Recompence to no man evil for evil
Neither evil words for evil words, railing for railing; nor evil deeds for evil deeds, one ill turn for another; nor the evil of punishment for the evil of fault, unless it be by persons, who under God have an authority to inflict it; as the civil magistrate, who "is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil", ( Romans 13:4 ) ; but private revenge is what is here forbidden:
providing things honest in the sight of all men.
The Vulgate Latin reads, "not only in the sight of God, but also in the sight of all men"; and the Alexandrian copy reads, "in the sight of God and in the sight of men", which clause seems to have crept in here, out of ( 2 Corinthians 8:21 ) . The words are not to be understood of a man's providing things honest, decent, and commendable, as suitable food and raiment for his family, in the sight of all men, to the honour of religion, and the credit of his profession, which is right to be done; but of a provident, thoughtful, and studious concern, to do everything that is laudable and of good report among men. The Syriac version renders the words alter this manner, (atbj Nwdbetd Nwkl ljbtn ala) , "but be careful to do well", or exercise beneficence before all men; either restraining it to acts of beneficence, even to them that do us ill, in opposition to rendering evil to them; or applying it to all offices of humanity, and every good work, which are to be done in the sight of men; not merely to be seen of them, and in a vainglorious way, in order to obtain their esteem and applause, as did the Pharisees; but to avoid offence; to put, to silence, by well doing, the ignorance of wicked men; and to shame them that falsely accuse the good conversation of the saints; and to recommend the Gospel and true religion, and win men over to it thereby, and give an occasion to them of glorifying God.