Proverbs 3
Pulpit Commentary
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments:
Verses 1-18. - 4. Fourth admonitory discourse. The third chapter introduces us to a group of admonitions, and the first of these (vers. 1-18) forms the fourth admonitory discourse of the teacher. To all intents and purposes this is a continuation of the discourse in the preceding chapter, for inasmuch as that described the benefits, spiritual and moral, which follow from the pursuit of Wisdom, in promoting godliness and providing safety from evil companions, so this in like manner depicts the gain flowing from Wisdom, the happiness of the man who finds Wisdom, and the favour which he meets with both with God and man. The discourse embraces exhortations to obedience (vers. 1-4), to reliance on God (vers. 5, 6) against self-sufficiency and self-dependence (vers. 7, 8), to self-sacrificing devotion to God (vers. 9, 10), to patient submission to God's afflictive dispensations (vers. 11, 12), and concludes with pointing out the happy gain of Wisdom, her incomparable value, and wherein that value consists (vers. 13-18). It is noticeable that in each case the exhortation is accompanied with a corresponding promise of reward (vers, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10), and these promises are brought forward with the view to encourage the observance of the duties recommended or enjoined. Jehovah is the central point to which all the exhortations converge. Obedience, trust, self-sacrificing devotion, submission, are successively brought forward by the teacher as due to God, and the persons in whom they are exhibited are truly happy in finding Wisdom. The transition in thought from the former to the latter part of the discourse is easy and natural. Obedience and trust are represented as bringing favour, guidance, and health - in a word, prosperity. But God is not only to be honoured in times of prosperity, but also in adversity his loving hand is to be recognized; and in this submission to his will is true wisdom. Verse 1. - My son (b'ni) serves to externally connect this discourse with the preceding. Forget not my law. This admonition bears a strong resemblance to that in Proverbs 1:8, though the terms employed are somewhat different, torah and mits'oth here occupying the place respectively of musar and torah in that passage. My law (torathi), is literally, my teaching, or doctrine, from the root yarah, "to teach." The torah is the whole body of salutary doctrine, and designates "Law" from the standpoint of teaching. Forgetting here is not So much oblivion arising from defective memory, as a wilful disregard and neglect of the admonitions of the teacher. Thine heart (libekha); Vulgate, cor; LXX., καρδία and so the sum total of the affections. Keep; yitstsor, from notsar, "to keep, or observe that which is commanded." The word is of frequent occurrence in the Proverbs, and appears about twenty-five times. My commandments (mits'othay); Vulgate, praecepta mea; LXX., τὰ ῤήματα μου; i.e. my precepts. The Hebrew verb from which it is derived means "to command, or prescribe." The law and commandments here alluded to are those which immediately follow, from ver. 3 onwards. The three main ideas combined in this verse are remembrance, affection, and obedience. Remembering the law or teaching will depend, to a large extent, on the interest felt in that law; and the admonition to "forget not" is an admonition to give "earnest heed," so that the law or teaching may be firmly fixed in the mind. In using the words, "let thy heart keep," the teacher goes to the root of the matter. There may be an historical remembrance of, or an intellectual assent to, the commandments, but these are insufficient, for the keeping of the commandments must be based on the recognition of the fact that the affections of the heart are to be employed in the service of God, the keeping of the commandments is to be a labour of love. Again, the expression, "keep my commandments," implies, of course, external conformity to their requirements: we are "to observe to do them" (Deuteronomy 8:1); but it implies, further, spiritual obedience, i.e. an obedience with which love is combined (Deuteronomy 30:20), and which arises from the inward principles of the heart being in harmony with the spirit of the commandments (see Wardlaw).
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.
Verse 2. - Length of days (orek yamim); Vulgate, longitudo dierum. The expression is literally "extension of days," and signifies the prolongation of life, its duration to the appointed limit - a meaning which is brought out in the LXX. μῆκος βίου, "length of days," the Greek word βίος being used, not of existence, but of the time and course of life. It occurs again in ver. 16, and also in Job 12:12 and Psalm 21:4. "Length of days" is represented as a blessing in the Old Testament, depending, however, as in the present instance, on the fulfilment of certain conditions. Thus in the fifth commandment it is appended to the honouring of parents (Exodus 20:12), and it was promised to Solomon, at Gibeon, on the condition that he walked in the way, statutes, and commandments of God (1 Kings 3:14). The promise of prolongation of life is not to be pressed historically as applying to every individual case, but is to be taken as indicating the tendency of keeping the Divine precepts, which, as a rule, ensure preservation of health, and hence "length of days." Long life (vush'noth khayyim); literally, years of life; Targum Jonathan, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic, anni vitae; LXX., ἔτη ζωῆς. The Authorized Version scarcely serves to bring out the sense of the original, as there is practically no difference in meaning between "length of days" and "long life? The idea conveyed in the expression, "years of life," is that of material prosperity. The thought of an extended life is carried on from the preceding expression, but it is amplified and described. The years of life will be many, but they will be years of life in its truest sense, as one of true happiness and enjoyment, free from distracting cares, sickness, and other drawbacks. The Hebrew plural, khayyim, "lives," is equivalent to the Greek expression, βίος βιωτός, "a life worth while living" (cf. Plat., 'Apol.,' 38, A). To the Israelitish mind, the happiness of life consisted in "dwelling in the land" (Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 5:30, etc.), and "abiding in the house of the Lord" (Psalm 15:1; Psalm 23:6; Psalm 27:3) (Zockler). The conjecture that the plural, khayyim, signifies the present and the future life, is unfounded. The scope of the promise before us is confined to the present stage of existence, and it is negatived also by the similar use of the plural in Proverbs 16:5, "In the light of the king's countenance is life (khayyim)," where khayyim cannot possibly refer to the future life. Khayyim stands for life in its fulness. "Godliness" has indeed, as St. Paul wrote to Timothy, "promise of the life that now is, aud of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:8). Peace (shalom). The verb shalam, from which the substantive shalom is derived, signifies "to be whole, sound, safe," and hence "peace" means internal and external contentment, and tran-quillity of mind arising from the sense of safety. In ver. 17 the ways of Wisdom are designated peace. While, on the one hand, peace is represented by the psalmist as the possession of those who love God's Law (Psalm 119:165), on the other, it is denied the wicked (Isaiah 48:22; Isaiah 57:21). Shall they add to thee; i.e. shall the precepts and commands bring (Zockler) or heap upon (Muffet) thee.
Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart:
Verse 3. - Mercy and truth (khesed vermeth); properly, love and truth; Vulgate, misericordia et veritas; LXX., ἐλεημοσύναι καὶ πίστεις. With this verse begin the commandments which are alluded to in ver. 1. The Hebrew khesed has to be understood in its widest sense, though the Vulgate and the LXX. confine it to one aspect of its meaning, viz. that which refers to the relation of man to man, to the pity evoked by the sight of another's misfortunes, and to ahnsgiving. The radical meaning of the word is "ardent desire," from the root khasad, "to eagerly or ardently desire." Delitzsch describes it as "well affectedness." Predicated of God, it indicates God's love and grace towards man; predicated of man, it signifies man's love toward s God, i.e. piety, or man's love towards his neighbour, i.e. humanity. Where this mercy or love is exhibited in man it finds expression in

(1) mutual outward help;

(2) forgiveness of offences;

(3) sympathy of feeling, which leads to interchange of thought, and so to the development of the spiritual life (see Elster, in loc.).

The word carries with it the ideas of kindlim as, benignity (Targum, benignitas), and grace (Syriac, gratia). Truth (emeth); properly, firmness, or stability, and so fidelity in which one performs one's promise. Truth is that absolute integrity of character, beth in word and deed, which secures the unhesitating confidence of all (Wardlaw). Umbreit and Elster designate it as inward truthfulness, the pectus rectum, the very essence of a true man. As khesed excludes all selfishness and hate, so emeth excludes all hypocrisy and dissimulation. These two virtues are frequently combined in the Proverbs (e.g. Proverbs 14:22; Proverbs 16:16; Proverbs 20:28) and Psalms (e.g. Psalm 25:10; Psalm 40:11; Psalm 57:4-11; Psalm 108:5; Psalm 138:2), and, when predicated of man, indicate the highest normal standard of moral perfection (Zockler). The two ideas are again brought together in the New Testament phrase, ἀληθεύειν ἐν ἀγάπη, "to speak the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). There seems little ground for the remark of Salasius, that "mercy" refers to our neighbours, and "truth" to God. Each virtue, in fact, has a twofold reference - one to God, the other to man. The promise in ver. 4, that the exercise of these virtues procures favour with God and man, implies this twofold aspect. Bind them about thy neck; either

(1) as ornaments worn about the neck (Gejerus, Zockler); or

(2) as amulets or talismans, which were worn from a superstitious notion to ward off danger (Umbreit and Vaihinger); or

(3) as treasures which one wears attached to the neck by a chain to guard against their loss (Hitzig); or

