Proverbs 2:20
That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
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Proverbs 2:20-22. That thou mayest walk, &c. — This depends upon Proverbs 2:11, and is mentioned as another happy fruit of wisdom, the former being declared, from Proverbs 2:12-19. In the way of good men — Mayest follow the counsels and examples of the godly. By this 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 — Shall have a peaceable and comfortable abode in the land of Canaan, which also is a type of their everlasting felicity. Their life on earth shall be quiet and peaceable, to which their uprightness will contribute, as it settles their minds, guides their counsels, gains them the good-will of their neighbours, and entitles them to God’s peculiar favour: and they shall dwell for ever in the heavenly Canaan. But the wicked — That choose the way of the evil man; shall be cut off — Not only from heaven hereafter, and all hopes of it, but from the earth now, on which they set their affections, and in which they lay up their treasure. They think to take root in it, but they and their families shall be rooted out of it — In judgment to them, but in mercy to the earth. And there is a day coming which shall leave them neither root nor branch, Malachi 4:1. Let that wisdom then enter into our hearts, and be pleasant to our souls, which will keep us out of a way that will end thus.

2:10-22 If we are truly wise, we shall be careful to avoid all evil company and evil practices. When wisdom has dominion over us, then it not only fills the head, but enters into the heart, and will preserve, both against corruptions within and temptations without. The ways of sin are ways of darkness, uncomfortable and unsafe: what fools are those who leave the plain, pleasant, lightsome paths of uprightness, to walk in such ways! They take pleasure in sin; both in committing it, and in seeing others commit it. Every wise man will shun such company. True wisdom will also preserve from those who lead to fleshly lusts, which defile the body, that living temple, and war against the soul. These are evils which excite the sorrow of every serious mind, and cause every reflecting parent to look upon his children with anxiety, lest they should be entangled in such fatal snares. Let the sufferings of others be our warnings. Our Lord Jesus deters from sinful pleasures, by the everlasting torments which follow them. It is very rare that any who are caught in this snare of the devil, recover themselves; so much is the heart hardened, and the mind blinded, by the deceitfulness of this sin. Many think that this caution, besides the literal sense, is to be understood as a caution against idolatry, and subjecting the soul to the body, by seeking any forbidden object. The righteous must leave the earth as well as the wicked; but the earth is a very different thing to them. To the wicked it is all the heaven they ever shall have; to the righteous it is the place of preparation for heaven. And is it all one to us, whether we share with the wicked in the miseries of their latter end, or share those everlasting joys that shall crown believers?The previous picture of shame and sin is brought before the disciple as an incentive to a better course. 20. That … way of good—that is, Such is the object of these warnings. 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.

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men,.... Who are not so by nature, but made so by the grace of God; such as the saints, prophets, and patriarchs of old; and who walked in the way of righteousness, holiness, and truth; being directed therein by the Spirit and word of God: now the use and profit of wisdom's instructions, or of the Gospel of Christ, and the doctrines of it, and a spiritual understanding of them, are not only to deliver men from the wicked man and the naughty woman, but also to influence and engage them to follow the examples of good men, and to walk in the same good old paths as they have done, Hebrews 6:12;

and keep the paths of the righteous; not only observe them and walk in them, but continue therein, even in the paths of faith and holiness; for righteous men, such as are made righteous by the righteousness of Christ, and are anew created unto righteousness and true holiness, and in consequence thereof live righteously; these walk by faith on Christ, and as becomes his Gospel; and in all the ordinances of it, and in all the duties of religion; and the Gospel teaches all those that receive and profess it to do the same.

That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
20. that thou mayest &c.] The construction is still dependent on Proverbs 2:10-11. The punctuation should be throughout as in R.V., with no full stops as in A.V.

