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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 14:22

 

 

Will they not go astray who devise evil? But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Err - In the sense of wandering from the right way, the way of life.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-14.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 14:22

Do they not err that devise evil?

The grievous error of devising evil

How difficult is the task to convince any human being that he has mistaken the road to happiness! He would say, “No man can judge for another what is best suited to his nature and temperament in the way of enjoying life.” And if man had no other law to follow in the pursuit of happiness than the dictates of his own will, this reasoning would be just; and upon indifferent points of minor importance, it still remains unanswerable. But in connection with the moral course and conduct of a man’s life, the way has been laid down for him: how he must walk, and where. The wicked would deny that they do “err” at all.

1. The wicked “err” egregiously in imagining for a moment that any man is placed here to be independent of God, and of His commandments.

2. In taking it for granted that they know best what is good for them; that they can tell what will induce to their own comfort and happiness, better than the revealed law of their lives in the Word of God.

3. In conceiving that sin has any real good to confer.

4. The wicked “err” in being intent only on the present.

5. They admit and cherish in their hearts, in opposition to all reason, as well as Scripture, an idea that there will be, after all, a means of escape for them. They thus prove, by their conduct, that they do not use their reason and common sense in this supremely important concern. (A. B. Evans, D.D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 14:22". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-14.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Do they not err that devise evil? But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good."

"Do not wicked schemers go astray, while affection and trust are theirs who seek good?"[26]


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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 14:22". "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

Do they not err that devise evil?.... Certainly they do; they go astray from the right way, from the word of truth, from the Gospel of Christ, who contrive schemes to commit sin, and do mischief to their neighbours; or who "plough"F20חרש "arant", Baynus; "arantibus", Amama; "verbum proprie significat arare", Piscator. it, and sow it, and expect a fine harvest; but they will be mistaken, and find it will not turn to account, and that they have took a wrong course, and have gone out of the way: none more mischievous devisers or contrivers of evil than the Papists, and none more sadly and fatally err;

but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good; who devise liberal things, to do good to the poor and needy; to their neighbours, their fellow creatures and fellow Christians: such receive grace and "mercy" at the hands of God, and his "truth" will appear in making good all promises to them; mercy and truth will preserve them from the evil way, and guide them in the right way, so that they shall not err as others do; neither from the doctrines of grace and truth, nor from the practice of them.


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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 14:22". "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

As usual, the interrogative negative strengthens the affirmative.

mercy and truth — that is, God‘s (Psalm 57:3; Psalm 61:7).


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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 14:22". "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

The proverb terminating (Proverbs 14:21) with אשׁריו (cf. Proverbs 16:20) is now followed by one not less singularly formed, commencing with הלא (cf. Proverbs 8:1).

Will they not go astray who devise evil,

And are not mercy and truth to those who devise good?

The part. חרשׁ signifies both the plougher and the artisan; but on this account to read with Hitzig both times חרשׁי , i.e. , machinatores , is nothing less than advisable, since there is connected with this metaphorical חרשׁ , as we have shown at Proverbs 3:29, not only the idea of fabricating, but also that of ploughing. Just so little is there any reason for changing with Hitzig, against all old translators, יתעוּ into ירעוּ : will it not go ill with them...; the fut. יתעו (cf. Isaiah 63:17) is not to be touched; the perf. תעו ( e.g. , Psalms 58:4) would denote that those who contrive evil are in the way of error, the fut. on the contrary that they will fall into error (cf. Proverbs 12:26 with Job 12:24). But if הלא יתעו is the expression of the result which shall certainly come to such, then 22b stands as a contrast adapted thereto: and are not, on the contrary, mercy and truth those who contrive that which is good, i.e. , (for that which befalls them, as Proverbs 13:18, cf. Proverbs 14:35, is made their attribute) are they not an object of mercy and truth, viz., on the part of God and of men, for the effort which proceeds from love and is directed to the showing forth of good is rewarded by this, that God and men are merciful to such and maintain truth to them, stand in truth to them; for חסד ואמת is to be understood here, as at Proverbs 3:3, neither of God nor of men exclusively, but of both together: the wicked who contrive evil lose themselves on the way to destruction, but grace and truth are the lot of those who aim at what is good, guarded and guided by which, they reach by a blessed way a glorious end.


