Proverbs 22:17
Bow down your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge.
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(17) Hear the words of the wise.—Comp. chap 1:6. As “wise” is in the plural number, it would seem as if the following section contained proverbs written by others than Solomon, though they may have been collected by him. (Comp. Proverbs 24:23.)

Proverbs 22:17-18. Bow down thine ear, &c. — From the beginning of the tenth chapter to this place, the instructions of wisdom are delivered in short sentences, and proverbs properly so called; which have seldom any connection one with another, or such as is not easily discerned: but here another form of speech begins and continues unto chap. 25.; and therefore it may not unfitly be called, The Second Part of the Book of Proverbs. In this part we have various exhortations and precepts, which are all delivered in the imperative mood, and comprehended each in two, three, or more verses connected together. In which alteration, it is probable, Solomon consulted the weakness of his reader, who, if he were weary of the preceding sententious way of instruction, might be relieved, refreshed, and awakened unto new attention by varying the form of writing. — Bishop Patrick. Hear the words of the wise — Of wise and holy men of God. And apply thy heart unto my knowledge — The knowledge of God, and of thy several duties which I am here delivering to thee. Thirst after it, and give thyself up to the diligent study of it. For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them — Namely, the words of the wise; within thee — Hebrew, in thy belly, that is, in thy heart; if thou receive them in love, and retain them in thy memory, so as to have them ready for use upon all occasions. They shall be fitted in thy lips — Fitly expressed; or, shall be disposed, or ordered, as יכנוsignifies. The sense seems to be, When thou hast got them into thy heart, thou wilt be able and ready to discourse pertinently and profitably of them.22:17-21. To these words, to this knowledge, the ear must be bowed down, and the heart applied by faith and love. To live a life of delight in God and dependence on him, is the foundation of all practical religion. The way to know the certainty of the word of truth, is to make conscience of our duty. 22,23. He that robs and oppresses the poor, does so at his peril. And if men will not appear for them, God will. 24,25. Our corrupt hearts have so much tinder in them, that it is dangerous to have to do with those that throw about the sparks of their passion.This is the commencement of a new and entirely distinct section, opening, after the fashion of Proverbs 3:1, Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 4:1; Proverbs 7:1; with a general exhortation Proverbs 22:17-21 and passing on to special precepts. The "words of the wise" may be a title to the section: compare Proverbs 24:23. The general characteristics of this section appear to be

(1) a less close attention to the laws of parallelism, and

(2) a tendency to longer and more complicated sentences. Compare the Introduction to Proverbs.

17. Here begins another division of the book, marked by those encouragements to the pursuit of wisdom, which are found in the earlier chapters. It will be observed that at Pr 22:22-24:12, the proverbs are generally expressed in two verses instead of one (see [645]Introduction). Of the wise; of wise and holy men of God.

Apply thine heart; thirst after it, and give of thyself to the diligent study of it.

My knowledge; the knowledge of God, and of thy several duties, which I am here delivering to thee. Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise,.... Here begins a new part or division of this book. According to some, the "third"; the "first" ending with Proverbs 9:18, the "second" at Proverbs 22:16, and a "third", beginning here, and ending with Proverbs 24:34. It is certain that what follows from hence to the end of that is written in another style, by way of exhortation, caution; and instruction, and is directed to particular persons: as here an exhortation is made to Solomon's son, or to those that attended his instruction; or rather to the children of Wisdom, that is, Christ; to listen attentively to "the words of the wise"; of Solomon, and other wise men before him, or contemporary with him; or rather of Wisdom and her maidens, Christ, and the wise men sent by him; who are made wise to salvation, and furnished for every good work by him, from whom the words of the wise come; and who speak the wisdom of God in a mystery; and whose doctrines are to be heard and received, not as the word of men, but as the word of God;

and apply thine heart unto my knowledge; the knowledge of divine and spiritual things Christ instructs in, and the knowledge of himself; which is preferable to all other knowledge, and to thousands of gold and silver; and in comparison of which all things are but loss and dung; and therefore should be applied unto with intenseness of mind, and cordially received.

