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1. TAE Proverbs of Solomon)-The first six verses, as the commentators observe, contain a prefatory introduction to the book, explanatory of the nature and object of the work.sup, see Prel. Diss.
2. Respecting the knowledge]—The construction of this and the two following verses depends upon the first verse, and the prefixed 5 points out the end and object of the Proverbs, namely, to inculcate most important truths respecting the * knowledge of wisdom and instruction, &c. The particles often signifies de, concerning or respecting, and the infinitive is often put for a noun, and hence the propriety of the version here given. Or, as 5 with an infinitive frequently supplies the place of the gerunds, the infinitive may be put for the gerund in do, when used by the Latins with the preposition de preceding it, and rendered “ concerning the knowing of wisdom,” &c.—(See Durell's Critical Remarks.) “ By apon is certainly meant religion, properly so called, or piety towards God, which is wisdom kar’ iboxnv.”—(Durell.) 7010 instruction and moral discipline in the largest sense.
- words of prudence]—The literal rendering is, “respecting the understanding the words of understanding."
3. Instruction in wisdom]—The four last words are genitives of the object, namely, instruction whose object is wisdom, righteousness, judgment, and equity. The meaning therefore is, that these Proverbs relate to the attainment of instruction in these several branches.
Though the ancient versions sometimes render this noun in a good sense, and the Arabic is so used, (Golius, p. 1757,) yet, if I mistake not, it always denotes, in the sacred writings, a weak, simple person, destitute of mental energy, and easily deluded. Ch. vii. 7. has been supposed to be an exception.—(Michælis, Suppl. ad Lex. No. 2095; Cocceius, Lex. Heb. ed. Schulz.) It may, undoubtedly, signify a youth, a young man, in the place referred to, but its usual sense is equally appropriate, and it is, therefore, unnecessary to depart from it. The distinction of 'no, bas, and r, three words of common occurrence in the Proverbs, is well explained by Michælis.—(Suppl. No. 1304.) “ind fatuus, simplex, qui inscitia magis quam obfirmatione animi malus est. 2. bas stultus, multo jam pejor. 3. ps de cujus emendatione desperare philosophus solet.”
- 07 properly means naked, nudus; but in its metaphorical sense it denotes quickness of mind; in a good sense, discernment, sagacity; in a bad one, cunning or subtilty. I have rendered the fem. now by“ prudence,” a word more agreeable to the phraseology of the received translation than “sagacity," and sufficiently expressive of its meaning.
It is extremely difficult to affix precise and definite ideas to the several terms which Solomon uses in this account of the subject of the Proverbs. The most arduous part of the translator's office is to render the true import of abstract terms. It is not to be supposed that the wise monarch heaped words together at random, accumulating expressions without adding to the sense. Such idle verbosity is foreign to the style of the sacred penmen, and cannot be attributed to Solomon, whose high intellectual powers were enlarged and sublimed by the aid of inspiration. In full confidence that the terms in this passage are not tautological, the following attempt to discriminate them, by way of paraphrase, is submitted to the reader. (Ver. 1.) “ The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, king of Israel,” which treat of (v. 2) “ the knowledge of wisdom,” of religion and piety towards God, of “ instruction” and moral discipline, of “ the understanding of the words of prudence;” that is, wise and prudent counsels; (v. 3) which treat of “ the attainment of instruction in wisdom,” which wisdom is to be exhibited in the conduct of life, and consists “in righteousness,” with regard to ourselves, “ in judgment,” in observing the statutes and ordinances of God, and “ in equity” with regard to our fellow-creatures ; (v. 4) which treat of “the giving to the simple sagacity” to discover what is right, by supplying them with just principles, and correct views of virtue and vice; and “ to the young man knowledge," so that he need not err through ignorance, “ and discretion,” so that by pondering well these precepts he will not err through wilful obduracy.
5. The wise will hear]— The wise and prudent are not such as have already attained wisdom, but such as are desirous of doing so.
- learning)—nph is applied, ch. vii. 21, to the alluring and persuasive speech of an harlot: here and ch. iv. 2, ix. 9, xvi. 21, 23, it means “ acceptabilis doctrina,” (Cocc. Lex.) “ doctrina quæ accipitur et acceptatione digna est.”—C. B. Michælis, Notæ Uberiores in Proverbia Salomonis.
- wise counsels]—mybann, in ch. xii. 5, corresponds with miawnd thoughts, in the preceding hemistich; and in