and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it; such as have acted treacherously and perfidiously (c), and are opposed to upright men; as the wicked are to the righteous, pure, and spotless; these shall not only be cut off as trees to the stump, but be rooted up, and have neither root nor branch left them; they shall have no posterity to succeed them, and their memory shall utterly perish; see Malachi 4:1; or "shall be scraped off", or "swept away" (d), as the dust and dross of the earth, and the offscouring of all things.
(c) "perfide agentis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "perfidi", Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (d) "eradentur", Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus; "everrentur", Schultens.
INTRODUCTION TO Proverbs 3
In this chapter, Wisdom, or Christ, delivers out some fresh lessons and instructions to his children; as not to forget his doctrine, but heartily attend to his precepts and ordinances, seeing these are the means of lengthening out their days, and of enjoying peace, Proverbs 3:1; as well as had the promise of the mercy and truth of God, and the continuance of them, annexed to them; and therefore are exhorted to keep close to them, and show the greatest value and affection for them, which was the way to find favour with, and to be taken notice of by, God and man, Proverbs 3:3; and then he proceeds to exhort them to a hearty trust in the Lord, without dependence on themselves; and to seek direction from him in every step they took, which they might expect to have, Proverbs 3:5; to humility and the fear of God, and fleeing from evil, which they would find would much contribute to their health, Proverbs 3:7; to liberality in supporting the worship of God, and the interest of religion, which would turn to account and profit to them, Proverbs 3:9; to patience in bearing the chastisement of the Lord, as coming from a loving father, Proverbs 3:11; then follows a commendation of wisdom, and the happiness of the man possessed of it is declared, Proverbs 3:13; from the profit, preciousness, pleasure, and usefulness of it, Proverbs 3:14; and from its concern in the works of creation and providence, Proverbs 3:19; and from that comfort, honour, safety, and security, which come by the doctrines and instructions of Wisdom, and a steady regard to them, Proverbs 3:21; and the chapter is concluded with exhortations to beneficence, charity, concord, and peace with neighbours, Proverbs 3:27; and to shun the ways of wicked men, urged from the different state and condition of wicked men and fools, and of the just, the lowly, and wise, Proverbs 3:31.
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.
and peace shall they add to thee; the Gospel is the Gospel of peace, which not only proclaims peace by the blood of Christ; but the doctrines of it, such as justification by the righteousness of Christ, pardon by his blood, and atonement by his sacrifice, are the means of giving and increasing spiritual peace in the hearts of believers; and so are the ordinances of Christ, which in Proverbs 3:17; are called, for that reason, "paths of peace"; see Romans 5:1.
(f) "annos vitarum", Montanus.
bind them about thy neck; as chains for ornament: not mercy and truth, just before mentioned, as may seem at first sight; but the law and commandments of wisdom, Proverbs 3:1; or the doctrines and ordinances of Christ; see Proverbs 1:8; reckon it as your greatest honour, glory, and beauty, that you steadfastly adhere to these things; nothing makes a believer look more lovely in conversation than a close regard to the truths of Christ, and a constant walking in his ordinances;
write them upon the table of thine heart; do not forget them, keep them in memory, and always retain a hearty affection for them; it is the Spirit's work to write them in the heart; and when they are there written, it is the work of saints, under a divine influence, to copy them over in life, and to show by their conduct and behaviour that they are written there; see Jeremiah 31:33. The allusion, in both phrases, is to the directions given about the law of Moses, Deuteronomy 6:8; and to the writing of his law on tables of stone: and it was usual with the ancients, in later times, to write on tables of wood; Solon's laws were written on tables of wood (h); and such were the "tabellae et pugillares" of the Romans, made of box, beech, and other sorts of wood, covered with wax, on which they wrote; See Gill on Habakkuk 2:2; but Solomon would have his law written on the fleshly tables of the heart, 2 Corinthians 3:3.
