Proverbs 8:8-14, 17-21
SS Lesson for 06/21/2020
Devotional Scripture: Prov 4:5-9
My father passed away several years ago, my mother in December of 2015, and my older sister in the summer of 2017. My sister's passing left me to serve as executor of my parents' estate. My wife and I handled the sale of Dad and Mom's house, which closed title in May of 2018. About a month later, we closed the estate by distributing to the designated family members the money that remained in Mom's account. While I appreciate what Dad and Mom were able to do to provide for their children financially, that is not the most valuable legacy that they left us. Both of them were faithful Christians who regularly took us to Sunday school and church. They taught us the wisdom that the book of Proverbs calls its readers to obtain and cherish; they were conscientious of the importance of laying up treasures in Heaven. My parents stewarded both physical and spiritual wealth well. However, others are not so wise. Many are extraordinarily rich in the things that will not last and exceedingly poor in eternal wealth. How do we invest in the riches that come only through the pursuit of godly wisdom?
Wisdom was highly valued in the ancient Near East. Most nations had wise men who held high rank in government because of their skill (examples: Exodus 7:11; 1 Kings 4:30, 31, 34; Jeremiah 18:18; Daniel 1:19, 20). The Old Testament mentions wise women as well (examples: 2 Samuel 14:2; 20:16). The people who filled these positions in government and society were considered exceptional in wisdom. Wisdom such as that found within the book of Proverbs is not limited to a specialized class of people. It is intended for everyone to live by and practice, regardless of their social status. Proverbs describes four animals that are said to be “exceeding wise” (Proverbs 30:24-28). These are not exceedingly brainy creatures, but they do have skills in practical areas of living that help them survive and thrive. The wisdom God has provided in Scripture helps us do the same. Thus, wisdom is far more than intellectual prowess. This practical knowledge guides as we navigate through life in this broken, sinful world—by instructing us how to act, speak, and respond in a wide variety of situations. Today's lesson from Proverbs continues the appeal to follow the path of wisdom that is grounded in the fear of the Lord. The principles are found in the introductory nine chapters of the book. In these chapters, Wisdom is personified thrice as a woman and pictured as making her own appeal (see Proverbs 1:20-22; 8:4-36; 9:4-6). Wisdom's foil is the seductive woman who can be referred to as Folly, whose tempting words lead to disaster. Wisdom is described again as calling out and raising her voice (Proverbs 8:1; see 1:22-33). And as was the case in Proverbs 1:21, Wisdom is positioned at prominent, public locations so that her cry cannot be missed (8:2, 3).
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; 11 For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
8:1. Wisdom’s public invitation begins with two rhetorical questions (v. 1). The adulteress went out in the streets (7:8-12) to seduce the young man. But wisdom, like a virtuous woman, is seen in the streets offering her services to all who will receive them (cf. her calling aloud in 1:20-22). The lack of virtue that characterized the adulteress is contrasted with wisdom’s sterling attributes. Whereas the seductress’ ways are secretive and deceptive, wisdom’s ways are open and honest. One who succumbs to the adulteress finds shame and death, but wisdom’s followers acquire prudence for wise living.
8:2-3. Wisdom’s call is made where she can be heard and where people traverse: hilltops, the way, intersections, the gates (where court cases were heard and business was conducted) and the entrances.
8:4-5. From verses 4-31 wisdom (I) speaks. She invites all mankind; wisdom is available to anyone. But specifically she calls to the simple (pet̠ see 1:4) and the foolish (keŝl; see 1:22)—those most in need of her and more likely to ignore her invitation. Both the adulteress and wisdom appeal to the naive. Wisdom urges the simple to gain prudence (ʿormâh; see 1:4; cf. 8:12), a sensibleness in one’s approach to life, cleverness in a good sense. And fools are urged to gain understanding (cf. 1:2, 6), insight, or sharp discernment
8:6-9. In verses 6-11 the straightforwardness and integrity of wisdom are presented. The young men being taught by Solomon should listen to wisdom (v. 6, the exhortation) because what she says is right (vv. 7-9, the reason). The young should choose wisdom (v. 10, the exhortation) because of its great value (v. 11, the reason). Wisdom speaks: lips (v. 6b), mouth (v. 7a), lips (v. 7b), and mouth (v. 8a) are referred to alternately. And her words are worthy (lit., “noble or princely”) things. This word could also be translated “valid” as in 2 Samuel 15:3 or “right” as in Isaiah 30:10. The idea is that wisdom’s words correspond to reality; therefore they are right (“upright or straight”; trans. “faultless” in Prov. 8:9), true, and just (cf. 1:3; 8:15, 20). Therefore none of wisdom’s words are crooked (“twisted”) or perverse (ʿiqqēš; see 2:15). They also point in the right direction. People with insight (8:9) know that what wisdom offers is right “straightforward or honest”), and people “in the know” find wisdom’s words faultless (lit., “upright or straight”; trans. “right” in v. 6).
8:10-11. Wisdom urges people to receive her instruction and knowledge rather than silver... choice gold (ḥārûṣ, pure, refined gold; called “fine gold” in v. 19), or rubies (cf. 3:13-15). The idea that wisdom’s value exceeds material wealth is expounded in 8:18-21, which states that wisdom provides what is needed to gain and appreciate wealth. Also wisdom contributes to a person’s integrity and peace, something silver, gold, and rubies cannot do. And in Proverbs those qualities are of greater value than anything one can buy.