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
17. the words of the wise] Comp. Proverbs 1:6, Proverbs 24:23.

III. Second Collection of Proverbs

Chap. Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:22A short Preface or Introduction, Proverbs 22:17-21.

The body of the Collection, Proverbs 22:22 to Proverbs 24:22.

17–21. This short paragraph is at once a conclusion and an introduction, a pause in the continuous teaching of the same Teacher, in which he sums up what had gone before, and opens the way for further instruction. In our present Hebrew text there is no break between the 16th and 17th verses of this chapter, but there is a slight break, to which however no special importance can be attached, between the 21st and 22nd verses. The R.V. is so printed as to indicate the commencement of a new section at Proverbs 22:17, and of a fresh paragraph at Proverbs 22:22.

On the characteristics of the Section see Introduction, pp. 36, 37.Verse 17-ch. 24:22. - Part IV. FIRST APPENDIX TO THE FIRST GREAT COLLECTION, containing "words of the wise." Verses 17-21. - The introduction to this first appendix, containing an exhortation to attend to the words of the wise, an outline of the instruction herein imparted, with a reference to teaching already given. Verse 17. - Incline thine ear (comp. Proverbs 4:20; Proverbs 5:1). The words of the wise; verba sapientium, Vulgate. "Wise" is in the plural number, showing that this is not a portion of the collection called, 'The Proverbs of Solomon' (Proverbs 10:1), but a distinct work. (For the term, see note on Proverbs 1:6.) My knowledge. The knowledge which I impart by bringing to notice these sayings of wise men. Septuagint, "Incline (παράβαλλε) thine ear to the words of wise men, and hear my word, and apply thine heart, that thou mayest know that they are good." 11 He that loveth heart-purity,

     Whose is grace of lips, the king is his friend.

Thus with Hitzig, it is to be translated not: he who loveth with a pure heart - we may interpret טהור־לב syntactically in the sense of puritate cordis or purus corde (Ralbag, Ewald, after Proverbs 20:7), for that which follows אהב and is its supplement has to stand where possible as the accus. of the object; thus not: qui amat puritatem cordis, gratiosa erunt labia ejus (de Dieu, Geier, Schultens, C. B. Michaelis, Fleischer), for between heart-purity and graciousness of speech there exists a moral relation, but yet no necessary connection of sequence; also not: he who loves purity of heart, and grace on his lips (Aben Ezra, Schelling, Bertheau), for "to love the grace of one's own lips" is an awkward expression, which sounds more like reprehensible self-complacency than a praiseworthy endeavour after gracious speech. Excellently Luther:

"He who has a true heart and amiable speech,

The king is his friend."

טהור־לב is not adjectival, but substantival; טהר־ is thus not the constr. of the mas. טהור, as Job 17:10, but of the segolate טהר, or (since the ground-form of גּבהּ, 1 Samuel 16:7, may be גּבהּ as well as גּבהּ) of the neut. טהור, like קדשׁ, Psalm 46:5; Psalm 65:5 : that which is pure, the being pure equals purity (Schultens). הן שׂפתיו (gracefulness of his lips) is the second subject with the force of a relative clause, although not exactly thus thought of, but: one loving heart-purity, gracefulness on his lips - the king is his friend. Ewald otherwise: "he will be the king's friend," after the scheme Proverbs 13:4; but here unnecessarily refined. A counsellor and associate who is governed by a pure intention, and connects therewith a gentle and amiable manner of speech and conversation, attaches the king to himself; the king is the רעה (רע), the friend of such an one, and he also is "the friend of the king," 1 Kings 4:5. It is a Solomonic proverb, the same in idea as Proverbs 16:13. The lxx, Syr., and Targ. introduce after אהב the name of God; but 11b does not syntactically admit of this addition. But it is worth while to take notice of an interpretation which is proposed by Jewish interpreters: the friend of such an one is a king, i.e., he can royally rejoice in him and boast of him. The thought is beautiful; but, as the comparison of other proverbs speaking of the king shows, is not intended.

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