Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? – (Pro_1:20-21.) She crieth by the written Word, by ministers, and by the dealings of Providence. “Wisdom” is here personal Wisdom, the Son of God. For many personal predicates are attributed to Him: Thus, subsistence by or with God, in Pro_8:30; just as Joh_1:1 saith, “The Word was with God,” which cannot be said of a mere attribute. Moreover, the mode of subsistence imparted is generation (Pro_8:22; Pro_8:24-25). In Pro_8:22 God is said to have possessed or acquired wisdom: not by creation, Psa_104:24; nor by adoption, as Deu_32:6; Psa_74:2; but by generation. The very same Hebrew verb is used by Eve of her first-born-gotten or possessed by generation (Gen_4:1).
Moreover, other attributes are assigned to Wisdom, as if she were not an attribute, but a person – “counsel,” “strength,” etc. Also, she has the feelings of a person (Pro_8:17, “I love them that love me”). She does the acts of a person. She enables kings to rule, and invests them with authority (Pro_8:15-16). She takes part in creation, as one brought up, or rather nursed, in the bosom of the Father, as the Only-begotten of His love (Joh_1:18). She cries aloud as a person (Pro_8:1; Pro_8:4), and her “lips” and “mouth” are mentioned (Pro_8:6-7). She is the delight of the Father, and she in turn delights in men (Pro_8:30-31); answering to the rapturous delight into which the Father breaks forth concerning Messiah (Isa_42:1; Mat_3:17; Mat_17:5; Eph_1:6). She builds a house, prepares a feast, and sends forth her maidens to invite the guests (Pro_9:1-3). All which admirably applies to Messiah, who builds the Church, as His house, upon Himself the Rock (Mat_16:18; 1Ti_3:15); and invites all to the Gospel feast, (Isa_25:6; Isa_55:1; Luk_14:16-17, etc.) He is Wisdom itself absolute, and as the Archetype: from Him Wisdom imparted flows to others.
As such, He invites us to learn wisdom from Him who is its source. “Counsel” and “sound wisdom” (Pro_8:14) arc in Him as attributes are in their subject, and as effects are in their cause. The parallel, Pro_1:20; Pro_1:23, “I will pour out my Spirit unto you” (cf. Joh_7:38), confirms the personal view. The same truth is confirmed by the reproof, Pro_1:24, “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out the arm,” etc.; compared with Christ’s own words. (Mat_11:28; Mat_23:37; Luke 17:42 ). So Christ is called “the Wisdom of God,” Luk_11:49; compared with Mat_23:34 (cf. Luk_7:35; 1Co_1:24-30, “Christ the Wisdom of God;” Col_2:3). As Wisdom here saith (Pro_8:23), “I was set up,” or ‘anointed’ [ nicaktiy (H5258)] “from everlasting;” so the Father saith of Messiah, “I have set” or ‘anointed’ (the same Hebrew verb) “my King” (Psa_2:6). As in Pro_8:24 Wisdom is said to be “brought forth” or begotten by God before the world, and to have been by Him in creating all things (Pro_8:27-30), so Messiah is called the Son of God (Psa_2:7; Pro_30:4), and is said to have been with God in the beginning, and to have made all things (Joh_1:1-3; Col_1:16; Heb_1:2), and to have been begotten before every creature (Col_1:15; Col_1:17); and His goings forth are said, in Mic_5:2, to have been from of old, from everlasting.
Wisdom and her invitations here stand in contrast to the harlot and her lures, (Pro_7:1-27.) The interrogation, “Doth not wisdom cry?” gives the greater force to the divine remonstrance with those who suffer themselves to be seduced by the harlot’s charms. Why do you heed her flatteries, as though there were not another and an infinitely better damsel claiming your love and allegiance? Instead of the clandestine whisper of the adulteress in the dark, as she flees the light in alluring her victims, wisdom “puts forth her voice” openly in the day, and in a style intelligible to every capacity, so that all are left without excuse if they reject her, through preferring darkness to light.
Doth not Wisdom cry? (see on Pro_1:20, and Introduction). The interrogative form, which expects an affirmative answer, is a mode of asserting a truth universally allowed. Wisdom is personified, though we are not so plainly confronted by an individual, as in the preceding case of the harlot. But it must be remembered that, whatever may have been the author’s exact meaning, however worldly a view the original enunciation may have afforded, we, reading these chapters by the light cast upon them by later revelation, see m the description of Wisdom no mere ideal of practical prudence and good sense, no mere poetic personification of an abstract quality, but an adumbration of him who is the Wisdom of God, the coeternal Son of the Father. The open, bold, and public utterances of Wisdom are in happy contrast to the secret and stealthy enticements of Vice. So Christ, the true Wisdom, says, “I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret spake I nothing” (Joh_18:20). The Septuagint changes the subject of this verse, and makes the pupil addressed: “Thou shalt proclaim (κηρύξεις) wisdom, that understanding (φρόνησις) may obey thee;” which seems to mean that, if you wish to acquire wisdom, so that it may serve you practically, you must act as a herald or preacher, and make your desire generally known. St. Gregory has some remarks about wilful ignorance of what is right. “It is one thing,” he says, “to be ignorant; another to have refused to learn. For not to know is only ignorance; to refuse to learn is pride. And they are the less able to plead ignorance in excuse, the more that knowledge is set before them, even against their will. We might, perhaps, be able to pass along the way of this present life in ignorance of this Wisdom, if she herself had not steed in the corners of the way” (‘Moral.,’ 25.29).