(4) as a signet, which was carried on a string round the neck (Delitzsch). The true reference of the passage seems to lie between (1) and (3). The latter adapts itself to the parallel expression, "Write them on the tablet of thine heart," and also agrees with Proverbs 6:21, "Tie them about thy neck," the idea being that of their careful preservation against loss. The former meaning, however, seems preferable. Mercy and truth are to be ornaments of the character, to be bound round the neck, i.e. worn at all times (comp. Proverbs 1:9, "For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thine head, and chains about thy neck." See also Genesis 41:42; Song of Solomon 1:10; Song of Solomon 4:9; Ezekiel 16:11). The imagery of the binding is evidently taken from Exodus 13:9 and Deuteronomy 6:8, and is suggestive of the tephillim, or phylacteries. Write them upon the table of thine heart; i.e. inscribe them. mercy and truth, deeply there, impress them thoroughly and indelibly upon thine heart, so that they may never be forgotten, and may form the mainspring of your actions. The expression implies that the heart is to be in entire union with their dictates. The table (luakh) was the tablet expressly prepared for writing by being polished, corresponding to the πινακίδον, the writing table of Luke 1:63, which, however, was probably covered with wax. The inscription was made with the stylus. The same word is used of the tables of stone, on which the ten commandments were written with the finger of God, end allusion is in all probability here made to that fact (Exodus 31:18; Exodus 34:28). The expression, "the tables of the heart," occurs in Proverbs 7:3; Jeremiah 17:1 (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3); and is used by AEschylus, 'Pro.,' 789, δέλτοι φρενῶν, "the tablets of the heart." This clause is omitted in the LXX.
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Verse 4. - So shalt thou find (vum'lsa); literally, and find. A peculiar use of the imperative, the imperative kal (m'tsa) with vau consecutive (וִ) being equivalent to the future, "thou shalt find," as in the Authorized Version. This construction, where two imperatives are joined, the former containing an exhortation or admonition, the second a promise made on the condition implied in the first, and the second imperative being used as a future, occurs again in Proverbs 4:4; Proverbs 7:2, "Keep my commandments, and live;" 9:6, "Forsake the foolish, and live;" 20:13, "Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread" (cf. Genesis 42:18; Psalm 37:27; Job 22:21; Isaiah 36:16; Hosea 10:12; Amos 5:4-6; Gesenius, § 130, 2). Delitzsch calls this "an admonitory imperative;" Bottcher, "the desponsive imperative." Compare the Greek construction in Menander, Οϊδ ὅτι ποίησον, for ποιήσεις, "Know that this you will do." Find (matza); here simply "to attain," "obtain," not necessarily implying previous search, as in Proverbs 17:20. Favour (khen). The same word is frequently translated "grace," and means the same thing; Vulgate, gratia; LXX., χαρίς. For the expression, "to find favour" (matsa khen), see Genesis 6:8; Exodus 33:12; Jeremiah 31:2; comp. Luke 1:30, Αῦρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ." For thou hast found favour [or, 'grace'] with God." spoken by Gabriel to the Virgin. Good understanding (sekel tov); i.e. good sagacity, or prudence. So Delitzsch, Bertheau, Kamph. A true sagacity, prudence, or penetrating judgment will be adjudicated by God and man to him who possesses the internal excellence of love and truth. The Hebrew sekel is derived from sakal, "to act wisely or prudently," and has this intellectual meaning in Proverbs 13:15; Psalm 111:10 (see also 1 Samuel 25:3 and 2 Chronicles 30:22). The Targum Jonathan reads, intellectus et benignitas, thus throwing the adjective into a substantival form; the Syriac, intellectus simply. Ewald, Hitzig, Zockler, and others, on the other hand, understand sekel as referring to the judgment formed of any one, the favourable opinion or view which is entertained of hint by others, and hence take it as reputation, or estimation. The man who has love and truth will be held in high esteem by God and man. Our objection to this rendering is that it does not seem to advance the meaning of the passage beyond that of "favour." Another, mentioned by Delitzsch, is that sekel is never used in any other sense than that of intellectus in the Mishle. The marginal reading, "good success," i.e. prosperity, seems inadmissible here, as the hiph. has'kil, "to cause to prosper," as in Proverbs 17:8; Joshua 1:7; Deuteronomy 29:9, does not apply in this instance any more than in Psalm 111:10, margin. In the sight of God and man (b'eyney elohim v'adam); literally, in the eyes of Elohim and man; i.e. according to the judgment of God and man (Zockler); Vulgate, coram Deo et hominibus. A simpler form of this phrase is found in 1 Samuel 2:26, where Samuel is said to have found favour with the Lord, and also with men. So in Luke 2:52 Jesus found favour "with God and man (παρὰ Θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις)" (comp. Genesis 10:9; Acts 2:47, Romans 14:18). The two conditions of favor and sagacity, or prudence, are not to be assigned respectively to God and man (as Ewald and Hitzig), or that finding favour has reference more to God, and being deemed prudent refers more to man. The statement is universal. Both these conditions will be adjudged to the man who has mercy and truth by God in heaven and man on earth at the same time (see Delitszch). The LXX., "after favour," instead of the text, reads, "and provide good things in the sight of the Lord and men," quoted by St. Paul (2 Corinthians 8:21).
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Verse 5. - Trust in the Lord (b'takh el y'hovah); literally, trust in Jehovah. Entire reliance upon Jehovah, implied in the words, "with all thine heart," is here appropriately placed at the head of a series of admonitions which especially have God and man's relations with him in view, inasmuch as such confidence or trust, with its corresponding idea of the renunciation of reliance on self, is, as Zockler truly remarks, a "fundamental principle of all religion." It is the first lesson to be learnt by all, and no less necessary for the Jew than for the Christian. Without this reliance on or confidence in God, it is impossible to carry out any of the precepts of religion. Batakh is, properly, "to cling to," and so passes to the meaning of "to confide in," "to set one's hope and confidence upon." The preposition el with Jehovah indicates the direction which the confidence is to take (cf. Psalm 37:3, 5). Lean (tishshaen); Vulgate, innitaris; followed by el, like b'takh, with which it is very similar in meaning. Shaan, not used in kal, in hiph. signifies "to lean upon, rest upon," just as man rests upon a spear for support. Its metaphorical use, to repose confidence in, is derived from the practice of kings who were accustomed to appear in public leaning on their friends and ministers; cf. 2 Kings 5:18; 2 Kings 7:2, 17 (Gesenius). The admonition does not mean that we are not to use our own understanding (binab), i.e. form plans with discretion, and employ legitimate means in the pursuit of our ends; but that, when we use it, we are to depend upon God and his directing and overruling providence (Wardlaw); cf. Jeremiah 9:23, 24. "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom," etc. The teacher points out not only where we are to rely, but also where we are not to rely.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Verse 6. - In all thy ways. This expression covers the whole area of life's action - all its acts and undertakings, its spiritual and secular sides, no less than its public and private, It guards against our acknowledging God in great crises and solemn acts of worship only (Plumptre). Acknowledge (daehu); Vulgate, cogita; LXX., γνέριζε. The Hebrew verb yada signifies "to know, recognize." To acknowledge God is, therefore, to recognize, in all our dealings and undertakings, God's overruling providence, which "shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will." It is not a mere theoretical acknowledgment, but one that engages the whole energies of the soul (Delitzsch), and sees in God power, wisdom, providence, goodness, and justice. This meaning is conveyed by the Vulgate cogitare, which is "to consider" in all parts, "to reflect upon." David's advice to his son Solomon is, "Know thou (ola) the God of thy father." We may well acknowledge Jehovah; for he "knoweth the way of the righteous" (Psalm 1:6). Acknowledging God also implies that we first ascertain whether what we are about to take in hand is in accordance with his precepts, and then look for his direction and illumination (Wardlaw). And he shall direct thy paths (v'hu y'yashsher or'khotheyka); i.e. he himself shall make them straight, or level, removing all obstacles out of the way; or they shall, under God's direction, prosper and come to a successful issue; they shall be virtuous, inasmuch as deviation into vice will be guarded against, and happy, because they are prosperous. The pronoun v'hu is emphatic, "he himself;" Vulgate, et ipse. Yashar, piel. is "to make a way straight," as in Proverbs 9:15; Proverbs 15:21; Proverbs 11:5. Cf. the LXX. ὀρθοτομεῖν, "to cut straight" (see on Proverbs 11:5). God here binds himself by a covenant (Lapide). This power is properly attributed to God, for "it is not in man to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Verse 7. - Be not wise in thine own eyes. This admonition carries on the thought from the preceding verses (5, 6), approaching it from a different direction. It is a protest against self-sufficiency, self-conceit, and self-reliance. It says, in effect, "Trust in the Lord, do not trust in yourself." Wisdom, as Michaelis remarks, is to trust in God; to trust in yourself and in your own wisdom is unwisdom. God denounces this spirit: "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!" (Isaiah 5:21), because such a spirit leads to the prohibited self-dependence, and is inconsistent with "the tear of the Lord." The precept of the text is reiterated by St. Paul, especially in Romans 12:16, "Be not wise in your own conceits" (cf. 1 Corinthians 8:8; Galatians 6:3). It commends humility. The diligent search for Wisdom is commanded. The great hindrance to all true wisdom is the thought that we have already attained it (Plumptre). In thine own eyes; i.e. in thine own estimation; arbitrio tuo (Trem. et Jun.). Fear the Lord, and depart from evil. The connection of this with the first part of the verse becomes clear upon reflection. "The fear of the Lord" is true wisdom (Job 28:28; Proverbs 1:7). Fear the Lord, therefore, because it is the best corrective of one's own wisdom, which engenders arrogance, pride, presumption of mind, which, moreover, is deceptive and apt to lead to sin. The fear of the Lord has this other advantage - that it leads to the departure from evil (Proverbs 16:6) It is the mark of the wise man that he fears the Lord, and departs from evil (Proverbs 14:16). These precepts form the two elements of practical piety (Delitzsch), an eminent example of which as Job (Job 1:1).
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
Verse 8. - It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. A metaphorical expression, denoting the complete spiritual health which shall follow from fearing the Lord and departing from evil. Health, (riph'uth); properly, healing; LXX., ιἅσις; Vulgate, sanitas; so Syriac and Arabic. The Targum Jonathan has medicina, "medicine," as the margin. The root rapha is properly "to sew together," and the secondary meaning, "to heal," is taken from the healing of a wound by sewing it up. Delitzsch, however, thinks riph'uth is not to be taken as a restoration from sickness, but as a raising up from enfeebled health, or a confirming of the strength which already exists. There shall be a continuance of health. Gesenius translates "refreshment." To thy navel (l'shor'rekha); Vulgate, umbilico tuo; so Targum Jonathan. Shor is "the navel," here used synecdochically for the whole body, just as "head" is put for the whole man (Judges 5:30), "mouth" for the whole person speaking (Proverbs 8:13), and "slow bellies" for depraved gluttons (Titus 1:12) (Gejerus, Umbreit). The idea is expressed in the LXX., Syriac, and Arabic by "to thy body" (τῷ σώματι σου; corpori tuo). The navel is here regarded as the centre of vital strength. For the word, see Song of Solomon 7:2; Ezekiel 16:4. This is the only place in the Proverbs where this word is found. Gesenius, however, takes shor, or l'shor'rekha, as standing col. lectively for the nerves, in which, he says, is the seat of strength, and translates accordingly, "Health (i.e. refreshment) shall it be to thy nerves." Marrow (shik'kuy); literally, watering or moistening, as in the margin; Vulgate, irrigatio. Moistening is imparted to the bones by the marrow, and thus they are strengthened: "His bones are moistened with marrow" (Job 21:24). Where there is an absence of marrow the drying up of the bones ensues, and hence their strength is impaired, and a general debility of the system sets in - they "wax old" (Psalm 32:3). The effect of a broken spirit is thus described: "A broken spirit drieth up the bones" (Proverbs 17:22). The physiological fact here brought forward is borne witness to by Cicero, 'In Tusc.:' "In visceribus atque medullis omne bonum condidisse naturam" (cf. Plato). The meaning of the passage is that, as health to the navel and marrow to the bones stand as representatives of physical strength, so the fear of the Lord, etc., is the spiritual strength of God's children.
Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
Verse 9. - Honour the Lord with thy substance, etc. An exhortation to self-sacrificing devotion by the appropriation and use of wealth to the service of Jehovah. With thy substance (mehonehka); Vulgate, de tua substantia; LXX., ἀπὸ σῶν δικαίων πόνων. Hon, properly "lightness," is "opulence," "wealth," as in Proverbs 1:13. The min in composition with hon is not partitive, as Delitzsch and Berthean take it, but signifies "with" or "by means of," as in Psalm 38:7; Isaiah 58:12; Ezekiel 28:18; Obadiah 1:9. The insertion of δικαίος by the LXX. limits the wealth to that which is justly acquired, and so guards against the erroneous idea that God is honoured by the appropriation to his use of unlawful wealth or gain (Plumptre). The Israelites "honoured Jehovah with their substance" when they contributed towards the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, and later when they assisted in the preparations for the building of the temple, and in the payment of tithes. The injunction may undoubtedly refer to tithes, and is in accordance with the requirement of the Mosaic Law on that and other points as to oblations, free will offerings, etc.; but it has a wider bearing and contemplates the use of wealth for all pious and charitable purposes (see Proverbs 14:31). The word maaser, "tithe," does not occur in the Proverbs. With the firstfruits (mere-shith); Vulgate, de primitiis. So Targum Jonathan, Syriac, and Arabic. The law of the firstfruits is found in Exodus 22:29; Exodus 23:19; Exodus 34:20; Leviticus 23:10; Numbers 18:12: Deuteronomy 18:4; Deuteronomy 26:1-3. The firstfruits were presented by every Israelite to the priests, in token of gratitude and humble thankfulness to Jehovah, and consisted of the produce of the land in its natural state, or prepared for human food (Maclear, 'Old Test. Hist.,' bk. 4, c. 3, a). The "firstfruits" also carried with it the idea of the best. The custom of offering the firstfruits of the field and other revenues as a religious obligation was observed by ancient pagan nations (see Diod. Sic., 1:14; Plut., 'De Iside,' p. 377; Pliny, 'Hist. Nat.,' 18:2 (Zockler). Some of the ancient commentators find in this verse an argument for the support of the ministry. It is well known that the priests "lived of the sacrifice," and were "partakers of the altar," and as their support by these means tended to the maintenance of Divine worship, so those who supported them were in the highest degree "honoring God." The injunctions also show that the honouring of God does not consist simply of lip service, of humility and confidence in him, but also of external worship, and in corporeal things. They are not peculiar to Israel, but are binding on all. They oppose all selfish use of God's temporal gifts, and lead to the thought that, in obeying them, we are only giving back to God what are his own. "The silver and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts" (Haggai 2:28).

