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Vest. Mulier, cap. x. $ 9, p. 180.) Horace, in a passage very much resembling this verse, makes Canidia say of her inconstant lover,
“ Indormit unctis omnium cubilibus
Oblivione pellicum.”—Epod. v. I. 69. Namely,--" In forgetfulness of me he sleeps in the perfumed bed omnium pellicum.”
18. let us take our fill]—-172, ueIvowev, Aq. Sym. Theod.; “ inebriemur,” Vulg. and many modern translators : but, after an examination of all the passages where the root occurs, I think it very doubtful whether it ever strictly means to be drunken; it rather means to saturate, to satiate, and may be correctly rendered with E. T. in this passage, “ let us take our fill,” i. e. let us satiate ourselves.
19. For the master]—W'87 is ambiguous. LXX, Syriac, and some among the moderns, render it “ my husband;" but, as it is improbable that a harlot, “who lieth in wait at every corner,” (ver. 12,) should have a husband, I have preferred rendering it more indefinitely, “ the master,” or keeper of the house.
20. with him]—7'2, literally, “in his hand." From ch. i. 14, and Isaiah, xlvi. 6, it may be collected, that the ancient Hebrews had bags or purses for the reception of money, which might, therefore, be carried in the hand, or tied to some part of the dress.—(See Schroeder, de Vest. Mulier. cap. xvii. 96.) Nevertheless, it is correctly rendered by our English translators “ with him;" for it is probable, that the ancients did not usually carry their purses in their hands, but in their girdles, or rather they were a part of the girdle itself.—(See Parkhurst's and Schleusner's Lex. in Gwyn, and Harmer's Observations, vol. i. p. Ixxx.) 7a means with, apud, Gen. xliv. 16, 17; Exod. xxi. 16; though the two latter texts are mistranslated in E. T. “ in his hand:” so likewise in 1 Sam. ix. 8, it should have been with, apud.
- the time appointed]—sby is, probably, the same as nos in Ps. lxxxi. 4, and may be derived from odɔ, numeravit, i. e. “ Feria stativa, tempus statum, quod in numeratum anni diem semper recurrit.”—(Buxtorf, Lex. in voc.). It may be understood of any appointed time; but Dimock’s notion is not improbable, that it may refer, in particular, to one of the three great festivals at which he was obliged to return. Some, however, take it for the new moon, some for the full moon, and some for scenopegia, the feast of Tabernacles. Besides the Lex. see Michælis and Le Clerc on Ps. lxxxi. 4.
22. Or as a fool to the correction of the stocks]—There is not, perhaps, any clause in the whole book of Proverbs which has given the critics more trouble than this, nor one which has been more variously translated. After examining the pages of the most approved commentators, I have not found any interpretation perfectly satisfactory; yet I incline, though with much hesitation, to that of the learned Hunt, who, in a particular dissertation upon the passage, takes 5.8 for sine a hart; oso for a verb to skip, or bound along, as Isaiah, iï. 16, which Bishop Lowth renders, “ and with their feet lightly skipping along," (in Arabic use to rush into, or run upon ;) and hop for a snare or toil. Agreeably to this interpretation of the words his version is,
“He goeth after her straightway,
As an ox goeth to the slaughter;
In support of this version it may be observed, that the LXX, Syriac, and Chaldee, though extremely loose and paraphrastic, introduce a word corresponding with hart; that it renders the parallelism complete; and that the imagery thus becomes consistent, without putting any violence upon the words: on the contrary, it requires an alteration of the text, unwarranted by MSS. and but slenderly supported by the versions, nor, perhaps, absolutely demanded by any urgent necessity. This exposition, however, is approved by Taylor, Doederlein, Arnoldi, Dathe. The version of Dr. Hodgson is, “Yea, like a fool, he runneth on to punishment.” Parkhurst's is, “ And as the fettered fool (goeth) to correction; or as the fool fettered for correction.”—In dop. See Schroeder, de Vestitu Mulierum, cap. 1.) I have followed the authorized version, according to the rule I have prescribed myself in doubtful cases; at the same time, submitting the expositions, which appear most worthy of attention, to the judgment of the reader.
