For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up [again],
&c.] This is to be understood of a truly just man; not of one that is only outwardly and seemingly so, or of temporary believers and nominal professors; but of such who are thoroughly convinced of their own unrighteousness, and believe in Christ for righteousness, and have it applied and imputed to them; as well as have principles of grace and righteousness implanted in them, and live righteously in this evil world; these often fall either into troubles or into sins, and indeed into both, and the one is the cause of the other; and both senses may be retained: the former seems more agreeable to the context, and runs thus, lay not wait to a just man's dwelling to do him any hurt; for though he should be ensnared, and stumble, and fall into distress and calamity, yet he will rise again out of it, and so all attempts upon him are vain and fruitless; many are the righteous man's afflictions he falls into, but the Lord delivers out of all; he delivers him in six troubles, and even in seven, ( Psalms 34:19 ) ( Job 5:19 ) ; or in many, one after another; he rises out of them all; he comes out of great tribulations, and at last safely enters the kingdom of heaven; and therefore it is to no purpose to lie in wait for him: and this sense is strengthened by the words following, "rejoice not when thine enemy falleth", ( Proverbs 24:17 ) ; but the latter sense of falling into sin has been anciently received, and not to be rejected; and which generally precedes and is the cause of falling into trouble. A just man, though he does not fall from his righteousness, which is an everlasting one, nor from the grace of God; yet he may fall into temptation, and by it he may fall into sin, as every just man does; "for there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not", ( Ecclesiastes 7:20 ) ; and that frequently, even every day; and therefore stands every day in need of fresh application of pardoning grace, for which he is directed to pray daily; and he may be left to fall foully into very gross sins, as David, Peter, and others; but not totally and finally, so as to perish; being on the heart of God, in the hands of Christ, on him the foundation, united to him, and kept by the power of God, he shall and does rise again sooner or later; not by his own power and strength, but by the strength of the Lord; he rises by renewed repentance, and under the fresh discoveries of pardoning grace and mercy to heal his backslidings; but the wicked shall fall into mischief;
or "evil" F17; into the evil of sin, and there lie and wallow in it, as the swine in the mire, and never rise out of it; and into the evil of punishment, into hell itself, from whence there will be no deliverance; and oftentimes they fall into mischief in this world, into trouble and distress, into poverty and want, in which they live and die, and never recover out of it; to which agrees what follows.
F17 (herb) "in malum", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis, Schultens.