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35 The wise shall inherit glory; but shame shall be the promotion of fools. (C)
HEAR, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to
2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
3 For 1 was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my
4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee love her, and she shall keep thee.
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.
11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
(C) Wisdom exhorteth to various virtues, und directeth youth to seek divine Wisdom as their chief good. St. James teaches us (chap. iii. 17.) that true Wisdom is "from above; pure and peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated; full of mercy and good fruits; without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Such is the Wisdom now before us; and the blessings that fill her hands, like those of true godliness, (which is the same thing,) include "the promises of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." (1 Tim. iv. 8.)
As respects religion, the virtues inculcated are:-To trust in God and not be wise in our own conceit; to honour God by attending to the duties which his house and worship may require, and to regard his poor with tenderness and compassion; to submit with filial duty to the chastening hand of his providence, and to rest assured in the henevolence of his design.
Wisdom is now introduced as a queen of celestial rank, holding out rewards to all who seek her. "Length of days in her
right hand; riches and honour in her left." Such are the sanctions of the Old Dispensation; those of the New are more spiritual and sublime. It is still true, however, that Religion has a natural tendency to promote our happiness, though a variety of circumstances may arise out of human frailty, and the depraved state of society, to counteract that tendency. She is a "tree of life," yielding perpetual food and pleasure to those who embrace and adhere to her. (See Rev. xxii. 2.)
The latter part of the chapter contains some wholesome precepts, not less obligatory upon us than upon the Jews of old: -Not to withhold a just debt, or even to refuse a charitable loan, when in our power to comply; not to injure an unsuspicious, harmless neighbour, nor, on the other hand, to envy the violent and froward man- the proud and scornful, "whom the Lord abhorreth." The concluding verse is beautiful and pointed. The wise, however humble in this life, shall inherit glory in the next; and fools, however exalted, shall be exhibited to the contempt and execration of posterity.
NOTES-Chap. III. Con.
the apostles Peter and Paul quote this verse from the LXX, "He resisteth the proud." James iv. 6; 1 Peter v. 5. which is to the same effect; but the
Hebrew is more spirited and poetical.
Ver. 35. Shame shall be the promotion of foolsHeb. "Exalteth fools."
unless they cause some to
at the bread of wickhe wine of violence. f the just is as the ineth more and
vicked is as ut at what they
end to my words; inunto my sayings. hem not depart from thine eep them in the midst of thine
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and
[lewdness and adultery.
let all thy ways be established.
27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left; remove thy foot from evil. (D)
MY son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my under
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.
8 Remove thy way far from her,
D) Solomon, in the character of a father, details the instructions that he had received from his own parents.-We learn, hence, two circumstances important in his history. 1. That he was the darling of both his parents, and probably gave early iudications of uncommon talent. 2 That his nother, though disgraced by her first con nexion with David, was not devoid of per sonal religion, nor deficient in parental attention to her offspring, particularly to Solomon.
We must not omit here to notice the beautiful delineation of the path, or conduct of the just, which, like the path of the sun, increases in splendour as it advances to its meridian, here called "the perfect day." (ver. 18.) This sun, however, must set; but a brighter one shall rise to set no more. (Isa. Ix. 19.)
"As the ascending sun new glory gains,
Then let me set in glory and in smiles."
CHAP. IV. Ver. 3. For I was, &c.-The pointng, both of the Hebrew and English, seems here to require correction, as observed by Dr. Hodgson. The following is the version of Mr. Holden:
For I was a son very dear to my father. And well-beloved in the sight of my mother." The latter line we should rather render, "An only Gae," (or darling) &c.
Ver. 9. A crown of glory shall she deliver to theeMarg. "She shall compass thee with a crown of glory."
Ver. 17. Eat the bread of wickedness-that is, live by violence and spoil. See chap. i. 13.
Ver 16. Skineth more and more-Heb. " Goeth on and shineth."
Ver. 22 Health-Heb. "Medicine." See Note, chap. iii. 8.
Ver. 23. Keep with all diligence, &c. - Heb.. Keep thy heart above all keeping.”
Ver. 24. A froward mouth-Heb. “Frowardness of mouth and perverseness of lips."
Ver. 25. Let thine eyes look, &c.-that is, " pursue a straight-forward course." Compare ver. 27. Ver. 26. Established—Marg. “ Ordered aright."
CHAP. V. Ver. 3. Her mouth-Heb. " palate "is smoother than oil.—It is the property of the palate to be rough, and Mr. Parkhurst thinks it has its Hebrew name from that circumstance; a smooth palate must therefore imply a vitiated taste, which very properly applies to a woman of this character.
Ver. 5. Her steps take hold on (or "join to," connect with) hell-Heb. Sheol, which may be taken in its double sense; for it is true that debauchery leads both to the grave, and to the punishments of another world.
Ver. 6. Her ways are moveable-that continually shifting her temptations, and
[lewdness and adultery.
and come not nigh the door of her abroad, and rivers of waters in the house:
9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;
11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.
16 Let thy fountains be dispersed
17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee.
18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pon dereth all his goings.
22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.
23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray. (E)
(E) Cautions against lewdness and adultery. The picture of a harlot here drawn is so true to nature, that it answers in every age and country. "Her lips drop (with sweetness) as an honey-comb with honey, and though her moral taste is disordered, her words are smoother than oil." This is, however, at the commencement of her acquaintance: the issue is a perfect contrast. "Her end," whether we refer to the misery entailed upon herself or her lovers, "is bitter as wormwood;" and her oiled words become "sharper than a twoedged sword." Often does the language of enticement end in reproaches, that penetrate the heart as a dagger or a sword. (See Psalm cxl. 3.)
