Then shall you understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yes, every good path.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 85:8 etc. The occurrence of the word here, in a book that became more and more prominent as prophetic utterances ceased, probably helped to determine its application in the period of the Maccabean struggles to those who especially claimed for themselves the title of "devout" (Chasidim, the ̓Ασιδαῖοι Asidaioi of 1 Macc. 7:13).
righteousness … path—all parts of duty to God and man.Then; when thou hast done thy part, expressed Proverbs 2:1-3, &c., and God in answer to thy desires hath given thee wisdom, Proverbs 2:6; or when it is with thee, as it follows, Proverbs 2:10. Righteousness, and judgment, and equity; all the parts of thy duty to man, as well as the fear of God, Proverbs 2:5, which contains all duties to God. These three words are used here, as also Proverbs 1:3, to signify the same thing. Every good path; the practice of all virtues and graces. Proverbs 2:5; it leads men into a notion of doing that which is right and just among men; it gives them not only a theoretic but a practical understanding of justice, and a true judgment of what is right and wrong; or gives such an understanding thereof as that they practise it; for it teaches men to live soberly, righteously, and godly, Titus 2:11. It is not only a revelation and ministration of the righteousness of Christ as the only matter of a sinner's justification before God; and informs a man's judgment so that he can distinguish between truth and error, right and wrong, good and bad notions and practices; but it influences his actions, life, and conversation, and engages him to do works of righteousness from the best principles, upon the best motives, and with the best views;
and equity; yea, every good path; that is, so to understand equity, as to do that which is equitable between man and man; and to understand every good path which the word of God directs to, even all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord, so as to walk in them; these things the Gospel acquaints men with, and urges them to observe: or the words may be rendered, either "the rectitude" or "equity of fall good paths", as the Syriac version; how just, and right, and plain, and equitable, everyone is, and therefore ought to be walked in; or "plainnesses", or "most plain", is or shall be "every good path" (r), to them that have a spiritual and experimental knowledge of the Gospel; and by it an understanding of their duty. One word signifies "plain" and "straight", and another "round" (s), and both are true of the path of righteousness; for though it is a circle of duty saints walk in, yet straight and plain.Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 9. - Then (אָז, az), repeated from ver. 5, introduces the second apodosis. As the former referred to God, so this appears to refer more especially to man, and thus we have stated the whole benefit, in its twofold aspect, which Wisdom confers on those who diligently seek her. It is not to be affirmed, however, that righteousness and judgment and equity refer exclusively to man; they must represent some aspects of our relationship to God, both from the meaning of the words themselves, and because the law which regulates our dealings and intercourse with man has its seat in the higher law of our relation to God. Righteousness, and judgment, and equity. These three words occur in the same collocation in Proverbs 1:3, which see. Yea, every good path. "Yea" does not occur in the original. The expression is a summarizing of the three previous conceptions, as if the teacher implied that all good paths are embraced by and included in "righteousness, and judgment, and equity;" but the term is also comprehensive in the widest degree. The literal translation is "every path of good" (כְּל־מַעְגֻּל־טוב, cal-ma'gal-tov), i.e. every course of action of which goodness is the characteristic, or, as the Authorized Version, "every good path," the sense in which it was understood by St. Jerome, omnem orbitam bonam. The word here used for "path" is מַעְגַּל (ma'gal), "the way in which the chariot rolls" (Delitzsch), and metaphorically a course of action, as in Proverbs 2:15; Proverbs 4:26.
(Note: Regarding this formula, see Strack's Prolegomena, pp. 66-70.)
