Proverbs 4:8
Exalt her, and she shall promote you: she shall bring you to honor, when you do embrace her.
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(8) Exalt her, and she shall promote thee.—Comp. 1Samuel 2:30, “Them that honour me I will honour.”

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.Or, "The beginning of wisdom is - get wisdom." To seek is to find, to desire is to obtain.8. As you highly esteem her, she will raise you to honor.

embrace her—with fond affection.

Exalt her; let her have thine highest esteem and affection.

To honour, both with God and men; which Solomon knew by experience. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee,.... Christ is to be exalted in his person, by asserting his proper deity; by ascribing all divine perfections to him; by allowing him to be the author of all divine works; by giving him divine worship and homage; by owning his divine and eternal sonship, and distinct personality: he is to be exalted in all his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, and as the only Redeemer and Saviour; by trusting in him, embracing his Gospel, and submitting to his ordinances, and such that exalt him, he will "promote" them here and hereafter; of which more in the next clause. According to the Talmudists (u), the word for "exalt" signifies a diligent search, by turning things about to find out what is sought; and so the Septuagint interpret the word in the sense of "searching", Jeremiah 50:26;

she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her: by faith: for this is an act of faith, and a very considerable one, and is expressive of great nearness to Christ, of much intimacy and familiarity with him, of strong love and affection to him, of a good degree of boldness used with him, and of joy and exaltation in him; for such an action is used by persons near akin, and are very familiar with, and have a very great affection for one another, and use much freedom with each other, and rejoice at meeting together. Now such who embrace Christ, in the arms of their faith, as their alone Saviour, such he promotes and "brings to honour"; not to honour among men, for to embrace Christ and exalt him is the way to disgrace, though the disgrace is an honour, and will be before long rolled off; but to honour hereafter. Such will be set at his right hand, and be owned by him before his Father and his angels; and they will be placed on the same throne with him, and will reign with him for ever and ever; see 1 Samuel 2:30.

(u) T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 26. 2.

Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
Verse 8 - Exalt her, and she shall promote thee. The father here proceeds to point out some of the benefits which follow from the pursuit of Wisdom. Exalt her (sal's'leah); Vulgate, arripe illam; LXX., περιχαράκωσον αὐτὴν; Targum, dilige eam; Syriac, blandire illi; Arabic, circumsepi eam. The Hebrew, sal's'leah, is the pilpel imperative of salal, "to lift up, exalt." It is equivalent to the kal form. The pilpel form only occurs here, but the kal participle is met with in Proverbs 15:19, where it has the meaning of "to raise up as a causeway" (see marginal reading in loc.). Gesenius renders, "exalt her," sc. with praises. The meaning of the verb, as Delitzsch says, is to be determined, by the corresponding "she shall promote thee" (th'rom'mek), and this verb romem is

(1) to raise or make high;

(2) to exalt by bestowing honours upon one of low estate, i.e. raising them in general estimation; it is so used in 1 Samuel 2:7 by Hannah, in her song of thankfulness, "He (Jehovah) bringeth low and lifteth up (m'romem);"