8:12-13. If a person has wisdom he also has prudence (see 1:4; cf. 8:5), knowledge, and discretion. All three of these nouns are in 1:4. Some scholars say 8:13 disrupts the flow of thought between verses 12 and 14. However, verse 13 is a reminder that sensible, discreet living (v. 12) is not associated in any way with the vices mentioned in verse 13. Verse 13 shows that wisdom is moral as well as mental. One who fears the Lord (see 1:7) and therefore is wise will hate (reject) evil (cf. 3:7; 14:16; 16:6, Ps. 97:10), pride . . .arrogance, evil behavior, and perverse talk. The word for perverse” (tahpūk̠âh) is used eight times in Proverbs (cf. 2:12).
8:14-16. Wisdom enables people to give wise counsel and sound judgment, and to have understanding (insight) and power (i.e., valor). Wisdom makes a person courageous like a soldier of valor. Kings... rulers... princes, and nobles who rule well do so by God’s wisdom; they make laws that are just. The fact that many of Israel’s and Judah’s kings and her neighbors did not make fair laws shows that they lacked God’s wisdom.
8:17-18. Wisdom, available to all, is acquired only by those who love her (cf. v. 21; 4:6) and seek her (cf. 2:1-4). Those who are wise receive riches and honor (cf. 3:16), enduring wealth (cf. 8:21; 14:24; 15:6; 22:4), and prosperity. “Enduring” is literally “surpassing” or “eminent.” The riches that come to the possessor of wisdom are genuine, not artificial substitutes purchased with silver or gold. Being honored in a community is a product of one’s walk (conduct) rather than one’s wealth by itself. “Prosperity” is literally “righteousness” (cf. v. 20). Godly living is the major benefit from having wisdom.
8:19-21. The word yield (v. 19) is a term used in the marketplace; the verb focuses attention on wisdom’s ability to produce benefits far superior to what fine gold (ḥārûṣ; cf. v. 10) and silver provide. Wisdom goes with righteousness and justice (cf. v. 8). The form of the Hebrew verb walk conveys the idea of walking steadily or continuously. (On the distinction between righteousness and justice see Amos 5:7.) As in many places in Proverbs, way(s) and paths are used synonymously (see Prov. 2:13). As stated in 8:18, those who love (cf. v. 17) and acquire wisdom gain wealth (cf. 3:16; 14:24; 15:6; 22:4). Like many statements in Proverbs, this one is a generalization to which exceptions should be noted. Material substance is replenishable (keeping one’s treasuries full) because of the skill a wise person has to maintain it.
8 All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; nothing crooked or perverse is in them.
9 They are all plain to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.
10 Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold;
11 For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.
12 "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.
14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength.
22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?
24 One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. 25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.
18 Riches and honor are with me, Enduring riches and righteousness.
19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold, and my revenue than choice silver.
20 I traverse the way of righteousness, In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth, that I may fill their treasuries.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God's holy apostles and prophets.
27 May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, "The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant."
12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green,
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
11 God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day.
14 For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance. 15 Judgment will again be founded on righteousness, and all the upright in heart will follow it.
25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
5 All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. 6 God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you
INTRODUCTION TO PROVERBS 8
This chapter contains the instructions of Wisdom or Christ; showing the excellency of them, and the author of them, in opposition to the harlot and her allurements, in the preceding chapter. Christ, under the name of Wisdom, is represented as an herald, publishing the Gospel in the ministry of the word, either in person or by his servants, Proverbs 8:1. The places where this proclamation is made are described, Proverbs 8:2; the persons to whom, Proverbs 8:4. The excellency of the things delivered, being right things; truth, agreeably to the word of God, plain and easy to be understood, and of more worth than gold, silver, and precious stones, Proverbs 8:6. And then Wisdom, or Christ, is commended and recommended by his consummate prudence and knowledge, by his hatred of evil, and by his influence on the political affairs of kings and princes, Proverbs 8:12; and the advantages of those that are early seekers of him are pointed out; their enjoyment of his favour, of his riches, honour and righteousness; and their being led by him in right paths now, and inheriting eternal glory hereafter, Proverbs 8:17. And next follows an account of his existence from eternity as a divine Person, illustrated by a variety of phrases, Proverbs 8:22; and of his being with the Father; of his great affection for him, and complacency in him; and of Christ's wonderful delight and pleasure in the sons of men, Proverbs 8:30. And the chapter is concluded with an exhortation to them to hearken to his instructions; setting forth the happiness of those that wait on him in public ordinances, and find him; and the misery of those that hate and reject him.
