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Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Instruction

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A. Noun.

Mûsâr (מוּסָר, Strong's #4148), “instruction; chastisement; warning.” This noun occurs 50 times, mainly in Proverbs. The first occurrence is in Deut. 11:2: “… I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the Lord your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm.”

One of the major purposes of the wisdom literature was to teach wisdom and mûsâr (Prov. 1:2). Mûsâr is discipline, but more. As “discipline” it teaches how to live correctly in the fear of the Lord, so that the wise man learns his lesson before temptation and testing: “Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction” (Prov. 24:32). This “discipline” is training for life; hence, paying attention to mûsâr is important. Many verbs bear out the need for a correct response: “hear, obey, love, receive, obtain, take hold of, guard, keep.” Moreover, the rejection is borne out by many verbs connected with mûsâr: “reject, hate, ignore, not love, despise, forsake.” When mûsâr as “instruction” has been given, but was not observed, the mûsâr as “chastisement” or “discipline” may be the next step: “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Prov. 22:15).

Careful attention to “instruction” brings honor (Prov. 1:9), life (Prov. 4:13), and wisdom (Prov. 8:33), and above all it pleases God: “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord” (Prov. 8:35). The lack of observance of “instruction” brings its own results: death (Prov. 5:23), poverty, and shame (Prov. 13:18), and is ultimately a sign that one has no regard for one’s own life (Prov. 15:32).

The receptivity for “instruction” from one’s parents, teacher, the wise, or the king is directly corollary to one’s subjugation to God’s discipline. The prophets charged Israel with not receiving God’s discipline: “O Lord, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return” (Jer. 5:3). Jeremiah asked the men of Judah and the inhabitants in the besieged Jerusalem to pay attention to what was happening around them, that they still might subject themselves to “instruction” (35:13). Isaiah predicted that God’s chastisement on man was carried by the Suffering Servant, bringing peace to those who believe in Him: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (53:5) The Septuagint has the translation of paideia (“upbringing; training; instruction”). The Greek word is the basis for our English word pedagogy, “training of a child.” The KJV has the translations: “instruction; correction; chastisement; chastening.”

B. Verb.

Yâsar (יָסַר, Strong's #3256), “to discipline.” This verb occurs in Hebrew and Ugaritic with the sense of “to discipline.” Outside of these languages the root is not represented. The verb appears 42 times in the Old Testament; cf. Prov. 19:18: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

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Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Instruction'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/i/instruction.html. 1940.

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