|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 22. - They are life; i.e. they bring life (khayyim; the plural, as usual). Unto those that find them; i.e. to those who by effort get possession of and procure them; the verb matsa, to find, embodying the idea of activity. Health; mar'pe, derived from the root rapha, "to heal" (like riph'uth of Proverbs 3:8, which see), and hence rather "the means of health" than "health," "healing," or, as margin, "medicine," "that which restores to health;" LXX., ἴασις; Vulgate, sanitas. The moral condition is regarded as enfeebled by sickness, from which it may be restored to health and soundness by the words of wisdom. The effect of these, however, is not only to restore to health, but to maintain in health. Their tendency is to promote "a sound mind in a sound body." To their flesh; literally, to his flesh; the singular, b'saro, being used instead of the plural, which we should have expected, because what is said applies to each one of those who receive the precepts of wisdom. The all implies the completeness of the restoration; it is not confined to one part, but pervades the whole body.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For they are life unto those that find them,.... The words or doctrines of Christ, whose type Solomon was, are to be found in the field of the Scriptures, by diligent searching for them; and being found, they are the means of spiritual life, and of maintaining it, and of showing the way, and bringing unto eternal life; see John 6:63;
and health to all their flesh; the whole man, soul and body, as they are the means of preserving the body from many diseases, which intemperance, lust, and luxury, lead unto, and are curbed by these; so of healing the various diseases of the soul; and, however, of directing to a panacea for them, to the blood of Christ, which is the true balm of Gilead, and he the physician of souls. Moreover, the doctrines of the Gospel are the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus; they are sound, salutary, and healthful, and serve to keep the soul in good plight, and the body too. The Septuagint render it, "to all flesh": that is, to all men; but this is not true in fact; for to some the Gospel of Christ, through contempt and rejection of it, is the savour of death unto death.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. health … flesh—by preserving from vices destructive of health.
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