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· 18. She is a tree of life]—The phrase "n yo tree of life, occurs ch. xi. 30, xiii. 12, xv. 4. An evident allusion to the “ tree of life” in the garden of Eden; intimating that wisdom, or religion, is equally salutiferous with the paradisaical tree of life.
- And happy is every one]—“The construction our version gives to the last hemistich,” says Durell, “ is unjustifiable, as it joins a singular to a plural, besides the enallage of numbers it creates between the two sentences in the verse : I would therefore render it, · And she guides (or, directs) them that retain her;' the , formative of the feminine being by some accident dropped out of the text.” But nothing is more common than for a verb singular to be construed with a noun plural, as every Hebrew scholar is aware, when meant distributively; (Glass, p. 328, Robertson's Gram. p. 321 ;) and though Dimock observes, that “ we do not find the sing. part. of this verb (7wND) with a plur. noun elsewhere,” no very surprising circumstance, considering the paucity of Hebrew writings; yet this can be no valid objection, as such a construction is usual, and is required by the parallelism, and is supported by the ancient versions. Our established version is therefore correct; accordingly I have adopted it.
19. Jehovah by wisdom]—It is obvious that wisdom cannot, in this place, be equivalent to religion, as it usually is in the writings of Solomon; but that it means the infinite wisdom and goodness of God. From contemplating the excellence of wisdom in man, the transition is natural to the wisdom of the Deity, as manifested in the works of the creation. “He hath made the earth by his power ; he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his understanding.”—(Jer. x. 12, li. 15.) Who can contemplate the wonderful works of Omniscient Power; their variety and
beauty; their magnitude and grandeur; their nice adjustment and adaptation to each other, so that nothing is wanting, nothing redundant, nothing superfluous; and not exclaim, in the words of the Psalmist, “ O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.”—(Ps. civ. 24.)
The eloquence of Cicero is unequal to do justice to this ennobling subject, De Nat. Deor. lib. ii. $ 38, et seq.
Some interpret this verse in reference to the second Person in the Trinity, corresponding with the Hypostatic Wisdom described in the eighth chapter. Nothing, either in the context or language, absolutely militates against this interpretation, and it may be thought even to derive much support from the circumstance, that Solomon does actually designate the Divine Logos by the title of Wisdom; (ch. viii. 22;) nevertheless, as the wisdom here mentioned is not accompavied with any of those personal characters which so strongly point out a real, subsisting being in the eighth chapter, it cannot be adopted without much hesitation.
20. By his knowledge the depths are broken up]-o n most commonly signifies a collection of waters, the sea ; and so it does in three other places in Proverbs, ch. viii. 24, 27, 28. By the breaking up of the depths we are, probably, to understand the dispersion of the waters over the terraqueous globe in fountains, and rivers, and fertilizing showers.—(Poli Synop.) But it may refer to the first creation of the seas.-(Gen. i. 9,10; Prov. viii. 27–29; Job, xxxviii. 8.) In this case pas may be translated “ burst forth;" “ by his knowledge the depths burst forth,” i.e. the dry land and the waters were separated, “ effissæ sunt,” as it is rendered by some in Poli Synop. Cocceius, and Schultens. So the Syriac and Chaldee: áßuoool ippaynoav, LXX; “ eruperunt abyssi,” Vulgate.
21. let not these things depart)-Geier thinks 150. refers to wisdom and discretion in the second clause, and Hodgson transposes the two hemistichs; but as a mas. verb should not be made unnecessarily to concord with nouns fem. it is better to refer it to the things preceding, i.e. let not those things which I have been observing depart from thine eyes, but keep them ever in view.
22. And an ornament]—ın, a metonymy of the effect for the cause, i. e. that which procures favour or kindness.—Ch. i. 9.
23. Then shalt thou, &c.]—Guided by wisdom, thou wilt pass thy days in security and comfort; and in all thy intercourse with the world thou wilt be safe from falling into sin, even as the traveller who journeys by the light of the sun proceeds on his way securely.
24. When thou liest down]—ON may be rendered “ if,” as LXX, Vulg. Targ. and many modern translators, or, with Schultens,“ sane decumbes.” Durell thinks it improbable that Solomon would use the same word twice (aww) in the same verse; but there is no authority from MSS. to alter the text; and the ancient versions, to which he appeals, do not bear him out; for it by no means follows, that the ancient translators had a different reading in their texts, because they use two different words in the two clauses.