(g) "non derelinquent te", Piscator; "non deserent te", Michaelis; so Aben Ezra and Gersom. (h) Laert, Vit. Solon. A. Gell. Noet. Attic. l. 2. c. 12.
and good understanding in the sight of God and man; as Christ, as man, had in the sight of both, Luke 2:52; that is, to be taken notice of, regarded, and approved by both. Some render it "good success" (k); prosperity in things temporal and spiritual; see Psalm 111:10. There is something lovely, and of good report, in a close attention to the doctrines and duties of religion; which make a man amiable in the sight of others, and which is followed with a blessing from the Lord.
(i) "gratiam", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, &c. (k) "successum optimum", Junius & Tremellius.
and lean not unto thine own understanding; or trust not to that; for it stands opposed to trusting in the Lord. Men should not depend upon their own wisdom and understanding, in the conduct of civil life, but should seek the direction and blessing of Providence, or otherwise will meet with disappointment; and, when they succeed, should ascribe it not to their own prudence and wisdom, but to the goodness of God; for "bread" is not always "to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding", Ecclesiastes 9:11; and much less should men lean to their own understanding in matters of religion; a natural man has no understanding of spiritual things, of the things of the Gospel, nor indeed any practical understanding of things moral, Romans 3:11, Jeremiah 4:22. The understanding of man is darkened by sin; yea, is darkness itself; it is like the first earth, covered with darkness, till light is let into it, and therefore not to be leaned unto and depended on, Ephesians 4:18. There is a necessity of a new heart and spirit, of an understanding to be given, in order to understand spiritual and divine things, Ezekiel 36:26; for though these are not contrary to the reason and understanding of men; yet they are above them, and cannot be discovered, reached, comprehended, and accounted for by them, Matthew 16:17. Nay, there are some things in the Gospel, which, though plain to an enlightened understanding by the word of God, yet the manner how they are cannot be apprehended: as the doctrines of a trinity of Persons; of the generation of the Son of God; the procession of the Spirit; the union of the two natures in Christ; the resurrection of the dead, &c. In short, not our reason and understanding at best, and much less as carnal and unsanctified, but the word of God only is our rule of judgment, and the standard of our faith and practice; and to that we should have recourse and be directed by it, and not lean to our own understandings.
and he shall direct thy paths; man cannot direct his own; no, not a man: this is a blessing from the Lord; who steps of his people, keeps the feet of his saints, and directs them aright in things temporal and spiritual, Jeremiah 10:23.
(l) "scito eum", Pagninus, Montanus.
fear the Lord; which is true wisdom; and, where this is not, there is none, let men be ever so conceited; and where this is there is humility; these two go together, and make a man wise, rich, and honourable, Proverbs 22:4. The fear of the Lord is opposed to pride, high-mindedness, and vain conceit, Romans 11:20; this includes reverence of God, faith in him, dependence on him, acknowledgment of him, seeking to him for direction, and carefulness not to offend him;
and depart from evil; from the evil of self-confidence and self-conceit, and from all other evil; the fear of God influences men to avoid sin, and abstain from all appearance of it; by means and through the exercise of it men forsake it, and keep at a distance from it, Proverbs 16:6. Nehemiah could not do as others did, because of the fear of the Lord; and Job was a man that feared God, and therefore he avoided that which was evil, Nehemiah 5:15.
and marrow to thy bones; or, "watering" (m) to them: that which irrigates and moistens them, and makes and keeps them strong and solid: see Job 21:24. What marrow is to the bones, that is wisdom, or the fear of God, to the souls of men; the means of establishing and strengthening them against sin, and snares and temptations, and to do the will and work of God.
(m) "irrigatio", V. L. Montanus, Tigurine version, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Amama, Schultens.
and with the firstfruits of all thine increase; or, "out of the chief of all thine increase" (o); God must have the best, and in the first place. The allusion is either to the maintenance of the priests and Levites under the law, and the manner of doing it; which, among other things, was out of the annual produce of the earth, and the firstfruits of it; and may respect the comfortable support of Gospel ministers under the present dispensation; see 1 Corinthians 9:13; or to the firstfruits of every kind offered to the Lord, and to the feast kept sacred to him at the ingathering the fruits of the earth, Leviticus 23:10; and even among the Heathens formerly were something of the same kind. Aristotle says (p) the ancient sacrifices and assemblies were instituted as firstfruits, after the gathering of the fruits, at which time especially they ceased from working.
