Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Proverbs 1

Verses 1-4

Proverbs 1:1-33. After the title the writer defines the design and nature of the instructions of the book. He paternally invites attention to those instructions and warns his readers against the enticements of the wicked. In a beautiful personification, wisdom is then introduced in a most solemn and impressive manner, publicly inviting men to receive its teachings, warning those who reject, and encouraging those who accept, the proffered instructions.

(See on Introduction, Part I).

Verse 2

To know … instruction — literally, “for knowing,” that is, such is the design of these writings.

wisdom — or the use of the best means for the best ends, is generally employed in this book for true piety.

instruction — discipline, by which men are trained.

to perceive — literally, “for perceiving,” the design (as above)

understanding — that is, words which enable one to discern good and evil.

Verse 3

of wisdom — For receiving that discipline which discretion imparts. The Hebrew for “wisdom” differs from that of Proverbs 1:2, and denotes rather discreet counsel. Compare the opposite traits of the fool (Proverbs 16:22).

justice  …  equity — all the attributes of one upright in all his relations to God and man.

Verse 4

simple — one easily led to good or evil; so the parallel.

young man — one inexperienced.

subtilty — or prudence (Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 5:21).

discretion — literally, “device,” both qualities, either good or bad, according to their use. Here good, as they imply wariness by which to escape evil and find good.

Verse 5-6

Such writings the wise, who pursue right ends by right means, will value.

learning — not the act, but matter of it.

wise counsels — or the art and principles of governing.

Verse 6

such will be the result.

interpretation — (Compare Margin).

words of the wise — (Compare Proverbs 1:2).

dark sayings — (Compare Psalm 49:4; John 16:25; and see on Introduction, Part I).

Verse 7

The fear of the Lord — the principle of true piety (compare Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 14:26, Proverbs 14:27; Job 28:28; Psalm 34:11; Psalm 111:10; Acts 9:31).

beginning — first part, foundation.

fools — the stupid and indifferent to God‘s character and government; hence the wicked.

Verse 8

My son — This paternal form denotes a tender regard for the reader. Filial sentiments rank next to piety towards God, and ensure most distinguished rewards (compare Proverbs 6:20; Ephesians 6:2, Ephesians 6:3).

Verse 9

On the figures of Proverbs 1:9, compare Genesis 41:42; Song of Solomon 1:10; Song of Solomon 4:9.

Verses 10-19

A solemn warning against temptation.

entice — literally, “open the way.”

consent … not — Sin is in consenting or yielding to temptation, not in being tempted.

Verses 11-14

Murder and robbery are given as specific illustrations.

lay wait  …  lurk privily — express an effort and hope for successful concealment.

swallow  …  grave — utterly destroy the victim and traces of the crime (Numbers 16:33; Psalm 55:15). Abundant rewards of villainy are promised as the fruits of this easy and safe course.

Verse 15-16

The society of the wicked (way or path) is dangerous. Avoid the beginnings of sin (Proverbs 4:14; Psalm 1:1; Psalm 119:101).

Verses 17-19

Men warned ought to escape danger as birds instinctively avoid visibly spread nets. But stupid sinners rush to their own ruin (Psalm 9:16), and, greedy of gain, succeed in the very schemes which destroy them (1 Timothy 6:10), not only failing to catch others, but procuring their own destruction.

Verses 20-33

Some interpreters regard this address as the language of the Son of God under the name of Wisdom (compare Luke 11:49). Others think that wisdom, as the divine attribute specially employed in acts of counsel and admonition, is here personified, and represents God. In either case the address is a most solemn and divine admonition, whose matter and spirit are eminently evangelical and impressive (see on Proverbs 8:1).

Wisdom — literally, “Wisdoms,” the plural used either because of the unusual sense, or as indicative of the great excellency of wisdom (compare Proverbs 9:1).

streets — or most public places, not secretly.

Verse 21

The publicity further indicated by terms designating places of most common resort.

Verse 22

simple ones — (Compare Proverbs 1:4).

simplicity — implying ignorance.

scorners — (Psalm 1:1) - who despise, as well as reject, truth.

fools — Though a different word is used from that of Proverbs 1:7, yet it is of the same meaning.

Verse 23

reproof — implying conviction deserving it (compare John 16:8, Margin).

pour out — abundantly impart.

my spirit — whether of wisdom personified, or of Christ, a divine agent.

Verse 24

hand — Earnestness, especially in beseeching, is denoted by the figure (compare Job 11:13; Psalm 68:31; Psalm 88:9).

Verse 25

set at naught — rejected as of no value.

would none of — literally, “were not willing or inclined to it.”

Verse 26-27

In their extreme distress He will not only refuse help, but aggravate it by derision.

Verse 27

fear — the object of it.

desolation — literally, “a tumultuous noise,” denoting their utter confusion.

destruction — or calamity (Proverbs 1:26) compared to a whirlwind, as to fatal rapidity.

distress — (Psalm 4:1; Psalm 44:11).

anguish — a state of inextricable oppression, the deepest despair.

Verse 28

Now no prayers or most diligent seeking will avail (Proverbs 8:17).

Verse 29-30

The sinner‘s infatuated rejection brings his ruin.

Verse 31

way — result of conduct (Isaiah 3:10; Ezekiel 11:21; Romans 6:21; Galatians 6:7, Galatians 6:8).

be filled — even to repletion (Psalm 123:4).

Verse 32

turning away — that is, from the call of Proverbs 1:23.

simple — as in Proverbs 1:22.

prosperity — quiet, implying indifference.

Verse 33

dwell safely — literally, “in confidence” (Deuteronomy 12:10).

be quiet — or at ease, in real prosperity.

from fear — without fear.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.