Proverbs 16:17
The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
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(17) The highway of the upright is to depart from evil.—This is the plain way of duty, which lies right before him, which cannot be mistaken, whatever other difficulties he may have. (See above on Proverbs 6:23.)

He that keepeth his way.—That looks well to it.

16:12. The ruler that uses his power aright, will find that to be his best security. 13. Put those in power who know how to speak to the purpose. 14,15. Those are fools, who, to obtain the favour of an earthly prince, throw themselves out of God's favour. 16. There is joy and satisfaction of spirit, only in getting wisdom. 17. A sincerely religious man keeps at a distance from every appearance of evil. Happy is the man that walks in Christ, and is led by the Spirit of Christ. 18. When men defy God's judgments, and think themselves far from them, it is a sign they are at the door. Let us not fear the pride of others, but fear pride in ourselves. 19. Humility, though it exposes to contempt in the world, is much better than high-spiritedness, which makes God an enemy. He that understands God's word shall find good. 21. The man whose wisdom dwells in his heart, will be found more truly prudent than many who possess shining talents. 22. As waters to a thirsty land, so is a wise man to his friends and neighbours. 23. The wise man's self-knowledge, always suggests something proper to be spoken to others. 24. The word of God cures the diseases that weaken our souls. 25. This is caution to all, to take heed of deceiving themselves as to their souls. 26. We must labour for the meat which endureth to everlasting life, or we must perish.The "latter rain" is that which falls in March or April just before the harvest. The "cloud" which brings it, immediately screening people from the scorching sun, and bringing plenty and blessing, is a fit type of the highest favor. 17. The highway—A common, plain road represents the habitual course of the righteous in departing from evil.


The highway of the upright, their common road, in which they constantly purpose, and desire, and customarily use to walk, although sometimes through frailty or temptation they slip into the by-paths of sin, is to depart from evil; from the evil of sin, and consequently from the evil of punishment.

He that keepeth his way, that takes heed to walk in that highway, preserveth his soul from that mischief which befalls those that walk in the crooked paths of wickedness.

The highway of the upright is to depart from evil,.... Upright persons, such who are upright in heart, and walk uprightly; these walk in the highway of holiness, in which men, though fools, shall not err; in the King's highway, the highway of the King of kings; in the plain beaten path of God's commandments; and so shun the bypaths of sin, and abstain from all appearance of it: this is their common constant course of life; they are studiously concerned to walk herein, and take delight in so doing; whereby they escape many evils others fall into;

he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul, that keeps on in his way, the way in which the upright walk; whose eyes look right on, and his eyelids straight before him; who ponders the path of his feet, and turns neither to the right hand nor the left; who walks circumspectly and carefully; observes the road he is in, to keep in it, and not go out of it; such a man preserves his soul from many snares and temptations, troubles, dangers, and evils, which he would be otherwise liable to. Here the Masorites put the word signifying that this is the half or middle of the book.

The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
17. The LXX. gives a fuller text here:

“The paths of life depart from evil,

And ways of righteousness are length of life.

He that receiveth instruction shall prosper,

And he that taketh heed to reproofs shall be made wise.

He that taketh heed to his ways keepeth his soul,

And he that loveth his life will be sparing of words.”

Verse 17. - The highway of the upright is to depart from evil. To avoid the dangerous byways to which evil leads, one must walk straight in the path of duty (comp. Proverbs 15:19). Septuagint, "The paths of life decline from evil;" and this version adds some paragraphs in illustration, which are not in the Hebrew: "And the ways of righteousness are length of life. He who receiveth instruction will be among the good [or, 'in prosperity,' ἐν ἀγαθοῖς], and he who observeth reproof shall become wise." He that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. He who continues in the right way, and looks carefully to his goings, will save himself from ruin and death (Proverbs 13:3). Septuagint, "He who watcheth his own ways keepeth his life." And then is added another maxim, "He that loveth his life will spare his mouth." Proverbs 16:1717 The path of the righteous is the avoiding of evil,

     And he preserveth his soul who giveth heed to his way.

The meaning of מסלּה, occurring only here in the Proverbs, is to be learned from Proverbs 15:19. The attribution denotes that wherein the way they take consists, or by which it is formed; it is one, a straight and an open way, i.e., unimpeded, leading them on, because they avoid the evil which entices them aside to the right and the left. Whoever then gives heed to his way, preserveth his soul (שׁמר נפשׁו, as Proverbs 13:3, on the contrary Proverbs 25:5, subj.), that it suffer not injury and fall under death, for סוּר מרע and סור ממוקשׁי מות, Proverbs 14:27, are essentially the same. Instead of this distich, the lxx has three distichs; the thoughts presented in the four superfluous lines are all already expressed in one distich. Ewald and Hitzig find in this addition of the lxx a component part of the original text.

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