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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 13:17

 

 

A wicked messenger falls into adversity, But a faithful envoy brings healing.

Adam Clarke Commentary

A wicked messenger - The Septuagint: basileuv yrasuev, a bold king; instead of מלאך malach, a messenger, they had read מלך melech, a king: but they are singular in this rendering; none of the other versions have it so. He that betrays the counsels of his government, or the interests of his country, will sooner or later fall into mischief; but he that faithfully and loyally fulfils his mission, shall produce honor and safety to the commonwealth.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-13.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 13:17

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

Ministers are ambassadors

I. Justify the comparison of the Ambassador and the minister of the gospel. Observe--

1. The high commission under which they act. The ambassador is invested with authority to perform business of the utmost importance to the well-being of both countries with which he is concerned. Is not this true of those servants of the Most High God who show to men the way of salvation? The office of the ministry is not of human, but of Divine origin.

2. Their required qualifications. An ambassador must be particularly instructed for his work; he must accurately know the mind and will of his employer, and the claims of the respective parties in reference to whom he treats. And a minister should be a man whose mind has been thoroughly enlightened by the truths of the gospel. He is set for the defence of the gospel, so he must show himself a scribe well instructed in the kingdom of heaven--one able rightly to divide the Word of truth.

3. The peculiar character of their transactions. The ambassador is often sent to arrange terms of peace. And in this sense, ministers are “ambassadors for Christ.”

4. The issue of their negotiations. “A faithful ambassador is health.” This refers to three things--the healing of those breaches and contentions which had previously broken forth and prevailed; the excellency of the benefits which accrue to the reconciled party; and the promotion to honour and prosperity of the successful ambassador. Each of these ideas is applicable to the higher exercises of the holy ambassadorship.

II. Considerations to urge you to accede to the proposals we advance.

1. It is derived from the expensive preparation made by the offended party to effect the desired conciliation.

2. The second consideration is drawn from the imminent peril of rejecting the proposals which we advance.

3. Think of the countless advantages of conciliation.

4. Reflect on the transitoriness of the period during which these negotiators must fulfil all the important ends of their embassy. Happy, thrice happy, are they who have been brought into a state of reconciliation with God. (John Clayton.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 13:17". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"A wicked messenger falleth into evil; But a faithful ambassador is health."

"This passage refers to the envoy who was an important government official, or to a scribe,"[26] who was entrusted with some important mission. A wicked man in such a position could bring evil upon an entire nation. Solomon, of course, was experienced in the choice of such messengers.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief,.... That does not do his errand right, nor deliver his message faithfully; such an one falls from the degree of honour in which he was into disgrace; he loses his master's favour that sent him; he is degraded from his post and office: he falls "by evil", or "into evil"F18ברע "in malum", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Pisccator, &c. ; by the evil of sin, into the evil of punishment. So wicked ministers and false teachers, such who transform themselves into the apostles of Christ and into angels of light, who corrupt the word of God, and handle it deceitfully; these shall receive their just condemnation; since they do a deal of mischief to the souls of men, and therefore shall fall into mischief themselves, even into everlasting perdition;

but a faithful ambassador is health; or, "an ambassador of truths"F19ציר אמונים "legatus veritatum", Montanus, Vatablus. ; one that performs his embassy well and truly, he is salutary, useful, and profitable to himself, and to them that send him: the word for ambassador is translated an "hinge", Proverbs 26:14; and he is so called, because upon his negotiations abroad the hinge of political affairs turn at home. An ambassador of Christ, who does his work faithfully, keeps back nothing that is profitable, but declares the whole counsel of God; the sound doctrines he delivers are health to the souls of men; as well as he is approved of God and Christ; and so it turns to his own health and advantage, who will hear one day said unto him, "Well done, good and faithful servant", Matthew 25:23.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

A wicked messenger falleth h into mischief: but a faithful ambassador [is] health.

(h) Brings many inconveniences both to himself and to others.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

A wicked — or, “unfaithful”

messenger falleth into mischief — or, “by mischief,” or “evil,” and so his errand fails. Contrasted is the character of the faithful, whose faithfulness benefits others.


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

17 A godless messenger falls into trouble;

But a faithful messenger is a cordial.

