Proverbs 10:17
He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
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(17) Erreth.—Literally, committeth error. This is probably the true sense, and harmonises better with being “in the way of life,” which occurs just before, than the marginal rendering, “causeth to err.” The word occurs in a similar sense in Jeremiah 42:20 (there translated, “ye have dissembled”).

Proverbs 10:17. He is in the way of life — The way which leadeth to life and blessedness; that keepeth instruction — That observeth the wholesome counsels of God and good men: but he that refuseth reproof erreth — Namely, from the way of life, or into the ways of sin, and so of death. Hebrew, מתעה, causeth to err, or seduceth, namely, himself: he knowingly and willingly exposes himself to temptation and wickedness, because he rejects that admonition which is a proper preservative from it.

10:7. Both the just and the wicked must die; but between their souls there is a vast difference. 8. The wise in heart puts his knowledge in practice. 9. Dissemblers, after all their shuffling, will be exposed. 10. Trick and artifice will be no excuse for iniquity. 11. The good man's mouth is always open to teach, comfort, and correct others. 12. Where there is hatred, every thing stirs up strife. By bearing with each other, peace and harmony are preserved. 13. Those that foolishly go on in wicked ways, prepare rods for themselves. 14. Whatever knowledge may be useful, we must lay it up, that it may not be to seek when we want it. The wise gain this wisdom by reading, by hearing the word, by meditation, by prayer, by faith in Christ, who is made of God unto us wisdom. 15. This refers to the common mistakes both of rich and poor, as to their outward condition. Rich people's wealth exposes them to many dangers; while a poor man may live comfortably, if he is content, keeps a good conscience, and lives by faith. 16. Perhaps a righteous man has no more than what he works hard for, but that labour tends to life. 17. The traveller that has missed his way, and cannot bear to be told of it, and to be shown the right way, must err still. 18. He is especially a fool who thinks to hide anything from God; and malice is no better. 19. Those that speak much, speak much amiss. He that checks himself is a wise man, and therein consults his own peace. 20,21. The tongue of the just is sincere, freed from the dross of guile and evil design. Pious discourse is spiritual food to the needy. Fools die for want of a heart, so the word is; for want of thought.literally, A way of life is he that keepeth instruction. The verb "erreth" is better rendered in the margin. The influence for good or evil spreads beyond the man himself. 17. keepeth—observes (Pr 3:18; 4:22).

refuseth—or, "turns from reproof," which might direct him aright.

The way of life; which leadeth to life and blessedness. That keepeth instruction; that observeth and obeyeth the wholesome counsels of God, and of good men.

Erreth, to wit, from the way of life, or into the ways of sin, and so of death; Heb. leadeth into error, or seduceth, to wit, himself, as appears by the opposition of this to the former clause; he wittingly and willingly exposeth himself to temptation and wickedness, because he rejecteth that admonition which is a proper preservative from it.

He is in the way of life,.... Of eternal life, which is truly, properly, and by way of eminency, "life", Matthew 19:17; and which is a life of glory; a life of perfection, of perfect holiness, knowledge, obedience, love, peace, and joy; a life free from all the inconveniences of the present life, animal or spiritual; a life of pleasure, and which will last for ever: the "way" to it is not by works of righteousness done by men, since by these the law is not fulfilled, nor justice satisfied; and therefore no justification of life by them, or what entitles to eternal life; it is sinful, dangerous, and a vain thing, to seek for eternal life in this way; Christ is the only true way to it; who, by his obedience, sufferings, and death, has opened the new and living way; and through his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, way is made for all that believe in him to enter into eternal life: and such are in the way to it who are in Christ, secretly in election, openly in the effectual calling; when they are made new creatures, are quickened by the Spirit and grace of Christ, and have that principle in them which is a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life; who have a sight of Christ, and come unto him by faith; who truly believe in him, with which eternal life is connected. Particularly he is in the way unto it

that keepeth instruction; the instruction in righteousness which the Scriptures give, especially the Gospel part of them; which is an instruction into the mind and will of God about man's salvation; into the grace of God, as displayed therein; into the person and offices of Christ, and salvation by him; into the doctrines of peace, pardon, righteousness, and life, through him. Now he to whom this instruction comes with power, and is the savour of life unto life; who receives it in the love of it; who "observes" (i) it, as the word here used signifies; takes notice of and follows its direction, pointing out Christ as the way of salvation, instructing to look to him and believe in him, and be saved; and who retains and holds fast such instruction, and abides by it; and finds the word of the Gospel, and eats it, and is nourished by it unto everlasting life; he is most assuredly in the way of it;

