Proverbs 3:15
She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) Rubies.—The meaning of the Hebrew penînîm is doubtful. Lamentations 4:7 shows the colour to have been red; “coral” is a probable rendering; that of “pearls” is unlikely. For the thought, comp. Job 28:15-19.

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.Rubies - The פנינים pânı̂ynı̂ym were among the costly articles of traffic, and red or rose-colored Lamentations 4:7. The last fact has led some to identify them with coral, or (as in the King James Version) with "rubies." Most commentators, however, have identified them with pearls, which may connect this passage with Matthew 7:6; Matthew 13:45. The words of the promise here are almost the echo of 1 Kings 3:11-13. 15. rubies—gems, or pearls. For true worth and usefulness.

She is more precious than rubies,.... Or "pearls" (u), as some; which were formerly esteemed above all precious stones; the eastern were the more valuable (w), which Solomon had most knowledge of; Christ is the pearl of great price, of more value than any pearl, or all put together, Matthew 13:46; See Gill on Job 28:18; or "carbuncles" (x), as others. The Targum and Septuagint render it in general terms "precious stones"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "than all riches"; there is a beautiful gradation in this and Proverbs 3:14, wisdom is first preferred to silver, then to "fine gold" (y), and here, to "precious stones" Christ is precious, exceeding precious in his names and titles, Messiah, Jesus, Immanuel, &c. in his divine nature, and the perfections of it, which show his condescension and grace to become a Saviour, assure of his ability to save, and render his mediatorial performances valuable; in his person as God and man; in the beauty, fulness, and fitness of it; in his power, wisdom, grace, &c. in his offices, his priestly office; in his satisfaction, his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, are precious; in his intercession, which is ever acceptable and prevalent; in his prophetic office, his Gospel is precious, every truth and promise of it; in his kingly office, all his ordinances and appointments, his commandments are more to be loved than gold, yea, than fine gold; in all his relations and characters, and in everything that belongs to him; he is so to them that believe, and to none else; 1 Peter 2:7; these see the need and worth of him, receive much from him, and live upon him; and especially he is precious to them at first conversion; and so he is after desertions, and long absence; and under temptations and afflictions, losses and disappointments; and in the hour of death: and he is superlatively precious, "more precious than rubies", or any precious stones; of a superior lustre and glory to them, being "the brightness of his Father's glory"; and of more intrinsic worth and value, of greater price than any pearls, and more enriching to his possessors, for such possess all things;

and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her; this takes in a very great compass: there are many things that are very desirable, and the desires of man's heart are very extensive, and not easily satisfied; there are the precious things of heaven, brought forth by the sun and moon; and the precious things of the earth, which are either upon it or in it, in the bowels of it, and upon the plains, and hills; but none of equal worth with Christ; there are many precious and excellent, and desirable persons in the world, neighbours, friends, relations, and acquaintance; saints on earth, and angels in heaven; yet none to be valued with Christ, and compared to him; see Psalm 73:25.

(u) "prae margaritis", Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (w) De Boot. Hist. Gemm. l. 2. c. 39. (x) "Carbunculis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (y) "Vilius argentum est auro, virtutibus aurum", Horat. Ep. l. 1. Ep. 1. v. 52.

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. rubies] This rendering is retained in R.V. text, with a reference to Job 28:18, where the alternative is given in the marg. of red coral, or pearls. The expression “more ruddy” (which those, however, who render “pearls,” take to mean “more bright”), Lamentations 4:7, would seem to confine our choice to rubies or red coral. The word occurs frequently in this Book (Proverbs 8:11, Proverbs 20:15, Proverbs 31:10). The LXX. evade the difficulty with λίθων πολυτελῶν, precious stones, and the Vulg. follows suit with cunctis opibus. See note in this Series on Lamentations 4:7, and Smith’s Dict. of Bible, Art. Rubies.

all the things … are not] This is the Hebrew way of saying, none of the things … are; and so it is rendered in R.V. Another example occurs in Psalm 25:3, where the P.B.V. preserves the Heb. idiom, and A.V. and R.V. give the corresponding English form of expression.

