Proverbs 2


The teacher promises his pupil the highest advantages, if he

will follow the dictates of wisdom, 1-9.

He shall be happy in its enjoyment, 10, 11;

shall be saved from wicked men, 12-15;

and from the snares of bad women, 16-19;

be a companion of the good and upright; and be in safety in the

land, when the wicked shall be rooted out of it, 20-22.


Verse 1. My son] Here the tutor still continues to instruct his


Hide my commandments with thee] Treasure them up in thy heart,

and then act from them through the medium of thy affections. He

who has the rule of his duty only in his Bible and in his head,

is not likely to be a steady, consistent character; his heart is

not engaged, and his obedience, in any case, can be only forced,

or done from a sense of duty: it is not the obedience of a loving,

dutiful child, to an affectionate father. But he who has the word

of God in his heart, works from his heart; his heart goes with him

in all things, and he delights to do the will of his heavenly

Father, because his law is in his heart. See Pr 3:3.

Verse 4. If thou seekest her as silver] How do men seek money?

What will they not do to get rich? Reader, seek the salvation of

thy soul as earnestly as the covetous man seeks wealth; and be

ashamed of thyself, if thou be less in earnest after the true

riches than he is after perishing wealth.

Hid treasures] The original word signifies property of any kind

concealed in the earth, in caves or such like; and may also mean

treasures, such as the precious metals or precious stones, which

are presumptively known to exist in such and such mines. And how

are these sought? Learn from the following circumstance: In the

Brazils slaves are employed to scrape up the soil from the bed of

the Rio Janeiro, and wash it carefully, in order to find particles

of gold and diamonds; and it is a law of the state, that he who

finds a diamond of so many carats shall have his freedom. This

causes the greatest ardour and diligence in searching, washing out

the soil, picking, &c., in order to find such diamonds, and the

greatest anxiety for success; so precious is liberty to the human

heart. This method of searching for gold and precious stones is

alluded to in Pr 3:13-15. In this way Solomon wishes men to seek

for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; and he who succeeds

finds the liberty of the children of God, and is saved from the

slavery of sin and the empire of death.

Verse 7. He layeth up sound wisdom] tushiyah. We have

met with this word in Job; see Job 5:12; 6:13; 11:6; 12:16.

See especially Clarke's note on "Job 11:6",

where the different acceptations of the word are given. Coverdale

translates, "He preserveth the welfare of the righteous." It is difficult

to find, in any language, a term proper to express the original meaning

of the word; its seems to mean generally the essence or substance

of a thing, THE thing itself-that which is chief of its kind.

He layeth up WHAT IS ESSENTIAL for the righteous.

Verse 9. Then shalt thou understand] He who is taught of God

understands the whole law of justice, mercy, righteousness, and

truth; God has written this on his heart. He who understands

these things by books only is never likely to practise or profit

by them.

Verse 11. Discretion shall preserve thee] mezimmah. See

on Pr 1:4. Here the word is taken in a good sense, a

good device. The man invents purposes of good; and all his

schemes, plans, and devices, have for their object God's glory

and the good of man: he deviseth liberal things, and by liberal

things he shall stand. Coverdale translates, "Then shall COUNSEL

preserve thee." A very good translation, much better than the


Verse 12. The man that speaketh froward things.]

tahpuchoth, things of subversion; from taphach, to turn

or change the course of a thing. Men who wish to subvert the

state of things, whether civil or religious; who are seditious

themselves, and wish to make others so. These speak much of

liberty and oppression, deal greatly in broad assertions, and

endeavour especially to corrupt the minds of youth.

Verse 16. The stranger which flattereth with her words]

hechelikah, she that smooths with her words. The original

intimates the glib, oily speeches of a prostitute. The English

lick is supposed to be derived from the original word.

Verse 17. Which forsaketh the guide of her youth] Leaves her

father's house and instructions, and abandons herself to the


The covenant of her God.] Renounces the true religion, and mixes

with idolaters; for among them prostitution was enormous. Or by

the covenant may be meant the matrimonial contract, which is a

covenant made in the presence of God between the contracting

parties, in which they bind themselves to be faithful to each


Verse 18. For her house inclineth unto death] It is generally in

by and secret places that such women establish themselves. They go

out of the high road to get a residence; and every step that is

taken towards their house is a step towards death. The path of sin

is the path of ruin: the path of duty is the way of safety. For

her paths incline unto the dead, repheim, the

inhabitants of the invisible world. The woman who abandons

herself to prostitution soon contracts, and generally

communicates, that disease, which, above all others, signs the

speediest and most effectual passport to the invisible world.

Therefore it is said,

Verse 19. None that go unto her return again] There are very few

instances of prostitutes ever returning to the paths of sobriety

and truth; perhaps not one of such as become prostitutes through a

natural propensity to debauchery. Among those who have been

deceived, debauched, and abandoned, many have been reclaimed;

and to such alone penitentiaries may be useful; to the others they

may only be incentives to farther sinning. Rakes and debauchees

are sometimes converted: but most of them never lay hold on the

path of life; they have had their health destroyed, and never

recover it. The original, chaiyim, means lives; not

only the health of the body is destroyed, but the soul is

ruined. Thus the unhappy man may be said to be doubly slain.

Verse 20. That thou mayest mark] Therefore thou shalt walk.

Verse 22. Transgressors] bogedim. The garment men,

the hypocrites; those who act borrowed characters, who go under a

cloak; dissemblers. All such shall be rooted out of the land;

they shall not be blessed with posterity. In general it is so: and

were it not so, one evil offspring succeeding another, adding

their own to their predecessors' vices, the earth would become so

exceedingly corrupt that a second flood, or a fire, would be

necessary to purge it.

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