She standeth in the top of high places, by the way. She takes her stand, not in thievish corners of the streets, like the harlot, but in the most open and elevated parts of the city, where she may be best seen and heard by all who pass by (see Pro_1:21, and note there). In the places of the paths; i.e. where many paths converge, and where people meet from different quarters.
The expressions in the text indicate the position which she takes and its capabilities. At the hand of the gates (1Sa_19:3). She posts herself at the side of the city gates, under the archway pierced in the wall, where she is sure of an audience. At the mouth of the city, inside the gate, where people pass on their way to the country. At the coming in at the doors, by which persons enter the town. Thus she catches all comers, those who are entering, as well as those who are leaving the city. Here standing, as in the Agora or Forum, she crieth; she calls aloud, saying what follows (Pro_8:4-36). It is a fine picture of the comprehensiveness of the gospel, which is meant for high and low, prince and peasant; which is proclaimed everywhere, in the courts of kings, in the lanes of the country, in the hovels of the city; which sets forth the infinite love of God, who is not willing that any should perish, but would have all men come to the knowledge of the truth (2Pe_3:9). Septuagint, “By the gates of the mighty she sits, in the entrances she sings aloud (ὑμνει ͂ται).”
Unto you, O men, I call. “Men,” ishim (אִישִׁים); equivalent to ἄνδρες, viri, men in the highest sense, who have some wisdom and experience, but need further enlightenment (Isa_53:3; Psa_141:4). The sons of man; בְּנֵיאָדָם, “children of Adam;” equivalent to ἄνθρωποι, homines, the general kind of men, who are taken up with material interests. St. Gregory notes (‘Moral ,’ 27.6) that persons (heroines) of perfect life are in Scripture sometimes called “men” (viri). And again, “Scripture is wont to call those persons ‘men’ who follow the ways of the Lord with firm and steady steps. Whence Wisdom says in the Proverbs, ‘Unto you, O men, I call.’ As if she were saying openly, ‘I do not speak to women, but to men; because they who are of an unstable mind cannot at all understand my words'” (‘Moral.,’ 28.12, Oxford transl.).
O ye simple, understand wisdom. “The simple,” those not yet perverted, but easily influenced for good or evil. See on Pro_1:4, where also is explained the word ormah, used here for “wisdom;” equivalent to calliditas in a good sense, or πανουργία, as sometimes employed in the Septuagint; so here: νοήσατε ἄκακοι πανουργίαν, “subtlety.” Ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. For “fools” (khesilim), the intellectually heavy and dull, see on Pro_1:22. The heart is considered the seat of the mind or understanding (comp. Pro_15:32; Pro_17:16, etc.). Septuagint, “Ye that are untaught, take in heart (ἔνθεσθε καρδίαν).” The call thus addressed to various classes of parsons is like the section in 1Jn_2:1-29, “I write unto you. little children,” etc.
I will speak of excellent things; de rebus magnis, Vulgate; σεμνὰ γὰρ ἐρῶ, Septuagint. The Hebrew nagid is elsewhere used of persons; e.g. a prince, leader (1Sa_9:16; 1Ch_26:24); so it may here be best translated “princely,” “noble”—an epithet which the subject matter of Wisdom’s discourse fully confirms (comp. Pro_22:20, though the word there is different). Hitzig and others, following the Syriac, prefer the meaning, “plain, evident truths” (comp. Pro_8:9); but the former interpretation is most suitable. The opening of my lips shall be right things. That which I announce when I open my mouth is just and right (Pro_23:16). Septuagint.
I foolish woman; literally, the woman of folly, the genitive being that of apposition, so that this may well be rendered, in order to make the contrast with Wisdom more marked, “the woman Folly.” She is regarded as a real person; and between her and Virtue man has to make his choice. Is clamorous; turbulent and animated by passion (as Pro_7:11), quite different from her calm, dignified rival. She is simple; Hebrew, “simplicity,” in a bad sense; she has no preservative against evil, no moral fibre to resist temptation. And knoweth nothing which she ought to know. Ignorance is the natural accompaniment of Folly: in this case it is wilful and persistent; she goes on her way reckless of consequences. Septuagint, “A woman foolish and bold, who knows not shame, comes to want a morsel.”
