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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 2

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-11

Pro 2:1-11

How to Obtain Fear and Knowledge of God (Pro 2:1-11):

"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and lay up my commandments with thee; So as to incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thy heart to understanding; Yea, if thou cry after discernment, and lift up thy voice for understanding; If thou seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures: Then shalt thou understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:1-5). Solomon continues to speak to his readers as though they were his own children. A classic "if then" statement is found within these first five verses. If a son will do seven things then he will "understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God." Recall that Solomon had said that "The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7). Here is the formula for gaining a fear of Jehovah.

Solomon lists seven things for man to do to gain and understanding of fear and knowledge of God:

First, one must be willing to "receive my words" (i.e., words of instruction and wisdom - the source of which is divine revelation, father, and mother [see Proverbs 1:3; Proverbs 1:8]).

Secondly, one must not only receive instruction but "lay up my commandments" within the heart. One who only has knowledge yet refuse to apply the knowledge in life lacks wisdom. We must not only know but lay them to our heart; i.e., value the instructions and make them a part of our very being.

Thirdly, one must "incline thine ear unto wisdom." The one who will fear and know God is the one who’s purpose it is to obtain wisdom.

Fourthly, one must "apply thy heart to understanding." When we "apply" our hearts to something we are concerned about it. If we are concerned about understanding we will obtain it because it is something that we value in this life.

Fifthly, the one who is to fear and know God must "cry after discernment (to differentiate between things - like right and wrong)." When one "cries" after something it is of utmost importance in our lives. We will give great diligence to obtain it.

Sixthly, to obtain fear and knowledge of God one must "lift up the voice for understanding" (i.e., be inquisitive and curious about it; i.e., be interested in).

Seventhly, to obtain fear and knowledge of God one must seek and search after her as though it were hidden treasure. Fear and knowledge of God is identified as treasure throughout the scriptures (see Matthew 13:44; Colossians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 4:7).

The quest for understanding the fear of Jehovah and gaining knowledge begins with man’s willingness to value truth greater than anything this world has to offer. Such an approach to truth will see a man concerned, diligent, curious, and searching after truth. If wisdom and an understanding of the fear of God was something easily found on the surface then everyone would have it and it would not be something of value. Likewise if gold nuggets were laying all over the surface of our yards they would not be valuable. The fear of God is of great value and must be sought after diligently if one expects to find it.

"For Jehovah gives wisdom; out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding: He lays up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to them that walk in integrity; that he may guard the paths of justice, and preserve the way of his saints" (Proverbs 2:6-8). Again, wisdom is defined as sound judgment, insight, and understanding in relationship to the things of God and eternity. God gives wisdom to those who do the seven things listed above. When Jesus was asked why he spoke in parables he answered, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given..." (Matthew 13:10-11). Those that are given wisdom and knowledge are those who are willing, value, purpose to obtain, concerned about, are diligent to know, interested, and spend their time seeking and searching after it. God gives wisdom, knowledge and fear to such.

Those who could care less about truth, wisdom, knowledge, and the fear of Jehovah will do none of these things and thereby shall receive nothing. These are the "simple" (remember Proverbs 1:22). The simple love things that are easy. The simple don’t want to work for anything... they expect all things to be given to them in life. They are lazy and worthless. The simple will gamble away a paycheck in hopes of receiving a pot of gold for no work performed. The simple are unwilling to work hard to obtain things in this life and they hate those who do work hard. The simple will cheat on an exam because they don’t want to study. These are people who are opposed to hard labor. They want material blessings for no labor. God has no respect for such people and neither do the people of God.

Jehovah had predetermined before the foundation of the world that there would be men and women on both sides of wisdom, knowledge, and fear (see Ephesians 1:3-7; Romans 8:29-30). Jehovah will act as a shield and He will guard and preserve the saints (i.e., those who receive instruction, wisdom, knowledge, and fear God). The mathematics of the thought is simple. Those who are interested in God and thereby seek out wisdom in life shall obtain it and that wisdom shall shield and guard them against false teachers and worldliness. The saints will be those who exercise "sound judgment!"

