Proverbs 24:13
My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Proverbs 24:13-14. My son, eat thou honey — This is not a command, but a concession, and is here expressed only to illustrate the following verse. Do not slight, much less nauseate, such precepts as these; but, as honey is most acceptable to thy palate, especially that pure part of it which drops of itself immediately from the honey-comb, so let that knowledge be to thy mind, which tends to make thee wise and virtuous. Then there shall be a reward — As nothing is more necessary for thee, nothing more delightful; so, if it be seriously studied, and thoroughly digested, it will abundantly reward thy pains, even in the present world, but more especially in the next. It is well known, says Bishop Patrick, in how high esteem honey was among the ancients, for food, for drink, for medicine, for preserving of dead bodies, and particularly for infants. Isaiah 7:15. All this is here fitly applied to wisdom, from which the mind derives the greatest satisfaction, and which therefore ought to be our daily diet, our sweetest refreshment.

24:1,2 Envy not sinners. And let not a desire ever come into thy mind, Oh that I could shake off restraints! 3-6. Piety and prudence in outward affairs, both go together to complete a wise man. By knowledge the soul is filled with the graces and comforts of the spirit, those precious and pleasant riches. The spirit is strengthened for the spiritual work and the spiritual warfare, by true wisdom. 7-9. A weak man thinks wisdom is too high for him, therefore he will take no pains for it. It is bad to do evil, but worse to devise it. Even the first risings of sin in the heart are sin, and must be repented of. Those that strive to make others hateful, make themselves so. 10. Under troubles we are apt to despair of relief. But be of good courage, and God shall strengthen thy heart. 11,12. If a man know that his neighbour is in danger by any unjust proceeding, he is bound to do all in his power to deliver him. And what is it to suffer immortal souls to perish, when our persuasions and example may be the means of preventing it? 13,14. We are quickened to the study of wisdom by considering both the pleasure and the profit of it. All men relish things that are sweet to the palate; but many have no relish for the things that are sweet to the purified soul, and that make us wise unto salvation. 15,16. The sincere soul falls as a traveller may do, by stumbling at some stone in his path; but gets up, and goes on his way with more care and speed. This is rather to be understood of falls into affliction, than falls into actual sin.Honey entered largely into the diet of Hebrew children Isaiah 7:15, so that it was as natural an emblem for the purest and simplest wisdom, as the "sincere milk of the word" was to the New Testament writers. The learner hears what seems to be a rule of diet - then Proverbs 24:14 the parable is explained. 13, 14. As delicious food whets the appetite, so should the rewards of wisdom excite us to seek it. This is not a command, but a concession, and is here expressed only to illustrate the following verse. Honey in those parts was excellent, and a usual and an acceptable food. See Deu 8:8 Judges 14:18 1 Samuel 14:25.

My son, eat thou honey, because it is good,.... It is good for food; there was plenty of it in Palestine, and it was eaten for food, not only by children, but grown persons; and was very nourishing, strengthening, and refreshing to them, as Samson, Jonathan, John the Baptist, and others; and is good for medicine, is healthful and salutary, and useful in many diseases: it is said (m) to conduce much to prolong life and preserve from diseases; it has been observed that those who have much used it have lived to a great age;

and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste; because it is so, as all honey is, and especially that which is immediately squeezed or drops from the honeycomb; this is said not so much on account of honey, and the eating of that, as for what follows concerning the knowledge of wisdom, which is comparable to it for pleasure and profit; see Proverbs 16:24 (n).

(m) Athenaei Deipnosophist. l. 2. c. 7. p. 46, 47. so Pierius Valerian. apud Steeb. Coelum Sephirot Heb. c. 7. s. 5. p. 132. (n) Vid. Maimon. Moreh Nevochim, par. 1. c. 30. p. 37.

My son, eat thou {d} honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:

(d) As honey is sweet and pleasant to the taste, so wisdom is to the soul.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 13, 14. - An exhortation to the study of wisdom, with an analogy. Verse 13. - Eat thou honey, because it is good. Honey entered largely into the diet of the Oriental, and was regarded not only as pleasant to the taste and nutritious, but also as possessed of healing powers. It was especially used for children's food (Isaiah 7:15), and thus becomes an emblem of the purest wisdom. "I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey," says the lover in Song of Solomon 5:1; and the psalmist says that the ordinances of the Lord are "sweeter than honey and the honeycomb" (Psalm 19:10; see on Proverbs 25:16). Palestine was a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:8); hence is derived the continual reference to this article of diet in the Bible. Proverbs 24:13The proverb now following stands in no obvious relation with the preceding. But in both a commencement is made with two lines, which contain, in the former, the principal thought; in this here, its reason:

13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,

     And honeycomb is sweet to thy taste.

14 So apprehend wisdom for thy soul;

     When thou hast found it, there is a future,

     And thy hope is not destroyed.

After its nearest fundamental thought, טוב, Arab. ṭejjib, means that which smells and tastes well; honey (דּבשׁ, from דּבשׁ, to be thick, consistent) has, besides, according to the old idea (e.g., in the Koran), healing virtue, as in general bitterness is viewed as a property of the poisonous, and sweetness that of the wholesome. נפתו is second accus. dependent on אכל־, for honey and honeycomb were then spoken of as different; נפת (from נפת, to pour, to flow out) is the purest honey (virgin-honey), flowing of itself out of the comb. With right the accentuation takes 13b as independent, the substantival clause containing the reason, "for it is good:" honeycomb is sweet to thy taste, i.e., applying itself to it with the impression of sweetness; על, as at Nehemiah 2:5; Psalm 16:6 (Hitzig).

In the כּן of 14a, it is manifest that Proverbs 24:13 is not spoken for its own sake. To apprehend wisdom, is elsewhere equivalent to, to receive it into the mind, Proverbs 1:2; Ecclesiastes 1:17 (cf. דעת בינה, Proverbs 4:1, and frequently), according to which Bttcher also here explains: learn to understand wisdom. But כן unfolds itself in 14bc: even as honey has for the body, so wisdom has for the soul, beneficent wholesome effects. דעה חכמה is thus not absolute, but is meant in relation to these effects. Rightly Fleischer: talem reputa; Ewald: sic (talem) scito spaientiam (esse) animae tuae, know, recognise wisdom as something advantageous to thy soul, and worthy of commendation. Incorrectly Hitzig explains אם־מצאת, "if the opportunity presents itself." Apart from this, that in such a case the words would rather have been כּי תמצא, to find wisdom is always equivalent to, to obtain it, to make it one's own, Proverbs 3:13; Proverbs 8:35; cf. Proverbs 2:5; Proverbs 8:9. דּעה

(Note: Write דּעה with Illuj after the preceding Legarmeh, like 12b, הוּא (Thorath Emeth, p. 28).)

stands for דּעה, after the form רדה; שׁבה (after Bttcher, 396, not without the influence of the following commencing sound), cf. the similar transitions of ā into ě placed together at Psalm 20:4; the form דּעה is also found, but דּעה is the form in the Cod. Hilleli,

(Note: Vid., Strack's Prolegomena critica in V.T. (1872), p. 19.)

as confirmed by Moses Kimchi in Comm., and by David Kimchi, Michlol 101b. With ישׁו begins the apodosis (lxx, Jerome, Targ., Luther, Rashi, Ewald, and others). In itself, וישׁ (cf. Genesis 47:6) might also continue the conditional clause; but the explanation, si inveneris (eam) et ad postremum ventum erit (Fleischer, Bertheau, Zckler), has this against it, that ישׁ אחרית does not mean: the end comes, but: there is an end, Proverbs 23:18; cf. Proverbs 19:18; here: there is an end for thee, viz., an issue that is a blessed reward. The promise is the same as at Proverbs 23:18. In our own language we speak of the hope of one being cut off; (Arab.) jaz'a, to be cut off, is equivalent to, to give oneself up to despair.

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