Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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.
latter end—(Pr 5:11). In youth prepare for age.
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."
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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