Proverbs 1:20
Wisdom cries without; she utters her voice in the streets:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(b) Second Discourse:Wisdom Addresses her Despisers (Proverbs 1:20-33).

(20) Wisdom.—The form of the Hebrew term (chokhmôth) has been taken for an abstract singular noun, but probably it is the plural of chokhmah (Proverbs 1:2), signifying the multiform excellences of wisdom. It is possible that Solomon may have originally meant in this passage only to describe, in highly poetic language, the influence and work in their generation of those in whom “the fear of the Lord” dwells. So, too, many of the Psalms (Psalms 45, for example), in the first instance it would seem, are intended to describe the excellence of some earthly saint or king, yet they are completely fulfilled only in the Son of man, the ideal of all that is noblest and best in man. And thus the description of Wisdom in her manifold activity, as represented in Proverbs 1, 8, 9, so closely corresponds to the work of our Lord, as depicted in the New Testament, that from the earliest times of Christianity these passages have been held to be a prophecy of Him; and there is good reason for such a view. For a comparison of Luke 11:49 (“Therefore also said the wisdom of God, Behold, I send,” &c.) with Matthew 23:34 (where He says, “Behold, I send”) would seem to show that He applied the title to Himself. St. Paul in like manner speaks of Him as the “Wisdom of God” (1Corinthians 1:24); says He has been “made unto us wisdom” (1Corinthians 1:30); and that in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom” (Colossians 2:3). For passages from the Fathers embodying this view, see references in Bishop Wordsworth on this chapter.

Proverbs

WISDOM’S CALL

Proverbs 1:20 - Proverbs 1:33
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Our passage begins with a striking picture. A fair and queenly woman stands in the crowded resorts of men, and lifts up a voice of sweet entreaty-authoritative as well as sweet. Her name is Wisdom. The word is in the plural in the Hebrew, as if to teach that in this serene and lovely form all manifold wisdoms are gathered and made one. Who then is she? It is easy to say ‘a poetical personification,’ but that does not add much to our understanding. It is clear that this book means much more by Wisdom than a human quality merely; for august and divine attributes are given to her, and she is the co-eternal associate of God Himself. Dwelling in His bosom, she thence comes forth to inspire all human good deeds, to plead evermore with men, to enrich those who listen to her with choicest gifts. Intellectual clearness, moral goodness, religious devotion, are all combined in the idea of Wisdom as belonging to men.

The divine source of all, and the correspondence between the human and the divine nature, are taught in the residence of this personified Wisdom with God before she dwelt with men. The whole of the manifold revelations, by which God makes known any part of His will to men, are her voice. Especially the call contained in the Old Testament revelation is the summons of Wisdom. But whether the writer of this book had any inkling of deeper truth still, or not, we cannot but connect the incomplete personification of divine Wisdom here with its complete incarnation in a Person who is ‘the power of God and the wisdom of God,’ and who embodies the lineaments of the grand picture of a Wisdom crying in the streets, even while it is true of Him that ‘He does not strive nor cry, nor cause His voice to be heard in the streets’; for the crying, which is denied to be His, is ostentatious and noisy, and the crying which is asserted to be hers is the plain, clear, universal appeal of divine love as well as wisdom. The light of Christ ‘lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’

The call of Wisdom in this passage begins with remonstrance and plain speech, giving their right names to men who neglect her voice. The first step in delivering men from evil-that is, from foolish-courses is to put very clearly before them the true character of their acts, and still more of their inclinations. Gracious offers and rich promises come after; but the initial message of Wisdom to such men as we are must be the accusation of folly. ‘When she is come, she will convict the world of sin.’

The three designations of men in Proverbs 1:22 are probably arranged so as to make a climax. First come ‘the simple,’ or, as the word means, ‘open.’ There is a sancta simplicitas, a holy ignorance of evil, which is sister to the highest wisdom. It is well to be ignorant as well as ‘innocent of much transgression’; and there is no more mistaken and usually insincere excuse for going into foul places than the plea that it is best to know the evil and so choose the good. That knowledge comes surely and soon enough without our seeking it. But there is a fatal simplicity, open-eared, like Eve, to the Tempter’s whisper, which believes the false promises of sin, and as Bunyan has taught us, is companion of sloth and presumption.

