Proverbs 16:16
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

King James Bible
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!

American Standard Version
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! Yea, to get understanding is rather to be chosen than silver.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Get wisdom, because it is better than gold: and purchase prudence, for it is more precious than silver.

English Revised Version
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! yea, to get understanding is rather to be chosen than silver.

Webster's Bible Translation
How much better is it to get wisdom than gold? and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver?

Proverbs 16:16 Parallel
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

10 Oracular decision (belongeth) to the lips of the king;

     In the judgment his mouth should not err.

The first line is a noun clause: קסם, as subject, thus needs a distinctive accent, and that is here, after the rule of the sequence of accents, and manuscript authority (vid., Torath Emeth, p. 49), not Mehuppach legarme, as in our printed copies, but Dechi (קסם). Jerome's translation: Divinatio in labiis regis, in judicio non errabit os ejus, and yet more Luther's: "his mouth fails not in judgment," makes it appear as if the proverb meant that the king, in his official duties, was infallible; and Hitzig (Zckler agreeing), indeed, finds here expressed the infallibility of the theocratic king, and that as an actual testimony to be believed, not only is a mere political fiction, like the phrase, "the king can do no wrong." But while this political fiction is not strange even to the Israelitish law, according to which the king could not be brought before the judgment, that testimony is only a pure imagination. For as little as the N.T. teaches that the Pope, as the legitimate vicarius of Christ, is infallible, cum ex cathedra docet, so little does the O.T. that the theocratic king, who indeed was the legitimate vicarius Dei, was infallible in judicio ferendo. Yet Ewald maintains that the proverb teaches that the word of the king, when on the seat of justice, is an infallible oracle; but it dates from the first bright period of the strong uncorrupted kingdom in Israel. One may not forget, says Dchsel also, with von Gerlach, that these proverbs belong to the time of Solomon, before it had given to the throne sons of David who did evil before the Lord. Then it would fare ill for the truth of the proverb - the course of history would falsify it. But in fact this was never maintained in Israel. Of the idolizing flattering language in which, at the present day, rulers in the East are addressed, not a trace is found in the O.T. The kings were restrained by objective law and the recognised rights of the people. David showed, not merely to those who were about him, but also to the people at large, so many human weaknesses, that he certainly appeared by no means infallible; and Solomon distinguished himself, it is true, by rare kingly wisdom, but when he surrounded himself with the glory of an oriental potentate, and when Rehoboam began to assume the tone of a despot, there arose an unhallowed breach between the theocratic kingdom and the greatest portion of the people. The proverb, as Hitzig translates and expounds it: "a divine utterance rests on the lips of the king; in giving judgment his mouth deceives not," is both historically and dogmatically impossible. The choice of the word קסם (from קסם, R. קש קם, to make fast, to take an oath, to confirm by an oath, incantare, vid., at Isaiah 3:2), which does not mean prediction (Luther), but speaking the truth, shows that 10a expresses, not what falls from the lips of the king in itself, but according to the judgment of the people: the people are wont to regard the utterances of the king as oracular, as they shouted in the circus at Caesarea of King Agrippa, designating his words as θεοῦ φωνὴ καὶ οὐκ ἀνθρώπων (Acts 12:22). Hence 10b supplies an earnest warning to the king, viz., that his mouth should not offend against righteousness, nor withhold it. לא ימעל is meant as warning (Umbreit, Bertheau), like לא תבא, Proverbs 22:24, and ב in מעל is here, as always, that of the object; at least this is more probable than that מעל stands without object, which is possible, and that ב designates the situation.

Proverbs 16:16 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Proverbs 3:15-18 She is more precious than rubies: and all the things you can desire are not to be compared to her...

Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all your getting get understanding.

Proverbs 8:10,11,19 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold...

Job 28:13 Man knows not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.

Psalm 119:127 Therefore I love your commandments above gold; yes, above fine gold.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 For wisdom is a defense, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom gives life to them that have it.

Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Luke 12:21 So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Cross References
Job 28:15
It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price.

Job 28:17
Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.

Proverbs 3:14
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.

Proverbs 4:5
Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 8:10
Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold,

Proverbs 8:19
My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.

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