Proverbs 4:4
He taught me also, and said to me, Let your heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
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(4) He taught me also.—Comp. David’s advice to Solomon (l Chron. 28:9, 10).

Proverbs 4:4-9. He taught me also, and said unto me — The following verses, at least as far as the tenth, are represented as containing the words of David, Solomon’s father, that the name of so great a king, and so holy a prophet, might add the more authority and efficacy to his counsels. Keep my commandments and live — That is, thou shalt live. It is a promise in the form of a command, as Proverbs 3:25. Get wisdom, &c., neither decline, &c. — From the belief and practice of my words. Love her, and she shall keep thee — He intimates that it is not enough to do what is good, which may sometimes proceed from worldly or sinful motives, but that we must have a sincere and fervent love to it. Wisdom is the principal thing — The most excellent of all possessions. With all thy getting get understanding — Even with the price of all, though it cost thee the loss of all that thou hast; or, in, or among all. While thou labourest for other things, see, especially, that thou do not neglect this. Exalt her — Let her have thy highest esteem and affection. She shall bring thee to honour — Both with God and men, which Solomon knew by experience. She shall give to thy head, &c. — An acceptable or beautiful ornament, such as they used to put upon their heads; shall put upon thy head a crown of glory that shall never wither. So far he seems to be repeating the words which David spake to him.4:1-13 We must look upon our teachers as our fathers: though instruction carry in it reproof and correction, bid it welcome. Solomon's parents loved him, therefore taught him. Wise and godly men, in every age of the world, and rank in society, agree that true wisdom consists in obedience, and is united to happiness. Get wisdom, take pains for it. Get the rule over thy corruptions; take more pains to get this than the wealth of this world. An interest in Christ's salvation is necessary. This wisdom is the one thing needful. A soul without true wisdom and grace is a dead soul. How poor, contemptible, and wretched are those, who, with all their wealth and power, die without getting understanding, without Christ, without hope, and without God! Let us give heed to the sayings of Him who has the words of eternal life. Thus our path will be plain before us: by taking, and keeping fast hold of instruction, we shall avoid being straitened or stumbling.The counsel which has come to him, in substance, from his father. Compare it with 2 Samuel 23:2 etc.; 1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalm 15:1-5; Psalm 24:1-10; Psalm 37.4. He taught—or directed me.

retain—as well as receive.

keep … and live—observe, that you may live (Pr 7:2).

Said unto me: the following verses, at least as far as the 10th verse, are propounded as the words of David, that the name of so great a king and holy a prophet might add the more authority and efficacy to his counsels.

And live, i.e. thou shalt live. It is a promise in the form of a command, as Proverbs 3:25. He taught me also, and said unto me,.... The Targum is,

"they taught me,''

his father and his mother; and so the Septuagint version,

"who said and taught me;''

and the Arabic version,

"they both taught me, and said unto me;''

but in the Hebrew it is singular, and is restrained to the father. He taught him when he was very young, and also gave him instructions when he was older, and a little before his own death; see 1 Chronicles 28:8; he taught him by the several psalms he wrote; some of which are called "maschil", instructive or causing to understand; two of them particularly were written for him, the seventy-second and the hundred twenty-seventh psalms; he taught him in the following words. How far the words of David his father reach is not agreed on, on all hands; some think they end with Proverbs 4:5; others with Proverbs 4:6, others with the Proverbs 4:9, and the words of Solomon begin at Proverbs 4:10, some will have it that they take in the whole chapter, which is not probable; nay, others say that the whole of the book following is his, which can by no means be agreed to: it seems most likely to me that they end at Proverbs 4:6, and at most are not to be carried beyond Proverbs 4:9;

let thine heart retain my words: says David to his son: the instructions he gave him by word of mouth, concerning his moral behaviour, relating to political things, the government of the people; and especially such as concerned the everlasting welfare of his soul, or were about Wisdom or Christ, and the knowledge of divine and spiritual things; these he would have him lay up in his heart, and keep them there, as a rich treasure, to have recourse unto upon all occasions;

keep my commandments, and live: which commandments may respect him both in his private and public capacity, and in a religious and political one; how he should behave as a man, a king, and one that feared God: as well as they may respect his orders for the building of the temple, and settling and establishing the worship of God in it; by observing which he would live comfortably and honourably, and to a good old age.

He {b} taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

(b) Meaning, David his father.

4. he taught me also] Rather, and he taught me, R.V.Verse 4. - From this verse to ver. 19 inclusive, the teacher quotes the instruction which he had received of his father. His object in doing so is to show that his own teaching was in harmony with it, and therefore worthy of attention. His precepts, admonitions, and warnings are not his only, but those of his father. Other examples of David's instructions to Solomon are found in 1 Kings 2:2; 1 Chronicles 22:12, 13; 1 Chronicles 28:9. And he taught; i.e. his father, for vayyoreni is masculine. The LXX. renders, "They said and taught me (οι{ ἔλεγον καὶ ἐδιδασκόν με)," as if the precepts which follow were the combined teaching of David and Bathsheba. This variation is due to the mention of both parents in the preceding verse. Retain; yith'mok, kal future, used imperatively, of thamak, "to take hold of," and metaphorically, as here, "to hold fast" (see Proverbs 3:18). The LXX. Renders ἐρειδέτω, imperative of ἐρείδω, "to fix firm." Symmachus has κατεχέτω, "give heed to." And live; i.e. and thou shalt live, as the kal imperative, kh'yeh, from khayah, "to live," has here the force of the future (cf. Vulgate, et vives). The meaning is, "And thou shalt enjoy a long and happy life." Temporal life alone seems to be indicated, as in ver. 10 (cf. Proverbs 3:2). The Syriac addition, "And my law as the apple of thine eye," is probably borrowed from Proverbs 7:2, where we meet with the mine admonition. The prosperity of the godless, far from being worthy of envy, has as its reverse side the curse:

The curse of Jahve is in the house of the godless,

And the dwelling of the just He blesseth.

מארה (a curse), like מסלּה (a highway, from סלל), is formed from ארר (cf. Arab. harr, detestari, abhorrere, a word-imitation of an interjection used in disagreeable experiences). The curse is not merely a deprivation of external goods which render life happy, and the blessing is not merely the fulness of external possessions; the central-point of the curse lies in continuous disquiet of conscience, and that of the blessing in the happy consciousness that God is with us, in soul-rest and peace which is certain of the grace and goodness of God. The poetic נוה (from נוה equals Arab. nwy, tetendit aliquo) signifies the place of settlement, and may be a word borrowed from a nomad life, since it denotes specially the pasture-ground; cf. Proverbs 24:15 (Fleischer). While the curse of God rests in the house of the wicked (vid., Khler on Zechariah 5:4), He blesses, on the contrary, the dwelling-place of the righteous. The lxx and Jerome read יברך, but יברך is more agreeable, since God continues to be the subject.

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