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)Proverbs 2:4. "Fine gold" is apparently a technical word of that commerce, the native gold in the nugget or the dust.
it—that is, wisdom.
merchandise of silver—acquisition by trading.
fine gold—dug gold, solid as a nugget.
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).
(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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