Proverbs 2:2
So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your 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. Then - this sublime preacher in the streets continues - distress shall teach them to pray:

28 Then shall they call on me, and I will not answer;

     They shall early seek after me, and not find me;

29 Because that they hated knowledge,

     And did not choose the fear of Jahve.

30 They have not yielded to my counsel,

     Despised all my reproof:

31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their way,

     And satiate themselves with their own counsels.

In the full emphatic forms, יקראנני, they shall call on me, ישׁחרנני, they shall seek me, and ימצאנני, they shall find me, the suffix ני may be joined to the old plur. ending ûn (Gesenius, Olshausen, Bttcher); but open forms like יברכנהוּ, He will bless him,יכבּדנני, He will honour me (from יכבּדנּי), and the like, rather favour the conclusion that נ is epenthetic (Ew. 250, b).

(Note: In the Codd. יקראנני is written; in this case the Metheg indicates the tone syllable: vid., Torath Emeth, p. 7 note, p. 21 note; and Accentssystem, ii. 1, note. In ישׁחרנני the Rebia is to be placed over the ר. In the Silluk-word ימצאנני it appears undoubtedly that the form is to be spoken as Milel, i.e., with tone on the penult.)

The address here takes the form of a declaration: Stultos nunc indignos censet ulteriori alloquio (Mich.). It is that laughter and scorn, Proverbs 1:26, which here sounds forth from the address of the Judge regarding the incorrigible. שׁחר is denom. of שׁחר, to go out and to seek with the morning twilight, as also בּקּר, Psalm 27:5, perhaps to appear early, and usually (Arab.) bakar (I, II, IV), to rise early, to be zealous (Lane: "He hastened to do or accomplish, or attain the thing needed"). Zckler, with Hitzig, erroneously regards Proverbs 1:29, Proverbs 1:30 as the antecedent to Proverbs 1:31. With ויאכלוּ, "and they shall eat," the futt. announcing judgment are continued from Proverbs 1:28; cf. Deuteronomy 28:46-48. The conclusion after תּהת כּי, "therefore because," or as usually expressed (except here and Deuteronomy 4:37, cf. Genesis 4:25), תּהת אשׁר (ἀνθ ̓ ὧν), is otherwise characterized, Deuteronomy 22:29; 2 Chronicles 21:12; and besides, תהת אשׁר stands after (e.g., 1 Samuel 26:21; 2 Kings 22:17; Jeremiah 29:19) oftener than before the principal clause. בּחר combines in itself the meanings of eligere and diligere (Fl.). The construction of אבה ל (to be inclining towards) follows that of the analogous שׁמע ל (to hear). Each one eats of the fruit of his way - good fruit of good ways (Isaiah 3:10), and evil fruit of evil ways. "The מן, 31b, introduces the object from which, as a whole, that which one eats, and with which he is satisfied, is taken as a part, or the object from which, as from a fountain, satisfaction flows forth" (Fl.). In correct texts, ויאכלוּ has the accent Dech, and at the same time Munach as its servant. Regarding the laws of punctuation, according to which וּממּעצתיהם (with Munach on the tone-syllable, Tarcha on the antepenult, and Metheg before the Chateph-Pathach) is to be written, see Baer's Torath Emeth, p. 11, Accentssystem, iv. 4. Norzi accents the word incorrectly with Rebia Mugrash. With the exception of Proverbs 22:22, the pluralet

(Note: A plur. denoting unity in the circumstances, and a similarity in the relations of time and space.)

מועצות has always the meaning of ungodly counsels.

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