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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 14:22". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-14.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

See here, 1. How miserably mistaken those are that not only do evil, but devise it: Do they not err? Yes, certainly they do; every one knows it. They think that by sinning with craft and contrivance, and carrying on their intrigues with more plot and artifice than others, they shall make a better hand of their sins than others do, and come off better. But they are mistaken. God's justice cannot be out-witted. Those that devise evil against their neighbours greatly err, for it will certainly turn upon themselves and end in their own ruin, a fatal error! 2. How wisely those consult their own interest that not only do good but devise it: Mercy and truth shall be to them, not a reward of debt (they will own that they merit nothing), but a reward of mercy, mere mercy, mercy according to the promise, mercy and truth, to which God is pleased to make himself a debtor. Those that are so liberal as to devise liberal things, that seek opportunities of doing good, and contrive how to make their charity most extensive and most acceptable to those that need it, by liberal things they shall stand, Isaiah 32:8.


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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. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "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

How wisely those consult their own interest, who not only do good, but devise it!


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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 14:22". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

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

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 14:22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth [shall be] to them that devise good.

Ver. 22. Do they not err that devise evil?] Heb., That plough it and plot it, that dig it and delve it, that whet their wits and beat their brains about it - do not these err? Are they not heavenly wide, (a) utterly out? Shall they not miss their purpose, and meet with disappointment? Witness those Babel-builders, [Genesis 11:1-9] those kill-Christs, [Psalms 2:1-12] those state traitors, Sheba, Shebna, &c., various English traitors who drew their last thread in the triangle of Tyburn. Knute, the first Danique king, caused the false Edric’s head to be set on the highest part of the Tower of London, therein performing his promise of advancing him above any lord in the land. (b) Traitors always become odious, though the treason be commodious. Philip, Duke of Austria, paid the ambassadors of Charles IV, who had betrayed their trust, in counterfeit coin, whereof, when they complained, he answered, that false coin was good enough for false knaves. (c) James I, King of Scots, was murdered in Perth by Walter, Earl of Athol, in hope to attain the crown; but his hopes failed him. Crowned, indeed, he was, but with a crown of red-hot iron clapt upon his head, being one of the tortures wherewith he ended at once his wicked days and devices. (d)

But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.] Mercy and truth were the best that David could wish to his fast friend, Ittai. [2 Samuel 15:20] These two attributes of God shall cause that good devices shall not miscarry. His mercy moves him to promise, his truth binds him to perform. "For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these things." [2 Samuel 7:18; 2 Samuel 7:21] "According to thine own heart"; that is, of mere mercy, out of pure and unexcited love, thou didst give thy word and promise, and "for thy word’s sake" thou hast performed it.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-14.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 22. Do they not err that devise evil, who foolishly go astray and bring misfortune upon themselves? But mercy and truth, in the favor of God and the fulfillment of all His promises of love, shall be to them that devise good, always planning how they may be of assistance to such as are in need.


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Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-14.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Do they not err? they do certainly err from the right way, and mistake their mark, and shall miss of that advantage and felicity which they promise to themselves by such practices.

That devise; that do not only commit it, but make it their design, and study, and business; that are artists or masters in it, as the word signifies.

Evil; either,

1. Mischief to men. Or,

2. Any kind of wickedness against God or men; for the expression is general; and this seems best to agree to the following clause.

