Proverbs 20:22 NASB
Do not¹ say², “I will repay³ evil⁴”;
Wait⁵ for the Lord⁶, and He will save⁷ you.
¹) Do not – אַל־ (’al-) – Not
²) Say – תֹּאמַ֥ר (tō·mar) – To utter, say
³) I will avenge – אֲשַׁלְּמָה־ (’ă·šal·lə·māh-) – To be safe, to be, completed, to be friendly, to reciprocate
⁴) This evil! – רָ֑ע (rā‘) – Bad, evil
⁵) Wait – קַוֵּ֥ה (qaw·wêh) – To bind together, collect, to expect
⁶) LORD – לַֽ֝יהוָ֗ה (Yah·weh) – YHWH; LORD – the proper name of the God of Israel
⁷) Deliver – וְיֹ֣שַֽׁע (wə·yō·ša‘) – To be open, wide, free, to be safe, to free, succor
Contemporary English Version
Don’t try to get even. Trust the LORD, and he will help you.
King James Bible
Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee
Literal Standard Version
Do not say, “I repay evil,” Wait for YHWH, and He delivers you.
Say not thou, I will recompense evil (Proverbs 24:29).
The natural feeling of man is to do to others as they have done unto them, to requite evil with evil. But acting like this brings us in a negative spiral, where one action, will give a worse reaction, followed by an even worse reaction again, and so on.
The moralist teaches a better lesson, urging men not to study revenge, and approaching nearer to Christ’s injunction, which gave us the law of charity, “Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
The Christian rule is expounded fully by Paul (Romans 12:14, 17, etc).
It was not unknown to the Jews; for we read in Tobit 4:15, “Do that to no man which thou hatest;” and Hillel enjoins, “Do not thou that to thy neighbour which thou hatest when it is done to thee.”
Even the heathens had excogitated this great principle.
There is a saying of Aristotle, preserved by Diogenes Laertius, “Act towards your friends as you would wish them to act towards you.”
The Chinese have a proverb, “Water does not remain on the mountain, or vengeance in a great mind.”
Wait on the Lord and he shall save thee.
Do not look for vengeance on enemies (for they are to be forgiven), but for deliverance from their attacks; forget their malice, remember only God’s love for thee, and trust in Him. (Compare 1Peter 3:13; Romans 8:28.)
A pious writer urges injured persons to commit their cause to the Lord, not in the hope of seeing vengeance taken on his enemy, but in the certainty that God will help him to bear the wrong and deliver him in his own good time and way.
The Christian takes Peter’s view, “Who is he that will harm you if ye be followers of that which is good?” (1 Peter 3:13), knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28).
Septuagint: “Say not, I will avenge myself on my enemy, but wait on the Lord, that he may help thee.”
The last clause may be grammatically rendered thus, but it is more in accordance with the spirit of’ the proverb, as Delitzsch observes, to regard it as a promise. Vulgate: et liberabit te.
Vengeance is an awful and painful way to respond to those whom we feel have wronged us.
The LORD is our assurance of just rewards.
Leave it to him.
Escalating vindictiveness only leads to broken people and to broken lives.
Worse yet, it leads to broken character.
- Ask God to empower you to be patient.
- Ask God to help you to wait for Him, to rightly judge the injustices committed against you.
- Ask God to help you to be more concerned about the salvation of those who may have wronged you, than you are about getting even.
- Ask God to give you more of a heart like His Son, Jesus.
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