|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 18. - A contrast is drawn in this and the following verse between the path of the just and the way of the wicked. The former is, by an extremely beautiful image, likened to the light at dawn, which goes on increasing in brightness and intensity as the day advances, until at length it reaches its meridian splendour and glory. An exactly similar figure is found in David's last words (2 Samuel 23:4). The path of the just; i.e. their moral course. As the shining light (k'or nogah); i.e. as the light of dawn. The word nogah, from nagah, "to shine," is a noun, and properly signifies "brightness," "shining." "splendour." It is used also to designate the dawn, the light of the sun when it first mounts the horizon, and sheds its beams over the landscape, as in Isaiah 9:3, "Kings (shall come) to the brightness (nogah) of thy rising;" and Isaiah 62:1, "Until the righteousness thereof go forth as the brightness (nogah)" (cf. 2 Samuel 23:4, where the same word also occurs). Michaelis and Schultens refer nogah to "the path," and render, "The path of the just is splendid as the light." So Dathe and others; and in this sense it was understood by the LXX., "The path of the just shall shine as the light shines." The Vulgate renders, quasi lux splendens. That shineth more and more (holek vaor); literally, going and shining - a common Hebrew idiom denoting progression or increase. The construction of the participle holek, from halak, "to go," with the participle of another verb, is found in 1 Samuel 17:41, "The Philistine came nearer and nearer (holek v'karev);" 1 Samuel 2:26. "The child Samuel grew on more and more (holek v'hadel)" (cf. 2 Chronicles 17:12; Jonah 1:11). Unto the perfect day (ad-n'kon hayyom); Vulgate, usque ad perfectam diem. The Hebrew, n'kon hayyom, corresponds to the Greek, ἡ σταθερὰ, equivalent to "the high noon," when the sun seems to stand still in the heavens. The figure, as Fleiseher remarks, is probably derived from the balance, the tongue of the balance of day, which before or after is inclined either to the right or the left, being at midday perfectly upright, and as it were firm. So kun, the unused kal, from which n'kon, the niph. participle, is derived, is "to stand upright," and in hiph. "to be set," "to stand firm," "to be established," and hence the expression might be rendered, "until the steady, or established day," which, however, refers to the midday, or noon, and not to that point when day succeeds dawn, as Rosenmuller and Schultens on Hosea 6:3 maintain. The comparison is not extended beyond the midday, because the wish of the father was to indicate the full knowledge which the just attain in God, and which can knew of no decline. A similar figure of gradual development is found in our Lord's parable of the seed growing secretly (Mark 4:28), and is visible in Psalm 84:7, "They grow from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God." The verse illustrates the gradual growth and increase of the righteous in knowledge, holiness, and joy, all of which are inseparably connected in the career of such.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But the path of the just is as the shining light,.... The "just" man is one that is made righteous through the righteousness of Christ imputed to him; and who is created anew in Christ, in righteousness and true holiness; and, under the influence of divine grace, lives soberly, righteously, and godly: the "path" he is directed to walk in, and does, is Christ himself, the way, the truth, and the life; through whose blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, he goes to God for grace and mercy, for peace, pardon, and acceptance, for fresh supplies of grace, and in order to enjoy communion with him; and who also is the way of salvation, and to eternal life and happiness: and, besides this grand and principal path, there are the paths of truth, righteousness, and holiness; the path of duty and obedience; the way of the commandments of God, and ordinances of Christ: and this path he walks in, whether of grace or duty, is "as the shining light"; or of the morning, when the day first dawns, or at least when the sun rises. Such is the light beamed in at first conversion, which directs men to walk in the above mentioned paths; it is a light after a night of darkness, as such is the state of unregeneracy; which, though at first is but glimmering, yet afterwards is clear and shining; especially when Christ the sun of righteousness appears, or is revealed, as the hope of glory. The first grace in conversion is a "true light that shines", 1 John 2:8, by which a soul sees its own vileness and filthiness, the insufficiency of its own righteousness; and the fulness, suitableness, and ability Christ as a Saviour, and has some discerning of Gospel truths;
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day; or "going and shining" (z), or "enlightening": it shines clearer and clearer, so does true grace; it grows and increases more and more, every grace does, faith, hope, love, patience, humility, &c. the light of the knowledge of Christ the way, though it is imperfect, yet capable of being increased, and is increased by means of the ministry of the word and ordinances; which increase God has promised, saints pursue after, and attain unto. Light into the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, increases yet more and more; whereby a soul walks pleasantly, comfortably, and safely, in right path, "until the perfect day" of glory comes, a day without clouds; when there will be nothing to interpose between God and them; when there will be no more clouds of darkness, unbelief, doubts, and fears; when the sun will always be seen, no more withdrawn, eclipsed, or set; even Christ, the sun of righteousness, whose glory will always be beheld by the righteous to all eternity: when there will be no more night of affliction, desertion, and death; when the light of knowledge will be clear and perfect, and saints shall see face to face, and know as they are known; and when not only the light of the righteous shall be so clear, distinct, and perfect, but they themselves shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of God. The words may be rendered, "the prepared day" (a); appointed in the decrees of God, and firmly established by them: the invisible glories of the heavenly state, which make this everlasting day, are things which God has prepared for his people; the kingdom and glory itself, the inheritance of the saints in light, is prepared for them from the foundation of the world. And, since such is the path of the just, who would walk in the ways of the wicked? which are the reverse of this, as the following words show.
(z) "vadens et illuminans", Montanus; "ambulans et lucens", Gejerus; "pergens et lucens", Michaelis; "procedens et lucens", Schultens. (a) "usque ad paratum diem", Pagninus, Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18, 19. As shining light increases from twilight to noonday splendor, so the course of the just increases in purity, but that of the wicked is as thickest darkness, in which one knows not on what he stumbles.
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