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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Proverbs 8

 

 

Verse 1

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

Proverbs 8:1-36.-Wisdom herself openly cries in all places, inviting men to her (Proverbs 8:1-3). Her invitation: Unto you men I call; hear, and you shall know right things-truth, righteousness, instruction superior to silver and gold, the fear of the Lord, counsel, wisdom, strength; all to be had by lovingly and early seeking me-riches and honour in the way of righteousness whereby I lead (Proverbs 8:4-21). I am older than the world itself, and was by God when He made it, and was His daily delight, and I in my turn delighted in the habitable earth and in the sons of men (Proverbs 8:22-31). Concluding application: Therefore hearken to me, watch daily at my gates to find me, that so you may find divine life, and escape the death which results from hating me (Proverbs 8:32-36).

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? - (Proverbs 1:20-21.) She crieth by the written Word, by ministers, and by the dealings of Providence. "Wisdom" is here personal Wisdom, the Son of God. For many personal predicates are attributed to Him: Thus, subsistence by or with God, in Proverbs 8:30; just as John 1:1 saith, "The Word was with God," which cannot be said of a mere attribute. Moreover, the mode of subsistence imparted is generation (Proverbs 8:22; Proverbs 8:24-25). In Proverbs 8:22 God is said to have possessed or acquired wisdom: not by creation, Psalms 104:24; nor by adoption, as Deuteronomy 32:6; Psalms 74:2; but by generation. The very same Hebrew verb is used by Eve of her first-born-gotten or possessed by generation (Genesis 4:1).

Moreover, other attributes are assigned to Wisdom, as if she were not an attribute, but a person - "counsel," "strength," etc. Also, she has the feelings of a person (Proverbs 8:17, "I love them that love me"). She does the acts of a person. She enables kings to rule, and invests them with authority (Proverbs 8:15-16). She takes part in creation, as one brought up, or rather nursed, in the bosom of the Father, as the Only-begotten of His love (John 1:18). She cries aloud as a person (Proverbs 8:1; Proverbs 8:4), and her "lips" and "mouth" are mentioned (Proverbs 8:6-7). She is the delight of the Father, and she in turn delights in men (Proverbs 8:30-31); answering to the rapturous delight into which the Father breaks forth concerning Messiah (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; Ephesians 1:6). She builds a house, prepares a feast, and sends forth her maidens to invite the guests (Proverbs 9:1-3). All which admirably applies to Messiah, who builds the Church, as His house, upon Himself the Rock (Matthew 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:15); and invites all to the Gospel feast, (Isaiah 25:6; Isaiah 55:1; Luke 14:16-17, etc.) He is Wisdom itself absolute, and as the Archetype: from Him Wisdom imparted flows to others.

As such, He invites us to learn wisdom from Him who is its source. "Counsel" and "sound wisdom" (Proverbs 8:14) arc in Him as attributes are in their subject, and as effects are in their cause. The parallel, Proverbs 1:20; Proverbs 1:23, "I will pour out my Spirit unto you" (cf. John 7:38), confirms the personal view. The same truth is confirmed by the reproof, Proverbs 1:24, "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out the arm," etc.; compared with Christ's own words. (Matthew 11:28; Matthew 23:37; Luke 17:42 ). So Christ is called "the Wisdom of God," Luke 11:49; compared with Matthew 23:34 (cf. Luke 7:35; 1 Corinthians 1:24-30, "Christ the Wisdom of God;" Colossians 2:3). As Wisdom here saith (Proverbs 8:23), "I was set up," or 'anointed' [ nicaktiy (Hebrew #5258)] "from everlasting;" so the Father saith of Messiah, "I have set" or 'anointed' (the same Hebrew verb) "my King" (Psalms 2:6). As in Proverbs 8:24 Wisdom is said to be "brought forth" or begotten by God before the world, and to have been by Him in creating all things (Proverbs 8:27-30), so Messiah is called the Son of God (Psalms 2:7; Proverbs 30:4), and is said to have been with God in the beginning, and to have made all things (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), and to have been begotten before every creature (Colossians 1:15; Colossians 1:17); and His goings forth are said, in Micah 5:2, to have been from of old, from everlasting.

