Proverbs 2:11
Discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2:10-22 If we are truly wise, we shall be careful to avoid all evil company and evil practices. When wisdom has dominion over us, then it not only fills the head, but enters into the heart, and will preserve, both against corruptions within and temptations without. The ways of sin are ways of darkness, uncomfortable and unsafe: what fools are those who leave the plain, pleasant, lightsome paths of uprightness, to walk in such ways! They take pleasure in sin; both in committing it, and in seeing others commit it. Every wise man will shun such company. True wisdom will also preserve from those who lead to fleshly lusts, which defile the body, that living temple, and war against the soul. These are evils which excite the sorrow of every serious mind, and cause every reflecting parent to look upon his children with anxiety, lest they should be entangled in such fatal snares. Let the sufferings of others be our warnings. Our Lord Jesus deters from sinful pleasures, by the everlasting torments which follow them. It is very rare that any who are caught in this snare of the devil, recover themselves; so much is the heart hardened, and the mind blinded, by the deceitfulness of this sin. Many think that this caution, besides the literal sense, is to be understood as a caution against idolatry, and subjecting the soul to the body, by seeking any forbidden object. The righteous must leave the earth as well as the wicked; but the earth is a very different thing to them. To the wicked it is all the heaven they ever shall have; to the righteous it is the place of preparation for heaven. And is it all one to us, whether we share with the wicked in the miseries of their latter end, or share those everlasting joys that shall crown believers?Another picture of the results of living in the fear of the Lord. Not that to which it leads a man, but that from which it saves him, is brought into view. Notice also that it is one thing for wisdom to find entrance into the soul, another to be welcomed as a "pleasant" guest. 10, 11. Idea of Pr 2:9, amplified; on terms, compare Pr 2:2 and Pr 2:4. From wicked courses, and the mischiefs which attend upon them; as is particularly expressed in the following verses. Discretion shall preserve thee,.... Which wisdom or the Gospel gives, or the Lord by the means of it; for the Gospel makes a man wise and discreet in the business of salvation, and in his conduct and deportment; and the discretion it gives him will put him upon his guard, and direct him to watch against every error, and every false way. And so the words may be rendered, "discretion will watch over thee"; to keep thee from everything pernicious in doctrine and practice. The Septuagint version renders it, "good counsel"; which wisdom gives, and the Gospel is full of; and which, if attended to, is a means of the preservation of the saints;

understanding shall keep thee; which is only the same thing expressed in other words. The Septuagint version renders it, "an holy thought"; and the Arabic version, "a just thought shall preserve thee in thy last times". What these are a means of keeping and preserving from is explained in the following verses.

{f} Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

(f) The word of God will guide you, and teach you how to govern yourself.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. preserve] Rather: watch over, R.V.; φυλάξει, LXX.; custodiet, Vulg.Verse 11. - Discretion shall preserve thee. Discretion (מְזַמָּת m'zimoth), as in Proverbs 1:4, is the outward manifestation of wisdom; it tests what is uncertain, and avoids danger (Hitzig). The word carries with it the idea of reflection or consideration (see Proverbs 3:21; Proverbs 5:2; Proverbs 8:12) The LXX. reads, βουλὴ καλή, "good counsel;" and the Vulgate, concilium. Shall preserve thee. The idea of protection and guarding, which is predicated of Jehovah in ver. 8, is here transferred to discretion and understanding, which to some extent are put forward as personifications. Understanding (תְבוּנָה, t'vunah), as in Proverbs 2:11; the power of distinguishing and separating, and, in the case of conflicting interests, to decide on the best. Shall keep; i.e. keep safe, or in the sense of watching over or guarding. The two verbs "to preserve" (שָׁמַר shamar) and "to keep" (נָצַר, natsar), LXX. τήρειν, occur together again in Proverbs 4:6. Instead of כּי אם there is an old אל תקרי

(Note: Regarding this formula, see Strack's Prolegomena, pp. 66-70.)

