Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Remove not the old landmark.—See above, on Proverbs 22:28.Proverbs 23:10-11. Enter not into the fields of the fatherless — Either to take away their goods, or rather, to possess their lands, as this phrase is used, 2 Samuel 5:6. For their Redeemer is mighty — Hebrew, גאלם, their near kinsman, to whom it belongs to avenge their wrongs, and to recover and maintain their rights: see on Leviticus 25:25; Numbers 35:12; Job 19:25. God is pleased to call himself the kinsman of the fatherless, to show how much he concerns himself for the relief of oppressed and helpless persons.2 Samuel 5:6. Proverbs 22:28;
and enter not into the fields of the fatherless; to carry off the increase of them, to reap their wheat, or mow their grass, or turn in cattle to eat it; or to encroach upon them, take in any part of them, or join the whole to their own; for if there is a woe to them that lay field to field, much more to them that enter into and take the fields of the fatherless, and join them to their own, Isaiah 5:8.Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. See Proverbs 22:28.
enter not into] to do him wrong as the parallelism implies.Verses 10, 11. - An enlargement of Proverbs 22:28 combined with Proverbs 22:22, 28. Verse 10. - Enter not into the fields of the fatherless. Do not think to appropriate the fields of orphans, as if there were no our to defend their rights (comp. Proverbs 15:25).
4 Do not trouble thyself to become rich;
Cease from such thine own wisdom.
5 Wilt thou let thine eyes fly after it, and it is gone?
For it maketh itself, assuredly it maketh itself wings,
Like an eagle which fleeth toward the heavens.
The middle state, according to Proverbs 30:8, is the best: he who troubleth himself (cf. Proverbs 28:20, hasteth) to become rich, placeth before himself a false, deceitful aim. יגע is essentially one with (Arab.) waji'a, to experience sorrow, dolere, and then signifies, like πονεῖν and κάμνειν, to become or to be wearied, to weary or trouble oneself, to toil and moil (Fleischer). The בּינה (cf. Proverbs 3:5) is just wisdom, prudence directed towards becoming rich; for striving of itself alone does not accomplish it, unless wisdom is connected with it, which is not very particular in finding out means in their moral relations; but is so much the more crafty, and, as we say, speculative. Rightly Aquila, the Venet., Jerome, and Luther: take not pains to become rich. On the contrary, the lxx reads אל תיגע להעשׁיר, stretch not thyself (if thou art poor) after a rich man; and the Syr. and Targ. אל תּגּע להעשׁיר, draw not near to the rich man; but, apart from the uncertainty of the expression and the construction in both cases, poetry, and proverbial poetry too, does not prefer the article; it never uses it without emphasis, especially as here must be the case with it not elided. These translators thought that 'בּו וגו, Proverbs 23:5, presupposed a subject expressed in Proverbs 23:4; but the subject is not העשׁיר, but the עשׁר [riches] contained in להעשׁיר. The self-intelligible it in "it maketh wings," etc. is that about which trouble has been taken, about which there has been speculation. That is a deceitful possession; for what has been gained by many years of labour and search, often passes away suddenly, is lost in a moment. To let the eyes fly after anything, is equivalent to, to direct a (flying) look toward it: wilt thou let thine eyes rove toward the same, and it is gone? i.e., wilt thou expose thyself to the fate of seeing that which was gained with trouble and craft torn suddenly away from thee? Otherwise Luther, after Jerome: Let not thine eyes fly after that which thou cast not have; but apart from the circumstance that בּו ואיננּוּ cannot possibly be understood in the sense of ad opes quas non potes habere (that would have required באשׁר איננו), in this sense after the analogy of (ל) נשׂא נפשׁ אל, the end aimed at would have been denoted by לו and not by בו. Better Immanuel, after Rashi: if thou doublest, i.e., shuttest (by means of the two eyelids) thine eyes upon it, it is