Proverbs 3:1 MEANING

Proverbs 3:1
Verses 1-18. - 4. Fourth admonitory discourse. The third chapter introduces us to a group of admonitions, and the first of these (vers. 1-18) forms the fourth admonitory discourse of the teacher. To all intents and purposes this is a continuation of the discourse in the preceding chapter, for inasmuch as that described the benefits, spiritual and moral, which follow from the pursuit of Wisdom, in promoting godliness and providing safety from evil companions, so this in like manner depicts the gain flowing from Wisdom, the happiness of the man who finds Wisdom, and the favour which he meets with both with God and man. The discourse embraces exhortations to obedience (vers. 1-4), to reliance on God (vers. 5, 6) against self-sufficiency and self-dependence (vers. 7, 8), to self-sacrificing devotion to God (vers. 9, 10), to patient submission to God's afflictive dispensations (vers. 11, 12), and concludes with pointing out the happy gain of Wisdom, her incomparable value, and wherein that value consists (vers. 13-18). It is noticeable that in each case the exhortation is accompanied with a corresponding promise of reward (vers, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10), and these promises are brought forward with the view to encourage the observance of the duties recommended or enjoined. Jehovah is the central point to which all the exhortations converge. Obedience, trust, self-sacrificing devotion, submission, are successively brought forward by the teacher as due to God, and the persons in whom they are exhibited are truly happy in finding Wisdom. The transition in thought from the former to the latter part of the discourse is easy and natural. Obedience and trust are represented as bringing favour, guidance, and health - in a word, prosperity. But God is not only to be honoured in times of prosperity, but also in adversity his loving hand is to be recognized; and in this submission to his will is true wisdom. Verse 1. - My son (b'ni) serves to externally connect this discourse with the preceding. Forget not my law. This admonition bears a strong resemblance to that in Proverbs 1:8, though the terms employed are somewhat different, torah and mits'oth here occupying the place respectively of musar and torah in that passage. My law (torathi), is literally, my teaching, or doctrine, from the root yarah, "to teach." The torah is the whole body of salutary doctrine, and designates "Law" from the standpoint of teaching. Forgetting here is not So much oblivion arising from defective memory, as a wilful disregard and neglect of the admonitions of the teacher. Thine heart (libekha); Vulgate, cor; LXX., καρδία and so the sum total of the affections. Keep; yitstsor, from notsar, "to keep, or observe that which is commanded." The word is of frequent occurrence in the Proverbs, and appears about twenty-five times. My commandments (mits'othay); Vulgate, praecepta mea; LXX., τὰ ῤήματα μου; i.e. my precepts. The Hebrew verb from which it is derived means "to command, or prescribe." The law and commandments here alluded to are those which immediately follow, from ver. 3 onwards. The three main ideas combined in this verse are remembrance, affection, and obedience. Remembering the law or teaching will depend, to a large extent, on the interest felt in that law; and the admonition to "forget not" is an admonition to give "earnest heed," so that the law or teaching may be firmly fixed in the mind. In using the words, "let thy heart keep," the teacher goes to the root of the matter. There may be an historical remembrance of, or an intellectual assent to, the commandments, but these are insufficient, for the keeping of the commandments must be based on the recognition of the fact that the affections of the heart are to be employed in the service of God, the keeping of the commandments is to be a labour of love. Again, the expression, "keep my commandments," implies, of course, external conformity to their requirements: we are "to observe to do them" (Deuteronomy 8:1); but it implies, further, spiritual obedience, i.e. an obedience with which love is combined (Deuteronomy 30:20), and which arises from the inward principles of the heart being in harmony with the spirit of the commandments (see Wardlaw).

3:1-6 In the way of believing obedience to God's commandments health and peace may commonly be enjoyed; and though our days may not be long upon earth, we shall live for ever in heaven. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee; God's mercy in promising, and his truth in performing: live up to them, keep up thine interest in them, and take the comfort of them. We must trust in the Lord with all our hearts, believing he is able and wise to do what is best. Those who know themselves, find their own understandings a broken reed, which, if they lean upon, will fail. Do not design any thing but what is lawful, and beg God to direct thee in every case, though it may seem quite plain. In all our ways that prove pleasant, in which we gain our point, we must acknowledge God with thankfulness. In all our ways that prove uncomfortable, and that are hedged up with thorns, we must acknowledge him with submission. It is promised, He shall direct thy paths; so that thy way shall be safe and good, and happy at last.My son, forget not my law,.... Or, "doctrine" (e); the doctrine of Christ, the Gospel, and the several truths of it; which, being of the utmost moment and importance, should be kept in memory, and not let slip, or be in the least slighted and neglected; see Hebrews 2:1;

but let thine heart keep my commandments; as the ark, or chest, kept the two tables of the law put into it; it denotes a cordial affection for the commandments and ordinances of Christ, a hearty attention and obedience to them, and a constant and cheerful observance of them, flowing from love and gratitude to him, John 14:15.

(e) "doctrinae meae", Piscator, Michaelis; "institutionem meam", Schultens; "doctrinam meam", Cocceius.

Courtesy of Open Bible