(n) "e substantia tua", Montanus; "de substantia tua", Baynus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "de divitiis tuis", Mercerus, Gejerus; "de opibus tuis", Tigurine version, Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (o) "de praecipuo totius proventus tui", Junius & Tremellius. (p) Ethic. l. 8. c. 11.
and thy presses shall burst out with new wine; not that they should really burst (q) for then the wine would be spilled, which would be a loss; but that they should be so full, that they should be ready to burst or run over: and so the Targum, and the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "and thy presses shall overflow with new wine". As the former clause denotes plenty of eatables, so this of drinkables; and both fulness of all sorts of provisions, promised to the liberal man; and may be an emblem of the large provisions of grace and glory, which the Lord has made for and bestows upon such that honour him.
(q) A like figure see in Virgil. Georgic. l. 1. v. 49. "---ruperunt horrea messes".
neither be weary of his correction; "rebuke" or "reproof" (s); so in Hebrews 12:5; "when thou art rebuked of him", not in wrath and fury, but in love, as before. The same thing is meant by correction as chastening; and supposes a fault to be committed by him that is corrected, for God corrects none but for sin; and authority in the corrector, which he, as the Father of spirits, and as our covenant God and Father in Christ, has a right to do: he corrects by his Spirit, by his word, by his ministers, and by his providences, afflictive ones, which last is here meant; and it is always for good, at a proper time, and when necessary, in measure and with judgment: and of this the children should not be "weary", as grievous and intolerable; and especially should not be weary of their lives on account of it, in which sense the word is used in Genesis 27:46 which has been the case of Job and others; but should bear it quietly and peaceably, and with patience, without fretting and murmuring; or should not "faint", as it is rendered in Hebrews 12:5; or sink under the weight, but cheerfully support under it. The two extremes, which men are apt to run into, are here guarded against; on the one hand, to make little or nothing of an affliction; to outbrave it, not to be affected with it, nor humble under the mighty hand of God; nor consider the rod, and him that has appointed it: and, on the other hand, to aggravate an affliction, as if no sorrow was like theirs, and to be quite dejected and overwhelmed with it.
(r) "disciplinam", V. L. Cocceius, Schultens; "eruditionem", Junius & Tremellius. (s) "ad increpationem ejus", Tigurine version, Mercerus, Gejerus; "redargutionem ejus", Cocceius; "sub redargutione ejus", Schultens.
even as a father the son in whom he delighteth; as a father chastens and corrects his son, whom he dearly loves, and has the greatest pleasure in, so the Lord chastens and corrects his people; see Deuteronomy 8:5. There is such a relation subsisting between them as that of father and son, which flows from the inexpressible love of God to them; and which is a love of complacency and delight in them, and is invariable and unchangeable, and continues the same under all their afflictions; as appears by what he does for them in them, and by the issue of them; he knows their souls in adversity, and chooses them in the furnace of affliction; he pays love visits to them, and comforts them under all their tribulation; he sympathizes with them, and supports them; he makes their bed in their affliction, and delivers out of it, or takes them to himself: the issue is always his own glory, and their good.
and the man that getteth understanding; Christ, and a spiritual understanding of him: this is not a proper acquisition of a man's own; an interest in Christ is not gotten by anything of man's; not by his good works, which are the fruits of grace; nor by faith and repentance, which are gifts of grace themselves; but it is given unto a man: and "getting" here signifies, as before, possession and enjoyment of Christ, as God's pure gift; as a man that is said to obtain the favour of God, when he enjoys it, and the effects of it, in consequence of finding Christ, Proverbs 8:35; where the same word is used as here. The word signifies to "draw out" (t); as metals are drawn out of the earth by searching and digging for, or as water out of a well; thus Christ, and the knowledge of him, are drawn out of the mines and fountains of the Scriptures, by such that seek after him aright. Aben Ezra interprets it, that draws or brings it out from another, and learns it; the true believer in Christ hears and learns of the Father, and so comes to Christ, and enjoys him, John 6:45. The Targum is,
"who causes understanding to spring up;''
as water out of a well or fountain; out of his heart, as Gersom; or, as Jarchi, who has learned wisdom, that it is ready to break out, at his mouth; out of the abundance of it in his heart, his mouth speaketh; as such that know Christ cannot but speak to others of the things they have heard and seen, Matthew 12:34.
