Proverbs 1:3
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) To receive the instruction of wisdom.—To take in, or appropriate, the “discipline” which results in “prudence” (haskēl) or practical wisdom; so David “behaved himself wisely” (1Samuel 18:5).

Equity.—Literally, what is straight, so true, honest.

1:1-6 The lessons here given are plain, and likely to benefit those who feel their own ignorance, and their need to be taught. If young people take heed to their ways, according to Solomon's Proverbs, they will gain knowledge and discretion. Solomon speaks of the most important points of truth, and a greater than Solomon is here. Christ speaks by his word and by his Spirit. Christ is the Word and the Wisdom of God, and he is made to us wisdom.Wisdom - Not the same word as in Proverbs 1:2; better, perhaps, thoughtfulness.

Justice - Rather, righteousness. The word in the Hebrew includes the ideas of truth and beneficence as well as "justice."

Judgment - The teaching of the Proverbs is to lead us to pass a right sentence upon human actions, whether our own or another's.

Equity - In the Hebrew (see the margin) the plural is used, and expresses the many varying forms and phases of the one pervading principle.

3. To receive … of wisdom—For receiving that discipline which discretion imparts. The Hebrew for "wisdom" differs from that of Pr 1:2, and denotes rather discreet counsel. Compare the opposite traits of the fool (Pr 16:22).

justice … equity—all the attributes of one upright in all his relations to God and man.

To receive the instruction; willingly to receive the counsels of others, which is a good step to wisdom, and a part of it.

Of wisdom; such as is wise, and tends to make men wise and prudent. This is opposed to the instruction of fools and folly, of which Proverbs 16:22 19:27. For folly or wickedness hath its school, and multitudes of scholars, that are very apt to learn its lessons.

Justice, and judgment, and equity; which teach men just judgment or equity, to wit, their whole duty, both to God and to others, and to themselves. These three words seem to signify the same thing, and are heaped together to note either the necessity of the precept, or the exactness and diligence which is required in the practice of it.

To receive the instruction of wisdom,.... Or "prudence" (h); of wise and prudent men; and especially of Christ himself, who bears those names, whose instructions this book is full of; and the design of which is to engage the attention of men to them, and prevail upon them to receive them, and act conformably to them. Which instructions respect the following things; and which are added by way of illustration and amplification, viz.

justice, and judgment, and equity; that which is just in itself, and according to the nature of God and his will; and is judged so by right reason; and is equitable between man and man, and agrees with the law of God. These three, R. Levi Ben Gersom says, signify one and the same thing; true righteousness, doing that which is just to God and man; which the doctrines of grace, or the instructions of wisdom, teach men to do; concerning which many rules may be collected from this book.

(h) "prudentiae", Munster, Vatablus.

To receive the {c} instruction of wisdom, {d} justice, and judgment, and equity;

(c) To learn to submit ourselves to the correction of those who are wise.

(d) By living justly and rendering to every man that which belongs to him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the instruction of wisdom] Rather, instruction (or discipline) in wise dealing, R.V. The word is not the same as that rendered wisdom in Proverbs 1:2; Proverbs 1:7.

justice] Rather, righteousness, R.V. as a wider word. The three words, righteousness, judgement, equity, may be simply cumulative and comprehensive; or possibly righteousness may denote the abstract and inclusive principle, as it affects the character; judgement, the same principle in action generally; equity (lit. equities, marg.), the varied application of that principle in different cases.

