|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-9 Those who earnestly seek heavenly wisdom, will never complain that they have lost their labour; and the freeness of the gift does not do away the necessity of our diligence, Joh 6:27. Let them seek, and they shall find it; let them ask, and it shall be given them. Observe who are thus favoured. They are the righteous, on whom the image of God is renewed, which consists in righteousness. If we depend upon God, and seek to him for wisdom, he will enable us to keep the paths of judgment.
Verse 2. - This verse is dependent on the preceding. So that thou incline. The literal translation is "to incline;" but the inclination of the ear and the application of the heart follow as a consequence upon the precepting ideas (cf. the Vulgate, ut audiat sapientiam auris tua). The root idea of the original (קָשַׁב kashav) is "to sharpen," viz. the ear as expressed, and so to give diligent attention to the precepts of Wisdom. In Proverbs 1:24 it is rendered "to regard." To apply thine heart is to turn the heart with the whole scope of its powers, in the spirit of humility and eagerness, to understanding. As the ear represents the outward vehicle of communication, so the heart (לִב, lev) represents the inward, the intellectual faculty, the mind, or it may mean the affections as suggested by the LXX. καρδία and Vulgate cor. Understanding (תְּבוּנָה, t'vunah) is here interchanged with "wisdom," which must determine its meaning to some extent. The LXX. interpreters take it as σύνεσις, the faculty of comprehension." Like בִינָה (vinah) in Proverbs 1:2, the word describes the faculty of distinguishing or separating: but it does not appear to be here used as representing this "as a faculty of the soul, but as a Divine power which communicates itself as the gift of God" (Delitzsch). A second and perhaps simpler sense may be given to the sentence. It may mean the turning or applying of the heart in an affectionate and loving way, i.e. with full purpose, to the discrimination of what is right and what wrong. The ideas of wisdom and understanding seem to some extent to be brought forward as personifications. They are things outside of ourselves, to which we have to give attention. Religion appeals not only to the affections, but also to the intellect, as this satisfies all the yearnings of our nature.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So that thou incline thine ear unto Wisdom,.... Hearken to Wisdom, that is, Christ; or rather to the instruction of Wisdom, which is the Gospel; so called, because it is the produce of divine wisdom, what the wisdom of man could never have devised, and which it opposes; and in which there is a most glorious display of the wisdom of God, in the justification and salvation of his people by Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:6; and is worth listening unto with the greatest attention, which is what is designed by this expression;
and apply thine heart to understanding; to a spiritual and experimental understanding of the Gospel, and the truths of it: for an inclination of the ear, without an application of the heart, which signifies the intenseness of the mind, an earnest and hearty desire after knowledge, will signify nothing; a hypocrite may seemingly hear with great attention, and show much affection, and yet his heart be after the world and the things of it, Ezekiel 33:31; see Psalm 119:112.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Listen attentively and reflect seriously (Pr 1:24; Ps 130:2).
understanding—right perception of truth.
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