The general design of parables is here described. A number of select maxims are given, and the object of the whale volume is set forth in shewing that it is to bring men acquainted with Gad, as the beginning and end of all wisdom.
Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;
We have here the title of the book and the name of the Author of it. But as the book itself forms a part of, the sacred scriptures, and carries With it in many parts, decided testimonies of its inspiration, we should be always upon the look out for Him, on whose account all scripture was written, and for the promotion of whose glory in the salvation a his church and people all was intended. Reader! let you and study to find Christ as we go over the book of the Proverbs. And while we are reading the Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel, recollect that our Jedidiah, our beloved of the Lord, was also the Son of David, after the flesh, and both king of Israel, and King of kings and Lord of lords. Precious Jesus! do thou, by both Writer and Reader, while we are attending to these parables, as thou didst by thy disciples in the days of thy flesh, when we are alone with thee, do thou expound all things to us concerning thyself. Mark 4:34; 2 Samuel 12:25
To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
These verses seem to be designed as a preamble or general preface to the book itself. And I particularly beg the Reader to remark with me, that under this idea, a proverb is said to be a dark saying, intimating that there is much more in it than might at first sight be supposed. And therefore, through the whole of the proverbs, we are taught to be looking beyond the surface for the grand substance that is concealed. And this if I do not greatly err, we shall find to be Christ. He is the wisdom which is here spoken of, and for which the proverbs are given. He calls himself by the name, Luke 7:35. Lord, I would pray, give to him that writes, and to him that reads, a rigid understanding in all things; that we may discover Christ to be both the wisdom of God and the power of God, for salvation to everyone that believeth, 1 Corinthians 1:21-24.
My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
The sacred writer of this book having given the preface of his book, here enters upon the subject of it; and that he might enforce what he bad to say still more, he begins it with an exhortation. Under the character of an Instructor, as a father of his children, he endeavours to gain their affection by such a tender appellation, as that of a father ad dressing his son. And if the Reader observes, the opening of his discourse is altogether upon the plan and principles of the gospel. For it points to the corruption of the heart in the enticement of sinners, and the propensity of our nature to listen to the temptation. Among the first offices of the Holy Ghost, the convincing of sin stands pointed out by him, whose office character' is that of wisdom. And I hope the Reader hath not now to learn that the very apprehension of Christ as a Saviour, pre-supposes that we have a thorough sense of our need of Christ in the consciousness of our being sinners. John 14:7-8.
Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
These verses are introduced with great beauty after the former. Having in some measure prepared the heart for receiving instruction, by turning up the fallow ground, to sow in righteousness. Christ is here introduced in his gracious office, as calling upon the sinner, wounded under a sense of sin, to look unto him and to be saved. Hosea 10:12; Isaiah 45:22. I do not think it necessary to detain the Reader with a long commentary on the several parts of this divine sermon; for if (as I pray the Lord may be the case) the Lord the Holy Ghost be our Teacher, it is his gracious office to take of the things of Jesus and skew them to us. And under his teaching it will not be difficult to find Jesus in every part of it. John 16:14. I must not, however, omit one observation in this place, because it is important. The word here translated, wisdom, is in the original, in the plural number wisdoms. I do not positively presume to say, wherefore it is so; but I venture to believe, that as wisdom is a well-known office-character of Jesus, as the Christ; that is in united natures of God and wan in one Person; it was intended to convey to the church, that Christ is in the abstract, all wisdoms in one; for in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3. And I am the more inclined to this opinion, because the sacred writers, in their reference to Jesus, seem to delight in plurals. We have a beautiful example of this kind in the first Psalm. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, etc. The man here spoken of, can be no other than Christ, for very obvious reasons, as I have shewn in the commentary on that part of scripture. For none among the fallen sons of men can be said with truth to be blessed, but in him. But what I particularly request the Reader to observe with me now is, that the word translated in that psalm blessed, is also in the plural number, and implying all blessedness in one. And Christ is all this; for as blessedness doth not consist in one good thing, but a thorough and complete blessedness takes in all, so Christ and Christ alone is this: and He that is wisdom, being the essential source and fountain of all wisdom to all the different streams of it, is no less the whole sum and substance of blessedness in giving existence to it in all the distributions of it among his creatures. Reader! I pray you pause over the thought! And think what an infinite mind must our Jesus possess, since every portion of knowledge, and intellect, and wisdom, is derived from Him who is in himself wisdoms. Conceive, if possible, what blessedness in all the fullness of infinity, must constitute Him, who is our Christ, in whom all nations of the earth can alone be blessed! Psalms 72:17. And Reader! do indulge me with adding one thought more for your meditation on this sweet subject, as well as my own. If Jesus be thus wisdoms and blessedness in the full aggregate of both, to the total exclusion of every other, but as derived from him; think what unspeakable felicity must it be to be interested in him, yea, to be a part in him, by virtue of our union with him, as the Head of his church, and consequently entitled to all such proportions both of wisdom and blessedness as shall be for his glory, and his church's happiness! For we do not come to him to give us wisdom only, but for himself to be our wisdom; not only to give us blessedness, but himself to be our blessedness; and thus not only to bring us to the everlasting enjoyment of both; but to be himself the sum and substance of both, in being our wisdom, blessedness, and portion forever. Oh! the unspeakable blessedness of Christ, well may we cry out with the apostle, Now thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15.
READER! Is it indeed Jesus that thus crieth Without and uttereth his voice in the streets? And shall not you and I go to him, and attend to him, and listen with suitable earnestness of soul, to what this divine Teacher teacheth? Did all the earth seek to hear the wisdom of Solomon, were they gathered from every part of it to his court? and shall not we be earnest to receive instruction, when a greater than Solomon is here? Oh! thou, whose name is indeed Wisdoms! because nothing that is wise can be found, but in thee: do thou, blessed Jesus, while thou art calling without, incline my heart within to seek for thee as for hidden treasure, and to value thy love more than the choicest gold. and while thousands, and tens of thousands, are ignorant of thee, and know not where wisdom is to be found, and where is the place of understanding; while the depth saith, it is not in me; and the sea saith, it is not with me: oh! Lord, give me to see, that in thee are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and that in possessing thee, I possess all things. Be thou, Lord, to me, the Wonderful Counsellor, for then shall I understand this book of the Proverbs, the words of the wise, and their dark sayings: then, through thy grace, will my feet be kept from evil, neither shall I run into the congregation of sinners. Yes! blessed Lord, I shall delight to sit at thy footstool, to hear the gracious words which proceed from thy mouth. And I shall more and more discover in thee, that thou art all in all, the Lord, My wisdom. and my righteousness, and that thou art made of God, unto me wisdom, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; and that all my glorying is in thee, 0 Lord.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany