Proverbs 8:26 MEANING

Proverbs 8:26
(26) The earth.--i.e., the cultivated and enclosed part of it.

The fields.--The open country.

The highest part of the dust of the world. Literally, "the head of the dusts of the fertile earth" i.e. the heaps of the clods of arable land, or better perhaps, "the sum of the atoms of dust." Some refer to Genesis 2:7, and interpret the words of man, as formed out of the dust.

Verse 26. - Before the mountains were settled (Job 38:6). It is questioned where the mountains were supposed to be fixed, and some have thought that they are represented as fixed in the depths of the earth. But, as we learn from Genesis 1:9, they are regarded as rising from the waters, their foundations are laid in the great deep. So the psalmist, speaking of the waters, says, "They went up by the mountains, they went down by the valleys, unto the place which thou hast founded for them" (Psalm 104:8; comp. Psalm 24:2). What is here affirmed of Wisdom is said of Jehovah in Psalm 90:2, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God." Verse 26. - The earth, nor the fields. The distinction intended is land as cultivated and occupied by buildings, etc., and waste uncultivated land outside towns. Septuagint, "The Lord made countries and uninhabited places (ἀοικήτους);" Vulgate, Adhuc terram non fecerat, et flumina. Hebrew, chutsoth; things without, abroad, hence open country. The Vulgate rendering, and that of Aquila and Symmaehus, ἐξόδους, are plainly erroneous, as waters have already been mentioned (ver. 24). The highest part of the dust of the world; literally, the head of the dusts of the world. Some have interpreted this expression of "man," the chief of those creatures which are made of the dust of the ground (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 3:20). But the idea comes in awkwardly here; it is not natural to introduce man amid the inanimate works of nature, or to use such an enigmatical designation for him. St. Jerome has, cardines orbis terrarum, "the world's hinges;" Septuagint, "the inhabited summits of the earth beneath the heavens; according to St. Hilary ('De Trinit.,' 12), "cacumina quae habitantur sub coelo." Others take the term to signify the capes or promontories ot the world, the peaks and elevations; others, the clods of dry, amble land, in contrast to the untilled waste of waters; others, the chief elements, the matter of which the earth is composed. This last interpretation would lead us back to a period which has already been passed. Amid the many possible explanations, it is perhaps best (with Delitzsch, Nowack, etc.) to take rosh, "head" as equivalent to "sum," "mass," as in Psalm 139:17. "How great is the sum (rosh) of them!" Then the expression comprehensively means all the mass of earth's dust.

8:22-31 The Son of God declares himself to have been engaged in the creation of the world. How able, how fit is the Son of God to be the Saviour of the world, who was the Creator of it! The Son of God was ordained, before the world, to that great work. Does he delight in saving wretched sinners, and shall not we delight in his salvation?While as yet he had not made the earth,.... That is, the Lord, who possessed Wisdom, or Christ, and by whom he was set up; he as yet had not made the earth, when this was done; this shows that the earth had a beginning, contrary to those philosophers who asserted the eternity of it; that Christ was before that was, for it was made by him; and consequently he must be eternal, and was before any man was, since the earth was made before man; and that he was not of the earth, earthy, as was the first man;

nor the fields; the plain parts of the earth, in opposition to the mountains and hills before mentioned; the valleys and meadows that lay between them, full of grass, flowers, and fruits; pleasant to behold, and profitable to be enjoyed; so the word is also rendered Job 5:10; and "valleys", by the Targum here: or the "out parts" (m); the extremities of the earth, the two poles of it; the uninhabitable parts of the earth, as distinct from the habitable part of it afterwards mentioned: or all with out it; the ambient and spacious ether;

nor the highest part of the dust of the world: meaning, not the mountains and hills, which are before mentioned, and are the highest part of the earth; but rather "the chief of the dust of the earth" (n), as the words may be rendered; these are the metals and minerals within it; the gold, silver, and precious stones, of which we read very early, Genesis 2:12; or the "beginning", the first and chief, the "prima materia", even the dusts of the world, out of which man and all the creatures were made, Genesis 2:6. Dr. Lister (o) was of opinion that sand was once the most exterior and general cover of the surface of the whole earth; partly because all our northern mountains are covered with it, more or less, at this day; and partly because of its great hardness, durableness, and unalterable quality; and the higher the mountains be, he says, still the more and coarser the sand is; and if so, this might with propriety be called the highest part of the dust of the earth. But Christ was before any of them, as well as is more excellent than they. Or it may be man is designed, who was made of the dust of the earth; even the first man Adam, so Jarchi, Genesis 2:7; before whom Christ was: yea, the human nature of Christ himself may be meant, which is fairer than any of the children of men, and the chief of all the individuals of human nature; being without sin, and united to the Son of God, and also the curious workmanship of the Spirit of God. Now Christ, as the Son of God, as the only begotten of the Father, existed before his human nature did, or before he was the Son of man.

(m) "quae extra sunt", Tigurine version, Vatablus; "exteriora", Cocceius, Michaelis. (n) "caput", Montanus, Tigurine version; "summam", Cocceius, Michaelis, Schultens. (o) In Philosoph. Transact. abridged, vol. 2. p. 452, 453.

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