Proverbs 2:2
So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
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2:1-9 Those who earnestly seek heavenly wisdom, will never complain that they have lost their labour; and the freeness of the gift does not do away the necessity of our diligence, Joh 6:27. Let them seek, and they shall find it; let them ask, and it shall be given them. Observe who are thus favoured. They are the righteous, on whom the image of God is renewed, which consists in righteousness. If we depend upon God, and seek to him for wisdom, he will enable us to keep the paths of judgment.Now in the divine order comes the promise Proverbs 2:5. The conditions of its fulfillment are stated in Proverbs 2:1-4 in four sets of parallel clauses, each with some shade of distinct meaning. Thus, not "receiving" only, but "hiding" or treasuring up - not the "ear" only, but the "heart" - not the mere "cry," but the eager "lifting up the voice." 2. Listen attentively and reflect seriously (Pr 1:24; Ps 130:2).

understanding—right perception of truth.

Give thyself to the study of it with affection and diligence.

So that thou incline thine ear unto Wisdom,.... Hearken to Wisdom, that is, Christ; or rather to the instruction of Wisdom, which is the Gospel; so called, because it is the produce of divine wisdom, what the wisdom of man could never have devised, and which it opposes; and in which there is a most glorious display of the wisdom of God, in the justification and salvation of his people by Christ, 1 Corinthians 2:6; and is worth listening unto with the greatest attention, which is what is designed by this expression;

and apply thine heart to understanding; to a spiritual and experimental understanding of the Gospel, and the truths of it: for an inclination of the ear, without an application of the heart, which signifies the intenseness of the mind, an earnest and hearty desire after knowledge, will signify nothing; a hypocrite may seemingly hear with great attention, and show much affection, and yet his heart be after the world and the things of it, Ezekiel 33:31; see Psalm 119:112.

So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply {b} thine heart to understanding;

(b) If you give yourself to the true knowledge of God without hypocrisy.

2. thine heart] For the wide meaning of this word in Holy Scripture see Delitzsch, Biblical Psychology, Section xii:—“According to thorough investigation and evidence of Scripture in all its parts, the heart is the internal centre of the natural condition of man, in which the threefold life of man blends together.” “It is the centre of the bodily life,” “of the spiritual psychical life” (including “will and desire,” “thought and conception”), and of “the moral life.”

Verse 2. - This verse is dependent on the preceding. So that thou incline. The literal translation is "to incline;" but the inclination of the ear and the application of the heart follow as a consequence upon the precepting ideas (cf. the Vulgate, ut audiat sapientiam auris tua). The root idea of the original (קָשַׁב kashav) is "to sharpen," viz. the ear as expressed, and so to give diligent attention to the precepts of Wisdom. In Proverbs 1:24 it is rendered "to regard." To apply thine heart is to turn the heart with the whole scope of its powers, in the spirit of humility and eagerness, to understanding. As the ear represents the outward vehicle of communication, so the heart (לִב, lev) represents the inward, the intellectual faculty, the mind, or it may mean the affections as suggested by the LXX. καρδία and Vulgate cor. Understanding (תְּבוּנָה, t'vunah) is here interchanged with "wisdom," which must determine its meaning to some extent. The LXX. interpreters take it as σύνεσις, the faculty of comprehension." Like בִינָה (vinah) in Proverbs 1:2, the word describes the faculty of distinguishing or separating: but it does not appear to be here used as representing this "as a faculty of the soul, but as a Divine power which communicates itself as the gift of God" (Delitzsch). A second and perhaps simpler sense may be given to the sentence. It may mean the turning or applying of the heart in an affectionate and loving way, i.e. with full purpose, to the discrimination of what is right and what wrong. The ideas of wisdom and understanding seem to some extent to be brought forward as personifications. They are things outside of ourselves, to which we have to give attention. Religion appeals not only to the affections, but also to the intellect, as this satisfies all the yearnings of our nature. Proverbs 2:2The first אם, with that which it introduces, Proverbs 2:1, Proverbs 2:2, is to be interpreted as an exclamation, "O that!" (O si), and then as an optative, as Psalm 81:9; Psalm 139:19. אז ...כּי, Proverbs 2:3-5, with the inserted connecting clauses, would then be confirmatory, "for then." But since this poet loves to unfold one and the same thought in ever new forms, one has perhaps to begin the conditional premisses with Proverbs 2:1, and to regard כּי אם as a new commencement. Hitzig takes this כי אם in the sense of imo: "much more if thou goest to meet her, e.g., by curious inquiry, not merely permittest her quietly to come to thee." אם would then preserve its conditional meaning; and כּי as in Job 31:18; Psalm 130:4, since it implies an intentional negative, would receive the meaning of imo. But the sentences ranged together with אם are too closely related in meaning to admit such a negative between them. כּי will thus be confirmatory, not mediately, but immediately; it is the "for equals yes" of confirmation of the preceding conditions, and takes them up again (Ewald, 356, b, cf. 330 b) after the form of the conditional clause was given up. The צפן, which in Proverbs 1:11, Proverbs 1:18, is the synonym of צפה, speculari, presents itself here, 1b, 7a, as the synonym of טמן, whence מטמנים, synon. of צפוּנים, recondita; the group of sounds, צף, צם, טם (cf. also דף, in Arab. dafan, whence dafynat, treasure), express shades of the root representation of pressing together. The inf. of the conclusion להקשׁיב, to incline (Gr. Venet. ὡς ἀκροῷτο), is followed by the accus. of the object אזנך, thine ear, for הקשׁיב properly means to stiffen (not to purge, as Schultens, nor to sharpen, as Gesenius thinks); cf. under Psalm 10:17. With חכמה are interchanged בּינה, which properly means that which is distinguished or separated, and תּבוּנה, which means the distinguishing, separating, appellations of the capacity of distinguishing in definite cases and in general; but it does not represent this as a faculty of the soul, but as a divine power which communicates itself as the gift of God (charisma).
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