Proverbs 1:22
How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
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(22) How long . . .—Three classes of persons are here addressed: (1) simple ones, open to good influences, but also to evil (Proverbs 1:4); (2) scorners (lētsîm), men who despised what was holy, priding themselves on their cleverness in so doing (Proverbs 14:6), who avoided the wise, and held themselves above their advice (Proverbs 15:12), proud, arrogant men (Proverbs 21:24). The name first appears at the time of Solomon, when the prosperity of the nation was favourable to the growth of religious indifference and scepticism. Isaiah had to deal with them in his day, too (Isaiah 28:14). (3) Fools (khesîlîm), dull, stupid persons, stolidly confident in their own wisdom.

Proverbs 1:22-23. How long, ye simple ones — Ye ignorant, careless, and credulous persons, who are so easily deceived by sin and sinners, and cheated and deluded by the world, and the god of it, and do not understand or consider your own interest; will ye love simplicity? — Being unwilling to part with it, or to be made wise. And the scorners — That scoff at all religion, and despise the word and faithful ministers of God; delight in their scorning — Take pleasure, and glory in deriding and reviling the truths and precepts of the gospel, and the people and ways of God. And fools — That is, the wicked, for the Scriptures, with the utmost propriety, denominate all such, fools; hate knowledge — Which surely none but fools would hate. They hate it, because it lays open and reproves their errors, sins, and corrupt ways, which they cannot bear to have detected and rebuked. Hence they hate the knowledge of the divine laws, and also all those who are acquainted with them, and set a value upon them. Turn you at my reproof — Upon this admonition here given you, turn from your evil ways unto me. Behold — If you do so; I will pour out my spirit unto you — The gifts and graces of my Spirit, which God, whose wisdom here speaks, has promised to those that turn to him, and sincerely and earnestly ask them, Luke 11:13; John 4:14; and John 7:39. I will make known my words unto you — By my Spirit I will enable you truly and savingly to understand my word, which is hid from others, 2 Corinthians 4:3. The Hebrew, תשׁבו לתוכחתי, may be rendered, ye shall turn at my instruction, or correction; behold, אביעה לכם רוחי, ebulliam vobis Spiritum meum, I will cause my Spirit to ebulliate, or spring up within you, or, “I will make my Spirit flow upon you as a fountain, which produces its water.” The special and saving grace of God shall never be denied to any that honestly seek it and submit to it.

1:20-33 Solomon, having showed how dangerous it is to hearken to the temptations of Satan, here declares how dangerous it is not to hearken to the calls of God. Christ himself is Wisdom, is Wisdoms. Three sorts of persons are here called by Him: 1. Simple ones. Sinners are fond of their simple notions of good and evil, their simple prejudices against the ways of God, and flatter themselves in their wickedness. 2. Scorners. Proud, jovial people, that make a jest of every thing. Scoffers at religion, that run down every thing sacred and serious. 3. Fools. Those are the worst of fools that hate to be taught, and have a rooted dislike to serious godliness. The precept is plain; Turn you at my reproof. We do not make a right use of reproofs, if we do not turn from evil to that which is good. The promises are very encouraging. Men cannot turn by any power of their own; but God answers, Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. Special grace is needful to sincere conversion. But that grace shall never be denied to any who seek it. The love of Christ, and the promises mingled with his reproofs, surely should have the attention of every one. It may well be asked, how long men mean to proceed in such a perilous path, when the uncertainty of life and the consequences of dying without Christ are considered? Now sinners live at ease, and set sorrow at defiance; but their calamity will come. Now God is ready to hear their prayers; but then they shall cry in vain. Are we yet despisers of wisdom? Let us hearken diligently, and obey the Lord Jesus, that we may enjoy peace of conscience and confidence in God; be free from evil, in life, in death, and for ever.Compare the Psalm 1:1 note.

