Proverbs 23:23
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.

King James Bible
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

American Standard Version
Buy the truth, and sell it not; Yea , wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Buy truth, and do not sell wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

English Revised Version
Buy the truth, and sell it not; yea, wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Webster's Bible Translation
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Proverbs 23:23 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The poet now shows how one attains unto wisdom - the beginning of wisdom is the fear of God:

17 Let not thine heart strive after sinners,

     But after the fear of Jahve all the day.

18 Truly there is a future,

     And thy hope shall not come to naught.

The lxx, Jerome, the Venet., and Luther, and the Arab. interpreters, render 17b as an independent clause: "but be daily in the fear of the Lord." That is not a substantival clause (cf. Proverbs 22:7), nor can it be an interjectional clause, but it may be an elliptical clause (Fleischer: from the prohibitive אל־תקנא is to be taken for the second parallel member the v. subst. lying at the foundation of all verbs); but why had the author omitted היה dettim? Besides, one uses the expressions, to act (עשׂה), and to walk (הלך) in the fear of God, but not the expression to be (היה) in the fear of God. Thus בּיראת, like בחטּאים, is dependent on אל־תּקנּא; and Jerome, who translates: Non aemuletur cor tuum peccatores, sed in timore Domini esto tota die, ought to have continued: sed timorem Domini tota die; for, as one may say in Latin: aemulari virtutes, as well as aemulari aliquem, so also in Heb. קנּא ב, of the envying of those persons whose fortune excites to dissatisfaction, because one has not the same, and might yet have it, Proverbs 3:31; Proverbs 24:1, Proverbs 24:19, as well as of emulation for a thing in which one might not stand behind others: envy not sinners, envy much rather the fear of God, i.e., let thyself be moved with eager desire after it when its appearance is presented to thee. There is no O.T. parallel for this, but the Syr. tan and the Greek ζηλοτυποῦν are used in this double sense. Thus Hitzig rightly, and, among the moderns, Malbim; with Aben Ezra, it is necessary to take ביראת for באישׁ יראת, this proverb itself declares the fear of God to be of all things the most worthy of being coveted.

In Proverbs 23:18, Umbreit, Elster, Zckler, and others interpret the כּי as assigning a reason, and the אם as conditioning: for when the end (the hour of the righteous judgment) has come; Bertheau better, because more suitable to the ישׁ and the אחרית: when an end (an end adjusting the contradictions of the present time) comes, as no doubt it will come, then thy hope will not be destroyed; but, on the other hand, the succession of words in the conclusion (vid., at Proverbs 3:34) opposes this; also one does not see why the author does not say directly כי ישׁ אחרית, but expresses himself thus conditionally.

(Note: The form כּי אם־ does not contradict the connection of the two particles. This use of the Makkeph is general, except in these three instances: Genesis 15:4; Numbers 35:33; Nehemiah 2:2.)

If אם is meant hypothetically, then, with the lxx ἐὰν γὰρ τηρήσῃς αὐτὰ ἔκγονα, we should supply after it תּשׁמרנּה, that had fallen out. Ewald's: much rather there is yet a future (Dchsel: much rather be happy there is...), is also impossible; for the preceding clause is positive, not negative. The particles כּי אם, connected thus, mean: for if (e.g., Lamentations 3:32); or also relatively: that if (e.g., Jeremiah 26:15). After a negative clause they have the meaning of "unless," which is acquired by means of an ellipsis; e.g., Isaiah 55:10, it turns not back thither, unless it has watered the earth (it returns back not before then, not unless this is done). This "unless" is, however, used like the Lat. nisi, also without the conditioning clause following, e.g., Genesis 28:17, hic locus non est nisi domus Dei. And hence the expression כי אם, after the negation going before, acquires the meaning of "but," e.g., 17b: let not thy heart be covetous after sinners, for thou canst always be zealous for the fear of God, i.e., much rather for this, but for this. This pleonasm of אם sometimes occurs where כי is not used confirmatively, but affirmatively: the "certainly if" forms the transition, e.g., 1 Kings 20:6 (vid., Keil's Comm. l.c.), whose "if" is not seldom omitted, so that כי אם has only the meaning of an affirmative "certainly," not "truly no," which it may also have, 1 Samuel 25:34, but "truly yes." Thus כי אם is used Judges 15:7; 2 Samuel 15:21 (where אם is omitted by the Kerı̂); 2 Kings 5:20; Jeremiah 51:14; and thus it is also meant here, 18a, notwithstanding that כי אם, in its more usual signification, "besides only, but, nisi," precedes, as at 1 Samuel 21:6, cf. 5. The objection by Hitzig, that with this explanation: "certainly there is a future," Proverbs 23:18 and Proverbs 23:17 are at variance, falls to the ground, if one reflects on the Heb. idiom, in which the affirmative signification of כי is interpenetrated by the confirmative. אחרית used thus pregnantly, as here (Proverbs 24:14), is the glorious final issue; the word in itself designates the end into which human life issues (cf. Psalm 37:37.); here, the end crowning the preceding course. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:11) in this sense connects אחרית ותקוה [end and expectation]. And what is here denied of the תּקיה, the hope (not as certain Jewish interpreters dream, the thread of life) of him who zealously strives after the fear of God, is affirmed, at Psalm 37:38, of the godless: the latter have no continuance, but the former have such as is the fulfilling of his hope.

Proverbs 23:23 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Proverbs 2:2-4 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding...

Proverbs 4:5-7 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth...

Proverbs 10:1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

Proverbs 17:16 Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he has no heart to it?

Job 28:12-19 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding...

Psalm 119:72,127 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver...

Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsts, come you to the waters, and he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat...

Matthew 13:44,46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides...

Philippians 3:7,8 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ...

Revelation 3:18 I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed...


Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Acts 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesses in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

Hebrews 11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect to the recompense of the reward.

Revelation 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives to the death.

Cross References
Matthew 13:44
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Proverbs 4:7
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.

Proverbs 17:16
Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense?

Proverbs 18:15
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

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