Proverbs 1:5
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain to wise counsels:
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(5) A wise man will hear.—That is, if he listen to these proverbs. (Comp. Proverbs 9:9.) It is not the young only who will derive profit from them.

A man of understanding.—Or rather, of discernment.

Wise counsels.—Literally, arts of seamanship: i.e., guiding himself and others aright through the “waves of this troublesome world.”

Proverbs 1:5-6. A wise man will hear — Is not self-conceited, as fools are, but willing to learn from others, and, therefore, will attend to the following instructions; and will increase learning — Thereby he will gain this great benefit, he will increase in knowledge and wisdom. This he adds, to show that this book is useful and necessary, not only to the ignorant, but also to the most wise and knowing persons; and shall attain unto wise counsels — Not to deep speculations, but practical knowledge and wisdom, the art of governing himself, or others, well and prudently. To understand a proverb, &c. — That is, the interpretation of a proverb, or the meaning and use of the wise sayings of God or men: to know this practically, and for his direction and benefit; for practice is the great design of this book. The words of the wise, and their dark sayings — Such as are hard to be understood by inconsiderate and carnal men; but may be found out by diligent and humble inquiry, and prayer for divine teaching.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.But it is not for the young only that he writes. The "man of understanding" may gain "wise counsels," literally, the power to "steer" his course rightly on the dangerous seas of life. This "steersmanship," it may be noted, is a word almost unique to Proverbs (compare "counsel" in Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:5; Proverbs 24:6). 5, 6. Such writings the wise, who pursue right ends by right means, will value.

learning—not the act, but matter of it.

wise counsels—or the art and principles of governing.

Will hear; is not self-conceited, as fools are, but willing to learn from others; and therefore will attend to the following instructions.

Will increase learning; and thereby will gain this great benefit, to grow in knowledge and wisdom. This he adds to show that this book is useful and necessary, not only to the simple, but also to the moist wise and knowing persons.

Unto wise counsels; not to deep speculations, but practical consideration; to the art of governing himself or others well and prudently. A wise man will hear,.... With great attention, and hearken to the proverbs and wise sayings herein delivered; for here are many things entertaining to men of years and wisdom, as well as instructive to young men and simple ones;

and will increase learning; or "add" (k) to his stock of learning; or, as the Targum,

"will add knowledge;''

see 2 Peter 1:5; or, "will be wiser", as the Vulgate Latin version. This is said to show the excellency of this book, and the extensive usefulness of it; indeed wise men will get knowledge where fools cannot, and increase learning where others can get none: there are few books but a wise man will get something out of; and especially such a book as this, and as the Scriptures are;

and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels; a man of a spiritual understanding arrives to the knowledge of the wise counsels of God; the doctrines of the Gospel, which are the "whole counsel" of God; are recondite wisdom, the hidden wisdom of God, which no wisdom of man is comparable to. It is the wisest scheme that was ever formed, and which the wit of man could never have devised, even salvation by Jesus Christ; and which was laid in God's "counsels of old", which are "faithfulness" and "truth"; the knowledge of which is attained unto by one that is spiritually wise. Moreover, a man that thoroughly understands the things contained in this book is fit to be a counsellor of others in things human and divine; in things moral, civil, and spiritual: he is fit to be in the cabinet council of princes, to be a counsellor of kings; yea, to have the reins of government in his hands. "He shall possess government"; so the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions: or, "he shall possess the helm" (l); sit as a pilot there, as the word may signify, and steer the ship aright in which he is; whether it be his family, or the church of God, or a city or corporation, or a kingdom: this book, rightly understood by him, will furnish him with rules to do all things well and wisely.

(k) "addet", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (l) "gubernacula possidebit", V. L. "metaphora a nauclero desumpta", Schultens.

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of {f} understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

(f) As he shows that these parables containing the effect of religion concerning manners and doctrine, belong to the simple people: so he declares that the same is also necessary for them who are wise and learned.

