Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 20:10

Differing weights and differing measures, Both of them are abominable to the Lord .
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abomination;   Dishonesty;   Honesty;   Measure;   Weights;   Thompson Chain Reference - Business Life;   Dishonesty;   Just Weights;   Measures;   Social Duties;   Vices;   Virtues;   Weights;   The Topic Concordance - Abomination;   Hate;   Justice;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Injustice;   Measures;  
Dictionaries:
Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Pardon;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Ephah;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Pentateuch;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ephah;   Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Trade and Commerce;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Measure;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Divers;   Measure;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Divers weights and divers measures - A peise and a peise; - Old MS. Bible: from the French pois, weight. Hebrew: "A stone and a stone; an ephah and an ephah." One the standard, the other below it; one to buy with, the other to sell by.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

See Proverbs 11:1: Here perhaps, as a companion to Proverbs 20:9, with a wider application to all judging one man by rules which we do not apply to ourselves or to another.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-20.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 20:10

Divers weights and divers measures; both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.

Caveat venditor

I. Dishonesty in trade is various in its forms. “Divers weights and divers measures . . . and a false balance.”

II. Dishonesty in trade is offensive to God.

1. Dishonesty is known to Him: His eye is on our business transactions, and no names or pretences, however plausible, can deceive Him.

2. Dishonesty is abhorred by Him. It is “an abomination unto the Lord.”

III. Dishonesty in trade is great folly and sin. This seems to be the idea of the latter clause of Proverbs 20:23 : “A false balance is not good.” The man who is dishonest for gain sacrifices--

1. The greater for the less.

2. The spiritual for the material.

3. The eternal and permanent for the temporal and uncertain.

4. The Divine for the worldly. Dishonesty is arrant folly; the man who gains by fraud is a great loser.

Conclusion:

1. Transact business by the rule laid down by our Lord (Matthew 7:12).

2. Transact business as in the sight of God. (W. Jones.)

Short weights and measures

All pound weights do not draw 16 ounces. Every yard stick is not quite 36 inches long. There are multitudes of things short weight, and not a few short measure. If all men were weighed and measured, some of us would need to be placed under short sticks, or require a big “make weight” to bring us up to the right standard. Besides men, there are things not quite full measure. Many things sold and used in Manchester, you may depend upon it, would be “short measure,” especially when compared with the standards the excise officers are in the habit of carrying about with them. I have met many men that would weigh 14 stone, but if you try to weigh their common sense it would not reach 14 ounces. There are hundreds of men whose tailors may be able to tell you how much cloth it would take to cover them; their shoemakers could tell you that their feet measured 9, 10, or 11 inches in length; but if you tried to measure all their good deeds--deeds of kindness done at home--deeds of sympathy to those who are poor--acts of love and mercy such as angels delight to see, and God smiles upon--you could do it with a 35-inch stick. And the misfortune is that these people are always the tall talkers. Talking does little work. Talking, minus doing, is minus weight. But there are some men that weigh too much. When I was a lad I used to see butter sold that was called “long weight.” Well, what was that? Eighteen ounces to the pound. I have met men more than 18 ounces to the pound. If they are workmen they can do twice as much as others in the same time. If you talk to them about their wives--there are not such women in the world. Their children are perfect models; their horses are better than their neighbours; and if they go out to buy goods, they can always get more for their money than anybody else, often, indeed, 25s worth for their sovereign. But get a little nearer to them, and you will find the work they do needs doing over again; as to their children, they are unruly and impudent; whilst the bargains they make are no bargains at all. I want now to look more particularly at men “short weight.” (Belshazzar instanced.) Pride? Can a proud man be short weight? Look at him, how big he is! Ah! you can measure some people’s pride, and you will get 37 inches to the yard. It takes 24 yards of silk to cover the pride of some women--and it will take 24 months to pay for it. Belshazzar was not the only proud person the world has known. I am afraid that pride exists in these days as well as in those. (Charles Leach.)

