In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
acknowledge—by seeking His wise aid (Pr 16:3; Ps 37:5; Jer 9:23, 24).
direct—literally, "make plain" (compare Heb 12:13).Ways; designs and undertakings for the things of this life or of the next.
Acknowledge him, Heb. know him, to wit, practically; or, own him; his wisdom, in following his counsels; his power and goodness, in expecting success from him; his sovereignty, in managing all thy affairs so as to please and glorify him.
Direct thy paths; assist and bless all thine endeavours, and keep thee from the paths of sin and destruction. Psalm 119:24; take him as your guide; observe the footsteps of his providence; follow the Lamb wheresoever he goes; walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; when things go cross and adverse, and not to your mind, submit to his sovereignty; and be still and know that he is God, that does all things right, for his own glory and his people's good, Psalm 46:10; and when things succeed, give him the glory of all; own his hand in it, and the bounty of it; acknowledge that all you have, in providence and grace, come from him;
and he shall direct thy paths; man cannot direct his own; no, not a man: this is a blessing from the Lord; who steps of his people, keeps the feet of his saints, and directs them aright in things temporal and spiritual, Jeremiah 10:23.In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. direct] Or, make straight or plain, R.V. marg. Comp. Proverbs 11:5, ἵνα ὀρθοτομῇ, LXX.; diriget, Vulg.Verse 6. - In all thy ways. This expression covers the whole area of life's action - all its acts and undertakings, its spiritual and secular sides, no less than its public and private, It guards against our acknowledging God in great crises and solemn acts of worship only (Plumptre). Acknowledge (daehu); Vulgate, cogita; LXX., γνέριζε. The Hebrew verb yada signifies "to know, recognize." To acknowledge God is, therefore, to recognize, in all our dealings and undertakings, God's overruling providence, which "shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will." It is not a mere theoretical acknowledgment, but one that engages the whole energies of the soul (Delitzsch), and sees in God power, wisdom, providence, goodness, and justice. This meaning is conveyed by the Vulgate cogitare, which is "to consider" in all parts, "to reflect upon." David's advice to his son Solomon is, "Know thou (ola) the God of thy father." We may well acknowledge Jehovah; for he "knoweth the way of the righteous" (Psalm 1:6). Acknowledging God also implies that we first ascertain whether what we are about to take in hand is in accordance with his precepts, and then look for his direction and illumination (Wardlaw). And he shall direct thy paths (v'hu y'yashsher or'khotheyka); i.e. he himself shall make them straight, or level, removing all obstacles out of the way; or they shall, under God's direction, prosper and come to a successful issue; they shall be virtuous, inasmuch as deviation into vice will be guarded against, and happy, because they are prosperous. The pronoun v'hu is emphatic, "he himself;" Vulgate, et ipse. Yashar, piel. is "to make a way straight," as in Proverbs 9:15; Proverbs 15:21; Proverbs 11:5. Cf. the LXX. ὀρθοτομεῖν, "to cut straight" (see on Proverbs 11:5). God here binds himself by a covenant (Lapide). This power is properly attributed to God, for "it is not in man to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). Proverbs 2:12, Proverbs 2:16, unfolding that which wisdom accomplishes as a preserver and guide:
20 So that thou walkest in the good way,
And keepest the right paths.
21 For the upright shall inhabit the land,
And the innocent shall remain in it.
22 But the godless are cut off out the land,
And the faithless are rooted out of it.
Wisdom - thus the connection - will keep thee, so that thou shalt not fall under the seductions of man or of woman; keep, in order that thou... למען (from מען equals מענה, tendency, purpose) refers to the intention and object of the protecting wisdom. To the two negative designations of design there follows, as the third and last, a positive one. טובים (contrast to רעים, Proverbs 14:19) is here used in a general ethical sense: the good (Guten, not Gtigen, the kind). שׁמר, with the object of the way, may in another connection also mean to keep oneself from, cavere ab (Psalm 17:4); here it means: carefully to keep in it. The promise of Proverbs 2:21 is the same as in the Mashal Psalm 37:9, Psalm 37:11, Psalm 37:22; cf. Proverbs 10:30. ארץ is Canaan, or the land which God promised to the patriarchs, and in which He planted Israel, whom He had brought out of Egypt; not the earth, as Matthew 5:5, according to the extended, unlimited N.T. circle of vision. יוּתרוּ (Milel) is erroneously explained by Schultens: funiculis bene firmis irroborabunt in terra. The verb יתר, Arab. watar, signifies to yoke (whence יתר, a cord, rope), then intrans. to be stretched out in length, to be hanging over (vid., Fleischer on Job 30:11); whence יתר, residue, Zephaniah 2:9, and after which the lxx here renders ὑπολειφθήσονται, and Jerome permanebunt. In 22b the old translators render יסּחוּ as the fut. of the pass. נסּח, Deuteronomy 28:63; but in this case it would be ינּסחוּ. The form יסּחוּ, pointed יסּחוּ, might be the Niph. of סחח, but סחח can neither be taken as one with נסח, of the same meaning, nor with Hitzig is it to be vocalized יסּחוּ (Hoph. of נסח); nor, with Bttcher (1100, p. 453), is יסּחוּ to be regarded as a veritable fut. Niph. יסּחוּ is, as at Proverbs 15:25; Psalm 52:7, active: evellant; and this, with the subj. remaining indefinite (for which J. H. Michaelis refers to Hosea 12:9), is equivalent to evellentur. This indefinite "they" or "one" ("man"), Fleischer remarks, can even be used of God, as here and Job 7:3 - a thing which is common in Persian, where e.g., the expression rendered hominem ex pulvere fecerunt is used instead of the fuller form, which would be rendered homo a Deo ex pulvere factus est. בּוגדים bears (as בּגד proves) the primary meaning of concealed, i.e., malicious (treacherous and rapacious, Isaiah 33:1), and then faithless men.
(Note: Similar is the relation in Arab. of labbasa to libâs (לבוּשׁ); it means to make a thing unknown by covering it; whence telbı̂s, deceit, mulebbis, a falsifier.)
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