Proverbs 3:4
So shall you find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Favour and good understanding.—Particularly noted as distinguishing the childhood of our Lord (Luke 2:52).

3:1-6 In the way of believing obedience to God's commandments health and peace may commonly be enjoyed; and though our days may not be long upon earth, we shall live for ever in heaven. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; God's mercy in promising, and his truth in performing: live up to them, keep up thine interest in them, and take the comfort of them. We must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, believing he is able and wise to do what is best. Those who know themselves, find their own understandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, will fail. Do not design any thing but what is lawful, and beg God to direct thee in every case, though it may seem quite plain. In all our ways that prove pleasant, in which we gain our point, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge him with submission. It is promised, He shall direct thy paths; so that thy way shall be safe and good, and happy at last.Compare Luke 2:52. These are the two conditions of true human growth. 4. favour—grace, amiability (Pr 22:11; Ps 45:2); united with this,

a good understanding—(Compare Margin), a discrimination, which secures success.

in the sight … man—such as God and man approve.

Find favour, i.e. obtain acceptance, or be gracious and amiable to them.

Good understanding; whereby to know thy duty, and to discern between good and evil. The serious practice of religion is an excellent mean to get a solid understanding of it; as, on the contrary, a vicious life doth exceedingly debase and darken the mind, and keep men from the knowledge of truth, which not only Scripture, but even heathen philosophers, have oft observed. Others render it, good success; which seems not to suit well with the following words.

In the sight of God; grace or favour with God, and that understanding which is good in God’s sight, i.e. truly and really; as a truly good man is called good before God, in the Hebrew, Ecclesiastes 7:26. So shall thou find favour,.... Or "grace" (i); the grace of God, and larger measures of it; as Noah did, Genesis 6:8; which are communicated to men when in the way of their duty: or good will, esteem, and respect, among men; as Joseph had with Potiphar, and the keeper of the prison, Genesis 39:4;

and good understanding in the sight of God and man; as Christ, as man, had in the sight of both, Luke 2:52; that is, to be taken notice of, regarded, and approved by both. Some render it "good success" (k); prosperity in things temporal and spiritual; see Psalm 111:10. There is something lovely, and of good report, in a close attention to the doctrines and duties of religion; which make a man amiable in the sight of others, and which is followed with a blessing from the Lord.

(i) "gratiam", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, &c. (k) "successum optimum", Junius & Tremellius.

So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. favour and good understanding] Your character will conciliate for you by its two great elements of mercy and truth, the two corresponding tributes of good-will and respect. (Comp. 1 Samuel 2:26; Luke 2:52.)

To find good understanding in the sight of anyone (A.V. and R.V. text), i.e. to be regarded by him as prudent and intelligent, gives a satisfactory sense, without having recourse to the other renderings, good success (A.V. marg.); good repute (R.V. marg.); care or consideration (Maurer, who compares Psalm 41:1 [Hebrews 2], where the same Heb. word is rendered considereth). We are told in this Book that good understanding giveth (or getteth) favour, Proverbs 13:15.Verse 4. - So shalt thou find (vum'lsa); literally, and find. A peculiar use of the imperative, the imperative kal (m'tsa) with vau consecutive (וִ) being equivalent to the future, "thou shalt find," as in the Authorized Version. This construction, where two imperatives are joined, the former containing an exhortation or admonition, the second a promise made on the condition implied in the first, and the second imperative being used as a future, occurs again in Proverbs 4:4; Proverbs 7:2, "Keep my commandments, and live;" 9:6, "Forsake the foolish, and live;" 20:13, "Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread" (cf. Genesis 42:18; Psalm 37:27; Job 22:21; Isaiah 36:16; Hosea 10:12; Amos 5:4-6; Gesenius, § 130, 2). Delitzsch calls this "an admonitory imperative;" Bottcher, "the desponsive imperative." Compare the Greek construction in Menander, Οϊδ ὅτι ποίησον, for ποιήσεις, "Know that this you will do." Find (matza); here simply "to attain," "obtain," not necessarily implying previous search, as in Proverbs 17:20. Favour (khen). The same word is frequently translated "grace," and means the same thing; Vulgate, gratia; LXX., χαρίς. For the expression, "to find favour" (matsa khen), see Genesis 6:8; Exodus 33:12; Jeremiah 31:2; comp. Luke 1:30, Αῦρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ." For thou hast found favour [or, 'grace'] with God." spoken by Gabriel to the Virgin. Good understanding (sekel tov); i.e. good sagacity, or prudence. So Delitzsch, Bertheau, Kamph. A true sagacity, prudence, or penetrating judgment will be adjudicated by God and man to him who possesses the internal excellence of love and truth. The Hebrew sekel is derived from sakal, "to act wisely or prudently," and has this intellectual meaning in Proverbs 13:15; Psalm 111:10 (see also 1 Samuel 25:3 and 2 Chronicles 30:22). The Targum Jonathan reads, intellectus et benignitas, thus throwing the adjective into a substantival form; the Syriac, intellectus simply. Ewald, Hitzig, Zockler, and others, on the other hand, understand sekel as referring to the judgment formed of any one, the favourable opinion or view which is entertained of hint by others, and hence take it as reputation, or estimation. The man who has love and truth will be held in high esteem by God and man. Our objection to this rendering is that it does not seem to advance the meaning of the passage beyond that of "favour." Another, mentioned by Delitzsch, is that sekel is never used in any other sense than that of intellectus in the Mishle. The marginal reading, "good success," i.e. prosperity, seems inadmissible here, as the hiph. has'kil, "to cause to prosper," as in Proverbs 17:8; Joshua 1:7; Deuteronomy 29:9, does not apply in this instance any more than in Psalm 111:10, margin. In the sight of God and man (b'eyney elohim v'adam); literally, in the eyes of Elohim and man; i.e. according to the judgment of God and man (Zockler); Vulgate, coram Deo et hominibus. A simpler form of this phrase is found in 1 Samuel 2:26, where Samuel is said to have found favour with the Lord, and also with men. So in Luke 2:52 Jesus found favour "with God and man (παρὰ Θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις)" (comp. Genesis 10:9; Acts 2:47, Romans 14:18). The two conditions of favor and sagacity, or prudence, are not to be assigned respectively to God and man (as Ewald and Hitzig), or that finding favour has reference more to God, and being deemed prudent refers more to man. The statement is universal. Both these conditions will be adjudged to the man who has mercy and truth by God in heaven and man on earth at the same time (see Delitszch). The LXX., "after favour," instead of the text, reads, "and provide good things in the sight of the Lord and men," quoted by St. Paul (2 Corinthians 8:21). With למען there commences a new section, coordinating itself with the להצּילך ("to deliver thee") of Proverbs 2:12, Proverbs 2:16, unfolding that which wisdom accomplishes as a preserver and guide:

