to particular persons;

but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity; that make a trade of sinning; whose whole life is a continued series of sin and iniquity; who take much pains in committing sin, and are constant at it; everlasting destruction is in their ways, and they lead unto it: or, "terror" (a) shall be to them; terror of mind now at times, in opposition to the joy and peace a good man finds; and dreadful horror at death and to all eternity: or, as it is joy to a just man to see public justice done, and good laws put in execution, it is a terror to evildoers, Romans 13:3.

(a) "pavor", V. L. "horror", Tigurine version; "terror", Vatablus, Mercerus; "consternatio", Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens.

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