26. many wounded]-550 means to profane, as well as to wound; the clause, therefore, will admit of being translated, “ For many are the profane whom she hath caused to fall;" but the authorized version seems preferable; namely, many have been wounded and cast down by her.
- And very many]—Oxy denotes number or quantity, Numb. xxxii. 1; Jer. v. 6, xv. 8, xxx. 14, 15; Ps. xl. 5, 12, cxxxix. 17, xxxv. 18.—(See Rosenmuller on Ps. xxxv. 18.) The parallelism requires this sense, as it corresponds with D'an in the first line. Symmachus and Theodotion render it avapi@untoi; and so do the LXX; and they are followed by many among the modern translators.
27. chambers of death]—See Lowth's Prælect. p. 87. ed. Oxon. 1810.
We are now arrived at one of the most important chapters in the book of Proverbs, since many, both among the ancients and moderns, have considered it as relating to the second Person in the Holy Trinity. If their opinion be correct, it is not to be viewed in the light of a bold personification of wisdom, but of a figurative and highly-wrought description of our blessed Lord. Others again have regarded it only as a prosopopæia, in which the excellence of wisdom is portrayed in the bright and vivid colours which distinguish the productions of the Oriental muses.
To form a decided judgment on this important point, we must examine the passage with the utmost scrupulosity, weighing the exact force of the words with philological precision, and comparing Scripture with Scripture. Bare assertion is entitled to no respect; sound argument and solid learning are the basis of an enlightened exposition of the sacred Oracles ; and, setting aside the prejudices of early opinions, we should resolve to follow, with undeviating step, the guidance of truth, eternal and immutable truth, to whatever conclusions it may lead us.
In examining the contents of this chapter, the interpreter's progress will be much facilitated, if he can commence his investigation with any clear and incontrovertible principles. Such facilities are afforded in the present instance; for it may be laid down as a fundamental principle, that it was intended to delineate either God's attribute of wisdom, or a real, subsisting Being, or Religion, which, as contradistinguished from the two former, may be called abstract wisdom. It may, in the next place, be inferred, that the wisdom spoken of from the twelfth to the thirtieth verse, a passage undoubtedly relating to the same subject, has reference to the Divine Nature, because “Jehovah possessed it the Beginning of his way,” (v. 22,) and
because it existed “from everlasting, before the world was," (v. 23.) If so, it must either mean an attribute, or one of the Persons of the Godhead. Some of the attributes of God may, in an inferior degree, be possessed by man; as love, mercy, justice, wisdom: others are incommunicable; as omnipotence, ubiquity, self-existence. Now if, upon examination, some parts of the description should be found to be inconsistent with the notion of an attribute, the necessary inference is, that one of the Persons in the Divine Essence is designated by the title of Wisdom.
This conclusion is inevitable; yet it cannot be inferred from this which of the divine Persons is meant; and, in order to determine this question, other circumstances are to be taken into consideration. If, therefore, it should appear, that some passages, though they might possibly be applied to God the Father or the Holy Ghost, are more suitable to God the Son; that others can alone refer to the divine Logos; and that the same expressions are actually predicated of him in various parts of the sacred writings; its reference to the Son, the second Person in the blessed Trinity, will be fully established.
The result of an attentive inquiry, conducted upon these principles, is, that the royal sage commences with the consideration of wisdom in the abstract, which, in an elegant personification, he presents to the admiring view of mankind. But, as he proceeds, his imagination becomes warmed; his mind is elevated to rapturous contemplation of the Deity, the pure fountain of all wisdom; and, full of the divine afflatus, he pours forth the suggestions of sacred inspiration in terms which characterize the Son of God, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.”—Heb. i. 3.
Whether Solomon was aware of the exact import of the expressions which he employed; whether he understood them as descriptive of the Only-begotten of the Father, cannot, perhaps, be determined; but that the Spirit intended to depict