corner graphic

Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Proverbs 2:4

 

 

If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures;

Adam Clarke Commentary

If thou seekest her as silver - How do men seek money? What will they not do to get rich? Reader, seek the salvation of thy soul as earnestly as the covetous man seeks wealth; and be ashamed of thyself, if thou be less in earnest after the true riches than he is after perishing wealth.

Hid treasures - The original word signifies property of any kind concealed in the earth, in caves or such like; and may also mean treasures, such as the precious metals or precious stones, which are presumptively known to exist in such and such mines. And how are these sought? Learn from the following circumstance: In the Brazils slaves are employed to scrape up the soil from the bed of the Rio Janeiro, and wash it carefully, in order to find particles of gold and diamonds; and it is a law of the state, that he who finds a diamond of so many carats shall have his freedom. This causes the greatest ardor and diligence in searching, washing out the soil, picking, etc., in order to find such diamonds, and the greatest anxiety for success; so precious is liberty to the human heart. This method of searching for gold and precious stones is alluded to in Proverbs 3:13-15. In this way Solomon wishes men to seek for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; and he who succeeds finds the liberty of the children of God, and is saved from the slavery of sin and the empire of death.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/proverbs-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Note the illustrations.

(1) Contact with Phoenician commerce, and joint expeditions in ships of Tarshish (see Psalm 72:10 note), had made the Israelites familiar with the risks and the enterprise of the miller‘s life. Compare Matthew 13:44.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-2.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Proverbs 2:4

Seekest her as silver.

Search for hid treasures

Even in Job, the oldest book in the world, we read that the bitter in soul dig for death more earnestly than for hid treasures (Job 3:21). There is not another comparison within the whole compass of human actions so vivid as this. I have heard of diggers actually fainting when they have come even upon a single coin. They become positively frantic, digging all night with desperate earnestness, and continue to work till utterly exhausted. There are, at this hour, hundreds of persons thus engaged all over the country. Not a few spend their last farthing in these ruinous efforts. I heard a respectable man in Sidon declare that if he had been one of those fortunate diggers in the garden he would have killed all the rest and fled with the treasure out of the country. These operations are carried on with the utmost secrecy, accompanied with charms and incantations against the jan and other spirits which are said to keep guard over hid treasures. The belief in the existence of these guards, and of their dangerous character, is just as prevalent now as in the time of the Thousand Nights. Intelligent and respectable people have assured me that they have come upon slabs of stone, closing up doors to secret chambers, which no power on earth could remove, because the proper password or charm is lost. Others soberly assert that they have been driven away by terrible men, who threatened them with instant death if they attempted to force the doors. The secret deposits are always found by accident. (W. M. Thomson, D.D.)

The great life-quest

Wisdom, or the intellectual adoption of good and pious principles, and the practical application of such principles to the ordering of life and conduct and relations, is personified. The writer has dealt with Wisdom’s call to the young, and with her warning to the negligent; now he presents her instructions to those who show a disposition to give heed to her. She addresses those who take a serious view of life. Life is, for every man, full of sublime possibilities. There must be some great life-quest, something that we should live to seek, something that we may hope to win.

I. What does it seem to be? It is called “knowledge,” “understanding,” “wisdom.” The desire to know was never more absorbing. The pursuit of knowledge never seemed more encouraging. Facilities for the search never so abounded. Rewards for those who attain never were so rich. And yet the grave mysteries of life never so thickened and darkened round the human spirit as they do to-day. The pursuit of knowledge can never stop with things, it must concern itself with moral questions. Since the time of Bacon there has grown up an extravagant demand for the sense-verification of everything. Man’s supreme question is: “Good, what is it? Where is it? How can it be attained?” Appeal: You would know as books can teach; as science-leaders can teach; as experience can teach. But none of them, nor all together, will ever satisfy you. You must know as God, and God alone, can teach you.

II. What does it prove to be? The knowledge and fear of God. If a man’s quest be sincere and thoroughly earnest, it leads to that; it cannot rest short of that.

1. A life-quest may not be carried far enough. It may stop at what only seems to be.

2. A life-quest may be turned aside. “Ye did run well, who did hinder you?” Young souls may be attracted aside by worldly pleasure; driven aside by worldly cares; or cast aside by false teachings. “Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord.” When you have found what is the chief good for the sons of men, follow it on, through riches, learning, pleasure, still unresting, ever unresting, until the soul is led to the feet of Jesus, and finds in Him the true knowledge and the true fear of God. (Weekly Pulpit.)

Seek, and ye shall find

The matter of this whole passage consists in a command to seek and a promise to bestow. A father speaks, and he speaks to children, lie demands a reasonable service, and promises a rich reward. In the fourfold repetition of the command there seems an order of succession.

I. “receive my words.” Practical instruction begins here. The basis of all religion and morality is the Word of the Lord, taken into the understanding and the heart. The Word of God is a vital seed, but it will not germinate unless it be hidden in a softened, receptive heart. The place and use of providential visitation in the Divine administration of Christ’s kingdom is to break up the way of the Word through the incrustations of worldliness and vanity that encase a human heart, and keep the Word lying hard and dry upon the surface.

