Matthew Poole's Commentary
My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;Solomon exhorteth his son to get Wisdom, Proverbs 2:1-4; telleth him the benefit he shall receive thereby, Proverbs 2:5-10, and the evils which he should avoid, Proverbs 2:11,12. The wicked man’s ways are described, Proverbs 2:13-20. A habitation promised the righteous, Proverbs 2:21. The end of the wicked miserable, Proverbs 2:22.
These words are spoken by Solomon, either,
1. In the name of wisdom, as before; or rather,
2. In his own name. Hide my commandments with thee; lay them up in thy mind and heart with care, as men do their choicest treasures.
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;Give thyself to the study of it with affection and diligence.
Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;If thou criest, to wit, unto God, the only giver of it, Proverbs 2:5, Heb. if thou callest; invitest it to come unto thee; earnestly desirest its conduct.
If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;With the same unwearied diligence, and earnest desire, and patient expectation under all delays, disappointments, and difficulties, which worldlings use in the purchase of riches, or in digging in mines of silver.
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.Understand more perfectly and profitably; for that very seeking and searching after it, Proverbs 2:4, supposed some understanding.
The fear of the Lord; which is the beginning of this wisdom, Proverbs 1:7.
For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.Giveth wisdom, Heb. will give; hath promised to give it, to wit, to those that so seek it; whereby he also teacheth them not to ascribe any wisdom which they may obtain unto their own wit and industry, but only unto God’s favour and blessing. Out of his mouth from his word, or appointment, and good will; as the word of God is taken, Deu 8:3.
He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.Sound wisdom, Heb. essence or substance; either,
1. Solid and true felicity, opposed to the vain enjoyments of this world, which are said to have no substance or being, Proverbs 23:5. Or,
2. True and substantial wisdom, which is satisfactory and everlasting, opposed to worldly wisdom, which is but an empty shadow of wisdom, and perisheth with us.
A buckler to them, to protect and save them from that mischief and ruin which shall befall all wicked men.
He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.He keepeth the paths of judgment; he guardeth and guideth the paths or ways, i.e. the counsels and actions, of good men, as the next clause explains this, which are called
paths of judgment, or righteous paths; judgment being here put for righteousness, as it is in Psalm 99:4, and oft elsewhere. And keeping of paths may be put for keeping them in their paths, so as they shall neither swerve from them, nor stumble and fall in them. And preserve the way of his saints; the same thing repeated in other words.
Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.Then; when thou hast done thy part, expressed Proverbs 2:1-3, &c., and God in answer to thy desires hath given thee wisdom, Proverbs 2:6; or when it is with thee, as it follows, Proverbs 2:10. Righteousness, and judgment, and equity; all the parts of thy duty to man, as well as the fear of God, Proverbs 2:5, which contains all duties to God. These three words are used here, as also Proverbs 1:3, to signify the same thing. Every good path; the practice of all virtues and graces.
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;When wisdom entereth into thine heart; when thou dost truly love it, and passionately desire it, and hide its precepts in thy heart, according to Psalm 119:11.
Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:From wicked courses, and the mischiefs which attend upon them; as is particularly expressed in the following verses.
To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;From the way of the evil man; from following his counsel or example, which others for want of wisdom commonly do.
That speaketh froward things; with design to corrupt thy mind, and entice thee to evil principles or practices.
Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;The paths of uprightness; the way of God’s precepts.
Of darkness, i.e. of sin, which is oft called darkness, as Romans 13:12, &c.; Ephesians 5:11, because it comes from darkness, ignorance, and error, and loves darkness and hates light, and leads to utter darkness.
Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;Who rejoice to do evil; seeking and embracing occasions of sin with diligence and greediness, and pleasing themselves both in the practice and remembrance of sin; whereas upright men abhor and watch against all occasions of sin beforehand, and mourn bitterly for it afterwards.
Delight in the frowardness of the wicked; not only in their own sins, but in the sins of other wicked men, which shows a greater malignity of mind and love to sin. See Romans 1:32.
Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths:Whose ways are crooked, or, who make their ways crooked, i.e. whose course of life swerves from the right and straight way of God’s law.
To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;From the strange woman; from the adulteress or whore; called strange, partly because such persons were commonly heathens, or are supposed to be such by reason of that severe law against these practices in Israelitish women, Deu 23:17, or are justly reputed heathens, as being degenerate Israelites, which are oft called strangers, as hath been noted in the Book of the Psalms; and partly because conversation with such persons is forbidden to men; as those Israelites which were not Levites are called strangers, Numbers 1:51, in respect of the holy things which they were prohibited to touch; and forbidden fire is called strange fire, Numbers 3:4.
Which flattereth with her words; which useth all arts and ways to allure men to unchaste actions; one kind being put for all the rest.
Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.The guide of her youth, to wit, her husband, whom she took to be her guide and governor, and that in her youth: which circumstance is added to aggravate her sin and shame, because love is commonly most sincere and fervent between a husband and wife of youth, as they are for that reason emphatically called, Proverbs 5:18 Isaiah 54:6 Joel 1:8 Malachi 2:14,15.
Forgetteth, i.e. violateth or breaketh, as that word is commonly used in a practical sense.
The covenant of her God; the marriage covenant; so called, partly because God is the author and institutor of that society and mutual obligation; and partly because God is called to be the witness and judge of that solemn promise and covenant, and the avenger of the transgression of it.
For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.Her house inclineth unto death, conversation with her (which was most free and usual in her own house) is the ready and certain way to death, which it brings many ways; by wasting a man’s vital spirits, and shortening his life; by exposing him to many and dangerous diseases, which physicians have declared and proved to be the effects of inordinate lust; as also to the fury of jealous husbands or friends, and sometimes to the sword of civil justice, and undoubtedly, without repentance, to God’s wrath and the second death. This is here mentioned as one great privilege and blessed fruit of wisdom, to be delivered from this evil.
Unto the dead; or, as the Chaldee and some others render it, unto the giants, to wit, those rebellious giants, Genesis 6:4; or, as others, unto the damned, or unto hell. See for this word Job 7:9 Psalm 88:11 Proverbs 9:18 21:16.
None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.None; few or none; an hyperbolical expression, used Isaiah 64:7.
That go unto her; that go to her house, or that lie with her, as this phrase is used, Genesis 16:4 30:4 Joshua 2:13.
Return again, from her and from this wickedness, unto God. Adulterers and whoremongers are very rarely brought to repentance, but are generally hardened by the power and deceitfulness of that lust, and by God’s just judgment, peculiarly inflicted upon such persons, Hebrews 13:4. He alludes to the nature of corporal death, from which no man can without a miracle return to this life.
Of the paths of life; of those courses which lead to true and eternal life.
That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.This depends upon Proverbs 2:11, and is mentioned as another happy fruit of wisdom, the former being declared from Proverbs 2:12 to this verse.
Walk in the way of good men; follow the counsels and examples of the godly; whereby he intimates that it is not sufficient to abstain from evil company and practices, but that we must choose the conversation of good men.
For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.Shall have a peaceable and comfortable abode in the land of Canaan, which also is a type of their everlasting felicity. See Psalm 37:3,9,18,29.
But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.No text from Poole on this verse.