Proverbs 2:13
Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
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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?The evil-doers here include not robbers and murderers only Proverbs 1:10-16, but all who leave the straight path and the open day for crooked ways, perverse counsels, deeds of darkness. "To delight etc." Proverbs 2:14 is the lowest depth of all. 13. paths of uprightness—or, "plainness."

walk—habitually act;

The paths of uprightness; the way of God’s precepts.

Of darkness, i.e. of sin, which is oft called darkness, as Romans 13:12, &c.; Ephesians 5:11, because it comes from darkness, ignorance, and error, and loves darkness and hates light, and leads to utter darkness. Who leave the paths of uprightness,.... Or "righteousness", or the "right and plain ways" (u); which the light of nature and the law of God, and especially the Gospel of Christ, direct to; and in which they have been trained up, having had a religious education; for it supposes them to have been externally in these ways, since they are said to leave them; for though persons do not easily and ordinarily leave the ways they have been brought up in, yet sometimes they do; and there are instances of it, and such generally are the worst of men;

to walk in the ways of darkness: sin, ignorance, and infidelity; in which they that walk know not where they are, nor whither they are a going, and which must be very uncomfortable as well as dangerous; in which only works of darkness are done, and which lead to blackness of darkness, the darkness of hell; a miserable choice, a sad change this! So Schultens renders it, "ways of horrid darkness".

(u) "semitas rectas", Mercerus; "itinera recta", Piscator; "itinera planissima", Schultens.

Who leave the {g} paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;

(g) That is, the word of God, which is the only light, to follow their own fantasies which are darkness.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 13. - Who leave the paths of uprightness. Between vers. 13 and 15 the teacher proceeds to give a more detailed description of those who speak perversely. Who leave (הַעֹזְבִים haoz'vim); literally, forsaking, but the present participle has the force of the preterite, as appears from the context. The men alluded to have already forsaken or deserted the paths of uprightness (see previous note on the word "man." The paths of uprightness (אָרְחות יֹשֶׁר ar'khoth yosher); the same as the "right paths" of ch. 4:11. The strict meaning of the Hebrew word translated "uprightness" is "straightness," and hence it stands opposed to "perverseness" in the previous verse. Uprightness is integrity, rectitude, honest dealing. The LXX. translators represent the forsaking of the paths of uprightness as a consequence resulting from walking in the ways of darkness, "O ye who have left the right ways by departing [τοῦ πορεύεσβαι, equivalent to abeundo] into the ways of darkness." Again, the ways of darkness (דַרְכֵי חשֶׁך, dar'chey kkoshek) are opposed to the "paths of uprightness" which rejoice in the light. Darkness includes the two ideas of

(1) ignorance and error (Isaiah 9:2; Ephesians 5:8), and

(2) evil deeds.

To walk in the ways of darkness, then, is to persist in a course of wilful ignorance, to reject deliberately the light of knowledge, and to work wickedness, by performing "the works of darkness (τὰ ἔργα τοῦ σκύτους)," which St. Paul exhorted the Church at Rome to east away (Romans 13:12), and by having fellowship with "the unfruitful works of darkness (τὰ ἔργα τὰ ἀκάρπα τοῦ σκότους)," against which the same apostle warned the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:11). They are ways of darkness, because they endeavour to hide themselves from God (Isaiah 29:15) and from man (Job 24:15; Job 38:13, 15). In their tendency and end they lead to the blackness of darkness forever. In Scripture darkness is associated with evil, just as light is with uprightness (see John 3:19, 20). The same association of ideas is discoverable in the dualism of the Persian system, as formulated by Zoroaster - Ormuzd, the good principle, presides over the kingdom of light, while Ahriman, the principle of evil, is the ruler of the kingdom of darkness. 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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