Proverbs 11:18
The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Worketh a deceitful work—i.e., which ends in nothing, deceiving his hopes. (Comp. Proverbs 11:7.)

But to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.—Rather, he that soweth righteousness (worketh) a sure reward for himself. (For “righteousness,” see above on Proverbs 10:2.)

Proverbs 11:18-19. The wicked worketh a deceitful work — A work which will deceive his expectation of that good for which he works. But to him that soweth righteousness — That worketh righteousness with constancy, diligence, and hope of a recompense, resembling the labour and hope of those who sow in seed-time; shall be a sure reward — For, he that sows to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting; so he that pursueth evil — That lives in known sin, that sows to the flesh; pursueth it to his own death — Shall of the flesh reap corruption.

11:1 However men may make light of giving short weight or measure, and however common such crimes may be, they are an abomination to the Lord. 2. Considering how safe, and quiet, and easy the humble are, we see that with the lowly is wisdom. 3. An honest man's principles are fixed, therefore his way is plain. 4. Riches will stand men in no stead in the day of death. 5,6. The ways of wickedness are dangerous. And sin will be its own punishment. 7. When a godly man dies, all his fears vanish; but when a wicked man dies, his hopes vanish. 8. The righteous are often wonderfully kept from going into dangerous situations, and the ungodly go in their stead. 9. Hypocrites delude men into error and sin by artful objections against the truths of God's word. 10,11. Nations prosper when wicked men are cast down. 12. A man of understanding does not judge of others by their success. 13. A faithful man will not disclose what he is trusted with, unless the honour of God and the real good of society require it. 14. We shall often find it to our advantage to advise with others. 15. The welfare of our families, our own peace, and our ability to pay just debts, must not be brought into danger. But here especially let us consider the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in becoming Surety even for enemies. 16. A pious and discreet woman will keep esteem and respect, as strong men keep possession of wealth. 17. A cruel, froward, ill-natured man, is vexatious to those that are, and should be to him as his own flesh, and punishes himself. 18. He that makes it his business to do good, shall have a reward, as sure to him as eternal truth can make it. 19. True holiness is true happiness. The more violent a man is in sinful pursuits, the more he hastens his own destruction. 20. Nothing is more hateful to God, than hypocrisy and double dealing, which are here signified. God delights in such as aim and act with uprightness. 21. Joining together in sin shall not protect the sinners. 22. Beauty is abused by those who have not discretion or modesty with it. This is true of all bodily endowments. 23. The wicked desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves. 24. A man may grow poor by not paying just debts, not relieving the poor, not allowing needful expenses. Let men be ever so saving of what they have, if God appoints, it comes to nothing. 25. Both in temporal and spiritual things, God commonly deals with his people according to the measure by which they deal with their brethren. 26. We must not hoard up the gifts of God's bounty, merely for our own advantage. 27. Seeking mischief is here set against seeking good; for those that are not doing good are doing hurt, even to themselves.Deceitful work - Work which deceives and disappoints the worker; in contrast with the "sure reward" of the second clause.

Omit "shall be" and render, "but he that soweth righteousness worketh a sure reward."

18. a deceitful work—or, "wages," which fail to satisfy, or flee away (Pr 10:2; 23:5).

sure reward—or, "gain," as from trading (Ho 10:12; Ga 6:8, 9).

A deceitful work; a work which will deceive his expectation of that good for which he worketh.

That soweth; that worketh it with constancy, and diligence, and hope of recompence, as they do who sow in seed-time.

Righteousness; good works, acts of piety towards God, and charity to men.

The wicked worketh a deceitful work,.... Such a wicked man as before described; that neither enjoys the good things of life he has, nor suffers others to enjoy them; and all to accumulate riches, which are deceitful and perishing; and who abstains from meats, which God has created for use, under a pretence of religion, and so deceives his own soul; and indeed every sin which a wicked man commits is a deceitful work; it promises him that pleasure, or profit, or liberty, which it does not give him, and in the issue is the ruin of him; and so all false doctrines, propagated by deceitful workers, are deceitful works, by which they deceive the simple, and at last themselves; they "obtain a deceitful reward of their work", as Gussetius (w) renders it;

but to him that soweth righteousness; does acts of beneficence and liberality; see 2 Corinthians 9:9; and all other good works, or works of righteousness,

shall be a sure reward; according to what a man sows, and the manner in which he sows, so shall he reap, 2 Corinthians 9:6; or, "a reward of truth"; instead of being given up to believe a lie, he shall receive the love of the truth, and abide in it, which will bring him to eternal glory and happiness; he being chosen to it through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, 2 Thessalonians 2:10; and, instead of a deceitful reward, shall have a true, real, solid, and substantial one.

(w) Ebr. Comment. p. 692.

The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. deceitful wages] Lit. wages of falsehood, i.e. transitory and disappointing, in contrast to a sure reward of the second clause, lit. a reward of truth, i.e. real and lasting.

shall be] he that soweth … hath R.V. But there is no need to supply anything. The word worketh [earneth R.V.), governs both clauses.

Verse 18. - A deceitful work; work that brings no reward or profit, belying hope, like "fundus mendax" of Horace, 'Od.,' 3:1, 30. The Septuagint has, "unrighteous works," which seems a jejune rendering, and does not bring out the contrast of the sure reward in the second member (comp. Proverbs 10:2, 16). To him that soweth righteousness (Hosea 10:12; Galatians 6:8, 9). To "sow righteousness" is to act righteously, to live in such a way that the result is holiness. The "reward," in a Jew's eyes, would be a long life in which to enjoy the fruits of his good conduct. We Christians have a better hope, which is, perhaps, adumbrated by this analogy: as the seed sown in the field does not produce its fruit till the time of harvest, so righteousness meets with its full recompense only in the great harvest at the end of all things. The Revised Version renders, The wicked earnnth deceitful wages: but he that soweth righteousness hath a sure reward. This makes a good antithesis. The Septuagint renders the last clause, "but the seed of the righteous is a true reward (μισθὸς ἀληθείας)." Proverbs 11:18Man consists of body and soul. In regard to both, benevolence brings its reward, and hatred its punishment.

The godless acquires deceptive gain;

But he that soweth righteousness, a true reward.

Jerome makes 18b an independent clause, for he translates it as if the word were written וּלזרע; the Syr. and Targ. also, as if אמתּו שׂכרו (his fidelity is his reward). But according to the text as it stands, עשׂה extends its regimen to both parts of the verse; to make is here equivalent to, to work out, to acquire, περιποιεῖσθαι, as Genesis 31:1; Jeremiah 17:1, etc. The labour of the godless has selfishness as its motive, and what he acquires by his labour is therefore "delusive gain," - it is no blessing, it profits him not (Proverbs 10:2), and it brings him no advantage (Proverbs 10:16). He, on the contrary, acquires truth, i.e., a truly profitable and enduring reward, who sows right-doing, or better: good-doing, by which we also, as the biblical moral in צדקה, think principally of well-doing, unselfish activity and self-sacrificing love. Hosea 10:12 speaks of sowing which has only צדקה as the norm; and how צדקה is understood is seen from the parallel use of חסד [piety]. The "true reward" is just the harvest by which the sowing of the good seed of noble benevolent actions is rewarded.

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