The traditional text, which the translations also give (except Jerome, nuntius impii , and leaving out of view the lxx, which makes of Proverbs 13:17 a history of a foolhardy king and a wise messenger), has not מלאך , but מלאך ; the Masora places the word along with המלאך , Genesis 48:16. And יפל is likewise testified to by all translators; they all read it as Kal , as the traditional text punctuates it; Luther alone departs from this and translates the Hiph .: “a godless messenger bringeth misfortune.” Indeed, this conj. יפּל presses itself forward; and even though one read יפּל , the sense intended by virtue of the parallelism could be no other than that a godless messenger, because no blessing rests on his godlessness, stumbles into disaster, and draws him who gave the commission along with him. The connection מלאך רשׁע is like אדם רשׁע , Proverbs 11:7 (cf. the fem. of this adj., Ezekiel 3:18). Instead of בּרע is בּרעה , Proverbs 17:20; Proverbs 28:14, parallels (cf. also Proverbs 11:5) which the punctuators may have had in view in giving the preference to Kal . With מלאך , from לאך , R. לך , to make to go = to send, is interchanged ציר , from צוּר , to turn, whence to journey (cf. Arab. ṣar , to become, to be, as the vulg. “to be to Dresden = to journey” is used). The connection ציר אמוּנים (cf. the more simple ציר נאמן , Proverbs 25:13) is like Proverbs 14:15, עד אמונים ; the pluralet . means faithfulness in the full extent of the idea. Regarding מרפּא , the means of healing, here to strength, refreshment, vid ., Proverbs 4:22; Proverbs 12:18.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-13.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Here we have, 1. The ill consequences of betraying a trust. A wicked messenger, who, being sent to negotiate any business, is false to him that employed him, divulges his counsels, and so defeats his designs, cannot expect to prosper, but will certainly fall into some mischief or other, will be discovered and punished, since nothing is more hateful to God and man than the treachery of those that have a confidence reposed in them. 2. The happy effects of fidelity: An ambassador who faithfully discharges his trust, and serves the interests of those who employ him, is health; he is health to those by whom and for whom he is employed, heals differences that are between them, and preserves a good understanding; he is health to himself, for he secures his own interest. This is applicable to ministers, Christ's messengers and ambassadors; those that are wicked and false to Christ and the souls of men do mischief and fall into mischief, but those that are faithful will find sound words to be healing words to others and themselves.


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Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Those that are wicked, and false to Christ and to the souls of men, do mischief, and fall into mischief; but those that are faithful, find sound words healing to others and to themselves.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

A messenger — Who is unfaithful in the execution of that which is committed to his charge.

Is health — Procures benefit, as to his master, so to himself.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 13:17 A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador [is] health.

Ver. 17. A wicked messenger falleth into mischief.] Incurs the displeasure and just revenge of them that sent him, or, at least, of God, in case of his slackness. How much more then wicked ministers, those "messengers of the Churches," [2 Corinthians 8:23] that do the Lord’s work "negligently," [Jeremiah 48:10] that "corrupt" (a) his message, [2 Corinthians 2:17] that huckster it and handle it craftily and covetously, calling good evil, and evil good, &c.? "Who is blind but my servant? or deaf as my messenger?" [Isaiah 42:19] Such an ambassador was once worthily derided in the Roman state. As at another time, a certain stranger coming on embassy to the senators of Rome, and colouring his hoary hair and pale cheeks with vermilion hue, a grave senator, espying the deceit, stood up and said, ‘What sincerity are we to expect at this man’s hands, whose locks, and looks, and lips do lie?’ It was an honest complaint of a Popish writer, We, saith he, handle the Scripture, tantum ut nos pascat et vestiat, that we may pick a living out of it, and are therefore fain to preach placentia, pleasingly and so to put men into a fool’s paradise. But "shall they" thus "escape by iniquity?" [Psalms 56:7] have they no better doctors?

But a faithful ambassador is health.] To him that sendeth him, to those he is sent to, and to himself. So is a faithful minister that delivers "the whole counsel of God"; all that he hath in commission. [Jeremiah 1:17 Ezekiel 3:17]


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-13.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 17. A wicked messenger falleth into mischief, causing his errand to fail; but a faithful ambassador is health, like healing medicine to a smarting wound or like a tonic to the weary person, his faithful energy yielding such pleasant benefits.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-13.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

A wicked messenger, who is unfaithful in the execution of that which is committed to his charge, as appears by the opposite clause,

falleth into mischief; shall not escape punishment from God, or from them who sent him.

Is health; or, wholesome; procureth safety and benefit, as to his master, so also to himself.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. A wicked messenger… mischief — A bad one, either ignorant or neglectful, makes trouble for himself and those who send him.

But a faithful ambassador — Hebrew, messenger of fidelities, is health, or healing. Heals differences and removes difficulties, procuring safety to himself and good to his principal. Comp. Proverbs 25:13; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 10:26; 1 Samuel 22:17-18; with Psalms 52, title; 2 Kings 1:9-14.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-13.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 13:17. A wicked messenger — Who is unfaithful in the execution of the business committed to his charge; falleth into mischief — Shall not escape punishment from God, or from them who sent him; but a faithful ambassador is health — Procures safety and benefit, as to his master, so also to himself.


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Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-13.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Of the. Hebrew, "a wicked ambassador." A king generally chooses people like himself. (Menochius) --- Septuagint have read melec. "A rash king shall," &c.


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

mischief. Hebrew. ra"a". Same word as "evil" in Proverbs 13:19. App-44.

health = healing. Compare Proverbs 12:18.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief. A messenger who does not execute his 'embassy' 'faithfully,' "falleth into" the penalty of his faithlessness.