(read not so, but thus), כי אם (if thou callest understanding mother), which supposes the phrase כי אם (lxx) as traditional. If אם were intended (according to which the Targ. in the Bibl. rabbinica, but not in Norzi's text, translates), then 3b would correspond; vid., Proverbs 7:4, cf. Job 17:14. Thus: Yea, if thou callest for understanding, i.e., callest her to thee (Proverbs 18:6), invitest her to thee (Proverbs 9:15). The ק of בּקּשׁ is, with the exception of the imper. (e.g., בּקּשׁוּ), always without the Dagesh. Proverbs 2:4 belongs to the ideas in the Book of Job found in these introductory discourses, cf. Job 3:21, as at Proverbs 2:14, Job 3:22 (Ewald, Sprche, p. 49). חפשׂ (חפּשׂ), scrutari, proceeds, as חפס shows, from the primary meaning of a ditch, and is thus in its root-idea related to חפר (to dig, search out). In the principal clause of Proverbs 2:5 the 'יראת ה, as Psalm 19:10, is the fear of Jahve as it ought to be, thus the reverence which is due to Him, the worshipping of Him as revealed. 'ה and אלהים are interchanged as קדשׁים and 'ה at Proverbs 9:10. דּעת is knowledge proceeding from practice and experience, and thus not merely cognition (Kenntnis), but knowledge (Erkenntnis). The thoughts revolve in a circle only apparently. He who strives after wisdom earnestly and really, reaches in this way fellowship with God; for just as He gives wisdom, it is nowhere else than with Him, and it never comes from any other source than from Him. It comes (Proverbs 2:6) מפּיו (lxx erroneously מפּניו ylsuoe), i.e., it is communicated through the medium of His word, Job 22:22, or also (for λὀγος and πνεῦμα lie here undistinguished from one another) it is His breath (Book of Wisdom 7:25: ἀτμὶς τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀπόῤῥοια τῆς τοῦ παντοκράτορος δόξης εἰλικρινής); the inspiration (נשׁמת) of the Almighty (according to Job 32:8) gives men understanding. In Proverbs 2:7, whether וצפן (Chethı̂b) or יצפּן (Kerı̂) is read, the meaning is the same. The former is the expression of the completed fact, as ἡτοίμασεν, 1 Corinthians 2:9, and is rightly preferred by lxx and Syr., for one reluctantly misses the copula (since the thought is new in comparison with Proverbs 2:6). לישׁרם should be written with the accent Dech. The Chokma-word (besides in Proverbs and Job, found only in Micah 6:9 and Isaiah 28:29) תּוּשׁיּה is a Hiphil formation (with the passing over of into , as in תּוּגה) from הושׁה (whence the pr. names יושׁה and יושׁויה) equals (Arab.) wasy and âsy, to re-establish, to advance, Hiph. of ישׁה equals ושׁה, to stand, and thus means furtherance, i.e., the power or the gift to further, and concretely that which furthers and profits, particularly true wisdom and true fortune.

(Note: I was formerly in error in regarding the word as a Hophal formation, and in assigning to it the primary signification of being in a state of realized existence, of reality, in contradistinction to appearance only. The objection of J. D. Michaelis, Supplem. p. 1167, Non placent in linguis ejusmodi etyma metaphysica, etc., does not apply here, since the word is a new one coined by the Chokma, but all the shades of meaning are naturally derived from the fundamental signification "furtherance" (cf. Seneca, Deus stator stabilitorque est). "תושׁיה, from Arab. âsy and wasy, to further by word and deed, to assist by counsel and act, to render help, whence the meanings auxilium, salus, and prudens consilium, sapientia, easily follow; cf. Ali's Arab. proverb, "He furthers thee, who does not trouble himself about thee.")

The derivation from ישׁ (Proverbs 8:21) is to be rejected, because "the formation would be wholly without analogy, so much the more because the י of this word does not represent the place of the ו, as is seen from the Arab. l-ys and the Syr. lyt" (Fl.);

(Note: The Arab. ‛aysa (almost only in the negative la-ysa equals לא ישׁ), of the same signification as ישׁ, with which the Aram. אית (איתי) is associated, presupposes an ‛âsa ( equals ‛âssa), to be founded, to found, and is rightly regarded by the Arabs as an old segolate noun in which the verbal force was comprehended.)

and the derivation of ושׁה equals שׁוה, to be smooth (Hitzig), passes over without any difficulty into another system of roots.

(Note: The Arab. wsy and swy are confounded in common usage (Wetstein, Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xxii. 19), but the roots וש and שו are different; וש and אש, on the contrary, are modifications of one root.)

In the passage under consideration (Proverbs 2:7), תּוּשׁיּה signifies advancement in the sense of true prosperity. The parallel passage 7a clothes itself in the form of an apposition: (He) a shield (מגן, n. instr. of גּנן, to cover) for הלכי תּם, pilgrims of innocence (Fl.), i.e., such as walk in the way (the object-accus., as Proverbs 6:12, for which in Proverbs 10:9 בּ) of innocence. תּם is whole, full submission, moral faultlessness, which chooses God with the whole heart, seeks good without exception: a similar thought is found in Psalm 84:12. לנצר, 8a, is such an inf. of consequence as להקשׁיב (Proverbs 2:2), and here, as there, is continued in the finite. The "paths of justice" are understood with reference to those who enter them and keep in them; parallel, "the way of His saints" (חסיד, he who cherishes חסד, earnest inward love to God), for that is just ארח־צדקה (Proverbs 12:28): they are הלכי צדקות (Isaiah 33:15). Instead of the Mugrash, the conjunctive Tarcha is to be given to ודרך.

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