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Job, xxxvii. 12, it is applied to the counsels and decrees of the Almighty; it therefore means prudent designs, wise counsels. In this verse the word is rendered “ acumen" by Le Clerc, and “ solertiam” by Dathe.—See Dindorfii Lex. Heb.
6. By understanding a proverb]-It was customary with the Israelites to employ enigmas and parables in inculcating truths of importance, especially in morality, of which we have many examples in the sacred writings.—(Judges, ix. 8, xiv. 14; 1 Kings, X. 1; 2 Kings, xiv. 9; Eccles. xxxix. 2.) The ancient Greek sages adopted the same method of enforcing moral and important truths : (Burnet, Archæologiæ, lib. i. c. 8.) and it is recommended as highly useful and instructive by Clemens Alexandrinus.—(Strom. lib. 2. initio, &c.) It is doubtful whether such enigmas, allegories, and parables are intimated by the terms in this verse, or only the acute sayings and useful aphorisms, by which the wise men of antiquity were accustomed to convey instruction. The general sense, however, is clear, namely, that “a prudent man will attain unto wise counsels” by understanding the maxims and sayings of the wise. I connect this verse with the preceding one, and consider prank as a gerund; “ intelligendo sententias.”—Schultens.
— the interpretation]—1780bo occurs only here and Hab. ï. 6, and Parkhurst derives it from pho, and says “ it seems to denote pleasantness, sweetness of expression, an elegant saying, a bon mot;" but this does not well agree with the context in Hab. ii. 6. The ancient versions differ : Aq. Theod. render it by ερμηνειαν; Sym. by προβλημα; LXX by σκοτεινονXoyov; the Vulg. by “ interpretationem;" Syr. by 121J9; and Targ. by the same word, snsso, which may mean either interpretatio or sententia allegorica et parabolica.-(Castell, Buxtorf, Lex. Talm, et Rab.) Perhaps it is best to derive the word under consideration from r13 illudere, deridere. As those who taunt and mock use sharp and acute sayings, such as will cut and penetrate, orobo may mean a sharp and acute saying; but in so doubtful a case I have not ventured to alter the received translation.
- dark sayings)—“777'n proprie sermonem involutum et nodosum designat (711 enim, Arab. uls est torsit, inflexit) quali vetustissimi sapientes suas plerumque solebant obvelare, sententias, ne eædem, nimium patescentes, protritæ tandem fierent, atque vilescerent; hinc omnibus aliis etiam accommodatur sententiis prudenter et concinne prolatis, ubi non tam respectus habetur ad obscuritatem, quam ad gravitatem, ut Prov. i. 6; Ps. Ixxviii. 2, et h. I.”—Rosenmuller Scholia in Ps. xlix. 5. See also Florsley's Psalms, vol. 1. p. 283, Parkhurst, and Dindorf.
. 7. The fear of Jehovah]—Religion is the foundation of all that is virtuous and honourable in practice, of all that adorns and dignifies man, and therefore Solomon makes it the groundwork of the wisdom he is going to inculcate. 19' na! the fear of Jehovah, is not that slavish fear which subjects pay to a tyrant; but that pious worship and religious reverence which is due to the Supreme Being; and, if the expression “ the fear of the Lord, or Jehovah,” had not been too well sanctioned by use to require a change, the original might have been correctly rendered “ the reverence of Jehovah.” 787 alone is sometimes put for piety, even when the name of God is omitted.
In compliance with the example of some of the most eminent translators, I have rendered the adorable name 717° by “. Jehovah” instead of “ Lord,” as in the received version. The conceit of Dr. Hales in pronouncing it iAhoh is certainly not deserving of imitation; (Dissertations, p. 125;) though others have preceded him in the same, or nearly the same, pronunciation of it.—(See Dindorfii Lex. Heb. in voc. and Le Clerc on Exod. iii. 15.) The term Jehovah is familiar, and to adopt a different arrangement of the vowels, especially since the true pronunciation of the Hebrew is irrecoverably lost, is useless, if not absurd. “ Usi hic sumus, et alibi semper, voce Jehova, non quod veram hanc esse vocis pronunciationem existimemus; sed quia, cum non satis nota sit, commodius erat voce uti fictà, nec veris vocalibus instructa, quam voce Dominus, quæ ambigua est.”—Le Clerc, Comment. in Gen. ii. 4.