Divers weights and divers measures

Trade tricksters are not called highly respectable in Scripture, whatever they are in society. Apologists for tricks in trade say that the real fault is in the consumer, who will have a cheap article. On which showing, the whole charge of adulteration, and of the wickedness of selling worsted and silk for silk, shoddy for broadcloth, and sloe-juice for vine-wine, is held to amount to nothing. Cicero’s rule holds good to-day, that everything should be disclosed, in order that a purchaser may be ignorant of nothing that the seller knows. But few people have leisure for investigating the real quality and quantity of their purchases. It is only necessary, remarks Mr. Emerson, to ask a few questions as to the progress of the articles of commerce from the fields where they grew to our houses, to become aware that we “eat and drink, and wear perjury and fraud in a hundred commodities.” Christian critics have been fain to admire in Mohammed the vigour and emphasis with which he inculcated a noble sincerity and fairness in dealing. “He who sells a defective thing, concealing its defect, will provoke the anger of God and the curses of the angels.” Every age has its recognised offenders of this sort, from Solomon’s days downwards. It was reserved, apparently, for our own age to merit in full the bad eminence of attaining such a pitch of refinement “in the art of the falsification of elementary substances,” that the very articles used to adulterate are themselves adulterated. (F. Jacox, B. A.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 20:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-20.html. 1905-1909. New York.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 20:10

Divers weights and divers measures; both of them are alike abomination to the Lord.

Caveat venditor

I. Dishonesty in trade is various in its forms. “Divers weights and divers measures . . . and a false balance.”

II. Dishonesty in trade is offensive to God.

1. Dishonesty is known to Him: His eye is on our business transactions, and no names or pretences, however plausible, can deceive Him.

2. Dishonesty is abhorred by Him. It is “an abomination unto the Lord.”

III. Dishonesty in trade is great folly and sin. This seems to be the idea of the latter clause of Proverbs 20:23 : “A false balance is not good.” The man who is dishonest for gain sacrifices--

1. The greater for the less.

2. The spiritual for the material.

3. The eternal and permanent for the temporal and uncertain.

4. The Divine for the worldly. Dishonesty is arrant folly; the man who gains by fraud is a great loser.

Conclusion:

1. Transact business by the rule laid down by our Lord (Matthew 7:12).

2. Transact business as in the sight of God. (W. Jones.)

Short weights and measures

All pound weights do not draw 16 ounces. Every yard stick is not quite 36 inches long. There are multitudes of things short weight, and not a few short measure. If all men were weighed and measured, some of us would need to be placed under short sticks, or require a big “make weight” to bring us up to the right standard. Besides men, there are things not quite full measure. Many things sold and used in Manchester, you may depend upon it, would be “short measure,” especially when compared with the standards the excise officers are in the habit of carrying about with them. I have met many men that would weigh 14 stone, but if you try to weigh their common sense it would not reach 14 ounces. There are hundreds of men whose tailors may be able to tell you how much cloth it would take to cover them; their shoemakers could tell you that their feet measured 9, 10, or 11 inches in length; but if you tried to measure all their good deeds--deeds of kindness done at home--deeds of sympathy to those who are poor--acts of love and mercy such as angels delight to see, and God smiles upon--you could do it with a 35-inch stick. And the misfortune is that these people are always the tall talkers. Talking does little work. Talking, minus doing, is minus weight. But there are some men that weigh too much. When I was a lad I used to see butter sold that was called “long weight.” Well, what was that? Eighteen ounces to the pound. I have met men more than 18 ounces to the pound. If they are workmen they can do twice as much as others in the same time. If you talk to them about their wives--there are not such women in the world. Their children are perfect models; their horses are better than their neighbours; and if they go out to buy goods, they can always get more for their money than anybody else, often, indeed, 25s worth for their sovereign. But get a little nearer to them, and you will find the work they do needs doing over again; as to their children, they are unruly and impudent; whilst the bargains they make are no bargains at all. I want now to look more particularly at men “short weight.” (Belshazzar instanced.) Pride? Can a proud man be short weight? Look at him, how big he is! Ah! you can measure some people’s pride, and you will get 37 inches to the yard. It takes 24 yards of silk to cover the pride of some women--and it will take 24 months to pay for it. Belshazzar was not the only proud person the world has known. I am afraid that pride exists in these days as well as in those. (Charles Leach.)