Doth not wisdom cry?.... Christ, who is the Wisdom of God; See Gill on Proverbs 1:20; and which clearly appears from his subsistence with the Father, his eternal existence, and from many personal properties, characters, and actions ascribed to him throughout the whole of this chapter, and in the following. "Crying" is here attributed to him, which signifies proclaiming, publishing, preaching the everlasting Gospel, which directs men in the right way of enjoying peace, comfort, honour, and eternal happiness; the allusion is to an herald that this up his voice aloud at noon day in the public streets when he proclaims; and is opposed to the whispers of a harlot, at night, in a corner; truth seeks no corner, its voice is heard at noon day, it will bear the light. Now, "does not" or "shall not Wisdom cry", or Christ preach; verily he does or will, in his word, by his prophets under the former dispensation; in his own person, and by his apostles and ministers, under the present; who then would hearken to the alluring voice of a harlot, or hear Jezebel the wicked prophetess teach, when Christ himself preaches, or however by his faithful ministers? and understanding put forth her voice? the same with Wisdom, or Christ, see Proverbs 8:14; by whose voice the Gospel is meant, which is the voice of Christ, which is heard and followed by the sheep of Christ, and not the voice of a stranger; and "putting it forth", giving or uttering it, signifies the publication of it.
She standeth in the top of high places,.... To be both seen and heard, for which reason Christ went up into a mountain and preached, Matthew 5:1; by the way; the roadside, to instruct and direct passengers as they go along, to show them the right way, and caution them against taking wrong ways; so did Christ, Matthew 16:6; in the places of the paths; or, "between the paths"F19; where more ways than one met together, and so difficult to know which was the right path to take; here Christ stands in the ministry of the word to direct, and says, "this is the way, walk ye in it", Isaiah 30:21; and as there are many ways which are proposed to men to walk in, some of open profaneness and impiety, and others that have a show of religion and devotion, but both lead men wrong; the ministers of Christ show, and he by them, the way of salvation, and how to avoid such as lead to destruction, Acts 16:17.
She crieth at the gates,.... Of the temple, or of the city, where the courts of judicature were, and persons met on civil accounts; and where people were continually passing and repassing; at the entry of the city; meeting those that came out of the country to the city upon trade and business; at the coming in at the doors; of the temple, or city, or private houses; all these expressions denote the publicness of the Gospel ministry, both by Christ himself, who spake openly to the world, always taught in the synagogues and temple, and in secret said nothing; and who ordered his disciples to preach what they heard and received from him upon the house tops, John 18:20; so did the Apostle Paul, Acts 20:20.
Unto you, O men, I call,.... Not angels, the fallen angels; for, as they had nothing to do with Christ, he had nothing to do with them, or say unto them, Matthew 8:29; nor the brutes, irrational creatures; for, though the Gospel is to be preached to every creature, yet only to rational ones, Mark 16:15, "men", whom God has loved and Christ has redeemed; these are by the Gospel called, and called effectually. There are some men indeed who are only externally called; but there are others who are also called with an holy calling, of which See Gill on Proverbs 1:24. Some think men of eminence are here meant, as rich men, so Aben Ezra; or men of wisdom and knowledge, such as the Scribes and Pharisees, and learned doctors among the Jews; but it rather seems to design men indefinitely, of whatsoever rank or order, state or condition; and my voice is to the sons of men; which some interpret of the poor, as Aben Ezra; or those who are more illiterate, or the common people; so that high and low, rich and poor, have the Gospel preached unto them; but the phrase seems to intend the same as before, the same thing is said in different words.
O ye simple, understand wisdom,.... The Gospel, the wisdom of God in a mystery, particularly the doctrine of salvation by Christ; it is the highest wisdom to know Christ and him crucified: and they are "the simple" who are weak and easy to be imposed upon, who are here called unto; and generally speaking such are they to whom the mysteries of grace are made known, while they are hid from the wise and prudent; and ye fools, be of an understanding heart; or "cause the heart to understand"; or "get an understanding heart"F20; make use of all means to get spiritual wisdom and understanding; all men, let them be what they will in other respects, are fools as to a spiritual and experimental knowledge of divine things; and that man can only be said to have truly an understanding heart that knows his own folly, the plague of his heart, his need of Christ, the worth of him; and has an understanding given him to know him and his interest in him.
Hear; for I will speak of excellent things,.... Such are the things of the Gospel; they not only excel what the light of nature dictates and directs to, but even what the law of Moses commands and requires; the doctrines of the Gospel are excellent in their author, nature, and use; particularly those which respect the love, grace, and mercy of God, the person and offices of Christ, the efficacy of his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, and the great salvation which he has wrought out. These are the doctrines of grace which proceed out of Wisdom's mouth, and are such as never man spake the like; they are to be approved of, being what differ from others, and to be preferred unto them, Philemon 1:9; or "princely things"F21, as the word may be rendered; which became him who is the Prince of the kings of the earth, and the Prince of peace to speak; and are worthy to be received by princes, though little known and valued by the princes of this world; and are embraced and, esteemed by those who are the princes of the Lord s people: or they are "principal" ones, or "leading" truthsF23; of the greatest importance, interesting ones; "praiseworthy", as Aben Ezra, or "honourable", as Gersom, and to be had in the highest esteem and veneration; and the opening of my lips shall be right things: agreeable to right reason, though above it; consonant to the righteous law of God, and even to the perfection of God's righteousness, which is greatly glorified by the obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ, and redemption through him; and these are the excellent and principal doctrines of the Gospel, even justification by Christ's righteousness, atonement by his sacrifice, and redemption through his blood; all which are consistent with and greatly display the justice of God: nor are any of the doctrines of the Gospel licentious ones, but on the contrary teach men to live soberly and righteously; as well as they are plain and easy to such who are conversant with them, as is often expressed, and may be the sense of the word here used also.