(t) "educet", Montanus; "eruit", Tigurine version, Vatablus.
and the gain thereof than fine gold; the doctrines and ordinances of Christ are more to be desired than gold, yea, than fine gold; the blessings of grace by Christ, such as redemption, pardon of sin, &c. are not obtained by corruptible things, as silver and gold, but are more precious than they; and even the graces of Christ in the hearts of his people, as faith, hope, and love, are more precious than gold that perisheth; and much more preferable must he himself be, and the gain that accrues to a believer by him, which is cent per cent an hundred fold, even in this world, and in the world to come everlasting life: it is all clear gain a believer gets by Christ and trading with him; he has him, and all with him, without money and without price; he has that which is more worth than the gain of the whole world, even the salvation of his immortal soul; the riches he has by Christ are immense and unsearchable, the riches of grace and glory; it cannot be said how great this gain is.
and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her; this takes in a very great compass: there are many things that are very desirable, and the desires of man's heart are very extensive, and not easily satisfied; there are the precious things of heaven, brought forth by the sun and moon; and the precious things of the earth, which are either upon it or in it, in the bowels of it, and upon the plains, and hills; but none of equal worth with Christ; there are many precious and excellent, and desirable persons in the world, neighbours, friends, relations, and acquaintance; saints on earth, and angels in heaven; yet none to be valued with Christ, and compared to him; see Psalm 73:25.
(u) "prae margaritis", Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis. (w) De Boot. Hist. Gemm. l. 2. c. 39. (x) "Carbunculis", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (y) "Vilius argentum est auro, virtutibus aurum", Horat. Ep. l. 1. Ep. 1. v. 52.
and in her left hand riches and honour; by "riches" are meant not temporal riches, for these are not always to the wise, nor to the children of Wisdom, nor of Christ; and all that have these are not happy, nor are they durable: but spiritual riches are intended, the riches of grace; of pardoning, justifying, and sanctifying grace, and of all supplies of grace; and also the riches of glory, which are solid and satisfying, immense and unsearchable, lasting and durable: and by "honour" is designed not the honour which comes from men, or the honour of this world; for such who find Christ, and are possessed of him, and profess him, have but a small share of this, being, generally speaking, accounted the faith and offscouring of the world; but yet they are the children of God, and so have that name which is better than to be the sons and daughters of the greatest monarch; they are the spouse of Christ, and so his queen that stands at his right hand in gold of Ophir; they are made kings and priests unto God, and shall reign with Christ for evermore; this honour have all the saints, and is what is in the hands of Christ to give, and does give, to all that believe in him: or "glory" (a), as the word signifies; the glory of God, eternal glory; this as well as grace is Christ's gift, Psalm 84:11.
(z) Vid. Nebrissens. Quinquagena, c. 16. & Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier l. 1. c. 14. to which Juvenial refers, when speaking of Nestor, "----suos jam dextra computat annos", Satyr. 10. v. 249. (a) "gloria", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Cocceius, Schultens.
and all her paths are peace; the "paths" which Christ has trod in to procure the peace of his people; he appeared in the council of peace, and assisted in it; he entered into a covenant of peace with his Father; he assumed the nature of his people, in order to be their peacemaker; he took the chastisement of their peace upon him; he obtained it by the blood of his cross; he sends his ministers to publish it, and his Spirit into the hearts of men to reconcile them to this way of peace and salvation by him; and the result of all this is, that an honourable "peace" is made for sinners, and peace of conscience is enjoyed, which passeth all understanding, flowing from the blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of Christ; and the whole issues in eternal peace in the world to come. Likewise all those "paths" which Christ instructs his people to walk in; as the paths of faith and obedience, these lead to the enjoyment of "peace" here and hereafter; there is much peace had in a way of believing, and great peace have they which love the law of God, and the commandments of Christ, and obey them; they may meet with much uneasiness at times in their own spirits, by reason of sin, temptation, and desertion; they may bring the malice of the world upon them, and have much trouble from it, and too, too often, disagree among themselves; and yet, after all, they have that peace which others have not while they live; and, when they die, they depart in peace, and enter into eternal peace. Now all this is true, not of unregenerate persons, who desire not the knowledge of Christ, and to whom there is no peace, but of true believers in him.
