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Commentary - Proverbs 24:10-12

Benson Commentary  

If thou forbear to deliver — When it is in thy power to do it lawfully; them that are drawn unto death — Namely, unjustly, or by the violence of lawless men; and those that are ready to be slain — That are in present danger of death or destruction. He enforces, in these verses, the necessity of giving our assistance toward the rescue of innocent persons, when their lives are in danger, either by counselling them, or petitioning others in their behalf, or by doing any thing in our power for their deliverance. If thou sayest, We knew it not — I was ignorant, either of his innocence, or of his extreme danger, or of my power to relieve him; doth not he consider it — That this is only a frivolous excuse, and that the true reason of thy neglect was, thy want of true love to thy brother, whose life thou wast, by the law of God and of nature, obliged to preserve, and a carnal fear of some mischief, or trouble, which might befall thee in the discharge of thy duty. And he that keepeth thy soul — Who is the preserver of men, Job 7:20, who daily does, and who only can, keep thee both in and from the greatest dangers; and this favour of God may be here mentioned, partly as an encouragement to the performance of the duty here spoken of, from the consideration of God’s special care and watchfulness over those that do their duty; and partly to intimate to them, that by the neglect of this duty they would forfeit God’s protection over themselves, and expose themselves to manifold dangers and calamities. The Hebrew word נצר, however, may be rendered, he that observeth thy soul, that sees all the secret thoughts and inward motions of thy heart; which interpretation is favoured both by the preceding and following words. And shall not he render, &c. — God will certainly deal with thee as thou hast dealt with him, either rewarding thy performance of this duty, or punishing thy neglect of it.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Literally: "Deliver those that are drawn unto death, And those who totter to the slaughter - if Thou withdraw ..."

i. e., "O withdraw them," save them from their doom..."

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death,.... Or "taken for or unto death" (h), in a violent way; who are taken by thieves and robbers, and used in a barbarous manner, as the man in the parable, whom the priest and Levite took no notice of, and was helped by the good Samaritan; or who are unjustly sentenced and appointed to death by the civil magistrate; if any know their innocency, it becomes them to do all they can to save their lives, by bearing a testimony for them; for "a true witness delivereth souls", Proverbs 14:25; or by interceding for them, and giving counsel and advice concerning them, or by any lawful way they can; as Reuben delivered Joseph, Jonathan interceded for David, and Ahikam and Ebedmelech for Jeremiah. Life is valuable, and all means should be taken to save it, and to prevent the shedding of innocent blood; and a man should not forbear or spare any cost, or pains, or time, to such service.

Geneva Study Bible

If thou refraineth to deliver them that are drawn to {c} death, and those that are ready to be slain;

(c) No one can be excused, if he does not help the innocent when he is in danger.

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