"We give thee but thine own,
Whate'er the gift may be;
All that we have is thine shine,
A trust, O Lord, from thee."

(Day's 'Psalter.')
So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine.
Verse 10. - So shall thy barns be filled with plenty. The promise held out to encourage the devotion of one's wealth to Jehovah's service, while supplying a motive which at first sight appears selfish and questionable, is in reality a trial of faith. Few persons find it easy to realize that giving away will increase their store (Wardlaw). The teacher is warranted in bringing forward this promise by the language of Moses in Deuteronomy 28:1-8, whine, among other things, he promises that Jehovah will command a blessing upon the "storehouses" and industry of those who honour God. The principle is otherwise expressed in Proverbs 11:25, "The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be also watered himself;" and it is exemplified in Haggai 1:3-11; Haggai 2:15, 19; Malachi 3:10-12, and in the New Testament in Philippians 4:14-19; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. Thy barns; asameykha, the only form in which asam, "a storehouse," "barn," or "granary," occurs. The Hebrew asam is the same as the Latin horreum (Vulgate) and the Greek ταμιεῖον (LXX.). With plenty (sava); Vulgate, saturitas; i.e. fulness, abundance, plenty. The root sava is "to become satisfied," and that richly satisfied. This expression and the following, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine, depict the greatest abundance. Thy presses (y'kaveykhu). The word here translated "presses" is, strictly speaking," vats" or "reservoirs," into which the must from the wine press flowed. The wine press consisted of two parts, the gath (equivalent to the Latin torcularium, torculum, or torcular; Greek, ληνός, Matthew 21:33), into which the grapes were collected from the surrounding vineyard, and there trodden underfoot by several persons (Nehemiah 13:15: Isaiah 63:3; Lamentations 1:15), whose movements were regulated by singing or shouting (Isaiah 16:10; Jeremiah 48:33), as among the Greeks (see 'Athen.,' 5. p. 199, a; Anacreon, 'Od.,' 17:1, 52; cf. Theocritus, 7:25) and Egyptians (Wilkinson, 'Man. and Cust.,' vol. 2. pp. 152-157); and the yekev, used here, which was a trough of corresponding size, dug into the ground, or cut out of a rack, at a lower level, to receive the must. The yekev corresponded with the Greek ὑπολήνιον, mentioned in Mark 12:l, and the Latin lacus (Ovid, 'Fasti,' 5:888; Pliny, 'Epist.,' 9:20; 'Colum. de Rust.,' 12:18): Cajeterus, indeed, reads, lacus torcularii. The word yekev is, however, used for the wine press itself in Job 24:11 and 2 Kings 6:27. Shall burst out (yiph'rotsu); literally, they shall extend themselves; i.e. shall overflow. Parats, "to break," is here used metaphorically in the sense of "to be redundant," "to overflow" (cf. 2 Samuel 5:20). It is employed intransitively of a people spreading themselves abroad, or increasing, in Genesis 28:14; Exodus 1:12. New wine (tirosh); Vulgate, Arabic, and Syriac, vino; LXX., οἴνῳ; properly, as in the Authorized Version, "new wine;" Latin, mustum (see Deuteronomy 33:28; Isaiah 36:17; Isaiah 55:1).
My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
Verse 11. - My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord. The teacher, in vers. 11 and 12, passes to another phase of life. The thought of prosperity suggests the opposite one of adversity. Abundant prosperity shall flow from honouring Jehovah, but he sometimes and not unfrequently sends affliction, and, indeed, without this life would be incomplete. The object of the exhortation is, as Delitzsch states, to show that, as in prosperity God should not be forgotten, so one should not suffer himself to be estranged by days of adversity. Submission is counselled on the ground that, when Jehovah afflicts, he does so in the spirit of love, and for good. The "chastening" and "correction," though presenting God in an attitude of anger, are in reality not the punishment of an irate God. The verse before us is evidently copied from Job 5:17, "Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth, therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty;" and the whole passage is cited again in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 12:5, 6). It has been said that ver. 11 expresses the problem of the Book of Job, and ver. 12 its solution (Delitzsch). Despise not (al-timas); Vulgate, ne abjicias; LXX., μὴ ὀλιγώρει. The verb mass is first "to reject," and then "to despise and contemn." The Targum Jonathan puts the thought in a stronger form, ne execreris, "do not curse." They despise the chastening of Jehovah who, when they see his hand in it, do not humbly and submissively bow, but resist and become refractory, or, as it is expressed in Proverbs 19:3, when their "heart fretteth against the Lord." Job, notwithstanding his bitter complaints, was on the whole, and in his better moments, an example of the proper state of mind under correction (see Job 1:21; Job 2:10). Jonah, in treating contemptuously the procedure of God, is an exemplification of the contrary spirit, which is condemned implicitly in the text (Wardlaw). Chastening (musar); i.e. correction not by reproof only, as in Proverbs 6:23 and Proverbs 8:30; but by punishment also. as in Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 22:15. The meaning here is expressed by the LXX. παιδεία, which is "instruction by punishment," discipline, or schooling (cf. Vulgate, disciplina). Neither be weary (al-takots); i.e. do not loathe, abhor, feel disgust nor vexation towards. The expression, "do not loathe," is a climax to the other, "despise not." It represents a more deeply seated aversion to Jehovah's plans. Gesenius takes the primary meaning of kuts to be that of vomiting. The word before us certainly denotes loathing or nausea, and is used in this sense by the Israelites in their complaints against God and against Moses in Numbers 21:5 (cf. Genesis 27:46). The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in quoting the passage, adopts the LXX. reading, μὴ ὀκλύου, "nor faint;" Vulgate, ne deficias, i.e. "do not give way to despondency." Correction. This word, like musar above, has a twofold meaning of either punishment or chastening, as in Psalm 73:14; or reproof, as in Proverbs 1:23; 25:30; 5:12; 27:5; 29:15, where it also occurs. It is here used in the former sense. To loathe the correction of Jehovah is to allow it to completely estrange us from him. We faint under it when, by dwelling on or brooding over, or bemoaning the trial, the spirit sinks to faintness. To faint at correction ignores the belief in the truth that "all things work together for good to them that love God."
For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.
Verse 12. - In this verse the motive for submissiveness to Jehovah's corrections is brought forward. They are corrections, but they are the corrections of love. One of the most touching relationships of life, and that with which we are most familiar, viz. that of father and son, is employed to reconcile us to Jehovah's afflictive dispensations. A comparison is drawn. God corrects those whom he loves after the same manner as a father corrects ("correcteth" has to be understood from the first hemistich) the son whom he loves. The idea of the passage is evidently taken from Deuteronomy 8:5, "Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that as a man chasteneth his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee." The idea of the paternal relationship of God to mankind is found elsewhere (Jeremiah 31:9; Malachi 2:10), and especially finds expression in the Lord's prayer. When the truth of this passage is learned, we shall be drawn to, rather than repelled from, God by his corrections. The gracious end of earthly trials is expressed in Hebrews 12:6, 2; cf. Romans 5:3-5; 2 Corinthians 4:17 (Wardlaw). "These gracious words (Hebrews 12.) are written in Holy Scripture for our comfort and instruction; that we should patiently and with thanksgiving bear our heavenly Father's correction, whensoever by any manner of adversity it shall please his gracious goodness to visit us" (see Visitation Office). Even as a father the son in whom he delighteth (vuk'av eth-ben yir'tseh); literally, even as a father the son be delighteth in. Various renderings have been given to this passage.

