|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:1 A poor man who fears God, is more honourable and happy, than a man without wisdom and grace, however rich or advanced in rank. 2. What good can the soul do, if without knowledge? And he sins who will not take time to ponder the path of his feet.
Verse 2. - Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good. "Also" (gam), Wordsworth would render "even," "even the soul, i.e. life itself, without knowledge is not a blessing;" it is βίπς οὐ βιωτός. At first sight it looks as if some verse, to which this one was appended, had fallen out; but there is no trace in the versions of any such loss. We have had a verse beginning in the same manner (Proverbs 17:26), and here it seems to emphasize what follows - folly is bad, so is ignorance, when the soul lacks knowledge, i.e. when a man does not know what to do, how to act in the circumstances of his life, has in fact no practical wisdom. Other things "not good" are named in Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 20:23; Proverbs 24:23. And he that hasteth with his feet sinneth; misseth his way. Delitzsch confines the meaning of this hemistich to the undisciplined pursuit of knowledge: "He who hasteneth with the legs after it goeth astray," because he is neither intellectually nor morally clear as to his path or object. But the gnome is better taken in a more general sense. The ignorant man, who acts hastily without due deliberation, is sure to make grave mistakes, and to come to misfortune. Haste is opposed to knowledge, because the latter involves prudence and circumspection, while the former blunders on hurriedly, not seeing whither actions lead. We all have occasion to note the proverbs, Festina lente; "More haste, less speed." The history of Fabius, who, as Ennius said,
"Unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem,"
shows the value of deliberation and caution. The Greeks recognized this -
Προπέτεια πολλοῖς ἐστὶν αἰτία κακῶν.
"Rash haste is cause of evil unto many." Erasmus, in his 'Adagia,' has a long article commenting on Festinatio praepropera. The Arabs say," Patience is the key of joy, but haste is the key of sorrow." God is patient because he is eternal.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good,.... Without knowledge of things natural and civil, especially without the knowledge of God and Christ, and divine and spiritual things; to be without this is not good, yea, very bad; for men without such knowledge and understanding are, like the beasts that perish, and for lack of it do. Jarchi interprets it, without the law. Or, "to be without the knowledge of the soul is not good" (e); so the Targum, Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions,
"he that knoweth not his soul, it is not good for him;''
that does not know he has a soul, or however takes no more care of it than if he had none; who knows not the worth and value of it, its state and condition, and the danger it is in, and the only way of attaining the salvation of it;
and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth; who engages in anything ignorantly and rashly, he misses the mark, and fails in the performance of it, for want of due consideration and care. The Targum is,
"he that is swift with his feet to evil is a sinner;''
whose feet run to evil, to commit robbery, as Aben Ezra; or to shed blood; see Proverbs 1:16.
(e) So Vatablus; or "without care of it", Schultcns.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. The last illustrates the first clause. Rashness, the result of ignorance, brings trouble.
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