And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Proverbs 24:31, are, throughout the law, the special objects of God's care. This was the condition which God made by Jeremiah; "If ye thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if ye thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor; if ye oppress not the stranger the fatherless and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt, then will I cause you to dwell in this, place" Jeremiah 7:5-7. It was on the breach of the covenant to set their brethren free in the year of release, that God said; "I proclaim a liberty for you to the sword, to the pestilence and to the famine, and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth" Jeremiah 34:17.
And let none of you imagine - that is, "devise, as, by Micah, God retorted the evil upon them. They "devised evil on their beds; therefore, behold, against this family do I devise an evil, from which ye shall not remove your necks" Micah 2:1, Micah 2:3.Oppress not; do not first misreport their persons, their actions, and their cases, and on that pretence do them wrong, and oppress them: it is double oppression, to oppress by false information, and then condemn; the first is an oppression of righteousness, the next is oppression of the righteous.
The widow, i.e.: a catalogue of helpless ones, who are under the peculiar tutelage of God, Exodus 22:21,22 Deu 10:18,14:29 24:17,19 Isa 1:17,23, &c.
Let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart; neither think ill of, nor wish ill to, nor plot evil against, one another. Deuteronomy 24:14,
and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart; thoughts of evil are sinful, and forbidden by the law of God, as well as actions, which agrees with our Lord's sense of the law, Matthew 5:22, see Leviticus 19:17.And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 10. - Oppress not the widow, etc. (Exodus 22:21, 22; Deuteronomy 10:18, 19); Vulgate, nolite calumniari, where calumniari is used in the sense "to vex, torment." Imagine evil against his brother in year heart. God's Law forbids even a thought of revenge or injury against a neighbour, for this is only the first step to wrong doing (comp. Micah 2:1). Septuagint, Κακίαν ἕκαστος τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ μὴ μνησικακείτω ἐν ταῖς καρδίας ὑμῶν, "Let none of you remember in your hearts the malice of your brother." Zephaniah 3:1. "Woe to the refractory and polluted one, the oppressive city! Zephaniah 3:2. She has not hearkened to the voice; not accepted discipline; not trusted in Jehovah; not drawn near to her God. Zephaniah 3:3. Her princes are roaring lions in the midst of her; her judges evening wolves, who spare not for the morning. Zephaniah 3:4. Her prophets boasters, men of treacheries: her priests desecrate that which is holy, to violence to the law." The woe applies to the city of Jerusalem. That this is intended in Zephaniah 3:1 is indisputably evident from the explanation which follows in Zephaniah 3:2-4 of the predicates applied to the city addressed in Zephaniah 3:1. By the position of the indeterminate predicates מוראה and נגאלה before the subject to which the hōi refers, the threat acquires greater emphasis. מוראה is not formed from the hophal of ראה (ἐπιφανής, lxx, Cyr., Cocc.), but is the participle kal of מרא equals מרה or מרר, to straighten one's self, and hold one's self against a person, hence to be rebellious (see Delitzsch on Job, on Job 33:2, note). נגאלה, stained with sins and abominations (cf. Isaiah 59:3). Yōnâh does not mean columba, but oppressive (as in Jeremiah 46:16; Jeremiah 50:16, and Jeremiah 25:38)), as a participle of yânâh to oppress (cf. Jeremiah 22:3). These predicates are explained and vindicated in Zephaniah 3:2-4, viz., first of all מוראה in Zephaniah 3:2. She gives no heed to the voice, sc. of God in the law and in the words of the prophets (compare Jeremiah 7:28, where קול יהוה occurs in the repetition of the first hemistich). The same thing is affirmed in the second clause, "she accepts no chastisement." These two clauses describe the attitude assumed towards the legal contents of the word of God, the next two the attitude assumed towards its evangelical contents, i.e., the divine promises. Jerusalem has no faith in these, and does not allow them to draw her to her God. The whole city is the same, i.e., the whole of the population of the city. Her civil and spiritual rulers are no better. Their conduct shows that the city is oppressive and polluted (Zephaniah 3:3 and Zephaniah 3:4). Compare with this the description of the leaders in Micah 3:1-12. The princes are lions, which rush with roaring upon the poor and lowly, to tear them in pieces and destroy them (Proverbs 28:15; Ezekiel 19:2; Nahum 2:12). The judges resemble evening wolves (see at Habakkuk 1:8), as insatiable as wolves, which leave not a single bone till the following morning, of the prey they have caught in the evening. The verb gâram is a denom. from gerem, to gnaw a bone, piel to crush them (Numbers 24:8); to gnaw a bone for the morning, is the same as to leave it to be gnawed in the morning. Gâram has not in itself the meaning to reserve or lay up (Ges. Lex.). The prophets, i.e., those who carry on their prophesying without a call from God (see Micah 2:11; Micah 3:5, Micah 3:11), are pōchăzı̄m, vainglorious, boasting, from pâchaz, to boil up or boil over, and when applied to speaking, to overflow with frivolous words. Men of treacheries, bōgedōth, a subst. verb, from bâgad, the classical word for faithless adultery or apostasy from God. The prophets proved themselves to be so by speaking the thoughts of their own hearts to the people as revelations from God, and thereby strengthening it in its apostasy from the Lord. The priests profane that which is holy (qoodesh, every holy thing or act), and do violence to the law, namely, by treating what is holy as profane, and perverting the precepts of the law concerning holy and unholy (cf. Ezekiel 22:26).
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