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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Proverbs 2

 

 

Introduction

CHAP. II.

Wisdom promiseth godliness to her children, safety from evil company, and direction in good ways.


Verse 1

Proverbs 2:1. My son, if thou wilt receive, &c.— The attention of those who read this book being bespoken in the foregoing chapter, the wise man persuades not only to read, but to receive and obey his good counsels, by representing the benefits of being wise, that is, holy and virtuous, and the mischiefs that a man shall thereby avoid. The chief is, that he is sure to be under the guidance and blessing of God, who will impart more and more of himself to those who study wisdom; which is the scope of the former part of this chapter: and as, on the contrary, if he do not order his ways by the rules of wisdom, he is sure to wander most dangerously; so, if he keep close to them, they will preserve him from utter ruin; which is the design of the latter part of them. See on Proverbs 2:12; Proverbs 2:18. Instead of hide, we may read lay up. Schultens renders the second verse, By giving thine attentive ears to wisdom, thou wilt incline thine heart to prudence.


Verse 4

Proverbs 2:4. If thou seekest her as silver This is thought to be a proverbial saying, borrowed from those who work in mines: The former part of the verse expressing eager desire and great diligence, and the latter invincible resolution and constant perseverance; though I see nothing proverbial in it, more than in many other similitudes, says Bishop Patrick.


Verse 7

Proverbs 2:7. Sound wisdom Or, solid blessings. The next clause is rendered by Houbigant, He is a defence for those who act with simplicity and candour; and by Schultens, A shield to those who walk in integrity.


Verse 9

Proverbs 2:9. Then shall thou understand, &c.— "When you shall seriously have inclined yourself to the study of wisdom, and God shall have given it you; then shall you know in what true judgment, or righteousness, consists. You shall know your duty towards God, towards your neighbour, and towards yourselves. Wisdom shall enlighten you to penetrate into its whole extent; it shall aid you to practice all its duty." Calmet.


Verse 12

Proverbs 2:12. The man that speaketh froward things "With a design to corrupt your mind, and entice you to evil principles and practices:" A species of corruption of which young persons in particular should be extremely cautious.


Verse 15

Proverbs 2:15. Whose ways, &c.— Or, who are perverse in their ways, and froward in their paths.


Verse 16

Proverbs 2:16. To deliver thee from the strange woman The strange woman means one who is not yours, whether she be married or not. Solomon expresses by this name a common woman, or a married woman who abandons herself to debauchery. See chap. Proverbs 5:3, &c. Some have thought that, under the figure of an adulterous woman, the wise man persuades us to shun all those doctrines which draw away the mind from God: such as those of the Epicureans and idolaters. But this seems to be intimated before in the 12th verse; and therefore we may understand the present passage literally as a caution against the breach of the next commandment to that mentioned in the first chap. Proverbs 2:10-11 where he charges his son by no means to consent with murderers; and here, to shun fornication and adultery, which entirely alienate the mind from wisdom. One of the first things, therefore, to which she directs us, and the principal benefit that we receive from her, is, to preserve our understandings from being corrupt, by keeping our bodies pure and undefiled: See Bishop Patrick and Calmet.


Verse 17

Proverbs 2:17. Which forsaketh the guide, &c.— This circumstance aggravates her infidelity and shame. The first inclinations are always the most sincere and constant. See Proverbs 5:18. Isaiah 54:6. Joel 1:8.


Verse 18

Proverbs 2:18. Her house inclineth unto death Adultery was forbidden under pain of death, both of the man and woman. See Leviticus 20:10. Deuteronomy 22:22. Or otherwise the meaning may be, "Her house is a place of death to him that enters it; he will there find the death of his soul, and the loss of his innocence. It may be considered in some sort as a kind of grave, where he goes to bury himself alive. Her ways lead to hell: Unhappy he who knows her, and attaches himself to her." It is added, And her paths unto the dead: רפאים Rephaim, the giants; those first and great opposers of God, who for their execrable misdeeds were condemned to the place of darkness, See Job 26:5. Thus we are taught that the next point of wisdom is to be learned from the dear-bought experience of others; who have been ruined, body and soul, by those lewd courses to which they were enticed; and here the wise man leads us back as far as the old world, which was wholly destroyed by such villainies as men's brutal lusts and passions lead them to commit. I cannot recommend to my young readers a better comment on this subject than Mr. Ostervald's excellent Treatise on Uncleanness.


Verse 20

Proverbs 2:20. That thou mayest walk Or, Walk thou therefore.

REFLECTIONS.—Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore by all means to be sought after.

1. The way prescribed is threefold. (1.) Serious attention to, and meditation upon, the word of God. (2.) Fervent and importunate prayer, the best guide to the knowledge of the oracles of God. (3.) The diligent use of every appointed means, being as eager in the search as those whose hearts are set upon riches are in discovering the golden mines and ransacking the precious ore.

2. Success will crown these labours when persevered in. Then shalt thou understand that capital point, the fear of the Lord; wherein it consists, and how it is to be evidenced in the conversation: and find the knowledge of God, of his grace and glory, particularly as manifested in the face of Jesus Christ, whom to know is everlasting life: and this is the gift of God, not acquired by the mere exercise of our rational faculties, but communicated by the Spirit of truth, out of whose mouth cometh knowledge and understanding; in the scriptures, which he hath caused to be written for our learning, in which are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge: not the shew of it, but the reality, sound wisdom, and laid up there for the righteous, those who by faith in Christ are so accounted of God, and whose hearts and ways are by the Spirit renewed in righteousness and true holiness. He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly, who make God's word their rule; and, being under the divine protection, the shield of almighty love is stretched over them, that sin, Satan, and the world, may not come near to hurt them. He knoweth the paths of judgment; doth what is right himself in the dispensations of his providence and grace; and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness and judgment; distinguish truth from error; know how to act with justice in all thy dealings, and what is the duty of every station and relation, and equity, yea, every good path, whether respecting God or man: and thus the man of God shall be perfect, thoroughly furnished for every good work.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-2.html. 1801-1803.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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