but he that refuseth reproof erreth; that is, from the way of life. He that rejects the counsel and advice, the admonitions and reproofs, given in the word of God, by the ministers of it; or by parents and masters, friends or relations, that wish him well; he wanders far off from the way that leads to life, and goes into the paths of sin, and consequently is in the way of death. Some render it, "causeth to err" (k); either others, as Aben Ezra; or both himself and others, as Jarchi: and then it may be understood of him "that forsaketh reproof" (l), as it may be rendered; that is, that declines giving reproof, when it lies in his way, and is his duty to do it. Aben Ezra reads this clause in connection with the former, as said of one and the same person,

"he is in the way of life that keepeth instruction, and forsakes or rejects the reproof of him that causeth to err.''

(i) "observat", Tigurine version; "servat", Cocceius; "observans", Schultens. (k) "faciens errare", Montanus, Gejerus; "seduceus sese", Tigurine version; "errare facit", some in Vatablus; "facit oberrare", Cocceius. (l) "qui relinquit increpationem", Pagninus; "deserens", Montanus, Schultens; "derelinquit", Piscator; "deserit", Cocceius.

He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
17. in the way &c.] Rather (with R.V. marg.),

A way of life is he that heedeth correction:

But he that forsaketh reproof causeth to err.

The one by his example and influence is a way of life to his fellow men; in measure and degree he can say what only the Perfect Example could say fully, “I am the way.” The other on the contrary not only goes himself, but leads others, astray.

Verse 17. - He is in the way of life (Proverbs 5:6). It is a way of life when a man keepeth instruction, taketh to heart what is taught by daily providences and the wisdom of experience. Such teachableness leads to happiness here and hereafter. Erreth (Jeremiah 42:20); not "causeth to err," as in the margin, which weakens the antithesis. Septuagint, "Instruction (παιδεία) guardeth the ways of life, but he who is unaffected by instruction goeth astray" (comp. Hebrews 12:7, etc.). Proverbs 10:17The group of proverbs now following bring again to view the good and bad effects of human speech. The seventeenth verse introduces the transition:

17 There is a way to life when one gives heed to correction;

     And whoever disregards instruction runs into error.

Instead of ארח חיּים (Proverbs 5:6), there is here ארח לחיים; and then this proverb falls into rank with Proverbs 10:16, which contains the same word לחיים. The accentuation denotes ארח as subst.; for ארח way, road equals ארח [a wayfarer, part. of ארח] would, as שׁסע, Leviticus 11:7, נטע, Psalm 94:9, have the tone on the ultima. It is necessary neither to change the tone, nor, with Ewald, to interpret ארח as abstr. pro concreto, like הלך, for the expression "wanderer to life" has no support in the Mishle. Michaelis has given the right interpretation: via ad vitam est si quis custodiat disciplinam. The syntactical contents, however, are different, as e.g., 1 Samuel 2:13, where the participle has the force of a hypothetical clause; for the expression: "a way to life is he who observes correction," is equivalent to: he is on the way to life who...; a variety of the manner of expression: "the porch was twenty cubits," 2 Chronicles 3:4, particularly adapted to the figurative language of proverbial poetry, as if the poet said: See there one observant of correction - that (viz., the שׁמר [שׁמר, to watch] representing itself in this שׁמר) is the way to life. מוּסר and תּוכחת are related to each other as παιδεία and ἔλεγχος; עזב [עזב, to leave, forsake] is equivalent to בּלתּי שׁמר. מתעה would be unsuitable as a contrast in the causative sense: who guides wrong, according to which Bertheau understands 17a, that only he who observes correction can guide others to life. We expect to hear what injuries he who thinks to raise himself above all reproach brings on himself. Hitzig, in his Commentary (1858), for this reason places the Hithpa. מתּעה (rather write מתּעה) in the place of the Hiph.; but in the Comm. on Jeremiah (1866), 42:20, he rightly remarks: "To err, not as an involuntary condition, but as an arbitrary proceeding, is suitably expressed by the Hiph." In like manner הוסיף, הגּיע (to touch), הרחיק (to go to a distance), denote the active conduct of a being endowed with reason; Ewald, 122, c. Jewish interpreters gloss מתעה by supplying נפשׁו; but it signifies only as inwardly transitive, to accomplish the action of the תּעות.

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