Proverbs 20:21

21 An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.

Proverbs 20:21 Meaning and Commentary

Proverbs 20:21

An inheritance [may be] gotten hastily at the beginning
Of a man's setting out in the world in trade and business; and which sometimes is got lawfully, and this must be excepted from this proverb; but generally what is got hastily and in a short time is got unlawfully, and so does not prosper. Some Jewish interpreters, as Gersom, understand it of an inheritance which comes to persons from their friends, without any labour or industry of theirs; and which they are not careful to keep, but, as it lightly comes, it lightly goes: here is a various reading; our version follows the marginal reading, and which is followed by the Targum, Jarchi, and Gersom, and by the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate Latin versions; but the written text is, "an inheritance loathsome" or "abominable"; an ill gotten one, so the word is used in ( Zechariah 11:8 ) . Schultens, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, which signifies to be covetous, renders it "covetously got" or "possessed" F9; and so the Arabic version is, "an inheritance greedily desired", obtained through covetousness and illicit practices; but in his late commentary on this book he renders the passage, by the help of Arabism, "an inheritance smitten with the curse of sordidness", as being sordidly got and enjoyed; but the end thereof shall not be blessed;
it will not continue, it will be taken away from them, and put into some other hands. Jarchi illustrates it by the tribes of Gad and Reuben making haste to take their part on the other side Jordan before their brethren, and were the first that were carried captive.


F9 Animadv. ad V. T. p. 248.

Proverbs 20:21 In-Context

19 A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.
20 If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness.
21 An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.
22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter.
23 The LORD detests double standards; he is not pleased by dishonest scales.
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