That you may regard discretion, and that your lips may keep knowledge.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.
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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)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).
23 Above all other things that are to be guarded, keep thy heart,
For out from it life has its issues.
24 Put away from thee perverseness of mouth,
And waywardness of lips put far from thee.
25 Thine eyes should look straight forward,
And thine eyelids look straight to the end before thee.
26 Make even the path of thy feet,
And let all thy ways be correct.
27 Turn not aside to the right and to the left;
Remove thy foot from evil.
Although משׁמר in itself and in this connection may mean the object to be watchfully avoided (cavendi) (vid., under Proverbs 2:20): thus the usage of the language lying before us applies it, yet only as denoting the place of watching or the object observandi; so that it is not to be thus explained, with Raschi and others: before all from which one has to protect himself (ab omni re cavenda), guard thine heart; but: before all that one has to guard (prae omni re custodienda), guard it as the most precious of possessions committed to thy trust. The heart, which according to its etymon denotes that which is substantial (Kernhafte) in man (cf. Arab. lubb, the kernel of the nut or almond), comes here into view not as the physical, but as the intellectual, and specially the ethical centrum.
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