26. thy confidence]—The primary meaning of boo appears to be torpere, iners esse; hence it denotes, 1st. Strength, support, as the loins and flanks.—(Levit. iii. 4, 10, 15, iv. 9, vii. 4; Ps. xxxviii. 7. Bochart, Hieroz. p. 1. lib. i. cap. 45.) 2ly. “ Hope, confidence, what a man depends upon, as the loins are the strength of the body.”—(Taylor's Concordance.) 3ly. “ In a mental sense, to be stupid, or, as it were, stiff, rigid or insensible, in mind or understanding.”—(Parkhurst.) It also signifies a star or constellation; but how this sense descended from the radical meaning is difficult to discover. The a in 73033 is not redundant; but denotes a particular emphasis, namely, Jehovah shall be, in an eminent manner, the object of thy confidence.—(See Storr, Observat. ad Anal. et Syntax, p. 451.) The Arabians prefix « Ba, in the same way to nouns.—Schultens in Job, p. 640, and Conces. Haririi. iv. p. 41, not. 82.
- from being taken]—“ scil. in foveis aut laqueis, quos tibi struxerunt impii.”—Michælis, Notæ Uberiores.
27. the indigent]—Literally, “ its owners or possessors," i.e. those who ought to become the possessors of good, though they are in want of it; in other words, the indigent: ivoen, LXX; “ egentibus,” Dathe, Glass, p. 94, Aben Ezra, Cocc. Schult. Michæl. Poli Synop. :- in the power of thy hand]—On the phrase yooo stes see Parkhurst; Lex. 58, 8; Hale's Dissertations, p. 150 ; Rosenmuller on Micha, ii. 1; Michælis, Suppl. ad Lex. Heb. in bs.
29. in security by thee]—The Syriac is, “ Devise not evil against thy neighbour (Lleo zses 24?) dwelling (or, when he dwells) with thee in peace.” So Targ. “ Est gravis perfidiæ genus hominem innocentiâ confidentem, et amice se gerentem, dissimulatione adhibita, perdere.”—Le Clerc.
30. Contend not, &c.]-Our standard version is, “ Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm," which is objectionable, because it implies, if a man has done us harm, we ought to contend with him, which in some cases is necessary, but is not likely to form a general precept; and because it gives to the word Spa the sense of doing or performing, which it seems never to bear, but always that of returning, requiting, or recompensing.–(Parkhurst in voc.) The true sense of the precept is, that unprovoked attack
brings merited punishment upon the head of the aggressor. If you contend with a man without cause, he will, in revenge, reward you evil. If, however, the authorized version should be deemed preferable to the one here presented, the sense will be, that we ought not to contend with a man, unless he has first given just cause of offence. “ Sensus est, non esse litem intendendam homini, etiam plebeio, et parum timendo, sine causa, et nisi injuriâ prior lacessiverit.”—Le Clerc.
- Surely]—5 Os often means certe, profecto.—Noldius, 1.
31. the oppressor]—Oon vix, a man whose conduct is violent, rapacious, and unjust; an oppressor. The expression occurs ch. xvi. 29; 2 Sam. xxii. 49; Ps. xviii, 48, cxl. 1, 4, 11.
32. But his intercourse]—That nio has the sense of familiar and friendly intercourse is evident from Ps. Iv. 14; Job, xix. 19, xxix. 4.—(See Cocc. Lex. and Rosenmulleri Scholia in Ps. xxv. 14.) Applied to the Supreme Being, it denotes that spiritual intercourse which the pious have with him, when he kindly protects them, imparts his counsels, and deals with them as with sons. So it is to be understood Amos, iži. 7; Ps. xxv. 14, which Rosenmuller thus transļates, “ Familiaris Jovæ consuetudo cum illis, qui ipsum colunt, cum his Jova familiariter agit, consilia sua, tanquam amicis, eis communicat, quum contra impii in Jovam ab ejus consuetudine et notitia longissime absunt.” To the same purpose Dathe explains it. 1710 then, in the verse before us, means God's kind treatment of and familiar intercourse with his saints; or, as Dathe's version is, “ Probis vero est familiaris.”
In appealing to Arabic, critics are much divided; some referring in to tw, as Parkhurst; some to thing, as Michælis; some to sw, as Rosenmuller.—(See also Cocceii Lex, ed.