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Be assured: an evil person will not go unpunished,
but the offspring of the righteous will escape. Bible

“Be assured.” The Hebrew text uses an idiom and says, “hand to hand,” which the HALOT Hebrew-English lexicon says means “be assured,” or “depend on it.” The idiom and custom of shaking hands or striking hands was a well enough known custom that it did not need to be described in detail, and the simple phrase, “hand to hand” carried the meaning. The history of the handshake or hand clasp is not exactly known, but it is known that clasping hands or shaking hands goes back to very early times, and seems to be depicted in both Egyptian and Babylonian art and/or writings. By the time of the Greeks, handshaking is well documented. The point of this proverb is that the righteous people who are afflicted and don’t seem to see the wicked getting punished for their wicked deeds here on earth should not get discouraged and think that God will never vindicate the righteous and punish the wicked. He will, and the righteous need to draw strength from that and not give in to the temptation to act unrightously.

“will escape.” The Hebrew text literally says, “have escaped, or have been delivered.” This is an example of the idiom of the prophetic perfect, where a future event is spoken of as if it has already occured. This idiom is used to assure people that the event will occur. [For more on the prophetic perfect idiom, see commentary on Eph. 2:6].


Commentary for: Proverbs 11:21