Mercy and truth; either,

1. From men; men shall deal truly and kindly with them, partly because such men by their carriage obliged them to do so, and partly because God inclineth their hearts to it. Or,

2. From God, to whom these two properties are jointly ascribed in divers places of Scripture.

That devise good; that designedly and industriously apply themselves to the doing of all good offices to God and men.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". 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

22. Err that devise evil — Perhaps in the sense of planning iniquity, dishonesty, injustice.

Mercy and truth — Or, kindness and faithfulness shall be to those whose purposes and plans are good. The latter clause may be rendered, But those who devise good are kindness and truth — abstract for the concrete — are kind and true. It is possible that יתעו, (yith’hu,) they wander or err, may be taken, as Gesenius suggests, in a secondary sense, the result of these wanderings, that is, being lost, perishing — shall they not perish that devise evil? At all events, this is implied.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-14.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Truth. Those who are kind and faithful. (Haydock) (Chap. iii. 3.) --- Septuagint add, (Calmet) as a second version, (Grabe) "the workers of evils understand not mercy and truth: but kind and faithful actions are with those who do good."


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-14.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

mercy = lovingkindness, or grace.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "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

Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.

Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth (shall be) to them that devise good. Those who employ the same energy in good as the bad, exercise in evil shall have, as their reward, 'mercy and truth' - i:e., the faithful fulfillment of God's promises of salvation, just as the devisers of evil, on the contrary, shall be given up to 'error' and its penalty-perdition.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-14.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(22) Do they not err that devise evil?—Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 5:6-7.

Mercy and truth.—God will be merciful, and also fulfil His promises of protection and reward to them (Wisdom of Solomon 3:9).


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-14.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.
err
17; 12:2; Isaiah 32:7,8
but
Genesis 24:27; Psalms 25:10; 61:7; Matthew 5:7; John 1:17
devise
19:22; 2 Chronicles 6:8

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-14.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

A FATAL ERROR AND A CERTAIN GOOD

I. The mistake of devisers of evil.

1. They err in relation to the success of their plans. They think that their wicked devices will succeed, or they would not go to the labour and trouble of devising them. But they make a fatal mistake, because they ignore another plan, which embraces theirs. They forget that there may be a circle of action outside their circle, which may circumvent all their schemes. A man may look at the sea from the lower deck of a vessel and think he can see all that is to be seen. But his thinking so would only prove him to be a fool. The man at the masthead can see much further. A traveller on a plain may have an extensive view, but he who is on the mountain-top takes in all that he can see, and much besides. So it is with the man who devises evil. He can see a little way before him and around him, he thinks, therefore, that he can take in the whole situation at a glance, and can see what is needful for him to do and what can be accomplished to bring his plans to pass. But there is more beyond; God takes a higher position and has a wider outlook. He takes in not only all that the wicked man has seen, but much that he does not see. "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness; and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong" (Job ). The device of Haman was so well planned that it seemed to him certain of success. But Mordecai's God had a plan which embraced and out-flanked that of the murderer. The device of Joseph's brethren seemed to embrace all that was necessary to accomplish his ruin, but it was utilised by the righteous Ruler of the Universe to bring to pass his exaltation. The device of evil against the Divine Son of God is the most palpable instance that the universe has ever seen of the short-sighted error of wicked men.

2. He errs because he will meet with retribution in his own person. Human rulers are sometimes involved in much perplexity because, although they know that plots are being woven against their government, they are not only at a loss to find a plan by which to bring home the crime to the conspirators, but feel they have no force strong enough to punish them if they are convicted. But God is never at a loss either for means to defeat the purposes of those that devise evil, or to punish them for their devices. He is never driven, by want of power, to yield to those who oppose the good—who work iniquity. (See Homiletics on chap. Pro , page 268.)