(read not so, but thus), כי אם (if thou callest understanding mother), which supposes the phrase כי אם (lxx) as traditional. If אם were intended (according to which the Targ. in the Bibl. rabbinica, but not in Norzi's text, translates), then 3b would correspond; vid., Proverbs 7:4, cf. Job 17:14. Thus: Yea, if thou callest for understanding, i.e., callest her to thee (Proverbs 18:6), invitest her to thee (Proverbs 9:15). The ק of בּקּשׁ is, with the exception of the imper. (e.g., בּקּשׁוּ), always without the Dagesh. Proverbs 2:4 belongs to the ideas in the Book of Job found in these introductory discourses, cf. Job 3:21, as at Proverbs 2:14, Job 3:22 (Ewald, Sprche, p. 49). חפשׂ (חפּשׂ), scrutari, proceeds, as חפס shows, from the primary meaning of a ditch, and is thus in its root-idea related to חפר (to dig, search out). In the principal clause of Proverbs 2:5 the 'יראת ה, as Psalm 19:10, is the fear of Jahve as it ought to be, thus the reverence which is due to Him, the worshipping of Him as revealed. 'ה and אלהים are interchanged as קדשׁים and 'ה at Proverbs 9:10. דּעת is knowledge proceeding from practice and experience, and thus not merely cognition (Kenntnis), but knowledge (Erkenntnis). The thoughts revolve in a circle only apparently. He who strives after wisdom earnestly and really, reaches in this way fellowship with God; for just as He gives wisdom, it is nowhere else than with Him, and it never comes from any other source than from Him. It comes (Proverbs 2:6) מפּיו (lxx erroneously מפּניו ylsuoe), i.e., it is communicated through the medium of His word, Job 22:22, or also (for λὀγος and πνεῦμα lie here undistinguished from one another) it is His breath (Book of Wisdom 7:25: ἀτμὶς τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀπόῤῥοια τῆς τοῦ παντοκράτορος δόξης εἰλικρινής); the inspiration (נשׁמת) of the Almighty (according to Job 32:8) gives men understanding. In Proverbs 2:7, whether וצפן (Chethı̂b) or יצפּן (Kerı̂) is read, the meaning is the same. The former is the expression of the completed fact, as ἡτοίμασεν, 1 Corinthians 2:9, and is rightly preferred by lxx and Syr., for one reluctantly misses the copula (since the thought is new in comparison with Proverbs 2:6). לישׁרם should be written with the accent Dech. The Chokma-word (besides in Proverbs and Job, found only in Micah 6:9 and Isaiah 28:29) תּוּשׁיּה is a Hiphil formation (with the passing over of into , as in תּוּגה) from הושׁה (whence the pr. names יושׁה and יושׁויה) equals (Arab.) wasy and âsy, to re-establish, to advance, Hiph. of ישׁה equals ושׁה, to stand, and thus means furtherance, i.e., the power or the gift to further, and concretely that which furthers and profits, particularly true wisdom and true fortune.
(Note: I was formerly in error in regarding the word as a Hophal formation, and in assigning to it the primary signification of being in a state of realized existence, of reality, in contradistinction to appearance only. The objection of J. D. Michaelis, Supplem. p. 1167, Non placent in linguis ejusmodi etyma metaphysica, etc., does not apply here, since the word is a new one coined by the Chokma, but all the shades of meaning are naturally derived from the fundamental signification "furtherance" (cf. Seneca, Deus stator stabilitorque est). "תושׁיה, from Arab. âsy and wasy, to further by word and deed, to assist by counsel and act, to render help, whence the meanings auxilium, salus, and prudens consilium, sapientia, easily follow; cf. Ali's Arab. proverb, "He furthers thee, who does not trouble himself about thee.")
The derivation from ישׁ (Proverbs 8:21) is to be rejected, because "the formation would be wholly without analogy, so much the more because the י of this word does not represent the place of the ו, as is seen from the Arab. l-ys and the Syr. lyt" (Fl.);
(Note: The Arab. ‛aysa (almost only in the negative la-ysa equals לא ישׁ), of the same signification as ישׁ, with which the Aram. אית (איתי) is associated, presupposes an ‛âsa ( equals ‛âssa), to be founded, to found, and is rightly regarded by the Arabs as an old segolate noun in which the verbal force was comprehended.)
and the derivation of ושׁה equals שׁוה, to be smooth (Hitzig), passes over without any difficulty into another system of roots.
(Note: The Arab. wsy and swy are confounded in common usage (Wetstein, Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xxii. 19), but the roots וש and שו are different; וש and אש, on the contrary, are modifications of one root.)
In the passage under consideration (Proverbs 2:7), תּוּשׁיּה signifies advancement in the sense of true prosperity. The parallel passage 7a clothes itself in the form of an apposition: (He) a shield (מגן, n. instr. of גּנן, to cover) for הלכי תּם, pilgrims of innocence (Fl.), i.e., such as walk in the way (the object-accus., as Proverbs 6:12, for which in Proverbs 10:9 בּ) of innocence. תּם is whole, full submission, moral faultlessness, which chooses God with the whole heart, seeks good without exception: a similar thought is found in Psalm 84:12. לנצר, 8a, is such an inf. of consequence as להקשׁיב (Proverbs 2:2), and here, as there, is continued in the finite. The "paths of justice" are understood with reference to those who enter them and keep in them; parallel, "the way of His saints" (חסיד, he who cherishes חסד, earnest inward love to God), for that is just ארח־צדקה (Proverbs 12:28): they are הלכי צדקות (Isaiah 33:15). Instead of the Mugrash, the conjunctive Tarcha is to be given to ודרך.
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