Next come ‘scorners,’ who mock at good. A man must have gone a long way down hill before he begins to gibe at virtue and godliness. But the descent is steep, though the distance is long; and the ‘simple’ who begins to do what is wrong will come to sneer at what is right.

Then last comes the ‘fool,’ the name which, in Proverbs, is shorthand for mental stupidity, moral obstinacy, and dogged godlessness,-a foul compound, but one which is realised oftener than we think. A great many very superior intellects, cultivated ladies and gentlemen, university graduates, and the like, would be unceremoniously set down by divine wisdom as fools; and surely if account is taken of the whole compass and duration of our being, and of all our relations to things and persons seen and unseen, nothing can be more stupid than godlessness, however cultured. The word literally means coarse or thick, and may suggest the idea of stolid insensibility as the last stage in the downward progress.

But note that the charge is directed, not against deeds, but dispositions. Perverted love and perverted hatred underlie acts. The simple love simplicity, preferring to be unwarned against evil; the scorner finds delight in letting his rank tongue blossom into speech; and the false direction given to love gives a fatal twist to its corresponding hate, so that the fool detests ‘knowledge’ as a thief the policeman’s lantern. You cannot love what you should loathe, without loathing what you should love. Inner longings and revulsions settle character and acts.

Proverbs 1:23 passes into entreaty; for it is vain to rouse conscience by plain speech, unless something is offered to make better life possible. The divine Wisdom comes with a rod, but also with gifts; but if the rod is kissed, the rewards are possessed. The relation of clauses in Proverbs 1:23 is that the first is the condition of the fulfilment of the second and third. If we turn at her reproof, two great gifts will be bestowed. Her spirit within will make us quick to hear and receive her words sounding without. Whatever other good follows on yielding to the call of divine Wisdom {and the remaining early chapters of Proverbs magnificently detail the many rich gifts that do follow}, chief of all are spirits swift to hear and docile to obey her voice, and then actual communications to purged ears. Outward revelation without prepared hearts is water spilt upon rock. Prepared hearts without a message to them would be but multiplication of vain longings; and God never stultifies Himself, or gives mouths without sending meat to fill them. To the submissive spirit, there will not lack either disposition to hear or clear utterance of His will.

But now comes a pause. Wisdom has made her offers in the crowded streets, and amid all the noise and bustle her voice has rung out. What is the result? Nothing. Not a head has been turned, nor an eye lifted. The bustle goes on as before. ‘They bought, they sold,’ as if no voice had spoken. So, after the disappointed waiting of Wisdom, her voice peals out again, but this time with severity in its tones. Note how, in Proverbs 1:24 - Proverbs 1:25, the sin of sins against the pleading Wisdom of God is represented as being simple indifference. ‘Ye refused,’ ‘no man regarded,’ ‘set at nought,’ ‘would none of’-these are the things which bring down the heavy judgments. It does not need violent opposition or black crime to wreck a soul. Simply doing nothing when God speaks is enough to effect destruction. There is no need to lift up angry arms in hostility. If we keep them hanging listless by our sides, it is sufficient. The gift escapes us, if we simply keep our hands shut or held behind our backs. Alas, for ears which have not heard, for seeing eyes which have not seen because they loved evil simplicity and hated knowledge!

Then note the terrible retribution. That is an awful picture of the mocking laughter of Wisdom, accompanying the rush of the whirlwind and the groans of anguish and shrieks of terror. It is even more solemn and dreadful than the parallel representations in Psalm 2:1 - Psalm 2:12, for there the laughter indicates God’s knowledge that the schemes of opponents are vain, but here it figures pleasure in calamities. Of course it is to be remembered that the Wisdom thus represented is not to be identified with God; but still the imagery is startling, and needs to be taken along with declarations that God has ‘no pleasure in the death of the sinner,’ and to be interpreted as indicating, with daring anthropomorphism, the inevitable character of the ‘destruction,’ and the uselessness of appeals to the Wisdom once despised. But we joyfully remember that the Incarnate Wisdom, fairer than the ancient personification, wept over the city which He knew must perish.