Wisdom and her invitations here stand in contrast to the harlot and her lures, (Proverbs 7:1-27.) The interrogation, "Doth not wisdom cry?" gives the greater force to the divine remonstrance with those who suffer themselves to be seduced by the harlot's charms. Why do you heed her flatteries, as though there were not another and an infinitely better damsel claiming your love and allegiance? Instead of the clandestine whisper of the adulteress in the dark, as she flees the light in alluring her victims, wisdom "puts forth her voice" openly in the day, and in a style intelligible to every capacity, so that all are left without excuse if they reject her, through preferring darkness to light.


Verse 2

She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.

She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. "Standeth" implies assiduous perseverance in her gracious calls to men. Instead of taking her stand in dark places, in a corner (Proverbs 7:8), like the harlot (Proverbs 7:9), she standeth "in the top of high places," where all going to and fro may hear. "By (Hebrew, above) the way" - i:e., near the way whereby travelers pass, that she may direct them in their journey. "In the places of the paths" - literally, 'the house of paths;' i:e., where many paths meet (Ezekiel 21:21, "the parting of the way" - literally, the mother of the way).


Verse 3

She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

She crieth at the gates (Hebrew, at the hand of the gates), at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. As "the gates" refer to the city; so "the doors" to the private house. Messiah preached alike on the mount, and then in the plain-in the country, where many roads met; then in the city gates, the usual place of mercantile traffic and of judicial proceedings; then in the main street, at every private door (Revelation 3:20; cf. Luke 14:21; Luke 14:23). Those who will go astray and be lost, do so in the face of the plainest warnings and invitations of love.


Verse 4

Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.

Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice (is) to the sons of man. "O men" (Ishim) - Hebrew, men of high position-do not think my call beneath your dignity to accept. "Sons of man" (Benee Adam) - men of the common sort (Psalms 49:2 ).


Verse 5

O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.

O ye simple, understand wisdom; and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. "Wisdom" (Chakmah) in Proverbs 8:1 is a different Hebrew word from that here [ `aarmaah (Hebrew #6195)], which is translated in Proverbs 1:4 subtilty, and has the double signification of prudence and astuteness. Translate here 'prudence.' The "simple" are those liable to be led astray. The "fools" are those actually guilty of sinful folly and error (Proverbs 26:12). Do not go on always in your folly: cease to be of a spiritually unintelligent heart, and become of an understanding heart.


Verse 6

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things - literally, 'princely things' ( n


Verse 7

For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

For my mouth (Hebrew, palate) shall speak truth; and wickedness (is) an abomination to my lips. "Speak" - literally, 'meditate.' I will not speak rashly, but with premeditation; implying the meditative thoughtfulness and gravity of the speaker's words. The antithetical contrast to "truth" shows that "wickedness" refers here to lying or error, which is the associate of impiety. Every lie, even in jest, or though sanctioned by the world's fashion, is "wickedness." Piety not only speaks the truth, but does so from the love of the truth and hatred of falsehood: not for the sake of gain or honour, or through fear of man.


Verse 8

All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.

All the words of my mouth (are) in righteousness; (there is) nothing froward (literally, distorted) or perverse in them. All that I promise or threaten, enjoin or forbid, is characterized by righteousness. There is nothing in my words of the distorted representations of human self-will and error (Psalms 119:172).


Verse 9

They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.

They (are) all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge - (Micah 2:7, "Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? ") "Plain to him that understandeth" - namely, by the teaching of the Spirit of God (John 6:45). "Right" - i:e., having nothing doubtful or distorted (Proverbs 8:8) - "to them that find knowledge" - namely, after having long and conscientiously sought it (Proverbs 2:4). It is only to those whose aim is the fleeting things of this world that some of my words seem obscure and wrong. If aught in God's Word does not seem to us right, it is because we, so far, have not found true knowledge. 'To those who have blood-shot eyes, white seems red' (Lyra). He who would have the sealed book opened to him must ask it of the Lamb who opens the Book (Revelation 5:4-9). This refutes Rome, who would shut the Book from the laity, as though it were too difficult for them to understand.


Verse 10

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.