5. A wise man will hear] Or, That the wise man may hear, R.V., making the clause a continuation of the direct statement of the design of the Book.

learning] Lit. taking, and so that which is taken, or learned. He will increase his store. σοφὸς σοφώτερος ἔσται, LXX. sapiens sapientior erit, Vulg.

wise counsels] Or, sound counsels, R.V. The figure of steering a ship, involved in the Heb. word for counsels, is preserved in the rendering both of the LXX. (κυβέρνησιν κτήσεται. Comp. κυβερνήσεις, 1 Corinthians 12:28), and of the Vulg. gubernacula. “Skill and facility in the management of life. Comp. Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:5; Job 37:12.” Lange, Comm. ad loc.Verse 5. - A wise man will hear, and will increase learning. The change of construction in the original is reproduced in the Authorized Version, but has been rendered variously. Thus Umbreit and Elster, regarding the verb יִשְׁמַע (yish'ma) as conditional, translate, "if the wise man hear;" on the other hand, Delitzsch and Zockler take it as voluntative," let the wise man hear," ete. The principle here enunciated is again stated in Proverbs 9:9, "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser," and finds expression under the gospel economy in the words of our Lord, "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance" (Matthew 13:12; cf. 25:29; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18 and Mark 14:26). Learning; Hebrew, לֶקַח (lekakh), in the sense of being transmitted or received (Gesenius, Delitzsch, Dunn). A man of understanding (LXX., ὁ νοήμων; Vulgate, intelligens) is a person of intelligence who lays himself open to be instructed. Wise counsels; Hebrew, תַּחְבֻּלות (takh'buloth). This word is derived from חֹבֶל (khevel), a ship rope, a denominative of חֹבֵל (khovel), and only occurs in the plural. It signifies those maxims of prudence by which a man may direct his course aright through life (cf. regimen, Arabic). The imagery is taken from the management of a vessel, and is reproduced in the LXX. κυβέρνησις, and the Vulgate gubernatio. "Navigationi vitam comparat" (Mariana). The word is almost exclusively confined to the Proverbs, and occurs in Proverbs 11:14; Proverbs 12:5; Proverbs 20:18; and Proverbs 24:6, usually in a good sense, though it has the meaning of "stratagem" in Proverbs 12:5. In the only other passage where it is found it is used of God's power in turning about the clouds; cf. Job 37:12, "And it [i.e. the bright cloud] is turned round about by his counsels (בְּתַחְבּוּל תָוּ, b'thakh'bulothau)." It is the practical correlative of "learning," in the first part of the verse. The Synagogue reckons up thirteen divine attributes according to ex. Psa 34:6. (שׁלשׁ עשׂרה מדּות), to which, according to an observation of Kimchi, correspond the thirteen הלּל of this Psalm. It is, however, more probable that in the mind of the poet the tenfold halaluw encompassed by Hallelujah's is significative; for ten is the number of rounding off, completeness, exclusiveness, and of the extreme of exhaustibleness. The local definitions in Psalm 150:1 are related attributively to God, and designate that which is heavenly, belonging to the other world, as an object of praise. קדשוּ (the possible local meaning of which is proved by the קדשׁ and קדשׁ קדשׁים of the Tabernacle and of the Temple) is in this passage the heavenly היכל; and רקיע עזּו is the firmament spread out by God's omnipotence and testifying of God's omnipotence (Psalm 68:35), not according to its front side, which is turned towards the earth, but according to the reverse or inner side, which is turned towards the celestial world, and which marks it off from the earthly world. The third and fourth hălalu give as the object of the praise that which is at the same time the ground of the praise: the tokens of His גּבוּרה, i.e., of His all-subduing strength, and the plenitude of His greatness (גּדלו equals גּדלו), i.e., His absolute, infinite greatness. The fifth and sixth hălalu bring into the concert in praise of God the ram's horn, שׁופר, the name of which came to be improperly used as the name also of the metallic חצצרה (vid., on Psalm 81:4), and the two kinds of stringed instruments (vid., Psalm 33:2), viz., the nabla (i.e., the harp and lyre) and the kinnor (the cithern), the ψαλτήριον and the κιθάρα (κινύρα). The seventh hălalu invites to the festive dance, of which the chief instrumental accompaniment is the תּף (Arabic duff, Spanish adufe, derived from the Moorish) or tambourine. The eighth hălalu brings on the stringed instruments in their widest compass, מנּים (cf. Psalm 45:9) from מן, Syriac menı̂n, and the shepherd's pipe, עגב (with the Gimel raphe equals עוּגב); and the ninth and tenth, the two kinds of castanets (צלצלי, construct form of צלצלים, singular צלצל), viz., the smaller clear-sounding, and the larger deeper-toned, more noisy kinds (cf. κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον, 1 Corinthians 13:1), as צלצלי שׁמע (pausal form of שׁמע equals שׁמע, like סתר in Deuteronomy 27:15, and frequently, from סתר equals סתר) and צלצלי תרוּעה are, with Schlultens, Pfeifer, Burk, Kster, and others, to be distinguished.
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