II. “incline thine ear.” The entrance of the Word has an immediate effect on the attitude of the mind and the source of the life. The incoming of the Word makes the ear incline to wisdom; and the inclining of the ear to wisdom lets in and lays up greater treasures of the Word. Those who hide the Word in their hearts acquire a habitual bent of mind toward things spiritual. The great obstacle to the power and spread of the gospel lies in the averted attitude of human hearts. A man inclines his ear to those sounds which already his heart desires. To turn the ear to the word of wisdom by an exercise of will, is the very way to innoculate the heart with a love to that word passing the love of earthly things. The ear inclined to Divine wisdom will draw the heart; the heart drawn will incline the ear.

III. “cry after knowledge.” This represents the bent heavenward of the heart at a more advanced stage. The longing for God’s salvation, already begotten in the heart, bursts forth now into an irrepressible cry. Men may be offended with the fervour of an earnest soul, God never. Compression will only increase the strength of the emotion struggling within.

IV. “seek her as silver.” Another and a higher step. The last was the earnest cry; this is the persevering endeavour. Fervent prayer must be tested by persevering pains. “Strive to enter in.” The search of wisdom is compared to another search with which we are more familiar. The zeal of mammon’s worshippers rebukes the servants of the living God. We are invited to take a leaf from the book of the fortune-seeker. Will not the far-reaching plans, and heroic sacrifices, and long-enduring toil of Californian and Australian gold-diggers rise up and condemn us who have tasted and known the grace of God? Two things are required in our search--the right direction and the sufficient impulse. Those who seek thus shall not seek in vain. None fail who seek according to the prescription of the Word, and after the example of the world. (W. Arnot, D.D.)

Meditation in searching

Solomon, speaking of knowledge and understanding, bids us to “search for her as for hidden treasure.” You know jewels do not lie upon the surface of the ground, but they are hid in the receptacles of the earth; you must dig for them before you can enjoy them. Truth is in profundo, and our understandings are dark. He that rides post through a country is never able to make a full description of it; and he that takes but a transitory view of the truths of the gospel will never come to the full knowledge of them. ‘Tis meditation makes them appear to our eye in their beauty and lustre. (H. G. Salter.)

A penetrating search

Some years ago the scientific world was startled by the announcement that far down in the abyss of waters, below the seeming limits of life and light, a new world of animal organisms had existence. Fish and mullusc, sponge and coral were there, though man had vainly imagined no living creature could be found. He had not dredged deep enough. A longer line brought new wonders to light. And so with the Scriptures. They can never be exhausted. It is we who fail to search, and searching, never find. (W. H. Groser.)


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Proverbs 2:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/proverbs-2.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

If thou seekest her as silver,.... That is, wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; which all signify and relate unto one and the same thing, expressed here by "her": namely, the doctrine of wisdom, or Christ; that is, the Gospel, and a spiritual and experimental knowledge and understanding of it, and the truths thereof; which are as desirable and valuable as silver, and more so; and which may be fitly compared to it, and be preferred before it, for their purity, solidity, and duration; see Psalm 119:72; and are to be sought after with as much and more eagerness, affection, and diligence, as silver is by those who are most covetous of it, Proverbs 8:10;

and searchest for her as for hid treasures; the Gospel is a treasure, 2 Corinthians 4:7; an accumulation of riches. It contains rich truths, things valuable for their antiquity; for being far fetched and dearly bought, coming from heaven, and sealed by the blood of Christ, and the holy martyrs of Jesus; and for the abundance of them; there are treasures of wisdom and knowledge in the Gospel, and in Christ the sum and substance of it, who is full of truth as well as grace, Colossians 2:3. It contains rich blessings of grace, such as are spiritual, solid, and substantial, sure and irreversible; and a multitude of them, Romans 15:29; and also rich promises, exceeding great and precious ones; which are absolute and unconditional, suited to the various cases of God's people, and sure to all the seed: and it reveals the riches of God's goodness, his special goodness in Christ; the unsearchable riches of Christ; and the riches both of grace and glory. And under this notion of a treasure is it to be searched for, and as an hid treasure; in allusion to what is laid up in the cabinets of princes, or lies in the bowels of the earth, as precious stones: PlinyF13Nat. Hist. l. 37. c. 8. says, that "topazin", in the language of the Troglodytes, has the signification of seeking, because "topazes" are diligently sought for and searched after; See Gill on Job 28:19. The Gospel, and the truths of it, were greatly hid under the former dispensation from the Gentile world, and very much from the Jews themselves; being wrapped up in dark prophecies, obscure hints, and shadowy types and sacrifices; and are now, and always were, entirely hid from the wicked and reprobate part of the world, from them that are lost, and from God's own elect before conversion. This is "the fellowship of the mystery" that was "hid in God", in his heart, from all eternity, Ephesians 3:9, the truths of it are the "treasures of wisdom and knowledge hid" in Christ, Colossians 2:3; and likewise the "treasure hid in the field" of the Scriptures, Matthew 22:44; which therefore are to be searched into for them, with like labour and resolution with which men dig into the earth, to find the rich ore that is in the bowels of it: and this should be done by diligent reading them; by frequent and deep meditation on them; by constant hearing the truths of the Gospel preached; by earnest prayer for the illumination of the divine Spirit to understand them; and by all the help of the writings of good men, and conversation with them, that can be had. These are things to be sought for and searched after, in the first place, in the early time of life; and with the utmost diligence and labour, as being of the greatest moment and importance.