"Then shalt thou understand righteousness and justice, and equity, yea, every good path. For wisdom shall enter into thy heart, and knowledge shall be pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall watch over thee; understanding shall keep thee" (Proverbs 2:9-11). So many foolish men and women in the body of Christ today exclaim, "We cannot know all truth...we cannot all agree on all parts of the scriptures... unity in faith can only be obtained by tolerating the diversity of man’s faith and understanding..." Notice that Solomon states that when a man or woman has the disposition to obtain knowledge, wisdom, and fear then "thou shalt understand..." When we value and diligently search after wisdom, knowledge, and discretion then these things shall "enter into thy heart, watch, and keep thee." Though men act as though wisdom and understanding of divine things are an impossible swim across and ocean or flight into the heavens the Lord tells us that those who truly desire will have it because they gave diligence to obtain it (Deuteronomy 30:11-12; Romans 10:5 ff; 2 Timothy 2:15).

Don’t you want to know "every good path" to take in this life? Don’t you want to be able to give an answer to every man concerning the faith within you (1 Peter 3:15)? Don’t you want to be able to give a thus saith Jehovah for every question that comes up within the church today? God will direct us in paths of righteousness if only we will seek them out. I can know the answer to every spiritual question as I search it out in the authorized word of God.

Verses 9-11

Pro 2:9-11

Proverbs 2:9-11


"Then shalt thou understand righteousness and justice,

And equity, yea, every good path.

For wisdom shall enter into thy heart,

And knowledge shall be pleasant unto thy soul;

Discretion shall watch over thee;

Understanding shall keep thee:"

"Many men in high office who are guiding the destiny of our nation today are not being guided by the Lord.” The righteousness, justice and equity needed in a well-ordered society are available only in God’s Word. The tragic word in the sacred Scriptures is that, "It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). Every generation of mankind has repeatedly proved this to be the truth.

"Knowledge shall be pleasant unto thy soul" (Proverbs 2:10). Men must appreciate wisdom in order to profit by it. "It is one thing to be acquainted with wisdom, and quite another for wisdom to be welcomed as a ’pleasant’ guest.”

"Understanding shall keep thee" (Proverbs 2:11). These words introduce another facet of the benefits of wisdom and the knowledge of God to which it leads; and that is, "It is not only that to which wisdom leads a man, but it is that from which it saves him, or keeps him, that eternally blesses him." The following verses will provide examples of this.

Proverbs 2:9. Here are things that every person should understand and not be confused about. If one so applies himself to get wisdom, God will bless him with it, and that will include an understanding of these basic things.

Proverbs 2:10. ‘“Shall enter’ in the sense of permanent residence in the heart” (“Pulpit Commentary”). Colossians 3:15 uses the same figure of speech concerning the Word of Christ and our hearts: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” “Dwell” in this verse means to “make a home for”. The heart that has made wisdom its permanent inhabitant will be a soul blessed with pleasantness and satisfaction.

Proverbs 2:11. When blessed with wisdom, “discretion” will be there to guard what we say, what we do, the policies we adopt, etc., and “understanding” will be there to keep us from small embarrassments and costly mistakes. Proverbs 6:22 similarly says, “When thou wakest, it shall lead thee; When thou sleepest, it shall watch over thee.”

STUDY QUESTIONS - Proverbs 2:9-11

1. How different would the world be if everybody understood these things (Proverbs 2:9)?

2. Knowledge should be ................ (Proverbs 2:10).

3. What is “discretion” (Proverbs 2:11)?

Verses 12-15

Pro 2:12-15

Proverbs 2:12-15


"To deliver thee from the way of evil,

From the men who speak perverse things;

Who forsake the paths of righteousness,

To walk in the ways of darkness;

Who rejoice to do evil,

And delight in the perverseness of evil;

Who are crooked in their ways,

And wayward in their paths:"

This paragraph speaks of the seditious and subversive enemies that form the bottom layer of every society. "They wish to subvert the state of things, whether or religious; they are seditious themselves and wish to make others so; they speak much of liberty, oppression, injustice, etc., endeavoring especially to corrupt the youth.” Such men are totally destructive, rebellious and critical; and they are bankrupt of any worthwhile purpose.

