Proverbs 24:13
My son, eat you honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to your taste:
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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.

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. Till now in this appendix we have found only two distichs (vid., vol. i. p. 17); now several of them follow. From this, that wisdom is a power which accomplishes great things, it follows that it is of high value, though to the fool it appears all too costly.

7 Wisdom seems to the fool to be an ornamental commodity;

   He openeth not his mouth in the gate.

Most interpreters take ראמות for רמות (written as at 1 Chronicles 6:58; cf. Zechariah 14:10; ראשׁ, Proverbs 10:4; קאם, Hosea 10:14), and translate, as Jerome and Luther: "Wisdom is to the fool too high;" the way to wisdom is to him too long and too steep, the price too costly, and not to be afforded. Certainly this thought does not lie far distant from what the poet would say; but why does he say חכמות, and not חכמה? This חכמות is not a numerical plur., so as to be translated with the Venet.: μετέωροι τῷ ἄφρονι αἱ ἐπιστῆμαι; it is a plur., as Psalm 49:4 shows; but, as is evident from the personification and the construction, Proverbs 1:20, one inwardly multiplying and heightening, which is related to חכמה as science or the contents of knowledge is to knowledge. That this plur. comes here into view as in chap. 1-9 (vid., vol. i. p. 34), is definitely accounted for in these chapters by the circumstance that wisdom was to be designated, which is the mediatrix of all wisdom; here, to be designated in intentional symphony with ראמות, whose plur. ending th shall be for that very reason, however, inalienable. Thus ראמות will be the name of a costly foreign bijouterie, which is mentioned in the Book of Job, where the unfathomableness and inestimableness of wisdom is celebrated; vid., Job 27:18, where we have recorded what we had to say at the time regarding this word. But what is now the meaning of the saying that wisdom is to the fool a pearl or precious coral? Jol Bril explains: "The fool uses the sciences like a precious stone, only for ornament, but he knows not how to utter a word publicly," This is to be rejected, because ראמות is not so usual a trinket or ornament as to serve as an expression of this thought. The third of the comparison lies in the rarity, costliness, unattainableness; the fool despises wisdom, because the expenditure of strength and the sacrifices of all kinds which are necessary to put one into the possession of wisdom deter him from it (Rashi). This is also the sense which the expression has when ראמות equals רמות; and probably for the sake of this double meaning the poet chose just this word, and not פנינים, גבישׁ, or any other name, for articles of ornament (Hitzig). The Syr. has incorrectly interpreted this play upon words: sapientia abjecta stulto; and the Targumist: the fool grumbles (מתרעם) against wisdom.

(Note: This explanation is more correct than Levy's: he lifts himself up (boasts) with wisdom.)

He may also find the grapes to be sour because they hang too high for him; here it is only said that wisdom remains at a distance from him because he cannot soar up to its attainment; for that very reason he does not open his mouth in the gate, where the council and the representatives of the people have their seats: he has not the knowledge necessary for being associated in counselling, and thus must keep silent; and this is indeed the most prudent thing he can do.

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