(1) Delitzsch, De Wette, et al., agree with the Authorized Version, and take ו vav, as explicative, and yir'tseh, "in whom he delighteth," as a relative sentence. The ו is used in this explanatory sense in 1 Samuel 28:3 (see Gesenius, § 155, 1 a). The relative usher, "whom," is omitted in the original, according to the rule that the relative is omitted, especially in poetry, where it would stand as a pronoun in the nominative or accusative case (comp. Psalm 7:16, "And he falls into the pit (which) he made;" and Proverbs 5:13). We have the same elision of the relative in the English colloquial expression, "the friend I met" (see Gesenius, § 123:3, a).

(2) Hitzig and Zockler translate, "and holds him dear as a father his son." This, though grammatically correct, does not preserve the parallelism. It serves only to expand the idea of love, whereas the predominant idea of the verse is that of correction, to which love is an accessory idea (see Delitzsch). For similar parallels, see Deuteronomy 8:5 as before, and Psalm 103:13. In the comparison which is instituted, yir'tseh, "in whom he delighteth," corresponds with eth asher ye'hav y'hovah, "whom the Lord loveth," and not with yokiah, "correcteth."

(3) Kamph translates, "and (dealeth) as a father (who) wisheth well to his son." This is substantially the same as the Authorized Version, except that in the relative sentence "son" is made accusative after yir'tseh, here translated, "wisheth well to," and the emitted relative (asher) is placed in the nominative instead of the accusative case.

(4) The variation in the LXX., μαστιγοῖ δὲ πάντα ὑίον ο{ν παραδέχεται, "and scourgeth every son whom he rcceiveth," cited literally in Hebrews 12:5, evidently arises from the translators having read יַכְאֵב, (yakev), "he scourgeth" for וּכֵאָב (vuk'av), "even as a father." It will be seen that this alteration could be easily effected by a change in the Masoretic pointing.

(5) The Vulgate renders, et quasi pater in filio complacet sibi. He delighteth; yir'tseh is from ratsah, "to be delighted" with any person or thing.
Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
Verses 13-18. - The teacher here enters upon the last part of this discourse. In doing so, he reverts to his main subject, which is Wisdom, or the fear of the Lord (see ver. 7 and Proverbs 1:7), and pronounces a panegyric upon her, comparing her, as in Job 28, with treasures whose value she exceeds, and showing wherein that value consists, viz. in the gifts which she confers on man. Verse 13. - Happy is the man (ash'rey adam); literally, blessings of the man. The plural of "excellence" used here, as in Job 5:17, to raise the sense. The man who has found Wisdom is supremely blessed. Beds connects this blessedness immediately with God's chastisements in the preceding verse. So Delitzsch. That findeth (matsa); properly, hath found. "The perfect expresses permanent possession, just as the imperfect, yaphik, denotes a continually renewed and repeated attaining" (Zockler). The Vulgate also uses the perfect, invenit, "hath found;" LXX., ο{ς εϋρε, "who found" - the aorist. The man that getteth understanding (adam yaphik t'vunah); literally, the man that draweth out understanding, as in the margin. Yaphik is the hiph. future or imperfect of puk, the primary meaning of which is educere, "to draw out," "to bring forth." This verb is used in two widely different senses. In the first place, it is equivalent to "bring forth" or "draw out" in the sense of imparting, as in Isaiah 58:10, "If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry," i.e. impart benefits to them; and Psalm 145:13, "That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store," i.e. yielding, giving out, presenting for our benefit. Its second sense is that of attaining, drawing out from another for one's own use. In this sense it occurs in Proverbs 8:35; Proverbs 12:2; Proverbs 18:22, where it is rendered "obtain." The latter sense is the one that suits the present passage, and best agrees with the corresponding matsa. The man is blessed who draws forth, i.e. obtains, understanding from God for himself. The Vulgate renders, qui affluit prudentia, "who overflows with understanding," or, has understanding in abundance; LXX., ο{ς εῖδε, equivalent to "who saw."
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
Verse 14. - The merchandise (sakh'rah); Vulgate, acquisitio; LXX., ἐμπορεύεσθαι. The gain arising from trading in wisdom is better than that which arises from trading in silver. Sakh'rah is the gain or profit arising from merchandise, i.e. from trading. It denotes the act itself of gaining. The root sakrah, like the Greek ἐμπορευέσθαι, signifies "to go about for the sake of traffic," i.e. to trade. There may be an allusion here, as in Proverbs 2:4, to the new commerce (Plumptre). The gain thereof (t'vuathah); i.e. the gain existing in, and going along with, Wisdom herself; gain, therefore, in a different sense from that indicated in sakh'rah. Gesenius takes it as "gain resulting from Wisdom," as in Proverbs 8:19 and Isaiah 23:3. The word is used of the produce of the earth, the idea apparently embodied in the Vulgate fructus. In this case there may be a reference to ver. 18, where Wisdom is said to be a "tree of life." The LXX. omits the latter clause of this verse. The sense is, "The possession of Wisdom herself is better than fine gold." Fine gold (karuts); Vulgate, aurum purum; Syriac, aurum purissimum. Kharuts is the poetic word for gold, so called, either