Divers weights and divers measures

Trade tricksters are not called highly respectable in Scripture, whatever they are in society. Apologists for tricks in trade say that the real fault is in the consumer, who will have a cheap article. On which showing, the whole charge of adulteration, and of the wickedness of selling worsted and silk for silk, shoddy for broadcloth, and sloe-juice for vine-wine, is held to amount to nothing. Cicero’s rule holds good to-day, that everything should be disclosed, in order that a purchaser may be ignorant of nothing that the seller knows. But few people have leisure for investigating the real quality and quantity of their purchases. It is only necessary, remarks Mr. Emerson, to ask a few questions as to the progress of the articles of commerce from the fields where they grew to our houses, to become aware that we “eat and drink, and wear perjury and fraud in a hundred commodities.” Christian critics have been fain to admire in Mohammed the vigour and emphasis with which he inculcated a noble sincerity and fairness in dealing. “He who sells a defective thing, concealing its defect, will provoke the anger of God and the curses of the angels.” Every age has its recognised offenders of this sort, from Solomon’s days downwards. It was reserved, apparently, for our own age to merit in full the bad eminence of attaining such a pitch of refinement “in the art of the falsification of elementary substances,” that the very articles used to adulterate are themselves adulterated. (F. Jacox, B. A.)

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 20:10". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-20.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"Diverse weights, and diverse measures, Both of them alike are an abomination to Jehovah."

We have already studied several proverbs in this same line of thought. The diversity of the weights and measures was a device used by dishonest traders who used one set of standards when buying, another when selling. The simple meaning of the proverb is that God hates dishonest traders.

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Divers weights, and divers measures,.... Or, "a stone and a stone, and an ephah and an ephah"F4So Montanus, Schulteus. . Stones being in old time used in weighing, and an "ephah" was a common measure among the Jews; and these ought not to be different; one stone or weight for buying, and another for selling; and one measure to buy goods in with, and another to sell out with; the one too heavy, the other too light; the one too large, and the other too scanty; whereby justice is not done between man and man; whereas they ought to be just and equal, Leviticus 19:35;

both of them are alike abomination to the Lord; who loves righteousness and hates iniquity, and requires of men to do justly; and abhors every act of injustice, and whatever is detrimental to men's properties; see Proverbs 11:1.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Differing weights, [and] differing measures, both of e them [are] alike abomination to the LORD.

(e) Read (Proverbs 16:11).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Various measures, implying that some are wrong (compare Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

This proverb passes sentence of condemnation against gross sins in action and life.

Diverse stones, diverse measures -

An abomination to Jahve are they both.

The stones are, as at Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11, those used as weights. Stone and stone, ephah and ephah, means that they are of diverse kinds, one large and one small (the lxx, in which the sequence of the proverbs from Proverbs 20:10 is different, has μέγα καὶ μικρόν ), so that one may be able deceitfully to substitute the one for the other. איפה (from אפה, to bake) may originally have been used to designate such a quantity of meal as supplied a family of moderate wants; it corresponds to the bath (Ezekiel 45:11) as a measure for fluids, and stands here synecdochically instead of all the measures, including, e.g., the cor, of which the ephah was a tenth part, and the seah, which was a third part of it. 10b = Proverbs 17:5, an echo of Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16. Just and equal measure is the demand of a holy God; the contrary is to Him an abhorrence.

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The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Bibliographical Information
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-20.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

See here, 1. The various arts of deceiving that men have, all which evils the love of money is the root of. In paying and receiving money, which was then commonly done by the scale, they had divers weights, an under-weight for what they paid and an over-weight for what they received; in delivering out and taking in goods they had divers measures, a scanty measure to sell by and a large measure to buy by. This was done wrong with plot and contrivance, and under colour of doing right. Under these is included all manner of fraud and deceit in commerce and trade. 2. The displeasure of God against them. Whether they be about the money or the goods, in the buyer or in the seller, they are all alike an abomination to the Lord. He will not prosper the trade that is thus driven, nor bless what is thus got. He hates those that thus break the common faith by which justice is maintained, and will be the avenger of all such.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

Divers — One greater for shew and one lesser for use.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-20.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 20:10 Divers weights, [and] divers measures, both of them [are] alike abomination to the LORD.

Ver. 10. Divers weights, and divers measures, &c.] {See Trapp on "Proverbs 11:1"} {See Trapp on "Proverbs 16:11"} Now, if the very weights and measures are abomination, how much more the men that make use of them? And what shall become of such as measure to themselves a whole six days, but curtail God’s seventh or misemploy it?

