Proverbs 3:6
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Not in acts of solemn worship or great crises only, but "in all thy ways;" and then God will make the "path" straight and even. 6. ways—(Ps 1:1).

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.

In all thy ways acknowledge him,.... Or "know him" (l); the Lord: set him before thee; have him always in view; consider him as ever present with thee, observing every step thou takest; and take not one step without his leave, and without his advice; ask wisdom of him who gives liberally; consult his word, and make the Scriptures thy counsellors, or the men of thy counsel, as in 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.

(l) "scito eum", Pagninus, Montanus.

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 3:6Were "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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