Proverbs 16:4

4 1The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even 2the wicked for the day of trouble.

Proverbs 16:4 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 16:4

The Lord hath made all [things] for himself
This is true of the Lord with respect to the creation of all things by him. All things are made by him, the heaven, earth, and sea; and all that are in them, angels, men, beasts, birds, fishes, and all creatures: and these are made for himself, and not another; not for the pure or good men, as Aben Ezra, though all things are for the elect's sake; but for God himself, besides whom there was no other before the creation, nor is there any other God but him, who is the first cause and last end of all things: nor were those all things made for him, through any want he had of them, being God all sufficient and blessed for evermore, but to show his greatness, and communicate his goodness; they are made for his service, which all creatures are obliged unto, and whom all in their way obey, and for his honour and glory. It is also true of his works of providence, and of his ordering and disposing of all things in the course of that, to answer ends of his own glory; his kingdom of providence rules over all; there is a general providence, which respects all creatures and things; and there is a particular providence attending the Lord's own people; and in all the glory of his wisdom, justice, truth, and goodness, is conspicuous: but this is chiefly, if not solely, to be understood of God's decrees and purposes; and of his ordering and appointing all things to bring about his own glory. Every thing is appointed of God; he has foreordained whatever comes to pass; there is a purpose for everything under the heavens, and a time fixed for the execution of it. Junius restrains it to "all men"; but it is true of all creatures and things, though especially men: all things are appointed by the Lord, respecting the temporal estate of men; their birth, and the time of it, with all the circumstances attending it; the place of their abode, their calling, station of life, and usefulness; all adverse and prosperous dispensations; their death, with all the events leading to it: and so likewise all things respecting their spiritual and eternal estate; the choice of them to salvation; their redemption by Christ; the time of his coming, sufferings, and death, and the circumstances thereof; the conversion of God's elect, the time, place, and means; these are all according to the purpose of God; as are also all their times of affliction, temptation, desertion, and of joy and comfort. In a word, the final state of all men, good and bad, is fixed by the Lord; and all this is "for himself", which some render, "to answer to himself" F3; all creatures are made to answer to his original design in making them, to the laws of their creation, and to answer his ends and purposes; and which is ultimately his own glory: or for his praise, as Jarchi; for his will and pleasure, as R. Isaac; for the thing in which he is well pleased, as R. Jonah or for his own sake, as Kimchi; and all which agree, as with the sense of the words, so with ( Revelation 4:11 ) . The Targum and Syriac version very wrongly render them,

``all the works of God, or the Lord, are for them that obey him;''
yea, even the wicked for the day of evil;
this is added to illustrate the general proposition in the preceding clause, and to obviate an objection, that might be taken from the destruction of the wicked, against all things being for the glory of God; for even the destruction of the wicked, which is under a divine appointment, is for his glory. It is not the sense of this text, nor of any other passage of Scripture, that God made man to damn him; nor is this to be inferred from the doctrine of predestination: God made man, neither to damn him, nor to save him, but for his own glory; and that is secured, whether in his salvation or damnation; nor did or does God make men wicked; he made man upright, and he has made himself wicked; and, being so, God may justly appoint him to damnation for his wickedness, in doing which he glorifies his justice. "The day of evil", or "evil day", is the day of wrath and ruin, unto which wicked men are reserved by the appointment of God, agreeably to the Targum, Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions. This is true of wicked angels, wicked men, and particularly of that wicked one, the man of sin and son of perdition, antichrist; the word here used is in the singular number.

F3 (whneml) "ad responsum suum", Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaells; "ad responsum proprium ejus", Gussetius, p. 623. "ad responsum sui", Schultens.

Proverbs 16:4 In-Context

2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.
3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
4 The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.
5 Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
6 By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.

Cross References 2

  • 1. Romans 11:36
  • 2. Job 21:30; [Exodus 9:16]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.