But sin is a reproach to any people - I am satisfied this is not the sense of the original, vechesed leummim chattath ; which would be better rendered, And mercy is a sin-offering for the people. The Vulgate has, Miseros autem facit populos peccatum , "sin makes the people wretched." ̔ ; "But sins lessen the tribes." - Septuagint. So also the Syriac and Arabic. The plain meaning of the original seems to be, A national disposition to mercy appears in the sight of God as a continual sin-offering. Not that it atones for the sin of the people; but, as a sin-offering is pleasing in the sight of the God of mercy, so is a merciful disposition in a nation. This view of the verse is consistent with the purest doctrines of free grace. And what is the true sense of the words, we should take at all hazards and consequences: we shall never trench upon a sound creed by a literal interpretation of God' s words. No nation has more of this spirit than the British nation. It is true, we have too many sanguinary laws; but the spirit of the people is widely different.
If any one will contend for the common version, he has my consent; and I readily agree in the saying, Sin is the reproach of any people. It is the curse and scandal of man. Though I think what I have given is the true meaning of the text.
Other Adam Clarke entries containing Proverbs 14:34:
DISCLAIMER: Church of the Great God (CGG) provides these resources to aid the individual in studying the Bible. However, it is up to the individual to "prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:21). The content of these resources does not necessarily reflect the views of CGG. They are provided for information purposes only.