Receive my instruction, and not silver. Thou canst not make as thy chief aim the acquisition of silver and that of true wisdom at one and the same time; for those aims mutually conflict, and each claims the whole man (Matthew 6:24). To accept the one involves the rejection of the other as the chief portion. He who lives for money is void of wisdom (Luke 12:16; Luke 12:20), and is called in Scripture a "fool." The phrase "and not" does not imply an utter disregard to money, because we cannot rightly avoid some attention to the business of this world; but it is used to imply the comparative worthlessness of money when brought in competition with heavenly wisdom. Compare the same phrase, and not, to imply not absolute rejection, but rejection comparatively (Genesis 32:28; Genesis 45:8; Exodus 16:8; Isaiah 43:18; Jeremiah 7:22; Jeremiah 16:14; Matthew 5:39; Matthew 9:13).

And knowledge rather than choice gold - than the most precious gold.


Verse 11

For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

For wisdom is better than rubies - (cf. notes, Proverbs 3:14-15.)


Verse 12

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

I wisdom dwell with prudence - I am most intimately associated with her. Compare the phrase "dwell with," in Isaiah 57:15; 1 Timothy 6:16. "Prudence" or 'subtilty' in the good sense (Hebrew, `aarmaah (Hebrew #6195)). It is translated "wisdom" in Proverbs 8:5; - i:e., practical wisdom: not to enable one to deceive (as the bad sense of the word expresses), but to keep one from being deceived (cf. Matthew 10:16). It directs one where to advance, where to stop, where to yield, where to oppose, when to be silent, when to speak, what to follow, what to shun, and how to be on our guard against the subtilties of Satan, the world, and the flesh. The world thinks the godly to be fools and unpractical. But true wisdom dwells with prudence. Wherever truly prudent counsels are adopted, they are from her: Christ, the fountain of wisdom (Colossians 1:19; Colossians 2:3), can supply the wise with not only the theoretical knowledge, but also the practical sagacity needed for the conduct of life.

And find out knowledge of witty inventions - i:e., I enable my disciples to 'find out sagacious plans;' literally, knowledge of consideratenesses, so as to order their affairs and their course of life with cautious prudence in consonance with the Word of God.


Verse 13

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

The fear of the Lord (is) to hate evil. Here Wisdom gives a sample of her blessed teachings. They consist not in mere abstruse speculations, but in practical inculcation of the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10) as her fundamental principle, and its consequence, the hatred of evil (Proverbs 16:6). He who reverently fears God does not approve, excuse, or admit evil, but instinctively and earnestly loathes it in every form, and even shrinks from the appearance of it (1 Thessalonians 5:22). The hatred of evil includes the love of goodness. The godly avoid evil and do good, not merely from habit, education, the hope of reward, or the fear of punishment, but from hatred of evil and love of goodness

(T. Cartwright).

Pride, and arrogancy - kindred Hebrew terms ( gee'aah (Hebrew #1344), gaa'own (Hebrew #1347)), to express pride of every kind and however manifested-pride of heart, mouth, dress, or acts.

And the evil way, and the froward mouth. As pride is mainly in the mind, so "the evil way" is in action; "the froward mouth" in speaking-namely, it speaks things at variance with the Word of God, with truth, and with love. These all are specimens of "evil" which "the fear of the Lord" teaches us to "hate." For the sum of piety consists in hating and loving the same things as God hates and loves. "Pride" stands first, as being most opposed to the fear of the Lord, which is associated always with humility. The more we fear the exalted majesty of God, the more we understand our own feebleness, want, and misery (Bayne). Paul, in raising the structure of good works, lays 'lowliness' or humility as the foundation and beginning of all (Ephesians 4:2, etc.; cf. Sirach 10:12-13, 'The beginning of pride is when one departeth from God, and his heart is turned away from his Maker: for pride is the beginning of sin.'


Verse 14

Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.

Counsel (is) mine, and sound wisdom. It is only with me that wisdom, solid, salutary, and substantial, in all possible contingencies, is to be found. Compare note, Proverbs 2:7, on "sound wisdom" - not deceptive, unsubstantial, and fleeting, like "the wisdom of this world" which is "foolishness with God" (1 Corinthians 3:19).

