Proverbs 5:2
That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
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5:1-14 Solomon cautions all young men, as his children, to abstain from fleshly lusts. Some, by the adulterous woman, here understand idolatry, false doctrine, which tends to lead astray men's minds and manners; but the direct view is to warn against seventh-commandment sins. Often these have been, and still are, Satan's method of drawing men from the worship of God into false religion. Consider how fatal the consequences; how bitter the fruit! Take it any way, it wounds. It leads to the torments of hell. The direct tendency of this sin is to the destruction of body and soul. We must carefully avoid every thing which may be a step towards it. Those who would be kept from harm, must keep out of harm's way. If we thrust ourselves into temptation we mock God when we pray, Lead us not into temptation. How many mischiefs attend this sin! It blasts the reputation; it wastes time; it ruins the estate; it is destructive to health; it will fill the mind with horror. Though thou art merry now, yet sooner or later it will bring sorrow. The convinced sinner reproaches himself, and makes no excuse for his folly. By the frequent acts of sin, the habits of it become rooted and confirmed. By a miracle of mercy true repentance may prevent the dreadful consequences of such sins; but this is not often; far more die as they have lived. What can express the case of the self-ruined sinner in the eternal world, enduring the remorse of his conscience!And that thy lips may keep - literally, "and thy lips shall keep." 2. regard—or, "observe."

keep—preserve constantly.

Regard, or, keep, i.e. hold fast, as it is in the next clause. Discretion; spiritual wisdom for the conduct of thy life, as this word is used Proverbs 1:4, and elsewhere in this book.

That thy lips may keep knowledge; that by wise and pious discourses thou mayst preserve and improve thy wisdom for thine own and others’ good.

That thou mayest regard discretion,.... Observe it; retain it in thine heart, as Aben Ezra adds, and use it; think, speak, and act discreetly, and so avoid the bad woman afterwards described: the Vulgate Latin version is, "that thou mayest keep the thoughts"; and so Gersom interprets the word; "good thoughts", according to the Septuagint version; the thoughts of the heart are to be observed. A man of spiritual wisdom will take notice of them; evil thoughts, which lead to uncleanness, are to be repressed and kept in; good ones to be cherished and improved; wise and sagacious ones (such the word here used signifies) are to be attended to, as being of great advantage in the various affairs and business of life; and spiritual and evangelical wisdom helps to such thoughts, and directs to the observance and exercise of them;

and that thy lips may keep knowledge; may be able to speak of things worthy to be known, and communicate the knowledge of them to others; by which means useful knowledge will be kept and preserved, and be continued in successive ages; see Malachi 2:7; even the knowledge of God and of Christ, and of the Gospel and its doctrines; and which will be a means of preserving men, as from false doctrine, error, and heresy, so from profaneness and immorality; and particularly from the adulterous woman, next described.

That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
2. regard] Rather, preserve, R.V. Comp. keep in the parallel clause of the verse.