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-20.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 10. Divers weights, stones as they were used for weights in balances, and divers measures, the reference being not only to the vessels used in dry measure, but to every kind of measure, both of them are alike abomination to the Lord; deception in business, cheating in trade, is sinful and loathsome in His sight.

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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-20.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Divers weights and divers measures; one greater and true for public show, and one lesser and false for private use, when they had an opportunity of deceiving.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-20.html. 1685.

Expositor's Bible Commentary

33

CHAPTER 17

A JUST BALANCE

"A just balance and scales are the Lord’s: all the weights of the bag are His work."- Proverbs 16:11

"A false balance is an abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight."- Proverbs 11:1

"Diverse weights, and divers measures, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord."- Proverbs 20:10

"Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord; and a false balance is not good."- Proverbs 20:23

THE sixteenth chapter opens-and we may annex to it the last verse of chapter 15.-with a series of sayings which are grouped together on the principle that the name of the Lord occurs in each. There is no obvious connection between the successive verses, and some of them have been already touched on in previous lectures, but it will be worthwhile to glance at the series as a whole.

The Lord’s presence must be recognized and reverenced before we can make any progress in wisdom, and in His presence we must humble ourselves before we can expect any honor. [Proverbs 15:33] We are entirely dependent upon Him; although our hearts may form plans, we cannot utter anything aright unless He controls our tongue. [Proverbs 16:1] However self-satisfied we may be with our own ways, however convinced we may be of our own innocence, He weighs our spirit, and will often find a guilt which our conceit ignores, an impurity which our vanity would hide. [Proverbs 16:2] We should do well, therefore, to commit all our works to Him, in order that He may revise and correct our purposes and establish those which are good. [Proverbs 16:3] We cannot think too much of His all-inclusive wisdom and knowledge; everything lies in His hands and is designed for His ends; even the wicked who rebel against Him - men like Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Judas, Elymas-must in their inevitable punishment glorify His righteousness and truth. [Proverbs 21:4] For punishment is absolutely sure; the proud are an abomination to Him, and although they combine to oppose His will and to escape the penalty, it will be quite in vain. [Proverbs 16:5] On the other hand, where He sees mercy and truth He will purge iniquity, and when men fear Him they will depart from evil. [Proverbs 16:6] When His smile is upon them and He approves their ways, He will make their path plain, pacifying their enemies, and making their hearts glad. [Proverbs 16:7] He will guide them, even directing their steps, in such a manner that their own imperfect counsels shall turn to a happy and successful issue. "Whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he." [Proverbs 26:20] Indeed we cannot exaggerate the minute observation of the Lord; no detail escapes His eye, no event is beyond His control; even what is generally called Chance is but another name for His unmarked and unknown direction; the very lot-that lot which settles contentions and separates the strong-cast into the lap is actually disposed by him [Proverbs 16:33] much more, therefore, are the deliberate transactions of commerce-those subtle bonds of the cash nexus which twine man to man and nation to nation-under His constant inspection and a subject of His most interested concern, "a just balance and scales are the Lord’s: all the Weights of the bag are His work."

It is, then, as part of the Lord’s watchful activity and direct, detailed connection with all the affairs of human life, that He is interested in our business and trade. We may notice at once that this is very characteristic of the Old Testament religion. In the Deuteronomic Law it was written: "Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small. Thou shalt not have in thine house divers measures, a great and a small. A perfect and a just weight shalt thou have; a perfect and a just measure shalt thou have: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. For all that do such things, even all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God." [Deuteronomy 26:13-16] Again, in the Levitical Law we find: "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meter-yard, in weight, or in measure. Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt." [Leviticus 19:33; Leviticus 19:36]

The Israelite was encouraged to think that all the work in which he engaged was ordained by, and therefore under the observation of, his God. "Hate not laborious work, neither husbandry which the Most High hath ordained," says Ecclesiasticus. [Sirach 7:15] And there is a striking passage in Isaiah where the operations of agriculture are described in detail, and all are attributed to God, who instructs the husbandman aright and teaches him. It all comes from the "Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom." [Isaiah 28:23-29]

