Proverbs 9:12
If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Thou shalt be wise for thyself—i.e., to thine own benefit. (Comp. 1Corinthians 3:8.)

Thou alone shalt bear it—i.e., its penalty. (Comp. Galatians 6:5.)

9:1-12 Christ has prepared ordinances to which his people are admitted, and by which nourishment is given here to those that believe in him, as well as mansions in heaven hereafter. The ministers of the gospel go forth to invite the guests. The call is general, and shuts out none that do not shut out themselves. Our Saviour came, not to call the righteous, but sinners; not the wise in their own eyes, who say they see. We must keep from the company and foolish pleasures of the ungodly, or we never can enjoy the pleasures of a holy life. It is vain to seek the company of wicked men in the hope of doing them good; we are far more likely to be corrupted by them. It is not enough to forsake the foolish, we must join those that walk in wisdom. There is no true wisdom but in the way of religion, no true life but in the end of that way. Here is the happiness of those that embrace it. A man cannot be profitable to God; it is for our own good. Observe the shame and ruin of those who slight it. God is not the Author of sin: and Satan can only tempt, he cannot force. Thou shalt bear the loss of that which thou scornest: it will add to thy condemnation.The great law of personal retribution (compare Matthew 7:2). The Septuagint makes a curious addition to this verse, "My son, if thou wilt be wise for thyself, thou shalt be wise also for thy neighbors; but if thou turn out evil, thou alone shalt bear evil. He who resteth on lies shall guide the winds, and the same shall hunt after winged birds, for he hath left the ways of his own vineyard, and has gone astray with the wheels of his own husbandry. He goeth through a wilderness without water, and over a land set in thirsty places, and with his hands he gathereth barrenness." 12. You are mainly concerned in your own conduct. Thou shalt be wise for thyself; thou dost not profit me, but thyself by it; I advise thee for thine own good.

Thou alone shalt bear it; the blame and mischief of it falls wholly upon thee, not upon me, or my word, or ministers who have warned thee.

If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself,.... He is wise that harkens to Wisdom's advice, that obeys her call, turns in to her house, and becomes her guest; and such an one is wise for himself, it is for his own good, profit, and advantage; for the good of his soul, for his present peace and comfort, and for his future bliss and happiness. It is not for her own sake that Wisdom presses her exhortations, and is so urgent on men to take her counsel and advice; it is for their own good; their wisdom is not profitable to her, but to themselves; they, and they only, reap the advantage and usefulness of it; see Job 22:2. The Syriac and Arabic versions add, "and unto thy friends"; and the Septuagint version is, "if thou becomest wise to thyself, thou wilt be wise to neighbours"; they will receive some profit by it;

but if thou scornest, thou alone shall bear it; the evil, as the Vulgate Latin; the sin of scorning, and the punishment due unto it; it will bring no real hurt to Wisdom, or Christ, nor to his ministers, nor to his Gospel and ordinances, scoffed at; all the hurt will redound to the scoffer himself; and he alone shall bear it, and feel the smart of it, and all the dreadful consequences following upon it. The Septuagint version here adds the following clause,

"he that trusteth in lies, he feedeth on winds; the same pursues birds flying; for he forsakes the ways of his own vineyard; he wanders from the paths of his own husbandry; he passes through a desert without water, and a land destined to thirst, and he gathers unfruitfulness with his hands;''

and which are retained in the Syriac and Arabic version, but are not in the Hebrew text.

If thou art wise, thou shalt be wise for {k} thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

(k) You will have the chief profit and convenience of it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. shalt be] Rather, art. R.V.

The LXX. version of this verse is interesting, and represents perhaps a fuller Hebrew text:

“My son, if thou be wise to thyself, thou shalt be wise to thy neighbours also;

But if thou turn out evil, thou alone shalt bear (lit. drain) the evil.

Whoso stayeth himself upon lies, he tendeth the winds;

And he will follow after birds on the wing.

For he hath forsaken the ways of his vineyard, and gone astray in the paths of his field;

For he walketh through a desert without water, and over a land that is set in thirsty places;

And with his hands he gathereth that which is without fruit.”

Verse 12. - If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself. A transition verse. Wisdom will bring thee good; as thou hast laboured well, so will be thy reward (1 Corinthians 3:8). The LXX. (Syriac and Arabic), with the idea of perfecting the antithesis, adds, καὶ τοῖς πλησίον, "My son, if thou art wise for thyself, thou shalt be wise also for thy neighbours" - which contains the great truth that good gifts should not be selfishly enjoyed, but used and dispensed for the advantage of others (Galatians 6:6). In support of our text we may quote Job 22:2, "Can a man be profitable unto God? Surely he that is wise is profitable unto himself." But if thou scornest, thou alone shalt hear it; i.e. atone for it, bear the sin, as it is expressed in Numbers 9:13, "Forevery man shall bear his own burden" (Galatians 6:5). Thus Wisdom ends her exhortation. Septuagint, "If thou turn out evil, thou alone shalt bear (ἀντλήσεις) evils." And then is added the following paragraph, which may possibly be derived from a Hebrew original, but seems more like a congeries made up from other passages, and foisted by some means into the Greek text: "He that stayeth himself on lies shepherdeth winds, and himself pursueth flying birds; for he hath left the ways of his own vineyard, and hath gone astray with the wheels of his own husbandry; and he goeth through a waterless desert, and over a land set in thirsty places, and with his hands he gathereth unfruitfulness." Proverbs 9:12This wisdom, resting on the fear of God, is itself a blessing to the wise:

"If thou art wise, thou art wise for thyself;

And if thou mockest, thou alone shalt bear it."

The lxx, with the Syr., mangle the thought of 12a, for they translate: if thou art wise for thyself, so also thou wilt be wise for thy neighbour. The dat. commodi לך means that it is for the personal advantage of the wise to be wise. The contrast expressed by Job 22:2.: not profitable to God, but to thyself (Hitzig), is scarcely intended, although, so far as the accentuation is antithetic, it is the nearest. The perf. ולצתּ is the hypothetical; Gesen. 126, 1. To bear anything, viz., anything sinful (חטא or עון), is equivalent to, to atone for it, Job 34:2, cf. Numbers 9:13; Ezekiel 23:35. Also 12b is a contrast scarcely aimed at. Wisdom is its own profit to man; libertinism is its own disgrace. Man decides, whenever he prefers to be wise, or to be a mocker of religion and of virtue, regarding his own weal and woe. With this nota bene the discourse of Wisdom closes.

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