Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walks uprightly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Folly.—Shown in wasted opportunities, and the commission of evil (Proverbs 10:23), while the “man of understanding” directs his way in accordance with the will of God.Is joy; he doth not only work wickedness, but taketh pleasure in it.
Walketh uprightly, Heb. directeth or maketh straight his going, i.e. ordereth all his actions by the rule of God’s word, and delighteth in so doing, which is understood from the opposite clause. Proverbs 10:23;
but a man of understanding walketh uprightly; he who has his understanding enlightened by the Spirit of God; who has an understanding given him by the Son of God; who has a spiritual and experimental understanding of the Gospel, and the truths of it: he walks according to the rule of the divine word; he walks as he has Christ for an example, and by faith on him; and after the spirit, and not after the flesh: or "directs himself in walking" (r), his goings, as the Vulgate Latin version, according to the above rule, example, and guidance, by the assistance of the spirit and grace of God; otherwise it is not in man that walketh of himself to direct his steps, Jeremiah 10:23.
(q) "carenti corde", Montanus; "ei qui deficitur", Schultens. (r) "diriget seipsum ambulando", Montanus; "diriget ambulare, vel ad ambulandum", Vatablus; "diriget viam suam ad ambulandum", Mercerus, Gejerus.Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)21. wisdom] Lit. heart, as in Proverbs 11:12.
walketh uprightly] Lit. maketh straight his going. The parallelism consists in the contrast between the reckless “joy” with which the heartless fool revels in his “folly,” and the care and caution with which a man of understanding makes straight his way. Comp. βλέπετε ἀκριβως πῶς περιπατεῖτε, μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι, ἀλλʼ ὡς σοφοί, Ephesians 5:15.Verse 21. - Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom; literally, void of heart; i.e. of understanding (Proverbs 10:23). The perverse, self-willed fool finds pleasure in going on his evil way, and exposing the fatuity which he takes for wisdom. Septuagint, "The ways of the senseless are wanting in intelligence." A man of understanding walketh uprightly; goes the right way. It is implied that the fool goes the wrong way.
But he who is of a joyful heart hath a perpetual feast.
Regarding עני (the afflicted), vid., 21b. They are so called on whom a misfortune, or several of them, press externally or internally. If such an one is surrounded by ever so many blessings, yet is his life day by day a sad one, because with each new day the feeling of his woe which oppresses him renews itself; whoever, on the contrary, is of joyful heart (gen. connection as Proverbs 11:13; Proverbs 12:8), such an one (his life) is always a feast, a banquet (not משׁתּה, as it may be also pointed, but משׁתּה and תּמיד thus adv., for it is never adj.; the post-bib. usage is תּמידין for עולות תּמיד). Hitzig (and also Zckler) renders 15b: And (the days) of one who is of a joyful heart are.... Others supply לו (cf. Proverbs 27:7), but our rendering does not need that. We have here again an example of that attribution (Arab. isnâd) in which that which is attributed (musnad) is a condition (hal) of a logical subject (the musnad ilêhi), and thus he who speaks has this, not in itself, but in the sense of the condition; the inwardly cheerful is feasts evermore, i.e., the condition of such an one is like a continual festival. The true and real happiness of a man is thus defined, not by external things, but by the state of the heart, in which, in spite of the apparently prosperous condition, a secret sorrow may gnaw, and which, in spite of an externally sorrowful state, may be at peace, and be joyfully confident in God.
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