Proverbs 1:28 - Proverbs 1:31 carry on the picture of too late repentance and inevitable retribution. They who let Wisdom cry, and paid no heed, shall cry to her in their turn, and be unnoticed. They whom she vainly sought shall vainly seek for her. Actions have their consequences, which are not annihilated because the doers do not like them. Thoughts have theirs; for the foolish not only eat of the fruit of their ways or doings, but are filled with their own devices or counsels. ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ That inexorable law works, deaf to all cries, in the field of earthly life, both as regards condition and character; and that field of its operation is all that the writer of this book has in view. He is not denying the possibility of forgiveness, nor the efficacy of repentance, nor is he asserting that a penitent soul ever seeks God in vain; but he is declaring that it is too late to cry out for deliverance from consequences of folly when the consequences have us in their grip, and that wishes for deliverance are vain, though sighs of repentance are not. We cannot reap where we have not sowed. We must reap what we have. If we are such sluggards that we will ‘not plough in winter by reason of the cold,’ we shall ‘beg in harvest and have nothing.’

But though the writer had probably only this life in view, Jesus Christ has extended the teaching to the next, when He has told of those who will seek to enter in and not be able. The experience of the fruits of their godlessness will make godless men wish to escape eating the fruits-and that wish shall be vain. It is not for us to enlarge on such words, but it is for us all to lay them to heart, and to take heed that we listen now to the beseeching call of the heavenly Wisdom in its tenderest and noblest form, as it appeared in Christ, the Incarnate Word.

Proverbs 1:32 - Proverbs 1:33 generalise the preceding promises and warnings in a great antithesis. ‘The backsliding [or, turning away] of the simple slays them.’ There is allusion to Wisdom’s call in Proverbs 1:23. The simple had turned, but in the wrong direction-away from and not towards her. To turn away from heavenly Wisdom is to set one’s face toward destruction. It cannot be too earnestly reiterated that we must make our choice of one of two directions for ourselves-either towards God, to seek whom is life, to find whom is heaven; or away from Him, to turn our backs on whom is to embrace unrest, and to be separate from whom is death. ‘The security of fools,’ by which is meant, not their safety, but their fancy that they are safe, ‘destroys them.’ No man is in such danger as the careless man of the world who thinks that he is all right. A traveller along the edge of a precipice in the night, who goes on as if he walked a broad road and takes no heed to his footing, will soon repent his rashness at the bottom, mangled and bruised. A man who in this changing world fancies that he sits as a king, and sees no sorrow, will have a rude wakening. A moment’s heed saves hours of pain.

