Proverbs 3:13
Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Proverbs 3:13-15. Happy is the man — Notwithstanding all his afflictions; that findeth wisdom — Which supposes his diligent searching for it, expressed Proverbs 2:4. And the man that getteth — Hebrew, יפיק, that draweth out, understanding — Which expression implies two things: 1st, That man hath it not naturally in himself, but must have it from another, even from God and his word; 2d, That men should labour for it as those labour that dig and draw forth metals out of the earth. For the merchandise of it, &c. — It is more necessary and advantageous, because it is so, not only for this short life, but also for the future and everlasting life, in which gold and silver bear no price. All the things thou canst desire are not to be compared to her — For true worth and usefulness.3:13-20 No precious jewels or earthly treasures are worthy to be compared with true wisdom, whether the concerns of time or eternity be considered. We must make wisdom our business; we must venture all in it, and be willing to part with all for it. This Wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ and his salvation, sought and obtained by faith and prayer. Were it not for unbelief, remaining sinfulness, and carelessness, we should find all our ways pleasantness, and our paths peace, for his are so; but we too often step aside from them, to our own hurt and grief. Christ is that Wisdom, by whom the worlds were made, and still are in being; happy are those to whom he is made of God wisdom. He has wherewithal to make good all his promises.The first beatitude of the Proverbs introduces a new lesson. "Getteth understanding," literally as in the margin, probably in the sense of "drawing forth from God's store, from the experience of life" (as in Proverbs 8:35; Proverbs 18:22). The preciousness of wisdom is dwelt on here, not the use to be made of it. 13. findeth—literally, "reaches," or "obtains by seeking."

getteth—literally, "draws out," as metals by digging.

Happy is the man, notwithstanding all his afflictions, that findeth wisdom; which supposeth his diligent searching for it, expressed Proverbs 3:4.

That getteth, Heb. that draweth out; which expression implies two things:

1. That man hath it not naturally in himself, but must have it from another, even from God and his word.

2. That men should labour for it, as those do that dig and draw forth metals out of the earth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom,.... Some connect these words with the preceding; as if the sense was, a good man, though he is chastened by the Lord, yet is a happy man; not only because his chastenings are in love and for good, but because he improves in spiritual knowledge and understanding by them; see Psalm 94:12. Aben Ezra connects them with the former, but in a different manner, thus; "happy is the man that findeth wisdom", for by it he keeps from sinning, that chastisements may not come upon him. But rather the argument in praise of wisdom, and the advantages of it, insisted on in the preceding chapter, is resumed here and enlarged upon; and by wisdom is meant Christ, and a saving knowledge of him by means of his Gospel; and "finding" him supposes seeking him; which does not arise from nature, but the grace of God, and follows upon the sight of the need and worth of Christ; and is done in the use of means, as reading, praying, and attendance on the word and ordinances: and finding him is no other than an enjoyment of him by faith; which is a seeing him, a taking hold on him, and possessing him; who is to be found in the covenant of grace, being the Mediator, surety, and messenger of it; in the Gospel, which is full of him; in the promises of it, which hold him forth, and the blessings of his grace; in the ordinances, which direct unto him, and where he shows himself: for he is not to be found by the light of nature, nor by carnal reason, nor by the law of Moses; but by means of the Gospel, attended with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; and a happy finding this, which fills the possessor with inexpressible joy! see John 1:41;

and the man that getteth understanding; Christ, and a spiritual understanding of him: this is not a proper acquisition of a man's own; an interest in Christ is not gotten by anything of man's; not by his good works, which are the fruits of grace; nor by faith and repentance, which are gifts of grace themselves; but it is given unto a man: and "getting" here signifies, as before, possession and enjoyment of Christ, as God's pure gift; as a man that is said to obtain the favour of God, when he enjoys it, and the effects of it, in consequence of finding Christ, Proverbs 8:35; where the same word is used as here. The word signifies to "draw out" (t); as metals are drawn out of the earth by searching and digging for, or as water out of a well; thus Christ, and the knowledge of him, are drawn out of the mines and fountains of the Scriptures, by such that seek after him aright. Aben Ezra interprets it, that draws or brings it out from another, and learns it; the true believer in Christ hears and learns of the Father, and so comes to Christ, and enjoys him, John 6:45. The Targum is,

"who causes understanding to spring up;''

as water out of a well or fountain; out of his heart, as Gersom; or, as Jarchi, who has learned wisdom, that it is ready to break out, at his mouth; out of the abundance of it in his heart, his mouth speaketh; as such that know Christ cannot but speak to others of the things they have heard and seen, Matthew 12:34.

(t) "educet", Montanus; "eruit", Tigurine version, Vatablus.