Verses 20-22. - Conclusion of the discourse in which are antithetically stated the respective destinies of the good and the bad, the upright and the wicked. Verse 20. - That (Hebrew, לְמַעַן l'maan); in order that (Vulgate, ut), carries us back properly to ver. 11. The protecting power of wisdom is developed in a positive direction. Negatively, it delivers from the evil man and from the strange woman, but it does more - "it shall keep thee in order that thou mayest walk in a good way," etc. The Hebrew לְמַעַן (l'maan) is coordinate with "to deliver thee," but it serves to bring the discourse to a conclusion. Umbreit renders it "therefore," thus making what follows an inference from the preceding discourse. So the Syriac, ambula igitur, "therefore walk." In the way of good men (בְּדֶרֶך טובִים, b'derek tovim); i.e. in the way of the good, in an ethical sense, i.e. the upright, as in Isaiah 5:20. The Vulgate renders, in via bona, "in the good way." "The way of good men" is the way of God's commandments, the way of obedience. Keep. The Hebrew verb שָׁמַר (shamar) is here used in the sense of "to observe," "to attend to," but in a different sense from Psalm 17:4, "I have observed the ways of the violent man," i.e. that I might avoid them. To keep the paths of the righteous is to carefully attend to the life of obedience which they follow. The LXX. closely connects this verse with the preceding, and renders, "For if they had walked in good ways, they would have found the paths of righteousness light." Proverbs 2:20With למען there commences a new section, coordinating itself with the להצּילך ("to deliver thee") of Proverbs 2:12, Proverbs 2:16, unfolding that which wisdom accomplishes as a preserver and guide:

20 So that thou walkest in the good way,

     And keepest the right paths.

21 For the upright shall inhabit the land,

     And the innocent shall remain in it.

22 But the godless are cut off out the land,

     And the faithless are rooted out of it.

Wisdom - thus the connection - will keep thee, so that thou shalt not fall under the seductions of man or of woman; keep, in order that thou... למען (from מען equals מענה, tendency, purpose) refers to the intention and object of the protecting wisdom. To the two negative designations of design there follows, as the third and last, a positive one. טובים (contrast to רעים, Proverbs 14:19) is here used in a general ethical sense: the good (Guten, not Gtigen, the kind). שׁמר, with the object of the way, may in another connection also mean to keep oneself from, cavere ab (Psalm 17:4); here it means: carefully to keep in it. The promise of Proverbs 2:21 is the same as in the Mashal Psalm 37:9, Psalm 37:11, Psalm 37:22; cf. Proverbs 10:30. ארץ is Canaan, or the land which God promised to the patriarchs, and in which He planted Israel, whom He had brought out of Egypt; not the earth, as Matthew 5:5, according to the extended, unlimited N.T. circle of vision. יוּתרוּ (Milel) is erroneously explained by Schultens: funiculis bene firmis irroborabunt in terra. The verb יתר, Arab. watar, signifies to yoke (whence יתר, a cord, rope), then intrans. to be stretched out in length, to be hanging over (vid., Fleischer on Job 30:11); whence יתר, residue, Zephaniah 2:9, and after which the lxx here renders ὑπολειφθήσονται, and Jerome permanebunt. In 22b the old translators render יסּחוּ as the fut. of the pass. נסּח, Deuteronomy 28:63; but in this case it would be ינּסחוּ. The form יסּחוּ, pointed יסּחוּ, might be the Niph. of סחח, but סחח can neither be taken as one with נסח, of the same meaning, nor with Hitzig is it to be vocalized יסּחוּ (Hoph. of נסח); nor, with Bttcher (1100, p. 453), is יסּחוּ to be regarded as a veritable fut. Niph. יסּחוּ is, as at Proverbs 15:25; Psalm 52:7, active: evellant; and this, with the subj. remaining indefinite (for which J. H. Michaelis refers to Hosea 12:9), is equivalent to evellentur. This indefinite "they" or "one" ("man"), Fleischer remarks, can even be used of God, as here and Job 7:3 - a thing which is common in Persian, where e.g., the expression rendered hominem ex pulvere fecerunt is used instead of the fuller form, which would be rendered homo a Deo ex pulvere factus est. בּוגדים bears (as בּגד proves) the primary meaning of concealed, i.e., malicious (treacherous and rapacious, Isaiah 33:1), and then faithless men.

(Note: Similar is the relation in Arab. of labbasa to libâs (לבוּשׁ); it means to make a thing unknown by covering it; whence telbı̂s, deceit, mulebbis, a falsifier.)

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