I am understanding (i:e., I am the source of it); I have strength. As in the former clause, "counsel" and "sound wisdom" are said to be hers, enabling her disciples to frame good plans; so she is "understanding" to her disciples, enabling them to execute their good plans. As to the strength which she has at command for them, cf. Ecclesiastes 7:19, "Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city" (cf. Isaiah 36:5). Also spiritually, 2 Timothy 1:7, "God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."


Verse 15

By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.

By me kings reign, and princes decree justice - (Psalms 18:35; Daniel 2:21; Daniel 4:26-37; Romans 13:1.) If even "kings" owe their authority, and their power of reigning wisely and happily, to Wisdom, whose embodiment is Messiah, the King of kings, much more may we, as private individuals, depend on her for guidance in all our concerns. "Princes" are the chief rulers next to kings; it is their office, in subordination to kings, to enact laws and administer justice. Whatever of sound justice there is in their legislation and judicature is due to Divine Wisdom.


Verse 16

By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

By me princes rule , [ saariym (Hebrew #8269)] - a different Hebrew word from that for "princes" [ rowz


Verse 17

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

I love them that love me: and those that seek me early shall find me. So the Qeri' or Hebrew margin reads ( 'ohabay (Hebrew #157)); but the Kethibh or text has: 'I love them that love her,' making it the Word of the Lord concerning them that love Wisdom. In either case the Word of God identifies loving her with loving God Himself. She cannot be a mere attribute, but a person (if she be the speaker, as she is in the Qeri' reading) - namely, the Divine Son of God (cf. Exodus 20:6, "Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me"). Wisdom had kindled the desire after her with various promises; now she suggests the mode in which she is to be obtained-namely, by love-a mode most calculated to attract men to her. Great as she is, she is not above thy love; nay, she will reciprocate it. Thy love's labour shall not be lost, when it is love that manifests its reality (as the second clause saith) in "seeking wisdom early" - i:e., rising up early, sedulously, and diligently to seek her before all things else. The harlot, worldly pleasure, seeks and is sought diligently by her deluded votaries (Proverbs 7:15). Shall we not show the same, or rather more diligence, in seeking until we find the heavenly Lover of her loving people (Matthew 7:7). All fancy that they love God. But those who either do not seek God at all, or seek Him coldly, while they eagerly seek the vanities of the world, make it plain that they are led by the love of the world more than by the love of God.

Moreover, it is not meant that we are the first to love and find God, not He us, which would contradict Isaiah 65:1; Romans 5:6-8; 1 John 4:10-19; but the object is to remove desponding doubts from the godly, and to assure them that God loves them, and presents Himself in the way, so as to be found by those who seek Him (cf. Hebrews 11:6). "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life" (Romans 5:10). It is implied that the love of God is the fountain and foundation of the communication of all blessings, and therefore of perfect blessedness (T. Cartwright).


Verse 18

Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

Riches and honour are with me; (yea,) durable riches and righteousness. "Riches," as well the eternal and heavenly riches, as also temporal riches so far as God sees it desirable to "add" them to those who "seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). "Durable" - literally, attaining old age, and so enduring, strong: thus the same Hebrew word [ `aateeq (Hebrew #6276)] is applied to "the Ancient of days" - i:e., the Everlasting One (Daniel 7:9). "Righteousness" is associated with these "durable riches," in contrast to the world's perishing riches, which being ill-gotten are soon ill-gone. In Christ there are for the believer at once "durable riches" and "righteousness:" outside of Him there is neither (Ephesians 3:8; 1 Corinthians 1:30).


Verse 19

My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.

My fruit (is) better than gold, yea, than fine gold. "My fruit" is the benefit derived from me (Proverbs 3:14).

And my revenue than choice silver - (Ecclesiastes 7:11-12.)


Verse 20

I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment:

I lead in the way of righteousness - Hebrew, 'I cause (my adherents) to walk in the way of righteousness:' not only to perceive the things which are righteous, but also to fulfill them. 'Let us therefore examine ourselves what is our feeling toward righteousness, whether we prefer her to riches' (T. Cartwright).

In the midst of the paths of judgment - in the right mean between the extremes on both sides, so as not to turn off either to the right hand or to the left (Proverbs 4:27).


Verse 21

That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.

