He is in the way of life that keeps instruction: but he that refuses reproof errs.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Erreth.—Literally, committeth error. This is probably the true sense, and harmonises better with being “in the way of life,” which occurs just before, than the marginal rendering, “causeth to err.” The word occurs in a similar sense in Jeremiah 42:20 (there translated, “ye have dissembled”).Proverbs 10:17. He is in the way of life — The way which leadeth to life and blessedness; that keepeth instruction — That observeth the wholesome counsels of God and good men: but he that refuseth reproof erreth — Namely, from the way of life, or into the ways of sin, and so of death. Hebrew, מתעה, causeth to err, or seduceth, namely, himself: he knowingly and willingly exposes himself to temptation and wickedness, because he rejects that admonition which is a proper preservative from it.
refuseth—or, "turns from reproof," which might direct him aright.The way of life; which leadeth to life and blessedness. That keepeth instruction; that observeth and obeyeth the wholesome counsels of God, and of good men.
Erreth, to wit, from the way of life, or into the ways of sin, and so of death; Heb. leadeth into error, or seduceth, to wit, himself, as appears by the opposition of this to the former clause; he wittingly and willingly exposeth himself to temptation and wickedness, because he rejecteth that admonition which is a proper preservative from it. Matthew 19:17; and which is a life of glory; a life of perfection, of perfect holiness, knowledge, obedience, love, peace, and joy; a life free from all the inconveniences of the present life, animal or spiritual; a life of pleasure, and which will last for ever: the "way" to it is not by works of righteousness done by men, since by these the law is not fulfilled, nor justice satisfied; and therefore no justification of life by them, or what entitles to eternal life; it is sinful, dangerous, and a vain thing, to seek for eternal life in this way; Christ is the only true way to it; who, by his obedience, sufferings, and death, has opened the new and living way; and through his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, way is made for all that believe in him to enter into eternal life: and such are in the way to it who are in Christ, secretly in election, openly in the effectual calling; when they are made new creatures, are quickened by the Spirit and grace of Christ, and have that principle in them which is a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life; who have a sight of Christ, and come unto him by faith; who truly believe in him, with which eternal life is connected. Particularly he is in the way unto it
that keepeth instruction; the instruction in righteousness which the Scriptures give, especially the Gospel part of them; which is an instruction into the mind and will of God about man's salvation; into the grace of God, as displayed therein; into the person and offices of Christ, and salvation by him; into the doctrines of peace, pardon, righteousness, and life, through him. Now he to whom this instruction comes with power, and is the savour of life unto life; who receives it in the love of it; who "observes" (i) it, as the word here used signifies; takes notice of and follows its direction, pointing out Christ as the way of salvation, instructing to look to him and believe in him, and be saved; and who retains and holds fast such instruction, and abides by it; and finds the word of the Gospel, and eats it, and is nourished by it unto everlasting life; he is most assuredly in the way of it;
but he that refuseth reproof erreth; that is, from the way of life. He that rejects the counsel and advice, the admonitions and reproofs, given in the word of God, by the ministers of it; or by parents and masters, friends or relations, that wish him well; he wanders far off from the way that leads to life, and goes into the paths of sin, and consequently is in the way of death. Some render it, "causeth to err" (k); either others, as Aben Ezra; or both himself and others, as Jarchi: and then it may be understood of him "that forsaketh reproof" (l), as it may be rendered; that is, that declines giving reproof, when it lies in his way, and is his duty to do it. Aben Ezra reads this clause in connection with the former, as said of one and the same person,
"he is in the way of life that keepeth instruction, and forsakes or rejects the reproof of him that causeth to err.''
(i) "observat", Tigurine version; "servat", Cocceius; "observans", Schultens. (k) "faciens errare", Montanus, Gejerus; "seduceus sese", Tigurine version; "errare facit", some in Vatablus; "facit oberrare", Cocceius. (l) "qui relinquit increpationem", Pagninus; "deserens", Montanus, Schultens; "derelinquit", Piscator; "deserit", Cocceius.He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. in the way &c.] Rather (with R.V. marg.),
A way of life is he that heedeth correction:
But he that forsaketh reproof causeth to err.
The one by his example and influence is a way of life to his fellow men; in measure and degree he can say what only the Perfect Example could say fully, “I am the way.” The other on the contrary not only goes himself, but leads others, astray.Verse 17. - He is in the way of life (Proverbs 5:6). It is a way of life when a man keepeth instruction, taketh to heart what is taught by daily providences and the wisdom of experience. Such teachableness leads to happiness here and hereafter. Erreth (Jeremiah 42:20); not "causeth to err," as in the margin, which weakens the antithesis. Septuagint, "Instruction (παιδεία) guardeth the ways of life, but he who is unaffected by instruction goeth astray" (comp. Hebrews 12:7, etc.). Proverbs 10:6 :
A fountain of life is the mouth of the righteous;
But the mouth of the godless hideth violence.
If we understand 11b wholly as 6b: os improborum obteget violentia, then the meaning of 11a would be, that that which the righteous speaks tends to his own welfare (Fl.). But since the words spoken are the means of communication and of intercourse, one has to think of the water as welling up in one, and flowing forth to another; and the meaning of 11b has to accommodate itself to the preceding half proverb, whereby it cannot be mistaken that חמס (violence), which was 6b subj., bears here, by the contrast, the stamp of the obj.; for the possibility of manifold windings and turnings is a characteristic of the Mashal. In the Psalms and Prophets it is God who is called מקור חיּים, Psalm 36:10; Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13; the proverbial poetry plants the figure on ethical ground, and understands by it a living power, from which wholesome effects accrue to its possessor, Proverbs 14:27, and go forth from him to others, Proverbs 13:14. Thus the mouth of the righteous is here called a fountain of life, because that which he speaks, and as he speaks it, is morally strengthening, intellectually elevating, and inwardly quickening in its effect on the hearers; while, on the contrary, the mouth of the godless covereth wrong (violentiam), i.e., conceals with deceitful words the intention, directed not to that which is best, but to the disadvantage and ruin of his neighbours; so that words which in the one case bring to light a ground of life and of love, and make it effectual, in the other case serve for a covering to an immoral, malevolent background.
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