Proverbs 19:20
Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) That thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.—That “though thy beginning might be small, yet that thy latter end should greatly increase” (Job 8:7)

Proverbs 19:20. Hear counsel, &c. — Be willing to be taught and ruled; to be advised and reproved, when thou art young; that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end — Before thy death come. Which he adds, not exclusively, as if a man ought not to be wise before, but emphatically, to show that how foolishly soever he may have spent his former and younger years, it highly and especially concerns him to be wise before it is too late, or before death comes.19:19. The spared and spoiled child is likely to become a man of great wrath. 20. Those that would be wise in their latter end, must be taught and ruled when young. 21. What should we desire, but that all our purposes may agree with God's holy will? 22. It is far better to have a heart to do good, and want ability for it, than to have ability for it, and want a heart to it. 23. Those that live in the fear of God, shall get safety, satisfaction, and true and complete happiness. 24. Indolence, when indulged, so grows upon people, that they have no heart to do the most needful things for themselves. 25. A gentle rebuke goes farthest with a man of understanding. 26. The young man who wastes his father's substance, or makes his aged mother destitute, is hateful, and will come to disgrace.The sense of the last words seems to be that the connection between wrath and punishment is so invariable, that all efforts to save the passionate man from the disastrous consequences which he brings on his own head are made in vain. 20. (Compare Pr 13:18-20).

latter end—(Pr 5:11). In youth prepare for age.

Before thy death come; which he adds not exclusively, as if he ought not to be wish before, but emphatically, to show that how foolishly soever he had spent his former and younger years, it highly concerned him to be wise before it was too late, or before death came. Hear counsel, and receive instruction,.... Of parents, masters, and ministers; especially the counsel and instruction of Wisdom, of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the wonderful Counsellor; and of his Gospel and of the Scriptures, which are able to make a man wise unto salvation;

that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end; in the latter end of life, at death; that then it may appear a man has been so wise as to be concerned for a future state, for the good of his soul in another world; by listening to the counsel and instruction of Christ, in his word; by looking to him, and believing in him, for life and salvation; by leaning and living upon him; and committing the affairs of his soul, and the salvation of it, to him.

Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 20. - (Comp. Proverbs 8:10; Proverbs 12:15.) The Septuagint directs the maxim to children, "Hear, O son, the instruction of thy father." That thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. Wisdom gathered and digested in youth is seen in the prudence and intelligence of manhood and old age. Job 8:7, "Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase." Ecclesiastes 25:6, "O how comely is the wisdom of old men, and understanding and counsel to men of honour! Much experience is the crown of old men, and the fear of God is their glory." "Wer nicht horen will," say the Germans, "muss fuhlen," "He that will not hear must feel." Among Pythagoras's golden words we read -

Βουλεύου δὲ πρὸ ἔργου ὅπως μὴ μῶρα τέληται.

"Before thou doest aught, deliberate,
Lest folly thee befall."
14 House and riches are a paternal inheritance,

     But from Jahve cometh a prudent wife.

House and riches (opulentia), which in themselves do not make men happy, one may receive according to the law of inheritance; but a prudent wife is God's gracious gift, Proverbs 18:22. There is not a more suitable word than משׂכּלת (fem. of משׂכּיל) to characterize a wife as a divine gift, making her husband happy. שׂכל (השׂכּל) is the property which says: "I am named modesty, which wears the crown of all virtues."

(Note: The lxx translates: παρὰ δὲ ἁρμόζεται γυνὴ ἀνδοί. Here as often (vid., my Jesurun) The Arab. usus loquendi makes itself felt in the idiom of the lxx, for shâkl means ἁρμόζειν.)

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