Verse 15. - Rubies (Khetib, p'niyim; Keri, p'ninim). No unanimous opinion has been arrived at as to the real signification of the word here translated "rubies." The majority of the rabbins (among them Rashi), and Bochart, Hartman, Bohlen, Lee on Job 38:18, and Zockler, render it "pearls." Its meaning seems to lie between this and "corals," the rendering adopted by Michaelis, Gesenius, and Delitzsch (following Fleischer), who says that the Hebrew p'ninim corresponds with the Arabia word whose root idea is "shooting forth," and means "a branch." The peculiar branching form in which corm is found favours this opinion, which is strengthened by the passage in Lamentations 4:7, where we get additional information as to color, "They [the Nazarites] were more ruddy in body than rubies," a description of which would apply to "coral," but is scarcely applicable to "pearls." The various versions suggest the further idea that p'ninim was a descriptive word used to denote precious stones in general. The LXX. renders, "She is more precious than precious stones (λίθων πολυτελῶν)." So the Targum Jonathan, Syriac, and Arabic. The Vulgate renders. "She is more precious than all riches (cunctis opibus)." The word p'ninim only occurs here (Keri) and in Proverbs 8:11; Proverbs 20:15; Proverbs 31:10; and in Job and Lamentations as above. This passage, as well as Proverbs 8:11, which is an almost literal repetition of it, are imitations of Job 28:18. The identification of p'ninim with "pearls" may have suggested our Lord's parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45, 46). All the things thou canst desire (kal-khaphatseyka); literally, all thy desires. Here everything in which you have pleasure, or all your precious things; LXX., πᾶν τίμον; Vulgate, omnia, quae desiderantur. The comparison, which has risen from the less to the more valuable, culminates in this comprehensive expression. There is nothing, neither silver, gold, precious stones, nor anything precious, which is an equivalent (shavah) to Wisdom in value. How it shows, when everything is put before us to choose from, that, like Solomon at Gibeon, we should prefer wisdom (1 Kings 3:11-13)! In the second half of this verse the LXX. substitutes, "No evil thing competes with her; she is well known to all that approach her." Proverbs 3:15As regards פּנינים, for which the Kethb has פּניּים, the following things are in favour of the fundamental meaning "corals," viz.: (1.) The name itself, which corresponds with the Arab. fann; this word, proceeding from the root-idea of shooting forth, particularly after the manner of plants, means the branch and all that raises or multiplies itself branch-like or twig-like (Fleischer). (2.) The redness attributed to the פנינים, Lamentations 4:7, in contradistinction to the pure whiteness attributed to snow and milk (vid., at Job 28:18). The meaning of the word may, however, have become generalized in practice (lxx in loc. λίθων πολετελῶν, Graec. Venet. λιθιδίων); the meaning "pearls," given to it in the Job-Targum by Rashi, and particularly by Bochart, lay so much the nearer as one may have wrought also corals and precious stones, such as the carbuncle, sardius, and sapphire, into the form of pearls. יקרה, in consequence of the retrogression of the tone, has Munach on the penult., and that as an exception, as has been remarked by the Masora, since in substantives and proper names terminating in ה the נסוג אחור, i.e., the receding of the tone, does not elsewhere appear, e.g., יפה היא, Genesis 12:14, בּרה היא, Sol 6:9, צרה היא, Jeremiah 30:7. חפץ is first abstr., a being inclined to something, lust, will, pleasure in anything, then also concr., anything in which one has pleasure, what is beautiful, precious; cf. Arab. nfı̂s, _hyy, hence hjârt nfı̂st, precious stones" (Fleischer). שׁוה with ב means to be an equivalent (purchase-price, exchange) for anything; the most natural construction in Arab. as well as in Hebr. is that with ל, to be the equivalent of a thing (vid., at Job 33:27); the ב is the Beth pretii, as if one said in Arab.: biabi anta thou art in the estimate of my father, I give it for thee. One distinctly perceives in Proverbs 3:14, Proverbs 3:15, the echo of Job 28. This tetrastich occurs again with a slight variation at Proverbs 8:10-11. The Talmud and the Midrash accent it so, that in the former the expression is וכל־חפצים, and in the latter וכל־חפציך, and they explain the latter of precious stones and pearls (אבנים טובות ומרגליות).
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