Verse 3. - To receive the instruction of wisdom. This verse carries on the statement of the design of the Proverbs. To receive; Hebrew, לְקַחַת (lakakhath), not the same word as "to know" (לָדַּעַת), in ver. 2, though regarded as synonymous with it by Delitzsch. Its meaning is well represented by the LXX. δέξασθαι, and the Authorized Version "to receive." The Hebrew, לָקַחַת, is infinitive, and means properly "to take, or lay hold of," hence "to receive," Greek, δέχομαι, No doubt it conveys the idea of intellectual reception (cf. Proverbs 2:1). The instruction of wisdom; Hebrew, מוּסַר הַשְׂכֵּל (musar has'kel); i.e. the discipline or moral training which leads on to reason, intelligence, or wisdom (as Hitzig, Fuerst, Zockler); or discipline full of insight, discernment, or thoughtfulness (as Umbreit, Ewald, Delitzsch). The phrase does not mean the wisdom which instruction imparts. The word musar occurs here in a slightly different sense from its use in ver. 2; there it is objective, here its meaning as a medium for the attainment of wisdom is more distinctly brought out. Wisdom (haskel) is properly "thoughtfulness" (so Umbreit. Ewald, Delitzsch, Plumptre). It is strictly the infinitive absolute of שָׂכַל (sakal), "to entwine or involve," and as a substantive it stands for the thinking through of a subject, so "thoughtfulness." The LXX. renders this sentence, δέξασθαί τε στροφὰς, which St. Jerome understands as "versutias sermonum et solutiones aenigmatum" ("the cunning or craftiness of words and the explication of enigmas"). Justice, and judgment, and equity. These words seem to be the unfolding of the meaning contained in the expression, "the instruction of wisdom." Holden regards the last four words as objective genitives dependent on "instruction," but wrongly. Cornelius a Laplde states that "justice and judgment and equity" indicate the same thing in different aspects. "Justice stands for the thing itself - that which is just; judgment in respect of right reason, which says it is just; and equity in respect of its being agreeable to the Law of God." Justice; Hebrew, צֶדֶק (tsedek), from the root צָדַק (tsadak), "to be right, or straight;" in a moral sense it means "rectitude," "right," as in Isaiah 15:2 (Gesenius). The underlying idea is that of straightness. Heidenheim, quoted by Delitzsch, maintains that in tsedek the conception of the justum prevails; but the latter enlarges its meaning, and holds that it also has the idea of a mode of thought and action regulated, not by the letter of the Law, but by love, as in Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 42:6. Plumptre thinks "righteousness" would be a better translation of the word, on the ground that the Hebrew includes the ideas of truth and beneficence. Compare with this the LXX. δικαιοσύνη. Zockler also renders "righteousness," i.e. "that which is in accord with the will and ordinances of God as Supreme Judge." In the Authorized Version, in Proverbs 2:9, where we have the same collocation of words, tsedek is translated "righteousness;" cf. Proverbs 12:17, "He who utters truth shows forth righteousness (tsedek)." Judgment; Hebrew, מְשְׁפָּט (mish'pat), from the root שָׁפַּט (shapat), "to adjust, judge," corresponds with the Hebrew in meaning; it is the delivery of a correct judgment on human actions. Compare the LXX. κρίμα κατευθύνειν. Equity; i.e. rectitude in thought and action (Delitzsch), or integrity (Zockler). This quality expresses upright demeanour or honoumble action on one's own part individually, while "judgment" has regard both to our own and the actions of others. The Hebrew, mesharim (מֵשָׁרִים), used only in the plural, is from the root יָשַׁר (yashar), "to be straight or even," and is equal to "uprightness." The plural form is reproduced in the marginal reading "equities;" comp. Psalm 17:2, "Let thine eyes beheld the things that are equal (mesharim)." The Vulgate reads aequitas and the Syriae rectitudo. The two ideas in judgment and equity appear to be expressed in the LXX. by the phrase. κρίμα κατευθύνειν. Proverbs 1:3In the following, 2a is expanded in Proverbs 1:3-5, then 2b in Proverbs 1:6. First the immediate object:

3 To attain intelligent instruction,

   Righteousness, and justice, and integrity;

4 To impart to the inexperienced prudence,

   To the young man knowledge and discretion

5 Let the wise man hear and gain learning,

   And the man of understanding take to himself rules of conduct.

With דּעת, denoting the reception into oneself, acquiring, is interchanged (cf. Proverbs 2:1) קחת, its synonym, used of intellectual reception and appropriation, which, contemplated from the point of view of the relation between the teacher and the learner, is the correlative of תּת, παραδιδόναι, tradere (Proverbs 9:9). But מוּסר השׂכּל is that which proceeds from chokma and musar when they are blended together: discipline of wisdom, discipline training to wisdom; i.e., such morality and good conduct as rest not on external inheritance, training, imitation, and custom, but is bound up with the intelligent knowledge of the Why and the Wherefore. השׂכּל, as Proverbs 21:16, is inf. absol. used substantively (cf. השׁקט, keeping quiet, Isaiah 32:17) of שׂכל (whence שׂכל, intellectus), to entwine, involve; for the thinking through a subject is represented as an interweaving, complicating, configuring of the thoughts (the syllogism is in like manner represented as אשׁכּל, Aram. סגול, a bunch of grapes), (with which also סכל, a fool, and חסכּיל, to act foolishly, are connected, from the confusion of the thoughts, the entangling of the conceptions; cf. Arab. 'akl, to understand, and מעקּל). The series of synonyms (cf. Proverbs 23:23) following in 3b, which are not well fitted to be the immediate object to לקחת, present themselves as the unfolding of the contents of the מוּסר השׂכּל, as meaning that namely which is dutiful and right and honest. With the frequently occurring two conceptions צדק וּמשׁפּט (Proverbs 2:9), (or with the order reversed as in Psalm 119:121) is interchanged משׁפּט וּצדקה (or with the order also reversed, Proverbs 21:3). The remark of Heidenheim, that in צדק the conception of the justum, and in צדקה that of the aequum prevails, is suggested by the circumstance that not צדק but צדקה signifies δικαιοσύνη (cf. Proverbs 10:2) in the sense of liberality, and then of almsgiving (ἐλεημοσύνη); but צדק also frequently signifies a way of thought and action which is regulated not by the letter of the law and by talio, but by love (cf. Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 42:6). Tsedek and ts'dakah have almost the relation to one another of integrity and justice which practically brings the former into exercise. משׁפּט (from שׁפט, to make straight, to adjust, cf. שׁבט, Arab. sabita, to be smooth) is the right and the righteousness in which it realizes itself, here subjectively considered, the right mind.

(Note: According to Malbim, משׁפט is the fixed objective right, צדק the righteousness which does not at once decide according to the letter of the law, but always according to the matter and the person.)

משׁרים (defect. for מישׁרים, from ישׁר, to be straight, even) is plur. tantum; for its sing. מישׁר (after the form מיטב) the form מישׁור (in the same ethical sense, e.g., Malachi 2:6) is used: it means thus a way of thought and of conduct that is straight, i.e., according to what is right, true, i.e., without concealment, honest, i.e., true to duty and faithful to one's word.

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