The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
There is only one true God – the Creator of all things – and His name is Jehovah. He is the Mighty God, and He rules the universe as the only independent and infinite Being. He is the sovereign Ruler of all creatures, and He punishes both ignorant and slothful fools and rebellious and presumptuous sinners. Neither will escape His certain judgment.
What can you know about God? You can see in nature His eternal power and Godhead by reasoning from the effects to the cause (Rom 1:20). Only demented scorners give evolution a thought – all seeing men know there is a glorious Creator (Ps 19:1-6). The sun, stars, oceans, hurricanes, seasons, creatures, life, and death all testify of Him clearly.
What else can you know about God? The one inspired book in the world, the Bible, describes Him in wonderful detail. He alone is named Jehovah – I AM THAT I AM – the eternal God existing in and of Himself (Ex 3:14; 6:3). He is the Mighty God, and He ridicules all other gods as the imagination of foolish men (Is 9:6; 44:9-20; Ps 135:5-18).
Anything else? He will not acquit or clear sinners by any means (Num 14:18; Nah 1:3). They will all be punished (Ps 9:16-17; 50:21-22). The LORD Jehovah cannot stand fools, and He despises and hates the wicked (Ps 5:5-6; 11:5-6; Matt 7:23). He keeps a record of every sin, and He will judge every sinner severely (Rev 20:11-15). He can punish you in this life and/or in the next, therefore men ought to fear Him (Eccl 3:14; Luke 12:4-5).
God punishes both fools and transgressors. A fool is a transgressor, and a transgressor is a fool (Ps 14:1; 36:1). But when distinguished, as in this proverb, look for differences. A fool sins by ignorance and/or slothfulness; a transgressor sins presumptuously and rebelliously; both are worthy of severe judgment (Ps 19:12-13; Luke 12:47-48).
What are the lessons? Live soberly and righteously in light of this great Sovereign (Eccl 12:13-14). Do not fret about sinners getting away with their wickedness (Ps 37:35-36; Eccl 5:8). Do not think about taking vengeance into your own hands (Nah 1:2). Use all instructional means to avoid being a fool, and pray and work against presumptuous sins.
Translators, most of whom question God’s words, alter the verse to read, “A great man grieveth all; and he hireth the fool; he hireth also the transgressors.” What a travesty! What in the world is that sentence supposed to mean, and what is the lesson of wisdom? The elliptical sense of God is beyond them (it is in italics in the King James Version). This same conceit caused them to say Elhanan killed Goliath (II Sam 21:19 in most other versions) and to miss Jesus arguing from an italicized word (Matt 22:31-33 cp Ex 3:6).
What does your Bible version say for this verse? The NIV reads, “Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.” The ESV reads, “Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.” Less popular versions are even worse. They do not know how to translate, let alone interpret and apply.
Back to Solomon’s lesson! Do you behave like a fool? Or are you more like a transgressor? If you positively answer one of these questions, you are in trouble, for the great God will reward you – and the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23; Ezek 18:4). For this reason everyone dies physically. For this reason most will die the second death (Rev 20:14). Is there any hope for you? None based on your abilities, ancestors, or value!
Your only hope is a Saviour, a Mediator, a Daysman, or a High Priest with a sufficient payment to cover your sins (I Tim 2:5; Job 9:33; Heb 7:25-27). You will pay for your sins unless someone else pays for them. God sent His Son into the world 2000 years ago to live and die as a Substitute for His people (Matt 1:21; 20:28). God will reward them with eternal life for the saving work completed by His Son Jesus (Rom 6:23; Col 3:24).
The great God that formed all things chose His elect people in Christ Jesus before He laid the foundation of the world, and He will deliver every one of them from the just and terrible reward of their sins (John 6:39; 10:26-29; 17:2; Rom 8:28-39; 9:14-24; Eph 1:3-12). Lay hold of your election and salvation by believing that Jesus Christ is the great Son of God and obeying Him in the good works He desires (II Pet 1:5-11; I Thess 1:2-4).