Proverbs 3:4
So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
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(4) Favour and good understanding.—Particularly noted as distinguishing the childhood of our Lord (Luke 2:52).

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.Compare Luke 2:52. These are the two conditions of true human growth. 4. favour—grace, amiability (Pr 22:11; Ps 45:2); united with this,

a good understanding—(Compare Margin), a discrimination, which secures success.

in the sight … man—such as God and man approve.

Find favour, i.e. obtain acceptance, or be gracious and amiable to them.

Good understanding; whereby to know thy duty, and to discern between good and evil. The serious practice of religion is an excellent mean to get a solid understanding of it; as, on the contrary, a vicious life doth exceedingly debase and darken the mind, and keep men from the knowledge of truth, which not only Scripture, but even heathen philosophers, have oft observed. Others render it, good success; which seems not to suit well with the following words.

In the sight of God; grace or favour with God, and that understanding which is good in God’s sight, i.e. truly and really; as a truly good man is called good before God, in the Hebrew, Ecclesiastes 7:26.

So shall thou find favour,.... Or "grace" (i); the grace of God, and larger measures of it; as Noah did, Genesis 6:8; which are communicated to men when in the way of their duty: or good will, esteem, and respect, among men; as Joseph had with Potiphar, and the keeper of the prison, Genesis 39:4;

and good understanding in the sight of God and man; as Christ, as man, had in the sight of both, Luke 2:52; that is, to be taken notice of, regarded, and approved by both. Some render it "good success" (k); prosperity in things temporal and spiritual; see Psalm 111:10. There is something lovely, and of good report, in a close attention to the doctrines and duties of religion; which make a man amiable in the sight of others, and which is followed with a blessing from the Lord.

(i) "gratiam", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, &c. (k) "successum optimum", Junius & Tremellius.

So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
4. favour and good understanding] Your character will conciliate for you by its two great elements of mercy and truth, the two corresponding tributes of good-will and respect. (Comp. 1 Samuel 2:26; Luke 2:52.)

To find good understanding in the sight of anyone (A.V. and R.V. text), i.e. to be regarded by him as prudent and intelligent, gives a satisfactory sense, without having recourse to the other renderings, good success (A.V. marg.); good repute (R.V. marg.); care or consideration (Maurer, who compares Psalm 41:1 [Hebrews 2], where the same Heb. word is rendered considereth). We are told in this Book that good understanding giveth (or getteth) favour, Proverbs 13:15.

Verse 4. - So shalt thou find (vum'lsa); literally, and find. A peculiar use of the imperative, the imperative kal (m'tsa) with vau consecutive (וִ) being equivalent to the future, "thou shalt find," as in the Authorized Version. This construction, where two imperatives are joined, the former containing an exhortation or admonition, the second a promise made on the condition implied in the first, and the second imperative being used as a future, occurs again in Proverbs 4:4; Proverbs 7:2, "Keep my commandments, and live;" 9:6, "Forsake the foolish, and live;" 20:13, "Open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread" (cf. Genesis 42:18; Psalm 37:27; Job 22:21; Isaiah 36:16; Hosea 10:12; Amos 5:4-6; Gesenius, § 130, 2). Delitzsch calls this "an admonitory imperative;" Bottcher, "the desponsive imperative." Compare the Greek construction in Menander, Οϊδ ὅτι ποίησον, for ποιήσεις, "Know that this you will do." Find (matza); here simply "to attain," "obtain," not necessarily implying previous search, as in Proverbs 17:20. Favour (khen). The same word is frequently translated "grace," and means the same thing; Vulgate, gratia; LXX., χαρίς. For the expression, "to find favour" (matsa khen), see Genesis 6:8; Exodus 33:12; Jeremiah 31:2; comp. Luke 1:30, Αῦρες γὰρ χάριν παρὰ τῷ Θεῷ." For thou hast found favour [or, 'grace'] with God." spoken by Gabriel to the Virgin. Good understanding (sekel tov); i.e. good sagacity, or prudence. So Delitzsch, Bertheau, Kamph. A true sagacity, prudence, or penetrating judgment will be adjudicated by God and man to him who possesses the internal excellence of love and truth. The Hebrew sekel is derived from sakal, "to act wisely or prudently," and has this intellectual meaning in Proverbs 13:15; Psalm 111:10 (see also 1 Samuel 25:3 and 2 Chronicles 30:22). The Targum Jonathan reads, intellectus et benignitas, thus throwing the adjective into a substantival form; the Syriac, intellectus simply. Ewald, Hitzig, Zockler, and others, on the other hand, understand sekel as referring to the judgment formed of any one, the favourable opinion or view which is entertained of hint by others, and hence take it as reputation, or estimation. The man who has love and truth will be held in high esteem by God and man. Our objection to this rendering is that it does not seem to advance the meaning of the passage beyond that of "favour." Another, mentioned by Delitzsch, is that sekel is never used in any other sense than that of intellectus in the Mishle. The marginal reading, "good success," i.e. prosperity, seems inadmissible here, as the hiph. has'kil, "to cause to prosper," as in Proverbs 17:8; Joshua 1:7; Deuteronomy 29:9, does not apply in this instance any more than in Psalm 111:10, margin. In the sight of God and man (b'eyney elohim v'adam); literally, in the eyes of Elohim and man; i.e. according to the judgment of God and man (Zockler); Vulgate, coram Deo et hominibus. A simpler form of this phrase is found in 1 Samuel 2:26, where Samuel is said to have found favour with the Lord, and also with men. So in Luke 2:52 Jesus found favour "with God and man (παρὰ Θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις)" (comp. Genesis 10:9; Acts 2:47, Romans 14:18). The two conditions of favor and sagacity, or prudence, are not to be assigned respectively to God and man (as Ewald and Hitzig), or that finding favour has reference more to God, and being deemed prudent refers more to man. The statement is universal. Both these conditions will be adjudged to the man who has mercy and truth by God in heaven and man on earth at the same time (see Delitszch). The LXX., "after favour," instead of the text, reads, "and provide good things in the sight of the Lord and men," quoted by St. Paul (2 Corinthians 8:21). Proverbs 3:4To the admonitory imper. there follows here a second, as Proverbs 4:4; Proverbs 20:13; Amos 5:4; 2 Chronicles 20:20, instead of which also the perf. consec. might stand; the counsellor wishes, with the good to which he advises, at the same time to present its good results. שׂכל is (1 Samuel 25:3) the appearance, for the Arab. shakl means forma, as uniting or binding the lineaments or contours into one figure, σχῆμα, according to which שׂכל טוב may be interpreted of the pleasing and advantageous impression which the well-built external appearance of a man makes, as an image of that which his internal excellence produces; thus, favourable view, friendly judgment, good reputation (Ewald, Hitzig, Zckler). But everywhere else (Proverbs 13:15; Psalm 111:10; 2 Chronicles 30:22) this phrase means good, i.e., fine, well-becoming insight, or prudence; and שׂכל has in the language of the Mishle no other meaning than intellectus, which proceeds from the inwardly forming activity of the mind. He obtains favour in the eyes of God and man, to whom favour on both sides is shown; he obtains refined prudence, to whom it is on both sides adjudicated. It is unnecessary, with Ewald and Hitzig, to assign the two objects to God and men. In the eyes of both at the same time, he who carries love and faithfulness in his heart appears as one to whom חן and שׂכל טוב must be adjudicated.
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