Thursday, January 07, 2016

Proverbs 2:5-6ff (Brief Observations from Commentaries)

"then you will understand how to fear the Lord, and you will discover knowledge about God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:5-6 NET Bible).

From Lange's Commentary:

Proverbs 2:5. Then wilt thou understand the fear of Jehovah.— “Understand” is here equivalent to taking something to one’s self as a spiritual possession, like the “finding” in the second clause, or like δέχεσθαι [“receiveth”] in 1 Cor. 2:14. The “fear of Jehovah” (comp. 1:7) is here clearly presented as the highest good and most valuable possession of man (comp. Is. 33:6), evidently because of its imperishable nature (Ps. 19:9), and its power to deliver in trouble (Prov. 14:26; Ps. 115:11; Ecclesiast. 1:11 sq.; 2:7 sq.).—And find knowledge of God.—Knowledge of God is here put not merely as a parallel idea to the “fear of Jehovah” (as in Proverbs 9:10; Is. 11:2), but it expresses a fruit and result of the fear of Jehovah, as the substance of the following causal proposition in Proverbs 2:6–8 indicates. Comp. the dogmatical and ethical comments. [Is the substitution of Elohim for Jehovah (in clause 6) a mere rhetorical or poetical variation? WORDSWORTH calls attention to the fact that this is one of five instances in the Book of Proverbs in which God is designated as Elohim, the appellation Jehovah occurring nearly ninety times. The almost singular exception seems then to be intentional, and the meaning will be, the knowledge of “Elohim—as distinguished from the knowledge of man which is of little worth.” In explaining the all but universal use of Jehovah as the name of God in our book, while in Eccles. it never occurs, WORDSWORTH says, “when Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs he was in a state of favor and grace with Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel; he was obedient to the law of Jehovah; and the special design of the Book of Proverbs is to enforce obedience to that law,” etc. (see Introd. to Eccles., p. 78)—A.].

Here is the Cambridge Bible comment on Proverbs 2:6

6. For] Maurer rightly insists that this and two following verses are not a parenthesis, but an integral part of the main argument; q.d. I said that by diligent search after wisdom thou shouldest attain to the fear of Jehovah and the knowledge of God; and I said so because that knowledge involves the true conception of God, as the Fountain of all wisdom, and the right attitude towards Him of reverent expectation, which like the prophet’s “golden pipes” (Zechariah 4:2) brings your earnest desire to receive into contact with His readiness to give. Comp. James 1:5.

Now here is Peter Pett's observation on Proverbs 2:6-11:

The passage can be presented chiastically:

A For YHWH gives wisdom, out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

B He lays up sound wisdom for the upright, He is a shield to those who walk in integrity (Proverbs 2:7).

C That he may guard the paths of justice, and preserve the way of his saints (holy ones) (Proverbs 2:8).

B Then will you understand righteousness and justice, and equity, yes, every good path (Proverbs 2:9).

A For wisdom will enter into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul, discretion will watch over you, understanding will keep you (Proverbs 2:10-11).

Note in A the emphasis on wisdom, knowledge and understanding repeated in the parallel. In B He lays up sound wisdom for the upright, and in the parallel that sound wisdom is described. Centrally in C YHWH guards His people’s way.


1 comment:

Duncan said...

Looking for justification from outside the given text is highly questionable unless it,s language precedes the text in question. Different nuances are possible but probably only slight.

You are going to have to explain the dramatic change of usage in 1:7 from genesis before you can proceed with the rest of the interpretation.