For my mouth shall speak truth,.... And nothing but the truth; and nothing more or less can be spoken by Wisdom, or Christ, who is truth itself; nothing else can come out of his mouth, or drop from his lips; all the doctrines of Christ are agreeable to the Scriptures of truth, and are what the Spirit of truth leads into; and the whole is called "the word of truth": there are many very particular and special truths, but the principal one is salvation by Jesus Christ; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips; the sin of lying more especially, as opposed to truth; this is detestable to wisdom, what Christ never suffered his lips to utter; for no lie is of the truth, but of Satan the father of lies; and, as it is abhorred by Christ, it ought to be by all good men.
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness,.... Or "with righteousness"F24; are connected with it, are agreeable to it; are righteous ones, consistent with righteousness, with the righteous nature, will, and law of God: or "are concerning righteousness"F25 the necessity of righteousness in order to eternal life; the insufficiency of man's own righteousness to entitle to it; the need, worth, and excellency of the righteousness of Christ for that purpose; and of the propriety and usefulness of a life of righteousness and holiness, which the grace of God instructs men in; there is nothing froward or perverse in them; that is contrary to right reason, or to the law of God, or to the Scriptures of truth, or to the analogy of faith; nor is there any contradiction in the doctrines of the Gospel one to another, but an entire harmony and uniformity in them; they are not "yea" and "nay".
They are all plain to him that understandeth,.... Whose understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of God; who is a spiritual man, that has a discerning, and can judge of spiritual things: as for the carnal man, let him have what natural knowledge or wisdom he will, he cannot know these things; for they are spiritually discerned, and can only be discerned by spiritual men. The Bible is a sealed book to others, learned or unlearned; the mysteries or doctrines of the Gospel are hid in parables from such; but those to whom Christ has given an understanding to know him, these know them, and they are plain unto them: for though there are some things hard to he understood in the Scriptures, as in Paul's epistles, and some sublime truths in the Gospel; yet those which are necessary to salvation are easily understood; that faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save the chief of sinners, is a very plain one; and right to them that find knowledge; a spiritual and experimental knowledge of Christ and his truths. The Targum is, "to them who desire knowledge;' and so the Syriac version; that seek for it heartily and diligently, in a right way, in the use of proper means, under the direction and by the assistance of the Spirit of God.
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.
For wisdom is better than rubies,.... A sort of precious stones: or, "than precious stones"F26 in general; so the Targum and Septuagint, Arabic and Syriac versions; even than all of them, as the Vulgate Latin version; or, than "pearls"F1, or "carbuncles"F2: there are none equal to it, nor is it to be procured by them; see Job 28:16; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it; See Gill on Proverbs 3:15.
I Wisdom dwell with Prudence,.... Here Wisdom begins to speak in her own person, and continues to do so unto the end of the chapter; or Christ describes himself, pencils out and draws his own picture, and a most lovely one it is. In this clause Christ is described by the habitation in which he dwells, "I Wisdom inhabit Prudence"F3; so the words may be rendered; that is the house in which I dwell: or by his companion with whom he dwells, "with Prudence"; that is my companion with whom I am familiarly conversant. The phrase, taken both ways, shows that Christ is very largely, yea, fully possessed of prudence; as a man that dwells in a house is the proprietor and possessor of it, so prudence is Christ's; it belongs to him, he enjoys it; he dwells in prudence, and prudence dwells in him; all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in him, and the Spirit of wisdom rests upon him: and also it shows that prudence is natural to him, and not adventitious; it does not come from abroad, nor does he go abroad for it; he and Prudence are as it were born and brought up together in one and the same house: and likewise that there is an intimacy and familiarity between them; Prudence is most present with Christ, is always near him, and ready at hand to be exercised by him; as it was when he was incarnate on earth; he "dealt prudently", as it was prophesied he should, Isaiah 52:13; which appeared in his disputation with the doctors in the temple at twelve years of age; by his prudent answers to the ensnaring questions of his enemies; and throughout the whole of his ministry, both as to the manner and matter of it and particularly at the time of his seizure, arraignment, trial, and crucifixion. Or by "prudence" may be meant prudent men, such as are possessed of this quality or virtue, and with such Wisdom, or Christ, dwells; not with the wise and prudent of this world; nor with such who are so in their own conceit; but with such who are sensible of their folly; who are humbled under a sense of sin, and are made wise unto salvation; who believe in Christ, which is a point of the highest prudence; and who walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise; such as these have the presence and company of Christ; and find out knowledge of witty inventions; the word מזמות is sometimes used in an ill sense, and is rendered "wicked devices", Proverbs 12:2; and may be taken in this sense here. Christ, who is God omniscient, knows all that is in the hearts of men; all their thoughts, schemes, and