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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Proverbs 2

 

 

Verse 1

My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

Proverbs 2:1-22.-There are two leading propositions:

I. Proverbs 2:1-9, with three antecedent conditions and two consequents: Proverbs 2:1, "If; Proverbs 2:3, "If;" Proverbs 2:4, "If;" I. Proverbs 2:1-9, with three antecedent conditions and two consequents: Proverbs 2:1, "If; Proverbs 2:3, "If;" Proverbs 2:4, "If;" and Proverbs 2:5 , "Then;" Proverbs 2:9. "Then."

II. Proverbs 2:10-22 with one antecedent and one consequent: Proverbs 2:10, "When;" Proverbs 2:11 (then as the consequence), "Discretion shall preserve thee," etc.; with a threefold subordinate and dependent effect, "To deliver thee," Proverbs 2:12; "To deliver thee," Proverbs 2:16; "That thou mayest walk in the way of good men," Proverbs 2:20.

Wisdom invites the youth as a son to hide in his heart her commandments, the result of which will be, he will understand the fear and the knowledge of the Lord, and righteousness and every good path (Proverbs 2:1-9). She invites him to admit wisdom into his heart, because when it is pleasant unto the soul, discretion shall preserve him so as to deliver him from the way of the evil man, and from the strange woman, whose paths lead unto the dead, and so as to make him walk in the way of good men, who alone shall be saved when the wicked shall be cut off (Proverbs 2:10-22).

My son, if thou wilt receive my words - as he that received the seed of the Word into the good ground, hearing and understanding it, and bearing fruit (Matthew 13:23).

And hide my commandments with thee - treasure them up in thy heart, as when the man found the treasure in the field he hid it safely (Matthew 13:44); and as Mary "kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19; Luke 2:51). The safeguard against sin (Psalms 119:11).


Verse 2

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, (and) apply thine heart to understanding. The ear is the avenue to the heart, unless men stop the avenue, as the Jews did (Zechariah 7:11; Acts 7:57). "The hearing ear" is God's gift (Proverbs 20:12). Our part is to stir up the gift of God by an active practical habit of attention. The emperor Constantine stood hours to hear the Word; and when asked to sit, replied, that he thought it wicked to give negligent ears when the truth handled was spoken of God,' (Eusebius, 'De Vita Constant.,' L. 4:)


Verse 3

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, (and) liftest up thy voice for understanding. The summit of the ascending climax. Solomon had said that the words of Wisdom are to be received with the ear and with the heart, and this with attentive and diligent application; he now stirs up the hearer to crown all by crying in prayer for spiritual understanding, lifting up the voice fervently.


Verse 4

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as (for) hid treasures - not content with merely one look, or an ordinary searching, but again and again seeking by every means. Treasures anciently, when there were no banks, were often hidden in the earth. True knowledge lies deep as in a mine; and they alone will get the precious ore who dig down into it, not grudging time, delays, pains, expense. The same image occurs John 5:39, "Search [ ereunate (Greek #2045)] the Scriptures." Not merely scrape the surface, and get a few superficial scraps of knowledge, but dig deep, and far, and wide. The "treasures" are 'hidden' by God, not in order to keep them back from us, but to stimulate our faith and patient perseverance in searching for them. The merchant was "seeking goodly pearls" when he "found one pearl of great price." And the man who (by God's special grace), though not seeking, yet found the "treasure hid in a field," when he had found it, spared no cost or pains to make it his (Matthew 13:44-45). It is Heavenly Wisdom that first "seeks diligently until she finds" the sinner (Luke 15:8). before that he seeks her.


Verse 5

Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. "Then," the consequent of the "if," Proverbs 2:1; "if," Proverbs 2:3; "if," Proverbs 2:4. The fear (reverent service) of the Lord is inseparable from the true knowledge of the Lord.


