Proverbs 6:23
For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(23) For the commandment is a lamp . . .—Comp. Psalm 19:8, and Psalm 119:98-100; Psalm 119:104-105. The servant of God may often feel much perplexity as to his duty, darkness may seem to have settled down upon his path. But there is always some “commandment,” or positive order, about which he can have no doubt, calling for his immediate obedience; there is always some “law,” or rather “instruction” in God’s Word offering itself as his guide; there are always some “reproofs of discipline,” that is, he knows he has certain things to shun, others to follow, for the purpose of self-discipline. It is by following out these parts of his duty that he does know, which are, as it were, a “light shining in a dark place “(2Peter 1:19), that man prepares himself for more light and clearer vision; then God “opens his eyes” that he may “behold wondrous things out of His law” (Psalm 119:18); because he has some knowledge of God’s will and desire to do it, more is given unto him (Matthew 13:12), and his path becomes continually clearer, shining “more and more unto the perfect day” (Proverbs 4:18).

6:20-35 The word of God has something to say to us upon all occasions. Let not faithful reproofs ever make us uneasy. When we consider how much this sin abounds, how heinous adultery is in its own nature, of what evil consequence it is, and how certainly it destroys the spiritual life in the soul, we shall not wonder that the cautions against it are so often repeated. Let us notice the subjects of this chapter. Let us remember Him who willingly became our Surety, when we were strangers and enemies. And shall Christians, who have such prospects, motives, and examples, be slothful and careless? Shall we neglect what is pleasing to God, and what he will graciously reward? May we closely watch every sense by which poison can enter our minds or affections.Compare Psalm 119:105. 23. reproofs—(Pr 1:23) the convictions of error produced by instruction. Is a lamp; it enlightens thy dark mind, and clearly discovers to thee the plain and right way.

Reproofs of instruction; wise and instructive reproofs or admonitions.

The way to life; both to preserve and prolong this life, and to procure eternal life to those that obey them. For the commandment is a lamp,.... The law of God is a lamp or candle to see to work by and to walk by; it enlightens the eyes and directs the feet, and makes working more pleasant, and walking more comfortable; and indeed wit, bout it a man knows not rightly what to do or where he should walk, or where he is walking; see Psalm 119:105;

and the law is light; it makes things clear and manifest, what is right and what is wrong; it enlightens the eyes of the understanding, whereby persons come to see both their sin and their duty; and it directs them to avoid the one and do the other; see Psalm 19:8;

and reproofs of instruction are the way life; kind reproofs given by parents agreeable to the word of God, which instruct what should be shunned and what should be performed, when attended to, put men in the way of an honourable and useful life; and are the means of preserving them from a scandalous and useless one.

For the {k} commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and {l} reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

(k) By the commandment, he means the word of God; and by the instruction, the preaching and declaration of the same, which is committed to the Church.

(l) And reprehensions when the word is preached bring us to life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
23. the commandment … the law] or, their commandmenttheir teaching, R.V. marg. The two renderings are practically the same. See on Proverbs 6:22.

reproofs of instruction] “Light” is not enough: “all effectual instruction for the sinful children of men includes and implies chastening, or as we are accustomed to say, correction:” per molestias eruditio.Verse 23. - For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light. The teacher takes up the words "commandment" (Hebrew, mitzrah) and "law" (Hebrew, torah) from ver. 20, which he describes respectively as "a lamp" and "light" The "commandment" is any special or particular commandment which harmonizes with God's will, and commands what is to be done and forbids what is to be left undone. The "law" is the whole law of God in its entirety; not here the Law of Moses technically, but the whole system of generalized instruction; They stand, therefore, in the same relation to each other as "a lamp" and "light," the one being particular, and the other general. "Light" (Hebrew, or) is light in general, as the light of the day and the sun, while "a lamp" (Hebrew, ner, from nur, "to shine) is a particular light like that of a candle, which is enkindled at some other source. The "commandment" and the "law" alike enlighten the conscience and enable one to walk in his way of life. On this passage Le Clerc remarks, "Ut in tenebris lucerna, aut fax ostendit nobis, qua eundam sit: in ignorantiae humanae caligine, quae nos per hanc totam vitam cingit, revelatio divina nos docet, quid sit faciendum, quid vitandum." So the psalmist says in Psalm 19:8, "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;" and again in Psalm 119:105, "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path;" i.e. they direct and show the true way of faith and life (Gejerus). The "commandment" and the "law" may stand for the whole revelation of God without reference to any particular precept (as Scott), but they have here a specific bearing on a particular form of human conduct, as appears from the following verses. And reproofs of instruction are the way of life. Reproofs of instruction; Hebrew, tok'khoth musar, disciplinary reproofs, i.e. reproofs whose object is the discipline of the soul and the moral elevation of the character. The LXX. reads, καὶ ἔλεγχος καὶ παιδεία; thus connecting it with education in its highest sense. Such reproofs are a way of life (Hebrew, derek khayyim), i.e. they lead to life; they conduce to the prolongation of life. This view of the subject, so prominent in the mind of the teacher in other passages (cf. Proverbs 3:2 and 19), must not be lost sight of, though the words are susceptible of another interpretation, as indicating that the severest reproofs, inasmuch as they correct errors and require obedience, conduce to the greatest happiness (Patrick). Or again, it may mean that disciplinary reproofs are necessary to life. The soul to arrive at perfection must undergo them as part of the conditions of its existence, and, consequently, they are to be submitted to with the consciousness that, however irksome they may be, they are imposed for its eventual benefit (cf. Hebrews 12:5). But this interpretation is unlikely from what follows. What now follows is not a separate section (Hitzig), but the corroborative continuation of that which precedes. The last word (מדנים, strife) before the threatening of punishment, 14b, is also here the last. The thought that no vice is a greater abomination to God than the (in fact satanical) striving to set men at variance who love one another, clothes itself in the form of the numerical proverb which we have already considered, pp. 12, 13. From that place we transfer the translation of this example of a Midda: -

