Proverbs 2:5
Then shall you understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
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(5) Find the knowledge of God.—It is the highest of all gifts, even eternal life itself, to know God, the Giver of all good things. It was to bestow this knowledge upon man that Christ came into the world (John 17:3). He promises (Proverbs 14:21) the manifestation of Himself as the reward of obedience and love. And yet our highest knowledge of God in this life must be so imperfect, in comparison with the knowledge of Him hereafter, when we shall see Him “face to face” (1Corinthians 13:12), that St. Paul. (Galatians 4:9) describes our relation to Him now as better expressed by being known of Him:” i.e., recognised, acknowledged by Him as His children, rather than by “knowing” Him.

2:1-9 Those who earnestly seek heavenly wisdom, will never complain that they have lost their labour; and the freeness of the gift does not do away the necessity of our diligence, Joh 6:27. Let them seek, and they shall find it; let them ask, and it shall be given them. Observe who are thus favoured. They are the righteous, on whom the image of God is renewed, which consists in righteousness. If we depend upon God, and seek to him for wisdom, he will enable us to keep the paths of judgment.The promise. The highest blessedness is to know God John 17:3. If any distinction between "the Lord" יהוה yehovâh and "God" אלהים 'elohı̂ym can be pressed here, it is that in the former the personality, in the latter the glory, of the divine nature is prominent. 5. understand—or, "perceive intelligently."


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. Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord,.... The grace of fear, and the exercise of it: which is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge, and is a treasure itself, Proverbs 1:7. By means of the Gospel the Lord works it in the hearts of his people by his Spirit; and by the same leads them into the riches of his special grace and "goodness", which they are influenced by to "fear", and the Lord for the sake of it: and particularly they are led hereby to the pardoning grace and mercy of God, which is with him, that he may "be feared"; and it is the Gospel which induces and encourages a true filial fear of God, by which men "depart from evil"; for that teaches them to deny all manner of sin, and to live a godly life and conversation: so that through a diligent search after the knowledge of the Gospel, and an attaining it, men come to have a spiritual, experimental, and practical understanding of the fear of God as a grace; and also, as it includes the whole worship of God, by means of Gospel light, they come to understand what sort of worship that is God is to be worshipped with; that it is pure, spiritual, and evangelical, suited to his nature and will: what the ordinances of divine service are; and that these are to be kept as they were delivered, and in the exercise of faith, from a principle of love, and with a view to the glory, of God, without trusting to them or depending on them for salvation. And this is the advantage arising from a diligent search after the doctrine of wisdom, or the Gospel, and a knowledge and understanding of it; and is used as an argument encouraging to it; and another follows;

and find the knowledge of God; such a knowledge of God as is not to be found by the light of nature, in the whole volume of the creatures, and in all the writings of the philosophers; no, nor in the law of Moses; for though much of God and his perfections may be seen and known by the things that are made, and much of the will of God by the law he gave; yet by neither of these is the knowledge of God in Christ, which is "life eternal". This only is to be found in the Gospel, and by means of it; here only it is brought to light; and through this men not only find it, but increase more and more in it: herein is a glorious display of his persons and perfections, of his counsels and purposes, of his covenant and promises, of his mind and will, with respect to doctrine and worship; and of the way of peace, life, and salvation, by Jesus Christ; which must serve greatly to engage and excite persons to a diligent search and pursuit after it. And all that is here said is designed to encourage a diligent search after divine things; for, as the poet (n) says, there is nothing so difficult but by searching may be found out.

(n) Terent. Heautont. Acts 4. Sc. 1.

Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the {e} knowledge of God.

(e) This (he says) is the true wisdom to know and fear God.

Verse 5. - Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord. Then (אָן), introducing the first apodosis, and answering to the conditional "if" of vers. 1, 3, 4. The earnest endeavour after Wisdom meets with its reward, and those that seek shall find (cf. Matthew 7:7): and thus an inducement is held forth to listen to the admonition of the teacher. Understand implies the power of discernment, but Zockler gives it the further moaning of taking to one's self as a spiritual possession, just as "find" meaning primarily "to arrive at" conveys the idea of getting possession of (Mercerus). The fear of the Lord (יְרְאַת יְחוָה, yir'ath y'hovah); "the fear of Jehovah," as in Proverbs 1:7. As it is the beginning, so it is the highest form of knowledge and the greatest good. Elsewhere it is represented as a fountain of life (Proverbs 15:27). All true wisdom is summed up in "the fear of the Lord." It here means the reverence due to him, and so comprises the whole range of the religious affections and feelings, which respond to various attributes of the Divine character as they are revealed, and which find their expression in holy worship. The knowledge of God (דַעַת ךאלֹהִים, daath Elohim); literally, the knowledge of Elohim. Not merely cognition, but knowledge in its wider sense. The two ideas of "the fear of the Lord" and "the knowledge of God" act reciprocally on each other. Just as without reverence of God there can be no knowledge of him in its true sense, so the knowledge of God will increase and deepen the feeling of reverence. But it is noticeable that the teacher here, as in Proverbs 9:10, where, however, it is "the knowledge of the holy" (דַעַת קְדשִׁים, daath k'doshim), gives the chief place to reverence, and thus indicates that it is the basis of knowledge, which is its fruit and result. The relation here suggested is analogous to that which subsists between faith and knowledge, and recalls the celebrated dictum of Anselm: "Neque enim quaero intelligere ut credam; sed credo, ut intelligam." Elohim, here interchanged with Jehovah, is not of frequent occurrence in the Proverbs, as it is only found therein five times, while the predominating word which is used to designate the Deity is Jehovah. But it is difficult to draw any distinction between them here. Jehovah may refer more especially to the Personality of the Divine nature, while Elohim may refer to Christ's glory (Plumptre). Bishop Wordsworth thinks that a distinction is made between the knowledge of Elohim and the knowledge of man which is of little worth. The discourse is now summarily brought to a close:

32 For the perverseness of the simple slays them,

     And the security of fools destroys them.

33 But whoever harkeneth to me dwells secure,

     And is at rest from fear of evil.

Of the two interpretations of שׁוּב, a turning towards (with אל and the like, conversion) or a turning away (with מאחרי or מעל, desertion), in משׁוּבה the latter (as in the post-Bib. תּשׁוּבה, repentance, the former) is expressed; apostasy from wisdom and from God are conjoined. שׁלוה is here carnalis securitas; but the word may also denote the external and the internal peace of the righteous, as שׁאנן, whence שׁלאנן, Job 21:23, as a superlative is formed by the insertion of the ל of שׁלו, is taken in bonam et malam partem. שׁאנן is, according to the Masora (also in Jeremiah 30:10; Jeremiah 46:27; Jeremiah 48:11), 3rd perf. Pilel (Ewald, 120, a), from the unused שׁאן, to be quiet: he has attained to full quietness, and enjoys such. The construction with מן follows the analogy of הניח מן (to give rest from), שׁקט מן (to rest from), and the like. The negative interpretation of מן, sine ullo pavore mali (Schultens, Ewald), is unnecessary; also Job 21:9 may be explained by "peace from terror," especially since שׁלום is derived from the root של, extrahere. פּחד רעה, "fear of evil," one may perhaps distinguish from פחד רע as the genitive of combination.

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