The alternative to this suicidal folly is in listening to Wisdom’s call. Whoever does that will ‘dwell safely,’ not in fancied but real security; and in his quiet heart there need be no unrest from feared evils, for he will have hold of a charm which turns evils into good, and with such a guide he cannot go astray, nor with such a defender be wounded to death, nor with such a companion ever be solitary. If Christ be our Light, we shall not walk in darkness. If He be our Wisdom, we shall not err. If He be our Life, we shall never see death. If He is our Good, we shall fear no evil.Proverbs 1:20. Wisdom crieth, &c. — Having shown the counsels and invitations of folly and of wicked men, he now declares the voice of wisdom. The Hebrew word חכמות, rendered wisdom here, is in the plural number, and is literally wisdoms. It was probably intended to include various kinds, or, rather, all the kinds of Wisdom 1 st, The works of creation, (see on Psalm 19:1-6,) the light and law of nature, the dispensations of divine providence, the human understanding, are wisdom, Job 38:36. By these God speaks to the children of men, and reasons with them; the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, and wherever men go they may hear a voice behind them saying, This is the way; and the voice of conscience is the voice of God, and not always a small, still voice; but sometimes it cries aloud. 2d, Human laws, and the institutions of civil governments, when they do not contradict, but accord with, the divine law, and especially when they enjoin and encourage obedience to it, and punish the disobedient, are the voice of wisdom crying without; even in the opening of the gates, and in the places of concourse, where courts were kept, where the judges sat, and where the wisdom of the nation called the wicked to repent and reform. In a still higher degree, 3d, Divine revelation is wisdom. All its doctrines, its precepts, its promises, its threatenings, are the dictates of infinite wisdom; and where this is published and made known to any people in their own language, and more especially when it is declared, explained, and enforced by God’s ministers, whether in churches, chapels, private houses, or in the open air, there wisdom cries without, and utters her voice in the streets. 4th, Above all, Christ is wisdom, even the wisdom and word of God incarnate, for in him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and he was, and is, the centre and source of all divine revelation; the person in whom all its doctrines, precepts, and promises are yea and amen. And he, in the days of his flesh, continually cried without, and uttered his voice in the streets. Of him, therefore, Solomon’s words may with great propriety be interpreted, whether he directly intended to prophesy of him and his personal ministry or not, especially considering that the original words are expressed in the future time, thus: Wisdom shall cry without: she shall utter her voice in the streets — Or, in open and broad ways or places, as רחבות, signifies. Wisdom, understood in any or all these senses, is said to cry, or speak with a loud voice, to intimate both God’s earnestness in inviting sinners to repentance, and their inexcusableness if they do not hear such loud cries: and she is said to cry without, or abroad, in opposition to the seducing discourses and efforts of sinners, who lay snares for persons in secret, who conceal themselves and their intentions, and address men in corners and privily, being afraid of and shunning the light, that they may the better deceive and seduce men to error and wickedness. On the contrary, wisdom lifteth up her voice in the streets; for she does not invite to murders, to violence, to injustice, to crimes, commonly fatal to those who commit them; but to God, and to the highest good. She discovers the ways which lead to extreme misery, in order that men may avoid them; she recalls men from their errors and sins, and threatens them with ruin if they despise her. Again, by saying that wisdom lifts up her voice in public places, Solomon prevents the poor excuse made by those who ask, Where shall we find this wisdom? He answers, She is everywhere: all that surrounds you preaches to you this wisdom. You need only open your eyes and ears, and you see and hear her. Do you behold evil, scandal, disorder? Avoid doing it. Do you hear good discourses; do you see good examples? Hear, imitate, and profit by them; “the wise learn much more from fools,” says a heathen, “than fools learn from the wise.” See Schultens and Calmet.1:20-33 Solomon, having showed how dangerous it is to hearken to the temptations of Satan, here declares how dangerous it is not to hearken to the calls of God. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms. Three sorts of persons are here called by Him: 1. Simple ones. Sinners are fond of their simple notions of good and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and flatter themselves in their wickedness. 2. Scorners. Proud, jovial people, that make a jest of every thing. Scoffers at religion, that run down every thing sacred and serious. 3. Fools. Those are the worst of fools that hate to be taught, and have a rooted dislike to serious godliness. The precept is plain; Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of reproofs, if we do not turn from evil to that which is good. The promises are very encouraging. Men cannot turn by any power of their own; but God answers, Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. Special grace is needful to sincere conversion. But that grace shall never be denied to any who seek it. The love of Christ, and the promises mingled with his reproofs, surely should have the attention of every one. It may well be asked, how long men mean to proceed in such a perilous path, when the uncertainty of life and the consequences of dying without Christ are considered? Now sinners live at ease, and set sorrow at defiance; but their calamity will come. Now God is ready to hear their prayers; but then they shall cry in vain. Are we yet despisers of wisdom? Let us hearken diligently, and obey the Lord Jesus, that we may enjoy peace of conscience and confidence in God; be free from evil, in life, in death, and for ever.Wisdom is personified. In the Hebrew the noun is a feminine plural, as though this Wisdom were the queen of all wisdoms, uniting in herself all their excellences. She lifts up her voice, not in solitude, but in the haunts of men "without," i. e., outside the walls, in the streets, at the highest point of all places of concourse, in the open space of the gates where the elders meet and the king sits in judgment, in the heart of the city itself Proverbs 1:21; through sages, lawgivers, teachers, and yet more through life and its experiences, she preaches to mankind. Socrates said that the fields and the trees taught him nothing, but that he found the wisdom he was seeking in his converse with the men whom he met as he walked in the streets and agora of Athens. 20-33. Some interpreters regard this address as the language of the Son of God under the name of Wisdom (compare Lu 11:49). Others think that wisdom, as the divine attribute specially employed in acts of counsel and admonition, is here personified, and represents God. In either case the address is a most solemn and divine admonition, whose matter and spirit are eminently evangelical and impressive (see on [640]Pr 8:1).

Wisdom—literally, "Wisdoms," the plural used either because of the unusual sense, or as indicative of the great excellency of wisdom (compare Pr 9:1).

streets—or most public places, not secretly.

