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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 1

 

 

Verses 1-33

The chapter falls into three principal divisions.

1-6. Title and Introduction explaining the object of the whole book, which is to instruct the inexperienced and add to the educated man's knowledge. It is assumed that good conduct is an art which can be taught. But the learner must be in sympathy with the subject; a right judgment concerning moral truth is attainable only by those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The method of instruction is by proverbs, figures, parables and vivid pictures, and is therefore substantially the same as that which our Lord adopted.

7-19. A Warning against Companionship with Robbers. We are at first astounded at finding such a warning necessary. Only in days of weak government, such as the 5th and 4th cent. b.c., when the rulers were mere representatives of a distant foreign monarch, was such a state of affairs possible.

20-33. Wisdom's Call and Threats. Wisdom is represented as a preacher, who goes out into the streets, the broad places near the city gates, the long gateways through which men enter or leave the town, the 'dusky lane and wrangling mart,' there to lift up her voice. As the prophets (Isaiah 20:2; Jeremiah 5:1; Micah 1:8) went amongst their fellows, as Socrates was daily found in the marketplace conversing with all who would, as Jesus Himself ever taught in synagogues and in the Temple, where all the Jews come together (John 18:20), so Wisdom is not fastidious or exclusive; none can complain that they have been denied the opportunity of hearing. But the hour is now past. The simpletons, the unbelieving scoffers and the crassly stupid are threatened with swift and sudden punishment. For the Wisdom which here speaks is not of quite the same spirit as that of NT., which is peaceful, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy (James 3:17): there is more of Elijah than of Christ in it.

4. Read, 'to give prudence to the simple.' The simple, open to each new impression, believes anything. The prudent, or subtle, has learnt caution from experience.

6. Interpretation] RV 'figure' (Habakkuk 2:6). Dark sayings] RV 'riddles' (Judges 14:18; Numbers 12:8; Ezekiel 17:2; Habakkuk 2:6).

7. A motto for the whole book. True morality is based on a right relation to God. Fear is the keynote of OT. piety; not slavish terror, but reverence and humility.

8. The teacher addresses the learner as 'My son': parents will also give moral instruction.

9. Read, 'a chaplet of grace.' At banquets the heads of the guests were crowned with garlands. Chains] cp. Genesis 41:42; Daniel 5:29.

12. Grave] 'Sheol' (RV) and the pit are the cheerless under-world, away from God and all real life, which the dead were supposed to inhabit (Proverbs 2:18; Proverbs 23:14).

17. Warning is useless: they do not see that they are rushing to destruction.

23. Turn and listen whilst I declare my purpose.

31. Mediæval theologians taught that molten gold would be poured down the throats of the avaricious in hell and that other vices also would be punished in kind. 'That they might learn that by what things a man sinneth, by these he is punished '(Wisdom of Solomon 11:16).

32. When simpletons turn away from instruction they shall suffer for it. 'He who will not be ruled by the rudder must be ruled by the rocks.' Prosperity] RM 'carelessness,' false security. 'Serious things tomorrow,' the Greek tyrant said, thrusting under the pillow of his couch the letter which would nave saved his from assassination.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 1:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/proverbs-1.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, August 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20
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