Proverbs 3:2
For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
III.

(d) Fourth Discourse:—Exhortation to Various Virtues (Pro iii 1-18).

(2) Long life.—That is, a life worth living, fit to be called “life”; whereas” length of days” only implies extension of life, the reward promised for obedience to parents.

3:1-6 In the way of believing obedience to God's commandments health and peace may commonly be enjoyed; and though our days may not be long upon earth, we shall live for ever in heaven. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; God's mercy in promising, and his truth in performing: live up to them, keep up thine interest in them, and take the comfort of them. We must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, believing he is able and wise to do what is best. Those who know themselves, find their own understandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, will fail. Do not design any thing but what is lawful, and beg God to direct thee in every case, though it may seem quite plain. In all our ways that prove pleasant, in which we gain our point, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge him with submission. It is promised, He shall direct thy paths; so that thy way shall be safe and good, and happy at last.Three words carry on the chain of blessings:

(1) "Length of days" (see the Psalm 91:16 note);

(2) "Years of life," i. e., of a life worth living (compare Psalm 30:5; Psalm 42:8);

(3) "Peace," tranquility inward and outward, the serenity of life continuing through old age until death. Compare 1 Timothy 4:8.

2. length … life—often promised as blessings (Ps 21:4; 91:16).

peace—includes prosperity (Ps 125:5).

add—abound to thee.

God will add these blessings which he hath promised to the obedient, Deu 8:18 30:20 1 Timothy 4:8. For length of days, and long life,.... Or, "years of life", or "lives" (f); a long life of usefulness and comfort here, and eternal life hereafter: the law of Moses promised a long life to the observers of it; but the Gospel of Christ brings an immortal life to light and promises to all believers in him that they shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. "Length of days for ever and ever" was asked by Christ of his Father, Psalm 21:4, and given him, and is in his right hand, Proverbs 3:16; it is in his power to give, and he does give it to all his children, people, and followers, Psalm 21:4;

and peace shall they add to thee; the Gospel is the Gospel of peace, which not only proclaims peace by the blood of Christ; but the doctrines of it, such as justification by the righteousness of Christ, pardon by his blood, and atonement by his sacrifice, are the means of giving and increasing spiritual peace in the hearts of believers; and so are the ordinances of Christ, which in Proverbs 3:17; are called, for that reason, "paths of peace"; see Romans 5:1.

(f) "annos vitarum", Montanus.

For length of {a} days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

(a) Long life is the blessing of God which he gives to his, so far as it is expedient for them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. long life] Rather, with A.V. marg. and R.V. text, years of life. There is perhaps a climax; not only length of days, prolonged existence, but years of life truly so-called, life worth living. The distinction is at least suggested by the use of βίος in the first clause and ζωή in the second by the LXX. μῆκος βίου, ἔτη ζωῆς: not alone vita quam vivimus, but vita quâ vivimus.

peace] This word, meaning literally wholeness, completeness, contains implicitly and is gradually developed into its full Biblical sense: “the greatest blessing, even peace, a blessing which no man is able to afford,” Philo quoted by Bp Westcott on St John 14:17. Comp. Php 4:7.Verse 2. - Length of days (orek yamim); Vulgate, longitudo dierum. The expression is literally "extension of days," and signifies the prolongation of life, its duration to the appointed limit - a meaning which is brought out in the LXX. μῆκος βίου, "length of days," the Greek word βίος being used, not of existence, but of the time and course of life. It occurs again in ver. 16, and also in Job 12:12 and Psalm 21:4. "Length of days" is represented as a blessing in the Old Testament, depending, however, as in the present instance, on the fulfilment of certain conditions. Thus in the fifth commandment it is appended to the honouring of parents (Exodus 20:12), and it was promised to Solomon, at Gibeon, on the condition that he walked in the way, statutes, and commandments of God (1 Kings 3:14). The promise of prolongation of life is not to be pressed historically as applying to every individual case, but is to be taken as indicating the tendency of keeping the Divine precepts, which, as a rule, ensure preservation of health, and hence "length of days." Long life (vush'noth khayyim); literally, years of life; Targum Jonathan, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic, anni vitae; LXX., ἔτη ζωῆς. The Authorized Version scarcely serves to bring out the sense of the original, as there is practically no difference in meaning between "length of days" and "long life? The idea conveyed in the expression, "years of life," is that of material prosperity. The thought of an extended life is carried on from the preceding expression, but it is amplified and described. The years of life will be many, but they will be years of life in its truest sense, as one of true happiness and enjoyment, free from distracting cares, sickness, and other drawbacks. The Hebrew plural, khayyim, "lives," is equivalent to the Greek expression, βίος βιωτός, "a life worth while living" (cf. Plat., 'Apol.,' 38, A). To the Israelitish mind, the happiness of life consisted in "dwelling in the land" (Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 5:30, etc.), and "abiding in the house of the Lord" (Psalm 15:1; Psalm 23:6; Psalm 27:3) (Zockler). The conjecture that the plural, khayyim, signifies the present and the future life, is unfounded. The scope of the promise before us is confined to the present stage of existence, and it is negatived also by the similar use of the plural in Proverbs 16:5, "In the light of the king's countenance is life (khayyim)," where khayyim cannot possibly refer to the future life. Khayyim stands for life in its fulness. "Godliness" has indeed, as St. Paul wrote to Timothy, "promise of the life that now is, aud of that which is to come" (1 Timothy 4:8). Peace (shalom). The verb shalam, from which the substantive shalom is derived, signifies "to be whole, sound, safe," and hence "peace" means internal and external contentment, and tran-quillity of mind arising from the sense of safety. In ver. 17 the ways of Wisdom are designated peace. While, on the one hand, peace is represented by the psalmist as the possession of those who love God's Law (Psalm 119:165), on the other, it is denied the wicked (Isaiah 48:22; Isaiah 57:21). Shall they add to thee; i.e. shall the precepts and commands bring (Zockler) or heap upon (Muffet) thee. 17 Who forsakes the companion of her youth,

