The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are
bold as a lion.
1. What continual frights those are subject to that go on in wicked
ways. Guilt in the conscience makes men a terror to themselves, so that
they are ready to flee when none pursues; like one that absconds
for debt, who thinks every one he meets a bailiff. Though they pretend
to be easy, there are secret fears which haunt them wherever they go,
so that they fear where no present or imminent danger is,
Those that have made God their enemy, and know it, cannot but see the
whole creation at war with them, and therefore can have no true
enjoyment of themselves, no confidence, no courage, but a fearful
looking for of judgment. Sin makes men cowards.
Degeneres animos timor arguit--
Fear argues a degenerate soul.   VIRGIL.
Quos diri conscia facti mens habet attonitos--
The consciousness of atrocious crimes astonishes and confounds.
If they flee when none pursues, what will they do when they shall see
God himself pursuing them with his armies?
2. What a holy security and serenity of mind those enjoy who keep
conscience void of offence and so keep themselves in the love of
God: The righteous are bold as a lion, as a young lion; in the
greatest dangers they have a God of almighty power to trust to.
Therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed. Whatever
difficulties they meet with in the way of their duty, they are not
daunted by them. None of those things move me.
Hic murus aheneus esto, nil conscire sibi--
Be this thy brazen bulwark of defence,
Still to preserve thy conscious innocence. HOR.
2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes
thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state
thereof shall be prolonged.
1. National sins bring national disorders and the disturbance of the
public repose: For the transgression of a land, and a general
defection from God and religion to idolatry, profaneness, or
immorality, many are the princes thereof, many at the same time
pretending to the sovereignty and contending for it, by which the
people are crumbled into parties and factions, biting and devouring one
another, or many successively, in a little time, one cutting off
1 Kings 16:8,
&c., or soon cut off by the hand of God or of a foreign enemy, as
2 Kings 24:5,
&c. As the people suffer for the sins of the prince,
Delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi--
Kings play the madmen, and their people suffer for it,
so the government sometimes suffers for the sins of the people.
2. Wisdom will prevent or redress these grievances: By a man,
that is, by a people, of understanding, that come again to
themselves and their right mind, things are kept in a good order, or,
if disturbed, brought back to the old channel again. Or, By a prince of
understanding and knowledge, a privy-counsellor, or minister of
state, that will restrain or suppress the transgression of the
land, and take the right methods of healing the state thereof, the
good estate of it will be prolonged. We cannot imagine what a great
deal of service one wise man may do to a nation in a critical
3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain
which leaveth no food.
1. How hard-hearted poor people frequently are to one another, not only
not doing such good offices as they might do one to another, but
imposing upon and over-reaching one another. Those who know by
experience the miseries of poverty should be compassionate to those who
suffer the like, but they are inexcusably barbarous if they be
injurious to them.
2. How imperious and griping those commonly are who, being indigent and
necessitous, get into power. If a prince prefer a poor man, he forgets
that ever he was poor, and none shall be so oppressive to the poor as
he, nor squeeze them so cruelly. The hungry leech and the dry sponge
suck most. Set a beggar on horseback, and he will ride without
mercy. He is like a sweeping rain, which washes away the corn in
the ground, and lays and beats out that which has grown, so that it
leaves no food. Princes therefore ought not to put those into
places of trust who are poor, and in debt, and behind-hand in the
world, nor any who make it their main business to enrich
4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep
the law contend with them.
1. Those that praise the wicked make it to appear that they do
themselves forsake the law, and go contrary to it, for that
curses and condemns the wicked. Wicked people will speak well of one
another, and so strengthen one another's hands in their wicked ways,
hoping thereby to silence the clamours of their own consciences and to
serve the interests of the devil's kingdom, which is not done by any
thing so effectually as by keeping vice in reputation.
2. Those that do indeed make conscience of the law of God themselves
will, in their places, vigorously oppose sin, and bear their testimony
against it, and do what they can to shame and suppress it. They will
reprove the works of darkness, and silence the excuses which are made
for those works, and do what they can to bring gross offenders to
punishment, that others may hear and fear.
5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD
understand all things.
