Proverbs 24:21
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) Them that are given to change.—Perhaps rather, those who think differently.

Proverbs 24:21-22. My son, fear thou the Lord and the king — Honour and obey both God and the king, and all in authority. He properly puts God before the king, because God is to be served in the first place, and our obedience is to be paid to kings only in subordination to God, and not in those things which are contrary to God’s will and command; and meddle not with them that are given to change — Hebrew, שׁונים אל תתערב

עם, literally, mix not thyself with changers, or changeable persons, that is, join not in the counsels, practices, or familiar conversation of those that love changes; that are unstable in their obedience to God, or to the king, and are prone to rebel against either of them. For their calamity shall rise suddenly — An unexpected and dreadful evil shall unavoidably and violently seize on them. And who knoweth the ruin of them both — Who can conceive how sudden and sore the destruction will be, both of them that fear not God, and of them that fear not the king! For they have two potent and terrible enemies; whom, if they will not obey out of conscience, as their duty enjoins them, yet they ought to obey, at least, for their own sakes, and for fear of those severe punishments which will certainly be inflicted on all rebels and disobedient persons.

24:17,18. The pleasure we are apt to take in the troubles of an enemy is forbidden. 19,20. Envy not the wicked their prosperity; be sure there is no true happiness in it. 21,22. The godly in the land, will be quiet in the land. There may be cause to change for the better, but have nothing to do with them that are given change. 23-26. The wisdom God giveth, renders a man fit for his station. Every one who finds the benefit of the right answer, will be attached to him that gave it. 27. We must prefer necessaries before conveniences, and not go in debt.Them that are given to change - Those that seek to set aside the worship of the true God, or the authority of the true king, who represents Him. 21, 22. A warning against impiety and resistance to lawful rule (Ro 13:1-7; 1Pe 2:17).

meddle … change—(Compare Margin), literally, "mingle not yourself," avoid the society of restless persons.

Fear thou the Lord and the king; honour and obey both God and the king, and all in authority. He puts God before the king, because God is to be served in the first place, and our obedience is to be giver, to kings only in subordination to God, and not in those things which are contrary to the will and command of God, as is manifest both from plain Scripture, as Acts 5:29, and from the judgment and practice of wise and sober heathens.

Meddle not with them, Heb. mix not thyself with them, either in their counsels and practices, or in familiar conversation, that are given to change; that love or use changes; that are unstable in their obedience to God or to the king, and are prone to rebellion against either of them. Those men that wickedly forsake God, and break his laws, are said to change their God, Jeremiah 2:11, and to

change God’s judgments and ordinances, Isaiah 24:5 Ezekiel 5:6.

My son, fear thou the Lord, and the king,.... First the Lord, and then the king; and such as fear the Lord are generally loyal to their king; the fear of God includes love to him, reverence of him, faith in him, submission to him, and the whole worship of him, inward and outward, attended with holiness of life and conversation: and the king, who is under God, is to be feared also, with a fear suitable to him; he is to be loved and reverenced, to be trusted in and submitted to, in everything consistent with the fear of God and obedience to him; in whatever is not contrary to his laws, commands, and ordinances; see 1 Peter 2:13;

and meddle not with them that are given to change; in political things; that are for new laws, new forms of government, a new ministry, and a new king; never easy with the government under which they are, but are continually entering into plots, conspiracies, and rebellions, who, instead of fearing God and the king, change the laws and commandments of God and the king, and therefore to be shunned. Some render it, "with rebels"; the Targum and Syriac version, "with fools"; as all such persons are, and should be avoided as scandalous and dangerous: mix not with them, as the word (s) signifies; keep no company, and have no conversation with them, lest you be brought into danger and mischief by them. Or who are given to change in religious things; make innovations in doctrine and practice, always love to hear or say some now thing; turn with every wind, and shift as that does; are tossed about with every wind of doctrine, fickle and inconstant, carried about like meteors in the air, with "divers and strange doctrines"; such as disagree with the perfections of God, the doctrines of Christ and his apostles, the Scriptures of truth, the analogy of faith, anti form of sound words; and so the word here used signifies "divers", and is so rendered Esther 3:8; and may design such who hold doctrines and give into practices divers and different from the faith once delivered to the saints, and from the institutions and appointments of Christ; innovations in doctrine and worship ought not to be admitted of; and such who are for introducing them should not be meddled or mixed with; they should not be countenanced and encouraged; they should not be attended upon or given heed unto; have no fellowship, and join not in communion with them. This is interpreted by some of such who repeat (t) their sins after repentance, or who return a second time to their wickedness after they have repented, as Ben Melech observes.