(1) from its brilliancy, and then akin to the Greek χρυσός (Curtius); or

(2) from its being dug up, from the root kharats, "to cut into or dig up, to sharpen." It evidently means the finest and purest gold, and is here contrasted with silver (keseph). The word is translated "choice gold" in Proverbs 8:10; "gold" simply in Proverbs 16:16; "yellow gold" in Psalm 68:13; and "fine gold" in Zechariah 9:3. In the Version Junii et Tremellii it appears as effosum aurum, "gold dug up," i.e. gold in its native, unalloyed state. The Targum Jonathan understands it of "molten gold" (aurum conflatum).
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
Verse 15. - Rubies (Khetib, p'niyim; Keri, p'ninim). No unanimous opinion has been arrived at as to the real signification of the word here translated "rubies." The majority of the rabbins (among them Rashi), and Bochart, Hartman, Bohlen, Lee on Job 38:18, and Zockler, render it "pearls." Its meaning seems to lie between this and "corals," the rendering adopted by Michaelis, Gesenius, and Delitzsch (following Fleischer), who says that the Hebrew p'ninim corresponds with the Arabia word whose root idea is "shooting forth," and means "a branch." The peculiar branching form in which corm is found favours this opinion, which is strengthened by the passage in Lamentations 4:7, where we get additional information as to color, "They [the Nazarites] were more ruddy in body than rubies," a description of which would apply to "coral," but is scarcely applicable to "pearls." The various versions suggest the further idea that p'ninim was a descriptive word used to denote precious stones in general. The LXX. renders, "She is more precious than precious stones (λίθων πολυτελῶν)." So the Targum Jonathan, Syriac, and Arabic. The Vulgate renders. "She is more precious than all riches (cunctis opibus)." The word p'ninim only occurs here (Keri) and in Proverbs 8:11; Proverbs 20:15; Proverbs 31:10; and in Job and Lamentations as above. This passage, as well as Proverbs 8:11, which is an almost literal repetition of it, are imitations of Job 28:18. The identification of p'ninim with "pearls" may have suggested our Lord's parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45, 46). All the things thou canst desire (kal-khaphatseyka); literally, all thy desires. Here everything in which you have pleasure, or all your precious things; LXX., πᾶν τίμον; Vulgate, omnia, quae desiderantur. The comparison, which has risen from the less to the more valuable, culminates in this comprehensive expression. There is nothing, neither silver, gold, precious stones, nor anything precious, which is an equivalent (shavah) to Wisdom in value. How it shows, when everything is put before us to choose from, that, like Solomon at Gibeon, we should prefer wisdom (1 Kings 3:11-13)! In the second half of this verse the LXX. substitutes, "No evil thing competes with her; she is well known to all that approach her."
Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
Verse 16. - The remaining three verses (16-18) state in what respects Wisdom is incomparable in value. Length of days; orek yamim, as in ver. 2. Wisdom is here represented as holding in her right hand that which is previously promised to obedience. Length of days is the blessing of blessings, the condition of all prosperity and enjoyment, and hence is placed in the right hand, the chief place, for among the Hebrews and other Oriental nations, as also among the Greeks the right hand was regarded as the position of highest honour (Psalm 110:1; 1 Kings 2:19; 1 Macc. 10:63; Matthew 22:24); cf. Psalm 16:11. in which the psalmist says of Jehovah, "In thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore." The two hands, the right and the left, signify the abundance of Wisdom's gifts. Riches and honour stand here for prosperity in general. The same expression occurs in Proverbs 8:8, where riches are explained as "durable riches." A spiritual interpretation can, of course, be given to this passage - length of days being understood of eternal life; riches, of heavenly riches; and honour, not "the honour that cometh of men," but honour conferred by God (1 Samuel 5:44; John 12:26); see Wardlaw, in loc. The thought of the verse is, of course, that Wisdom not only holds these blessings in her hands, but also confers them on those who seek her. The LXX. adds, "Out of her month proceedeth righteousness; justice and mercy she beareth upon her tongue;" possibly suggested by Proverbs 8:3. The words of the teacher remind us of the saying of Menander, Ὁ διαφέρων λογισμῷ πάντ ἔχει, "He who excels in prudence possesses all things."
Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
Verse 17. - Ways of pleasantness (dar'key noam); Vulgate, viae pulchrae; LXX., ὁδοὶ καλαὶ. Wisdom's ways are those in which substantial delight may be found. They are beautiful and lovely to look upon, and afford happiness. All her paths are peace (v'kal-n'thivo-theyah shalom); literally, as in the Authorized Version. "Peace," shalom, is not genitive as "pleasantness." The character of peace is stamped upon her paths, so that in speaking of Wisdom's paths we speak of peace. She brings tranquillity and serenity and blessedness. Her paths are free from strife and alarm, and they lead to peace. (On the distinction between "ways" and "paths" - the more open and the more private walks - see Proverbs 2:15.)
She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
Verse 18. - A tree of life (ets-khayyim); Vulgate, lignum vitae; LXX., ξύλον ζωῆς. This expression obviously refers to "the tree of life" (ets-hakayyim), which was placed in the midst of the garden of Eden, and conferred immortality on those who ate of its fruit (Genisis 2:9; 3:22). So Wisdom becomes equally life giving to those who lay hold on her, who taste of her fruit. She communicates life in its manifold fulness and richness (so the plural "lives" indicates) to those who seize her firmly. What is predicated of Wisdom here is predicated in other passages (Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 15:4) of the fruit of the righteous, the fulfilment of desire, and a wholesome tongue. Each of these, the teacher says, is "a tree of life." Elster denies that there is any reference to "the tree of life," and classes the expression among those other figurative expressions - a "fountain of life," in Proverbs 13:4 and Proverbs 14:27, and a "well of life." in Proverbs 10:11; but if it be once admitted that there is such a reference, and it be remembered also that Wisdom is the same as "the fear of the Lord," the point insisted on in the Proverbs and in Job, it seems difficult to deny that the teacher has in view the blessed immortality of which the tree of life in Paradise as the symbol. In this higher sense the term is used in the Revelation (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 22:2, 14). Wisdom restores to her worshippers the life which was lost in Adam (Cartwright). It is remarkable that the imagery here employed is confined to these two hooks. After the historical record in Genesis, no other sacred writers refer to the tree of life. Old ecclesiastical writers saw in the expression a reference to Christ's redeeming work. "The tree of life is the cross of Christ," lignum vitae crux Christi (quoted by Delitzsch). The symbol, Plumptre remarks, entered largely into the religious imagery of Assyria, Egypt, and Persia. To them that lay hold upon (lam-makhazikim, hiph. participle); Vulgate, his, qui apprehenderint; LXX., τοῖς ἀντεχομένοις. The Hebrew verb חָזַק (khazak), "to tie fast," is in hiph. with בְּ (b)," to take hold of," "to seize any one." Happy is every one that retaineth her. In the original, the participle, "they retaining her" (tom'keyah), is plural, and the predicate, "happy" or "blessed" (m'ushshar), is singular. The latter is used distributively, and the construction is common (cf. Proverbs 15:22). The Authorized Version aptly renders the original. The necessity for "retaining" as well as "laying hold" of Wisdom is pointed out. The verb תָּמַך (tamak) is "to hold fast something taken." Such will be blessed who hold Wisdom tenaciously and perseveringly.
The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
Verses 19-26. - 5. Fifth hortatory discourse. Wisdom, the creative power of God, exhibited as the protection of those who fear God. The teacher in this discourse presents Wisdom under a new aspect. Wisdom is the Divine power of God, by which he created the world, and by which he sustains the work of his hands and regulates the operations of nature. This eminence of Wisdom, in her intimate association with Jehovah, is made the basis of a renewed exhortation to keep Wisdom steadily in view. The elevated thought that Wisdom has her source in Jehovah might seem in itself an adequate and sufficient reason for the exhortation. But another motive is adduced intimately bound up with this view of Wisdom. Jehovah becomes the ground of confidence and the protection in all conditions of life of those who keep Wisdom. Verse 19. - The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth. The emphatic position of the word Jehovah, "the Lord," at the beginning of the sentence (cf. Psalm 27; Psalm 97; Psalm 99), as well as the nature of the discourse, indicates a new paragraph. The description of the creative Wisdom of Jehovah may have been suggested to the mind of the teacher by the mention of the tree of life, in ver. 18 (Zockler); but the connection between this and the preceding passage has to be sought for in something deeper. The scope of the teacher is to exhibit, and so to recommend, Wisdom in every respect, and after showing her excellence in man, he now brings her forward as the medium of creation, and hence in her relation to God. By wisdom (b'kokhmah); Vulgate, sapientia; LXX., σοφίᾳ. It is evident that Wisdom is here something more than an attribute of Jehovah. "By Wisdom" means "by, or through, the instrumentality of Wisdom." While the corresponding and parallel expressions, "understanding," "knowledge," militate against the idea of an hypostatizing of Wisdom, i.e. assigning to Wisdom a concrete and objective personality, yet the language is sufficiently strong, when we connect this passage with ch. 1. and 8, to warrant our regarding Wisdom as something apart from yet intimately connected with Jehovah, as an active agency employed by him, and hence this description may. be looked upon as an anticipation of that which is more fully developed in ch. 8, where the characteristics which are wanting here are there worked out at length. The rabbins evidently connected the passage before us, as well as ch. 1 and 8, with Genesis 1:1, by rendering b'reshith, "in the beginning." by b'kokhmah, "by Wisdom." Our Lord identifies himself with the Divine Sophia, or Wisdom (Luke 11:49). And the language of St. John, "All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3), which assigns to the Logos, or Word of God, i.e. Christ, the act of creation (cf. John 1:10, and especially the language of St. Paul, in Colossians 1:16), argues in favour of the view of some commentators who understand Wisdom to refer to the Second Person of the Trinity. The Logos was understood by Alexandrian Judaism to express the manifestation of the unseen God, the Absolute Being, in the creation and government of the world; and the Christian teachers, when they adopted this term, assigned to it a concrete meaning as indicating the Incarnate Word (see Bishop Lightfoot, in Colossians 1:15). For the passage, see Psalm 33:6; Psalm 104:24; Psalm 136:5; and especially Jeremiah 10:12, "He hath established the world by his wisdom," etc.; Jeremiah 51:55; Ecclus. 24:2, seq. Hath founded (yasod); Vulgate, fundavit; LXX., ἐθεμελίωσε. The same verb is used in Job 38:4; Psalm 24:2; Psalm 78:69, of the creation of the earth by God. While the primary meaning of yasad is "to give fixity to," "to lay fast," that of konen, rendered "he hath established," is "to set up," "to erect," and so "to found," from kun, or referring to the Arabic and Ethiopic cognate root, "to exist," "to give existence to." The marginal reading, "prepared," corresponds with the LXX. ἐτοίμασε. The Vulgate is stabilivit, "he hath established."
By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Verse 20. - By his knowledge the depths are broken up. This is usually taken to refer to that primary act in creation, the separation of the waters from the earth, when "the waters were gathered together unto their own place," as recorded in Genesis 1:9. So Munster, Zockler, Wardlaw. But it seems better to understand it (as Mercerus, Lapide, Delitzsch, and Authorized Version) of the fertilization of the earth by rivers, streams, etc., which burst forth from the interior of the earth. In this sense the correspondence is preserved with the second hemistich. where the atmospheric influence is referred to as conducing to the same end. The teacher passes from the creation to the wonderful means which Jehovah employs through Wisdom to sustain his work. The depths (t'homoth); Vulgate, abyssi; LXX., ἄβυσσοι, are here "the internal water stores of the earth" (Delitzsch), and not the depths of the ocean, as in Proverbs 8:24, 27, 28, and in Genesis 1:2. Are broken up (niv'kau); properly, were broken up, niph. perfect of baka,

(1) to cleave asunder,

(2) to break forth, as water, in Isaiah 35:6.