I. As the prevalency of men's lusts is owing to the darkness of their
understandings, so the darkness of their understandings is very much
owing to the dominion of their lusts: Men understand not
judgment, discern not between truth and falsehood, right and wrong;
they understand not the law of God as the rule either of their duty or
of their doom; and,
1. Therefore it is that they are evil men; their
wickedness is the effect of their ignorance and error,
2. Therefore they understand not judgment, because they
are evil men; their corruptions blind their eyes, and fill them
with prejudices, and because they do evil they hate the light.
It is just with God also to give them up to strong
II. As men's seeking the Lord is a good sign that they do
understand much, so it is a good means of their understanding more,
even of their understanding all things needful for them. Those that set
God's glory before them as their end, his favour as their felicity, and
his word as their rule, and apply to him upon all occasions by prayer,
they seek the Lord, and he will give them the spirit of wisdom.
If a man do his will, he shall know his doctrine,
A good understanding those have, and a better they shall have,
that do his commandments,
6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than
he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
1. It is supposed that a man may walk in his uprightness and yet
be poor in this world, which is a temptation to dishonesty, and yet may
resist the temptation and continue to walk in his
uprightness--also that a man may be perverse in his ways,
injurious to God and man, and yet be rich, and prosper in the world,
for a while, may be rich, and so lie under great obligations and have
great opportunities to do good, and yet be perverse in his ways
and do a great deal of hurt.
2. It is maintained as a paradox to a blind world that an honest,
godly, poor man, is better than a wicked, ungodly, rich man, has a
better character, is in a better condition, has more comfort in
himself, is a greater blessing to the world, and is worthy of much more
honour and respect. It is not only certain that his case will be better
at death, but it is better in life. When Aristides was by a rich man
upbraided with his poverty he answered, Thy riches do thee more hurt
than my poverty does me.
7 Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a
companion of riotous men shameth his father.
1. Religion is true wisdom, and it makes men wise in every relation. He
that conscientiously keeps the law is wise, and he will be
particularly a wise son, that is, will act discreetly towards
his parents, for the law of God teaches him to do so.
2. Bad company is a great hindrance to religion. Those that are
companions of riotous men, that choose such for their companions
and delight in their conversation, will certainly be drawn from
keeping the law of God and drawn to transgress it,
3. Wickedness is not only a reproach to the sinner himself, but to all
that are akin to him. He that keeps rakish company, and spends his
time and money with them, not only grieves his parents, but shames
them; it turns to their disrepute, as if they had not done their duty
to him. They are ashamed that a child of theirs should be scandalous
and abusive to their neighbours.
8 He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he
shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.
1. That which is ill-got, though it may increase much, will not last
long. A man may perhaps raise a great estate, in a little time, by
usury and extortion, fraud, and oppression of the poor, but it will not
continue; he gathers it for himself, but it shall prove to have been
gathered for somebody else that he has no kindness for. His estate
shall go to decay, and another man's shall be raised out of the ruins
2. Sometimes God in his providence so orders it that that which one got
unjustly another uses charitably; it is strangely turned into the hands
of one that will pity the poor and do good with it, and so cut
off the entail of the curse which he brought upon it who got it by
deceit and violence. Thus the same Providence that punishes the cruel,
and disables them to do any more hurt, rewards the merciful, and
enables them to do so much the more good. To him that has the ten
pounds give the pound which the wicked servant hid in the
napkin; for to him that has, and uses it well, more shall
Thus the poor are repaid, the charitable are encouraged, and God is
9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his
prayer shall be abomination.
1. It is by the word and prayer that our communion with God is kept up.
God speaks to us by his law, and expects we should hear him and heed
him; we speak to him by prayer, to which we wait for an answer
of peace. How reverent and serious should we be, whenever we are
hearing from and speaking to the Lord of glory!
2. If God's word be not regarded by us, our prayers shall not only not
be accepted of God, but they shall be an abomination to him, not only
our sacrifices, which were ceremonial appointments, but even our
prayers, which are moral duties, and which, when they are put up by the
upright, are so much his delight. See
The sinner whose prayers God is thus angry at is one who wilfully and
obstinately refuses to obey God's commandments, who will not so much as
give them the hearing, but causes his ear to decline the law,
and refuses when God calls; God will therefore justly refuse him when
he calls. See
10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he
shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have
good things in possession.
