Proverbs 1:6
To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
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(6) Interpretation.—Or an obscure thing which needs interpretation, so corresponding to “dark sayings.”

Dark sayings.—Literally knots, intricate sayings, like Samson’s riddle (Judges 14:12).

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.The book has yet a further scope; these proverbs are to form a habit of mind. To gain through them the power of entering into the deeper meaning of other proverbs, is the end kept in view. Compare Matthew 13.

The rendering "interpretation" spoils the parallelism of the two clauses, and fails to express the Hebrew. In Habakkuk 2:6, it is rendered "taunting proverb." Here "riddle" or "enigma" would better express the meaning.

6. To understand—so as to … such will be the result.

interpretation—(Compare Margin).

words of the wise—(Compare Pr 1:2).

dark sayings—(Compare Ps 49:4; Joh 16:25; and see [639]Introduction, Part I).

The interpretation, i.e. the interpretation of a proverb, by a figure called hendiaduo, or the meaning and use of the wise sayings of God, or of men; to know this practically, and for his direction and benefit; for practice is the great design of this book. Dark savings; such as are hard to be understood by inconsiderate and ungodly men, but to be found out by diligent and humble inquiry. To understand a proverb, and the interpretation,.... This may be connected either with the first verse, "the proverbs of Solomon", &c. are written, as for the above ends and purposes, so for these; or with Proverbs 1:5, a wise and understanding man, by hearkening and attending to what is here delivered, will not only attain to wise counsels, but to the understanding of proverbial sayings, and to see into the "elegancy" (m), the eloquence and beauty of them, as the word signifies; and be able to interpret them to others in a clear, plain, way and manner;

the words of the wise, and their dark sayings; the words and doctrines, not of the wise philosophers and sages of the Heathen world, but of men truly wise and good; and especially of the wise inspired writers of the Scriptures, whose words come from one Shepherd, Ecclesiastes 12:11; and the enigmas or riddles contained in their writings, which are so to a natural man, obscure phrases and expressions, things hard and difficult to be understood, yet to a spiritual man, that judgeth all things, plain and easy, 1 Corinthians 2:14.

(m) "facundiam", Montanus; "eloquentiam", Tigurine version; "elocutionem", Mercerus, Gejerus.

To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
6. This verse intimates that the aim of the Book is to confer an initiation which will make its possessor free of all the mysteries of the Wise. By understanding these proverbs he will acquire the power of understanding all proverbs. (See Mark 4:13, and Speaker’s Comm. on this verse.)

interpretation] So R.V. marg., and Vulg. interpretationem. So too Gesenius, “properly, interpretation, and so what needs an interpretation, an enigma.” But it is better to render, a figure, R.V. text. σκοτεινὸν λόγον, LXX. aculeate dicta, Maur. Comp. Habakkuk 2:6, the only other place where the Heb. word occurs.

the wise] Lit. wise men. There is no article. But perhaps the reference is to a recognised class of what we should call philosophers. See Introd. ch. i. p. 9. Comp. Proverbs 22:17, Proverbs 24:23.

dark sayings] Or, riddles, R.V. marg. The word is rendered riddle both by A.V. and R.V. in Ezekiel 17:2. The LXX. has αἰνίγματα in Proverbs and διήγημα in Ezekiel. The Vulg. has œnigma in both places.Verse 6. - To understand a proverb. This verse carries on the idea which is stated in ver. 5. The end of the wise and intelligent man's increase in learning and prudence is that he may be thus enabled to understand other proverbs. Schultens, followed by Holden, takes the verb לְהָבִין (l'havin) as a gerund, intelligendo sententias. This rendering does not represent the end, but points to the proverbs, etc., as means by which the wise generally attain to learning and prudence. And the interpretation; Hebrew, מְלִיצָה (m'litsah). It is difficult to determine the exact meaning of this word. By Gesenius it is rendered "enigma, riddle;" by Bertheau and Hitzig, "discourse requiring interpretation:" by Delitzsch, "symbol; by Havernick and Keil, "brilliant and pleasing discourse;" and by Fuerst, "figurative and involved discourse." By comparing it with the corresponding words, "dark sayings," it may be regarded as designating that which is obscure and involved in meaning; compare σκοτεινὸς λόγος (LXX.). It only occurs here and in Habakkuk 2:6, where it is rendered "taunting proverb." The marginal reading is "an eloquent speech," equivalent to facundia, "eloquence." Vatablus says that the Hebrews understood it as "mensuram et pondus verbi." The words of the wise; i.e. the utterances of the khakhamim (חֲכָמִים). This expression occurs again in Proverbs 22:17, and also in Ecclesiastes 9:19 and Ecclesiastes 12:11. In the latter they are described as "goads and as nails fastened by the ministers of assemblies" (i.e. "authors of compilations," as Mendelssohn), because they cannot fail to make an impression on everybody good or bad. The expression, as used in Proverbs 22:17, implies that other than Solomonic proverbs are included in this collection. And their dark sayings; Hebrew, וְחִידֹתָם (v'khidotham). The Hebrew khidah (חִידָה), as m'litsah (מְלִיצָה)# its parallel in the preceding hemistich, designates obscure, involved utterances. It plainly has the sense of "enigma" (Fleischer, apud Delitzsch). Compare αἰνίγματα (LXX.), and aenigmata (Vulgate), which latter is followed by the Chaldea Paraphrase and Syriac (see also Psalm 78:2, "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter dark sayings of old"). Gesenius derives it from the root חוּד (khud), "to tie knots," and hence arrives at its meaning as an involved or twisted sententious expression, an enigma. The call to praise has thus far been addressed to persons not mentioned by name, but, as the names of instruments thus heaped up show, to Israel especially. It is now generalized to "the totality of breath," i.e., all the beings who are endowed by God with the breath of lie (Heb.: נשׁמת חיּים), i.e., to all mankind.

With this full-toned Finale the Psalter closes. Having risen as it were by five steps, in this closing Psalm it hovers over the blissful summit of the end, where, as Gregory of Nyssa says, all creatures, after the disunion and disorder caused by sin have been removed, are harmoniously united for one choral dance (εἰς μίαν χοροστασίαν), and the chorus of mankind concerting with the angel chorus are become one cymbal of divine praise, and the final song of victory shall salute God, the triumphant Conqueror (τῷ τροπαιούχῳ), with shouts of joy. There is now no need for any special closing beracha. This whole closing Psalm is such. Nor is there any need even of an Amen (Psalm 106:48, cf. 1 Chronicles 16:36). The Hallelujah includes it within itself and exceeds it.

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