But at present we are concerned only with trade as a department of industrial life, and especially with the actual chaffering of exchange, the barter of goods for goods, the weights and measures which settle the quantities, and the rules which must govern all such transactions. We should gather that the commercial fraud of those primitive times took this comparatively simple form: the merchant would have, let us say, a half shekel which came a little short of the regulation weight; or he would have a cubit measure (1 ft. 9 in.) half an inch under a cubit; or he would have a vessel professing to hold a hin (i.e., a little more than a gallon), but actually holding a little less than a gallon; or he would have a dry measure, marked as an ephah (i.e., about three pecks), but incapable of holding the ostensible quantity. In an ordinary way he would use these inadequate measures, and thus nibble a little from every article which he sold to a customer. But in the event of a purchaser presenting himself who had a fuller knowledge or might conceivably act as an inspector and report the fraud to the judge, there would be a just half shekel weight in the bag, a full cubit rule hidden behind the counter, a hin or an ephah measure of legal dimensions within easy reach. You may smile at such primitive methods of deception, but it requires many generations for a civilized society to elaborate commercial fraud on the large scale.

Now passing at once to our own times and bringing the truth of our text to illuminate them, I should like to say a little to people engaged in business, whether employers or employed, whether the business is wholesale or retail. And let me assure you that I am not going to attempt a detailed examination and criticism of your business concerns. Such an attempt would be grossly impertinent, and might well expose me, not only to your indignation, but to your ridicule. No, I do not believe that it is the part of the preacher to meddle with matters which he does not understand; he only discredits his message by affecting an omniscience which he cannot possibly possess. I have no doubt that the youth who has been in a warehouse or behind the counter for six months already knows more of commercial habits, of trade practices, of the temptations and difficulties which practically press upon people in business, than I know, or am likely to know if I live to twice my present age. I shall not therefore insult you by attempting to point out evils and expose abuses, to denounce particular frauds, and to hold up any special people or classes of people to moral reprobation. My task is quite different; it is this: -I am to remind you, first, that God possesses that omniscience to which I can lay no claim, and therefore is intimately acquainted with all the transactions of your bank, your warehouse, your office, your counter, your workshop; and, secondly, that He regards with intense satisfaction all fair dealing, and with vindictive indignation every fraud, and trick, and lie. And on the strength of this I am to ask you very earnestly to review your lives and your practices in the light of His judgment, and to consider how you may bring all your doings in business into conformity with His will.

Perhaps you will let me, as a man speaking to his fellow-men, as a Christian, I hope, speaking to his fellow-Christians, expand these three points a little.

First. We are all of us tempted to think that a considerable proportion of our life is too insignificant to attract the particular attention of God. We can understand that He takes notice of our entrance into, and our exit from, the world, but we think that between the two limits He leaves us to "devise our own ways." Or possibly we can recognize His interest in the crisis of our life, but are inclined to question His minute care of the common and monotonous routine. He marks what business we enter, but, when we are in it, lets us alone. He is interested in our marriage, but, when we are married, leaves husband and wife to adjust their own relations. Or He marks a large business transaction in which there is room for a really gigantic fraud, but cannot pay any attention to a minute sale over the counter, the trivial adulteration of a common article, the ingenious subterfuge for disposing of a damaged or useless stock. Is not this our unspoken but implicit mode of reasoning? And could anything be more illogical? The Divine Power which would create this infinitely diversified universe must be able to mark every tiniest detail of the tiniest object in it. Great and small are relative terms, and have no significance to Him. Naturalists tell us that in the scale of living creatures, arranged according to size, the common beetle occupies the middle point, the smallest living creature being as much smaller as the largest is larger than it. And yet the microscope, so far from showing that God takes less care with the infinitesimal creations of His hand, rather inclines us to say that the smaller the creature is, the more delicate adjustment, the more exquisite proportions, the more brilliant hues, does it display. Our Lord brought home to us this minuteness of the Divine Mind, this infinite power of embracing the veriest trifles of the creation in His thought and care, by assuring us that not a sparrow falls without His notice and that the hairs of our heads are all numbered.

There is, then, no logical resting-place, when we are thinking of the Mind of God. If He knows us at all, He knows all about us. If He marks what we consider the important things m our life, He marks equally what we consider the unimportant things. The whole life, with every detail from birth to death, is accurately photographed in the light of His omniscience; and as the exposed plate of the camera receives many details which escape the observation of our eyes, so the smallest and least observed transaction in the daily business, every figure entered truly or falsely in the ledger, every coin dropped justly or dishonestly into the till, every bale, every packet, every thread, every pin, which changes hands in the market, passes at once into the observant and comprehending mind of God.