"To walk in the ways of darkness" (Proverbs 2:13). Christians are specifically warned against the ways of darkness. Much of the world’s evil is perpetrated in darkness, due to men’s instinctive desire to hide their evil deeds. "The word darkness carries with it two ideas (1) ignorance, and (2) error.” To walk in darkness is therefore to reject the true light of wisdom and to practice iniquity. The apostle Paul has commanded us to, "Cast off the works of darkness" (Romans 13:12): and in the same breath he mentioned among those works such things as, "Reveling, drunkenness, debauchery, licentiousness, quarreling and jealousy" (Romans 13:13).

"Who rejoice to do evil" (Proverbs 2:14). This fingers an amazing trait of wicked men; they rejoice in evil! "A malignant joy lights up the countenance of any abandoned sinner at the very prospect of some wicked deed. This is Satanic wickedness; and such men may exclaim with Milton’s Satan, `Evil, be thou my good’!”

Proverbs 2:12. Wisdom will keep one from taking up with evil men (this verse) and with evil women (Proverbs 2:16). The word “deliver” suggests that evil men are out to snare such young men into their plots and ways. The “perverse” speech of evil men is pointed out. There is a certain speech that goes with evil men—usually coarse words, vulgar words, irreverent words.

Proverbs 2:13. Some of those now evil were once on the right road, for they forsook the “paths of uprightness”. Probably as children they were taught the right way. Oh, how many drift from their childhood teachings into the “ways of darkness” (sin)! Those who walk in evil ways always try to get others to fall as they have, but how foolish to listen to them!

Proverbs 2:14. The wicked become perverted: instead of grieving over evil, they rejoice in doing it. “It is as sport to a fool to do wickedness” (Proverbs 10:23); “When thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest” (Jeremiah 11:15); “Who, knowing the ordinance of God, that they that practice such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but also consent with them that practise them” (Romans 1:32). We are forbidden to desire evil: “Abhor that which is evil” (Romans 12;&); “Love not the world...the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vain-glory of life” (1 John 2:15-16).

Proverbs 2:15. Instead of walking a straight and right course, they are further described as “crooked”, and instead of staying on the right way, they are said to be “wayward” in their paths. Psalms 125:5 speaks of those who “turn aside unto their crooked ways”. It is from this crookedness and waywardness that true wisdom will deliver a young man.

STUDY QUESTIONS - Proverbs 2:12-15

1.Does true knowledge trust all persons indiscriminately (Proverbs 2:12)?

2. What double sin were they guilty of (Proverbs 2:13)?

3. What about their rejoicing (Proverbs 2:14)?

4. Why do we speak of dishonest people as “crooked” (Proverbs 2:15)?

Verses 12-22

Pro 2:12-22

The Value of Wisdom, Understanding, and Fear

(Proverbs 2:12-19):

"To deliver thee from the way of evil, from the men that speak perverse things; who forsake the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the perverseness of evil; who are crooked in their ways, and wayward in their paths:" (Proverbs 2:12-15). Solomon mentions two things that those who obtain wisdom and the fear of God will be delivered from. First, the wise and fearful of God, will be delivered from "the way of evil."

The "way of evil" is depicted in "men that speak perverse things." The wise are neither interested or entertained by the perverse tongue of those of the world. The wise cringe and are offended at filthy jokes, the hearing of cursing, and the perverted dealings of man. The "way of evil" is depicted in those "who forsake the paths of uprightness and walk in the ways of darkness." The wise "walk worthily of the calling wherewith they were called" (Ephesians 4:1 ff). The wise and fearful of God do not speak to others as though they were better. The wise do not make sinful plans. The wise are careful to follow God’s will. The "way of evil" is depicted as "rejoicing and delighting in perverted ways." The wicked are seen today laughing and happy when they are drunk, sexually immoral, and speaking perverse things to one another. Their triumphs in life are experienced when they perform their acts of foolishness. They think it is funny and they believe these acts to be a measure of true success and happiness. The "way of evil" is "crooked and wayward." Cheating and thievery is a way of life for these people. They will cheat on tests and cheat people out of money through deception and lies because they want something for no work.

"To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the foreigner that flatters with her words; that forsake the friend of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God: for her house inclines unto death, and her paths unto the dead; none that go unto her return again, neither do they attain unto the paths of life:" (2:16-19). The second thing that Solomon tells us that wisdom and the fear of Jehovah will deliver us from is the "strange woman." Interestingly, the same word; i.e., "strange" is used to describe the fire that Nadab and Abihu had unlawfully placed upon the altar and were thereby killed (see Leviticus 10:1-3). Their fire was "strange" because it was something that God "had not commanded." The woman under consideration is "strange and foreign" to a man because she is unlawful to have. Those who go into her do so at the expense of their soul. Remember that Jesus said, "What will a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)

The power of man’s lusts and the strange woman’s flattering words will be averted by the wise because they are men of understanding and have obtained fear of Jehovah. The wise have no desire to place themselves in such situations because of their love and understanding of truth. There are grave consequences to adultery and fornication.

Path of Righteousness and Perfection is the Best Way

(Proverbs 2:20-22):

"That thou mayest walk in the ways of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it" (Proverbs 2:20-21). Solomon identifies the "good, righteous, upright, and perfect" among men. These people are those who have obtained wisdom and fear of God through the reception and interest in instruction. God’s will for man is perfection (Matthew 5:48) and holiness (1 Peter 1:15-16). Those who obtain wisdom and fear of God will "remain in it" because they have insight and understanding of the big picture of man’s existence.

"But the wicked shall be cut off from the land, and the treacherous shall be rooted out of it" (Proverbs 2:22). Solomon contrasts the blessings of the wise with the punishment of the wicked who despise instruction. While the good, righteous, upright, and perfect man will dwell in the land (or earth) the wicked and treacherous shall be cut off and rooted out of the land.

The picture is one of utter extermination of the wicked. Their end punishment will be so complete that they will no longer exists among the upright. Visions of the eternal banishment to hell with its fire and misery are no doubt under consideration (see Revelation 20:10 ff).

Let us all remember that wisdom (the fear of God) is crying aloud for mankind to hear and receive her (Proverbs 1:20-21). She is available to all who would diligently seek her with great interest as though she were the greatest treasure to obtain in this life. Those who view wisdom as a great treasure above all that this earth has to offer they will naturally spend all their time and energy obtaining her. When one finds wisdom and the fear of God they will be delivered from wickedness and the sexually immoral woman. God will certainly reward the man or woman who finds and holds to wisdom. The simple; however, will be eternally condemned. The simple are those who want something for nothing. The simple will cheat on tests, gamble their paychecks away, lie to gain favor, and are altogether opposed to labor of any sort.

Verses 16-19

Pro 2:16-19

Proverbs 2:16-19


"To deliver thee from the strange woman,

Even from the foreigner that flattereth with her words;

That forsaketh the friend of her youth,

And forgetteth the covenant of her God:

For her house inclineth unto death,

And her paths unto the dead;

None that go unto her return again,

Neither do they attain unto the paths of life:"

"To deliver thee from the strange woman" (Proverbs 2:16). Who is this strange woman? According to Cook, "She is none other than a foreigner"; but the mention of her having forgotten "the covenant of her God," identifies her as an Israelite who had been in covenant relationship with the Lord. Others have identified her as a religious prostitute attached to some pagan shrine; but the simple truth appears to be that. "The strange woman here is any meretricious person who indulges in illicit sex.”

(This is the first of several warnings against adultery in the book of Proverbs; others are in Proverbs 5:3-23; Proverbs 6:20-35; Proverbs 7:1-27; Proverbs 9:13-18). The thing that amazes this writer is that the author of these instructions was himself the most fantastic violator of these warnings ever known.