The perfect describes a past act, but one that is still continuing in effect. Cf. Vulgate eruperunt, "they burst forth;" LXX., ἐῥῤάγησαν, aorist 2 passive of ῤήγνυμι, "to burst forth," Targum, rupti sunt; and Syriac, ruptae sunt. The idea of division or separation is present, but it is not the predominant idea. There seems to be no allusion here either to the Deluge (Beds), nor to the cleaving of the waters of the Red Sea (Gejerus), though both of these historical events were undoubtedly well known to the teacher. And the clouds drop down the dew. The clouds (sh'khakim) are properly the ether, the higher and colder regions of the atmosphere, and then "the clouds," as in Psalm 77:15, which are formed by the condensation of vapours drawn by solar influence from the surface of the earth - seas, rivers, etc. The singular shakhak signifies "dust," and. secondly "a cloud," evidently from the minute particles of moisture of which a cloud is composed. Drop down (yir'aphu, kal future of raaph, used as a present or imperfect); LXX., ἐῥῤύησαν, "let flow." The clouds discharge their contents in showers, or distil at evening in refreshing dew. Modern science agrees with the meteorological fact here alluded to, of the reciprocal action of the heavens and the earth. The moisture drawn from the earth returns again "to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud, to give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater" (Isaiah 55:10). Dew; tal, here used not only of dew, but of rain in gentle and fructifying showers. The Arabic word signifies "light rain;" LXX., δρόσους, "dew." Moses, in describing the blessing of Israel, says, "His heavens shall drop down dew" in the same sense (Deuteronomy 38:28; cf. Job 36:28). The fertilization of the earth is ordered by the Divine Wisdom.
My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
Verse 21. - My son, let not them depart from thine eyes. After the description of the power of Wisdom exhibited in creating and sustaining the earth, the exhortation to keep Wisdom steadily before the eyes, and the promises of Divine protection, appropriately follow. Since Wisdom is so powerful, then, the teacher argues, she is worthy of being retained and guarded, and able to protect. Let them not depart (al-yaluzu); i.e. "let them not escape or slip aside from your mind (cf. Vulgate, ne effluant haec ab oculis ruts). They are to be as frontiers between your eyes, as a ring upon your finger. Yaluzu, from luz, "to bend aside," defiectere, a via declinare, which see in Proverbs 2:15, ought probably to be written yellezu, on the analogy of the corresponding passage in Proverbs 4:21. The LXX. renders absolutely μὴ παραῥῤύης, "do not thou pass by," from παραῥῤύω, "to flow by," "to pass by, recede" (cf. Hebrews 2:1, "Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to these things, lest at any time we should let them slip (μὴ ποτε παραῥῤυῶμεν)," quoted probably from the LXX. of this passage). The Targum Jonathan reads ne vilescat, "let it," i.e. wisdom, "not become worthless." Them, included in the verb yaluzu of which it is subject in the original, is to be referred either to "sound wisdom and discretion" of ver. 21b - so Gejerus, Cartwright, Geier, Umbreit, Hitzig, Zockter, Plumptre (a similar trajection occurs in Deuteronomy 32:5, and is used, as here, to give vividness to the description): or to "wisdom, understanding, knowledge," of the preceding verses - so Delitzsch and Holden. The first view in every way seems preferable, and it is no objection to it that "sound wisdom" (tushiyyah) and "discretion" (m'yimmah) are feminine, while the verb "depart" (yaluzu) is masculine (see Gesenius, *Gram.,' § 147). The Syriac reads, "Let it not become worthless (ne vile fit) in thine eyes to keep my doctrine and my counsels." Keep sound wisdom and discretion. Keep; n'zor, kal imperative of natsar, "to watch, guard." For "sound wisdom" (tushiyyah), see Proverbs 2:7. Here used for "wisdom" (kokhmah), as "discretion" (m'zimmah) for "understanding" (t'vunah), to contrast the absolute wisdom and insight of God with the corresponding attributes in man (see Zockler, in loc.). They belong to God, but are conferred on those who seek after Wisdom, and are then to be guarded as priceless treasures. The Vulgate reads, custodi legem et consilium; and the LXX., τήρησον δὲ ἐμὴν βουλὴν καὶ ἔννοιαν, "guard my counsel and thought."
So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
Verse 22. - So shall they he life to thy soul, and grace to thy neck. So shall they be (n'yikva); and they shall be. The "soul" and "neck" stand for the whole man in his twofold nature, internal and external. Life is in its highest and widest sense given to the soul (see Proverbs 2:16, 18; Proverbs 4:22; Proverbs 8:35), and favour is conferred on the man, i.e. he becomes acceptable to his neighbours, if he has wisdom. The latter expression is very similar to Proverbs 1:9, where the same promise is expressed, "grace" (hon) being equivalent to "ornament of grace" (liv'yath hon). Others understand "grace to thy neck" (hon l'garg grotheyka), as gratia guttturis, in the sense of "grace of the lips," as in Psalm 45:3 and Proverbs 22:11, that is, as the grace of speaking, power of eloquent and effective utterance (Gejerus, Bayne, Lapide). It is better to take it as referring to the adornment of the personal character, and so by metonymy of the favour and kindness which it procures.
Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
Verse 23. - Then shall thou walk in thy way safely. The first of the promises of protection, which follow from vers. 23-26. He who keeps "sound wisdom and discretion" shall enjoy the greatest sense of security in all situations of life. Safely (lavetakh); either in confidence, as Vulgate fiducialiter, i.e. confidently, because of the sense of security (cf. LXX., πεποιθὼς ἐν εἰρήνῃ, and ver. 26); or in security: the adverb lavetakh is equivalent to betakh in Proverbs 1:30 and Proverbs 10:9. The allusion is obvious. As he who is accompanied by an escort proceeds on his way in safety, so you protected by God will pass your life in security; or, as Trapp, "Thou shalt ever go under a double guard, 'the peace of God' within thee (Philippians 4:7), and the 'power of God' without thee (1 Peter 1:5)." And thy foot shall not stumble; literally, and thou shall not strike thy foot. Stumble in the original is thiggoph, 2 singular kal future of nagaph, "to smite, .... strike against with the foot." So in Psalm 91:12. The Authorized Version, however, correctly gives the sense. The LXX., like the Authorized Version, makes "foot" the subject, Ὁ δὲ ποῦς σου σὺ μὴ προσκόψῃ, "(That) thy foot may not stumble." For a similar assurance, see Proverbs 4:12. The meaning is: You will not stumble, because you will be walking in the way of wisdom, which is free from stumbling blocks (Lapide). You will not fall into sin.
When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
Verse 24. - When thou liest down thou shalt not be afraid. This is beautifully illustrated by what David says in Psalm 4:8, "I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety." No fear is to be apprehended where Jehovah is Protector (see Psalm 3:5, 6; Psalm 46:1-3; Psalm 91:1-5; Psalm 121:5-8). When, (im) is rendered "if" by the Vulgate, LXX., Targum Jonathan. Thou liest down; tish'kav, "thou shalt lie down," kal future, like shakavta, kal perfect, in the corresponding hemistich, is from shakav, "to lie down," specially to lay one's self down to sleep, as in Genesis 19:4; Psalm 3:6. Vulgate, si dormieris; cf. Proverbs 6:22, "when thou sleepest" בְּשָׁכְבְּך, b'shok'b'ka). The LXX. rendering, "if thou sittest" (κάθη), arises from reading תֵּשֵׁב (teshev) for תִּשְׁכַב (tish'kav) Yea, thou shalt lie down; b'shok'b'ta, as before, with] prefixed, equivalent to the future, as in the Authorized Version; LXX., καθεύδῃς. Shall be sweet; arvah, from arav, "to be sweet," or "pleasant," perhaps "well mixed," as arev, equivalent to "to mix." Thy sleep shall be full of pleasing impressions, not restless, as in Deuteronomy 28:66 and Job 7:4, but sweet, because of the sense of safety, and from confidence in God, as well as from a good conscience (cf. Job 11:18, "Thou shalt take thy rest in safety," from which the idea is probably taken).
Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
Verse 25. - Be not afraid; al-tirah, is literally "fear thou not," the future with al preceding being used for the imperative in a dehortative sense, as in Genesis 46:3; Job 3:4, 6, 7 (see Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 127. 3, c); Vulgate, ne paveas. Others, however, render, as the LXX., οὐ φοβηθήσῃ, "Thou shalt not be afraid," in the sense of a promise. The verb yare, from which tirah, is here followed by min, as in Psalm 3:7; Psalm 27:1, and properly means "to be afraid from or before" some person or thing. Sudden; pithom, an adverb used adjectively (cf. like use of adverb khinnam in Proverbs 26:2). Fear (pakhad); as in Proverbs 1:16, the object which excites terror or fear, as any great disaster. The desolation of the wicked (shoath r'shaim) may be taken either

(1) as the desolation made by the violence of the wicked, the desolation or strum which they raise against the righteous (so the LXX., Vulgate, Mariana, Michaelis, Hitzig, and others); or

(2) the desolation which overtakes the wicked, the desolating vengeance executed upon them (so Doderlein, Lapide, Stuart, Muensch., Delitzsch, Wardlaw). The latter is probably the right interpretation, and agrees with the threatening language of Wisdom against her despisers, in Proverbs 1:27, where shdath also occurs. Iu the desolation which shall overwhelm the wicked he who has made Wisdom his guide shall be undismayed, for the Lord is his confidence. The passage was probably suggested by Proverbs 5:21, "Neither shalt thou be afraid of desolation when it cometh." Lee, in loc. cit., says the places are almost innumerable where this sentiment occurs. Compare the fearlessness of the man of integrity and justice, in Horace -

"Si fractus illabatur orbis,
Impavidum ferient ruinae."

(Horace, 'Od.,' 3:3, 7, 8.)

"Let Jove's dread arm with thunders rend the spheres,
Beneath the crush of worlds undaunted he appears."

