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Proverbs 10:12

Context

10:12 Hatred 1  stirs up dissension,

but love covers all transgressions. 2 

Proverbs 15:17

Context

15:17 Better a meal of vegetables where there is love 3 

than a fattened ox where there is hatred. 4 

Proverbs 17:5

Context

17:5 The one who mocks the poor 5  insults 6  his Creator;

whoever rejoices over disaster will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 24:17-18

Context

24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, 7 

and when he stumbles do not let your heart rejoice,

24:18 lest the Lord see it, and be displeased, 8 

and turn his wrath away from him. 9 

Proverbs 25:21-22

Context

25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat,

and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,

25:22 for you will heap coals of fire on his head, 10 

and the Lord will reward you. 11 

1 sn This contrasts the wicked motivated by hatred (animosity, rejection) with the righteous motivated by love (kind acts, showing favor).

2 sn Love acts like forgiveness. Hatred looks for and exaggerates faults; but love seeks ways to make sins disappear (e.g., 1 Pet 4:8).

3 tn Heb “and love there.” This clause is a circumstantial clause introduced with vav, that becomes “where there is love.” The same construction is used in the second colon.

4 sn Again the saying concerns troublesome wealth: Loving relationships with simple food are better than a feast where there is hatred. The ideal, of course, would be loving family and friends with a great meal in addition, but this proverb is only comparing two things.

5 sn The parallelism helps define the subject matter: The one who “mocks the poor” (NAB, NASB, NIV) is probably one who “rejoices [NIV gloats] over disaster.” The poverty is hereby explained as a disaster that came to some. The topic of the parable is the person who mocks others by making fun of their misfortune.

6 sn The Hebrew word translated “insults” (חֵרֵף, kheref) means “reproach; taunt” (as with a cutting taunt); it describes words that show contempt for or insult God. The idea of reproaching the Creator may be mistaking and blaming God’s providential control of the world (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 337). W. G. Plaut, however, suggests that mocking the poor means holding up their poverty as a personal failure and thus offending their dignity and their divine nature (Proverbs, 187).

7 sn The saying (vv. 17, 18) warns against gloating over the misfortune of one’s enemies. The prohibition is formed with two negated jussives “do not rejoice” and “let not be glad,” the second qualified by “your heart” as the subject, signifying the inner satisfaction of such a defeat.

8 tn Heb “and [it is] evil in his eyes.”

9 sn The judgment of God should strike a note of fear in the heart of people (e.g., Lev 19:17-18). His judgment is not to be taken lightly, or personalized as a victory. If that were to happen, then the Lord might take pity on the enemies in their calamity, for he champions the downtrodden and defeated. These are probably personal enemies; the imprecatory psalms and the prophetic oracles present a different set of circumstances for the downfall of God’s enemies – even the book of Proverbs says that brings joy to the community.

10 sn The imagery of the “burning coals” represents pangs of conscience, more readily effected by kindness than by violence. These coals produce the sharp pain of contrition through regret (e.g., 18:19; 20:22; 24:17; Gen 42-45; 1 Sam 24:18-20; Rom 12:20). The coals then would be an implied comparison with a searing conscience.

11 sn The second consequence of treating enemies with kindness is that the Lord will reward the act. The fact that this is promised shows that the instruction here belongs to the religious traditions of Israel.



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