Proverbs 8:10
Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
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8:1-11 The will of God is made known by the works of creation, and by the consciences of men, but more clearly by Moses and the prophets. The chief difficulty is to get men to attend to instruction. Yet attention to the words of Christ, will guide the most ignorant into saving knowledge of the truth. Where there is an understanding heart, and willingness to receive the truth in love, wisdom is valued above silver and gold.Words of the ideal Wisdom, which find their highest fulfillment in that of the Incarnate Word. Compare Luke 4:22; Matthew 11:19. 10. not silver—preferable to it, so last clause implies comparison. And not silver, i.e. rather than silver, as such negative expressions are understood, Genesis 45:8 Exodus 16:8 Jeremiah 7:22 16:14,15, and in many other places. Though withal he seems to intimate the inconsistency of these two studies and designs, and the great hinderance which the love of riches gives to the study of wisdom. Receive my instruction, and not silver,.... Not but that silver may be desired, sought after and received, consistent with the instructions of wisdom; though an anxious, immoderate, sinful pursuit after it, hinders the reception of them; and when they are in competition, the one is to be preferred to the other: the doctrines of the Gospel are of more worth, and more to be desired, than thousands of gold and silver; and therefore the meaning is, that the instruction of wisdom should be received rather than silver; it should have the preference; so Gersom interprets it, and with which agrees the following clause:

and knowledge rather than choice gold; that is, the knowledge of Christ, and the knowledge of God in Christ; the knowledge of the Gospel, and the truths of it; a spiritual and experimental knowledge of these things is of more value than the finest gold, than the gold of Ophir; see Psalm 19:10.

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
Verse 10. - Receive my instruction, and not silver; i.e. acquire wisdom rather than silver, if ever the choice is yours. And knowledge rather than choice gold (comp. ver. 19; Proverbs 3:140. (For "knowledge," daath, see on Proverbs 2:10.) The comparison is implied rather than expressed in the first clause, while it is made clear in the second. Thus Hosea 6:6, "I desired mercy, and not sacrifice," the second matter mentioned being, not necessarily of no importance, but always in such cases of inferior importance to the other. We may quote Horace's complaint of the worldliness of his countrymen, a marked contrast to the inspired counsel of Proverbs ('Epist.,' 1:1, 52) -

"Villus argentum est auro, virtutibus aurum.
O cives, cives! quaerenda pecunia primum est,
Virtus post nummos."
Now begins the discourse. The exordium summons general attention to it with the emphasis of its absolute truth:

4 "To you, ye men, is my discourse addressed,

   And my call is to the children of men!

5 Apprehend, O ye simple ones, what wisdom is;

   And, ye fools what understanding is.

6 Hear, for I will speak princely things,

   And the opening of my lips is upright.

7 For my mouth uttereth truth,

   And a wicked thing is an abomination to my lips.

8 The utterances of my mouth are in rectitude,

   There is nothing crooked or perverse in them.

9 To the men of understanding they are all to the point,

   And plain to those who have attained knowledge."

Hitzig rejects this section, Proverbs 8:4-12, as he does several others in chap. 8 and 9, as spurious. But if this preamble, which reminds us of Elihu, is not according to every one's taste, yet in respect of the circle of conception and thought, as well as of the varying development of certain fundamental thoughts, it is altogether after the manner of the poet. The terminology is one that is strange to us; the translation of it is therefore difficult; that which is given above strives at least not to be so bad as to bring discredit on the poet. The tautology and flatness of Proverbs 8:4 disappears when one understands אישׁים and בּני אדם like the Attic ἄνδρες and ἄνθρωποι; vid., under Isaiah 2:9; Isaiah 53:3 (where אישׁים, as here and Psalm 141:4, is equivalent to בּני אישׁ, Psalm 49:3; Psalm 4:3). Wisdom turns herself with her discourses to high and low, to persons of standing and to the proletariat. The verbal clause 4a interchanges with a noun clause 4b, as frequently a preposition with its noun (e.g., Proverbs 8:8) completes the whole predicate of a semistich (Fl.).

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