Having expressed the counsels and invitations of folly and of wicked men, he now declareth the voice of wisdom. By the name of wisdom or wisdoms he seems to understand the wisdom or counsel of God revealed to the sons of men by his word. Which he calls wisdoms here, as also Proverbs 9:1, either to note the excellency of this wisdom beyond all other, as the greatest and chief of beasts is called behemoth or beasts, Job 40:15; or because it consisteth of a multitude of wise precepts; or because it hath been delivered to mankind at sundry times, and in divers manners, and by many persons, prophets and apostles, and especially by the Son of God, who is called the wisdom of God, Luke 11:49. And this wisdom is said to cry with a loud voice, to intimate both God’s earnestness in inviting sinners to repentance, and their inexcusableness if they do not hear such loud cries. Without, or abroad, or in the streets or open places, as many others render it, and as it is in the next clause. Not in corners and privily, as seducers persuade men to error or wickedness, being afraid of the light, but openly and publicly before all the world. Wisdom crieth without,.... Here the person instructing throughout this whole book is represented under the name of "Wisdom"; by which we are to understand not the attribute of divine wisdom displayed in the works of creation; nor the light of nature in man; nor the law of Moses given to the Israelites; nor the revelation of the divine will in general, as it is delivered out in the sacred Scriptures; nor the Gospel, and the ministry of it, in particular; but our Lord Jesus Christ; for the things spoken of Wisdom, and ascribed to it in this book, especially in the eighth and ninth chapters, show that a divine Person is intended, and most properly belong to Christ; who may be called "Wisdoms" (b), in the plural number, as in the Hebrew text, because of the consummate and perfect wisdom that is in him; as he is a divine Person, he is "the Logos", the Word and Wisdom of God; as Mediator, "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid" in him, Colossians 2:3; and, as man, "the Spirit of Wisdom" rests upon him without measure, Isaiah 11:2. This, with what follows to the end of the chapter, is a prophecy of the ministry of Christ in the days of his flesh, and of the success of it; and of the calamities that should come upon the Jews for the rejection of him: and Wisdom is here said to "cry", as Christ did, John 7:28; the word signifies to cry both in a sorrowful way, as Jesus did when he cried to Jerusalem, weeping over it, Matthew 23:37; and in a joyful one, which well suits with the Gospel, as preached by him; a joyful sound expressed by piping, in opposition to John's ministry, which was a mournful one, Matthew 11:17; for crying here means no other than the preaching of the word; which is such a cry as that of heralds, when they publicly proclaim peace or war; so Wisdom or Christ, is said to "proclaim liberty to the captives", and "the acceptable year of the Lord", Isaiah 61:1. This cry was made "without" the city of Jerusalem, and without that part of the country which was properly called Jewry; Christ first preached in the land of Galilee; or this may mean the Gentile world, where Christ preached, though not in person, yet by his apostles, whom he sent into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature;

she uttereth her voice in the streets: of the city of Jerusalem, and other places; nor is this contrary to Matthew 12:19; which is to be understood of crying in a bawling and litigious way, of lifting up the voice in self-commendation, neither of which Christ did; and yet might cry and utter his voice in the streets, that is, publicly preach his Gospel there, as he did; and he also sent his servants into the streets and lanes of the city to call in sinners by the ministry of the word, Luke 14:21; which perhaps may be meant of places in the Gentile world; nor is this sense to be excluded here; it may be figuratively understood of the public ministration of the word and ordinances in the church called the streets and broad ways of it, Sol 3:2.

(b) "sapientiae", Montanus, Vatablus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis.

{q} Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the {r} streets:

(q) This wisdom is the eternal word of God.

(r) So that no one can pretend ignorance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Second Address. Warning against Neglecting the Appeal of Wisdom. Chap. 1. Proverbs 1:20-33

20. crieth] Rather, crieth aloud, R.V.

without] Rather, in the street, R.V. The expression is sometimes used adverbially, without or abroad; but the parallelism here, in the broad places, points to the literal rendering.

There is perhaps a designed contrast between the secret enticing of sinners (Proverbs 1:10) and the open call of Wisdom.