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 2:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid d treasures;

(d) Showing that no labour must be spared.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/proverbs-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

There must be earnest prayer and effort.


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 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/proverbs-2.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

Seek her — With unwearied diligence and earnest desire and patient expectation.


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 2:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/proverbs-2.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Proverbs 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures;

Ver. 4. If thou seekest her as silver.] Opulentissima metalla quorum in alta latent venae, saith Seneca, (a) Your richest metals lie lowest. Viscera terrae extrahimus, ut digito gestetur gemma, quam petimus, saith Pliny; (b) We draw out the very bowels of the earth, that we may get the gem that we desire. Shall we not do as much for this pearl of price, the knowledge of God and his will, of ourselves, and our duties? Beg we must; [Proverbs 2:3] but with it we must dig too, [Proverbs 2:4] and continue to do so, searching for her as for hid treasures. Ora et labora, for else "the talk of the lip only brings want." [Proverbs 14:23] What man, finding a rich mine of gold or silver, is content with the first ore that offers itself to his view, and doth not dig deeper and deeper till he become owner of the whole treasure? So here, "Then shall ye know, if ye follow on to know the Lord," [Hosea 6:3] if ye cease not till ye get all the dimensions of knowledge mentioned by the apostle, [Ephesians 3:18] till ye see that blissful sight. [Ephesians 1:18-19]


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/proverbs-2.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Proverbs 2:4. If thou seekest her as silver This is thought to be a proverbial saying, borrowed from those who work in mines: The former part of the verse expressing eager desire and great diligence, and the latter invincible resolution and constant perseverance; though I see nothing proverbial in it, more than in many other similitudes, says Bishop Patrick.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/proverbs-2.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

With the same unwearied diligence, and earnest desire, and patient expectation under all delays, disappointments, and difficulties, which worldlings use in the purchase of riches, or in digging in mines of silver.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/proverbs-2.html. 1685.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

as silver: or money. Probably the reference is to Job 28.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/proverbs-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as (for) hid treasures - not content with merely one look, or an ordinary searching, but again and again seeking by every means. Treasures anciently, when there were no banks, were often hidden in the earth. True knowledge lies deep as in a mine; and they alone will get the precious ore who dig down into it, not grudging time, delays, pains, expense. The same image occurs John 5:39, "Search [ ereunate (Greek #2045)] the Scriptures." Not merely scrape the surface, and get a few superficial scraps of knowledge, but dig deep, and far, and wide. The "treasures" are 'hidden' by God, not in order to keep them back from us, but to stimulate our faith and patient perseverance in searching for them. The merchant was "seeking goodly pearls" when he "found one pearl of great price." And the man who (by God's special grace), though not seeking, yet found the "treasure hid in a field," when he had found it, spared no cost or pains to make it his (Matthew 13:44-45). It is Heavenly Wisdom that first "seeks diligently until she finds" the sinner (Luke 15:8). before that he seeks her.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/proverbs-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) If thou seekest her as silver.—That the process of mining was understood long before the time of Solomon, is proved by the remains of copper mines discovered in the peninsula of Sinai, and the gold mines in the Bisháree desert of Egypt. Rock inscriptions have been found near the former, dating from a great age, in the opinion of Lepsius from 4000 B.C. (See the article “Mines,” in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible; comp. also the description in Job 28:1-11.) Silver was brought to Solomon from Arabia (2 Chronicles 9:14) and Tarshish (2 Chronicles 9:21), probably Tartessus, in Spain.

Searchest for her as for hid treasures.—From the great insecurity of life and property in Eastern countries, the hiding of treasures in the earth has always been of frequent occurrence. It would often, no doubt, happen that the owner would die without disclosing the place of concealment to any one else, and the treasure thus be lost. Hunting after such hoards has in consequence been always of the keenest interest to Orientals, and as such furnishes the groundwork for one of our Lord’s parables (Matthew 13:44).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/proverbs-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
thou
3:14,15; 8:18,19; 16:16; 23:23; Psalms 19:10; 119:14,72,127; Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 13:44; 19:21,22,29
searchest
Job 28:12-20; Ecclesiastes 4:8; Luke 16:8

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Proverbs 2:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/proverbs-2.html.

To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology