New American Standard Bible
I will incline my ear to a proverb; I will express my riddle on the harp.
King James Bible
I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.
Darby Bible Translation
I will incline mine ear to a parable, I will open my riddle upon the harp.
World English Bible
I will incline my ear to a proverb. I will open my riddle on the harp.
Young's Literal Translation
I incline to a simile mine ear, I open with a harp my riddle:
Psalm 49:4 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
I will incline mine ear to a parable - The phrase "I will incline mine ear" means that he would listen or attend to - as we incline our ear toward those whom we are anxious to hear, or in the direction from which a sound seems to come. Compare Psalm 5:1; Psalm 17:1; Psalm 39:12; Isaiah 1:2. On the word rendered "parable" here משׁל mâshâl - see the notes at Isaiah 14:4. Compare Job 13:12, note; Job 27:1, note. The word properly means similitude; then, a sentence, sententious saying, apophthegm; then, a proverb; then, a song or poem. There is usually found in the word some idea of "comparison," and hence, usually something that is to be illustrated "by" a comparison or a story. The reference here would seem to be to some dark or obscure subject which needed to be illustrated; which it was not easy to understand; which had given the writer, as well as others, perplexity and difficulty. He proposed now, with a view to understand and explain it, to place his ear, as it were, "close to the matter," that he might clearly comprehend it. The matter was difficult, but he felt assured he could explain it - as when one unfolds the meaning of an enigma. The "problem" - the "parable" - the difficult point - related to the right use, or the proper value, of wealth, or the estimate in which it should be held by those who possessed it, and by those who did not. It was very evident to the author of the psalm that the views of people were not right on the subject; he therefore proposed to examine the matter carefully, and to state the exact truth.
I will open - I will explain; I will communicate the result of my careful inquiries.
My dark saying - The word used here - חידה chı̂ydâh - is rendered "dark speeches" in Numbers 12:8; "riddle," in Judges 14:12-19; Ezekiel 17:2; "hard questions" in 1 Kings 10:1; 2 Chronicles 9:1; "dark saying" (as here) in Psalm 78:2; Proverbs 1:6; "dark sentences," in Daniel 8:23; and "proverb" in Habakkuk 2:6. It does not elsewhere occur. It means properly "something entangled, intricate;" then, a trick or stratagem; then art intricate speech, a riddle; then, a sententious saying, a maxim; then a parable, a poem, a song, a proverb. The idea here is, that the point was intricate or obscure; it was not well understood, and he purposed "to lay it open," and to make it plain.
Upon the harp - On the meaning of the word used here, see the notes at Isaiah 5:12. The idea here is, that he would accompany the explanation with music, or would so express it that it might be accompanied with music; that is, he would give it a poetic form - a form such that the sentiment might be used in public worship, and might be impressed upon the mind by all the force and power which music would impart. Sentiments of purity and truth, and sentiments of pollution and falsehood also, are always most deeply imbedded in the minds of people, and are made most enduring and effective, when they are connected with music. Thus the sentiments of patriotism are perpetuated and impressed in song; and thus sentiments of sensuality and pollution owe much of their permanence and power to the fact that they are expressed in corrupt verse, and that they are perpetuated in exquisite poetry, and are accompanied with song. Scenes of revelry, as well as acts of devotion, are kept up by song. Religion proposes to take advantage of this principle in our nature by connecting the sentiments of piety with the sweetness of verse, and by impressing and perpetuating those sentiments through associating them with all that is tender, pure, and inspiriting in music. Hence, music, both vocal and that which is produced by instruments, has always been found to be an invaluable auxiliary in securing the proper impression of truth on the minds of people, as well as in giving utterance to the sentiments of piety in devotion.
LibraryThe Lapse of Time.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."--Eccles. ix. 10. Solomon's advice that we should do whatever our hand findeth to do with our might, naturally directs our thoughts to that great work in which all others are included, which will outlive all other works, and for which alone we really are placed here below--the salvation of our souls. And the consideration of this great work, …
John Henry Newman—Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. VII
Sense in Which, and End for which all Things were Delivered to the Incarnate Son.
The Covenant of Works
Question Lxxxi of the virtue of Religion
With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?"
1 Kings 10:1
Now when the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to test him with difficult questions.
2 Kings 3:15
"But now bring me a minstrel." And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.
I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,
To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.
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