The righteous considers the cause of the poor: but the wicked regards not to know it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The wicked regardeth not to know it.—Literally, understandeth not knowledge; he does not know nor care to know anything about his poorer neighbour’s affairs, so as to be able to help him. He cares as little about him as did Dives about Lazarus, though he saw him each time he went out of his own door.Proverbs 29:7. The righteous — Whether magistrate, or any private person, concerned to know it, and capable of helping him in it; considereth the cause of the poor — His poverty neither hinders him from taking pains to examine it, nor from a righteous determination of it; but the wicked regardeth not to know — Will not put himself to the trouble of searching it out, either because it yields him no profit, or because he resolves to give away the poor man’s right.
the cause—that is, in courts of justice (compare Pr 29:14). The voluntary neglect of it by the wicked (Pr 28:27) occasions oppression.The righteous, whether magistrate, or any private person concerned to know it, and capable of helping him in it,
considereth the cause of the poor; his poverty neither hinders him from taking pains to examine it, nor from a righteous determination of it.
Regardeth not to know it; will not put himself to the trouble of searching it out, either because it yields him no profit, or because he resolves to give away his right. Psalm 41:1; nor the person of the poor in judgment, and which he ought not to do; for as he should not regard a rich man's person, and favour him, because he is rich; so neither a poor man, because he is poor, through an affectation of mercy, Leviticus 19:15; but the cause of the poor, and the justice of that, and do him justice, though a poor man. This is to be understood chiefly of a civil magistrate, a judge righteous; who will take notice of and regard a poor man's cause, and take a good deal of pains and care that he is not injured. Or, "knoweth the judgment of the poor" (m) he acquaints himself with his case, makes himself thoroughly master of it, searches out his cause as Job did, Proverbs 29:16;
but the wicked regardeth not to know it; or, "does not understand knowledge" (n) of the poor man's cause and case; and there being no money to be had, he does not care to consider it, and look into it, and get knowledge of it, and do him justice; he will not take his cause in hand, or plead it.
(m) "novit justus causan pauperum", V. L. "cognoscit", Pagninus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. "novit et curat justus judicum pauperum", Michaelis; "cognoscit justus litem tenuiem", Schultens. (n) "non intellilget scientiam", Paguinus, Montanus; "intelligit", Mercerus, Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis, Schultens.The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. the cause] the judicial cause in a court of law. Comp. Deuteronomy 17:8, where the same Heb. word is rendered plea.
regardeth not] Or, hath not understanding, R.V. Either does not take the trouble, as the righteous does, to look into the case; or, has not the moral perception to grasp its bearings.Verse 7. - Considereth the cause; recognizes the claims, and, as the word din implies, supports them at the seat of judgment (comp. Job 29:12, 16; Psalm 82:3, etc.). Septuagint, "A righteous man knows how to judge for the poor." The wicked regardeth not to know it. This is a clumsy translation; it means, pays no attention so as to become fully acquainted with its details and bearings. But the words signify rather, as in the Revised Version margin, "understandeth not knowledge" (Proverbs 19:25; Proverbs 28:5), has no knowledge which would lead him to enter into the poor man's case, and to sympathize with him in his distress; the claims of the feeble to recognition and relief at his hands are utterly unknown and disregarded. He can daily look on Lazarus at his gate, and find no call for his pity and charity; he can see the wounded traveller in the road, and pass by on the other side. The LXX. offers two translations of the latter clause, reading the second time דשׁ instead of רשׁע, and thereby not improving the sense: "But the ungodly understand. eth not knowledge, and the poor man hath not an understanding mind."
A man often corrected who hardeneth his neck,
Shall suddenly go to ruin without remedy.
Line second equals Proverbs 6:15. The connection אישׁ תּוכחות must make the nearest impression on a reader of the Book of Proverbs that they mean a censurer (reprehender), but which is set aside by what follows, for the genit. after אישׁ is, Proverbs 16:29; Proverbs 26:21; Proverbs 29:10; Proverbs 13:20, the designation of that which proceeds from the subject treated. And since תּוכחות, Psalm 37:15; Job 23:4, denotes counter evidence, and generally rejoinders, thus in the first line a reasoner is designated who lets nothing be said to him, and nothing be shown to him, but contradicts all and every one. Thus e.g., Fleischer: vir qui correptus contradicit et cervicem obdurat. But this interpolated correptus gives involuntary testimony of this, that the nearest lying impression of the 'אישׁ תו suffers a change by מקשׁה ערף: if we read הקשׁה (לב) ערף with 'תו, the latter then designates the correptio, over against which is placed obstinate boldness (Syr., Targ., Jerome, Luther), and 'תו shows itself thus to be gen. objecti, and we have to compare the gen. connection of אישׁ, as at Proverbs 18:23; Proverbs 21:17, or rather at 1 Kings 20:42 and Jeremiah 15:10. But it is unnecessary, with Hitzig, to limit 'תו to divine infliction of punishment, and after Hosea 5:9; Isaiah 37:3, to read תוכחות [punishment], which occurs, Psalm 149:7, in the sense of punishment inflicted by man.
(Note: Vid., Zunz, "Regarding the Idea and the Use of Tokhecha," in Steinschneider's Heb. Bibliographia, entitled המחכיר, 1871, p. 70f.)
Besides, we must think first not of actual punishment, but of chastening, reproving words; and the man to whom are spoken the reproving words is one whose conduct merits more and more severe censure, and continually receives correction from those who are concerned for his welfare. Hitzig regards the first line as a conditional clause: "Is a man of punishment stiff-necked?".... This is syntactically impossible. Only מקשׁה ערף could have such force: a man of punishment, if he.... But why then did not the author rather write the words והוא מקשׁה ערף? Why then could not מקשׁה ערף be a co-ordinated further description of the man? Cf. e.g., Exodus 17:21. The door of penitence, to which earnest, well-meant admonition calls a man, does not always remain open. He who with stiff-necked persistence in sin and in self-delusion sets himself in opposition to all endeavours to save his soul, shall one day suddenly, and without the prospect and possibility of restoration (cf. Jeremiah 19:11), become a wreck. Audi doctrinam si vis vitare ruinam.
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