II. The reward of devisers of good. "Mercy and truth."

1. Even a deviser of good needs mercy. The very act of devising good sometimes brings a man to need mercy of his fellow-man. Daniel devised nothing but good to the king of Babylon, but his very uprightness made him an object of envy and brought him into a condition to need mercy. Or a deviser of good may err in judgment. The best intentioned man is liable to make mistakes. No human being, however benevolent his life, can claim to be exempt from moral infirmities which will sometimes mislead him. Every man therefore needs that his fellow creatures should mingle charity with their judgment of him and with their conduct towards him. And he always needs mercy from God. No saint of ancient or modern times has ever been beyond the need of God's mercy, although their very name implies that they are devisers of good.

2. He equally needs truth. He needs to be able to depend upon the word of another, he needs a certainty of being justly dealt with. A man's success in business largely depends upon his being able to rest upon the fair dealing of others. He wants truth in others to meet his own truthfulness—as he strives to deal justly, and to love mercy, so he desires to be dealt with justly as well as mercifully.

3. Both these needs shall be met. Sometimes by men, always by God. Experience and history furnish us with many exceptions to the first. Those men of God who have been most eminent devisers of good have often met with anything but mercy and truth from those whom they have desired to benefit. Ignorance or envy has risen up against them, and so the missionary has been slain by the club of the savage abroad, and the reformer has been made the mark of slanderous tongues at home. But everyone has found the testimony of the inspired word to be true in his own experience: With the merciful Thou wilt show Thyself merciful. With an upright man Thou wilt show Thyself upright (Psa ).

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

If wicked men employ their thoughts to contrive mischief, and show so much diligence in the service of sin, although they have such a miserable reward, let God's people exercise the same diligence in the service of righteousness, by seeking out and seizing opportunities of doing good, and their labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.—Lawson.

Scripture traces actions to principles. Wicked as it is to do evil, it is far more hateful to devise it (see Pro ). Devising evil, therefore, if it comes not to the act, shows the purpose (chap. Pro 24:8).—Bridges.

To him who lays himself out in planning and executing designs of benefit to others, there shall be "mercy and truth." From his fellow-men he shall experience universal love and esteem. He shall find sympathy in his distresses and reverses, faithfulness in dealing (for if anything will secure a man from being cheated and defrauded, it will be a character for disinterested kindness), and the general exercise of practical gratitude. And the Lord will make him to experience His love, and will fulfil to him faithfully all His "precious promises."—Wardlaw.

Solomon here is no lawgiver, but an evangelist, leading us unto Jesus Christ. For we can obtain no mercy but in Him only. For "the promises of God are yea and amen in Him."—Cope.

Can any one see any flaw in "Mercy" and "Truth?" Mercy is pure benevolence; and truth is that other quality of the good, which is commanded in the first table of the law, and answers to a love of holiness. Is there anything right, outside of "Mercy and Truth?" Is there anything wrong that the vilest rebel can detect in either one of them? Must "they not err that devise evil," if for no other cause than that "Mercy and Truth" stand on the opposite side, and, through eternal ages, are busy in devising good?—Miller.

Aristotle relateth of Socrates that he affirmed all virtues to be sciences, all sins to be ignorances. And Aquinas saith of it, that therein he judged in some sort rightly because the will never would incline to evil, unless it were with some ignorance and error of reason. The question, therefore, is not here asked of him that deviseth evil, for he thinketh himself to be right, he doth not think that to be evil which he doth, nor himself to err in doing of it. He attaineth to the end at which he aimeth, and that persuadeth him that he aimeth aright. But so to be in the right way, is quite to wander from the right way; and howsoever such an one may not err in his plans and plots, yet doubtless he erreth from the ways of life.—Jermin.

Mercy and truth were the best that David could wish for his fast friend Ittai (2Sa ). These two attributes of God shall cause that good devices shall not miscarry. His mercy moves Him to promise, His truth binds Him to perform. "For Thy word's sake, and according to Thine own heart Thou hast done all these things" (2Sa 7:18-21). "According to Thine own heart," that is out of pure and unexcited love, Thou didst give Thy word and promise, and "for Thy word's sake," Thou hast performed it.—Trapp.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 14:22". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-14.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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