the streets] Rather, the broad places, R.V.Verses 20-33. - 2. Second admonitory discourse. Address of Wisdom personified, exhibing the folly of those who wilfully reject, and the security of those who hearken to, her counsels. The sacred writer, in this section, as also in ch. 8, uses the rhetorical figure of prosopopceia, or impersonation. Wisdom is represented as speaking and as addressing the simple, scorners, and fools. The address itself is one of the noblest specimens of sacred eloquence, expressing in rapid succession the strongest phases of feeling - pathetic solicitude with abundant promise, indignant scorn at the rejection of her appeal, the judicial severity of offended majesty upon offenders, and lastly the judicial complacency which delights in mercy towards the obedient. The imagery in part is taken from the forces of nature in their irresistible and overwhelming violence and destructive potency. Verse 20. - Wisdom crieth without. Wisdom. The Hebrew word (khochmoth) here used to designate Wisdom seems to be an abstract derivation from the ordinary khochmah. The form is peculiar to the Proverbs and Psalms, in the former occurring four times (Proverbs 1:22; Proverbs 9:1; Proverbs 14:1; Proverbs 24:7), and in the latter twice only (viz. Psalm 49:4; Psalm 78:15). As in Proverbs 9:1 and Proverbs 24:7, it is a pluralis excellentiae of the feminine gender, a variety of the pluralis extensivus, as Bottcher prefers to denominate it. The feminine form may he determined by the general law which associates purity and serenity with womanhood (Plumptre). The idea of plurality, however, is not that of extension, but of comprehension, i.e. it is not so much all kinds of wisdom which is presented to us, as all the varieties under which wisdom par excellence may be regarded and is comprehended. The plural form of the word denotes the highest character or excellence in which wisdom can be conceived; or, as the marginal reading expresses it, wisdoms, i.e. excellent wisdom. Other instances of the pluralis excellentiae are met with in Holy Writ, e.g. Elohim, God, i.e. "God of Gods," either from the polytheistic view, or from the monotheistic view as expressive of God's might in manifestation, passim; k'doshim, "the Holy (God)," Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 30:3; adonim, for adon "lord" (Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 108. 2 b). In the conception of Wisdom here presented to us in the text we have the germ of an idea which, on the principles of expansion, developed subsequently in the consciousness of the Christian Church into a definite identification of Wisdom with the Second Person of the blessed Trinity. There is a striking parallel to this passage in Luke 11:49, where Christ speaks of himself as ἡ Σοφία τοῦ Θεοῦ, "the Wisdom of God," that shall send prophets and apostles into the world, and thereby identifies himself with Wisdom (cf. this with vers. 20, 21; ch. 7.). Again, a striking similarity is observable between the teaching of Divine Wisdom and that of the Incarnate Word, as much in their promises as in their threats and warnings. But it is difficult to determine with accuracy to what extent the Messianic import of the personification was present to the consciousness of the sacred writers, and whether Wisdom as here presented to us is simply a poetic and abstract personification or a distinct by-postatizing of the Word. Dorner ('Pers. of Christ,' Introd., p. 16), with reference to ch. 8:22, etc., says that though Wisdom is introduced speaking as a personality distinct from God, still the passage does not lead clearly to an hypostatizing of the Khochmah. Dollinger ('Heidenthum und Judenthum,' bk. 10. pt. 3. sec. 2 a, and Proverbs 8:22, etc.) maintains that Wisdom is "the personified idea of the mind of God in creation," rather than the presence of "a distinct hypostasis." Lucke (see references in Liddon, 'Bampton Lects.') holds that in Proverbs Wisdom is merely a personification It is clear that whatever is predicated of Wisdom in ch. 8. must be also predicated of her in the passage before us, in reference either to the hypostatic or opposite view. On the other hand, a large number of expositors, dating from the earliest periods of the Christian Church down to the present time, see in Wisdom a distinct hypostasis, or person - the Lord Jesus Christ. A fuller investigation of this subject will be seen in our remarks on ch. 8. For the present we observe that Wisdom is essentially Divine. Her authority, her utterances, whether of promise, threat, scorn, or vengeance, are the authority, the utterances, of God. Crieth; rather, crieth loudly, or aloud. The Hebrew verb ranan (רָנַן) is "to vibrate the voice," and conveys the idea of the clear loud ringing tones with which proclamations were made; cf. the Vulgate praedicare, and the Arabic clamitate, "to cry with a loud voice." Fleischer remarks that the Arabic rannan, which is allied to the Hebrew verb, is used of a speaker who has a clear piercing voice. In such a way does Wisdom cry without when making her address. She elevates her voice that all may hear. The verb in the original is tazonnah, the feminine singular of ranan, and predicate to "Wisdom," according to the rule that verbs in the singular are construed with plural nouns having a singular signification, especially the pluralis excellentiae (see Gesenius, 'Gram.,' § 146. 2). Without. בַּהוּצ (bakhuts) is here used adverbially, as in Genesis 9:22, and signifies "in the open places," i.e. abroad, without, as opposed to the space within the walls. The writer here begins his enumeration of the five places wherein Wisdom preaches, viz.

