Proverbs 13:15
Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard.
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(15) Good understanding giveth favour.—Comp. the union of “wisdom” and “favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

The way of transgressors is hard.—Rough and barren as the valley described in Deuteronomy 21:4, in contrast to the green “pastures” and “waters of comfort” of Psalm 23:2.

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.”13:14. The rule by which the wise regulate their conduct, is a fountain yielding life and happiness. 15. The way of sinners is hard upon others, and hard to the sinner himself. The service of sin is slavery; the road to hell is strewed with the thorns and thistles that followed the curse. 16. It is folly to talk of things of which we know nothing, and to undertake what we are no way fit for. 17. Those that are wicked, and false to Christ and to the souls of men, do mischief, and fall into mischief; but those that are faithful, find sound words healing to others and to themselves. 18. He that scorns to be taught, will certainly be brought down. 19. There are in man strong desires after happiness; but never let those expect any thing truly sweet to their souls, who will not be persuaded to leave their sins. 20. Multitudes are brought to ruin by bad company. And all that make themselves wicked will be destroyed. 21. When God pursues sinners he is sure to overtake them; and he will reward the righteous. 22. The servant of God who is not anxious about riches, takes the best method of providing for his children. 23. The poor, yet industrious, thrive, though in a homely manner, while those who have great riches are often brought to poverty for want of judgment. 24. He acts as if he hated his child, who, by false indulgence, permits sinful habits to gather strength, which will bring sorrow here, and misery hereafter. 25. It is the misery of the wicked, that even their sensual appetites are always craving. The righteous feeds on the word and ordinances, to the satisfying of his soul with the promises of the gospel, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Bread of life.Hard - The primary meaning of the original word is permanence (compare 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. 15. Right perception and action secure good will, while evil ways are difficult as a stony road. The wicked left of God find punishment of sin in sinning.

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. Good understanding giveth favour,.... A good understanding in things natural and civil gives favour among men; and so a good understanding in divine and spiritual things gives a man favour among religious people, makes him taken notice of by them, and acceptable to them: and such an understanding no man has, unless it be given him; and such appear to have one that do the commandments of God, 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.

(o) "gratiam", Pagninus, Montanus. Vatablus. Mercerus. Drusius, Michaelis, Schultens. (p) "Successum bonum dat gratia", Junius & Tremellius.

Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
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." The three following proverbs in 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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