Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hastens with his feet sins.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Also, that the soul be without knowledge is not good.—Ignorance is bad, as well as folly.
He that hasteth with his feet sinneth.—Haste without knowledge misses the mark aimed at. (See above on Proverbs 8:36.)
Proverbs 19:1-2 are missing in the Septuagint.The soul; which is the principal cause and director of all men’s actions.
Without knowledge; without wisdom or prudence to discern his way, and what and how he ought to act in his several cases and concernments.
It is not good; it is very evil and pernicious.
That hasteth with his feet; that rashly and headily rusheth into actions without serious consideration. So two vices are here censured, the want of knowledge, and the neglect or disuse of knowledge in a man’s actions.
"he that knoweth not his soul, it is not good for him;''
that does not know he has a soul, or however takes no more care of it than if he had none; who knows not the worth and value of it, its state and condition, and the danger it is in, and the only way of attaining the salvation of it;
and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth; who engages in anything ignorantly and rashly, he misses the mark, and fails in the performance of it, for want of due consideration and care. The Targum is,
"he that is swift with his feet to evil is a sinner;''
whose feet run to evil, to commit robbery, as Aben Ezra; or to shed blood; see Proverbs 1:16.Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. that the soul be without knowledge] If with R.V. text we retain this rendering, we may well recognise in the rendering of R.V. marg. a true explanation of the proverb:
“Desire without knowledge is not good;
And he that hasteth with his feet misseth his way.”
“The soul,” however fervently and however rightly it desires, needs knowledge to bring its desires to good effect. “Holy desires” must be directed by “good counsels,” if they are to issue in “just works.” And to start hastily on our path, whether material or moral, without such knowledge and counsel, is to miss our way; to wander, or to sin.
sinneth] Lit. misseth the mark. Comp. Jdg 20:16.Verse 2. - Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good. "Also" (gam), Wordsworth would render "even," "even the soul, i.e. life itself, without knowledge is not a blessing;" it is βίπς οὐ βιωτός. At first sight it looks as if some verse, to which this one was appended, had fallen out; but there is no trace in the versions of any such loss. We have had a verse beginning in the same manner (Proverbs 17:26), and here it seems to emphasize what follows - folly is bad, so is ignorance, when the soul lacks knowledge, i.e. when a man does not know what to do, how to act in the circumstances of his life, has in fact no practical wisdom. Other things "not good" are named in Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 20:23; Proverbs 24:23. And he that hasteth with his feet sinneth; misseth his way. Delitzsch confines the meaning of this hemistich to the undisciplined pursuit of knowledge: "He who hasteneth with the legs after it goeth astray," because he is neither intellectually nor morally clear as to his path or object. But the gnome is better taken in a more general sense. The ignorant man, who acts hastily without due deliberation, is sure to make grave mistakes, and to come to misfortune. Haste is opposed to knowledge, because the latter involves prudence and circumspection, while the former blunders on hurriedly, not seeing whither actions lead. We all have occasion to note the proverbs, Festina lente; "More haste, less speed." The history of Fabius, who, as Ennius said,
"Unus homo nobis cunctando restituit rem,"
shows the value of deliberation and caution. The Greeks recognized this -
Προπέτεια πολλοῖς ἐστὶν αἰτία κακῶν.
"Rash haste is cause of evil unto many." Erasmus, in his 'Adagia,' has a long article commenting on Festinatio praepropera. The Arabs say," Patience is the key of joy, but haste is the key of sorrow." God is patient because he is eternal. Proverbs 18:19, the series of proverbs which began with that of the flatterer closes. The catchword אח, which occurred at its commencement, 9b, is repeated at its close, and serves also as a landmark of the group following Proverbs 18:20-24. The proverb of the breach of friendship and of contentions is followed by one of the reaction of the use of the tongue on the man himself.
20 Of the fruit which a man's mouth bringeth is his heart satisfied;
By the revenue of his lips is he filled.
He will taste in rich measure of the consequences not merely of the good (Proverbs 12:14, cf. Proverbs 13:2), but of whatever he has spoken. This is an oxymoron like Matthew 15:11, that not that which goeth into the mouth, but that which cometh out of it, defileth a man. As at John 4:34 the conduct of a man, so here his words are called his βρῶμα. Not merely the conduct (Proverbs 1:31; Isaiah 3:10), but also the words are fruit-bringing; and not only do others taste of the fruit of the words as of the actions of a man, whether they be good or bad, but above all he himself does so, both in this life and in that which is to come.
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