Verse 2. - This verse expresses the purposes or results of the preceding admonition. The first is, that thou mayest regard discretion (Hebrew, lishmor m'zimmoth); literally, to guard reflection; i.e. in other words, that thou mayest maintain thoughtfulness, observe counsel, set a proper guard or control over thy thoughts, and so restrain them within proper and legitimate limits, or form such resolutions which, being well considered and prudential, may result in prudent conduct. The word m'zimmoth, however, does not travel beyond the sphere of what is conceived in the mind, and consequently does not mean conduct (as Holden conceives), except in a secondary sense, as that thoughts and plans are the necessary preliminaries to action and conduct. Muffet, in loc., explains, "that thou mayest not conceive in mind any evil or vanity." The word m'zimmoth is the plural of m'zimmmah, which occurs in Proverbs 1:4. This word generally means any plan, project, device, either in a good or bad sense. In the latter sense it is applied to intrigue and deceitful conduct, as in Proverbs 24:8. It is here used in a good sense. Indeed, Delitzsch remarks that the use of the word in a good sense is peculiar to the introductory part of the Proverbs (ch. 1-9.). The Vulgate renders. "That thou mayest guard thy thoughts or reflection (ut custodias cogitationes)." So the LXX., Ἵνα φυλάξῃς ἔννοιαν ἀγαθήν, "That thou mayest guard good reflection," the adjective ἀγαθή being introduced to note the sense in which the ἔννοια, i.e. act of thinking, properly, is to be understood. The prefix לִ ("to") before shamar, "to guard," in lishmor, expresses the purpose, as in Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 2:2, et alia. The second end in view is, that thy lips may keep knowledge; literally, and thy lips shall keep knowledge. Those lips keep or preserve knowledge which literally retain the instruction of Wisdom (Zockler), or which allow nothing to pass them which does not proceed from the knowledge of God (Delitzsch), and which, when they speak, give utterance to sound wisdom. The meaning may be illustrated by Psalm 17:3, "I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress." The same expression occurs in Malachi 2:7, "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge," i.e. preserve and give utterance to it. Where "the lips keep knowledge," there they are protected against the lips of the strange woman, i.e. against her allurements, because they will be fortified with purity. Thy lips; s'phatheyka is the dual of the feminine noun saphah, "a lip." The teacher designedly uses this word instead of "thy heart" (cf. Proverbs 3:1), because of the contrast which he has in mind, and which be produces in the next verse. The LXX., Vulgate. and Arabic add, "Attend not to the deceitful woman," which Houbigant and Schleusner think is required by the context. The addition, however, is without authority (Holden). Proverbs 5:2Here a fourth rule of life follows the three already given, Proverbs 4:24, Proverbs 4:25, Proverbs 4:26-27 :

1 My son, attend unto my wisdom,

   And incline thine ear to my prudence,

2 To observe discretion,

   And that thy lips preserve knowledge.

3 For the lips of the adulteress distil honey,

   And smoother than oil is her mouth;

4 But her end is bitter like wormwood,

   Sharper than a two-edged sword.

5 Her feet go down to death,

   Her steps cleave to Hades.

6 She is far removed from entering the way of life,

   Her steps wander without her observing it.

Wisdom and understanding increase with the age of those who earnestly seek after them. It is the father of the youth who here requests a willing ear to his wisdom of life, gained in the way of many years' experience and observation. In Proverbs 5:2 the inf. of the object is continued in the finitum, as in Proverbs 2:2, Proverbs 2:8. מזמּות (vid., on its etymon under Proverbs 1:4) are plans, projects, designs, for the most part in a bad sense, intrigues and artifices (vid., Proverbs 24:8), but also used of well-considered resolutions toward what is good, and hence of the purposes of God, Jeremiah 23:20. This noble sense of the word מזמּה, with its plur., is peculiar to the introductory portion (chap. 1-9) of the Book of Proverbs. The plur. means here and at Proverbs 8:12 (placing itself with חכמות and תּבוּנות, vid., p. 68) the reflection and deliberation which is the presupposition of well-considered action, and שׁמר is thus not otherwise than at Proverbs 19:8, and everywhere so meant, where it has that which is obligatory as its object: the youth is summoned to careful observation and persevering exemplification of the quidquid agas, prudenter agas et respice finem. In 2b the Rebia Mugrash forbids the genitive connection of the two words דּעתו שׂפתיך; we translate: et ut scientiam labia tua tueantur. Lips which preserve knowledge are such as permit nothing to escape from them (Psalm 17:3) which proceeds not from the knowledge of God, and in Him of that which is good and right, and aims at the working out of this knowledge; vid., Khler on Malachi 2:7. שׂפתיך (from שׂפה, Arab. shafat, edge, lip, properly that against which one rubs, and that which rubs itself) is fem., but the usage of the language presents the word in two genders (cf. 3a with Proverbs 26:23). Regarding the pausal ינצרוּ for יצּרוּ, vid., under Malachi 3:1; Malachi 2:11. The lips which distil the honey of enticement stand opposite to the lips which distil knowledge; the object of the admonition is to furnish a protection against the honey-lips.

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