20 So that thou walkest in the good way,

     And keepest the right paths.

21 For the upright shall inhabit the land,

     And the innocent shall remain in it.

22 But the godless are cut off out the land,

     And the faithless are rooted out of it.

Wisdom - thus the connection - will keep thee, so that thou shalt not fall under the seductions of man or of woman; keep, in order that thou... למען (from מען equals מענה, tendency, purpose) refers to the intention and object of the protecting wisdom. To the two negative designations of design there follows, as the third and last, a positive one. טובים (contrast to רעים, Proverbs 14:19) is here used in a general ethical sense: the good (Guten, not Gtigen, the kind). שׁמר, with the object of the way, may in another connection also mean to keep oneself from, cavere ab (Psalm 17:4); here it means: carefully to keep in it. The promise of Proverbs 2:21 is the same as in the Mashal Psalm 37:9, Psalm 37:11, Psalm 37:22; cf. Proverbs 10:30. ארץ is Canaan, or the land which God promised to the patriarchs, and in which He planted Israel, whom He had brought out of Egypt; not the earth, as Matthew 5:5, according to the extended, unlimited N.T. circle of vision. יוּתרוּ (Milel) is erroneously explained by Schultens: funiculis bene firmis irroborabunt in terra. The verb יתר, Arab. watar, signifies to yoke (whence יתר, a cord, rope), then intrans. to be stretched out in length, to be hanging over (vid., Fleischer on Job 30:11); whence יתר, residue, Zephaniah 2:9, and after which the lxx here renders ὑπολειφθήσονται, and Jerome permanebunt. In 22b the old translators render יסּחוּ as the fut. of the pass. נסּח, Deuteronomy 28:63; but in this case it would be ינּסחוּ. The form יסּחוּ, pointed יסּחוּ, might be the Niph. of סחח, but סחח can neither be taken as one with נסח, of the same meaning, nor with Hitzig is it to be vocalized יסּחוּ (Hoph. of נסח); nor, with Bttcher (1100, p. 453), is יסּחוּ to be regarded as a veritable fut. Niph. יסּחוּ is, as at Proverbs 15:25; Psalm 52:7, active: evellant; and this, with the subj. remaining indefinite (for which J. H. Michaelis refers to Hosea 12:9), is equivalent to evellentur. This indefinite "they" or "one" ("man"), Fleischer remarks, can even be used of God, as here and Job 7:3 - a thing which is common in Persian, where e.g., the expression rendered hominem ex pulvere fecerunt is used instead of the fuller form, which would be rendered homo a Deo ex pulvere factus est. בּוגדים bears (as בּגד proves) the primary meaning of concealed, i.e., malicious (treacherous and rapacious, Isaiah 33:1), and then faithless men.

(Note: Similar is the relation in Arab. of labbasa to libâs (לבוּשׁ); it means to make a thing unknown by covering it; whence telbı̂s, deceit, mulebbis, a falsifier.)

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