devices; he found out, he scented the knowledge of them when here on earth; he was privy to the secret thoughts and wickedness of men's hearts; he knew all the hypocritical designs and views of the Pharisees, when they tempted him with ensnaring questions; he was apprised of all the ways and methods they devised to take away his life before the time, and so escaped them; he found out the knowledge of Judas's wicked scheme to betray him, and spoke of it to him and others before it was executed; and he knew all the wicked devices and stratagems of Satan against himself, in tempting him in the wilderness, and in putting it into the heart of Judas to betray him; and he knows all his wiles and artful schemes to decoy his people, and makes them known unto them, so that they are not ignorant of his devices. Moreover, it may be understood and interpreted in a good sense, of the thoughts, devices, and purposes of God's heart, as in Jeremiah 23:20; and particularly as relating to man's redemption and salvation: this is a device or "invention" of God; sin is man's invention, by which he fell; but the recovery of man is the invention of God; he found out the persons to be saved in his eternal decrees; and the person that should be the Saviour of them in his council and covenant, and appointed him for the work; and he found out the way and manner of saving men by him, even by the ransom and sacrifice of himself: and this is a "witty" invention, wherein God has abounded in all wisdom and prudence; as appears by settled upon so proper a person to be the Saviour as his own Son; by bringing it about in a way so agreeable to all his perfections, to the satisfaction of his justice, and the honour of his law; and in making such partakers of it, and in such a way, as most glorifies the riches of his grace. And this scheme Christ has full knowledge of, being in the bosom of his Father, as one brought up with him; and was the Angel of the great council, and present when the design was formed; and besides he has found it to his cost, even at the expense of his precious blood; and so has "obtained", or "found redemption" for us, as the phrase is in Hebrews 9:12, and having found it, and the knowledge of it, he makes it known to others by his Spirit, word, and ministers. Likewise these "witty inventions" may be interpreted of the whole Gospel, and the doctrines of it; the Gospel is an "invention", not of men, but of God; not a scheme and device of men, but of God; it is not taught by men, and learned of them, or of them only, but of God; and a "witty" one it is, it is the wisdom of God, the manifold wisdom of God, though esteemed foolishness by men. This Christ has "found out the knowledge of"; he has full and perfect knowledge of it, it is hid in him; it came and was preached by him, as it never was before or since; and he communicated, and still does communicate the knowledge of it; and blessed are they that know the joyful sound!
The fear of the Lord is to hate evil,.... All evil in general, evil thoughts, evil words, evil actions, evil company, evil worship, and evil doctrines; and by "the fear of the Lord", which shows itself in an hatred of evil, because of the loathsome nature of it, and being contrary to God and his will, and as it appears in the glass of the law, and especially in the glass of pardoning love, is meant not the fear of his judgments and wrath, or a distrust of his grace and goodness, much less an hypocritical fear, or a mere show of devotion; but a reverential affection for him, which is peculiar to children; a filial, godly fear, which is consistent with strong faith, great joy, and true courage; and is opposite to pride and self-confidence, and is accompanied with real holiness; it takes its rise from the grace of God, and is greatly increased and promoted by the discoveries of his love and goodness: this is brought into the account and description of wisdom, to distinguish it from carnal wisdom; to commend wisdom from its holiness; for this the beginning of wisdom, yea, wisdom itself, Job 28:28; pride and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate; these are the particulars of evil, which Wisdom, or Christ, declares his hatred of. "Pride", which appears in men in thinking too highly of themselves, in speaking too well of themselves, in despising others, in setting up and trusting to their own righteousness for salvation, and in crying up the purity and power of human nature; this is very contrary to the spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus, and must be hateful to him: "arrogancy" differs little from pride, and the two words in the Hebrew are very much the same, very little differ; it is an ascribing that to a man's self which does not belong to him, whether in things natural, civil, or spiritual; when men attribute their justification and salvation to their own works, it is arrogancy, and must be hateful to Christ; who been at so much pains and expense to bring in everlasting righteousness, and work out salvation for men: it is the height of arrogancy in a man to conceit he a power to regenerate, renew, and convert himself, and, with the haughty Arminian, Grevinchovius, to say, he has made himself to differ from others; this must be hateful to Christ, by whose Spirit and grace this only is done: and it is a piece of arrogancy when men ascribe all the good works done by them to their own power, when without Christ they can do nothing; which therefore must be displeasing to him. "The evil way", as Aben Ezra observes, is an evil custom and course of sinning; a man's own way, which he chooses and delights in, and which leads to destruction: "and the froward mouth" is the mouth that speaks perverse things; things contrary to a man's own heart, contrary to truth, to the rule of the divine word, to the Gospel, to Christ and his people, and to all men; which must be hateful and abominable to him who is truth itself.
Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom,.... The words and sentiments in this and the following clause are the same with those in Job 12:13; and scent to be taken from thence, which are spoken of God; and being here applied to Wisdom, show that a divine Person is meant; and are very applicable to him who the Wisdom of God, and the power of God; and on whom rests the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel, and of might, and of the fear of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 1:24. "Counsel" belongs to him, and is used and exercised by him, as concerned with the Father and Spirit, both in the words of nature and grace; to whom all the purposes and counsels of God are known; and who was consulted in the creation of man, and in his redemption, reconciliation, and salvation; the council of peace being between them both: and it belongs to him, and is used by him with respect to his people; he is council to them; he gives them counsel and advice, he being the wonderful Counsellor; he gave it in person when here on earth, both to sinners and to saints, and which continues on record: the Gospel is the counsel of Christ, and it is very suitable and seasonable, hearty, sincere, and faithful; is freely given, and, being taken, infallibly succeeds; see Revelation 3:18. And he is council for them; he appears for them in court; introduces their persons, and presents their petitions to his Father; pleads their cause, is their advocate, answers to all charges and accusations; and calls for and requires, in point of law and justice, every blessing of goodness for them. "Sound wisdom" belongs to Christ; "wisdom", from whence he has his name in this book; "sound" wisdom, such as is solid and substantial, real and true, in opposition to the wisdom of the world, to knowledge falsely so called, to carnal, sensual, and earthly wisdom. The Gospel may be meant, which is the wisdom of God in a mystery; sound doctrine, a form of sound words, the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus: both grace and glory may be intended, which are both in the gift of Christ; grace is that "wisdom" which he makes his people to "know in the hidden part"; and glory is that "sound wisdom" laid up for the righteous, the better and more enduring substance in heaven. The word here used signifies essence or substance; and some render it, "whatsoever is"F4; whatever has a being, that is Christ's; all creatures are his, the earth and the fulness of it, and they that dwell therein; I am understanding; essentially as a divine person; his understanding is infinite; there is no searching of it; it reaches to all persons and things: as Mediator, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding rests on him without measure, by which he was furnished for his prophetic office; as man, his understanding was amazing to all that knew him, and heard him. Christ not only has an understanding, but he is understanding itself; he is the fountain, author, and giver of understanding; of all the natural understanding there is in men; of the light of nature and reason, of those intellectual faculties which men are possessed of; and of all the spiritual understanding in divine things, which his people are partakers of, 1 John 5:20; I have strength; as the mighty God; which appears in his creation of all things out of nothing, in his upholding all things by his power, and in his government of the world. As Mediator, he has the Spirit of might upon him; all power in heaven and earth is given him; his strength is manifest in the salvation of his people, when he came travelling in the greatness of it to save them; by fulfilling the law for them; by bearing their sins, and the punishment due to them; and by destroying all their enemies: and in his plucking them out of the hands of Satan, out of the burning, out of the mire and clay at conversion; in bearing and supporting them under all their burdens, afflictions, and temptations, and in preserving them safe to his kingdom and glory; and in giving them strength in the mean time to bear the cross, to withstand temptations and corruptions, to exercise the graces of the spirit, and perform the duties of religion.
By me kings reign,.... Christ is the Prince of the kings of the earth, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; they are made kings by him, and are under him; he sets them up, and deposes them at pleasure; they have their kingdoms, crowns, and sceptres from him, and are accountable to him. The Syriac version renders it, "for me"; it is for the sake of Christ they reign; and they ought to seek his glory, and the good of his kingdom and interest. Moreover, as it is by him they are set up as kings and governors, and are preserved and continued in their governments by him; so it is by him that they rule well who do so, that they reign justly, wisely, happily, and successfully; all the wisdom which appears in their administrations is all from him; all those wise laws, which are enacted by them for the good of their subjects, is owing to the wisdom and prudence he gives them; and princes decree justice; these may design such who are under kings, are assisting to them in government; who are of their privy council, and give advice in making laws, and putting them into execution. Here it particularly regards their making just and righteous laws for the good of the state, in which they are employed by kings; or their advising to them, and assisting in drawing them up: and now all the wisdom that is necessary hereunto, and which is conspicuous herein, is all from Christ; who has the spirit of princes in his hands, and orders and directs them as he pleases. The Targum is, "I anoint princes with justice.'
By me princes rule,.... All governors of provinces and cities, who are under the king as supreme; the discharge of whose office in a right manner requires much wisdom, prudence, justice, and integrity; all which they have from Christ, as well as their power of ruling, that rule well; and nobles, even all the judges of the earth; the wordF5 for nobles signifies persons of a "free" spirit, generous, bountiful men; such as are called "benefactors", Luke 22:25; so one of the Ptolemys, king of Egypt, was called Evergetes. Such who govern, not in a cruel and rigorous manner, but with clemency and gentleness; who, as they are "free" and noble themselves, their subjects are a free people, and enjoy their privileges and liberties fully and quietly. And "the judges of the earth" are such, as sit on benches of justice, hear and try causes, and pass sentence on men; which requires great skill and knowledge, and much faithfulness and integrity, which all that perform their office aright have from Christ. How great therefore must he be! how wise and just! from whom all rulers, supreme and subordinate, have their power; prudence, generosity, and justice!
