Proverbs 20:27
The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.—The spirit of man, breathed into him at first by the Creator (Genesis 2:7), and afterwards quickened and illumined by the Divine Spirit, is the “candle of the Lord,” given to man as an inward light and guide.

Searching all the inward parts of the belly.—That is, of the inmost heart of man; testing all his thoughts, feelings, desires, by God’s law, approving some, condemning others, according as they agree with it or not. The word “bellyis equivalent to “heart” or “soul” in Job 15:2; Job 15:15; Job 32:19. (Comp. John 7:38.)

Proverbs 20:27. The spirit of a man — That is, the rational soul; is the candle, &c. — Is a clear and glorious light, set up in man for his information and direction. It is said to be the candle of the Lord, because it comes from God in a more immediate manner than the body, Ecclesiastes 12:7; and because it is in God’s stead, to observe and judge all our actions. Searching all the inward parts of the belly — Discerning not only man’s outward actions, which are visible to others, but his most inward thoughts and affections. The belly is here put for the heart, as it is frequently. The soul can reflect upon, and judge of, its own dispositions and actions; and by the use of the means which God hath appointed, especially the word of God, and prayer for supernatural light, may arrive at a certain knowledge of its state and condition, in reference to God and salvation.20:23. A bargain made by fraud will prove a losing bargain in the end. 24. How can we form plans, and conduct business, independently of the Lord? 25. The evasions men often use with their own consciences show how false and deceitful man is. 26. Justice should crush the wicked, and separate them from the virtuous. 27. The rational soul and conscience are as a lamp within us, which should be used in examining our dispositions and motives with the revealed will of God. 28. Mercy and truth are the glories of God's throne. 29. Both young and old have their advantages; and let neither despise or envy the other.The spirit of man - The "breath" of Genesis 2:7, the higher life, above that which he has in common with lower animals, coming to him direct from God. Such a life, with all its powers of insight, consciousness, reflection, is as a lamp which God has lighted, throwing its rays into the darkest recesses of the heart. A still higher truth is proclaimed in the Prologue of John's Gospel. The candle, or lamp of Yahweh, derives its light from "the Light that lighteth every man," even the Eternal Word. 27. The spirit … Lord—Men's minds are God's gifts, and thus able to search one another (compare Pr 20:5; Pr 18:8, 17; 1Co 2:11). The spirit, i.e. the reasonable soul.

Is the candle; is a clear and glorious light set up in man for his information and direction.

Of the Lord; so called, partly because it comes from God in a more immediate and peculiar manner than the body doth, Ecclesiastes 12:7; and partly because it is in God’s stead to observe and judge all a man’s actions.

Searching all the inward parts of the belly; discerning not only his outward actions, which are visible to others, but his most inward and secret thoughts and affections, which no other man can see, 1 Corinthians 2:11. The belly is here put for the heart, as it is frequently. The soul can reflect upon and judge of its own dispositions and actions; which plainly showeth that the heart is not so deceitful, but that a man by diligent study of it, and the use of the means appointed by God, may arrive at a certain knowledge of its state and condition, in reference to God and to salvation. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,.... The rational soul of man is a light set up in him; this is what is commonly called the light of nature; it was a bright and burning light at first, but through sin is become a very feeble one; by which men have only a glimmering view of divine things, of God and his worship, and of what he would have done, or not done; by this light men do but grope after him, if happily they may find him and know his will; it is but like a candle light at best, in comparison of divine revelation, or the Gospel of the grace of God, which has shone out like the sun in its meridian glory; and especially in comparison of the sun of righteousness, Christ Jesus, and the light of the divine Spirit; yet this is a light set up by the Lord, a candle of his; it comes from the Father of lights, he is the author and maintainer of it; it is a spirit and understanding which is by the inspiration of the Almighty; see Genesis 2:7;

searching all the inward parts of the belly; or heart; the thoughts, intents, and purposes of it; which are the things of a man that only the spirit of man knows; by this candle, or light, he can look into his own heart, the inmost recesses of it, and reflect upon his thoughts and schemes, and judge in some measure whether right or wrong; there is a conscience in man, which, unless seared, passes sentence on what is in man, or done by him, and either excuses or accuses; see 1 Corinthians 2:10, Romans 2:14.