But a faithful ambassador (is) health - alike to himself and to those by whom he is sent. Bad rulers and their bad ministers or agents are both accursed by God (cf. 1 Samuel 22:17-18, with Psalms 52:1-9, title; 2 Kings 1:9-14).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Falleth into mischief.—And brings those also who sent him into trouble; but “a faithful messenger is health” both to himself and his employers.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health.
wicked
10:26; 26:6; Jeremiah 23:13-16,28; Ezekiel 3:18; 33:7,8; 2 Corinthians 2:17
but
25:13,23; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:2
a faithful ambassador
Heb. an ambassador of faithfulness.

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-13.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

A SOCIAL LINK

I. An important link in human society—a messenger. This link may or may not be important in himself. He may belong to the highest or to the lowest stratum of human life. He may be a princely ambassador, or he may be a telegraph boy. The link which holds two bodies together may be of great intrinsic value. It may be of wrought gold, and much skill may have been expended on its workmanship; but what it is in itself is not of so much importance as what it is as a link. Its beauty and costliness will not avail much if it gives way when it is subject to strain, and thereby causes loss and vexation to its owner. The link that holds the cable to the anchor is not in itself worth much; but when it holds an ironclad off a rocky coast, there hangs upon it half a million of money, and the sorrow or joy of many human hearts for years to come. Untold loss or gain depend upon whether that ring of iron can bear the strain or not. So it is with a messenger. He may be a person of great intellectual powers, and of great social importance, or he may not have either. But he is always of value in his relative position. Like the link in a cable, he always holds in his keeping more than he is. He may be the bearer of the secrets of one who has hanging upon his will an army of many thousands, and a nation of as many millions may be interested in the message which he bears. Whether he be prince or peasant is of no importance in comparison with the fact that he bears a message.

II. The one all-important qualification in a messenger—faithfulness. No greater praise can be given to a man than to say that he is faithful, yet nothing less will make him worth anything in human life. All men's hopes for time and eternity rest upon the faithfulness of God. This is the sheet-anchor of humanity that He is "a faithful Creator" (1Pe ). That He is faithful that promised (Heb 10:10). It is for faithfulness, not for success, that He gives the "well done" (Mat 25:21), to His servants. In a messenger it is the one thing needful, and its importance is increased in proportion to what hangs upon his message. Life or death may depend upon it, and often not the fate of an individual merely, but the destiny of a nation. An unfaithful messenger "falleth into mischief himself." He who betrays his trust injures himself. He goes down in the moral scale. He loses his reputation, and is not trusted again. If the link in the cable gives way, it is itself broken. But this is not all, nor the worst. He is the cause of mischief falling upon others. How true is this in social life. A message, coloured in its delivery, to gratify some selfish purpose, may divide men who would have been friends, if it had not been for the third person. And its omission, through carelessness, may bring about a like mischief. And it is also true in national relationships. The ambassador, who is entrusted to express a nation's will, may be a fruitful source of mischief if he is negligent or unwary when war and peace hang in the balance. Millions of hearts may be made sad by an under or an over statement of facts. "But a faithful messenger is health," or "healing." He is health in himself. A faithful messenger, apart from his official or representative character, is an embodiment of moral health, and when he is entrusted to make peace where there has been war, he is "healing." He may be only a counsellor of peace between individual men who have been at strife, or he may be the bearer of terms of peace between hostile nations. But, whether in the one case or the other, the faithful discharge of his duties will bring healing: for all real peace must be founded on a truthful statement of facts. This verse is especially true of an ambassador of Christ. He who is truly sent of God will be faithful in the delivery of his message, and will thus bring healing to many. He will "not walk in craftiness, nor handle the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commend himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God." And so he will be the means of bringing moral health (2Co 4:2; 1Co 6:11).

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

Every man is a "messenger," and has an errand, and that is as a witness for God (chap. Pro ). The word for "messenger" is the word for "angel." How soon did the wicked angel fall, when he became of no use? and men, how long do they tolerate a false messenger? The soul sent out by the Almighty, if wicked, shall fall; but a soul that is "faithful" is needed, and will hold its place.—Miller.

A wicked messenger hath no sooner a business committed unto him than he falleth into mischief, by betraying the trust reposed in him, and therefore justly doth mischief fall on him. He that is a faithful ambassador is, indeed, the ambassador of truth itself. He, being sent, hath healing under his wings, whereby he giveth soundness and health unto his business, whereby he giveth soundness and health to those that employed him. The proverbial sense is, That the good or bad success of a business proceedeth much from the goodness or badness of him that is employed in it.—Jermin.

How much more then, wicked ministers, those "messengers of the churches" (2Co ) that do the Lord's work negligently (Jer 48:10), that corrupt His message (2Co 2:17). Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger? (Isa 42:19).—Trapp.

While the wicked messenger prepares misfortune for himself, as well as for his master, the faithful makes good even his Lord's mistakes.—Von Gerlach.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:17". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-13.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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