That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance. "Substance" [ yeesh (Hebrew #3426)]: what has a real, solid, and permanent subsistence; as contrasted with worldly riches and honour, which are but shadows, though men think of them as if they were the only things possessing solid subsistence. The great "I AM" (Exodus 3:14) is the only substantial reality to satisfy the disciples of Wisdom. Gesenius and Maurer translate, 'What I may bestow on those that love me (or, may cause those that love me to inherit) THERE Is to me' - i:e., there is an abundant supply of it to me. But had yeesh been meant as a verb (is), and not as a noun (substance), it would have probably been placed before the infinitive, and not last in the sentence, as it is in the Hebrew order. The English version takes the words in their natural order.

And I will fill their treasures - implying the foulness of this blessedness.


Verse 22

The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.

The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. "Possessed me" [ qaanaaniy (Hebrew #7069)]. The Septuagint translates it 'created me' [ektise me]: so the Chaldaic, Arabic, and Syriac. This has been made an argument by Arians to prove that Christ is but a creature. But the Vulgate supports the English version. The Christian fathers generally understand this passage of the humanity of Christ. The Lord created me, in respect to my humanity (i:e., in His predestined purpose), in the beginning of His way - i:e., of His work of creation: Christ's predestined humanity was the meritorious cause, the archetype, and final cause of all God's works. But the parallel (John 1:1-3) makes it more likely that Christ is here viewed, not in His predestined humanity, but in His uncreated essence as the Word eternally with God. "The Lord possessed me" - namely, by the right of paternity, as the same Hebrew word, "gotten" or "possessed," is used in Genesis 4:1 - "I have gotten a man" - namely, by parentage.

This is confirmed by Proverbs 8:24-25, "I was brought forth" or "begotten;" and Psalms 2:7, "Thou art my Son, This day have I begotten thee." Micah 5:2, He shall come forth unto me, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Paternity is expressed by the same Hebrew word, Deuteronomy 32:6, "Is not He the Father that hath bought," or rather, 'possessed thee'-namely, by spiritual as well as creative and national generation. The "beginning of God's way" is that time when first God passed from His inscrutable way to active operation. The first of "His ways" (Isaiah 55:8) was creation. The Word was with God already, as "possessed" by the Father from eternity, and did not then first begin to be "in the beginning" (Genesis 1:1; John 1:1) of creation. Nay, He was Himself "the Beginning of the creation of God" (Revelation 3:14). Indeed, as there is no "in" before "the beginning of His way" in the Hebrew, it is most likely that the Son is here termed [ ree'shiyt (Hebrew #7225)] the "beginning of His way," in the same sense as in Revelation 3:14 and Colossians 1:15, "the First-born of every creature" (see notes on both passages) - namely, not as if He were the first created, but the Beginner of all creation; its originating instrument, prior to it, and possessing superlative dignity above it; the Archetype from everlasting of that creation which was in due time to be created by Him.

Before his works of old. "Before" [ qedem (Hebrew #6924)] - literally, '(in) priority to His works from then' [ mee'aaz (Hebrew #227)], (Psalms 93:2, margin) The Hebrew for "before," or priority, is the same as is translated "eternal" in Deuteronomy 33:27, "The eternal God," the God of antiquity or anteity. It is explained in Proverbs 8:23, "or (i:e., before) ever the earth was."


Verse 23

I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.

I was set up - literally, 'anointed;' i:e., set apart, in the purposes of God, to be Lord and King of the world. The same Hebrew ( nicaktiy (Hebrew #5258)) as in Psalms 2:6, "I have set (margin, anointed) my King," etc.

From everlasting ( Mee`owlam (Hebrew #5769)) - implying real eternity (Psalms 93:2, "Thou art from everlasting"). From everlasting ( Mee`owlam (Hebrew #5769)) - implying real eternity (Psalms 93:2, "Thou art from everlasting").

From the beginning, or ever the earth was. "Or ever" - literally, 'from before the earth;' from the time anterior to the earth's existence. Wisdom is in this full description shown to be prior to all existing things in every kind of priority-in that of time, order, dignity, and causation.


Verse 24

When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

When (there were) no depths, I was brought forth; when (there were) no fountains abounding with water.