to them that lay hold upon her; which is expressive of an act of faith on Christ, Hebrews 6:18; faith lays hold on the person of Christ as a Saviour, and will have him and no other; it comes to the blood of Christ, and deals with it for pardon and purification; it lays hold on his skirt, who is a Jew, on the robe of his righteousness, and puts it on; it lays hold on his strength, and goes forth in it, in the exercise of grace and discharge of duty; it lays hold on his covenant, the blessings and promises of it, and takes them to itself: and this act supposes danger without him, safety in him, a view of suitable provisions for food and clothing with him; some strength of grace, and some degree of resolution; also condescension on Christ's part to suffer himself to be handled by them; and likewise that he first took hold on them and brought them out of a state of nature to himself: great encouragement there is for sensible sinners to lay hold on Christ; he is set before them in the Gospel to be laid hold on; he never discourages any from so doing, nor casts out any that come to him; he is able to bear the stress of their salvation they lay upon him; multitudes of lost sinners have been saved by him: and he is a tree of life, as the text says, to such persons; they have spiritual life, and the support and comfort of it, from him now, and may expect everlasting life from him hereafter;
and happy is everyone that retaineth her; or "holds her fast" (c); see Sol 3:4; as such may be said to do who constantly apply to him for fresh communications of grace; who walk on in him as they have received him, and hold fast the profession of their faith in him. The phrase is expressive of great affection to him, and strong faith in him; faith keeps its hold of Christ through great darkness and many difficulties; oftentimes the soul walks in darkness, and yet stays itself on Christ, and, Abraham-like, believes in hope against hope. Faith is sometimes very low, and yet lets not go its hold; it fails not, through the prevalent intercession of Christ; it cannot so let go its hold as that there is a parting; a partial departing there may be, but not a total one: however, it is sometimes very difficult for faith to keep fast hold of the Redeemer; it is for the honour and comfort of believers so to do; and it is their mercy that interest in Christ, and salvation by him, do not depend on acts of faith; for, though "we believe not, yet he abides faithful", 2 Timothy 2:13; nevertheless happy are they that retain him, or are steadfast in their faith on him; they have much communion with him now, and shall live with him for evermore hereafter.
(b) "lignum vitarum", Montanus. (c) "significatur hoc verbo, firmitas et constantia in tonendo", Michaelis; so Mercerus.
by understanding hath he established the heavens: or prepared, adorned, and beautified them, by placing the luminaries in them, and directing their station, motion, and influence; the making of the heavens, with all the host of them, is ascribed to the essential Word or Wisdom of God, Psalm 33:6.
and the clouds drop down the dew; which makes the earth fruitful, and is put for all the blessings of nature, Genesis 27:28; the drops of dew are begotten by the Lord, they have no other father but him; the vanities of the Gentiles cannot produce them; he who fills the clouds with them, from whence they descend, is no other than the mighty God; and such is Christ the Wisdom of God. Some understand this in a mystical sense of Gospel ministers, and of the dew of Gospel doctrine, dropped and distilled by them under the influence and direction of Christ; see Deuteronomy 32:2; but the literal sense is best.
sound wisdom is meant sound doctrine, the wholesome words of Christ, the solid and substantial truths of the Gospel. The Vulgate Latin version renders it, "keep the law"; but the Syriac version, much better, "keep my doctrine", the doctrine of the Gospel; which also is meant by
discretion, or "counsel" (d), as some render the word, and as the Gospel is called, Acts 20:27; this should be kept; the doctrines of it should be held fast and not let go, or be departed from; and the ordinances of it should be observed and kept, as they were delivered, from a principle of love, and a view to the glory of Christ; the advantages arising from them follow.