Verse 6

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth (cometh) knowledge and understanding. Solomon knew this by experience (1 Kings 3:9; 1 Kings 3:12; cf. James 1:5). The "for" gives the reason why he who is anxious to have wisdom should learn to know and worship God. "The fear of the Lord" and "the knowledge of God is to be your final end." "For the Lord giveth wisdom." Do not fear lest you should be disappointed if you search for heavenly "knowledge" with prayer (Proverbs 2:3-4); because "the Lord giveth wisdom" to them that ask (Matthew 7:11). Do not, on the other hand, be self-confident, as if you could get it by your own efforts; because it is the Lord who gives it, as its Author, even as the Lord is the object to whom all true wisdom tends, and in whom it finds its center (for "the fear of the Lord, Proverbs 2:5, is the beginning of knowledge," Proverbs 1:7).


Verse 7

He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous. "He layeth up" as a "hid treasure," in order to call forth sedulous "searching" on our part (Proverbs 2:4). "Sound wisdom" [ tuwshiyaah (Hebrew #8454)] - literally, essence, real being; hence, essential, substantial - i:e., real solid wisdom, as contrasted with the vanities of worldly science, gain, and pleasure, which are not substantial, and have no stability, solidity, or permanence (cf. Proverbs 8:14). "The righteous" - Hebrew [ y


Verse 8

He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

He keepeth the paths of judgment - Hebrew, 'so as that [li-] He may keep the paths of judgment' - i:e., that He may cause the upright to keep the paths of judgment-that they may have a right judgment in all things. This is the end for which He is a "buckler" to them (Proverbs 2:7).

And preserveth the way of his saints. This is the secret of their 'walking uprightly' (Proverbs 2:7), which they could not do of themselves. "Saints" - Hebrew, chasidaiv; literally, the merciful (those who have obtained mercy, and so are merciful), the pious, the godly (Ps. 91:11; 27:23-24; 1 Samuel 2:9 , "He will keep the feet of his saints").


Verse 9

Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; (yea), every good path - if thou shall duly seek wisdom. This is a second consequent besides Proverbs 2:5 to the antecedent "ifs" Proverbs 2:1; Proverbs 2:3-4. On these words see Proverbs 1:3. That only is "sound wisdom" (Proverbs 2:7) which leads us into "every good path."


Verse 10-11

When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee. Proverbs 2:10 is the antecedent; Proverbs 2:11 the consequent. The kind of "wisdom" to be sought for diligently, as being the effectual wisdom, is not that which gains merely a momentary entrance, but that which "enters" deeply "into the heart" (Psalms 119:130), so as to become "pleasant to the soul." When it is such, it not merely gives "every good" (Proverbs 2:9), but it "preserves" and "keeps" from all evil (Psalms 119:11; Psalms 119:104). It is he who 'delights in the law of the Lord' that is kept safe from 'walking in the counsel of the ungodly' (Psalms 1:1-2). "Preserve thee" - literally, 'keep guard over thee.' The Lord "keeps" His people "as the apple of his eye" (Deuteronomy 32:10; Isaiah 27:3).


Verse 12

To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;

To deliver thee from the way of the evil (man), from the man that speaketh froward things - things contrary to what is right. (Compare with instance of their froward speeches, Proverbs 1:11-14.)


Verse 13

Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

Who leave the paths uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness Their love of darkness rather than light is the reason why they "leave the paths of uprightness," which are paths of light (John 3:19-20; Job 24:15; Isaiah 29:15; Romans 13:12; Ephesians 5:11). The destination to which the ways of darkness tend is the "outer darkness; where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12).


Verse 14

Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;

Who rejoice to do evil, (and) delight in the frowardness of the wicked - (Proverbs 10:23; Isaiah 3:9; Jeremiah 11:15. end.) Thus, Ahab "sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up" (1 Kings 21:25). It is a just judgment of God to give up to their own delusion them "that have pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thessalonians 2:12). Delight," exult, leap with joy at hearing of frowardness of other wicked men. So Romans 1:32. But the end is death. Their leap for joy, says Cornelius a Lapide, is like that of those bitten with the tarantula in Appulia, who leap, and leaping die. (Contrast Psalms 40:8, "I delight to do thy will, O my God.") The godly grieve bitterly, like Peter, when they are overtaken in a fault.


Verse 15

Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:

Whose ways are crooked, and (they) froward in their paths. Rather, as the noun is feminine and the adjective masculine, 'Who are crooked in their ways.' Though once they were in "the paths of uprightness" (Proverbs 2:13), they go aside into their "crooked" and "perverse" ways (Psalms 125:5). They are now frowardnesses (i:e., nothing but frowardness, as Bayne explains the Hebrew), so that none can walk with them, and yet walk aright.