"Some Jewish commentators personify the strange woman here and make her a symbol of some form of foreign philosophy; but, very probably, the reference is to literal vice.”

The use of the word "stranger" (or strange woman) in Proverbs is not to be understood in its ordinary meaning. Ruth called herself a stranger (Ruth 2:10); but, "In Proverbs, these words are euphemisms for harlot.”

"That forsaketh the friend of her youth" (Proverbs 2:17). Most scholars agree that these words refer to the woman’s husband.

"Her house inclineth unto death" (Proverbs 2:18). "Men come away from every unlawful indulgence other than they go - weaker and worse in soul. Alas for the morrow of incontinence, of whatever kind it is! The soul is injured; self-respect is slain; his force is diminished; he is on the incline that slopes to death; and one step nearer to it than ever before. `Her house inclineth unto death’!”

"Adultery is a house slanted toward the death of the spirit; and Divine wisdom is essential for deliverance from its temptation and torment.”

Proverbs 2:16. A “strange” woman means one who is not his wife; she is a “foreigner” to him because she is not related to him in marriage. This is a warning against loose, lascivious living that ends in sexual misbehavior. Several chapters (or extended sections) are devoted to warning against such involvements (here; Proverbs 5:1-23; Proverbs 6:23-25; Proverbs 7:4-27; Proverbs 9:13-18). Our verse warns of her enticing words (“flattereth with her words”). Other verses do the same: “The lips of a strange woman drop honey, And her mouth is smoother than oil” (Proverbs 5:3); “To keep thee from the evil woman, From the flattery of the foreigner’s tongue” (Proverbs 6:24); “With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield; with the flattering of her lips she forceth him along” (Proverbs 7:21).

Proverbs 2:17. Such a woman was once married, but she has forsaken her husband (here called “the friend of her youth”). What a poor one to get mixed up with! She is not only untrue to man (her husband), but she “forgetteth the covenant of her God” (God’s covenant or law forbids her to leave her husband and live as she is living). But her actions show that she doesn’t care what God says.!

Proverbs 2:18. Her “house” is referred to because this is where she “operates” her dirty business. Other passages on immorality and death: “Her feet go down to death; Her steps take hold on Sheol” (Proverbs 5:5); “Her house is the way to Sheol, Going down to the chambers of death” (Proverbs 7:27). The results are a bold contrast to her enticing promises: “As for him that is void of understanding, she saith to him, stolen waters are sweet, And bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; that her guests are in the depths of Sheol” (Proverbs 9:16-18).

Proverbs 2:19. “The difficulty which they who give themselves up to the indulgence of lust and passion encounter in extricating themselves makes the statement...an almost universal truth...It is as difficult to bring back a libidinous person to chastity as a dead man to life. This passage led some...to declare that the sin of adultery was unpardonable. Fornication was classed by the scholastic divines among the seven deadly sins” (“Pulpit Commentary”).

STUDY QUESTIONS - Proverbs 2:16-19

1. Young men should be strongly warned to watch out for dishonest men and ................. women (Proverbs 2:12; Proverbs 2:16).

2. What “covenant” (Proverbs 2:17)?

3. Why mention her “house” (Proverbs 2:18)?

4. They don’t “return” in what sense (Proverbs 2:19)?

Verses 20-22

Pro 2:20-22

Proverbs 2:20-22


"That thou mayest walk in the way of good men,

And keep the paths of righteousness.

For the upright shall dwell in the land,

And the perfect shall remain in it.

But the wicked shall be cut off from the land,

And the treacherous shall be rooted out of it."

Although "the land" as used in these verses was probably understood by the Israelites as the Palestine, that is, "The Promised Land," it should be remembered that "The Promised Land" itself is a valid Biblical symbol of something far more wonderful, namely, heaven itself; and it is in that sense that the Christian should read these verses.

