As righteousness tends to life: so he that pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)As righteousness tendeth to life.—Rather, genuine righteousness tendeth to life.That pursueth evil; who are not overtaken by sin, as a good man may be, Galatians 6:1, but studiously design it, and follow after the occasions of it earnestly, and greedily, and industriously. 1 Timothy 4:8; and so here in the Hebrew text it is, "unto lives" (x), in the plural number. Internal grace, or powerful godliness, which is the new man that is created in righteousness, gives a meetness for everlasting life, and issues in it; particularly the righteousness of Christ, as that is a perfectly justifying one; it makes a man alive in a law sense, and gives a title and claim to eternal life;
so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death; or, it is "to his own death"; it issues in that: not he that is overtaken in a fault, or falls into sin through the infirmity of the flesh and the force of temptation, but such who eagerly follow after it and overtake it; who give up themselves unto it, weary themselves in committing it, draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope; these often by their sins bring diseases upon them, which end in a corporeal death; or by means of which they come into the hand of the civil magistrate, and are capitally punished; and, however, die the second death, or an eternal one, the just wages of sin, Romans 6:23.As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. As] The Heb. word means so, but has also the sense of firm, stedfast, and is so used of character, Genesis 42:11; Genesis 42:19; Genesis 42:31; Genesis 42:33-34.
He that is stedfast in righteousness is so unto life.
And he that pursueth evil doeth so unto his own death.
The rendering of R.V. marg., So (in like manner), connecting this proverb with that of the preceding verse, is less forcible and less in accordance with the style of this Book.Verse 19. - This verse is not to be connected with the preceding, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "so righteousness," etc., each couplet in these chapters being independent, the connection, such as it is, being maintained by the use of catchwords, such as "righteous," "wicked," "upright," etc. As righteousness tendeth to life. The various uses of the first word כֵן (ken) have led to different renderings. The Authorized Version takes it for "as;" the Revised Version as an adjective: He that is steadfast in righteousness. It is, perhaps, better, with Nowack, to regard it as an adverb: "He who is honestly, strictly, of righteousness, is to life." The meaning is plain: real, genuine righteousness hath the promise of this life and of that which is to come (1 Timothy 4:8). The LXX., reading בֵן (ben), translate, "A righteous son is born for life." He that pursueth evil (Proverbs 13:21); Septuagint, "the persecution of the impious," i.e. that which an impious man inflicts. But the Authorized Version is correct, and the clause means that he who practises evil brings ruin eventually on himself - a warning trite, but unheeded (comp. Proverbs 1:18).
But he who is of a faithful spirit concealeth a matter.
The tattler is called רכיל (intensive form of רכל), from his going hither and thither. אנשׁי רכיל, Ezekiel 22:9, are men given to tattling, backbiters; הולך רכיל (cf. Leviticus 19:16), one of the tattlers or backbiters goes, a divulger of the matter, a tell-tale. It is of such an one that the proverb speaks, that he reveals the secret (סוד, properly the being close together for the purpose of private intercourse, then that intercourse itself, vid., at Psalm 25:14); one has thus to be on his guard against confiding in him. On the contrary, a נאמן־רוּח, firmus (fidus) spiritu, properly one who is established, or reflexively one who proves himself firm and true (vid., at Genesis 15:6), conceals a matter, keeps it back from the knowledge and power of another. Zckler rightly concludes, in opposition to Hitzig, from the parallelism that the הולך רכיל is subject; the arrangement going before also shows that this is the "ground-word" (Ewald); in Proverbs 20:19 the relation is reversed: the revealer of secrets is rightly named (cf. Sir. 27:16, ὁ ἀποκαλύπτων μυστήρια, κ.τ.λ.).
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