(1) The "simple," literally, "open," i. e. fatally open to evil;

(2) the "scorners," mocking at all good;

(3) lastly, the "fools" in the sense of being hardened, obstinate, perverse, hating the knowledge they have rejected.

22. simple ones—(Compare Pr 1:4).

simplicity—implying ignorance.

scorners—(Ps 1:1)—who despise, as well as reject, truth.

fools—Though a different word is used from that of Pr 1:7, yet it is of the same meaning.

Ye simple ones; ye ignorant, and easy, and credulous persons, who are so soon cheated by the world and the devil, and do not understand your own interest.

Love simplicity; being unwilling to part with it, or to be made wiser. Scorners; that scoff at all religion, and contemn the word and faithful ministers of God.

Fools; wilful and wicked fools, as Proverbs 17:10 26:4.

How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?.... Simple foolish things, agreeably to their character, being weak simple men, men of weak capacities and shallow understandings; and such were the first persons that were called by Christ through the ministry of the word, even effectually; they were babes and sucklings in comparison of others, by whom they were despised as illiterate and ignorant of the law; see Matthew 11:25; though it may respect the Jews in general, who were externally called by Christ, and were a simple and foolish people, addicted to silly customs and usages, to the traditions of the elders, and loved the folly and darkness of them, and to continue in them, rather than the light of the Gospel, John 3:19;

and the scorners delight in their scorning; at Christ, because of the meanness of his parentage and education; at his disciples and followers, at his doctrines and miracles, sufferings and death;

and fools hate knowledge? the knowledge of Christ, and of God in Christ; the knowledge of the Gospel, and the truths of it; they hated the light of it, and did not care to come to it, but rather loved the darkness of the law, and even of error and infidelity; they hated Christ, the teacher of true and useful knowledge; they hated his person, though without a cause; they hated him in his offices, as a Prophet to instruct them, as a Priest to be the propitiation for them, and as a King to rule over them; such "fools" were they, and who are therefore expostulated with by Wisdom or Christ; which expostulations show their continuance in these things, and the danger they were in by them, the pity and compassion of Christ as man and a minister of the word, and the fervour and importunity of his ministrations.

How long, ye {s} simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

(s) Wisdom reproves three kinds of men, the foolish or simple who err out of ignorance, the mockers who cannot stand to be taught, and the fools who are drowned in worldly lusts and hate the knowledge of godliness.

22. simple] unwary, see Proverbs 1:4 above, note.

love simplicity] when you stand in need of that subtilty, which wisdom offers you (Proverbs 1:4). When war is at the gates, you are not safe without armour. “Parvuli, diligitis infantiam,” Vulg.

scorners] The word is, with few exceptions, peculiar to this Book, in which “ ‘the scorners’ appear as a class of defiant and cynical freethinkers in contrast and antagonism to ‘the wise.’ The root-principle of their character is a spirit of proud self-sufficiency, a contemptuous disregard for God and man (Proverbs 21:24). It is impossible to reform them, for they hate reproof and will not seek instruction (Proverbs 13:1, Proverbs 15:12). If they seek for wisdom they will not find it (Proverbs 14:6). It is folly to argue with them (Proverbs 9:7-8). They are generally detested (Proverbs 24:9), and in the interests of peace must be banished from society (Proverbs 22:10). Divine judgements are in store for them, and their fate is a warning to the simple (Proverbs 3:34, Proverbs 19:25; Proverbs 19:29, Proverbs 21:11).” Kirkpatrick on Psalm 1:1, in this Series.

fools] The Heb. word here used for “fool” signifies, heavy, dull, gross. See Proverbs 17:21, note.

simple, scorners, fools] The enumeration covers the field: the simple, from whom recruits are too easily drawn to the army of evil; scorners, the proud leaders of the host; fools, the rank and file of the host.

