Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Good understanding giveth favour.—Comp. the union of “wisdom” and “favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).Proverbs 13:15. Good understanding — Discovering itself by a man’s holy and righteous practices; giveth favour — Maketh a man acceptable both to God and men; but the way of transgressors — Their conduct, or manner of conversation — is hard; Hebrew, איתן, rough, as this very word is rendered Deuteronomy 21:4; it is offensive to God and men, as rough ways are to travellers; fierce, intractable, and incorrigible. Bishop Patrick interprets the verse thus: “If a man have understanding enough to be thoroughly good, he will find things favourable to his honest desires; but they that take evil courses meet with great difficulties, and are forced to go backward and forward, and wind and turn every way, to bring about their ends, or save themselves perhaps from ruin.”Deuteronomy 21:4; Micah 6:2). This may be applied as here to the hard dry rock, to running streams, or to stagnant pools. In either case, the idea is that of the barren dry soil, or the impassable marsh, in contrast with the fountain of life, carrying joy and refreshment with it.
hard—or, "harsh" (compare Hebrew: De 21:4; Jer 5:15).Good understanding; discovering itself by a man’s holy and righteous practices and ways, as appears from the opposition of
the way of transgressors to it; and as words of understanding in this and other books of Scripture commonly include practice.
Giveth favour; maketh a man acceptable both to God and men.
The way; the carriage or manner of conversation.
Is hard; or, rough, as this very word is used, Deu 21:4; offensive and hateful to God and men, as rough ways are to a traveller; fierce, and intractable, and incorrigible. Psalm 111:10. The Israelites, for having and keeping the statutes of the Lord, were accounted by others a wise and an understanding people; and Christ, as man, when he increased in wisdom, grew in favour with God and men. It may be rendered, "good doctrine", as the Vulgate Latin version, or "right doctrine", as the Arabic version, "gives grace" (o); is the means of conveying grace into the hearts of men, and of increasing it. What if it should be rendered, "grace gives a good understanding" (p)? since it is certain, that an understanding to know God and Christ is a gift of grace, 1 John 5:20;
but the way of transgressors is hard; ungrateful and unpleasant to themselves and others; it is a rough and rugged way, in which they stumble and fall; and cannot walk with pleasure themselves, when their consciences are awakened, and they are loaded with guilt, and filled with terror; and must be very disagreeable to those who have seen the evil of them.Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. transgressors] Rather, the treacherous, R.V.
hard] rugged, R.V., i.e. harsh and forbidding, like a desert or rocky place (Deuteronomy 21:4) in contrast to the “favour” which “good understanding” “giveth,” or “getteth.” The LXX. render, is in destruction.Verse 15. - Good understanding giveth favour (Proverbs 3:4); makes one acceptable to God and man. We are told of Christ that "he increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man" (Luke 2:52). As a good and wise man uses his gifts and graces properly, he wins higher favour from God, and kindles the love and respect of his fellow men. Alter this clause the Septuagint introduces that which occurs also in Proverbs 9:10, "It belongs to a good understanding (διανοίας) to know the Law." The way of transgressors is hard; rough and rugged, leading to desolation, not to waters of comfort. Ecclus. 21:10, "The way of sinners is made plain with stones, but at the end thereof is the pit of hell." Vulgate, "In the way of scorners is an abyss;" Septuagint, "The ways of scorners end in destruction." Proverbs 13:9-11 have at least this in common, that the two concluding words of each correspond with one another almost rhythmically.
9 The light of the righteous burneth joyously,
And the lamp of the godless goeth out.
The second line equals Proverbs 24:20, cf. Proverbs 20:20. In the Book of Job 18:5., אור רשׁעים ידעך and נרו עליו ידעך (cf. Proverbs 21:17) stand together, and there is spoken of (Proverbs 29:3) a divine נר as well as a divine אור which enlightens the righteous; however, one must say that the poet, as he, Proverbs 6:3, deliberately calls the Tor אור, and the commandment, as derived from it and separated, נר, so also here designedly calls the righteous אור, viz., אור היום (Proverbs 4:18, cf. 2 Peter 1:19), and the godless נר, viz., נר דלוק - the former imparts the sunny daylight, the latter the light of tapers set in darkness. The authentic punctuation is אור־צדיקים, Ben-Naphtali's is 'אור צ' si s'i without Makkeph. To ישׂמח Hitzig compares the "laughing tongue of the taper" of Meidni, iii. 475; Kimchi also the "laughing, i.e., amply measured span, טפח שׂוהק," of the Talmud; for the light laughs when it brightly shines, and increases rather than decreases; in Arab. samuḥa has in it the idea of joy directly related to that of liberality. The lxx translates ישׂמח incorrectly by διαπαντός, and has a distich following Proverbs 13:9, the first line of which is ψυχαὶ δόλιαι (נפשׁ רמיּה?) πλανῶνται ἐν ἁμαρτίαις, and the second line is from Psalm 37:21.
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