- the principal part of knowledge]—0n7 does not here seem to denote the beginning or commencement, but the most excellent or principal part; as Marg. of E. T.; and in this sense the same phrase and sentiment occurs ch. ix. 10; Ps. cxi. 10.—See ch. iv. 7, and note.
— but fools] — These are persons destitute of true wisdom, who follow their own inclinations without any regard to reason, or reverence for God. In the writings of Solomon, folly and vice are nearly convertible terms; and whatever word expressive of folly is employed, it has reference to moral conduct; as, 'no, suys, ban, Sood. It would be well to translate them by different words, but the English language does not admit such variety of expression.
8. My son, hear, &c.]-It was anciently the custom of preceptors to address their pupils by the title of sons: thus the disciples of the prophets are called “ the sons of the prophets,” 1 Kings, xx. 35; 2 Kings, ii. 3, iv. 38; a master, or preceptor is called “ a father,” Judges, xvii. 10; 2 Kings, ii. 12; 1 Sam. x. 12. St. Paul styles Timothy “ his son," 1 Tim. i. 2; 2 Tim. i. 2. St. John styles those to whom his first Epistle was sent his children, ch. ii. 1, v. 21; and thus the royal sage addresses his young hearers, exhorting them not to contemn the advice and admonition of their parents; because obedience to parents is a duty second only in importance to obedience to God.See Pococke, Notæ in Carmen Tograi, p. 3.
- And forsake not the precepts)-nyin, from 97, which in Hiph. signifies to teach, to instruct; and hence main is that which teaches, a law, a doctrine, a precept.
9. a graceful wreath to thy head]-The instruction and admonition of parents will render a man morally amiable and graceful, as necklaces and tiaras give elegance and splendour to the human form: an allusion to the decorations of the head and neck used in the East. Ps. Ixxiii. 6; Song of Sol. iv. 9. Compare 1 Tim. ii. 9, 10; 1 Pet. iii. 3, 4.
10. consent not]—Instead of san, thirty-six MSS. of Kennicott and twenty-two of De Rossi read nann, which I have followed after E. T.; nevertheless nan så go not, yields a good sense.
11. Let us lay snares]—Dy means to hide, to conceal; snares, of course, is understood, and accordingly the Vulg. supplies it, “ abscondamus tendiculas."-Waltheri Ellipses Heb. p. 99, ed. Schulz. Halæ, 1782.
- in vain]-Din, I think, refers to 'pss the innocent in vain, those whose innocence will in vain protect them; but. some understand it of those who have done us no injury; and others “ impune,” with impunity, there being none to see and avenge it. The LXX render it by 'adikws, and the Syr. by Jaso" with guile or fraud.” Compare 1 Sam. xxv. 31.
12. as Hades does the living)—Sheol (Syaw) denotes the invisible receptacle of departed souls, as has been evinced by many writers, but perhaps by none with more acuteness and precision than by Dr. Campbell in the sixth Prel. Diss. to his Translation of the Gospels.' See ch. xv. 11, note, and the authors there cited. The authorized version of this verse is scarcely intelligible.
- and whole]—D'pinn, I think, means whole, totos, i. e. as Hades daily swallows up many who were living securely in the midst of health and enjoyment, and not expecting so sudden a fate; so let us swallow them up wholly and instantly; let us consume them altogether, as the grave does its victims. Here is an evident allusion to Numb. xvi. 30. But Geier and Dr. Hodgson refer the word to integrity of life, the latter of whom thus renders the verse : “ Let us swallow them up, as the tomb does the living,
And the upright, as those who go down into the grave.” 13. all kinds of valuable treasure]—prvo so, not all valuable treasure, but valuable treasure of all kinds; so Schultens, Michælis, Not. Uber. Dathe, Hodgson.
14. Cast in thy lot]—This is, probably, an allusion to the custom of freebooters dividing their spoil by lot. “Let us all have one purse,” i. e. let us-all share alike; and whatever each requires shall be supplied out of the common stock.
15. My son, walk not]-Associate not with them, neither follow their example.
16. For their feet run to evil]—This verse may undoubtedly mean, that the inclination of sinners is to commit evil and to perpetrate murder; as the same phrase signifies Isaiah, lix. 7: but this and the two following verses may rather be considered as descriptive of the evil consequences of yielding to the seducements of sinners, and as implying that sin generally causes its own punishment. Verse 18 favours this interpretation.
17. Surely in vain]-When the consequences of sin are so apparent, who would be entangled in its snares? Even the birds of the air, though not eminent for caution and foresight, avoid the destructive net when it is spread in their sight.