(s) "ne misceas te", Pagninus, Montanus; "ne commisceto te", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, so Michaelis, Schultens. (t) "cum iterantibus", Pagninus, Montanus; "sub iniquitates suas"; so some in Vatablus, Baynus.

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. given to change] i.e. are of a revolutionary and subversive spirit, whether in religion or in politics.

Verses 21, 22. - An injunction urging loyalty to God and the king. Verse 21. - Fear thou the Lord and the king. The king is God's vicegerent and representative, and therefore to be honoured and obeyed (see Ecclesiastes 8:2; Ecclesiastes 10:20; 1 Peter 2:17). Meddle not with them that are given to change. There is some doubt about the intepretation of the last word שׁונִים (shonim), which may mean those who change, innovators (in which transitive sense the verb does not elsewhere occur), or those who think differently, dissidents, who respect neither God nor the king. The verb שָׁנָה signifies transitively "to repeat," and intransitively "to be changed;" so it may be most accurately translated here, with Delitzsch, "those who are otherwise disposed," who have not the proper sentiments of fear and honour for God and the king. St. Jerome has, Et cum detractoribus non commiscearis, by which word he probably means what we call revolutionists, persons who disparage and despise all authority. Septuagint, "Fear God and the king, and disobey neither of them." The verse has been largely used as a text by preachers who desired to recommend loyalty and to censure disaffection and rebellion. It has been a favourite motto for discourses on the Gunpowder Treason and the execution of Charles I. Proverbs 24:21A warning against rebellious thoughts against God and the king:

21 My son, honour Jahve and the king,

     And involve not thyself with those who are otherwise disposed;

22 For suddenly their calamity ariseth,

     And the end of their years, who knoweth it?

The verb שׁנה, proceeding from the primary idea of folding (complicare, duplicare), signifies transitively to do twice, to repeat, Proverbs 17:9; Proverbs 26:11, according to which Kimchi here inappropriately thinks on relapsing; and intransitively, to change, to be different, Esther 1:7; Esther 3:8. The Syr. and Targ. translate the word שׁטיי, fools; but the Kal (טעמו) שׁנה occurs, indeed, in the Syr., but not in the Heb., in the meaning alienata est (mens ejus); and besides, this meaning, alieni, is not appropriate here. A few, however, with Saadia (cf. Deutsch-Morgenlndische Zeitschr. xxi. 616), the dualists (Manichees), understand it in a dogmatic sense; but then שׁונים must be denom. of שׁנים, while much more it is its root-word. Either שׁונים means those who change, novantes equals novarum rerum studiosi, which is, however, exposed to this objection, that the Heb. שׁנה, in the transitive sense to change, does not elsewhere occur; or it means, according to the usus loq., diversos equals diversum sentientes (C. B. Michaelis and others), and that with reference to 21a: הממרים דבריהם ומצותם (Meri, Immanuel), or משׁנים מנהג החכמה (Ahron b. Joseph). Thus they are called (for it is a common name of a particular class of men) dissidents, oppositionists, or revolutionaries, who recognise neither the monarchy of Jahve, the King of kings, nor that of the earthly king, which perhaps Jerome here means by the word detractoribus ( equals detractatoribus). The Venet. incorrectly, σὺν τοῖς μισοῦσι, i.e., שׂונאים. with ב at Proverbs 14:10, התערב meant to mix oneself up with something, here with עם, to mix oneself with some one, i.e., to make common cause with him.