Verse 22. - How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? etc. From this verse to the end of the chapter the sacred writer puts before us the words of Wisdom herself. The discourse begins in the same way as in Psalm 4:2 (Zockler), and the classification of the persons addressed - the simple, the scorners, and the sinners - closely resembles that of Psalm 1:1. In the order there is a progression from the least to the most culpable. The simple (פְתָיִם, p'thayim), as in ver. 4, those who are indifferent through thoughtlessness and inconsiderateness, and are thereby open to evil. The scorners (לֵצֵים, letsim); or, mockers, the same as the (לָצון, latson) "scornful men" of Proverbs 29:8, derived from the root לּוּצ (luts), "to deride, mock," probably by imitating the voice in derision. The mockers are those who hold all things in derision, both human and Divine, who contemn God's admonitions, and treat with ridicule both threatenings and promises alike. Fools; כְסִילִים (ch'silim), a different word from the evilim of ver. 7, but signifying much the same, i.e. the obdurate, the hardened, stolidi, those who walk after the sight of their eyes and the imagination of their hearts - a class not ignorant of knowledge, but hating it because of the restraint it puts them under. The word occurs in Proverbs 17:10, in the sense of the incorrigible; in Proverbs 26:3, 4 as a term of the greatest contempt. The enallage, or interchange of tenses in the original - the verbs "love" and "hate" being future, and "delight" being perfect - is not reproducible in English. The perfect is used interchangeably with the future where the action or state is represented as first coming to pass or in progress, and, as Zockler remarks, may be inchoative, and so be rendered "become fond of," instead of "be fond of." But it appears to represent not so much a state or action first coming to pass as in progress (see Geseuius, 'Gram.,' § 126, 3). Bottcher (§ 948, 2) translates it by concupiverint, i.e. "How long shall ye have delighted in scorning?" The futures express "love" and "hate" as habitual sentiments (Delitzsch). It is to be noted that the language of Wisdom, in vers. 22 and 23, is expressive of the most tender and earnest solicitude. Proverbs 1:22The poet has now reached that part of his introduction where he makes use of the very words uttered by Wisdom:

How long, ye simple, will ye love simplicity,

And scorners delight in scorning,

And fools hate knowledge?

Three classes of men are here addressed: the פּתים, the simple, who, being accessible to seduction, are only too susceptible of evil; the לצים, mockers, i.e., free-thinkers (from לוּץ, Arab. luṣ, flectere, torquere, properly qui verbis obliquis utitur); and the כּסילים, fools, i.e., the mentally imbecile and stupid (from כּסל, Arab. kasal, to be thick, coarse, indolent). The address to these passes immediately over into a declaration regarding them; cf. the same enallage, Proverbs 1:27. עד־מתי has the accent Mahpach, on account of the Pasek following; vid., Torath Emeth, p. 26. Intentionally, Wisdom addresses only the פתים, to whom she expects to find soonest access. Between the futt., which express the continuing love and hatred, stands the perf. חמדוּ, which expresses that in which the mockers found pleasure, that which was the object of their love. להם is the so-called dat. ethicus, which reflexively refers to that which is said to be the will and pleasure of the subject; as we say, "I am fond of this and that." The form תּאהבוּ, Abulwald, Parchon, and Kimchi regard as Piel; but תּאהבוּ instead of תּאהבוּ would be a recompensatio of the virtual doubling, defacing the character of the Piel. Schultens regards it as a defectively written Pail (in Syr.), but it is not proved that this conjugation exists in Hebr.; much rather תּאהבוּ is the only possible Kal form with תּאהבוּן without the pause, regularly formed from תּאהבוּ (vid., Ewald, 193, a). The division by the accent Mercha-Mahpach of the two words תאהבו פתי is equal in value to the connecting of them by Makkeph; vid., Baer's Psalterium, p. x. In codd., and also in correct texts, תאהבו is written with the accent Galgal on the first syllable, as the servant of the Mercha-Mahpach. The Gaja is incorrectly here and there placed under the תּ.

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