Proverbs 3:14
For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
3:13-20 No precious jewels or earthly treasures are worthy to be compared with true wisdom, whether the concerns of time or eternity be considered. We must make wisdom our business; we must venture all in it, and be willing to part with all for it. This Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, sought and obtained by faith and prayer. Were it not for unbelief, remaining sinfulness, and carelessness, we should find all our ways pleasantness, and our paths peace, for his are so; but we too often step aside from them, to our own hurt and grief. Christ is that Wisdom, by whom the worlds were made, and still are in being; happy are those to whom he is made of God wisdom. He has wherewithal to make good all his promises.Compare Proverbs 2:4. "Fine gold" is apparently a technical word of that commerce, the native gold in the nugget or the dust. 14, 15. The figure of Pr 3:13 carried out.

it—that is, wisdom.

merchandise of silver—acquisition by trading.

fine gold—dug gold, solid as a nugget.

It is more necessary and advantageous, because it is so, not only for this short life, but also to the future and everlasting life, in which gold and silver bear no price. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver,.... The believer is a spiritual merchant; faith is a trading with and for Christ, and for spiritual and heavenly things by him; and because there is a parting with something for Christ, as a man's sinful lusts and pleasures, his own righteousness, his friends and relations, when set in opposition to or competition with him, and even life itself, when called for; and because he runs a risk of suffering reproach, afflictions, and death itself; therefore this concern with him, and enjoyment of him, is called a "merchandise", which is "better than that of silver", or than silver which is got by merchandise: for Christ, and the things of Christ, are more valuable than silver, and to be preferred unto it; more useful and profitable than silver is, which a man may have a large abundance of, and lose his soul, whereas by Christ is the salvation of it; more satisfying than silver is, with which a man is never satisfied, whereas he that has Christ has enough, having all things; more pleasant in obtaining, and more safe in enjoying; a great deal of anxiety and vexation attend the one, and inexpressible pleasure the other; and more durable and lasting than that, the enjoyment of Christ is for ever;

and the gain thereof than fine gold; the doctrines and ordinances of Christ are more to be desired than gold, yea, than fine gold; the blessings of grace by Christ, such as redemption, pardon of sin, &c. are not obtained by corruptible things, as silver and gold, but are more precious than they; and even the graces of Christ in the hearts of his people, as faith, hope, and love, are more precious than gold that perisheth; and much more preferable must he himself be, and the gain that accrues to a believer by him, which is cent per cent an hundred fold, even in this world, and in the world to come everlasting life: it is all clear gain a believer gets by Christ and trading with him; he has him, and all with him, without money and without price; he has that which is more worth than the gain of the whole world, even the salvation of his immortal soul; the riches he has by Christ are immense and unsearchable, the riches of grace and glory; it cannot be said how great this gain is.

For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. the merchandise of it] Comp. Matthew 13:45-46, where this proverb is expanded into a parable. The same idea of trading in the moral and spiritual sphere occurs in Proverbs 11:19, Proverbs 23:23; Job 28:15-19.Verse 14. - The merchandise (sakh'rah); Vulgate, acquisitio; LXX., ἐμπορεύεσθαι. The gain arising from trading in wisdom is better than that which arises from trading in silver. Sakh'rah is the gain or profit arising from merchandise, i.e. from trading. It denotes the act itself of gaining. The root sakrah, like the Greek ἐμπορευέσθαι, signifies "to go about for the sake of traffic," i.e. to trade. There may be an allusion here, as in Proverbs 2:4, to the new commerce (Plumptre). The gain thereof (t'vuathah); i.e. the gain existing in, and going along with, Wisdom herself; gain, therefore, in a different sense from that indicated in sakh'rah. Gesenius takes it as "gain resulting from Wisdom," as in Proverbs 8:19 and Isaiah 23:3. The word is used of the produce of the earth, the idea apparently embodied in the Vulgate fructus. In this case there may be a reference to ver. 18, where Wisdom is said to be a "tree of life." The LXX. omits the latter clause of this verse. The sense is, "The possession of Wisdom herself is better than fine gold." Fine gold (karuts); Vulgate, aurum purum; Syriac, aurum purissimum. Kharuts is the poetic word for gold, so called, either

(1) from its brilliancy, and then akin to the Greek χρυσός (Curtius); or

(2) from its being dug up, from the root kharats, "to cut into or dig up, to sharpen." It evidently means the finest and purest gold, and is here contrasted with silver (keseph). The word is translated "choice gold" in Proverbs 8:10; "gold" simply in Proverbs 16:16; "yellow gold" in Psalm 68:13; and "fine gold" in Zechariah 9:3. In the Version Junii et Tremellii it appears as effosum aurum, "gold dug up," i.e. gold in its native, unalloyed state. The Targum Jonathan understands it of "molten gold" (aurum conflatum). The subject to תּהי; (it shall be) is just this religious-moral conduct. The conjectural reading לבשׂרך (Clericus), לשׁרך equals לשׁארך (Ewald, Hitzig), to thy flesh or body, is unnecessary; the lxx and Syr. so translating, generalize the expression, which is not according to their taste. שׁר, from שׁרר, Arab. sarr, to be fast, to bind fast, properly, the umbilical cord (which the Arabs call surr, whence the denom. sarra, to cut off the umbilical cord of the newborn); thus the navel, the origin of which coincides with the independent individual existence of the new-born, and is as the firm centre (cf. Arab. saryr, foundation, basis, Job, p. 487) of the existence of the body. The system of punctuation does not, as a rule, permit the doubling of ר, probably on account of the prevailing half guttural, i.e., the uvular utterance of this sound by the men of Tiberias.

(Note: See my work, Physiologie u. Musik in ihrer Bedeutung fr Grammatik besonders die hebrische, pp. 11-13.)

לשׁרּך here, and שׁרּך at Ezekiel 16:4, belong to the exceptions; cf. the expanded duplication in שׁררך, Sol 7:3, to which a chief form שׁרר is as little to be assumed as is a הרר to הררי. The ἅπ. γεγρ. רפאוּת, healing, has here, as מרפּא, Proverbs 4:22; Proverbs 16:24, and תּרוּפה, Ezekiel 47:12, not the meaning of restoration from sickness, but the raising up of enfeebled strength, or the confirming of that which exists; the navel comes into view as the middle point of the vis vitalis. שׁקּוּי is a Piel formation, corresponding to the abstract Kal formation רפאוּת; the Arab. saqâ, used transit. (to give to drink), also saqqâ (cf. Pu. Job 21:24) and asqâ, like the Hebr. השׁקה (Hiph. of שׁקה, to drink); the infin. (Arab.) saqy means, to the obliterating of the proper signification, distribution, benefaction, showing friendship, but in the passage before us is to be explained after Job 21:24 (the marrow of his bones is well watered; Arnheim - full of sap) and Proverbs 15:30. Bertheau and Hitzig erroneously regard Proverbs 3:8 as the conclusion to Proverbs 3:7, for they interpret רפאות as the subject; but had the poet wished to be so understood, he should have written וּתהי. Much rather the subject is devotion withdrawn from the evil one and turned to God, which externally proves itself by the dedication to Him of earthly possessions.

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