The reason assigned in Proverbs 24:22 is, that although such persons as reject by thought and action human and divine law may for a long time escape punishment, yet suddenly merited ruin falls on them. איד is, according to its primary signification, weighty, oppressive misfortune, vid., i. 27. In יקוּם it is thought of as hostile power (Hosea 10:14); or the rising up of God as Judge (e.g., Isaiah 33:10) is transferred to the means of executing judgment. פּיד ( equals פּוד of פוד or פיד ro פו, Arab. fâd, fut. jafûdu or jafı̂du, a stronger power of bâd, cogn. אבד) is destruction (Arab. fied, fı̂d, death); this word occurs, besides here, only thrice in the Book of Job. But to what does שׁניהם refer? Certainly not to Jahve and the king (lxx, Schultens, Umbreit, and Bertheau), for in itself it is doubtful to interpret the genit. after פיד as designating the subject, but improper to comprehend God and man under one cipher. Rather it may refer to two, of whom one class refuse to God, the other to the king, the honour that is due (Jerome, Luther, and at last Zckler); but in the foregoing, two are not distinguished, and the want of reverence for God, and for the magistrates appointed by Him, is usually met with, because standing in interchangeable relationship, in one and the same persons. Is there some misprint then in this word? Ewald suggests שׁניהם, i.e., of those who show themselves as שׁונים (altercatores) towards God and the king. In view of קמיהם, Exodus 32:25, this brevity of expression must be regarded as possible. But if this were the meaning of the word, then it ought to have stood in the first member (איד שׁניהם), and not in the second. No other conjecture presents itself. Thus שׁניהם is perhaps to be referred to the שׁונים, and those who engage with them: join thyself not with the opposers; for suddenly misfortune will come upon them, and the destruction of both (of themselves and their partisans), who knows it? But that also is not satisfactory, for after the address שׁניכם was to have been expected, 22b. Nothing remains, therefore, but to understand שׁניהם, with the Syr. and Targ., as at Job 36:11; the proverb falls into rhythms פּתאם and פּיד, שׁונים and שׁניהם. But "the end of their year" is not equivalent to the hour of their death (Hitzig), because for this פּידם (cf. Arab. feid and fı̂d, death) was necessary; but to the expiring, the vanishing, the passing by of the year during which they have succeeded in maintaining their ground and playing a part. There will commence a time which no one knows beforehand when all is over with them. In this sense, "who knoweth," with its object, is equivalent to "suddenly ariseth," with its subject. In the lxx, after Proverbs 24:22, there follow one distich of the relations of man to the word of God as deciding their fate, one distich of fidelity as a duty towards the king, and the duty of the king, and one pentastich or hexastich of the power of the tongue and of the anger of the king. The Heb. text knows nothing of these three proverbs. Ewald has, Jahrb. xi. 18f., attempted to translate them into Heb., and is of opinion that they are worthy of being regarded as original component parts of chap. 1-29, and that they ought certainly to have come in after Proverbs 24:22. We doubt this originality, but recognise their translation from the Heb. Then follows in the lxx the series of Prov; Proverbs 30:1-14, which in the Heb. text bear the superscription of "the Words of Agur;" the second half of the "Words of Agur," together with the "Words of Lemuel," stand after Proverbs 24:34 of the Heb. text. The state of the matter is this, that in the copy from which the Alexandrines translated the Appendix 30:1-31:9, stood half of it, after the "Words of the Wise" [which extend from Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:22], and half after the supplement headed "these also are from wise men" [Proverbs 24:23-34], so that only the proverbial ode in praise of the excellent matron [Proverbs 31:10] remains as an appendix to the Book of Hezekiah's collection, chap. 25-29.

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