1. The doom of seducers, who attempt to draw good people, or those who
profess to be such, into sin and mischief, who take pride in causing
the righteous to go astray in an evil way, in drawing them into a
snare, that they may insult over them. They shall not gain their point;
it is impossible to deceive the elect. But they shall fall
themselves into their own pit; and having been not only sinners,
but tempters, not only unrighteous, but enemies to the righteous, their
condemnation will be so much the greater,
2. The happiness of the sincere. They shall not only be preserved from
the evil way which the wicked would decoy them into, but they shall
have good things, the best things, in possession, the
graces and comforts of God's Spirit, besides what they have in
11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that
hath understanding searcheth him out.
1. Those that are rich are apt to think themselves wise, because,
whatever else they are ignorant of, they know how to get and save; and
those that are purse-proud expect that all they say should be regarded
as an oracle and a law, and that none should dare to contradict them,
but every sheaf bow to theirs; this humour is fed by flatterers, who,
because (like Jezebel's prophets) they are fed at their table, cry up
2. Those that are poor often prove themselves wiser than they: A
poor man, who has taken pains to get wisdom, having no other way
(as the rich man has) to get a reputation, searches him out, and
makes it to appear that he is not such a scholar, nor such a
politician, as he is taken to be. See how variously God dispenses his
gifts; to some he gives wealth, to others wisdom, and it is easy to say
which of these is the better gift, which we should covet more
12 When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but
when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.
1. The comfort of the people of God is the honour of the nation in
which they live. There is a great glory dwelling in the land
when the righteous do rejoice, when they have their liberty, the
free exercise of their religion, and are not persecuted, when the
government countenances them and speaks comfortably to them, when they
prosper and grow rich, and, much more, when they are preferred and
employed and have power put into their hands.
2. The advancement of the wicked is the eclipsing of the beauty of a
nation: When the wicked rise and get head they make head against
all that is sacred, and then a man is hidden, a good man is
thrust into obscurity, is necessitated to abscond for his own safety;
corruptions prevail so generally that, as in Elijah's time, there seem
to be no good men left, the wicked walk so thickly on every
13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso
confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
1. The folly of indulging sin, of palliating and excusing it, denying
or extenuating it, diminishing it, dissembling it, or throwing the
blame of it upon others: He that thus covers his sins shall
not prosper, let him never expect it. He shall not succeed in his
endeavour to cover his sin, for it will be discovered, sooner or later.
There is nothing hid which shall not be revealed. A bird of
the air shall carry the voice. Murder will out, and so will other
sins. He shall not prosper, that is, he shall not obtain the
pardon of his sin, nor can he have any true peace of conscience. David
owns himself to have been in a constant agitation while he covered
While the patient conceals his distemper he cannot expect a cure.
2. The benefit of parting with it, both by a penitent confession and a
universal reformation: He that confesses his guilt to God, and
is careful not to return to sin again, shall find mercy with
God, and shall have the comfort of it in his own bosom. His conscience
shall be eased and his ruin prevented. See
1 John 1:9,Jer+3:12,13.
When we set sin before our face (as David, My sin is ever before
me) God casts it behind his back.
14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth
his heart shall fall into mischief.
1. The benefit of a holy caution. It sounds strangely, but it is very
true: Happy is the man that feareth always. Most people think
that those are happy who never fear; but there is a fear which is so
far from having torment in it that it has in it the greatest
satisfaction. Happy is the man who always keeps up in his mind a holy
awe and reverence of God, his glory, goodness, and government, who is
always afraid of offending God and incurring his displeasure, who keeps
conscience tender and has a dread of the appearance of evil, who is
always jealous of himself, distrustful of his own sufficiency, and
lives in expectation of troubles and changes, so that, whenever they
come, they are no surprise to him. He who keeps up such a fear as this
will live a life of faith and watchfulness, and therefore happy is he,
blessed and holy.
