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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 13:14

 

 

The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn aside from the snares of death.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The law of the wise is a fountain of life - Perhaps it would be better to translate, "The law is to the wise man a fountain of life." It is the same to him as the "vein of lives," חיים מקור mekor chaiyim, the great aorta which transmits the blood from the heart to every part of the body. There seems to be here an allusion to the garden of paradise, to the tree of lives, to the tempter, to the baleful issue of that temptation, and to the death entailed on man by his unwisely breaking the law of his God.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-13.html. 1832.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 13:14

The law of the wise is a fountain of life.

The law of the good

I. The good are ruled by law--“The law of the wise.” What is law? The clearest and most general idea I have of it is--rule of motion. In this sense all things are under law, for all things are in motion. The material universe is in motion, and there is the law that regulates it. The spiritual universe is in motion, and law presides over it. “Of law,” says Hooker, “there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world. All things do her homage, the very least as feeling her care, and the greatest as not exempted from her power; both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent, admiring her as the mother of their peace and joy.” But what is the law of the good--that which rules them in all their activities? Supreme love to the supremely good.

II. The law that rules the good is beneficent. “The law of the wise is a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death.”

1. This law delivers from death. The word death here must not be regarded as the separation of body from soul, but as the separation of the soul from God. This is the awfullest death, and supreme love to God is a guarantee against this.

2. This law secures an abundance of life. “The law of the wise is a fountain of life”; a fountain gives the idea of activity, plenitude, perennialness. The law of the good is happiness. The happiness of the true soul is not something then and yonder, but it is something in the law that controls him. In the midst of his privations and dangers John Howard, England’s illustrious philanthropist, wrote from Riga these words--“I hope I have sources of enjoyment that depend not on the particular spot I inhabit. A rightly cultivated mind, under the power of religion, and the exercise of beneficent dispositions, affords a ground of satisfaction little affected by ‘heres’ and ‘theres.’” (D. Thomas, D.D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 13:14". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"The law of the wise is a fountain of life, That one may depart from the snares of death."

What is this law of the wise? There is no reference whatever here to human wisdom, there being no fountain of life in the wisdom of men. If one wishes to know the wisdom of men, he may find it in their books; if he wishes to know the true wisdom, the wisdom of God, he will find it in God's book (The Bible), and nowhere else.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/proverbs-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The law of the wise is a fountain of life,.... Or "doctrine"F14תורת "doctrina", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Schultens. ; the doctrine of those who are taught by the word, and are wise unto salvation; the words or doctrines of the wise, which are given forth by one Shepherd; the instructions of such who are like Scribes, well instructed themselves unto the kingdom of heaven: these are as a fountain of living water; which are the means of quickening dead sinners, and of reviving and refreshing the souls of weary saints; and bring life and immortality to light, and point and lead to eternal life: and so direct souls

to depart from the snares of death; the snares of sin, Satan, and the world, to shun and avoid them; with which men being entangled, are brought to destruction and death.


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

(Compare Proverbs 10:11).

fountain — or, “source of life.”

to depart — (compare Proverbs 1:2-4), or, “for departing,” etc., and so gives life.


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
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

14 The doctrine of the wise man is a fountain of life,

To escape the snares of death.

An integral distich, vid ., p. 8 of the Introduction. Essentially like 14a, Proverbs 10:11 says, “a fountain of life is the mouth of the righteous.” The figure of the fountain of life with the teleological ' לסור וגו (the ל of the end and consequence of the action) is repeated Proverbs 14:27. The common non-biblical figure of the laquei mortis leads also to the idea of death as יקוּשׁ a fowler, Psalms 91:3. If it is not here a mere formula for the dangers of death (Hitzig), then the proverb is designed to state that the life which springs from the doctrine of the wise man as from a fountain of health, for the disciple who will receive it, communicates to him knowledge and strength, to know where the snares of destruction lie, and to hasten with vigorous steps away when they threaten to entangle him.


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The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.

Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/proverbs-13.html. 1854-1889.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

By the law of the wise and righteous, here, we may understand either the principles and rules by which they govern themselves or (which comes all to one) the instructions which they give to others, which ought to be as a law to all about them; and if they be so, 1. They will be constant springs of comfort and satisfaction, as a fountain of life, sending forth streams of living water; the closer we keep to those rules the more effectually we secure our own peace. 2. They will be constant preservatives from the temptations of Satan. Those that follow the dictates of this law will keep at a distance from the snares of sin, and so escape the snares of death which those run into that forsake the law of the wise.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The rule by which the wise regulate their conduct, is a fountain yielding life and happiness.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Henry, Matthew. "Concise Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/proverbs-13.html. 1706.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

The law — The instruction, or counsel; as the word law, is frequently understood in scripture.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 13:14 The law of the wise [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Ver. 14. The law of the wise is as a well of life.] Or, The law to the wise is a fountain, &c., whence he may draw the best directions and helps to holiness and happiness. It confines him to live in that element where he would live - as if one were confined to paradise, where he would be - though there were no such law. The wicked, on the contrary, leaps over the pale after profit and pleasure, and falls upon the snares of death, as Shimei sought his servants and lost himself.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-13.html. 1865-1868.

