Posted by Mark Herzer

Proverbs 11:10-11

11:10 — When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.

The influence of the wicked or righteous can be quite extensive. “This proverb makes this observation by saying that the presence and prosperity of the righteous and the languishing of the wicked are good for a city.” (Longman)

The righteous fear God, and live in the practice of justice and charity towards men. These virtues procure the esteem, even of those who have no experience of the power of religion; and therefore, when it goes well with them, their neighbours rejoice; but when the wicked fall, there is shouting, because they were living plagues, and employed their prosperity and power for the gratification of their own selfish and unrighteous passions.… Righteous men are actuated by nobler motives than the applause of men, and yet they must regard the good-will of others, as a means of being useful Wicked men, on the contrary, are like swine, of no use till they die; and their fall is not a misfortune to others, but a relief. (Lawson)

 Verses 9 and 10 give us two ways to check ourselves. Do we influence our neighbors for good? Will our welfare cause our neighbors to rejoice? Will our departure even be missed? Though we do not live for the praise of man, we nonetheless can see something of our positive or negative impact on others by their responses to us. “Rome rejoiced at the death of Nero, and the public rejoiced in the French Revolution at the death of Ropespierre.” (Waltke) This proverb must be kept in balance with 24:17, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles…”

 

11:11 — By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.

Similar to v. 10, we see the community or corporate effect of the godly. The godly are blessings to the city — their character, prayers, example, etc. all have a positive impact. The community is exalted on account of all the blessings the righteous bring to the people.  The wicked, on the other hand, destroy their neighbors with their mouths (v. 19) as well as the city (v. 11). Their advice, words and outlook, etc. destroy many. They do not benefit society. “Their mouth is a pestilence, which infects their neighbours, till the fatal venom of iniquity corrupt the body of the community, and ruin become inevitable; or else their counsels prove destructive to its welfare or existence.” (Lawson)


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