I love them that love me,.... Those that love Christ are such who are born again, and have a spiritual and experimental knowledge of him; that believe in him, have seen his loveliness, have had his love shed abroad in their hearts, and a view of his fulness and suitableness; some comfortable apprehensions of their relation to him, and interest in him, and are indulged with communion with him: the love with which such souls love Christ springs from their very hearts, is cordial and sincere; it gives him the preference to all objects, to all creatures, angels or men, and to all creature enjoyments; it is drawn out to all of Christ, and to all that belong to him, or are his; and though it may be lost, become remiss and abate in its fervency, it cannot be lost; and is what is very acceptable to Christ, and highly esteemed of by him: it shows itself by a high veneration for the truths and doctrines of his Gospel; by a strict regard to his commands and ordinances; by a hearty affection for his people; by parting with and bearing all for his sake; a carefulness of offending him, and losing his company; by an earnest desire after his presence, and delight in it, and by a concern at his absence; by a diligent inquiry after him in the use of means until he is found, and by the joy expressed at finding of him: now such Christ loves; not that he begins to love his people when they begin to love him, for he loved them from everlasting; as appears by his espousing their persons, undertaking their cause, and taking the care and charge of their persons, grace, and glory, so early; and by his assumption of their nature in time, and by his suffering and dying for them; all which were before they had any love to him: but this points out and describes the persons, who may be assured of the love of Christ to them, since their love to him springs from his to them; besides, it designs some fresh manifestations of his love, and the continuance of it; as well as suggests that he has future blessings to bestow on such, as fresh marks of his affection, and instances of his love to them; such as granting them his gracious presence, giving them more grace; causing all things, even afflictions, to work together for their good; preserving and keeping them from falling, and at last giving them eternal glory and happiness; see John 14:21; and those that seek me early shall find me: and they are such who see their need of Christ, and know the worth of him; and those seek to him in the use of means, the word and ordinances, and as assisted by his Spirit and grace, for pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation, which are only to be had in him: and they may be said to "seek him early", or "morning him"F6, who seek him in the morning of youth, or in the first place, above all things else, and that with the greatest eagerness and earnestness, diligence and importunity; and such always are successful; they "find" Christ, and life, righteousness, and salvation in him, and every blessing, and therefore are happy; see Gill on Proverbs 3:13.
Riches and honour are with me,.... By "riches" are meant not the riches of Christ's person, the perfections of his nature, his works, and his vast empire over all creatures, and the revenues arising from thence, which though durable, yet not communicable; not temporal riches, which, though with him, and at his dispose, yet these, at least a large share of them, and in common, is not given to his people, nor are they durable; but the riches of grace, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, and sanctifying grace, are intended, and the riches of glory in another world: and so "honour" designs not that which he has as a divine Person, or as Mediator, which is incommunicable; much less temporal honour, for though this is with him and from him, as appears Proverbs 8:15; yet it is not usually given to his followers, who are not the great and noble, but generally reckoned the offscouring of all things; nor is such honour durable; but the honour he gives his people lies in their being espoused to him, in being the sons of God through him, in being made by him kings and priests unto God, and in reigning with him here and for ever; yea, durable riches and righteousness; which last some understand as another adjunct and epithet of riches, and represent them in opposition to mammon of unrighteousness, or to riches either ill-gotten or ill-managed; and expresses another property of Christ's riches of grace and glory, as being what are come by in a way of righteousness into his hands, and are distributed faithfully by him; though rather it respects a distinct thing which is with Christ, and in his hands to give, even his justifying righteousness, consisting of his active and passive obedience, which he has wrought out, is in him, and given by him to his people; and is what is called the righteousness of God and of faith; which secures from condemnation and entitles to eternal life; and is an everlasting one, as durable as his riches are, which are his fulness that ever continues with him: pardon is "simul" and "semel"F7, and for ever; sanctifying grace, as faith, hope, and love, always abide; and about the riches of glory there can be no doubt of the permanency of them; and the same may be said of honour both here and hereafter.
My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold,.... This is said in allusion to the fruit that grows on trees, Wisdom, or Christ, being a tree of life; see Gill on Proverbs 3:18; and so he is compared to other trees, Song of Solomon 2:3. His "fruit" are the blessings of grace, such as redemption, reconciliation, pardon, justification, adoption, and eternal life; these are his by covenant, are procured by him, and are communicated from him; also the graces of his Spirit called fruits, as faith, hope, love, &c. of which he is the author and object; and even good works, the fruits of his grace; they are done in virtue of union to him, by his strength, and are directed to his glory: and all these, especially his grace and the blessings of it, are preferable to the finest gold; they are more valuable as to their intrinsic worth and excellency; they are more useful and profitable, being for the good and welfare of immortal souls; and they are more satisfying and more lasting, and which cannot be obtained with such a corruptible thing as gold is; and my revenue than choice silver; as the former word refers to fruits that grow on trees, this to such as spring from seed sown in the earth; see Leviticus 23:39, where the same word is used as here, and is also rendered "revenue" in Jeremiah 12:13; Christ himself is compared to seed, and so his word, John 12:24; and the fruit or revenue thereof is the same as before: or else the allusion is to the profit arising from riches, from estates, and their annual rent; or from money put out to use, or improved by commerce, and so signifies the same with the gain and merchandise of wisdom; see Gill on Proverbs 3:14. Aben Ezra construes the words thus, "my revenue is choicer than silver"; but our version is best.
I lead in the way of righteousness,.... As a king his subjects, a shepherd his flock; as a guide to persons that are ignorant and out of the way; as parents their children, teaching them to go; or as a master his scholars: and the way Wisdom, or Christ, leads his people in, is "the way of righteousness"; the doctrine of righteousness, or the way and manner of a sinner's justification in the sight of God; all men are out of the way of it, and are ignorant of the right way; Christ leads them into it: he leads them off of their own righteousness by showing that it does not deserve the name of one; that it is unacceptable to God, unprofitable to him, and insufficient to justify them before him; and he leads them to his own righteousness, which he has wrought out; and shows them that this is answerable to the demands of law and justice, is acceptable to God, and imputed by him without works; and this he does in his word and by his Spirit: and in this way of righteousness he leads them into his Father's presence with acceptance; to himself, in which he beholds them with pleasure; and to eternal glory, which gives them a title to it: he also leads into the practice of righteousness; he teaches them, and they learn of him works of righteousness; he goes before them by way of example, and he gives them his Spirit and grace to enable them to perform them; and which may more especially be intended in the next clause; in the midst of the paths of judgment: of truth and holiness; in his commandments and ordinances; in all which they are led not against their wills but with them; and not only walk but run with the greatest cheerfulness in those ways and paths of his.
