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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Proverbs 4



Verse 1-2

Proverbs 4:1-27. To an earnest call for attention to his teachings, the writer adds a commendation of wisdom, preceded and enforced by the counsels of his father and teacher. To this he adds a caution (against the devices of the wicked), and a series of exhortations to docility, integrity, and uprightness.

(Compare Proverbs 1:8).

to know — in order to know.

doctrine — the matter of learning (Proverbs 1:5), such as he had received (Lamentations 3:1).

Verse 3

father‘s son — emphatic, a son specially regarded, and so called tender, as an object of special care (compare 1 Chronicles 22:7; 1 Chronicles 29:1); an idea further expressed by

only beloved — or, “as an only son” (Genesis 22:2), though he had brothers (see on 1 Chronicles 3:5).

Verse 4

He taught — or directed me.

retain — as well as receive.

keep … and live — observe, that you may live (Proverbs 7:2).

Verse 5

Get — as a possession not to be given up.

neither decline — that is, from obeying my word.

Verse 6

Not only accept but love wisdom, who will keep thee from evil, and evil from thee.

Verse 7

(Compare Job 28:28).

getting — or possession; a desire for wisdom is wise.

Verse 8

As you highly esteem her, she will raise you to honor.

embrace her — with fond affection.

Verse 9

ornament — such as the chaplet or wreath of conquerors.

deliver — (Compare Genesis 14:20). The allusion to a shield, contained in the Hebrew, suggests protection as well as honor (compare Proverbs 4:6).

Verse 10

(Compare Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 3:2).

Verse 11-12

way of wisdom — which it prescribes.

led thee — literally, “caused thee to tread,” as a path (Psalm 107:7).

not be straitened — have ample room (Psalm 18:36).

Verse 13

(Compare Proverbs 3:18). The figure of laying hold with the hand suggests earnest effort.

Verse 14

(Compare Psalm 1:1). Avoid all temptations to the beginning of evil.

Verse 16-17

The reason is found in the character of sinners, whose zeal to do evil is forcibly depicted (Proverbs 6:4; Psalm 36:5). They live by flagrant vices (Proverbs 1:13). Some prefer to render, “Their bread is wickedness, their drink violence” (compare Job 15:16; Job 34:7).

Verse 18-19

As shining light increases from twilight to noonday splendor, so the course of the just increases in purity, but that of the wicked is as thickest darkness, in which one knows not on what he stumbles.

Verses 20-22

(Compare Proverbs 4:10, Proverbs 4:13; Proverbs 3:8, etc.).

Verse 22

health … flesh — by preserving from vices destructive of health.

Verse 23

with all diligence — or, “above,” or “more than all,” custody (compare Margin), all that is kept (compare Ezekiel 38:7), because the heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects life and character (Matthew 12:35; Matthew 15:19).

Verse 24

a froward mouth — that is, a mouth, or words of ill nature. The Hebrew word differs from that used (Proverbs 2:15; Proverbs 3:32).

perverse — or, “quarreling.”

lips — or, “words.”

Verse 25

Let … before thee — that is, pursue a sincere and direct purpose, avoiding temptations.

Verse 26

Ponder — Consider well; a wise course results from wise forethought.

Verse 27

(Compare Proverbs 4:25). Avoid all by-paths of evil (Deuteronomy 2:27; Deuteronomy 17:11). A life of integrity requires attention to heart, speech, eyes, and conduct.


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.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 4:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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