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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 1

 

 

Verses 1-33

Proverbs 1-9. First Section. The Praise of Wisdom.

Proverbs 1:1. Title, either of the whole book, or of this particular collection.

The word for proverb, mshl, has a wide significance in Heb. (see BDB). Probably it originally expressed a comparison or allusion, drawn from history or nature, and employed to convey a taunt or satire, hence the rendering "taunt-song." For different meanings cf. Numbers 21:27, Deuteronomy 28:37, Job 13:12, Isaiah 14:4, Ezekiel 12:23. Ezekiel's use should be specially noted.

Proverbs 1:2-6. Introduction specifying the purpose of the book. There need be no grammatical connexion between the title and the infinitives in Proverbs 1:2-6.

Proverbs 1:3. Construction obscure. Possibly render "the discipline that causes one to understand (what is) righteousness, judgment, and equity."

Proverbs 1:4. simple: from root meaning "to be open," spacious." Those who are lacking in reticence and self-restraint.—subtilty: shrewdness, used of the serpent in Genesis 3:1.

Proverbs 1:5. sound counsels: lit. "rope-pulling," hence "direction," a nautical term, "steersmanship" (cf. Proverbs 24:6, Job 37:12).

Proverbs 1:6. figure: lit. "satire" (cf. Habakkuk 2:6 f.*), from root "to scorn."—dark sayings: read "riddles" (cf. Judges 14:12, 1 Kings 10:1, Ezekiel 17:2).

Proverbs 1:7-20. First Discourse warning the young man against the allurements of those who are in haste to get gain by oppression and spoliation. Apparently there was a persecuted party, the innocent and the perfect (Proverbs 1:11 f.), and a party of godless oppressors who entice the young man by the promise of gain. It is less likely that the speakers were a band of highway robbers (cf. Psalms 10:8 f., Psalms 11:2).

Proverbs 1:7. The introductory motto of the whole collection (cf. Proverbs 9:10, Job 28:28, Psalms 111:10, Sirach 1:14).—foolish: the precise shades of meaning in the various synonyms for "fool" in Heb. are not easy to define (p. 344). Pethî (Proverbs 1:4*) means "open," "simple," not necessarily with an evil significance; 'evîl (Proverbs 1:7) is one who is crass, stupid (lit. "be fat," "thick)"; k‘sil is the braggart fool (Proverbs 1:22), (cf. the mythological significance of Orion); nâbâl, less frequent in Pr. (only Proverbs 17:7-21, Proverbs 30:22), the man lacking in moral sensibility (cf. Psalms 14:1, 1 Samuel 25:25); sakal, not in Pr. (cf. Ecclesiastes 2:19).

Proverbs 1:17. Obscure. May mean (a) the net of the allurements of the wicked is spread in vain when the victim is forewarned, or (b) the net of retribution is spread in vain in the sight of the wicked, they will not be warned.—spread: a forced rendering; Heb. means "to winnow," "scatter."

Proverbs 1:19. ways: read "fate" (LXX).

Proverbs 1:20-33. Second Discourse.—Wisdom personified warns the simple of the law of retribution, that they cannot escape the consequences of their own actions. The future judgment has little place in the ordinary Hebrew conception of the Day of Yahweh. The tendency to personify the Divine attributes is a late development due to the increasing sense of God's transcendence. Cf. the growth of the conception of Metatron, and the Memra (pp. 401, 746) of the Targums.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 1:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-1.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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