16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness And drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day.
As the night deepens and cover of darkness thickens, so too are the souls resisting the breath of the Holy Spirit for salvation from which evil rules, a conscience seared by the branding iron of death for eternal destruction.
1 Timothy 4:1 But the [Holy] Spirit explicitly and unmistakably declares that in later times some will turn away from the faith, paying attention instead to deceitful and seductive spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 [misled] by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared as with a branding iron [leaving them incapable of ethical functioning], 3 who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from [certain kinds of] foods which God has created to be gratefully shared by those who believe and have [a clear] knowledge of the truth.
My heart breaks for all, but especially those within my sphere of influence, that would much rather deny the eternal covenant made between God and man for eternal salvation to have but a moment of relief offered by the dragon of this world. My heart breaks…
Matthew Henry (P4-V17) Commentary (2.) Mischief is meat and drink to them; they feed and feast upon it. They eat the bread of the wickedness (they eat up my people as they eat bread,Ps. 14:4) and drink the wine of violence (v. 17), drink iniquity like water,Job 15:16. All they eat and drink is got by rapine and oppression. Do wicked men think the time lost in which they are not doing hurt? Let good men make it as much their business and delight to do good. Amici, diem perdidi-Friends, I have lost a day. And let all that are wise, and wish well to themselves, avoid the society of the wicked; for,
[1.] It is very scandalous; for there is no disposition of mind that is a greater reproach to human nature, a greater enemy to human society, a bolder defiance to God and conscience, that has more of the devil’s image in it, or is more serviceable to his interests, than a delight to do mischief and to vex, and hurt, and ruin every body.
[2.] It is very dangerous. “Shun those that delight to do mischief as thou tenderest thy own safety; for, whatever friendship they may pretend, one time or other they will do thee mischief; thou wilt ruin thyself if thou dost concur with them (ch. 1:18) and they will ruin thee if thou dost not.”
19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.
This verse reminds me of the 6th commandment—Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.—in parallel to what Jesus said, Matthew 5:21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
GAINS BY VIOLENCE
The gain is a fiery hell. Anger is a powerful emotion, powerful enough to convict us of murder before the court with a verdict – guilty. Where there is anger in the heart against a person, there is violence, and that violence makes us guilty before the court of God. This can be difficult to accept let alone hear; as one speaking from experience, especially when thinking upon the person of faith that abused me and my family, in the past. I, personally, was guilty of this sin of murder—not like actually murdering someone, but—by the violence in my heart to hate and desire punishment for that person who did us wrong, and still has yet to make it right (in my opinion). But there is a couple verses later in our proverbs (that we won’t see until October of 2022), that have helped me process the necessary change in my heart about this unresolved past offense. I’ve learned to trust in the vengeance of our Lord with that person 1 Timothy 1:20“…whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme“; yet hoping for mercy upon that person, as much as mercy would be extended upon me or anyone else guilty of murder. I pray that our understanding of justice will reconcile us to God—in the name of Christ our Lord, Jesus.
Proverbs 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Or the LORD will see it and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him.
Proverbs 1 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; 4 To give prudence to the naïve, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; 13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; 14 Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,” 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, 16 For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. 17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors. Wisdom Warns 20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; 21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? 23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25 And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; 26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD. 30 “They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. 32 “For the waywardness of the naïve will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
(1.) They are like the silly bird, that sees the net spread to take her, and yet it is in vain; she is decoyed into it by the bait, and will not take the warning which her own eyes gave her, v. 17. But we think ourselves of more value than many sparrows, and therefore should have more wit, and act with more caution. God has made us wiser than the fowls of heaven (Job 35:11), and shall we then be as stupid as they?
(2.) They are worse than the birds, and have not the sense which we sometimes perceive them to have; for the fowler knows it is in vain to lay his snare in the sight of the bird, and therefore he has arts to conceal it. But the sinner sees ruin at the end of his way; the murderer, the thief, see the jail and the gallows before them, nay, they may see hell before them; their watchmen tell them they shall surely die, but it is to no purpose; they rush into sin, and rush on in it, like the horse into the battle. For really the stone they roll will turn upon themselves, v. 18, 19. They lay wait, and lurk privily, for the blood and lives of others, but it will prove, contrary to their intention, to be for their own blood, their own lives; they will come, at length, to a shameful end; and, if they escape the sword of the magistrate, yet there is a divine Nemesis that pursues them. Vengeance suffers them not to live. Their greediness of gain hurries them upon those practices which will not suffer them to live out half their days, but will cut off the number of their months in the midst. They have little reason to be proud of their property in that which takes away the life of the owners and then passes to other masters; and what is a man profited, though he gain the world, if he lose his life? For then he can enjoy the world no longer; much less if he lose his soul, and that be drowned in destruction and perdition, as multitudes are by the love of money.