Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 5:21

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord , And He watches all his paths.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Adultery;   Chastity;   God Continued...;   Heart;   Temptation;   Young Men;   Thompson Chain Reference - Knowledge;   Knowledge, Divine;   Knowledge-Ignorance;   Known, Ways;   Ways;   The Topic Concordance - Death;   Heart;   Man;   Seeing;   Straying;   Ways;   Wickedness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - God;   Man;  
Dictionaries:
Holman Bible Dictionary - Ethics;   Proverbs, Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Medicine;   Proverbs, Book of;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Proverbs book of;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Foreknow;   Going;   Omniscience;   Ponder;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Chastity;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for January 29;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

For the ways of a man - Whether they are public or private, God sees all the steps thou takest in life.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-5.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

One more warning. The sin is not against man, nor dependent on man‘s detection only. The secret sin is open before the eyes of Yahweh. In the balance of His righteous judgment are weighed all human acts.

Pondereth - Note the recurrence of the word used of the harlot herself (see Proverbs 1:6 note): she ponders not, God does.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 5:21

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord.

The method of Providence for restraining evil

God announces Himself the witness and judge of man. The evil-doer can neither elude the all-seeing eye, nor escape from the almighty hand. Secrecy is the study and the hope of the wicked. A sinner’s chief labour is to hide his sin, and his labour is all lost. Darkness hideth not from God. He who knows evil in its secret source is able to limit the range of its operation. There is a special method by which this is done. It is a principle of the Divine government that sin becomes the instrument for punishing sinners. His own sin is the snare that takes the transgressor, and the scourge that lashes him. The Maker and Ruler of all things has set in the system of the universe a self-acting apparatus, which is constantly going for the encouragement of good and the repression of evil The providential laws are directed against the current of man’s sinful propensities, and tell in force thereon. They do not, however, overcome and neutralise, and reverse those propensities. Retribution in the system of nature, set in motion by the act of sin, is like the “Virgin’s kiss” in the Roman Inquisition. The step of him who goes forward to kiss the image touches a secret spring, and the statue’s marble arms enclose him in a deadly embrace, piercing his body through with a hundred knives. Verily a man under law to God needs to “ponder his feet.” (W. Arnot, D. D.)

Man’s ways before God

Everybody can see the cedar of Lebanon, the pine of the forest, or the hedge with its convolvulus and wild rose. They can even see the daisy, the flower in the grass. But who sees the grass? He who made the grass to grow upon the mountain, He knows every blade of it, and for every blade has recognition, sunshine, and dew. So is it with the lowliest and humblest man in this world to-day. God’s eye loves goodness; He delights in it; and there is no goodness which He fails to recognise and bless. (W. L. Watkinson.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 5:21". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord,.... Both good and bad; the ways of a chaste and virtuous man, who cleaves to his own wife and shuns the harlot, which are approved of by the Lord; and the ways of a lewd man, all the impure thoughts, desires, and contrivances of his mind, and all the steps he takes to commit lewdness, and all the filthy actions he is guilty of, these are all open and naked to the omniscient God: the adulterer seeks the twilight, and flatters himself with secrecy, not considering that the eye of God is upon him; there are many, that, were their filthy actions known to men, they would be ashamed of them; and this consideration greatly deters from them, and puts them upon secret ways of committing them; much more should the consideration of the divine omniscience weigh with them to avoid them; which is the argument here made use of;

and he pondereth all his goings; he not only sees them, but takes notice of them, and observes them, and ponders them in his mind, and lays them up there, in order to bring to an account for them hereafter; yea, he weighs them in the balance of justice, and will proportion the punishment unto them, according to the rules of it; when it must go ill with those that follow such lewd practices, Hebrews 13:4.

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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 5:21". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-5.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

For the ways of man [are] before the m eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

(m) He declares that unless a man joins to his wife both in heart and in outward conversation, he will not escape the judgments of God.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-5.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

The reason, God‘s eye is on you,

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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 5:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-5.html. 1871-8.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

LIFE’S LEVEL PATH

‘The level path of life … He maketh level all his paths.’

Proverbs 5:6; Proverbs 5:21 (R.V.).

I. It is a remarkable expression—‘the level path of life’; and there is great comfort in knowing that God is ever before us, levelling our pathway, taking insurmountable obstacles out of the way, so that our feet do not stumble.

II. It may be that you are facing a great mountain range of difficulty.—Before you obstacles, apparently insuperable, rear themselves like a giant wall to heaven. When you cross the Jordan there is also a Jericho, which appears to bar all further advance, and your heart fails. But you are bidden to believe that there is a level path right through those mighty barriers; a pass, as it is called. The walking there is easy and pleasant if only you will let yourself be led to it. God has made it, but you must find it. How we dread the thought of those steep cliffs! It seems as though we could never climb them; but if we would only look at the Lord instead of at the hills, if we would look above the hills to Jehovah, we should be able to rest in sure faith that He would show us the level path of life.