(Francis's Trans.)
For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
Verse 26. - Thy confidence (v'kis'leka); literally, as thy confidence. Kesel, primarily "loin" or "flank," as in Leviticus 3:14; Leviticus 10:15; Job 15:27, is apparently used here in its secondary meaning of "confidence," "hope," as in Job 8:14; Job 31:24; Psalm 78:7. The בְ (v') prefixed is what is usually termed the בְ essentiae, or בְ pleonasticum (equivalent to the Latin tanquam, "as"), and serves to emphasize the connection between the predicate "thy confidence" and the subject "Jehovah" (cf. Exodus 18:4; see Ewaht, 'Lehrb.,' 217, f.; and Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 154). Jehovah shall be in the highest sense your ground and object of confidence. Delitzsch describes kesel as confidence in the presence of evil: Jehovah in the presence of the "sudden fear," and of "the desolation of the wicked," the evils and calamities which overwhelm the wicked, shall be thy confidence. The sense of his all-encircling protection will render you undismayed. The meaning given to kesel as "foolhardiness" (Psalm 49:14) and "folly" (Ecclesiastes 7:25). and the connection of kesel with k'silim in Proverbs 1:22, comes from the root idea kasal, "to be fleshly, or fat," the signification of which branches out on the one side into strength and boldness, and on the other into languor and inertness, and so folly or confidence in self (Schultens, i.e.). The Talmudic rendering of the Rabbi Salomon approximates to this meaning, "and the things in which you seemed to be foolish (desipere videbaris) he will be at once present with you." Others, as Ziegler, Muentinghe, gave kesel its primary meaning, and translate, "Jehovah shall be as thy loins," the loins being regarded as the emblem of strength. Jehovah shall be your strength. But kesel does not appear to have this local application here. Wherever it is used in this sense, as in Job and Leviticus cited above, there is something in the context to point it out as a part of the body. Compare, however, the Vulgate. in latere suo, "in thy side or flank." The LXX. renders, ἐπὶ πασῶν ὁδῶν σου, "over all thy ways." From being taken (millaked); Vulgate, ne capiaris, "lest thou be taken." The meaning is, Jehovah will be your protection against all the snares and traps which the impious lay for you. Leked, "a being taken," is from lakad, "to take or catch animals" in a net or in snares. It only occurs here in the Proverbs. Its unusual appearance, together with other reasons, not tenable, however, has led Hitzig to reject vers. 22-26 as an interpolation. The LXX. reads, πτόησιν, pavorem. Πτόησις, in Plato, Aristotle, and Plutarch, is used subjectively, and means "any vehement emotion." The word only occurs once in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:6, μὴ φοβούμενη μηδεμίαν πτόησιν, where it is evidently quoted from the passage before us, in an objective sense, and designates some external cause of terror (cf. Authorized Version, "and be not afraid with any amazement;" see also Book of Common Prayer: 'Solemnization of Matrimony,' ad fin).
Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
Verses 27-35. - 6. Sixth admonitory discourse. In this discourse the teacher still carries on his object, which is to demonstrate the conditions upon which true wisdom and happiness are to be attained. The discourse differs from the preceding in consisting of detached proverbs, and may be divided into two main sections - the first (vers. 27-30) enjoining benevolence, that love to one's neighbour which is the fulfilling of the Law; the second warning against emulating the oppressor and associating with him, because of the fate of the wicked (vers. 31-35). It is observable that all the maxims have a negative form, and thus present a striking contrast to the form adopted by our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5.), and to the admonitions at the close of St. Paul's Epistles. In one instance in particular (ver. 30), the teaching does not reach the high moral standard of the gospel (see Delitzsch and Lange). Verse 27. - Withhold not good from them to whom it is due. This precept indicates the general principle of beneficence, and not merely, as the words at first sight seem to imply, restitution (as Cajet.). We are to do good to those who are in need or deserving of it, whenever we have the means and opportunity. From them to whom it is due (nib'alayv); literally, from its owner, from baal, dominus, "lord" or owner of a thing. Cf. Proverbs 16:22, "Prudence is a fountain of life to its owner (b'alayv);" 1:19; 17:8; and also Ecclesiastes 8:8; Ecclesiastes 7:12; - in all of which passages proprietorship in the thing or quality mentioned is expressed. The owners of good are those to whom good is due or belongs either by law or by morality, whether by desert or need. The latter qualification is the one emphasized in the LXX, Μὴ ἀπόσχῃ ε΅ν ποιεῖν ἐνδεῆ, "Abstain not from doing good to the needy." So the Arabic pauperi. The Targum and Syriac put the precept in more general terms, "Cease not to do good," without indicating in particular anyone who is to be the recipient of the good. But the Jewish interpreters generally (e.g. Ben Ezra) understand it of the poor, egentibus. The Vulgate puts an entirely different interpretation on the passage: Noli prohibere benefacere eum qui potest; si vales, et ipse benefac, "Do not prohibit him who can from doing good; if you are able, do good also yourself." It thus implies that we are to put no impediment in the way of any one who is willing to do good to others, and enjoins the duty on ourselves also. Good (tov); i.e. "good" under any form, any good deed or act of beneficence. The principle brought forward in this passage is that what we possess and is seemingly our own is in reality to be regarded as belonging to others. We are only stewards of our wealth. In the power of thine hand (lel yad'yka); literally, in the power of thine hands. For the dual, yad'yka, the Keri substitutes the singular, yad'ka, to harmonize it with the similar expression, lel yadi, "in the power of thy hand," which occurs in Genesis 31:27; Deuteronomy 28:32; Nehemiah 5:5; Micah 2:1. But there is no grammatical need for the emendation. Both the LXX. and Targum employ the singular, "thy hand." Power (el); here "strength" in the abstract. Usually it means "the strong," and is so used as an appellation of Jehovah. though, as Gesenius says, those little understand the phrase who would render el here "by God." The לְ prefixed to el indicates the condition. The meaning of the phrase is, "While it is practicable, and you have the opportunity and means of doing good, do it." Do not defer, but do good promptly. The passage receives a remarkable illustration in the language of St. Paul, "While we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men" (Galatians 6:10).
Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.
Verse 28. - The precept of this and that of the preceding verse are very closely related. The former precept enjoined the general principle of benevolence when we have the means; this carries on the idea, and is directed against the postponement of giving when we are in a position to give. In effect it says, "Do not defer till tomorrow what you can do today." This "putting off" may arise from avarice, from indolence, or from insolence and contempt. These underlying faults, which are incompatible with neighbourly good wilt, are condenmed by implication. Unto thy neighbour; l'reayka, "to thy friends," the word being evidently used distributively. Reeh is "a companion" or "friend" (cf. Vulgate, amico tuo; Syriac, sodali tuo), and generally any other person, equivalent to the Greek ὁ πλησίον, "neighbour." The Authorized Version correctly renders "come again," as shav is not merely "to return," but to return again to something (so Delitzsch); cf. Vulgate, revertere; and as the words, "tomorrow I will give thee," show. The LXX. adds, "For thou knowest not what the morrow may bring forth," probably from Proverbs 17:1. If viewed in respect of the specific claims which servants have for work done, the precept is a re-echo of Leviticus 29:13 and Deuteronomy 24:15. In illustration of the general scope of the passage, Grotius quotes, "A slow-footed favour is a favour without favour." Seneca says in the same spirit, "Ingratum est beneficium quod diu inter manus dantis haesit," "The benefit is thankless which sticks long between the hands of the giver" (Seneca, 'Benef.,' 1:2); cf. also Bis dat qui cito dat.
Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.
Verse 29. - Devise not evil against thy neighbour. This precept is directed against abuse of confidence. Devise not evil (al takharosh raah). The meaning of this expression lies between "fabricating evil" and "ploughing evil." The radical meaning of kharash, from which takharosh, is "to cut into," "to inscribe" letters on a tablet, cognate with the Greek χαράσσειν, "to cut into." But it is used in the sense of "to plough" in Job 4:18, "They that plough iniquity (khar'shey aven)," and Psalm 129:3, "The ploughers ploughed (khar'shim khar'shim) upon my back" (cf. Hosea 10:13). This also appears from the context to be the meaning in Proverbs 6:14. With these we may compare such expressions as "to plough a lie" (μὴ ἀροτρία ψεύδος, rendered in the Authorized Version, "Devise not a lie"); see Proverbs 7:12, and "to sow iniquity," Proverbs 22:8 - a cognate figure. "To plough evil" is to devise evil, to prepare for it, just in the same way as a ploughman prepares the land for sowing. In this sense the verb is understood by the older commentators and by Ewald and Delitzsch. On the other hand, the verb may be used in its other signification, "to fabricate," and hence "to contrive." The noun kharash is an artificer of iron, etc. (Exodus 35:35; Deuteronomy 27:15). "To fabricate evil" is, of course, as the Authorized Version "to devise evil." The LXX., μὴ τεκτῄνη, from τεκτείνομαι, "to build," inclines to this sense. The Vulgate, ne moliaris, does not clear up the point, though moliri, usually "to contrive," is used by Virgil, 'Georg.,' 1:494, "moliri terrain," of working or tilling the ground. The verb also occurs in Proverbs 6:19; Proverbs 12:20; Proverbs 14:22. Seeing he dwelleth securely by thee; i.e. as the Vulgate, cure ille in te habet fiduciam, "when he has confidence in thee;" so the LXX.; or, as the Targum and Syriac, "when he dwells with thee in peace." To dwell (yashar) is in Psalm 1:1 "to sit with any one," i.e. to associate familiarly with him (cf. Psalm 26:4, 5); but it also has the meaning , "to dwell," and the participle yoshev, here used; in Genesis 19:23: Judges 6:21, means "an inhabitant, a dweller." Securely (lavetah); i.e. with full trust (see on ver. 23). Devising evil against a friend is at any time reprehensible, but to do so when he confides in and is altogether unsuspicious of you, is an act of the greatest treachery, and an outrage on all law. human and Divine. It implies dissimulation. It is the very sin by which "the devil beguiled Eve through his subtlety" (Wardlaw).
Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
Verse 30. - The meaning of the precept in this verse is clear. We are nat to strive or quarrel with a man unless he has first given us offence. So Le Clerc, "Nisi injuria prior lacessiverit." The admonition is directed against those who, from spite, jealousy, or other reasons, "stir up strife all the day long" with those who are quiet and peaceable. Strive. The Keri here reads tariv for the Khetib taruv, but without any change of meaning. The verb ruv, from which taruv, is "to strive or contend with the hand and with blows," as in Deuteronomy 33:7; or with words, as in Psalm 103:9 (cf. the Vulgate, ne contendas; and the LXX, μὴ φιλεχθήσης, "Do not exercise enmity," from the unusual φιλεχθρέω. Ruv is here followed by עִם (im), as in Job 9:3; Job 40:2; and Genesis 26:30 Its forensic sense, "to contend with in law," does not strictly apply here, though the precept may be taken as discouraging litigation (Lapide). Without cause (khinnam); LXX., ματήν, equivalent to δωρεάν, in John 15:25; Vulgate, frustra; further explained in the concluding clause (see on Proverbs 1:17). If he have done thee no harm. The phrase, gumal raah, is to bring evil upon any one (Schultens). The verb gamal signifies "to do, to give, to show to any one." Holdea renders, "Surely he will return thee evil," in the sense that unprovoked attack ensures retaliation.]gut this is to ignore the negative force of im-lo, "if not." The verb sometimes means "requiting," but not in the passage before us, nor in Proverbs 11:17; Proverbs 31:12. The Vulgate renders as the Authorized Version, Cum ipse tibi nihil mali fecerit. It is to be remarked that this precept falls below the moral standard of the New Testament teaching (see Matthew 5:39-41; Romans 12:17-21; 1 Corinthians 6:6-8), and of the example of our Lord, of whom it was predicted that "When he was reviled, be reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not" (see Isaiah 53).
Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.
Verse 31. - Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. The thought of strife in the preceding verse leads to that of oppression, and the precept is directed against fellowship with those who outrage the general law of benevolence and justice, Envy not; i.e. as Stuart, "Do not anxiously covet the booty which men of violence acquire." Success and wealth may follow from severity and extortion, but the man who acquires prosperity by these means is not to be envied even by the victim of his oppression (for the verb, see Proverbs 23:17; Proverbs 24:1, 19). The oppressor (ish khamas); literally, a man of violence (see margin). The expression occurs in Proverbs 14:29; Psalm 18:41, and in its plural form, ish khamamim, "man of violences," in 2 Samuel 22:49; Psalm 140:1, 4. The man of violence is one who "grinds the faces of the poor," and whose conduct is rapacious, violent, and unjust. And choose none of his ways; literally, and choose not all his ways, i.e. with a view to acquire the same wealth, greatness, and power. The LXX. renders this verse, "Do not acquire the hatred of evil men, neither be jealous of their ways," evidently from having taken tiv'khar, "choose," in the second hemistich, for tith'khan, "be jealous."
For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous.
Verse 32. - This verse gives the reason for the previous warning. The oppressor is here included under the more general term, "the froward." The froward; naloz, hiph. participle from luz, "to bend aside," and hence a perverted or wicked man, one who turns aside from the way of uprightness, a transgressor of the Law (cf. LXX., παράνομος); and so the opposite of "the righteous," y'sharim, "the upright," those who pursue the path of justness, or the straightforward. Abomination (toevah); i.e. an abhorrence, something which, being impure and unclean (cf. LXX., ἀκάθαρτος), is especially abhorrent to Jehovah. In some passages it is connected with idolatry, as in 1 Kings 14:24 and 2 Kings 23:13, but is never used in this sense in the Proverbs, where it occurs about twenty times (see Proverbs 28:9; Proverbs 21:27; Proverbs 11:1, 20, etc.). The passage shows that prosperity and worldly success are not always a true measure of Divine favour. His secret (sodo); Vulgate, sermocinatio. Here sod probably means "familiar intercourse," as in Job 29:4 and Psalm 25:14; and hence the special favour with which Jehovah regards the upright, by revealing to them what he conceals item others, or his friendship (compare what our Lord says in John 15:14, 15). Dathe translates "probis vero est familiaris." Gesenius says sod properly means "a couch," or triclinium on which people recline; but Delitzsch derives it from the root sod, "to be firm," "compressed," and states that it therefore means properly "a being together, or sitting together." The LXX. eontinues the "froward man" (παράνομος) as the subject, and renders, "Every transgressor is impure before God, and does not sit together with (οὐ συνεδριάζει) the just."
The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.
Verse 33. - The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked. From ver. 33 to the end of the discourse the contrast is continued between the condition of the wicked and the just, the scornful and the lowly, the wise and the fools. In the verse before us a further reason is given why the prosperity of the wicked is not enviable. The curse of Jehovah dwells in and rests upon his house. The curse; m'erah, from arav, "to curse." This word only occurs five times in the Old Testament once in Deuteronomy, twice in Proverbs (here and in Proverbs 28:27), and twice in Malachi. The nature of the curse may be learned from Deuteronomy 28:20, where it is the infliction of temporal misfortunes ending with the "cutting off" of the wicked (see Psalm 37:22). It is a hovering evil, the source of constant misfortune. LXX., κατάρα. Cf. "the cursing" (alah) against thieves and swearers in Zechariah 5:4. But he blesseth the habitation the just. The contrast to the former, as in Deuteronomy 28:2-6. He blesseth; i.e. both temporarily and spiritually. Blessing does not exclude affliction, but "trials" are not "curses" (Wardlaw). Both the LXX. and the Vulgate render, "But the habitations of the just shall be blessed," the LXX. having read the pual future (y'vorak), "they shall be blessed," for the piel future (y'varik), "he shall bless," of the text. The habitation; naveh, from navah, "to sit down," "to dwell." A poetic and nomad (Fleischer) word usually understood of a small dwelling is tugurium, the shepherd's hut or cottage, "the sheepcote" of 2 Samuel 7:8. The LXX. ἕπαυλις, and tho Vulgate hubitaculam, favour the suggestion of Gejerus, that a contrast is here made between the large house or palace (bayith) of the wicked and the small dwelling of the just. In Proverbs 21:20 and Proverbs 24:15 the word is rendered "dwelling."
Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.
Verse 34. - Surely he scorneth the scorners; literally, if with regard to the scorners he scorneth (im lalletsim hu yalits); i.e. he repays scorn with scorn; or, as Rabbi Salomon, "He renders to them so that they fall in their own derision (reddit ipsis ut in sua derisione corruant)." He renders their schemes abortive. He resists them. The scorners (letsim) are those who treat with scoffing regard the precepts and truths of God; the arrogant, proud, insolent, here placed in contrast with "the lowly." Vulgate, derisores; LXX., ὐπερήφανοι, "the overbearing." The לְ for (l'ha), prefixed to letsim, signifies "with regard to," as in Job 32:4 (cf. Psalm 16:3, "With regard to the saints (lik'ddshim), in them only I delight"). But he giveth grace unto the lowly; or, on the other hand, the לְה prefixed to laanayim, "to the lowly," having that antithetical force here as in Job 8:20. The lowly (anayyim); Vulgate, mansueti; LXX., ταπωῖνοι; properly, "the afflicted," with added notion of submission and lowly demeanour, and hence the meek, gentle - the gentle towards man, and the abased and lowly before God. St. James (James 4:6) quotes the LXX. of this passage, "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." With the exception of substituting Κύριος for Θεός (cf. 1 Peter 5:5), our Lord's parable of the Pharisee and publican illustrates the teaching of this verse (Luke 18:9-14).
The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.
Verse 35. - The wise shall inherit glory. Proverbs 11:2 indicates that "the wise" here are to be identified with "the lowly" of the preceding verse. Inherit; succeed to it as a matter of course by hereditary right as sons. Heirship implies sonship. Glory (kavod); or, honour; not merely earthly distinction and splendour, the glory of man, but the "glory of God." But shame shall be the promotion of fools; or, as margin, shame exalteth the fools. The rendering of the original, vuk'silim merim kalon, depends upon the meaning to be given to merim, the hiph. participle of rum, hiph. "to lift up, exalt;" and whether the plural, k'silim, in a distributive sense, as in ver. 18, or kalon, is the subject. Various interpretations have been given of the passage.

(1) The Vulgate renders, stultorum exaltatio ignominia; i.e. as in the Authorized Version, "shame exalts fools." They "glory in their shame" (Philippians 2:19); or shame renders them conspicuous as warning examples (Ewald); or, as Dathe explains it, "Stulti infamia sunt famosi," "Fools become famous by infamy;" or as Rabbi Levi, "Shame exalts them as into the air, and makes them vanish away."

(2) The LXX. renders, Αἱ ἀσεβεῖς ὕψωσαν ἀτιμίαν, i.e. "Fools exalt shame, prize what others despise" (Plumptre).

(3) Umbreit, Bertheau, Zockler, render, "Shame sweeps fools away," i.e. lifts them up in order to sweep away and destroy them (cf. Isaiah 57:14).

(4) The true rendering seems to be given by Michaelis, "Fools carry away shame" as their portion. So the Targum, Delitzsch, Hitzig, Wordsworth. They look for "promotion." They attain such as it is, but the end of their attainments is "shame and everlasting contempt." As the wise inherit glory, so fools get as their portion shame and ignominy.

The Pulpit Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2001, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2010 by BibleSoft, inc., Used by permission

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