2. The danger of a sinful presumption: He that hardens his
heart, that mocks at fear, and sets God and his judgments at
defiance, and receives not the impressions of his word or rod, shall
fall into mischief; his presumption will be his ruin, and whatever
sin (which is the greatest mischief) he falls into it is owing to the
hardness of his heart.
15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked
ruler over the poor people.
It is written indeed, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy
people; but if he be a wicked ruler, that oppresses the people,
especially the poor people, robbing them of the little they have and
making a prey of them, whatever we may call him, this scripture calls
him a roaring lion and a ranging bear.
1. In respect of his character. He is brutish, barbarous, and
blood-thirsty; he is rather to be put among the beasts of prey, the
wildest and most savage, than to be reckoned of that noble rank of
beings whose glory is reason and humanity.
2. In respect of the mischief he does to his subjects. He is dreadful
as the roaring lion, who makes the forest tremble; he is
devouring as a hungry bear, and the more necessitous he is the
more mischief he does and the more greedy of gain he is.
16 The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great
oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his
Two things are here intimated to be the causes of the
mal-administration of princes:--
1. The love of money, that root of all evil; for hating
covetousness here stands opposed to oppression, according to
Moses's character of good magistrates, men fearing God and hating
not only not being covetous, but hating it, and shaking the hands from
the holding of bribes. A ruler that is covetous will neither do justly
nor love mercy, but the people under him shall be bought and sold.
2. Want of consideration: He that hates covetousness shall
prolong his government and peace, shall be happy in the affections
of his people and the blessing of his God. It is as much the interest
as the duty of princes to reign in righteousness. Oppressors therefore
and tyrants are the greatest fools in the world; they want
understanding; they do not consult their own honour, ease, and
safety, but sacrifice all to their ambition of an absolute and
arbitrary power. They might be much happier in the hearts of their
subjects than in their necks or estates.
17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall
flee to the pit; let no man stay him.
This agrees with that ancient law, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by
man shall his blood be shed
1. The doom of the shedder of blood. He that has committed murder,
though he flees for his life, shall be continually haunted with
terrors, shall himself flee to the pit, betray himself, and
torment himself, like Cain, who, when he had killed his brother, became
a fugitive and a vagabond, and trembled continually.
2. The duty of the avenger of blood, whether the magistrate or the next
of kin, or whoever are concerned in making inquisition for blood, let
them be close and vigorous in the prosecution, and let it not be bought
off. Those that acquit the murderer, or do any thing to help him off,
come in sharers in the guilt of blood; nor can the land be purged from
blood but by the blood of him that shed it,
18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is
perverse in his ways shall fall at once.
1. Those that are honest are always safe. He that acts with sincerity,
that speaks as he thinks, has a single eye, in every thing, to the
glory of God and the good of his brethren, that would not, for a world,
do an unjust thing if he knew it, that in all manner of conversation
walks uprightly, he shall be saved hereafter. We find a
glorious company of those in whose mouth was found no guile,
They shall be safe now. Integrity and uprightness will preserve men,
will give them a holy security in the worst of times; for it will
preserve their comfort, their reputation, and all their interests. They
may be injured, but they cannot be hurt.
2. Those that are false and dishonest are never safe: He that is
perverse in his ways, that thinks to secure himself by fraudulent
practices, by dissimulation and treachery, or by an estate ill-got, he
shall fall, nay, he shall fall at once, not gradually,
and with warning given, but suddenly, without previous notice, for he
is least safe when he is most secure. He falls at once, and so
has neither time to guard against his ruin nor to provide for it; and,
being a surprise upon him, it will be so much the greater terror to
19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he
that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.
1. Those that are diligent in their callings take the way to live
comfortably: He that tills his land, and tends his shop, and
minds his business, whatever it is, he shall have plenty of
bread, of that which is necessary for himself and his family and
with which he may be charitable to the poor; he shall eat the labour
of his hands.
