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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 14:21

 

 

He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth - To despise a man because he has some natural blemish is unjust, cruel, and wicked. He is not the author of his own imperfections; they did not occur through his fault or folly; and if he could, he would not retain them. It is, therefore, unjust and wicked to despise him for what is not his fault, but his misfortune.

But he that hath mercy on the poor - Who reproaches no man for his poverty or scanty intellect, but divides his bread with the hungry - happy is he; the blessing of God, and of them that were ready to perish, shall come upon him.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-14.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 14:21

He that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

London poverty

The problems presented by poverty are recurrent. Wisdom as well as courage is required by those who would confront them successfully. Civilisation tends to the separation of men, but Christianity can bring them together till they constitute a true brotherhood, in which the strong shall help to bear the burdens which are crushing the weak. It is a wholesome sign that such questions as this are being more closely considered, and more boldly treated than they formerly were, especially by Christian people. If dogmatic Christianity seems weaker, practical Christianity is stronger. There is, undoubtedly, much to discourage pity when we attempt to know the condition of the poor, and to do them service for Christ’s sake. We meet with improvidence, drink, and imposture. We do not palliate such wickedness and folly, but would use it rather as an argument for “considering” the poor, for discriminating between things that differ, so that pity and generosity may flow in the right direction. Scripture lays down the principles which should guide us. Under Judaism the enactments which tended to prevent or relieve poverty are very prominent. The privileges of gleaners, the precepts which forbade the withholding of wages, and the laws against usury, are specimens. The Year of Jubilee was remarkable social institution. That year poverty was suffered to put forth its claims in God’s name, and was sure of a fair hearing. Judaism did but foreshadow the work of Jesus, who came to establish righteousness, and to proclaim brotherhood between men and between nations. He was listened to most eagerly by the poor. He was born among them, was all through His life one of them--understood their habits and feelings, was at home in their houses, and taught truth in a way that they could comprehend. We admit that we cannot reach an ideal state of society in the world so long as sin exists. But we are not to fold our hands--waiting for a coming millennium--thinking that of necessity things must be as they are. Christ our Saviour is the world’s rightful king, and He means to conquer it for Himself, through the righteousness and mercifulness of His people. Still, the law of love holds good, and if we follow our Lord, we shall go forth to seek and to save those that are lost. And they need saving--from misery, from degradation, and from despair. Consideration of the moral effects of poverty will lead us to deeper pity of the poor. A poor man has not the gracious home influence that most of us enjoy. The temptation to envy must come with tremendous power to a poor man. What can be done to alter for the better a state of things which every Christian ought to think of pitifully and prayerfully? We have something to do in forming public opinion on this question, so that anything which is within the sphere of legislation may be done. Charity also has its claims upon our thoughts and generosity. And above all, the good news of the Kingdom is needed of these our brethren. (A. Rowland, LL.B., B.A}


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 14:21". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-14.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth; But he that hath pity upon the poor, happy is he."

The great glory of Christianity is that it regards and honors the poor, who, alas, constitute the vast majority of mankind. "Blessed are ye poor! Blessed are the poor in spirit!" These are the words of Christ, who, "Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).


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 14:21". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-14.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth,.... He that despiseth his neighbour in his heart, speaks slightly of him, overlooks him, is not friendly to him, will neither converse with him, nor relieve him in his necessity; for it seems to be understood of his poor neighbour; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "he that despiseth the poor"; that despises him for his poverty; because of his pedigree and education, and the low circumstances he is in; or on account of his weakness and incapacity, or any outward circumstance that attends him; such an one sins very greatly, is guilty of a heinous sin; and he will be reckoned and dealt with as a sinner, and be condemned and punished, and so be unhappy and miserable;

but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he; or,

"that gives to the poor,'

as the Targum; who has compassion on him in his distress, and shows it by relieving him: he that shows favour to the meek and humble ones, as the wordF19ענוים "modestorum", Montanus, Mercerus; "mansuetos", Cocceius. may be rendered, and as they generally are that are in affliction and poverty, for these tend to humble men; and such who regard them in their low estate are "happy" or blessed; they are blessed in things temporal and spiritual, and both here and hereafter; see Psalm 41:1.


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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-14.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

For such contempt of the poor is contrasted as sinful with the virtuous compassion of the good.


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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 14:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

21 Whoever despiseth his neighbour committeth sin;

But whoever hath compassion on the suffering - blessings on him!