The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

v. 14. The law of the wise is a fountain of life, his teaching being like a spring which yields new understanding and strength every day, to depart from the snares of death, for wisdom enables him to recognize and to avoid such snares.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/proverbs-13.html. 1921-23.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The law; the doctrine, instruction, or counsel; as the word law is frequently understood in Scripture.

Of the wise; of holy men, who are commonly called wise, as sinners are called fools, in this book.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14. The law — Instruction, precepts.

Is a fountain of life, to depart — That is, to cause or enable one to depart.

From the snares of death — “An established formula for the description of mortal perils.” — Zockler.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/proverbs-13.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

That. Septuagint, "but the fool is slain in the snare." (Haydock)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/proverbs-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the wise = a wise one.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

The law of the wise (is) a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. "The law of the wise" is the law God, which the wise follow, and which they put forth from their "mouth" as "a well of life," present and eternal to others (Proverbs 10:11; Psalms 36:9). On "the snares of death," cf. Psalms 18:5.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) The law of the wise.—Or, rather, his instruction. (Comp. Proverbs 10:11.)

Snares of death.—Set by the devil (2 Timothy 2:26).


Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
law
9:11; 10:11; 14:27; 16:22
to
15:24; 16:6,17; 2 Samuel 22:6,7; Psalms 18:5; 116:3

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-13.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Pro . Law, rather "doctrine," "instruction."

MAIN HOMILETICS OF Pro

LIVING BY RULE

I. The wise man lives by rule or according to law. "The law of the wise." Wherever there is any force or power there must be rule, or there will be destruction from the power and possibly destruction to the power. The power that sets in motion the locomotive must be governed by law, or it will destroy the driver and that to which it was intended to give motion. Under the guidance of law it will minister to man's convenience, left to itself it will injure him and put an end to itself. Power is lodged within the hand of every human being which may be used to bless himself and others, but in order that it may do so it must act in accordance with some law, it must have some rule for its guidance. Nothing on the earth is so powerful for good or for evil as a human soul, because its power is exercised in the domain of spirit, but without rule it cannot exercise its power for the good of others, and will even destroy all its capabilities of working good to itself. Where men live without a rule of life there is power without law, and this must work evil and not good. It is the characteristic of a morally wise man that all his powers of mind and soul are under control, he has them well in hand.

II. Living by rule gives distinctness and definiteness to life, and thus augments its power. The chaff that is lifted from the sieve by the wind has no definite destination, it is entirely at the mercy of the breeze to carry it anywhere that it pleases. How different is the course of the eagle out in the storm wind! He moves by rule, either facing and cleaving the blast, or utilising its force to bring him to his destination. The vessel that has no hand to hold the rudder is bound for no special port. The sea will take her somewhere, either before or after she has gone to pieces; but it is very uncertain to which point of the compass she will be carried. How different is the steady ploughing of the waves by the ship whose head is under the rule of the helmsman. There is a definiteness in her path, which shows that she has one point to make, one port in view. Those who live without rule are "like the chaff which the wind driveth away." The blasts of passion, the current of outside circumstances, carry them whithersoever they list. But the wise man lives under a law by which these winds are rendered powerless to drive him, and are made to carry him forward in the path which he is treading. The man without a rule is a vessel without a rudder, and is destined, finally, to be washed upon the shore of eternity a wreck. The very gait of the child of wisdom indicates that he is bound for a certain destination. By the way in which he guides his bark he shows that he has a port to make upon the sea of life. And this definiteness is always about him, whether he is in solitude or among the multitude. He lives by rule, in the private recesses of his soul (see on chap. Pro ), and this enables him to rule his outward life. He finds that the rule which governs his private life is strong enough to keep him in public. The power of the multitude is not strong enough to overmaster the power that is resident in his single will, because that will is under a rule which gives it definiteness; and, therefore, increases its force of resistance. Elijah is a fine example of such a man. He was a man emphatically whose whole forceful nature was under Divine rule. Whether he was in the wilderness or upon Mount Carmel he was in subjection to the law of his God, and this made him a man whose life was possessed with one definite aim and purpose. Hence the mighty wave of opposition with which he was met had no more power to move him than the ocean has to move the solid rock. So with his great antitype, John the Baptist. He lived by rule as much when alone in the desert as he did when he was in the midst of the multitude; and, therefore, neither their applause or blame, nor Herod's outburst of rage, had any power to change his pre-determined course. Hence the question of Him who declared the Baptiser to be the "greatest born of woman," "What went ye out in the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind," implying that he was no reed bending to every blast, but a storm-resisting cedar, which amid the uproar of the storm holds its own, and comes out of it more firmly rooted and grounded by the power of the elements which it has resisted. This is the inevitable consequence of living by rule. The unruled though mighty locomotive wastes and loses its power in destroying, that which is under the guidance of law preserves and increases it. A lawless man possesses a terrible capacity for destruction; but his power diminishes, even while he exercises it, while he who is under Divine rule grows stronger and stronger. Sin weakens a man, goodness increases his power.