     And forgets the covenant of her God;

18 For she sinks down to death together with her house,

     And to the shadow of Hades her paths -

19 All they who go to her return not again,

     And reach not the paths of life

אלּוּף, as here used, has nothing to do with the phylarch-name, similar in sound, which is a denom. of אלף; but it comes immediately from אלף, to accustom oneself to a person or cause, to be familiar therewith (while the Aram. אלף, ילף, to learn, Pa. to teach), and thus means, as the synon. of רע, the companion or familiar associate (vid., Schultens). Parallels such as Jeremiah 3:4 suggested to the old interpreters the allegorical explanation of the adulteress as the personification of the apostasy or of heresy. Proverbs 2:18 the lxx translate: ἔθετο γὰρ παρὰ τῷ θανάτῳ τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς: she (the dissolute wife) has placed her house beside death (the abyss of death). This שׁחה [ἔθετο] is perhaps the original, for the text as it lies before us is doubtful, though, rightly understood, admissible. The accentuation marks בּיתהּ as the subject, but בּית is elsewhere always masc., and does not, like the rarer ארח, Proverbs 2:15, admit in usage a double gender; also, if the fem. usage were here introduced (Bertheau, Hitzig), then the predicate, even though ביתה were regarded as fem., might be, in conformity with rule, שׁח, as e.g., Isaiah 2:17. שׁחה is, as in Psalm 44:26, 3rd pr. of שׁוּח, Arab. sâkh, to go down, to sink; the emendation שׁחה (Joseph Kimchi) does not recommend itself on this account, that שׁחה and שׁחח mean, according to usage, to stoop or to bend down; and to interpret (Ralbag, השׁפילה) שׁחה transitively is inadmissible. For that reason Aben Ezra interprets ביתה as in apposition: to death, to its house; but then the poet in that case should say אל־שׁאול, for death is not a house. On the other hand, we cannot perceive in ביתה an accus. of the nearer definition (J. H. Michaelis, Fl.); the expression would here, as 15a, be refined without purpose. Bttcher has recognised ביתה as permutative, the personal subject: for she sinks down to death, her house, i.e., she herself, together with all that belongs to her; cf. the permutative of the subject, Job 29:3; Isaiah 29:23 (vid., comm. l.c.), and the more particularly statement of the object, Exodus 2:6, etc. Regarding רפאים, shadows of the under-world (from רפה, synon. חלה, weakened, or to become powerless), a word common to the Solomonic writings, vid., Comment. on Isaiah, p. 206. What Proverbs 2:18 says of the person of the adulteress, Proverbs 2:19 says of those who live with her ביתה, her house-companions. בּאיה, "those entering in to her," is equivalent to בּאים אליה; the participle of verbs eundi et veniendi takes the accusative object of the finite as gen. in st. constr., as e.g., Proverbs 1:12; Proverbs 2:7; Genesis 23:18; Genesis 9:10 (cf. Jeremiah 10:20). The ישׁוּבוּן, with the tone on the ult., is a protestation: there is no return for those who practise fornication,

(Note: One is here reminded of the expression in the Aeneid, vi. 127-129:

Revocare gradum superasque evadere ad auras,

Hoc opes, hoc labor est.

See also an impure but dreadful Talmudic story about a dissolute Rabbi, b. Aboda zara, 17a.)

and they do not reach the paths of life from which they have so widely strayed.

(Note: In correct texts ולא־ישיגו has the Makkeph. Vid., Torath Emeth, p. 41; Accentuationssystem, xx. 2.)

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