gone, i.e., has vanished during the night; but עוף, duplicare, is Aram. and not Heb. Rather the explanation is with Chajg, after Isaiah 8:22.: if thou veilest (darkenest) thine eyes, i.e., yieldest thyself over to carelessness; but the noun עפעפּה shows that עוף, spoken of the eyes, is intended to signify to fly (to rove, flutter). Hitzig too artificially (altering the expression to להעשׁיר): if thou faintest, art weary with the eyes toward him (the rich patron), he is gone - which cannot be adopted, because the form of a question does not accord with it. Nor would it accord if ואיננו were thought of as a conclusion: "dost thou let thy look fly toward it? It is gone;" for what can this question imply? The ו of ואיננו shows that this word is a component part of the question; it is a question lla nakar, i.e., in rejection of the subject of the question: wilt thou cast thy look upon it, and it is gone? i.e., wilt thou experience instant loss of that which is gained by labour and acquired by artifice? On בו, cf. Job 7:8. 'עיניך וגו, "thou directest thine eyes to me: I am no more." We had in Proverbs 12:19 another mode of designating viz. till I wink again an instant. The Chethı̂b 'התעוּף וגו is syntactically correct (cf. Proverbs 15:22; Proverbs 20:30), and might remain. The Kerı̂ is mostly falsely accentuated התּעיף, doubly incorrectly; for (1) the tone never retreats from a shut syllable terminating in , e.g., להכין, Isaiah 40:20; בהכין, 1 Chronicles 1:4; אבין, Job 23:8; and (2) there is, moreover, wanting here any legitimate occasion for the retrogression of the tone; thus much rather the form התּעיף (with Mehuppach of the last, and Zinnorith of the preceding open syllable) is to be adopted, as it is given by Opitz, Jablonsky, Michaelis, and Reineccius.
The subject of 5b is, as of 5a, riches. That riches take wings and flee away, is a more natural expression than that the rich patron flees away - a quaint figure, appropriate however at Nahum 3:16, where the multitude of craftsmen flee out of Nineveh like a swarm of locusts. עשׂה has frequently the sense of acquirere, Genesis 12:5, with לו, sibi acquirere, 1 Samuel 15:1; 1 Kings 1:15; Hitzig compares Silius Ital. xvi. 351: sed tum sibi fecerat alas. The inf. intensivus strengthens the assertion: it will certainly thus happen.
In 5c all unnecessary discussion regarding the Chethı̂b ועיף is to be avoided, for this Chethı̂b does not exist; the Masora here knows only of a simple Chethı̂b and Kerı̂, viz., ועוּף (read יעוּף), not of a double one (ועיּף), and the word is not among those which have in the middle a י, which is to be read like ו. The manuscripts (e.g., also the Bragadin. 1615) have ועוּף, and the Kerı̂ יעוּף; it is one of the ten words registered in the Masora, at the beginning of which a י is to be read instead of the written ו. Most of the ancients translate with the amalgamation of the Kerı̂ and the Chethı̂b: and he (the rich man, or better: the riches) flees heavenwards (Syr., Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, Jerome, and Luther). After the Kerı̂ the Venet. renders: ὡς ἀετὸς πτήσεται τοῖς οὐρανοῖς (viz., ὁ πλοῦτος). Rightly the Targ.: like an eagle which flies to heaven (according to which also it is accentuated), only it is not to be translated "am Himmel" [to heaven], but "gen Himmel" [towards heaven]: השּׁמים is the accusative of direction - the eagle flies heavenward. Bochart, in the Hierozocon, has collected many parallels to this comparison, among which is the figure in Lucian's Timon, where Pluto, the god of wealth, comes to one limping and with difficulty; but going away, outstrips in speed the flight of all birds. The lxx translates ὥσπερ ἀετοῦ καὶ ὑποστρέφει εἰς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ προεστηκότος αὐτοῦ. Hitzig accordingly reads שׁבו לבית משׂגּבּו, and he (the rich patron) withdraws from thee to his own steep residence. But ought not οἶκος τοῦ προεστηκότος αὐτοῦ to be heaven, as the residence of Him who administers wealth, i.e., who gives and again takes it away according to His free-will?
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