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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Proverbs 8



Verses 1-4

Proverbs 8:1-36. Contrasted with sensual allurements are the advantages of divine wisdom, which publicly invites men, offers the best principles of life, and the most valuable benefits resulting from receiving her counsels. Her relation to the divine plans and acts is introduced, as in Proverbs 3:19, Proverbs 3:20, though more fully, to commend her desirableness for men, and the whole is closed by an assurance that those finding her find God‘s favor, and those neglecting ruin themselves. Many regard the passage as a description of the Son of God by the title, Wisdom, which the older Jews used (and by which He is called in Luke 11:49), as John 1:1, etc., describes Him by that of Logos, the Word. But the passage may be taken as a personification of wisdom: for, (1) Though described as with God, wisdom is not asserted to be God. (2) The use of personal attributes is equally consistent with a personification, as with the description of a real person. (3) The personal pronouns used accord with the gender (feminine) of wisdom constantly, and are never changed to that of the person meant, as sometimes occurs in a corresponding use of spirit, which is neuter in Greek, but to which masculine pronouns are often applied (John 16:14), when the acts of the Holy Spirit are described. (4) Such a personification is agreeable to the style of this book (compare Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 3:16, Proverbs 3:17; Proverbs 4:8; Proverbs 6:20-22; Proverbs 9:1-4), whereas no prophetical or other allusions to the Savior or the new dispensation are found among the quotations of this book in the New Testament, and unless this be such, none exist. (5) Nothing is lost as to the importance of this passage, which still remains a most ornate and also solemn and impressive teaching of inspiration on the value of wisdom.

The publicity and universality of the call contrast with the secrecy and intrigues of the wicked (Proverbs 7:8, etc.).

Verse 5

wisdom — literally, “subtilty” in a good sense, or, “prudence.”

fools — as Proverbs 1:22.

Verse 6

excellent things — or, “plain,” “manifest.”

opening … things — upright words.

Verse 7

For … truth — literally, “My palate shall meditate,” or (as Orientals did) “mutter,” my thoughts expressed only to myself are truth.

wickedness — specially falsehood, as opposed to truth.

Verse 8

in righteousness — or, “righteous” (Psalm 9:8: Psalm 11:7).

froward — literally, “twisted,” or contradictory, that is, to truth.

Verse 9

plain … understandeth — easily seen by those who apply their minds.

that find — implying search.

Verse 10

not silver — preferable to it, so last clause implies comparison.

Verse 11

(Compare Proverbs 3:14, Proverbs 3:15).

Verse 12

prudence — as in Proverbs 8:5. The connection of “wisdom” and “prudence” is that of the dictates of sound wisdom and its application.

find … inventions — or, “devices,” “discreet ways” (Proverbs 1:4).

Verse 13

For such is the effect of the fear of God, by which hatred to evil preserves from it.

froward mouth — or, “speech” (Proverbs 2:12; Proverbs 6:14).

Verse 14

It also gives the elements of good character in counsel.

sound wisdom — (Proverbs 2:7).

I … strength — or, “As for me, understanding is strength to me,” the source of power (Ecclesiastes 9:16); good judgment gives more efficiency to actions;

Verse 15-16

of which a wisely conducted government is an example.

Verse 17

early — or, “diligently,” which may include the usual sense of early in life.

Verse 18
righteousness — Such are the “riches,” enduring sources of happiness in moral possessions (compare Proverbs 3:16).

Verse 19

(Compare Proverbs 8:11; Proverbs 3:16).

Verse 20-21

The courses in which wisdom leads conduct to a true present prosperity (Proverbs 23:5).

Verses 22-31

Strictly, God‘s attributes are part of Himself. Yet, to the poetical structure of the whole passage, this commendation of wisdom is entirely consonant. In order of time all His attributes are coincident and eternal as Himself. But to set forth the importance of wisdom as devising the products of benevolence and power, it is here assigned a precedence. As it has such in divine, so should it be desired in human, affairs (compare Proverbs 3:19).

possessed — or, “created”; in either sense, the idea of precedence.

in the beginning — or simply, “beginning,” in apposition with “me.”

before … of old — preceding the most ancient deeds.

Verse 23

I was set up — ordained, or inaugurated (Psalm 2:6). The other terms carry out the idea of the earliest antiquity, and illustrate it by the details of creation [Proverbs 8:24-29 ].

Verse 24

brought forth — (Compare Psalm 90:2).

abounding — or, “laden with water.”

Verse 25

settled — that is, sunk in foundations.

Verse 26

fields — or, “out places,” “deserts,” as opposite to (habitable) “world.”

highest part — or, “sum,” all particles together,

Verse 27

when he set … depth — marked out the circle, according to the popular idea of the earth, as circular, surrounded by depths on which the visible concave heavens rested.

Verse 28
deep — that is, so as to sustain the waters above and repress those below the firmament (Genesis 1:7-11; Job 26:8).

Verse 29

commandment — better, the shore, that is, of the sea.

foundations — figuratively denotes the solid structure (Job 38:4; Psalm 24:2).

Verse 30-31

one brought up — an object of special and pleasing regard. The bestowal of wisdom on men is represented by its finding a delightful residence and pleasing God.

Verses 32-36

Such an attribute men are urged to seek.

Verse 34

watching … waiting — literally, “so as to watch”; wait, denoting a most sedulous attention.

Verse 35

(Compare Luke 13:23, Luke 13:24).

Verse 36
me — or better, “missing me,” as opposed to “finding” [Proverbs 8:35 ].

love death — act as if they did (compare Proverbs 17:9).


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 8:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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