(1) without,

(2) in the streets,

(3) in chief places of concourse,

(4) in the opening of the gates,

(5) in the city, all of which are public, and thus indicate the publicity of her announcements (with those comp. Proverbs 8:1; Proverbs 9:3). She uttereth her voice; or, causeth her voice to be beard; represented in the Vulgate by dat vocem suam. and in the LXX. by παῥῤησίαν ἄγει (equivalent to "she observes free-spokenness"). The instrumentality which Wisdom uses in her public preaching are the prophets and teachers (Ecclus. 24:33; Zockler, Vatablus, Mercerus). In the streets; literally, in the wide spares; the Hebrew, רחֹבות (r'khovoth), being, as in Genesis 26:22, "wide spaces," and corresponding to the πλατεία of the LXX.; plateae, Vulgate. The same places are indicated in Luke 14:21, where, in the parable of the marriage supper, the servants are bidden to go out into the streets (πλατείαι) and lanes of the city. The word is connected with the adjective rakhav (רָחַב), "broad," "wide;" and in 2 Chronicles 32:6 is used to designate the ample space at the gates of Oriental cities (Gesenius), though here it seems to refer rather to "squares," large open spaces, not uncommon in Oriental cities - I saw one such at Aden - or it may refer to the broad crowded thoroughfares. The Syriac reading, in compitis, gives a different sense, as compitum, equivalent to "crossroads." (Note: Here, in Proverbs 1:14, גורלך is to be written with Munach (not Metheg) in the second syllable; vid., Torath Emeth, p. 20. Accentuationssystem, vii. 2.)

To their invitation, bearing in itself its own condemnation, they add as a lure the splendid self-enriching treasures which in equal and just fellowship with them they may have the prospect of sharing. הון (from הוּן, levem, then facilem esse, tre ais, son aise) means aisance, convenience, opulence, and concretely that by which life is made agreeable, thus money and possessions (Fleischer in Levy's Chald. Wrterbuch, i. 423f.). With this הון with remarkable frequency in the Mishle יקר (from יקר, Arab. waḳar, grave esse) is connected in direct contrast, according to its primary signification; cf. Proverbs 12:27; Proverbs 24:4 : heavy treasures which make life light. Yet it must not be maintained that, as Schultens has remarked, this oxymoron is intended, nor also that it is only consciously present in the language. מצא has here its primitive appropriate signification of attaining, as Isaiah 10:14 of reaching. שׁלל (from שׁלל, to draw from, draw out, from של, cf. שׁלה, שׁלף, Arab. salab, Comm. on Isa. p. 447) is that which is drawn away from the enemy, exuviae, and then the booty and spoil taken in war generally. נמלּא, to fill with anything, make full, governs a double accusative, as the Kal (to become full of anything) governs only one. In Proverbs 1:14, the invitation shows how the prospect is to be realized. Interpreters have difficulty in conceiving what is here meant. Do not a share by lot and a common purse exclude one another? Will they truly, in the distribution of the booty by lot, have equal portions at length, equally much in their money-bags? Or is it meant that, apart from the portion of the booty which falls to every one by lot, they have a common purse which, when their business is ebbing, must supply the wants of the company, and on which the new companion can maintain himself beforehand? Or does it mean only that they will be as mutually helpful to one another, according to the principle τὰ τῶν φίλων κοινά (amicorum omnia communia), as if they had only one purse? The meaning is perfectly simple. The oneness of the purse consists in this, that the booty which each of them gets, belongs not wholly or chiefly to him, but to the whole together, and is disposed of by lot; so that, as far as possible, he who participated not at all in the affair in obtaining it, may yet draw the greatest prize. This view harmonizes the relation between 14b and 14a. The common Semitic כּים is even used at the present day in Syria and elsewhere as the name of the Exchange ("Brse") (plur. akjâs); here it is the purse ("Kasse") (χρημάτων δοχεῖον, Procop.), which is made up of the profits of the business. This profit consists not merely in gold, but is here thought of in regard to its worth in gold. The apparent contradiction between distributing by lot and having a common purse disappears when the distribution by lot of the common property is so made, that the retaining of a stock-capital, or reserve fund, is not excluded.

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