(d) Sept. "consilium", Arabic version.
and grace to thy neck; an ornament to that and to the whole man; how ornamental is Christ and his righteousness to a believer! how lovely is the person that is steady in his principles, and regular in his practices! who stands fast in the truths of the Gospel, and whose conversation is as becomes it! see Proverbs 1:9.
and thy foot shall not stumble; at the word and the truths of it, as some men do, being thereunto appointed; and at Christ, the stumbling stone laid in Zion, particularly at his justifying righteousness; see 1 Peter 2:8.
yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet; free of all uneasy thoughts and cares, sound and refreshing, pleasant and comfortable, like that of the labouring man, Ecclesiastes 5:12; see Psalm 4:8. This epithet of "sweet" is often given to "sleep" in poetic writings (f).
(e) "dormieris", V. L. "eum dormies", Vatablus. (f) , Homer. Odyss. 7. v. 289. & 19. v. 511. Theocrit. Idyll. 11. v. 22, 23.
neither of the desolation of the wicked when it cometh; either of the desolation which wicked men threaten to bring, and are suffered to bring, upon the godly for the sake of religion; either on their persons or goods, since suffering at their hands in such a cause is to the honour of saints, and for the glory of God; or of the desolation which comes upon the godly, for God is able to deliver him from it, as Noah and his family from the universal deluge, and Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah; or if they promiscuously fall in it, nevertheless it will be well with them to all eternity.
"the Lord shall be in things in which thou art foolish;''
which, how absurd it may seem to be, will admit of a good interpretation; that the Lord will be with Wisdom's followers in things which may seem foolishness to the world; as Christ, the things of Christ, and the things of the Spirit of Christ, the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, are. The Targum is,
"the Lord shall be thine help,''
in all times of distress, difficulty, and danger;
and shall keep thy foot from being taken; in the snares of sin, temptation, and mischief; in those which Satan and the world lay for God's people; from these the Lord preserves them; wherefore happy are those that have an interest in Christ, who find and enjoy him.
(g) So Montanus, Vatablus, Michaelis.
"do not abstain to do well to the needy;''
and Aben Ezra interprets it of the poor; to them alms are due because of their wants, and by the appointment; of God; hence called "righteousness", in some copies of Matthew 6:1; so money kept from the poor "mammon of unrighteousness", Luke 16:9. They are, as the word in the Hebrew text signifies, "the owners thereof" (h): rich men are not so much proprietors of good things as they are God's alms givers or stewards to distribute to the poor; and, as often as men have opportunity, they should do good in this way to all, especially to the household of faith, Galatians 6:10; this will hold true, as of temporal good things, so of spiritual; as good advice, exhortation, and doctrine. The Vulgate Latin version is, "do not forbid him to do well that can"; which sense is favoured by Jarchi: and as we should not abstain from doing good ourselves, so neither should we forbid, hinder, or discourage others; but the former sense is best;
when it is in the power of thine hand to do it; not to hinder others, as Jarchi, but to do good; when a man has a sufficiency in his hands to do good with; has not only enough for himself and his family, but something to spare; when he has both opportunity and ability; and when he can do it at once and without delay, as follows.
(h) "a dominis suis", Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Michaelis.
go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; go home, and come tomorrow, and I will pay thee what I owe thee; or do not trouble me now, come another time, and perhaps I may relieve thy wants: this should not be said, because a man cannot be sure of tomorrow that he shall ever see it; nor may it be in the power of his hands, should he live unto the morrow, to do as he promises; his substance may be taken from him; and besides, in the mean time, the poor object may perish for want of relief;
when thou hast it by thee; money to pay thy debts with, or to give alms to the poor; and therefore should give readily and at once, and not make any excuses and delays; "bis dat, qui cito dat". Some make this to be part of the covetous man's words, saying, "and there is with thee"; or thou hast enough, thou hast no need to ask of me; thou hast what thou askest; thou art not in want; thou art richer than I; but the other sense is best. The Septuagint and Arabic versions add,
"for thou knowest not what the day following may bring forth;''
or may happen on it.
seeing he dwelleth securely by thee; having a good opinion of thee, and not suspecting any ill design against him, thinks himself, goods, and family, in safety; and is under no concern to provide for his security, placing his confidence in thee, and perhaps to such a degree as to entrust with his secrets. Now to project evil against such a man is exceeding base; it is doubly sinful; this is an aggravation of the iniquity.