2. Those that are idle, and careless, and company-keepers, though they
indulge themselves in living (as they think) easily and pleasantly,
they take the way to live miserably. He that has land and values
himself upon that, but does not till it, but follows after vain
persons, drinks with them, joins with them in their frolics and
vain sports, and idles away his time with him, he shall have poverty
enough, shall be satiated or replenished with poverty
(so the word is); he takes those courses which lead so directly to it
that he seems to court it, and he shall have his fill of it.
20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that
maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.
1. We are directed in the true way to be happy, and that is to be holy
and honest. He that is faithful to God and man shall be blessed
of the Lord, and he shall abound with blessings of the upper and
nether springs. Men shall praise him, and pray for him, and be ready to
do him any kindness. He shall abound in doing good, and shall himself
be a blessing to the place where he lives. Usefulness shall be the
reward of faithfulness, and it is a good reward.
2. We are cautioned against a false and deceitful way to happiness, and
that is, right or wrong, raising an estate suddenly. Say not, This is
the way to abound with blessings, for he that makes haste to
be rich, more haste than good speed, shall not be innocent;
and, if he be not, he shall not be blessed of God, but rather bring a
curse upon what he has; nor, if he be not innocent, can he long be easy
to himself; he shall not be accounted innocent by his neighbours, but
shall have their ill will and ill word. He does not say that he
cannot be innocent, but there is all the probability in the
world that he will not prove so: He that hasteth with his feet
sinneth, stumbleth, falleth. Sed quæ reverentia legum,
quis metus, aut pudor, est unquam properantis avari?--What
reverence for law, what fear, what shame, was ever indicated by an
avaricious man hasting to be rich?
21 To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of
bread that man will transgress.
1. It is a fundamental error in the administration of justice, and that
which cannot but lead men to abundance of transgression, to consider
the parties concerned more than the merits of the cause, so as to
favour one because he is a gentleman, a scholar, my countryman, my old
acquaintance, has formerly done me a kindness, or may do me one, or is
of my party and persuasion, and to bear hard on the other party because
he is a stranger, a poor man, has done me an ill turn, is or has been
my rival, or is not of my mind, or has voted against me. Judgment is
perverted when any consideration of this kind is admitted into the
scale, any thing but pure right.
2. Those that are partial will be paltry. Those that have once broken
through the bonds of equity, though, at first, it must be some great
bribe, some noble present, that would bias them, yet, when they have
debauched their consciences, they will, at length, be so sordid that
for a piece of bread they will give judgment against their
consciences; they will rather play at small game than sit out.
22 He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and
considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.
Here again Solomon shows the sin and folly of those that will be
rich; they are resolved that they will be so, per fas, per
nefas--right or wrong; they will be so with all speed; they
are getting hastily an estate.
1. They have no comfort in it: They have an evil eye, that is,
they are always grieving at those that have more than they, and always
grudging their necessary expenses, because they think the former keep
them from seeming rich, the latter from being so, and between both they
must needs be perpetually uneasy.
2. They have no assurance of the continuance of it, and yet take no
thought to provide against the loss of it: Poverty shall come
upon them, and the riches which they made wings for, that they
might fly to them, will make themselves wings to fly from them; but
they are secure and improvident, and do not consider this, that
while they are making haste to be rich they are really making
haste to be poor, else they would not trust to uncertain
23 He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour
than he that flattereth with the tongue.
1. Flatterers may please those for a time who, upon second thoughts,
will detest and despise them. If ever they come to be convinced of the
evil of those sinful courses they were flattered in, and to be ashamed
of the pride and vanity which were humoured and gratified by those
flatteries, they will hate the fawning flatterers as having had an ill
design upon them, and the fulsome flatteries as having had an ill
effect upon them and become nauseous.
2. Reprovers may displease those at first who yet afterwards, when the
passion is over and the bitter physic begins to work well, will love
and respect them. He that deals faithfully with his friend, in telling
him of his faults, though he may put him into some heat for the
present, and perhaps have hard words, instead of thanks, for his pains,
yet afterwards he will not only have the comfort in his own bosom of
having done his duty, but he also whom he reproved will acknowledge
that it was a kindness, will entertain a high opinion of his wisdom and
faithfulness, and look upon him as fit to be a friend. He that cries
out against his surgeon for hurting him when he is searching his wound
will yet pay him well, and thank him too, when he has cured it.
