She perceives that her merchandise is good: her candle goes not out by night.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; she finds great comfort and good success in her labours.
Her candle goeth not out by night; which is not to be taken strictly, but only signifies her unwearied care and industry, which is oft expressed by labouring day and night, or continually. Proverbs 31:14 and see Proverbs 3:14;
her candle goeth not out by night; or "lamp" (s); her lamp of profession, which is always kept burning, Luke 12:35; or the glorious light of the Gospel, which always continues in the darkest times the church ever has been in; or her spiritual prosperity, which, though it may be damped, will never be extinct; when the candle of the wicked is often put out, Job 21:17; It may denote her diligence in working; who, as she rises early in the morning, Proverbs 31:15, so sits up late at night, and is never weary of well doing, night and day. Ambrose interprets it of the lamp of hope, which burns in the night, and by and for which men work, Romans 8:24.She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. perceiveth] Lit. tasteth, A.V. margin (ἐγεύσατο, LXX.; gustavit, Vulg.), finds by experience.
good] i.e. profitable, R.V. Comp. “better than the merchandise of silver,” Proverbs 3:14.
her candle] Rather, lamp. To be understood literally, see Proverbs 31:15, not figuratively as in Proverbs 13:9; Proverbs 20:20.Verse 18. - TETH. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; Vulgate, Gustavit et vidit quia bona est negotiatio ejus, where the paraphrase, "she tastes and sees," expresses the meaning of the verb taam here used. Her prudence and economy leave her a large surplus profit, which she contemplates with satisfaction. There is no suspicion of arrogance or conceit, The pleasure that is derived from duty done and successfully conducted business is legitimate and healthy, a providential reward of good works. Septuagint, "She tastes that it is good to work." This comfort and success spur her on to further and more continued exertion. Her candle (lamp) goeth not out by night. She is not idle even when night falls, and outdoor occupations are cut short; she finds work for the hours of darkness, such as is mentioned in the next verse. One recalls Virgil's picture of the thrifty housewife ('AEneid,' 8:407) -
"Inde ubi prima quies medio jam noctis abactae
Curriculo expulerat somnum, cum femina primum,
Cui tolerare colo vitam tenuique Minerva
Impositum, cinerem et sopitos suscitat ignis,
Noctem addens operi, famulesque ad lumina longo
Exercet penso." Some take the lamp here in an allegorical sense, as signifying life, happiness, and prosperity, as Proverbs 13:9 and Proverbs 20:20; others, as denoting a bright example of diligence and piety (Matthew 5:16). But the simple meaning seems to be the one intended. Wordsworth notes that the passage in Revelation 18, which speaks of the "merchandise" of the false Church, also affirms that "the light of a candle" shall shine in her no more, the two metaphors in our passage applied to the true Church being there applied to Babylon.
All the days of her life;
or, as Luther translates:
"Sie thut jm liebs und kein leids."
[She does him good, and no harm.]
She is far from ever doing him evil, she does him only good all her life long; her love is not dependent on freaks, it rests on deep moral grounds, and hence derives its power and purity, which remain ever the same. גּמל signifies to accomplish, to perform. To the not assimilated form גּמלתהוּ, cf. יסּרתּוּ, 1b.
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