The {i} spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

(i) The word of God gives life to man and causes us to see and try the secret of our dark hearts, He 4:12.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. spirit] Lit. breath (πνοή, LXX.). The word, in this unusual sense, may probably have been chosen to recall Genesis 2:7 : the Lord God … breathed into his nostrils the breath (the same word as here) of life. “The breath of the higher life, above that which he has in common with the lower animals, coming to him direct from God, such a life, with all its powers of insight, consciousness, reflection, is as a lamp which God has lighted, throwing its rays into the darkest recesses of the heart,” Dean Plumptre in Speaker’s Comm.

candle] Rather, lamp, A.V. marg. and R.V.Verse 27. - The spirit of men is the candle (lamp) of the Lord. Neshamah, "spirit," or "breath," is the principle of life breathed into man by God himself (Genesis 2:7), distinguishing man from brutes - the conscious human soul. We may consider it as equivalent to what we Christians call conscience, with its twofold character of receiving light and illumination from God, and sitting as judge and arbiter of actions. It is named "the Lord's lamp," because this moral sense is a direct gift of God, and enables a man to see his real condition. Our Lord (Matthew 6:23) speaks of the light that is in man, and gives a solemn warning against the danger of letting it be darkened by neglect and sin; and St. Paul (1 Corinthians 2:11) argues, "Who among men knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of the man, which is in him?" As Elihu says (Job 32:8), "There is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding." And Aristotle speaks of practical wisdom (φρόνησις) combined with virtue as "the eye of the soul (ὄμμα τῆς ψυχῆς)." Searching all the inward parts of the belly; i.e. the very depths of the soul, probing thoughts, desires, affections, will, and approving or reproving, according as they are in conformity with or opposition to God's Law. We must remember that Eastern houses, before the introduction of glass, had very scanty openings to admit light, and lamps were necessary if for any purpose the interior had to be thoroughly illuminated. Hence the metaphor used above would strike an Oriental more forcibly than it strikes us. Septuagint, "The breath (πνοὴ, as Proverbs 11:13) of man is a light of the Lord, who searches the chambers of the belly." St. Gregory ('Moral.,' 12:64), "We ought to bear in mind that in holy Writ by the title of the 'belly,' or the 'womb,' the mind is used to be understood. For the light of grace, which comes from above, affords a 'breathway' to man unto life, which same light is said to 'search all the inward parts of the belly,' in that it penetrates all the secrets of the heart, that the things which were hidden in the soul touching itself it may bring back before the eyes thereof" (Oxford transl.). 21 An inheritance which in the beginning is obtained in haste,

     Its end will not be blessed.

The partic. מבחל may, after Zechariah 11:8, cf. Syr. bhlaa', nauseans, mean "detested," but that affords here no sense; rather it might be interpreted after the Arab. bajila, to be avaricious, "gotten by avarice, niggardliness," with which, however, neither נחלה, inheritance, nor, since avarice is a chronic disease, בּראשׁונה agrees. On the contrary, the Kerı̂ מבהלת [hastened] perfectly agrees, both linguistically (vid., Proverbs 28:22; cf. Proverbs 13:11) and actually; for, as Hitzig remarks, the words following Proverbs 20:20 fully harmonize with the idea of an inheritance, into the possession of which one is put before it is rightly due to him; for a son such as that, the parents may live too long, and so he violently deprives them of the possession (cf. Proverbs 19:26); but on such a possession there rests no blessing. Since the Piel may mean to hasten, Esther 2:9, so מבהל may mean hastened equals speedy, Esther 8:14, as well as made in haste. All the old interpreters adopt the Kerı̂; the Aram. render it well by מסרהבא, from מסרהב, overturned; and Luther, like Jerome, haereditas ad quam festinatur.

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