24 Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is
no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.
As Christ shows the absurdity and wickedness of those children who
think it is no duty, in some cases, to maintain their parents
so Solomon here shows the absurdity and wickedness of those who think
it is no sin to rob their parents, either by force or secretly, by
wheedling them or threatening them, or by wasting what they have, and
(which is no better than robbing them) running into debt and leaving
them to pay it. Now,
1. This is commonly made light of by untoward children; they say,
"It is no transgression, for it will be our own shortly, our
parents can well enough spare it, we have occasion for it, we cannot
live as gentlemen upon the allowance our parents give us, it is too
strait for us." With such excuses as these they endeavour to shift off
the conviction. But,
2. How lightly soever an ungoverned youth makes of it, it is really a
very great sin; he that does it is the companion of a destroyer,
no better than a robber on the highway. What wickedness will he scruple
to commit who will rob his own parents?
25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that
putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.
1. Those make themselves lean, and continually unquiet, that are
haughty and quarrelsome, for they are opposed to those that shall be
made fat: He that is of a proud heart, that is conceited of himself
and looks with a contempt upon all about him, that cannot bear either
competition or contradiction, he stirs up strife, makes
mischief, and creates disturbance to himself and every body else.
2. Those make themselves fat, and always easy, that live in a
continual dependence upon God and his grace: He who puts his trust
in the Lord, who, instead of struggling for himself, commits his
cause to God, shall be made fat. He saves the money which others
spend upon their pride and contentiousness; he enjoys himself, and has
abundant satisfaction in his God; and thus his soul dwells at ease, and
he is most likely to have plenty of outward good things. None live so
easily, so pleasantly, as those who live by faith.
26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso
walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
1. The character of a fool: He trusts to his own heart, to his
own wisdom and counsels, his own strength and sufficiency, his own
merit and righteousness, and the good opinion he has of himself; he
that does so is a fool, for he trusts to that, not only which
is deceitful above all things
but which has often deceived him. This implies that it is the character
of a wise man (as before,
to put his trust in the Lord, and in his power and promise, and
to follow his guidance,
2. The comfort of a wise man: He that walks wisely, that trusts
not to his own heart, but is humble and self-diffident, and goes on in
the strength of the Lord God, he shall be delivered; when the
fool, that trusts in his own heart, shall be destroyed.
27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that
hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
1. A promise to the charitable: He that gives to the poor shall
himself be never the poorer for so doing; he shall not lack. If
he have but little, and so be in danger of lacking, let him give out of
his little, and that will prevent it from coming to nothing; as the
bounty of the widow of Sarepta to Elijah (for whom she made a little
cake first) saved what she had, when it was reduced to a handful of
meal. If he have much, let him give much out of it, and that will
prevent its growing less; he and his shall not want what is given in
pious charity. What we gave we have.
2. A threatening to the uncharitable: He that hides his eyes,
that he may not see the miseries of the poor nor read their petitions,
lest his eye should affect his heart and extort some relief from him,
he shall have many a curse, both from God and man, and neither
causeless, and therefore they shall come. Woeful is the condition of
that man who has the word of God and the prayers of the poor against
28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they
perish, the righteous increase.
This is to the same purport with what we had,
1. When bad men are preferred, that which is good is clouded and run
down. When power is put into the hands of the wicked, men hide
themselves; wise men retire into privacy, and decline public
business, not caring to be employed under them; rich men get out of the
way, for fear of being squeezed for what they have; and, which is worst
of all, good men abscond, despairing to do good and fearing to be
persecuted and ill-treated.
2. When bad men are disgraced, degraded, and their power taken from
them, then that which is good revives again, then the righteous
increase; for, when they perish, good men will be put in
their room, who will, by their example and interest, countenance
religion and righteousness. It is well with a land when the number of
good people increases in it; and it is therefore the policy of all
princes, states, and potentates, to encourage them and to take special
care of the good education of youth.
Matthew Henry "Verse by Verse Commentary for 'Proverbs' Matthew Henry Bible Commentary".