16 There are six things which Jahve hateth,

     And seven are an abhorrence to His soul:

17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

     And hands that shed innocent blood;

18 An heart that deviseth the thoughts of evil,

     Feet that hastily run to wickedness,

19 One that uttereth lies as a false witness,

     And he who soweth strife between brethren.

The sense is not, that the six things are hateful to God, and the seventh an abomination to Him besides (Lwenstein); the Midda-form in Amos 1:3-2:6, and in the proverb in Job 5:19, shows that the seven are to be numbered separately, and the seventh is the non plus ultra of all that is hated by God. We are not to translate: sex haecce odit, for המּה, הנּה, (הם, הן) points backwards and hitherwards, but not, as אלּה, forwards to that immediately following; in that case the words would be שׁשׁ אלה, or more correctly האלה שׁשׁ. But also Hitzig's explanation, "These six things (viz., Proverbs 6:12-15) Jahve hateth," is impossible; for (which is also against that haecce) the substantive pronoun המה nuonorp , הנה (ההמה, ההנה) is never, like the Chald. המּון (המּו), employed as an accus. in the sense of אתהם, אתהן, it is always (except where it is the virtual gen. connected with a preposition) only the nom., whether of the subject or of the predicate; and where it is the nom. of the predicate, as Deuteronomy 20:15; Isaiah 51:19, substantival clauses precede in which הנה (המה) represents the substantive verb, or, more correctly, in which the logical copula resulting from the connection of the clause itself remains unexpressed. Accordingly, 'שׂנא ה is a relative clause, and is therefore so accentuated here, as at Proverbs 30:15 and elsewhere: sex (sunt) ea quae Deus odit, et septem (sunt) abominatio animae ejus. Regarding the statement that the soul of God hates anything, vid., at Isaiah 1:14. תועבות, an error in the writing occasioned by the numeral (vid., Proverbs 26:25), is properly corrected by the Kerı̂; the poet had certainly the singular in view, as Proverbs 3:32; Proverbs 11:1, when he wrote תועבת. The first three characteristics are related to each other as mental, verbal, actual, denoted by the members of the body by means of which these characteristics come to light. The virtues are taken all together as a body (organism), and meekness is its head. Therefore there stands above all, as the sin of sins, the mentis elatae tumor, which expresses itself in elatum (grande) supercilium: עינים רמות, the feature of the רם, haughty (cf. Psalm 18:28 with 2 Samuel 22:28), is the opposite of the feature of the שׁח עינים, Job 22:29; עין is in the O.T. almost always (vid., Sol 4:9) fem., and adjectives of course form no dual. The second of these characteristics is the lying tongue, and the third the murderous hands. דּם־נקי is innocent blood as distinguished from דּם הנּקי, the blood of the innocent, Deuteronomy 19:13.

(Note: The writing דּם follows the Masoretic rule, vid., Kimchi, Michlol 205b, and Heidenheim under Deuteronomy 19:10, where in printed editions of the text (also in Norzi's) the irregular form דּם נקי is found. Besides, the Metheg is to be given to דּם־, so that one may not read it dom, as e.g., שׁשׁ־מאות, Genesis 7:11, that one may not read it שׁשׁ־.)

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