"Brought forth" [from chuwl (Hebrew #2342)] is literally applied to birth by parturition; but it is transferred also to the production of things in the way that is after their kind (Job 26:5 - if the English version be correct there; Deuteronomy 32:18, "God that formed thee" - namely, by spiritual generation). So Wisdom's origin is by eternal generation). 'I am begotten, I was begotten, I have been begotten, and I shall be begotten,' may properly be said at every moment by the Divine Word, because all our times (past, present, and to come) correspond successively to the instant of eternity. The Son receives His being in the continuously single moments of God, and emanates from the Father as brightness does from the Sun (Wisdom of Solomon 7:25, 'She is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty ... She is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of His goodness'). Moreover, we are not to understand this passage as if Wisdom - i:e., the Son of God-passed by degrees from an imperfect to a perfect state; but as in the case of God to think, to will, to speak, to do, is one and the same thing (all signifying the eternal will of God), so in the generation of the Son, to be conceived, to be generated or begotten, and to be brought forth, mean the same thing - i:e., His eternal generation (Gejer).


Verse 25

Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:

Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth. "Settled" - literally, sunk down, fixed firmly in the earth, so as to give a secure settlement to the earth above the waters. He mentions the earth generally first; then its parts, the depths and water under the earth, in Proverbs 8:24; then the mountains and hills. "I was brought forth" is here repeated (cf. Proverbs 8:24), to mark the more emphatically the often-doubted truth of the eternal generation of the Son.


Verse 26

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. The fields" - literally, the outside places ( chuwtsowt (Hebrew #2351); cf. Job 5:10, margin), the open, broad spaces of the earth; in contrast to the previous "mountains" and "hills." The Chaldaic, Vulgate, and Syriac take it the rivers outside the dry land. The Septuagint and the Arabic, 'the uninhabited places'-literally, the outer parts or extremities of the earth; in which case "the earth," by contrast, must mean the inhabited part of the earth - "the highest part of the dust of the world." I prefer the English version, as forming a gradation, the earth, the open fields, the highest part, consisting of the dusts (so the Hebrew) of the habitable world. The dust is the friable soil on the surface of the earth; and it is rightly associated with 'the habitable world,' as the Hebrew [ teebeel (Hebrew #8398)] means; because it was only after that, in the course of geological changes, the superficial friable soil or dust was produced that the earth became 'the habitable world' for vegetables, animals, and man. Junius and Maurer lose this point, as also the proper meaning of the Hebrew dust, by referring the dust to the elementary material of which the earth in general was made.


Verse 27

When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

When he prepared the heavens, I (was) there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth.

"Prepared" or 'fitted.' This refers to the happy adaptation of the form, figure, magnitude, and motion of the heavens, to the conditions of their being, as appointed by God. "I was there," already, from everlasting, being "with God" (Proverbs 8:30; John 1:1.); and I performed in creation as His instrument (John 1:3). A compass," or rather, 'a circle.' "He set" a spherical or circular form "upon the face of the depth," or sea, as well as the earth. The spherical form of our globe is best seen at sea. It is striking how the sacred writers, while not rudely offending the conceptions of their age respecting cosmography, yet use language which harmonizes with the later discoveries of science.


Verse 28

When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:

When he established the clouds above. The clouds in their constituents are thin and vapoury, and would soon disappear, but that the Lord "established" them.

When he strengthened the fountains of the deep - He made them of greater density, so as to sink down into their deep bed, and not float above in the air, like the clouds; and strengthened the fountain-beds so that the deep should not break forth, as he proceeds to describe in Proverbs 8:29.


Verse 29

When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:

When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment - (Job 38:10-11; Psalms 104:9; Jeremiah 5:22.) "Commandment" - literally, 'His mouth,' (cf. Numbers 3:16, margin) Maurer takes it 'the mouth,' or 'shore of the sea.'

When he appointed the foundations of the earth - when He made it as stable as a building resting on solid foundations. The earth's center is its virtual foundation, as all bodies and parts of the earth, by the centripetal force of attraction, gravitate toward it. Job 26:7 hints at the true theory of the earth's foundation.


