The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keeps his way preserves his soul.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The highway of the upright is to depart from evil.—This is the plain way of duty, which lies right before him, which cannot be mistaken, whatever other difficulties he may have. (See above on Proverbs 6:23.)
He that keepeth his way.—That looks well to it.
keepeth—observes.The highway of the upright, their common road, in which they constantly purpose, and desire, and customarily use to walk, although sometimes through frailty or temptation they slip into the by-paths of sin, is to depart from evil; from the evil of sin, and consequently from the evil of punishment.
He that keepeth his way, that takes heed to walk in that highway, preserveth his soul from that mischief which befalls those that walk in the crooked paths of wickedness.
he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul, that keeps on in his way, the way in which the upright walk; whose eyes look right on, and his eyelids straight before him; who ponders the path of his feet, and turns neither to the right hand nor the left; who walks circumspectly and carefully; observes the road he is in, to keep in it, and not go out of it; such a man preserves his soul from many snares and temptations, troubles, dangers, and evils, which he would be otherwise liable to. Here the Masorites put the word signifying that this is the half or middle of the book.The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. The LXX. gives a fuller text here:
“The paths of life depart from evil,
And ways of righteousness are length of life.
He that receiveth instruction shall prosper,
And he that taketh heed to reproofs shall be made wise.
He that taketh heed to his ways keepeth his soul,
And he that loveth his life will be sparing of words.”Verse 17. - The highway of the upright is to depart from evil. To avoid the dangerous byways to which evil leads, one must walk straight in the path of duty (comp. Proverbs 15:19). Septuagint, "The paths of life decline from evil;" and this version adds some paragraphs in illustration, which are not in the Hebrew: "And the ways of righteousness are length of life. He who receiveth instruction will be among the good [or, 'in prosperity,' ἐν ἀγαθοῖς], and he who observeth reproof shall become wise." He that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. He who continues in the right way, and looks carefully to his goings, will save himself from ruin and death (Proverbs 13:3). Septuagint, "He who watcheth his own ways keepeth his life." And then is added another maxim, "He that loveth his life will spare his mouth."
His work are the weights of the bag.
Regarding פּלס, statera, a level or steelyard (from פּלס, to make even), vid., Proverbs 4:26; מאזנים (from אזן, to weigh), libra, is another form of the balance: the shop-balance furnished with two scales. אבני are here the stones that serve for weights, and כּים, which at Proverbs 1:14 properly means the money-bag, money-purse (cf. Proverbs 7:20), is here, as at Micah 6:11, the bag in which the merchant carries the weights. The genit. משׁפּט belongs also to פּלס, which, in our edition, is pointed with the disjunctive Mehuppach legarme, is rightly accented in Cod. 1294 (vid., Torath Emeth, p. 50) with the conjunctive Mehuppach. משׁפט, as 11b shows, is not like מרמה, the word with the principal tone; 11a says that the balance thus, or thus constructed, which weighs accurately and justly, is Jahve's, or His arrangement, and the object of His inspection, and 11b, that all the weight-stones of the bag, and generally the means of weighing and measuring, rest upon divine ordinance, that in the transaction and conduct of men honesty and certainty might rule. This is the declared will of God, the lawgiver; for among the few direct determinations of His law with reference to trade this stands prominent, that just weights and just measures shall be used, Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16. The expression of the poet here frames itself after this law; yet 'ה is not exclusively the God of positive revelation, but, as agriculture in Isaiah 28:29, cf. Sirach 7:15, so here the invention of normative and normal means of commercial intercourse is referred to the direction and institution of God.
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