My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.
The teacher speaks again in his own person.
But the path of the just - The path of the wicked is gloomy, dark, and dangerous; that of the righteous is open, luminous, and instructive. This verse contains a fine metaphor; it refers to the sun rising above the horizon, and the increasing twilight, till his beams shine full upon the earth. The original, הולך ואור עד נכון היום holech vaor ad nechon haiyom, may be translated, "going and illuminating unto the prepared day." This seems plainly to refer to the progress of the rising sun while below the horizon; and the gradual increase of the light occasioned by the reflection of his rays by means of the atmosphere, till at last he is completely elevated above the horizon, and then the prepared day has fully taken place, the sun having risen at the determined time. So, the truly wise man is but in his twilight here below; but he is in a state of glorious preparation for the realms of everlasting light; till at last, emerging from darkness and the shadows of death, he is ushered into the full blaze of endless felicity. Yet previously to his enjoyment of this glory, which is prepared for him, he is going - walking in the commandments of his God blameless; and illuminating - reflecting the light of the salvation which he has received on all those who form the circle of his acquaintance.
My son, attend to my words,.... Which go before and which follow after, his doctrines, instructions, cautions, and exhortations;
incline thine ear unto my sayings; stoop and bow the ear; listen attentively to what is said, as being of the greatest moment and importance. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
20-22. (Compare Pr 4:10, 13; Pr 3:8, &c.).
The exhortations attracting by means of promises, now become warnings fitted to alarm:
13 Hold fast to instruction, let her not go;
Keep her, for she is thy life.
14 Into the path of the wicked enter not,
And walk not in the way of the evil
15 Avoid it, enter not into it;
Turn from it and pass away.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they do evil,
And they are deprived of sleep unless they bring others to ruin.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness,
And they drink the wine of violence.
Elsewhere מוּסר means also self-discipline, or moral religious education, Proverbs 1:3; here discipline, i.e., parental educative counsel. תּרף is the segolated fut. apoc. Hiph. (indic. תּרפּה) from tarp, cf. the imper. Hiph. הרף from harp. נצּרה is the imper. Kal (not Piel, as Aben Ezra thinks) with Dagesh dirimens; cf. the verbal substantive נצּרה Psalm 141:3, with similar Dagesh, after the form יקּהה, Genesis 49:10. מוּסר (elsewhere always masc.) is here used in the fem. as the synonym of the name of wisdom: keep her (instruction), for she is thy life,
(Note: Punctuate כּי היא; the Zinnorith represents the place of the Makkeph, vid., Torath Emeth, p. 9.)
i.e., the life of thy life. In Proverbs 4:14 the godless (vid., on the root-idea of רשׁע under Psalm 1:1) and the habitually wicked, i.e., the vicious, stand in parallelism; בּוא and אשּׁר are related as entering and going on, ingressus and progressus. The verb אשׁר signifies, like ישׁר, to be straight, even, fortunate, whence אשׁר equals Arab. yusâr, happiness, and to step straight out, Proverbs 9:6, of which meanings אשּׁר is partly the intensive, as here, partly the causative, Proverbs 23:19 (elsewhere causative of the meaning, to be happy, Genesis 30:13). The meaning progredi is not mediated by a supplementary צעדיו; the derivative אשׁוּר (אשּׁוּר), a step, shows that it is derived immediately from the root-idea of a movement in a straight line. Still less justifiable is the rendering by Schultens, ne vestigia imprimas in via malorum; for the Arab. âththr is denom. of ithr, אתר, the primitive verb roots of which, athr, אתר equals אשׁר, are lost.
4:14-27 The way of evil men may seem pleasant, and the nearest way to compass some end; but it is an evil way, and will end ill; if thou love thy God and thy soul, avoid it. It is not said, Keep at a due distance, but at a great distance; never think you can get far enough from it. The way of the righteous is light; Christ is their Way, and he is the Light. The saints will not be perfect till they reach heaven, but there they shall shine as the sun in his strength. The way of sin is as darkness. The way of the wicked is dark, therefore dangerous; they fall into sin, but know not how to avoid it. They fall into trouble, but never seek to know wherefore God contends with them, nor what will be in the end of it. This is the way we are bid to shun. Attentive hearing the word of God, is a good sign of a work of grace begun in the heart, and a good means of carrying it on. There is in the word of God a proper remedy for all diseases of the soul. Keep thy heart with all diligence. We must set a strict guard upon our souls; keep our hearts from doing hurt, and getting hurt. A good reason is given; because out of it are the issues of life. Above all, we should seek from the Lord Jesus that living water, the sanctifying Spirit, issuing forth unto everlasting life. Thus we shall be enabled to put away a froward mouth and perverse lips; our eyes will be turned from beholding vanity, looking straight forward, and walking by the rule of God's word, treading in the steps of our Lord and Master. Lord, forgive the past, and enable us to follow thee more closely for the time to come.Verse 20.
- The teacher here resumes his admonitions after thus citing the example of his father's teaching, and showing how it resembled the tenor of his own precepts, which, upon such a consideration, were most worthy of attention.
Proverbs 5:1 My son, attend to my wisdom, and bow your ear to my understanding:
Proverbs 6:20,21 My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not the law of …
Proverbs 7:1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with you.
Psalm 78:1 Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Isaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me: hear, and your soul shall live; …
Matthew 17:5 While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and …
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