Verse 16

To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;

To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words - (like Proverbs 2:12, which has the same formula.) "To deliver thee:" this verse depends on Proverbs 2:11, "Discretion ... understanding shall keep thee," so as "to deliver thee from the strange woman." Twice Solomon uses a similar expression, "the strange woman, (even) the stranger," to impress more forcibly on the young man the fact that her person belongs to another, and so to deter him from connection with her (cf. Proverbs 2:17; Proverbs 5:20). The literal and the spiritual adulteress and temptress are both meant. The spiritual gives to the world her person and her heart, which belong by right to God. In this sense the foreign women who subsequently drew aside Solomon himself, were "strange women," not so much in respect to their local distance from Israel, as in respect to their being utterly alien to the worship of God. Lust and idolatry were the spiritual adultery into which they entrapped the once wise king. How striking that he should utter beforehand a warning which he afterward himself disregarded! (Nehemiah 13:26, "Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin;" 1 Kings 11:1-4.)


Verse 17

Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.

Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God - (Malachi 2:14-15.) "The guide of her youth" is the husband, first in the literal sense, then God in the spiritual sense (Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 3:4, "My father, thou art the guide of my youth;" Jeremiah 3:14, "I am married unto you." Compare in the literal sense Joel 1:8, "the husband of her youth"). The love of youth - i:e., the first love-is especially intense (Jeremiah 2:2, "Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals" - i:e., the kindness and love which I showed to thee then). This aggravates her guilt that, after such fervent love experienced from her youth, she yet has forsaken her husband, and guide, and lord. What faithfulness to him can the youth look for on the part of the female tempter who has been unfaithful to her natural friend and true lover? "The covenant of her God" is the marriage covenant primarily; then, in the spiritual sense, the covenant of the Law to the Jew (cf. 2 Chronicles 15:12; Jeremiah 34:15), and the Gospel to Christians. Unfaithfulness and apostasy are spiritual adultery.


Verse 18

For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.

For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead - (Proverbs 7:27.) The "for" expresses the greatness of the "deliverance" (Proverbs 2:16), as indicated by the greatness of the danger. It is not without good reason that I warn thee to seek wisdom, "to deliver thee from the strange woman," "for her house inclineth unto death." The Hebrew for house is masculine, and "inclineth" is feminine; therefore the translation is literally, 'She (that is, her house) inclineth unto death.' "The dead" - Hebrew, Rephaim, the dead: the manes elsewhere, or ghosts and giants. On the connection of these ideas, see Remarks, Job 26:5. "Her house," with its 'tapestry-covered bed' (Proverbs 7:16-18), seemed to promise nothing but joy, love, and pleasure. But the house proves to be a passage inclining downward to death and hell.


Verse 19

None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.

None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. Never do they, except in the case of exceptional miracles by omnipotent grace. Chrysostom saith 'It is as hard to restore a lustful person to chastity as it is to restore a dead person to life.' (Hosea 4:11, "Whoredom, etc., take away the heart" - i:e., the understanding.)


Verse 20

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. This verse depends on Proverbs 2:11, "Discretion ... shall keep thee ... that thou mayest, walk," etc. As "discretion and understanding" "deliver from the way of the evil man" (Proverbs 2:12), and also "from the strange woman" (Proverbs 2:16), so they preserve thee in thy duty, "that thou mayest walk in the way of good men." As Proverbs 2:12. etc., and Proverbs 2:16, etc., express the negative good of "discretion," so this 20th verse the positive good.


Verse 21

For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it - in contrast to the faithless, who go "unto the dead" (Proverbs 2:18-19). The temporal rewards of piety in the Old Testament dispensation shadow forth both the millennial rewards of it here on earth in the coming age, and also the eternal rewards in the final state (Psalms 25:13; Psalms 37:9; Psalms 37:11).


Verse 22

But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors be rooted out of it. Metaphor from trees. They shall not only be cut off by the axe, but plucked up by the roots (Matthew 15:13, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up").

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-2.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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