Proverbs 23:23
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) Buy the truth, and sell it not.—The “truth” is here described under the three heads of wisdom, self-discipline, and understanding. (See above, on Proverbs 1:2.) All these are to be obtained from God (James 1:5), who gives to every man “liberally,” “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1). (Comp. Revelation 3:18, and the “treasure” and “pearl of great price” of Matthew 13:44-46.)

23:19-28 The gracious Saviour who purchased pardon and peace for his people, with all the affection of a tender parent, counsels us to hear and be wise, and is ready to guide our hearts in his way. Here we have an earnest call to young people, to attend to the advice of their godly parents. If the heart be guided, the steps will be guided. Buy the truth, and sell it not; be willing to part with any thing for it. Do not part with it for pleasures, honours, riches, or any thing in this world. The heart is what the great God requires. We must not think to divide the heart between God and the world; he will have all or none. Look to the rule of God's word, the conduct of his providence, and the good examples of his people. Particular cautions are given against sins most destructive to wisdom and grace in the soul. It is really a shame to make a god of the belly. Drunkenness stupifies men, and then all goes to ruin. Licentiousness takes away the heart that should be given to God. Take heed of any approaches toward this sin, it is very hard to retreat from it. It bewitches men to their ruin.The three forms of evil that destroy reputation and tempt to waste are brought together.

Drowsiness - Specially the drunken sleep, heavy and confused.

23. Buy—literally, "get" (Pr 4:5).

truth—generally and specially as opposed to errors of all kinds.

Buy the truth; purchase it upon any terms, spare no pains nor cost to get it. The truth; the true and saving knowledge of God’s mind and will concerning your salvation, and the way that leads to it.

Sell it not; do not forget it nor forsake it for any worldly advantages, as ungodly men frequently do.

Understanding; whereby you may love and practise the truth known and received.

Buy the truth, and sell it not,.... Evangelical truth, the word of truth, the Gospel of salvation, which comes from the God of truth; has Christ, who is the truth, for the stem and substance of it; men are directed and led into it by the Spirit of truth; the whole matter of it is truth; truth, in opposition to the law, that was typical and shadowy; to the errors of false teachers, to everything that is fictitious, or another Gospel; and to that which is a lie, for no lie is of the truth: there are several particular doctrines of the Gospel which are so called; those which respect the knowledge of one God, and three Persons in the Godhead; the deity and sonship of Christ, his incarnation and Messiahship, salvation alone by him, a sinner's justification by his righteousness, and the resurrection of the dead; the whole of which is truth, and is an answer to Pilate's question, John 18:38; and this men should "buy", not books only, as Aben Ezra interprets it, such as explain and confirm truth, though these should be bought; and especially the Bible, the Scriptures of truth; yet this does not reach the sense of the text: nor is it merely to be understood of persons supporting the Gospel ministry with their purses, by which means truth is preserved, propagated, and continued: no price is set upon it, as being above all; it should be bought or had at any rate, let the expense be what it will: "buying" it supposes a person to have some knowledge of it, of the excellency, usefulness, and importance of it; and shows that he sets a value upon it, and has a high esteem for it: it is to be understood of his using all means and taking great pains to acquire it; such as reading the word, meditating upon it, attending on the public ministry, and fervent and frequent prayer for it, and a greater degree of knowledge of it; yea, it signifies a person's parting with everything for it that is required; as with his former errors he has been brought up in, or has imbibed; with his good name and reputation, being willing to be accounted a fool or a madman, and an enthusiast, or anything for the sake of it; and even with life itself, when called for; and such a man will strive and contend for it, stand fast in it, and hold it fast, and not let it go, which is meant by "selling" it; truth is not to be sold upon any account, or for any thing whatever; it is not to be slighted and neglected; it should not be parted with neither for the riches, and honours, and pleasures of this life, nor for the sake of a good name among men, nor for the sake of peace, nor for the avoiding of persecution; it should he abode by, and not departed from, though the greater number is against it, and they the riots, the wise, and learned; and though it may be traduced as novel, irrational, and licentious, and be attended with affliction;

also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding; that is, buy these also, and sell them no; "wisdom" is to be prized above everything; it is the principal thing, and should be got; all means should he used to obtain it; it may be bought without money; it should be asked of God, who gives it liberally, and, being had, should be held fast: the "instruction" the Scriptures give, the instruction of the Gospel, the instruction of Wisdom, should be valued above gold and silver, and diligently sought after; should be laid fast hold on and not parted with: "understanding" of divine and spiritual things is to be gotten; happy is the man that gets it; and above all gettings this should be got, and all means made rise of to improve and increase it. The Targum, Syriac, and Vulgate Latin versions, connect these with the word sell only, thus, "buy the truth, and sell not wisdom, and instruction, and understanding"; but as buying and selling both refer to truth, so likewise to these also. The whole verse is wanting in the Septuagint and Arabic versions.

