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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Proverbs 3

 

 

Verses 1-35

Proverbs 3:1-10. Fourth Discourse.—The sage exhorts the young man to heed his oral instruction (torah), and to trust in Yahweh, fear Him, and honour Him in the prescribed manner of firstfruits. It is interesting to find torah used in its earlier prophetic sense of oral instruction, without reference to its later sense of the whole body of legislation represented by the Pentateuch. The torah of the wise man represents not his own individual authority, but the accumulated wisdom of experience. The torah of the prophet, although delivered in the name of Yahweh, represents ultimately the accumulated moral consciousness of the nation; while the torah of the priest—in its later form at least—represents the traditional and inherited ritual, the prescribed method of the cultus. Hence the primary idea of torah is the same in all three forms. (See pp. 121, 620, Deuteronomy 1:5*, and for a fuller discussion, "Law" in HDB.) The traditional view of the moral government of the universe, challenged so passionately in Job, is here accepted as axiomatic; the reward of fearing Yahweh is material prosperity and long life, there is no outlook into the future.

Proverbs 3:8. navel: read "flesh" or "body" (LXX and Peshitta).

Proverbs 3:11 f. A comment, possibly by a later hand, on the meaning of misfortune. It represents the beginning of the problem discussed so fully in Job, and it offers the same solution as Eliphaz (Job 5:17 f.) and Elihu, a solution rejected by Job as inadequate. Chastisement could not be regarded as a proof of God's love until the belief in a future life with God, where its results should appear, had been established. Indeed, the pressure of the moral problem helped largely to establish the belief in ethical and individual immortality. (See art. on "Immortality" in DAC cf. also Sirach 2:1-6, Pss. of Solomon Proverbs 13:8 f.)

Proverbs 3:12. as a father: LXX (Hebrews 12:6) reads "scourges," probably representing the presumably correct reading "afflicts," as in Job 5:18.

Proverbs 3:13-18. Couplets in praise of wisdom, possibly a continuation of Proverbs 3:1-10, but probably a separate fragment of a poem in praise of wisdom. It and Proverbs 3:19 f. are closely related to the hymn in praise of wisdom in Proverbs 3:8, and may represent an excerpt from an earlier recension of it.

Proverbs 3:15. Repeated in a slightly modified form in Proverbs 8:11.

Proverbs 3:19 f. A comment on the place of Wisdom in creation, expanded in Proverbs 8:23-31*. See Proverbs 3:13-18*.

Proverbs 3:21-26. Another fragment on the blessings of wisdom addressed by the sage to the young man. The connexion is clearly broken, "them" (Proverbs 3:21 a) having no antecedent, since Proverbs 3:21-26 is not a continuation of Proverbs 3:19 f. If, however, the order of Proverbs 3:21 a and Proverbs 3:21 b be inverted, the sense may be restored.—depart: Heb. difficult. LXX reads "slip away," perhaps the source of "slip away" in Hebrews 2:1.

Proverbs 3:29-35. Detached exhortations and maxims totally differing in style from the rest of Proverbs 3:1-9, and more closely resembling the maxims of Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16. The connecting thread is the conception of kindliness to one's neighbour as a fundamental part of morality which underlies much of the Code of the Covenant and the parallel portions of D and H.

Proverbs 3:27. for them to whom it is due: a forced rendering; Heb. is lit. "from its owners." LXX has "from the needy," Peshitta omits. Read perhaps "from thy neighbours."—power: lit. "God" ('et), illustrating the primitive conception attaching to the word (cf. Genesis 31:29, Deuteronomy 28:32).

Proverbs 3:32. secret: Heb. implies intimate association (cf. Psalms 25:14; Psalms 55:14).

Proverbs 3:34. Neither RV nor RVm is satisfactory. Read "with the scorners he shews himself scornful" (Psalms 18:26). LXX is quoted in James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5.

Proverbs 3:35 b. promotion is the Heb. verb "to exalt" or "to remove" (as Isaiah 57:14). "Shame exalts fools," i.e. "makes them notorious," is possible but forced. An attractive emendation is "fools change their glory into shame" (cf. Hosea 4:7). Proverbs 14:18 may give the original text, "fools await shame."

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Proverbs 3:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/proverbs-3.html. 1919.

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Sunday, June 16th, 2019
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