Second. But in this exhaustive and detailed knowledge of the way in which you are conducting your business, His warm approval follows everything that is honest and just, His vehement censure lights on all that is dishonest or unjust. It may come as a great comfort to you to know that a little business matter which cost you a considerable struggle the other day was duly noted and recorded by the Lord. I was not present at the time, nor did anyone who was near you in the least surmise what was passing. But you suddenly recognized the possibility of making a large profit by simply adopting a very slight subterfuge; what made the case peculiarly difficult was that neighboring and rival firms to your certain knowledge did the like every day; the innocent faces of wife and children at home seemed to urge you, for what a difference would this sum of money make to their comfort and welfare in the coming year? You weighed the little trick over and over again, and set it now in this light, now in that, until at last the black began to seem grey, and the grey almost white. After all, was it a subterfuge? was it not merely a quite legitimate reserve, an even laudable commercial prudence? And then, as you wavered, some clear light of truth fell upon your mind; you saw distinctly what was the right course, and very quietly you took it; the prospect of gain was surrendered, you saw the advantage pass over to your rival; he availed himself of it, and went to church next Sunday just the same. Sometimes you have wondered whether after all you were not too scrupulous.

Now all that God knows; it is His delight; He has recorded it already in His Book, and also in your own moral nature, which is the stronger and the better for it.

On the other hand, it must be a subject of some concern to many that the same all-observing, all-recording Mind regards with hatred all the sharp practices by which in business we deceive and defraud one another. I suppose there is a way of making up books which would pass any accountant in London, and yet would not pass the audit of God. I suppose there are gains which to the average commercial conscience of today appear fair enough, and yet to the One who weighs the spirits of men seem to be quite illicit. There must be men who made their money long ago in certain ways best known to themselves, and are now living in great comfort; but all the time in the books of God a terrible record stands against them, and as the eye of God falls upon those pages, the moan of the ruined, the cry of the fatherless and the widow, and the horrified entreaties of the helpless come up into His ear.

We have no reason for thinking that the unjust balance has become any less abominable to the Lord because the eager and relentless competition of modern industrial life has multiplied, while it has refined, the methods of fraud, and has created a condition of things in which, as so many people urge, questionable practices have become actually necessary for one who would keep his head above water. We have no reason to think that God regards it as at all essential that any of us should keep his head above water. The warm and honorable reception given to Lazarus in heaven, when his head had gone under the waters on earth, might lead us to think that what we call failures here may possibly be regarded as grand successes there. But we have every reason to think that double-dealing, no matter what may be the plea, is abominable in the sight of the Lord.

It is in vain to point to the great prosperity which has fallen to the lot of some whose dishonorable practices have been notorious. It is beyond a doubt that knavery may be successful in its way and a clever rogue may outdistance an honest dullard. The proverb "Honesty is the best policy" is not, as some people seem to think, in the Bible; honesty may or may not be the best policy, according to the object which you have in view. If your object is simply to amass wealth, the saying will read, "Honesty is the best policy; and where it is not, be dishonest." God does not judge in the least by worldly prosperity. From the parable just alluded to one would conclude that it is, in heaven, a certain presumption against a man; there may yet prove to be truth in the hard saying, "He that dies rich is damned." If God hates these questionable practices which are said to exist in modern trade, and if He enters them all in His black books, they who prosper by employing them are none the less failures: their ruin is sure; their remorse will be as inevitable as their recovery will be impossible.

Third. I come therefore now to urge upon all of you that you should order all your business ways as in the sight of God, and concern yourselves chiefly with the thought how they may be in conformity with His holy Will. Do not be content with estimating your conduct by the judgment which other men would pass upon it. While such an estimate might reveal many things which would not pass muster, it is doubtful whether their problematical censure will afford an adequate motive for reform, and it is sure to overlook many of the evils which they are bound to wink at, because their own hands are not clean. Do not be content even with estimating your conduct by the standard of your own unaided conscience. Your conscience may at any given time be in a degraded state; in order to keep it quiet you may have brought it down to the level of your conduct. A thief’s conscience seldom troubles him unless his theft is unsuccessful, in which case it reproaches him for not being more careful and more skillful. You may, like St. Paul, know nothing against yourself and yet not be thereby justified. For doubtless most of the evil practices of our time represent a conscience that has been stupefied with sophistry and deadened with selfishness, so that the worst culprits are the first to put on an air of injured innocence, and those who are least guilty suffer most just because the conscience is still sensitive and has not yet been seared with the usual hot iron.