As a remedy for lewdness, Solomon recommends marriage and a domestic life, under images the most delicate and impressive. It was necessary (if possible) for every house to have its own well, or cistern, aud common sense dictated the propriety of drawing their water thence, instead of going to their neighbour's well. This he applies to domestic enjoyments. "Draw water from thine own cistern."
Look at home for happiness, and prefer the affections of a virtuous wife to the embraces of many harlots. Thus shall thy streams he pure and uncontaminated: that is, thy offspring shall be numerous, certain, and legitimate; and far more likely to be virtuous than the produce of harlots, supposing they should not be barren,
Another image is introduced. The attachments of a modest woman are compared to those of the most shy and beautiful of the animal creation, the antelope or gazelle: a favourite image with Solomon, as we know by its repeated introduction into the book of Canticles. young man is allowed at once to indulge his affections, and to enjoy those sweets, which indeed can here only be found without a sting. But the stings of an illicit intercourse are many. A man who spends his strength and property upon a harlot, at the same time incurs disgrace with men, and guilt with God, "who pondereth all his goings;" and though such au one may stifle the remonstrances of his conscience for a time, when he comes to the couch of sickness and to death, he will find it full of stings, and “a wounded spirit who can bear?"
her means of enticement.- -Thou canst not know them-Not be aware of her arts and subterfuges.
Ver. 10. Thy wealth-Heb. "Thy strength." Ver. 11. And thou mourn-Hodgson, "Roar;" 4. e. with distress and agony. It is translated roar, chap. xix. 12.-xx. 2, &c.-Thy flesh and thy body that is, "the flesh of thy body." Holden,
Ver. 14. I was almost in all evil, &c.—Perbaps riotous and disorderly, both in religions and civil meetings; but Dr. Hodgson understands it as being bronzbt before them as a criminal.
Ver. 19. The loving hind and pleasant roe.—Most probably the Gazelle. See Sol, Song, ii. 7, and Note. -Sulisfy-Heb. "water" thee. The Asiatic.
Cautions against suretyship,] CHAP. VI.
MY son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, hunible thyself, and make sure thy friend.
4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
8 Provideth her meat in the sunmer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
14 Frowardness is in his heart, he
[idleness, and vice. deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
20 My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
21 Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
22 When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs o.1 instruction are the way of life:
24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
have no idea of any thing more delightful and refreshing than water. See Prov. xxv. 25. Be thou racished-Heb. Err thou always in thy love." But the true sense is given by our translators.
CHAP. VI. Ver. 1. Stricken thine hand.-This was the usual way of giving security, as well as striking bargains.
Ver. 3. And make sure→ Marg. So shalt thou prevail with thy friend."
Ver. 8. Procideth her meat in the summer.-It was a general opinion with the ancients, that the ants in summer provided their food for winter, because then they could not work; but it has been discovered that in these northern countries, they remain torpid during winter; this is found, however, not to be the case in hot-houses, and therefore, probably, is not in those warm countries where the winters are much more mild than in Europe. There are many witnesses, however, to prove, that they lay
27 Can a man take a fire in his
Belial." Ver. 14. Someth-Heb. "Casteth forth" discord, as the sower scatters seed.
Ver. 16. An abomination unto him Heb. "Of his soul."
Ver, 17. A proud look-Heb. "Lofty eyes." Ver. 19. Speaketh-Heb. "breatheth" lies. Ver. 21. Bind them.-See chap. iii. 3. Ver. 24. From the flattery of the tongue, &c.— Marg. "Of the strange tongue."
Ver. 25. Take thee with her eyelids-which were painted, to give them more effect; and this alludes to the amorous glauces of these wantons.
Ver. 26. A whorish woman-Heb. "A woman a harlot. An adulteress-Heb. "A man's wife;" i. e. one who is unfaithful.
bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one go upon hot coals, and
his feet not be burned?
29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
30 Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
31 But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
32 But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
33 A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy is the rage of a man therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou give'st many gifts. (F)
2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
write them upon the table of thine 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, heart.
sister; and call understanding thy 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my kinswoman:
5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, ing, a young man void of understand
8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house.
9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
11 (She is loud and stubborn; her
MY son, keep my words, and lay feet abide not in her house:
up my commandments with thee.
12 Now is she without, now in the
(F) Cautions against suretyship, idleness, and vice.-In a commercial country, where many classes of persons can get no employment without security, this may not only be an act of friendship, but even duty. Still, however, it requires great caution and prudence: 1. To know well the character and principles of the party for whom we become responsible; 2. And so to limit our responsibility, as not to ruin our own families in the attempt to serve others. But in the instance before us, we think there is a particular reference to the characters referred to in chap. v,-those gay and profligate young men who connect themselves with harlots, and get themselves entangled in their snares, as in the close of that chapter.
The next warning is to the idler and the sluggard, who is sent for a lesson of industry to the ant. She improves her time by
gathering her food in its proper season,the time of harvest: whereas the sluggard, on the contrary, sleeps away his mornings, which are the times wherein the day-labourer makes his harvest. Instead of working "while it is day," he trifles till his "night comes," either of sickness or death, when "no man can work." (John ix. 4.)
Habits of idleness generally lead to licentiousness, and licentiousness as turally to ruin. The latter part of the chapter pursues this subject, and compares the adulterer to one walking upon coals, or carrying fire in his bosom, and pertinently asks, Must not such an one be burnt? Lust is a fire that burns inwardly, and consumes the vitals. Jealousy is a flame that can only be extinguished by the most exemplary vengeance. Where withal shall a young man cleanse his way. By taking heed thereto according to thy word." Ps. cxix. 9.
Ver. 31. Restore seven fold-Make "a full and complete satisfaction and restitution." Holden.
Ver. 32. Lacketh understanding- Heb. "heart." Ver 35. He will not regard, &c. - Ileb. "He (the injured husband) will not accept any ransom."