Albert Barnes commented on the first seven verses of chapter 16, saying that they “have, more than any other group, an especially religious character impressed upon them. The name of Yahweh as Giver, Guide, Ruler, or Judge, meets us in each of them” (Barnes, Albert. “Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament” Kregel Classics; 8th edition (June 30, 1962). And verses 5, 6, and 7, which we will examine here, do indeed refer to God as Ruler, Judge, and as Guide.
In verse 6, Solomon tells us that “by steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” One must understand that the first clause does not refer to the actions of man. The atonement by sacrifice that is referred to here (just like forgiveness of our sins through the blood of Jesus Christ) comes by the grace of God’s steadfast love for us, and His faithfulness to his promises.
Verse seven points out the truth that “when a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” This does not mean that the righteous will never be harmed by their enemies. But in general, living life according to God’s commands presents a different view to the world, and inspires trust and respect. A good example of this is given to us in Genesis 26:26-28, where Abimelech makes such a covenant Isaac.
Verse 5 states that “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” In fact, this very sin is the first in the list given of things that God hates in Proverbs 6:16-19. This is just one of many examples of consistency in God’s word that exists in detail that is so great and widespread in such a long book. That is just one of many facts that reinforce the Christian’s faith in the Bible as the word of God. Obviously, that is the way God intended it!
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.