(i) "ne ares", Amama.
if he have done thee no harm; no real hurt to thy person, nor injury to thy substance; if he has not abused nor defrauded thee, nor taken any thing from thee by force or fraud, nor withheld from thee what is thy right and due. But otherwise the laws of God and man ought to take place; right may be sought for, and justice should be done.
and choose none of his ways; which he has used to get his riches in; do not follow him in them; for should you do as he has done, and get ever so much, since this would be with the loss of your souls, of what advantage would it be? He makes the best choice that chooses the "good part" that shall not be taken away, Luke 10:42; Christ, and the ways of Christ.
"for iniquity is abominable before the Lord;''
but his secret is with the righteous: not such who are outwardly so to others, or trust in themselves that they are righteous, or seek for righteousness by their own works; but such who are justified by the righteousness of Christ, which faith receives from him, and in consequence of which a man lives soberly and righteously: with these the "secret" of the Lord is; of his love, grace, and favour, which was from everlasting, and is manifested in regeneration; of his purposes of grace, with respect to election, redemption, calling, and adoption, which is made known in effectual calling; of his covenant, as that he is their covenant God, Christ is their covenant head and Mediator, and that they have an interest in all the grace, blessings, and promises of it; of the Gospel, and the several mysteries of it, which are so to carnal men; of his providences, what he is doing, or what he is about to do, and will do hereafter, Amos 3:7; and of communion and fellowship with him. The phrase denotes friendship and familiarity; God deals with the righteous as a man does with his intimate friend, converses freely with him, and discloses his secrets to him: and the word is rendered "confabulation" by the Targum, Syriac, and Vulgate Latin versions; see Job 29:4.
but he blesseth the habitation of the just; the righteous man, as before described; he is blessed himself, having the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and his sins forgiven him for his sake; and what he has of worldly substance, though it be ever so little, he has it with a blessing; and therefore it is better than the riches of many wicked men; his house, though it is but a courage, as the word (k) here signifies, is blessed with the presence of God in it; his family, his children, and servants, are blessed, having his instructions and example, and especially when made effectual by the grace of God; as the house of Obededom was blessed for the sake of the ark, so is a just man's house, being a "bethel", an house of God, blessed on account of his worship in it; see 2 Samuel 6:11.
(k) "tugurio", Montanus; "tugurium, vel casam pastoritiam", Gejerus.
"he shall drive away;''
"he shall destroy;''
"God shall make others mock them;''
which is, to resist them;
but he giveth grace unto the lowly; or humble souls; such who are made truly sensible of sin, and lie low in their own sight on account of it; who, sensible of the imperfection and insufficiency of their own righteousness, submit to the righteousness of Christ; ascribe their salvation, and all the blessings of it, to the free grace of God; own the deficiency of their duties, and disclaim all merit in them; think the worst of themselves, and the best of others; and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, and are patient under every adverse dispensation of Providence; knowing what their deserts are, how undeserving of any favour, and how deserving of the divine displeasure. Now God first gives grace to these persons to make them thus humble and lowly which they are not naturally, and then he gives them more grace, according to his promise; and it is in proof of God's giving more grace to such persons that the Apostle James produces this passage, Proverbs 4:6. Grace is God's gift, first and last, what is had in first conversion, in after supplies, and for perseverance to the end: sanctifying, justifying, pardoning, and adopting grace, are the pure gifts of God, of his own favour and good will, without any merit, motive, or condition in the creature; and which he gives liberally and bountifully; for not favour with men is here meant, as some think, but the grace of God.
(l) Not. in Mos. Kimchi p. 34, 35.