Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 23

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 17


‘Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.’

Proverbs 23:17

I. Holy Scripture is full of warnings against this fatal form of envy, for indeed in this form came the first temptation to our mother Eve.

II. God’s Holy Spirit, thus proclaiming the mischief, in His love proclaims also the remedy.—The way not to let one’s ‘heart envy sinners’ is to ‘be in fear of the Lord all the day long.’

III. We are almost sure to begin to wish ourselves like the wicked if we willingly abide in their company.—Therefore doth the wise man especially caution us that if we would not be ‘envious towards evil men,’ we must not ‘desire to be with them.’ Remember the end of these men, then you will leave off envying them, and you will begin to pity them and pray for them.

—Rev. J. Keble.


‘We must not think that the ground of these prohibitions is an unreasoning caprice. They are founded in the love of God. It is because He loves us so much that He puts us on our guard against things which are really detrimental, and which we should be the first to forgo, if we loved ourselves with as real and deep a love as His. God knows that yielding to the imperious dictates of passion ruins the moral life, the peace of the heart, the strength and energy of the soul, and He warns us against them for our own sake. Oh! do not look on God as delighting in depriving you of things you like for arbitrary reasons, but for the deepest reasons, the cogency of which you would be the first to acknowledge if you knew all.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Proverbs 23". The Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.