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. getteth] Lit. draweth forth, or out, R.V. and A.V. marg. The word occurs again Proverbs 8:35, Proverbs 12:2, Proverbs 18:22, in all which places the source of supply is expressed: obtaineth (lit. draweth forth) favour from Jehovah.Verses 13-18. - The teacher here enters upon the last part of this discourse. In doing so, he reverts to his main subject, which is Wisdom, or the fear of the Lord (see ver. 7 and Proverbs 1:7), and pronounces a panegyric upon her, comparing her, as in Job 28, with treasures whose value she exceeds, and showing wherein that value consists, viz. in the gifts which she confers on man. Verse 13. - Happy is the man (ash'rey adam); literally, blessings of the man. The plural of "excellence" used here, as in Job 5:17, to raise the sense. The man who has found Wisdom is supremely blessed. Beds connects this blessedness immediately with God's chastisements in the preceding verse. So Delitzsch. That findeth (matsa); properly, hath found. "The perfect expresses permanent possession, just as the imperfect, yaphik, denotes a continually renewed and repeated attaining" (Zockler). The Vulgate also uses the perfect, invenit, "hath found;" LXX., ο{ς εϋρε, "who found" - the aorist. The man that getteth understanding (adam yaphik t'vunah); literally, the man that draweth out understanding, as in the margin. Yaphik is the hiph. future or imperfect of puk, the primary meaning of which is educere, "to draw out," "to bring forth." This verb is used in two widely different senses. In the first place, it is equivalent to "bring forth" or "draw out" in the sense of imparting, as in Isaiah 58:10, "If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry," i.e. impart benefits to them; and Psalm 145:13, "That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store," i.e. yielding, giving out, presenting for our benefit. Its second sense is that of attaining, drawing out from another for one's own use. In this sense it occurs in Proverbs 8:35; Proverbs 12:2; Proverbs 18:22, where it is rendered "obtain." The latter sense is the one that suits the present passage, and best agrees with the corresponding matsa. The man is blessed who draws forth, i.e. obtains, understanding from God for himself. The Vulgate renders, qui affluit prudentia, "who overflows with understanding," or, has understanding in abundance; LXX., ο{ς εῖδε, equivalent to "who saw." Were "kindness and truth" (Proverbs 3:3) understood only in relation to men, then the following admonition would not be interposed, since it proceeds from that going before, if there the quality of kindness and truth, not only towards man, but also towards God, is commended:

5 Trust in Jahve with thy whole heart,

   And lean not on thine own understanding.

6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him,

   And He will make plain thy paths.

7 Be not wise in thine own eyes;

   Fear Jahve, and depart from evil.

8 Health will then come to thy navel,

   And refreshing to thy bones.

From God alone comes true prosperity, true help. He knows the right way to the right ends. He knows what benefits us. He is able to free us from that which does us harm: therefore it is our duty and our safety to place our confidence wholly in Him, and to trust not to our own judgment. The verb בּטח, Arab. baṭḥ, has the root-meaning expandere, whence perhaps, by a more direct way than that noted under Psalm 4:6, it acquires the meaning confidere, to lean with the whole body on something, in order to rest upon it, strengthened by על, if one lean wholly - Fr. se reposer sur quelqu'un; Ital. riposarsi sopra alcuno, - like השּׁען with אל, to lean on anything, so as to be supported by it; with על, to support oneself on anything (Fl.). דעהוּ (the same in form as שׂאהוּ, Numbers 11:12) is not fully represented by "acknowledge Him;" as in 1 Chronicles 28:9 it is not a mere theoretic acknowledgment that is meant, but earnest penetrating cognizance, engaging the whole man. The practico-mystical דעהוּ, in and of itself full of significance, according to O. and N.T. usage, is yet strengthened by toto corde. The heart is the central seat of all spiritual soul-strength; to love God with the whole heart is to concentrate the whole inner life on the active contemplation of God, and the ready observance of His will. God requites such as show regard to Him, by making plain their path before them, i.e., by leading them directly to the right end, removing all hindrances out of their way. ארחתיך has Cholem in the first syllable (vid., Kimchi's Lex.).

(Note: In the st. constr. Proverbs 2:19, and with the grave suff. Proverbs 2:15, ǒ instead of ō is in order; but Ben-Asher's ארחתי, Job 13:27, cf. Job 33:11, is an inconsistency.)

"Be not wise in thine own eyes" is equivalent to ne tibi sapiens videare; for, as J. H. Michaelis remarks, confidere Deo est sapere, sibi vero ac suae sapientiae, desipere. "Fear God and depart from evil" is the twofold representation of the εὐσέβεια, or practical piety, in the Chokma writings: Proverbs 16:6, the Mashal Psalm 34:10, Psalm 34:15, and Job 28:28 cf. Proverbs 1:2. For סר מרע, the post-biblical expression is ירא חטא.

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