No, the only safe and effectual method is to bring all your business habits, all the practices of the counter and the counting-house, under the searching eye of the All-seeing One. Unless you realize that He sees and knows, and unless you humbly submit everything to His judgment, you are sure to go wrong; your standard will insensibly fail, and you will insensibly fall away even from the fallen standard. It is said that peculiar difficulties beset you in the present day; it is said that it was never so hard to be straightforward and above-board in commercial dealings; it is said that the insane Moloch of competition imperatively demands the blood of our youth, and even makes assaults on the established virtues of maturity. It may be so, though we are generally inclined to exaggerate the peculiar temptations of our own time in comparison with those of a former age; but if it is so, then there is all the more urgent a necessity that you should bring your affairs to God’s judgment, seek diligently to understand His will, and then ask Him for a peculiar strength to enable you to overcome these peculiar temptations. You will not alter His judgment of your conduct by attempting to ignore it. But by seeking to understand it, and by laying your heart open to be influenced by it, you will find that your conduct is perceptibly altered and apparent impossibilities are overcome, because "by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil." [Proverbs 16:6]

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/proverbs-20.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

10.Divers weights measures — Literally, a stone and a stone, an epha and an epha, which some interpret to mean a double weight and a double epha; that is, two of each, one true and the other false, one greater than the other, one to buy with and the other to sell with. But the repetition here denotes not plurality but diversity, and hence is well enough rendered by our word “divers.” The epha was a measure equal to about one and a half (some say one and one ninth) bushels, English. The tricks of trade were not unknown in the early times. Compare Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 17:5; and Proverbs 20:23 below.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-20.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Measures. In commerce, (Calmet) as well as in judging. (St. Gregory in Ezechiel iv.)

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

weights . . . measures. Hebrew "a stone and a stone, an ephah and an ephah". Ephah put by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Species), App-6, for all kinds of weights and measures. There is no word for "divers" = diverse.

abomination, &c. Compare Proverbs 20:23, and Proverbs 11:1; Proverbs 16:11, &c. See note on Proverbs 3:32, and compare Deuteronomy 25:13, &c.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

Divers weights - Hebrew, 'a stone and a stone' - i:e., one weight in buying; a different one in selling.

Divers measures - Hebrew, 'an ephah and an ephah.' All injustice in the common contact of life.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(10) Divers weights and divers measures . . .—See above on Proverbs 11:1.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.
Divers weights, and divers measures
Heb. a stone and a stone, an ephah and an ephah.
Deuteronomy 25:13
both
23; 11:1; 16:11; Leviticus 19:35; Deuteronomy 25:13-15; Amos 8:4-7; Micah 6:10,11
abomination
Deuteronomy 7:25,26; Revelation 21:8
Reciprocal: Leviticus 19:13 - shalt not;  Deuteronomy 17:1 - for that;  Proverbs 6:16 - an;  Ezekiel 45:10 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-20.html.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Здесь описаны

(1) различные приемы обмана, используемые людьми, из которых все представляют зло; его корень – любовь к деньгам. В то время расплата деньгами обычно осуществлялась с помощью весов, которые часто были неодинаковыми: они показывали уменьшенный вес при расплате деньгами и увеличенный вес при получении товара. При отпуске и получении товара продавцы использовали неодинаковые меры: недостаточная мера для продажи и увеличенная – для покупки. Они были сделаны с определенным злым замыслом под видом правоты. Здесь подразумеваются все виды мошенничества и обмана в торговле и коммерции.

(2) Недовольство Бога этими людьми. чем бы они ни занимались: деньгами или товаром, покупкой или продажей, то и другое – мерзость пред Господом. Торговля такого человека не будет процветать, как и добытое таким образом не будет благословлено. Бог ненавидит тех, кто разрушает обычную веру тем, с помощью чего поддерживается правосудие, и отомстит таковым.

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Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

See the various deceits men use, of which the love of money is the root. The Lord will not bless what is thus gotten.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 20:10". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary
>
>on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-20.html. 1706.