(3) to extol by praises, as in Psalm 30:2. The radical meaning of salal seems to be "to heap up," as a road is prepared by embankments, and by the filling up of inequalities (cf. Isaiah 62:10). In this sense the passage before us is explained by Levi ben Gersom, "Prepare the way of Wisdom, and walk assiduously in it." But the context, wherein the idea of buying is evidently used. favours Bottcher's interpretation, "Hold it or her high in price, bid high for her as a purchaser who makes offer upon offer, to secure what he wants." So Pi, in pretio habe. The LXX. rendering, "Circumvallate her, enclose her with a wall or hedge," which is reproduced in the Arabic, circumsepi eam, "hedge her around," seems out of place with the context. The Talmudists understand the verb as signifying "to examine closely," "to scrutinize, meditate, or reflect" upon Wisdom constantly, just as the Roman, poet says, "Nocturna versate manu, versate diurna" - "We exalt Wisdom when we follow her precepts," i.e. when we esteem her - the idea which is presented to us in the Targum and Syriac cited above. The sentiment of the verse agrees with what Jehovah says in the message of the man of God to Eli, in 1 Samuel 2:30, "Them that honour me I will honour." She shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. The LXX. reverses the order of ideas, "Honour her in order that she may embrace thee." Embrace her; i.e. in a loving and affectionate manner, as a husband does his wife, or a son his mother. (For the verb khavak, see Proverbs 5:20: Song of Solomon 2:6; Song of Solomon 8:3.) There are only three other instances where this verb occurs in the pilel form, khibbek. Esteem and honour, the confidence of others, elevation to offices of trust and consequence, are some of the rewards with which Wisdom repays those who esteem and love her. Others follow in the next verse. He now confirms and explains the command to duty which he has placed at the beginning of the whole (Proverbs 1:8). This he does by his own example, for he relates from the history of his own youth, to the circle of disciples by whom he sees himself surrounded, what good doctrine his parents had taught him regarding the way of life:

1 Hear, ye sons, the instruction of a father,

   And attend that ye may gain understanding;

2 For I give to you good doctrine,

   Forsake not my direction!

3 For I was a son to my father,

   A tender and only (son) in the sight of my mother.

4 And he instructed me, and said to me:

   "Let thine heart hold fast my words:

   Observe my commandments and live!"

That בּנים in the address comes here into the place of בּני, hitherto used, externally denotes that בני in the progress of these discourses finds another application: the poet himself is so addressed by his father. Intentionally he does not say אביכם (cf. Proverbs 1:8): he does not mean the father of each individual among those addressed, but himself, who is a father in his relation to them as his disciples; and as he manifests towards them fatherly love, so also he can lay claim to paternal authority over them. לדעת is rightly vocalized, not לדעת. The words do not give the object of attention, but the design, the aim. The combination of ideas in דּעת בּינה (cf. Proverbs 1:2), which appears to us singular, loses its strangeness when we remember that דעת means, according to its etymon, deposition or reception into the conscience and life. Regarding לקח, apprehension, reception, lesson equals doctrine, vid., Proverbs 1:5. נתתּי is the perf., which denotes as fixed and finished what is just now being done, Gesenius, 126, 4. עזב is here synonym of נטשׁ, Proverbs 1:8, and the contrary of שׁמר, Proverbs 28:4. The relative factum in the perfect, designating the circumstances under which the event happened, regularly precedes the chief factum ויּרני; see under Genesis 1:2. Superficially understood, the expression 3a would be a platitude; the author means that the natural legal relation was also confirming itself as a moral one. It was a relation of many-sided love, according to 3a: he was esteemed of his mother - לפני, used of the reflex in the judgment, Genesis 10:9, and of loving care, Genesis 17:18, means this - as a tender child, and therefore tenderly to be protected (רך as Genesis 33:13), and as an only child, whether he were so in reality, or was only loved as if he were so. יחיד (Aq., Sym., Theod., μονογενής) may with reference to number also mean unice dilectus (lxx ἀγαπώμενος); cf. Genesis 22:2, יחידך (where the lxx translate τὸν ἀγαπητόν, without therefore having ידידך before them). לפני is maintained by all the versions; לבני is not a variant.

(Note: In some editions לבני is noted as Kerı̂ to לפני, but erroneously and contrary to the express evidence of the Masora, which affirms that there are two passages in which we ought to read not לפני, but לבני, viz., Psalm 80:3 and Proverbs 4:3.)

The instruction of the father begins with the jussive, which is pointed יתמך־

(Note: The writing of -יתמך with the grave Metheg (Gaja) and Kametz-Chatuph (ǒ) is that of Ben Asher; on the other hand, יתמך־ with Cholem (ō) and the permanent Metheg is that of Ben Naphtali; vid., Michlol 21a [under the verbal form 25], 30.)


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