Proverbs 1:6
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
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(6) Interpretation.—Or an obscure thing which needs interpretation, so corresponding to “dark sayings.”

Dark sayings.—Literally knots, intricate sayings, like Samson’s riddle (Judges 14:12).

1:1-6 The lessons here given are plain, and likely to benefit those who feel their own ignorance, and their need to be taught. If young people take heed to their ways, according to Solomon's Proverbs, they will gain knowledge and discretion. Solomon speaks of the most important points of truth, and a greater than Solomon is here. Christ speaks by his word and by his Spirit. Christ is the Word and the Wisdom of God, and he is made to us wisdom.The book has yet a further scope; these proverbs are to form a habit of mind. To gain through them the power of entering into the deeper meaning of other proverbs, is the end kept in view. Compare Matthew 13.

The rendering "interpretation" spoils the parallelism of the two clauses, and fails to express the Hebrew. In Habakkuk 2:6, it is rendered "taunting proverb." Here "riddle" or "enigma" would better express the meaning.

6. To understand—so as to … such will be the result.

interpretation—(Compare Margin).

words of the wise—(Compare Pr 1:2).

dark sayings—(Compare Ps 49:4; Joh 16:25; and see [639]Introduction, Part I).

The interpretation, i.e. the interpretation of a proverb, by a figure called hendiaduo, or the meaning and use of the wise sayings of God, or of men; to know this practically, and for his direction and benefit; for practice is the great design of this book. Dark savings; such as are hard to be understood by inconsiderate and ungodly men, but to be found out by diligent and humble inquiry.

To understand a proverb, and the interpretation,.... This may be connected either with the first verse, "the proverbs of Solomon", &c. are written, as for the above ends and purposes, so for these; or with Proverbs 1:5, a wise and understanding man, by hearkening and attending to what is here delivered, will not only attain to wise counsels, but to the understanding of proverbial sayings, and to see into the "elegancy" (m), the eloquence and beauty of them, as the word signifies; and be able to interpret them to others in a clear, plain, way and manner;

the words of the wise, and their dark sayings; the words and doctrines, not of the wise philosophers and sages of the Heathen world, but of men truly wise and good; and especially of the wise inspired writers of the Scriptures, whose words come from one Shepherd, Ecclesiastes 12:11; and the enigmas or riddles contained in their writings, which are so to a natural man, obscure phrases and expressions, things hard and difficult to be understood, yet to a spiritual man, that judgeth all things, plain and easy, 1 Corinthians 2:14.

(m) "facundiam", Montanus; "eloquentiam", Tigurine version; "elocutionem", Mercerus, Gejerus.

To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
6. This verse intimates that the aim of the Book is to confer an initiation which will make its possessor free of all the mysteries of the Wise. By understanding these proverbs he will acquire the power of understanding all proverbs. (See Mark 4:13, and Speaker’s Comm. on this verse.)

interpretation] So R.V. marg., and Vulg. interpretationem. So too Gesenius, “properly, interpretation, and so what needs an interpretation, an enigma.” But it is better to render, a figure, R.V. text. σκοτεινὸν λόγον, LXX. aculeate dicta, Maur. Comp. Habakkuk 2:6, the only other place where the Heb. word occurs.

the wise] Lit. wise men. There is no article. But perhaps the reference is to a recognised class of what we should call philosophers. See Introd. ch. i. p. 9. Comp. Proverbs 22:17, Proverbs 24:23.

dark sayings] Or, riddles, R.V. marg. The word is rendered riddle both by A.V. and R.V. in Ezekiel 17:2. The LXX. has αἰνίγματα in Proverbs and διήγημα in Ezekiel. The Vulg. has œnigma in both places.

Verse 6. - To understand a proverb. This verse carries on the idea which is stated in ver. 5. The end of the wise and intelligent man's increase in learning and prudence is that he may be thus enabled to understand other proverbs. Schultens, followed by Holden, takes the verb לְהָבִין (l'havin) as a gerund, intelligendo sententias. This rendering does not represent the end, but points to the proverbs, etc., as means by which the wise generally attain to learning and prudence. And the interpretation; Hebrew, מְלִיצָה (m'litsah). It is difficult to determine the exact meaning of this word. By Gesenius it is rendered "enigma, riddle;" by Bertheau and Hitzig, "discourse requiring interpretation:" by Delitzsch, "symbol; by Havernick and Keil, "brilliant and pleasing discourse;" and by Fuerst, "figurative and involved discourse." By comparing it with the corresponding words, "dark sayings," it may be regarded as designating that which is obscure and involved in meaning; compare σκοτεινὸς λόγος (LXX.). It only occurs here and in Habakkuk 2:6, where it is rendered "taunting proverb." The marginal reading is "an eloquent speech," equivalent to facundia, "eloquence." Vatablus says that the Hebrews understood it as "mensuram et pondus verbi." The words of the wise; i.e. the utterances of the khakhamim (חֲכָמִים). This expression occurs again in Proverbs 22:17, and also in Ecclesiastes 9:19 and Ecclesiastes 12:11. In the latter they are described as "goads and as nails fastened by the ministers of assemblies" (i.e. "authors of compilations," as Mendelssohn), because they cannot fail to make an impression on everybody good or bad. The expression, as used in Proverbs 22:17, implies that other than Solomonic proverbs are included in this collection. And their dark sayings; Hebrew, וְחִידֹתָם (v'khidotham). The Hebrew khidah (חִידָה), as m'litsah (מְלִיצָה)# its parallel in the preceding hemistich, designates obscure, involved utterances. It plainly has the sense of "enigma" (Fleischer, apud Delitzsch). Compare αἰνίγματα (LXX.), and aenigmata (Vulgate), which latter is followed by the Chaldea Paraphrase and Syriac (see also Psalm 78:2, "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter dark sayings of old"). Gesenius derives it from the root חוּד (khud), "to tie knots," and hence arrives at its meaning as an involved or twisted sententious expression, an enigma. Proverbs 1:6The mediate object of these proverbs, as stated in Proverbs 1:2, is now expanded, for again it is introduced in the infinitive construction: - The reader shall learn in these proverbs, or by means of them as of a key, to understand such like apothegms generally (as Proverbs 22:17.):

To understand proverb and symbol,

The words of wise men and their enigmas.

In the Gesch. der jd. Poesie, p. 200f., the derivation of the noun מליצה is traced from לוּץ, primarily to shine, Sanskr. las, frequently with the meanings ludere and lucere; but the Arab. brings near another primary meaning. "מליצה, from Arab. root las, flexit, torsit, thus properly oratio detorta, obliqua, non aperta; hence לץ, mocker, properly qui verbis obliquis utitur: as Hiph. הליץ, to scoff, but also verba detorta retorquere, i.e., to interpret, to explain" (Fl.). Of the root ideas found in חידה, to be sharp, pointed (חד, perhaps related to the Sanskr. kaṭu, sharp of taste, but not to acutus), and to be twisted (cf. אחד, אגד ,אחד, עקד, harmonizing with the at present mysterious catena), that the preference is given to the latter already, Psalm 78:2. "The Arab. ḥâd, to revolve, to turn (whence hid, bend, turn aside!), thence חידה, στροφή, cunning, intrigue, as also enigma, dark saying, perlexe dictum" (Fl.). The comparison made by Schultens with the Arab. ḥidt as the name of the knot on the horn of the wild-goat shows the sensible fundamental conception. In post-biblical literature חידה is the enigma proper, and מליצה poetry (with הלצה of poetical prose). The Graec. Venet. translates it ῥητορείαν.

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