|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-6 The lessons here given are plain, and likely to benefit those who feel their own ignorance, and their need to be taught. If young people take heed to their ways, according to Solomon's Proverbs, they will gain knowledge and discretion. Solomon speaks of the most important points of truth, and a greater than Solomon is here. Christ speaks by his word and by his Spirit. Christ is the Word and the Wisdom of God, and he is made to us wisdom.
Verse 5. - A wise man will hear, and will increase learning. The change of construction in the original is reproduced in the Authorized Version, but has been rendered variously. Thus Umbreit and Elster, regarding the verb יִשְׁמַע (yish'ma) as conditional, translate, "if the wise man hear;" on the other hand, Delitzsch and Zockler take it as voluntative," let the wise man hear," ete. The principle here enunciated is again stated in Proverbs 9:9, "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser," and finds expression under the gospel economy in the words of our Lord, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance" (Matthew 13:12; cf. 25:29; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18 and Mark 14:26). Learning; Hebrew, לֶקַח (lekakh), in the sense of being transmitted or received (Gesenius, Delitzsch, Dunn). A man of understanding (LXX., ὁ νοήμων; Vulgate, intelligens) is a person of intelligence who lays himself open to be instructed. Wise counsels; Hebrew, תַּחְבֻּלות (takh'buloth). This word is derived from חֹבֶל (khevel), a ship rope, a denominative of חֹבֵל (khovel), and only occurs in the plural. It signifies those maxims of prudence by which a man may direct his course aright through life (cf. regimen, Arabic). The imagery is taken from the management of a vessel, and is reproduced in the LXX. κυβέρνησις, and the Vulgate gubernatio. "Navigationi vitam comparat" (Mariana). The word is almost exclusively confined to the Proverbs, and occurs in Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:5; Proverbs 20:18; and Proverbs 24:6, usually in a good sense, though it has the meaning of "stratagem" in Proverbs 12:5. In the only other passage where it is found it is used of God's power in turning about the clouds; cf. Job 37:12, "And it [i.e. the bright cloud] is turned round about by his counsels (בְּתַחְבּוּל תָוּ, b'thakh'bulothau)." It is the practical correlative of "learning," in the first part of the verse.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A wise man will hear,.... With great attention, and hearken to the proverbs and wise sayings herein delivered; for here are many things entertaining to men of years and wisdom, as well as instructive to young men and simple ones;
and will increase learning; or "add" (k) to his stock of learning; or, as the Targum,
"will add knowledge;''
see 2 Peter 1:5; or, "will be wiser", as the Vulgate Latin version. This is said to show the excellency of this book, and the extensive usefulness of it; indeed wise men will get knowledge where fools cannot, and increase learning where others can get none: there are few books but a wise man will get something out of; and especially such a book as this, and as the Scriptures are;
and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels; a man of a spiritual understanding arrives to the knowledge of the wise counsels of God; the doctrines of the Gospel, which are the "whole counsel" of God; are recondite wisdom, the hidden wisdom of God, which no wisdom of man is comparable to. It is the wisest scheme that was ever formed, and which the wit of man could never have devised, even salvation by Jesus Christ; and which was laid in God's "counsels of old", which are "faithfulness" and "truth"; the knowledge of which is attained unto by one that is spiritually wise. Moreover, a man that thoroughly understands the things contained in this book is fit to be a counsellor of others in things human and divine; in things moral, civil, and spiritual: he is fit to be in the cabinet council of princes, to be a counsellor of kings; yea, to have the reins of government in his hands. "He shall possess government"; so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions: or, "he shall possess the helm" (l); sit as a pilot there, as the word may signify, and steer the ship aright in which he is; whether it be his family, or the church of God, or a city or corporation, or a kingdom: this book, rightly understood by him, will furnish him with rules to do all things well and wisely.
(k) "addet", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (l) "gubernacula possidebit", V. L. "metaphora a nauclero desumpta", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5, 6. Such writings the wise, who pursue right ends by right means, will value.
learning—not the act, but matter of it.
wise counsels—or the art and principles of governing.
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