Proverbs 22:21 MEANING

Proverbs 22:21
(21) That thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?--This rendering is somewhat doubtful, but seems to give the best sense to the passage. The scholar is to be instructed not for his own profit alone, but in order that he may be able to teach others also. (Comp. 1 Peter 3:15.)

Verse 21. - That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth. The object intended is to teach the disciple the fixed rule (firmitatem, Vulgate) by which truthful words are guided (see Luke 1:4). Septuagint, "I therefore teach thee a true word and knowledge good to learn." That thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee. This implies that the pupil will be enabled to teach others who apply to him for instruction; "will be ready." as St. Peter says, "always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15). But the last expression is better translated, "them that send thee;" illis qui miserunt te, Vulgate (see Proverbs 25:13); and we must conceive of these as being parents or tutors who send a youth to a school or wise man to be educated. The moralist expresses his desire that the disciple will carry home such wholesome, truthful doctrines as will prove that the pains expended upon him have not been useless. Septuagint, "That thou mayest answer words of truth to those who put questions to thee (τοῖς προβαλλομένοις σοι)" The Syriac adds, "That I may make known unto thee counsel and wisdom." Bickell's version (quoted by Cheyne) is, "That thou mayest know the rightness of these words, that thou mayest answer in true words to them that ask thee."

22:17-21. To these words, to this knowledge, the ear must be bowed down, and the heart applied by faith and love. To live a life of delight in God and dependence on him, is the foundation of all practical religion. The way to know the certainty of the word of truth, is to make conscience of our duty. 22,23. He that robs and oppresses the poor, does so at his peril. And if men will not appear for them, God will. 24,25. Our corrupt hearts have so much tinder in them, that it is dangerous to have to do with those that throw about the sparks of their passion.That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth,.... Such are the doctrines of the Gospel; they are "the words of truth"; are written in the Scriptures of truth; come from the God of truth; the subject matter of which is Christ, who is the truth, and which the Spirit of truth leads into: there is a "certainty" in these; they are in the sure word of prophecy; are contained in the inspired and infallible word of God, and are no other than the Gospel of God; nothing is more sure than that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and truly and properly God; and that salvation is alone by him; and that whoever believes in him shall be saved; with many other things, which ministers of the word should affirm with boldness and assurance; and which others may come to a certain knowledge of, even to the riches of a full assurance of understanding; and which is the end of their being written in the word, and made known in the ministry of it;

that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee; or, "return" (e) them to those that send to know what are the words of truth; that inquire concerning them with meekness and fear, and to whom a reason of the hope is to be given; as such are capable of, who have had the certainty of these words made known unto them, or who have been assured of the truth of them: and so Jarchi interprets it, to them that ask of thee instruction; as if it was written, as Lyra says it should, "to them that inquire of thee". It may be rendered, "to them that send thee" (f); to search for those things, and get the knowledge of them, in order to communicate them, which, when obtained, may be done. Unless God, Father, Son, and Spirit, should be intended, who are concerned in the sending of ministers to preach the Gospel to men; to whom they are to return an account of the words of truth, and of their dispensation of them to the souls of men; which when faithfully done, and success, they give up their account with joy, and not with grief.

(e) (f) "qui miserunt te", V. L. "mittentibus te", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus, Michaelis, so Aben Ezra; "missoribus tui", Schultens.

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