There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Rubies.—See above on Proverbs 3:15.
Lips of knowledge.—See above on Proverbs 18:4.Proverbs 20:15. There is gold, &c. — Namely, in the world, in divers persons’ hands, by whom it is much prized; but the lips of knowledge — Wise speeches, proceeding from a well-informed and upright mind, are a precious jewel — Are of far greater worth, both to him that utters them, and to those that receive and improve them to their own benefit.There is gold, to wit, in the world, in divers men’s hands, by whom it is highly prized.
But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel; but wise speeches proceeding from an understanding or honest heart are of far greater worth and use, both to him that uttereth them, and to those that receive and improve them to their own benefit.
but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel; knowledge even of things natural, and a gift of elocution to express it by, are a rare jewel, and much more precious than gold and rubies, than a multitude of them; these are not to be mentioned with it, it is not equalled by them, it is greatly superior to them; see Job 28:12; and much more spiritual knowledge, and a capacity of expressing that to the edification of others; and especially Christ, the Wisdom of God, and the knowledge of him, who is more precious than rubies, and all desirable things, in comparison of which all things are loss and dung, Proverbs 3:14.There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. rubies] The R.V. retains this word, but refers to Job 28:18, where it gives in the margin, or, red coral, or, pearls. See Proverbs 3:15, note.Verse 15. - There is gold, and a multitude of rubies. For peninim, which is rendered "rubies," "pearls," or "coral," see on Proverbs 3:15. There is gold which is precious, and there is abundance of pearls which are still more valuable. But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel, and worth more than all. We had the expression, "lips of knowledge," in Proverbs 14:7; it means lips that utter wisdom. Keli, often translated "jewel" in the Authorized Version, also boars the meaning of "vessel," "utensil." So here the Vulgate, vas pretiosum; and the wise man's lips are called a vessel because they contain and distribute the wisdom that is within. (On the excellence and value of wisdom, see ch. Proverbs 3:14, etc; Proverbs 8:11, etc.) Connecting this with the preceding verse, we are led to the thought of buying, and the Lord's parable of the merchant seeking goodly pearls, and bartering all his wealth to gain possession of a worthy jewel (Matthew 13:45, etc.).
I am pure from my sins?
It is the same thought that Solomon expresses in his prayer at the consecration of the temple, 1 Kings 8:46 : there is no man who sinneth not. To cleanse his heart (as Psalm 73:13), is equivalent to to empty it, by self-examination and earnest effort after holiness, of all impure motives and inclinations; vid., regarding זכה, to be piercing, shining brightly, cloudlessly pure, Fleischer in Levy's Chald. Wrterbuch, i. 424. The consequence of זכּות is, becoming pure; and the consequence of זכּות לב, i.e., of the purifying of the heart, the being pure from sinful conduct: I have become pure from my sins, i.e., from such as I might fall into by not resisting temptations; the suffix is not understood as actual, but as potential, like Psalm 18:24. No one can boast of this, for man's knowledge of himself and of his sins remains always limited (Jeremiah 17:9.; Psalm 19:13); and sin is so deeply rooted in his nature (Job 14:4; Job 15:14-16), that the remains of a sinful tendency always still conceal themselves in the folds of his heart, sinful thoughts still cross his soul, sinful inclinations still sometimes by their natural force overcome the moral resistance that opposes them, and stains of all kinds still defile even his best actions.
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