|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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 14. - From admonition the father passes to warning. The connection with the preceding section is obvious. There are two ways diametrically opposite - the way of wisdom and the way of evil; the one the way of life, the other fraught with death, because a way of darkness and violence. As the father has dealt with the former, so now he deals with the latter. With these warnings we may also comp. Proverbs 1:10-15 and Proverbs 2:10-15, where much the same warning is given, and the way of the wicked is described in almost the same terms. The warning of the father takes a threefold form:
(1) enter not;
(2) go not;
In effect he says this is the only course to be adopted in order to keep a firm hold of Wisdom which he has counselled in the preceding verse (13). Enter not; al-tavo, from bo. "to come in," "to enter," i.e. do not even enter. The Vulgate renders, "Delight not in," evidently from reading tove, which occurs in Proverbs 1:10. But our reading is to be preferred, as avah, "to acquiesce in," from which tov'e, is not used with בִּ, here denoting place, but with לִ. Go not (al-t'ashsher); i.e. do not walk in. The two verbs "to enter" (bo) and "to go" (ishsher) stand in the relation of entering and going on - ingressus and progressus. So Gejerus and Delitzsch. The piel ishsher, here used, is properly "to go straight on," like the kal ashar, of which it is an intensive (cf. Proverbs 9:6). It is the bold, presumptuous walk, the stepping straight out of the evil, which is here indicated, and against this the father warns his son. The sense is, "If you have entered the way of the wicked, do not continue or persevere in it." The other meanings of the verb ashar, viz. "to guide straight" (Proverbs 23:19), "to esteem happy and prosperous" (Proverbs 31:28), are not in place here, as they destroy the parallelism of thought, and on the same ground the LXX. and Syriac renderings, "envy not" and μηδὲ ζηλώσῆς, are to be rejected. The wicked (ishaim), i.e. the godless (cf, Psalm 1:1), is parallel with "evil men" (raim), i.e. the habitually wicked.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Enter not into the path of the wicked,.... Which leads to eternal death; join not with them in their wicked ways and practices; have no fellowship, keep no company, with them; do not set one foot in the path they tread, lest thou shouldest be tempted to proceed to more ungodliness; you do not know where and when there will be a stop, when once you begin, therefore enter not. The Vulgate Latin version is, "do not delight in the paths of the ungodly": but this supposes not only entrance, but progress and continuance in them, whereas the first is dehorted from in these words:
and go not in the way of evil men; if tempted and prevailed upon to take a step and make a trial, do not proceed; withdraw at once, do not go on. Some render it, seeing the word used has sometimes the signification of blessedness in it, "do not esteem the way of evil men blessed" (y); nor reckon thyself or them happy that walk in such ways; they are far from it: hence the Targum, Septuagint, and Syriac versions are, "do not envy the ways of wicked men"; their seeming pleasure will end in bitterness: the Arabic version is, "do not imitate" them; do not follow their example, and do as they do.
(y) "in via malorum ne te beatum existimes", Tiguriue version; "ne beatam praedices viam malorum", Michaelis.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. (Compare Ps 1:1). Avoid all temptations to the beginning of evil.
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