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expressed in the version; but if it be referred to God, it should be rendered, “ He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly, Guarding the paths of rectitude;
And (or, for) he preserveth the way of his saints.” - rectitude]— own, a word of extensive import, here implying every thing just, and right, and equitable; every thing morally good.
9. Then shalt thou understand, &c.]—It is difficult, as observed before, (ch. i. 4,) to define abstract terms with accuracy; but probably p78 means righteousness as it regards oneself; odvr the judgments and ordinances relating to our duty to God; Dawid equity to our neighbours.
11. Discretion shall watch over thee)—By an elegant personification Discretion and Understanding are represented as watching over the youthful aspirant to virtue, and preserving him from the fascinations of vice. 7oby nown, a similar phrase, occurs ch. vi. 22; and the image is taken from the custom of military guards, who keep watch for the safety and tranquillity of the city.
12. the way of the wicked]—The LXX, Vulg. Syr. Targ. - Pagn. Merc. Geier, Le Clerc, Dathe render 97 7770 “ from the evil way;" but the parallelism requires vs to be taken as a noun of multitude for the base in general, corresponding with the latter hemistich.
– From every one that speaketh perverse things]—'D “ from every one,” because all the verbs which follow are plural.—(Durell, Michælis, Not. Uber.) niaban from 700 vertere, hence the noun means things turned; tortuous, distorted, perverse things.
· 15. in their ways]— is to be supplied before On'nnis. The · in this word is what grammarians call the “Jod multitudinis.”_Schroeder, Gram. Heb. p. 218; Storr, Observationes ad Analog. et Syntax. Heb. p. 111, note.
16. To deliver thee from the wanton]—The construction of this verse depends upon ver. 11. Discretion shall watch over thee, Understanding shall preserve thee, in order to deliver thee from the blandishments of meretricious beauty.
- from the wanton]—0717ws, literally, a strange or foreign woman; 1773), literally, the same; both signifying a lewd woman, a harlot. .
That the greatest number of courtezans in Palestine were women from foreign countries is probable, both from their impurer and more licentious manners, and from the Hebrew appellations which imply a foreign extraction. Though the laws respecting virginity, and the command that “ there shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel,” (Deut. xxiii. 17; Levit. xix. 29,) sufficiently attest that every breach of chastity was displeasing to God; yet Prov. ii. 17, (see note,) the descent of Jephthah from an harlot, (Judges, xi. 1,) Solomon's decision of the cause of the two harlots, (1 Kings, iii. 16,) the case of Tamar, (Gen. xxxviii. 12,) and the propensity of human nature to sensual pleasure, which neither laws nor education can wholly suppress, afford a proof that some among the Jewish women addicted themselves to this debauched manner of life. Some, however, suppose that by the laws in Deut. and Levit. above cited, “ non scorta vulgaria quæstus aut voluptatis solius cupidine corporum suorum copiam facientia, prohibentur; sed scorta (quæ vocant) sacra, foedo alicui Gentium Numini dicata, et turpitudinem omnem in illius honorem exercentia.”—(Spencer, de Leg. Hebræor. lib. ii. cap. 22.) Among the Athenians severe penalties were laid upon those who defiled women that were citizens of Athens, while foreigners had the liberty of keeping public stews, and therefore harlots there, like those among the Jews, were called čevai, strange women.-Potter, Ant. lib. iv. cap. 12.