Buy {k} the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

(k) Spare no cost for truths sake, neither depart from it for any gain.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. buy … sell it not] Procure it at any cost: part with it on no consideration. Comp. Matthew 13:44-45.

also] Rather, even, or, yea. The things mentioned are not additions to, but elements of “the truth.” Comp. Malachi 4:4, R.V.

Verse 23. - Buy the truth, and sell it not (comp. Proverbs 4:5, 7; Proverbs 16:16). Consider truth as a thing of the highest value, and spare no pains, cost, or sacrifice to obtain it, and, when gotten, keep it safe; do not barter it for earthly profit or the pleasures of sense; do not be reasoned out of it, or laughed out of it; "sell it not," do not part with it for any consideration. The second clause gives the sphere in which truth moves, or the three properties which appertain to it. These are: wisdom (chochmah), practical knowledge; instruction (musar), moral culture and discipline; and understanding (binah), the faculty of discernment (see notes on Proverbs 1:2). This verse is omitted in the chief manuscripts of the Septuagint. Proverbs 23:23The parainesis begins anew, and the division is open to question. Proverbs 23:22-24 can of themselves be independent distichs; but this is not the case with Proverbs 23:25, which, in the resumption of the address and in expression, leans back on Proverbs 23:22. The author of this appendix may have met with Proverbs 23:23 and Proverbs 23:24 (although here also his style, as conformed to that of Proverbs 1:9, is noticeable, cf. 23b with Proverbs 1:2), but Proverbs 23:22 and Proverbs 23:25 are the form which he has given to them.

Thus Proverbs 23:22-25 are a whole: -

22 Hearken to thy father, to him who hath begotten thee,

     And despise not thy mother when she has grown old.

23 Buy the truth, and sell it not,

     Wisdom and discipline and understanding.

24 The father of a righteous man rejoiceth greatly;

     (And) he that is the father of a wise man - he will rejoice.

25 Let thy father and thy mother be glad;

     And her that bare thee exult.

The octastich begins with a call to childlike obedience, for שׁמע ל, to listen to any one, is equivalent to, to obey him, e.g., Psalm 81:9, Psalm 81:14 (cf. "hearken to his voice," Psalm 95:7). זה ילדך is a relative clause (cf. Deuteronomy 32:18, without זה or אשׁר), according to which it is rightly accentuated (cf. on the contrary, Psalm 78:54). 22b, strictly taken, is not to be translated neve contemne cum senuerit matrem tuam (Fleischer), but cum senuerit mater tua, for the logical object to אל־תּבוּז is attracted as subj. of זקנה (Hitzig). There now follows the exhortation comprehending all, and formed after Proverbs 4:7, to buy wisdom, i.e., to shun no expense, no effort, no privation, in order to attain to the possession of wisdom; and not to sell it, i.e., not to place it over against any earthly possession, worldly gain, sensual enjoyment; not to let it be taken away by any intimidation, argued away by false reasoning, or prevailed against by enticements into the way of vice, and not to become unfaithful to it by swimming with the great stream (Exodus 23:2); for truth, אמת, is that which endures and proves itself in all spheres, the moral as well as the intellectual. In 23b, in like manner as Proverbs 1:3; Proverbs 22:4, a threefold object is given to קנה instead of אמת: there are three properties which are peculiar to truth, the three powers which handle it: חכמה is knowledge solid, pressing into the essence of things; מוּסר is moral culture; and בּינה the central faculty of proving and distinguishing (vid., Proverbs 1:3-5). Now Proverbs 23:24 says what consequences are for the parents when the son, according to the exhortation of Proverbs 23:23, makes truth his aim, to which all is subordinated. Because in אמת the ideas of practical and theoretical truth are inter-connected. צדּיק and חכם are also here parallel to one another. The Chethı̂b of 24a is גּול יגוּל, which Schultens finds tenable in view of (Arab.) jal, fut jajûlu (to turn round; Heb. to turn oneself for joy) but the Heb. usus loq. knows elsewhere only גּיל יגיל, as the Kerı̂ corrects. The lxx, misled by the Chethı̂b, translates καλῶς ἐκτρέφει (incorrect ἐκτρυφήσει), i.e., גּדּל יגדּל. In 24b, וישׂמח is of the nature of a pred. of the conclusion (cf. Genesis 22:24; Psalm 115:7), as if the sentence were: has one begotten a wise man, then (cf. Proverbs 17:21) he has joy of him; but the Kerı̂ effaces this Vav apodosis, and assigns it to יולד as Vav copul. - an unnecessary mingling of the syntactically possible, more emphatic expression. This proverbial whole now rounds itself off in Proverbs 23:25 by a reference to Proverbs 23:22 - the Optative here corresponding to the Impr. and Prohib. there: let thy father and thy mother rejoice (lxx εὐφρανέσθω), and let her that bare thee exult (here where it is possible the Optat. form ותגל).

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