III. Snares are laid to turn men's power into a wrong channel—to bring their lives under the dominion of lawlessness. There are "snares of death" set to entrap men's feet. The aim of every tempter, whether human or Satanic, is to lead men to abuse that power which God has put into our hands in giving us a will. This being the supreme force in a human soul, it is the great aim of the devil that it should not be "subject to the law of God." His aim in Eden was to loose the bonds which had hitherto held it firm to the Divine command. The end of the temptation was, and has always been, concealed under a specious pretence of freedom, hence it is a snare. It is a snare of death, because, as we have seen, power without rule destroys itself and others. As soon as Eve had fallen into the snare of the devil, she began to know what it was to be under the dominion of sin—she was conscious of having lost her hold upon herself, and of having set in motion within her spirit a mighty power of evil. The great aim of Satan in his temptation of Christ was to get His will to exercise its power, if only for a moment, in antagonism to the will of His Father. If the devil could have prevailed upon the Saviour to have but created a loaf of bread to satisfy His hunger, he would have succeeded in getting Him to use His divine power in a manner which would not have been in accordance with the purpose or plan of God. The same aim is seen in each temptation under different forms, to endeavour to lead the Son of God to free Himself by His Divine power from the law of His Father. But the snare was avoided in each instance by close adherence to the words of the law. "It is written" is a sure preservative from the snares of death."

IV. The rule by which the morally wise are governed is—First, Abundant. It is a fountain. A fountain is supplied from a living spring—a never-failing source—and it therefore yields an unfailing supply of water for men of all classes and conditions whenever they need it. The Divine rule which governs the child of wisdom originated in God. The fountain of Divine truth came from this holy and Infinite spring. Therefore it is an all-sufficient guide or rule of life for men in all ages, and under all circumstances. Secondly—Lifegiving. It is a "fountain of life." By being the conserver and strengthener of his spiritual power, as we saw under the first head, and by being the means of his escape from the great soul-ensnarer. Allowed to flow through the garden of the soul, and exert there its due influence, it produces fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Rom ). The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.… Moreover, by them is thy servant warned, and in keeping of them there is great reward (Psa 19:7-11). This was the testimony of one who had drunk long and deeply of the waters of this life-giving fountain.

OUTLINES AND SUGGESTIVE COMMENTS

Of law there can be no less acknowledged than that her seat is in the bosom of God, her voice the harmony of the world. All things in heaven and earth do her homage; the very least, as feeling her care, and the greatest, as not exempt from her power, both angels and men, and creatures of what condition soever, though each in different sort and manner, yet all with uniform consent admiring her as the mother of peace and joy.—Hooker.

The holy instructions of a wise man are to be valued in this world. There is a living virtue in the word of truth, even when earthen pipes are the channel of its conveyance.—Lawson.

The figure leads to the idea of death as a fowler (Psa ). If it is not here a mere formula for the dangers of death, then the proverb is designed to state that the life which springs from the doctrine of a wise man as from a fountain of health, for the disciple who will receive it, communicates to him knowledge and strength, to know where the snares of destruction lie, and to hasten with vigorous steps away when they threaten to entangle him.—Delitzsch.

If we take the law of the wise for the law of wise men as given by them, we may thus consider the words. He that goeth on according to the stream and course thereof, shall be sure at last to come to the fountain. The law of the wise is but a stream from the fountain of life, and he that keepeth to the stream shall be sure at last to meet with the fountain.—Jermin.

Sin is Satan's snare to catch men to perdition. He that is in the power of it, and entangled therewith, is in great peril of perishing, being caught in a trap and held fast there, till either grace deliver him or death devour him. There is no safe treading but in the ways of God. Every step without it, through the length and breadth of the whole world, hath somewhat set in it to entangle us.—Dod.

Even in defect of literal prescript, the spirit of the law will supply practical rules for keeping the heart and life. Dr. Payson says, "By the help of three rules I soon settle all my doubts—viz., to do nothing of which the lawfulness is questionable; to do nothing which indisposes for prayer, or interrupts communion with God; to go into no company, business, or situation in which the presence and blessing of God cannot conscientiously be asked and expected."—Bridges.

The "law of the wise" can be nothing but the Book of God.… It is essentially life-giving. Its design is not to publish and confirm the sentence of death, but to show how death may be escaped. The declaration of the sentence of death is only intended to show the necessity, and to impress the importance and value of the tidings of life. Life is the end of Divine revelation.—Wardlaw.


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Proverbs 13:14". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/proverbs-13.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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