Verse 30

Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

Then I was by him, (as) one brought up (with him) - (John 1:1-2) The expression "by Him" implies the distinct personality of Wisdom, and that it is not a mere attributive in God. The, Chaldaic paraphrases, 'I was nursed at His side' [ 'aamown (Hebrew #525)], corresponding to John 1:18, "the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father:" never, separated from the Father; who seeth the Father always; who seeth what the Father doeth, so that He doeth the same Himself (with the same will and power): in whom the Father is well pleased: the Father willing it that we should come to Him in the Son, and honour the Son as Himself (Cocceius). (Compare John 5:20.) The Septuagint [harmozousa: composing in harmony; fitly forming and arranging all things]. Vulgate, Arabic, and Syriac take is actively, as in Numbers 11:12, "a nursing Father:" 'nourisher' (margin, Jeremiah 46:25; Nahum 3:8, margin) A workman," as a cognate Hebrew word, is taken in Song of Solomon 7:1. 'I was by Him as the Artificer' in the creation of all things. So Maurer. I prefer the English version, with the Chaldaic (Mercer and Buxtorf).

And I was daily (his) delight, rejoicing always before him - (Matthew 3:17; Colossians 1:13, margin) The image is from children, which, when playing in the sight of their nurses, are their delight. The truth meant is, 'I was by Him as the closest and the supreme object of the Father's delight.'


Verse 31

Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.

Rejoicing is the habitable part of his earth. Not only do I rejoice in the presence of the Father, but also in the habitable earth, and with the creatures of God. The Son doeth all His works with joy, not as a task, but as One in will and operation with the Father (Job 5:17).

And my delights (were) with the sons of men - as the antitypical David, 'all whose delight' is "in the saints that are in the earth, and the excellent" (Psalms 16:3). Christ "took not on Him the nature of angels," but that of men (Hebrews 2:16). Already, even before men were created, He regarded them as existing, because of the electing purpose of God concerning His people, in whom is His delight. Compare similarly Hebrews 2:14, where "the children" are so called in His electing purpose, though not yet existing.


Verse 32

Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Epilogue, Peroration, or concluding summary.

Now therefore hearken unto me - seeing that such are my excellencies.

For blessed (are they that) keep my ways - Christ's own words (Luke 11:28).


Verse 33

Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.

Near instruction - Hebrew, disciplinary instruction: the first step to wisdom.


Verse 34

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Blessed (is) the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates - even as 'I cry at men's gates' (Proverbs 8:3), Blessed (is) the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates - even as 'I cry at men's gates' (Proverbs 8:3), either as a client waiting on his patron or advocate early and late; or a lover at the door of the beloved one (Job 31:9), which probably is the better view; as the watching as wisdom's gates forms the contrast to paying suit to the harlot, (Proverbs 7:1-27.) The priests used to wait at the doors of the tabernacle for the blessing; and the people used to watch at the temple gates for his return from ministration (Exodus 29:42; Luke 1:10; Luke 1:21). Like diligent disciples of heavenly wisdom, we must use all means and opportunities of progress, being the first to enter, the last to leave her school (cf. Matthew 7:7).


Verse 35

For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.

For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord. "Findeth me," after long "watching daily at my gates (Proverbs 8:34). It is God really who gives, though we are said to find; because we must seek with all our energy, as if all depended on our earnestness. 'Life" - Hebrew, 'lives;' namely, that of the present world and the world to come. He who seeks so as to find, "shall obtain" - literally, shall draw forth [ puwq (Hebrew #6329)], as in a continuous stream, a blessing heretofore hidden, but now granted, at once precious and abundant (Gejer) - namely, the "favour of the Lord," including in it every other blessing (cf. Deuteronomy 33:23, "Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord;" Psalms 5:12, "With favour wilt thou compass him (the righteous) as with a shield;" also especially Psalms 145:16; Psalms 145:19).


Verse 36

But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death. Not to love and earnestly seek wisdom is to sin against her. To disregard her is to hate her, and is virtually, though unconsciously, to love death; for it is loving things which, as being opposed to wisdom, bring with them death (cf. Proverbs 20:2; Acts 9:5, "It is hard for thee (Saul) to kick against the pricks").

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 8:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-8.html. 1871-8.

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