That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance,.... Substantial blessings, blessings indeed, as all spiritual ones are; and substantial grace, as every grace is; and substantial communion with God and Christ, which is a real thing, and had in the way of righteousness; also substantial happiness hereafter, as eternal life is; which being expressed by "substance", or "that which is"F7, as the word used signifies, denotes the reality of it; it being not only actually promised, prepared, and laid up for the saints, but is what is known by them now, and of which they have the earnest and pledge; as also the solidity of it, being opposed to the vain and shadowy things of this life; as well as the riches, valuableness, and continuance of it; it is enduring substance, which cannot be wasted nor taken away; which is in its own nature incorruptible, and the saints will always continue to enjoy it. God himself may be meant, who is most eminently יש, that which is, a self-existent Being, and the Being of beings, essence itself, and of whom the saints are heirs, and who will be their portion now and for ever, Romans 8:17; and such that shall enjoy this inheritance are those that "love" Christ; to them it is promised, for them it is prepared, and to them it will be given, James 1:12, 1 Corinthians 2:9, not that their love to Christ is the meritorious cause of so valuable a blessing; but this describes the persons that shall have it, and points out a proper disposition for it, without which none would be fit to enjoy it; and besides there is a connection between grace and glory; to which may be added, that this shows that Christ does not love in word only, saying, "I love them that love me", Proverbs 8:17; but in deed also; and how much he esteems the love of his people; and it is designed to encourage the faith and hope of weak believers, who, though they do not so strongly believe in Christ, yet truly love him. And be it further observed, that this substance is enjoyed by way of inheritance; it is not purchased, nor acquired, but bequeathed and given to the children of God by their heavenly Father, and comes to them through the death of Christ the testator, and is for ever, as inheritances are; and so Aben Ezra observes, that it signifies an eternal possession; and I will fill their treasures; the treasures of their hearts, Matthew 12:35; Christ now fills their understandings with spiritual knowledge, their souls with grace, their minds with peace and joy, and their hearts with food and gladness; and hereafter he will fill them to full satisfaction with knowledge, holiness, and joy, and will be all in all to them.
(Adapted from URL:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-8.html)
Some may ask, “Isn't it possible to be wealthy and wise?” True, the biblical record includes individuals who were both (examples: Genesis 41:41-44; 1 Kings 3:10-14; Job 1:1-5; 42:12-17). But the Bible clearly warns us about the spiritual dangers that material wealth and possessions can pose. The primary issue is the impact that this has on one's heart and thus on one's relationship with God (compare Psalm 52:5-7; Mark 10:17-23). In His parable of the sower, Jesus warns of the “deceitfulness of riches” that results in an individual's becoming unfruitful after receiving the gospel (Matthew 13:22). Similarly, Jesus asked, “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (16:26). Of course, the implied answer is, “Nothing.” To gain all the world has to offer at the loss of wisdom results in tragedy. That is true despite all the abundance that the whole world can offer. All these teachings are consistent with Wisdom's plea to choose her above any form of material wealth. No matter how many priceless artifacts we amass—or how useful the new gadgets, inventions, and technological devices are—all the things that we may desire cannot compare with the value of wisdom.
The Choice - The Book of Proverbs lays out two distinct ways in life. One is the pursuit of God's truth and wisdom, which is His path to a life lived well. The other way is self-centered actions and thinking. The foolish individual chooses this route, which is crowded with the deceptions of Satan. He holds out material goods and secular values which do not satisfy.
It's Plain and Simple - God's words and His intelligence are trustworthy, correct, and firm. His wisdom is not confusing but plain and simple. It is only puzzling to those who reject it. His secrets unfold to those who stand before Him in awe wanting to hear and obey His messages. God's wisdom does not guarantee millions in the bank. Material wealth can be lost or stolen in a day, but wisdom is something that can never be taken away.
Live Prudently - The word prudence is often partnered with the word knowledge. Prudence is practical, the daily living out of wisdom. True wisdom always leads to godly behaviors, sensible actions, and proper behavior that glorifies our heavenly Father. Believers ask for the Holy Spirit's power and ability to stand against evil. Someone who loves and pursues wisdom automatically hates anything that sets itself against God and His Word. They cling tightly to what is right in the sight of God.
Love Wisdom - To sincerely seek wisdom, it is essential to get to know her and love her. We pray, "Lord, I want to increase in my affection for wisdom." God loves to hear this kind of request. It is even better if this attitude can begin at an early age, but it is never too late to embrace God's insights. Leaders, counselors, parents, supervisors, pastors—anyone can ask and begin following hard after wisdom. God gladly shows a different way, His way. He welcomes the opportunity to set as many as He can on His street called, "The Best Way to Go."