It must be owned that the Jewish law did not circumscribe the gratification of the sexual passion within the same limits as the Christian religion does. Polygamy was, perhaps, permitted by the law of Moses ; certainly it was practised under it.—(Michælis, Commentaries on the Law of Moses, Art. 94.) An Hebrew might take his slaves or handmaids to his bed, though they became thereby his concubines, a kind of inferior wives.—(Selden, de Jure Nat. et Gent. lib. v. cap. 7, and de Success. in Bon. Def. cap. 3; Michælis, Commentaries, Art. 88; Parkhurst, Lex. wako; and Exod. xxi. 7.) Under certain restrictions he was permitted to have carnal intercourse with a captive woman taken in war.—-(Deut. xxi. 10–14; Selden, de Jure Nat. et Gent. lib. v. cap. 13.) While such an extensive indulgence of the passions was allowed to the Israelites, there was no room for t:o restrictions enforced by the Gospel: yet many circumstances concur to prove that these permissions were only granted to the hardness of their hearts, and were to be withdrawn at the introduction of a more spiritual law. If a Jew violated a virgin, he was compelled to marry her: (Deut. xxii. 28.) If he enticed a maid and lay with her, he was obliged either to marry her, or to give her a dowry; for there is some doubt about the meaning of this law.-(Exod. xxii. 16; Selden, Uxor Hebraica, lib. i. cap. 16.) Prostitution was certainly prohibited in the one sex, and, the crime being nearly the same, they must, by parity of reason, have considered concubinage as prohibited in the other. Besides, every commandment of the Decalogue must be understood to condemn, not only the extreme crime which it expressly prohibits, but every inferior degree of the same kind; (Graves' Lectures on the Pentateuch, part 2, lect. 2;) every gratification, therefore, out of the limits prescribed by the law must have been condemned by the commandment “ thou shalt not commit adultery.” The inspired writings of the subsequent prophets and teachers often throw the greatest light upon the Levitical code; and the Proverbs of Solomon may be considered as the most valuable commentary upon the laws against prostitution; showing to what extent they were to be understood, by condemning every act of illicit indulgence.
It may be observed that this passage is interpreted by Gersom of the sensitive appetite, by Jarchi of idolatry, and by others of all false doctrine: but surely, if there be any dependence to be placed upon the language of the sacred writer, any propriety in his expressions, it is to be understood in its literal sense, as a warning against the seduction of harlots. The spirit of allegorical interpretation may make the Scriptures speak whatever is prompted by the wildest fancy, or the
זוה_and נכריה deepest fanaticism
Aus denote a woman of debauched manners, whether married or unmarried, as many commentators suppose; but only an unmarried woman addicted to an impure way of life. See the note ch. vi. 26.
I cannot better apologize for the length of this note than by adopting the words of the celebrated Porson. “Si quis me nunc accusabit, quod banc notam longam et tædii plenam fecerim, habebit, quod est accusatori maxime optandum, confitentem reum. Verum uno exemplo ostendere volebam, quantam mihi lectores, non quidem ob ea, quæ dixi, sed ob ea certe, quæ tacui, gratiam debeant.”—Addend. ad Hecubam
17. the guide of her youth]—By this expression some understand God, some a husband, and some a father or guardian. It probably means the last, as a father or guardian is the natural protector of youthful beauty, whom, nevertheless, the wanton forsakes.
- the covenant of her God]—Dathe, to whom Schultz accedes, (Cocc. Lex. 75,) thinks that aims means her husband, because had God been meant, the pronominal affix would have been omitted; but n'abs with the fem. affix is used when God is meant Hosea, xiii. 16, in Heb.; Zephaniah, iii. 2; and “ the covenant of God” is most naturally interpreted of God's covenant with the Israelitish nation. If this exposition be admitted, the harlot mentioned in the preceding verse must have been of Jewish extraction. Should it be deemed erroneous, I would take “ the covenant of her God” for the marriage-covenant, because God first instituted marriage, and still sanctions it as a solemn contract, the violation of which is highly criminal.
18. unto the dead]—For some excellent remarks on the origin and meaning of D'87, see Mede, Disc. 7; Peters, Crit. Diss. on Job, p. 318 et seq.; Magee on Atonement, vol. ii. p. 161 et seq.
20. Therefore walk]—According to this version, the verse constitutes an inference from the preceding discourse. ions sometimes means ideo, therefore, (Noldius, 3,) and so it is rendered by the Syriac. But the verse may, perhaps, be more grammatically translated in reference to ver. 11; that is, Discretion and Understanding shall preserve thee, in order that thou mayst walk in the way of the good, &c. So Le Clerc, Geier, and others.
21. shall remain in it]—So the ancient versions render 176r; but Schultens translates it by“ nervabuntur,” referring it to the Arabic og tetendit arcum, hence o, nervus, chorda, and so the Heb. 7n'. But the Arabic word has various senses, (see Golius, p. 2614,) and which shall we choose? Besides, I doubt whether the notion of strength and pith, which, I suppose, is intended by the uncouth word