III. Your path is not level, but full of boulders, which have rolled down upon and choked it.—But may this not be partly due to your mistakes or sins, to your wilfulness and self-dependence? There are sorrows and trials in all lives, but these need not obstruct our progress. The text surely refers to those difficulties which threaten us with their arrest, putting barriers in our way. These would be levelled if we gave the direction of our lives more absolutely into God’s hands. When Peter reached the iron gate he found it open; when the women reached the sepulchre door they found the stone gone.

Illustration

‘The stability of a country depends wholly upon its home-life. So long as the homes are pure and God-fearing, it is impossible that its freedom or influence should be permanently obscured. Our strength is not in our arms, or ships, but in the purity of our manners, the elevation of the domestic ideal. Hence this book, which is the vade-mecum of a strong, sweet life, is so emphatic in denouncing impurity. Oh, that young men would lay this chapter to heart!’

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/proverbs-5.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man [are] before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

Ver. 21. For the ways of man, &c.] Turpe quid acturus te sine teste time. (a) A man that is about any evil should stand in awe of himself; how much more of God, since he is πανοφθαλμος, all eye, and beholdeth the most secret of thine actions. The proverb is, Si non caste, saltem caute, Carry the matter, if not honestly, yet so closely and cleanly that the world may be never the wiser. How cunningly did David art it to hide his sip! But it would not be. "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed." [Luke 12:2] "If I make my bed in hell," said he, [Psalms 139:8] - as indeed the places where fornicators use to lodge are little better, - "behold thou art there." This God allegeth as a forcible reason against this sin. "I have seeu the lewdness of thy whoredoms"; [Jeremiah 13:27] and, "Even I know, and am a witness, saith the Lord." [Jeremiah 29:23]

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-5.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 5:21. For the ways of a man are before the Lord See Psalms 139. Instead of pondereth, in the next clause, we may read measureth.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-5.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Before the eyes of the Lord; God sees all thy filthy actions, though done with all possible cunning and secrecy. He taketh an exact account of all their doings, that he may recompense them according to the kinds, degrees, numbers, and aggravations of all their unchaste actions.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-5.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

21.The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord — Who marks all his movements; and he who has ordained marriage for the comfort and benefit of mankind and the preservation of society will not let the abuse of it go unpunished. This verse gives the strongest reason for the remonstrance of the preceding.

He pondereth — Though the harlot and her paramour do not. See Proverbs 5:6; Proverbs 5:22. Clarke’s note is unsurpassed: “Most people who follow unlawful pleasures think they can give them up whenever they please; but sin, repeated, becomes customary; custom soon engenders habit; and habit, in the end, assumes the form of necessity. The man becomes bound with his own cords, and so is led captive by the devil at his will.” Comp. Proverbs 1:31-32; Proverbs 11:5; Proverbs 18:7; Proverbs 29:6; Psalms 7:15; Psalms 40:12; John 8:34; 2 Peter 2:19.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-5.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

man = a man. Hebrew. "ish. App-14. Illustrations: Cain (Genesis 4:5, Genesis 4:6); Babel"s builders (Genesis 11:4-7); Sodom (Genesis 18:21, &c.); Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:6, 2 Samuel 6:7; 1 Chronicles 15:13. Numbers 4:15); David (2 Samuel 12:9); Baasha (1 Kings 15:29. Compare Proverbs 16:7); Ahab(1 Kings 21:19); Belshazzar (Daniel 5:22-28); Nathanael (John 1:48); The Seven Assemblies (Revelation 2:2, Revelation 2:9, Revelation 2:13, Revelation 2:19; Revelation 3:1, Revelation 3:8, Revelation 3:15). Compare 1 Samuel 16:7.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings - (2 Chronicles 16:9; Jeremiah 32:19; Zechariah 4:10.) This answers by anticipation the objection of the whoremonger-I will act with such caution and secrecy as to evade all the penalties of fornication and adultery. But this is impossible, "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord," etc. As the argument in the first clause is from the omniscience of God, so that in the second is from His justice - "He pondereth" - i:e., He weighs in an even balance, and will reward accordingly "all man's goings."

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(21) For the ways of man . . .—Another reason for avoiding sin is the certainty of detection by the Judge, whose “eyes run to and fro through the whole earth” (2 Chronicles 16:9), comp. Psalms 11:4.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
15:3; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Job 31:4; 34:21; Psalms 11:4; 17:3; 139:1-12; Jeremiah 16:17; Jeremiah 17:10; 23:24; 32:19; Hosea 7:2; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 2:18,23
Reciprocal: Genesis 16:13 - Thou;  2 Samuel 22:25 - in his eye sight;  Job 14:16 - thou numberest;  Job 24:23 - yet his eyes;  Job 33:27 - I have sinned;  Psalm 90:8 - our;  Psalm 119:168 - for all my;  Psalm 139:3 - and art acquainted;  Proverbs 16:2 - but;  Proverbs 24:12 - doth not he that;  Isaiah 37:28 - I know;  Jeremiah 29:23 - even I;  Amos 9:8 - the eyes

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 5:21". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-5.html.