The Old Testament promises of the rewards of righteousness stressed the physical and material things of the present age rather that the eschatological wonders of the world to come; but they were not entirely wrong in this. "There is still impressive evidence that integrity pays better than treachery, that honesty is better than thievery, that truthfulness is better than falsehood, and that righteousness is better than wickedness, even in human terms.”

Proverbs 2:20. The “good men” of this verse are to be contrasted with the evil men of Proverbs 2:12, and their good lives with the evil men who indulge with evil women.

Proverbs 2:21. In contrast with “death” resulting from the indulgent life, this verse speaks of the good men getting to live on. Psalms 37 stresses this blessing of godliness: Those that wait for Jehovah, they shall inherit the land” (Psalms 37:9); “The meek shall inherit the land” (Psalms 37:11); “Such as are blessed of him shall inherit the land” (Psalms 37:22); “The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell therein for ever” (Psalms 37:29).

Proverbs 2:22. The doom of the wicked is again mentioned. This fact is also stressed in Psalms 37 : “They shall soon be cut down like the grass” (Psalms 37:2); “Evil-doers shall be cut off” (Psalms 37:9); “Yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be” (Psalms 37:10); “The arms of the wicked shall be broken” (Psalms 37:17); “The wicked shall perish, And the enemies of Jehovah shall be as the fat of lambs: They shall consume; in smoke shall they consume away” (Psalms 37:20); “They that are cursed of him shall be cut off” (Psalms 37:22); “The seed of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalms 37:28); “I have seen the wicked in great power, And spreading himself like a green tree in its native soil. But one passed by, and, lo, he was not: Yea, I sought him, but he could not be found” (Psalms 37:35-36); “As for the transgressors, they shall be destroyed together: The end of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalms 37:38).

STUDY QUESTIONS - Proverbs 2:19-22

1. They don’t “return” in what sense (Proverbs 2:19)?

2. What kind of men avoid such women (Proverbs 2:20)?

3. What are the parallel words in Proverbs 2:21?

4. What are the parallel words in Proverbs 2:22?

Moral Benefits of Wisdom - Proverbs 2:1-22

Open It

1. Why do people engage in habits that they know will hurt them?

2. What bad habit have you successfully broken?

3. What is something you have diligently pursued in life?

Explore It

4. What did Solomon encourage us to do? Why? (Proverbs 2:1-5)

5. What is the theme of this chapter? (Proverbs 2:1-22)

6. What are some of the benefits of wisdom? (Proverbs 2:1-22)

7. How should we look for wisdom? (Proverbs 2:4)

8. What happens to the person who accepts these words? (Proverbs 2:5)

9. What does the Lord give? (Proverbs 2:6)

10. What does the Lord do for the upright? (Proverbs 2:7-8)

11. What did Solomon say the reader would understand? (Proverbs 2:9-11)

12. From what can wisdom save us? (Proverbs 2:12; Proverbs 2:16)

13. How did Solomon describe wicked people? (Proverbs 2:12-15)

14. How did Solomon describe the adulteress? (Proverbs 2:16-17)

15. About whom did Solomon warn us? (Proverbs 2:16-17)

16. What results from being seduced by an adulteress? (Proverbs 2:18-19)

17. What will happen to the upright and to the wicked? (Proverbs 2:20-22)

Get It

18. How does wisdom benefit a person’s life?

19. Why is it hard to pursue and to accept wisdom?

20. When has the Lord given you wisdom?

21. What does it mean to understand what is right and just?

22. In what way has wisdom been a shield in your life?

23. Why are the ways of the wicked and the path of the adulteress so enticing?

24. How does wisdom save a person from the wicked and the adulteress?

25. Why do people pursue sin when they know it will destroy them?

26. In what way is wisdom like hidden treasure?

27. What is it about sin that makes it so tempting?

28. When are you the most tempted by sin?

Apply It

29. What can you do today to accept wisdom and to apply your heart to understanding?

30. What tempting situation will you plan to avoid this week?

31. What is one way you can make wisdom your shield?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Proverbs 2". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/proverbs-2.html.
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