One should regard every human being, especially such as God has placed near to him, as a being having the same origin, as created in the image of God, and of the same lofty destination, and should consider himself as under obligation to love him. He who despiseth his neighbour (write בּז with Metheg , and vid ., regarding the constr. with dat. object. Proverbs 6:30, cf. Proverbs 11:12; Proverbs 13:13) sins in this respect, that he raises himself proudly and unwarrantably above him; that the honour and love he shows to him he measures not by the rule of duty and of necessity, but according to that which is pleasing to himself; and in that he refuses to him that which according to the ordinance of God he owes him. In Proverbs 14:21 the Chethı̂b עניּים and the Kerı̂ ענוים ( vid ., at Psalms 9:13) interchange in an inexplicable way; עני is the bowed down (cf. Arab. ma'nuww , particularly of the prisoner, from 'ana , fut. ya'nw , to bow, bend), ענו (Arab. 'anin , with the art. âl'niy , from the intrans. 'aniya , to be bowed down) the patient bearer who in the school of suffering has learned humility and meekness. One does not see why the Kerı̂ here exchanges that passive idea for this ethical one, especially since, in proving himself to be מחונן (compassionate) (for which elsewhere the part . Kal חונן , Proverbs 14:31; Proverbs 19:17; Proverbs 28:8), one must be determined only by the needy condition of his neighbour, and not by his (the neighbour's) moral worthiness, the want of which ought to make him twofold more an object of our compassion. All the old translators, from the lxx to the Venet . and Luther, on this account adopt the Chethı̂b .


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-14.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

See here how men's character and condition are measured and judged of by their conduct towards their poor neighbours. 1. Those that look upon them with contempt have here assigned them a bad character, and their condition will be accordingly: He that despises his neighbour because he is low in the world, because he is of a mean extraction, rustic education, and makes but a mean figure, that thinks it below him to take notice of him, converse with him, or concern himself about him, and sets him with the dogs of his flock, is a sinner, is guilty of a sin, is in the way to worse, and shall be dealt with as a sinner; unhappy is Hebrews 2. Those that look upon them with compassion are here said to be in a good condition, according to their character: He that has mercy on the poor, is ready to do all the good offices he can to him, and thereby puts an honour upon him, happy is he; he does that which is pleasing to God, which he himself will afterwards reflect upon with great satisfaction, for which the loins of the poor will bless him, and which will be abundantly recompensed in the resurrection of the just.


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
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

To despise a man for his employment or appearance is a sin.


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
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-14.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

Despiseth — That does not pity and relieve the poor.


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 14:21". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-14.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 14:21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy [is] he.

Ver. 21. He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth.] His poor neighbour. Where the hedge is low the beast will easily break over. None usually are so trampled on with the feet of pride and contempt, by the great bulls of Bashan, as the necessitous and afflicted. Hence "poor" and "afflicted" are set together; [Zephaniah 3:12] so are "to want" and "to be abased." [Philippians 4:11] This is a great sin, saith Solomon; it is to commit sin and to "be convinced of the law" as transgressors, saith St James. [Proverbs 3:9]

But he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.] His sins shall be remitted, his necessities relieved, and the blessings of God multiplied upon him, even a μυριομακαριστης. See my "Common Place of Alms."


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-14.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 21. He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth, that is, he who neglects a friend to whom he owes love, especially if he is in need; but he that hath mercy on the poor, showing true compassion to the poor and wretched, happy is he, since he himself may expect benefit from his act.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-14.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

That despiseth his neighbour; that doth not pity and relieve the poor, as this is explained in the next clause; the word neighbour being here generally taken for any man, as it is most commonly used in Scripture; which not relieving him proceeds from a contempt of his person.

Sinneth; and therefore shall be punished for his inhumanity, which is opposed to his being happy in the next clause.

That hath mercy; that showeth his compassion by his bounty and relief.

Happy is he; he doth a worthy action, and shall be blessed in his deed.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-14.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21. Sinneth Misses, blunders. Although one proverb frequently seems to have no relation either to a preceding or a succeeding one, yet in this case the conclusion can hardly be resisted that this proverb was intended to be the sequel to the preceding one. The 20th verse states the fact; the 21st verse, the moral character of the fact.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-14.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Proverbs 14:21. He that despiseth his neighbour — That doth not pity and relieve the poor, as this is explained in the next clause; sinneth — And therefore shall be punished for his inhumanity, which is opposed to his being happy, in the next branch; but he that hath mercy on the poor — That shows his compassion for them by his bounty to them; happy is he — He doth a worthy action, and shall be blessed in his deed.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". Joseph Benson's Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/proverbs-14.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

He....mercy, is not found in Hebrew, Greek, or Latin manuscripts. (Calmet)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

sinneth. Hebrew. chata

hath mercy on = is gracious to.

the poor = an afflicted one. Hebrew. "anah. See note on Proverbs 6:11.

happy. See note on Proverbs 3:13.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-14.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth - grievously. Whatever his neighbour may be, sick, ignoble, ignorant, he must not be despised; nay, 'mercy' is to be shown to him.

But he that hath mercy on the poor, happy (is) he. The poor are a prey to injury, because they dare not resist. "Mercy" is the opposite of 'despising' the afflicted poor.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
that despiseth
11:12; 17:5; 18:3; Job 31:13-15; 35:5,6; Psalms 22:24; Luke 18:9; James 2:5,6,14-16
he that hath
31; 11:24,25; 19:17; 28:27; Psalms 41:1,2; 112:5,9; Ecclesiastes 11:1,2; Isaiah 58:7-12; Daniel 4:27; Matthew 25:34-46; Luke 6:30-36; Acts 20:35; Hebrews 6:12; 1 John 3:17-22

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-14.html.

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