She sitteth at the door of her house. She, like Wisdom, has a house of her own, and imitates her in inviting guests to enter. She does not send forth her maidens; she does not stand in the streets and proclaim her mission. Vice has an easier task; all she has to do is to sit and beckon and use a few seductive words. Her house is not supported by seven pillars, built on the grace of God and upheld by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. like that of Wisdom (Pro_9:1); it is an ordinary habitation of no stately proportions. but its meanness impedes not the uses to which she puts it, her own charms causing her victims to disregard her environments. On a seat in the high pluses of the city. Her house is in the highest and most conspicuous part of the city, and she sits before her door in reckless immodesty, plying her shameful trade (comp. Gen_38:14; Jer_3:2). The mimicry of her rival again appears, for Wisdom “crieth upon the highest places of the city” (Pro_9:3).
To call passengers who go right on their ways. With shameless effrontery she cries to all that pass by, she addresses her solicitations to persons who are going straight on their way, thinking nothing of her, having no idea of deviating from their pursued object. As they walk in the path of right and duty, she tries to turn them aside. Septuagint, “Calling to herself (προσκαλουμένη) those that pass by and are keeping straight in their ways.” The Fathers find here a picture of the seductions of heretical teaching, which puts on the mask of orthodoxy and deceives the unwary. Wordsworth notes that, in the Apocalypse, the false teacher bears some emblems of the Lamb (Rev_13:11). All false doctrine retains some element of truth, and it is because of this admixture that it procures adherents and thrives for a time.
Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither. She uses the very same words which Wisdom utters (Pro_9:4). The latter had addressed the simple because they were inexperienced and undecided, and might be guided aright; the former now speaks to them because they have not vet made their final choice, can still be swayed by lower considerations, and may be led astray. Such persons find it hard to distinguish between the good and the evil, the false and the true, especially when their sensual appetite is aroused and sides with the temptress. No marvel is it that such are easily deceived; for we are told that, under certain circumstances, Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2Co_11:14). That wanteth understanding. This is the other class addressed by Wisdom, and which Folly now solicits, urging them to follow her on the path of pleasure, promising sensual enjoyment and security.
This is what she says: Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. The metaphor of “stolen waters” refers primarily to adulterous intercourse, as to “drink waters out of one’s own cistern” (Pro_5:15, where see note) signifies the chaste connection of lawful wedlock. Wisdom offered flesh and wine to her guests; Folly offers bread and water. Wisdom invites openly to a well furnished table; Folly calls to a secret meal of barest victuals. What the former offers is rich and satisfying and comforting; what Vice gives is poor and mean and insipid. Yet this latter has the charm of being forbidden; it is attractive because it is unlawful. This is a trait of corrupt human nature, which is recognized universally. Thus Ovid, ‘Amor.,’ Pro_3:4, Pro_3:17—
“Nitimur in vetitum semper, cupimusque negata;
Sic interdictis imminet aeger aquis.’
Things easily attained, the possession of which is gotten without effort or danger or breach of restraint, soon pall and cease to charm. To some minds the astuteness and secrecy required for success have an irresistible attraction. Thus St. Augustine relates (‘Conf.,’ 2.4) how he and some companions committed a theft, not from want and poverty, nor even from the wish to enjoy what was stolen, but simply for the pleasure of thieving and the sin. They robbed a pear tree by night, carried off great loads, which they flung to the pigs, and their only satisfaction was that they were doing what they ought not (“dum tamen fieret a nobis, quod eo liberet quo non liceret”). Septuagint, “Taste ye to your pleasure secret bread, and sweet water of theft.” Where water is a precious commodity, as in many pets of Palestine, doubtless thefts were often committed, and persons made free with their neighbor’s tank when they could do so undetected, thus sparing their own resources and felicitating themselves on their cleverness. On the metaphorical use of “waters” in Holy Scripture, St. Gregory says, “Waters are sometimes wont to denote the Holy Spirit, sometimes sacred knowledge, sometimes calamity, sometimes drifting peoples, sometimes the minds of those following the faith.” He refers to these texts respectively: Joh_7:38, etc.; Ec Joh_15:3; Psa_69:1; Rev_17:15 (“the waters are peoples”); Isa_22:20; and he adds, “By water likewise bad knowledge is wont to be designated, as when the woman in Solomon, who bears the type of heresy, charms with crafty persuasion, saying, ‘Stolen waters are sweet'” (‘Moral.,’ 19.9).
Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown
I love them that love me: and those that seek me early shall find me. So the Qeri’ or Hebrew margin reads ( ‘ohabay (H157)); but the Kethibh or text has: ‘I love them that love her,’ making it the Word of the Lord concerning them that love Wisdom. In either case the Word of God identifies loving her with loving God Himself. She cannot be a mere attribute, but a person (if she be the speaker, as she is in the Qeri’ reading) – namely, the Divine Son of God (cf. Exo_20:6, “Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me”). Wisdom had kindled the desire after her with various promises; now she suggests the mode in which she is to be obtained-namely, by love-a mode most calculated to attract men to her. Great as she is, she is not above thy love; nay, she will reciprocate it. Thy love’s labour shall not be lost, when it is love that manifests its reality (as the second clause saith) in “seeking wisdom early” – i:e., rising up early, sedulously, and diligently to seek her before all things else. The harlot, worldly pleasure, seeks and is sought diligently by her deluded votaries (Pro_7:15). Shall we not show the same, or rather more diligence, in seeking until we find the heavenly Lover of her loving people (Mat_7:7). All fancy that they love God. But those who either do not seek God at all, or seek Him coldly, while they eagerly seek the vanities of the world, make it plain that they are led by the love of the world more than by the love of God.
Moreover, it is not meant that we are the first to love and find God, not He us, which would contradict Isa_65:1; Rom_5:6-8; 1Jn_4:10-19; but the object is to remove desponding doubts from the godly, and to assure them that God loves them, and presents Himself in the way, so as to be found by those who seek Him (cf. Heb_11:6). “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom_5:10). It is implied that the love of God is the fountain and foundation of the communication of all blessings, and therefore of perfect blessedness (T. Cartwright).
I love them that love me. So Christ says (Joh_14:21), “He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him” Love attracts love. “Magues amoris est amor.” They who love virtue and wisdom are regarded with favour by God. whoso inspiration they have obeyed, obtaining grace for grace. So Ben Sira says, “Them that love her the Lord doth love “(Ecclesiasticus 4:14); so Wis. 7:28, “God loveth none but him that dwelleth with Wisdom.” The Septuagint changes the verbs in this clause, though they are parts of the same word in the Hebrew: Ἐγὼ του ̀ς ἐμὲ φιλου ͂ντας ἀγαπω ͂. This reminds one of the passage in the last chapter of St. John (Joh_21:15-17). where a similar interchange is made. Those that seek me early shall find me (see the contrast in Pro_1:28). “Early” may mean from tender years; but more probably it is equivalent to “earnestly,” “strenuously,” as people deeply interested in any pursuit rise betimes to set about the necessary work (comp. Isa_26:9; Hos_5:15). The Septuagint, “They who seek (ζητοῦντες) me shall find.” So the Lord says (Mat_7:7), “Seek (ζητεῖτε), and ye shall find;” Ecc_4:12, “He that loveth her loveth life; and they that seek to her early (οἱ ὀρθρίζοντες πρὸς αὐτὴν) shall be filled with joy” (comp. Luk_21:38).
My fruit is better than gold. We have had Wisdom called “a tree of life” (Pro_3:18), and the gain from possessing her compared to gold and silver (Pro_3:14). Fine gold (paz); Septuagint and Vulgate, “precious stone.” The word signifies “purified gold”—gold from which all mixture or alloy has been separated. My revenue; Vulgate, genimina mea; Septuagint, γεννήματα; Hebrew, tebuah, “produce,” “profits.”
I lead in the way (better, I walk in the way) of righteousness. I act always according to the rules of justice. In the midst of the paths of judgment. I swerve not to one side or the other (Pro_4:27). So the psalmist prays, “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end;” “Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk” (Psa_119:33; Psa_143:8). And the promise is given to the faithful in Isa_30:21, “Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” Virtue, as Aristotle has taught us, is the mean between two extremes.
That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; יֵשׁ (yesh), ὕπαρξις, “real, valuable possessions.” Those who love Wisdom will walk in her path, follow her leading, and therefore, doing God’s will, will be blessed with success. Such will lay up treasure in heaven, will provide bags which wax not old, will be preparing for “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (Mat_6:20; Luk_12:33; 1Pe_1:4). The LXX. here inserts a paragraph as a kind of introduction to the important section which follows: “If I declare unto you the things which daily befall, I will remember to recount the things of eternity;” i.e. thus far I have spoken of the advantages derived from Wisdom in daily circumstances; now I proceed to narrate her origin and her doings from all eternity. But the addition appears awkward, and is probably not now in its original position.
Pro_8:33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
Ver. 33. Hear instruction, and be wise.] This way wisdom enters into the soul. Hear, therefore, for else there is no hope; hear, howsoever. Augustine, coming to Ambrose to have his ears tickled, had his heart touched.
Watching daily at my gates. The idea suggested has been variously taken; e.g. as that of eager students waiting at the school door for their teacher’s appearance; clients besieging a great man’s portals; Levites guarding the doors of the temple; a lover at his mistress’s gate. This last notion is supported by Wis. 8:2, “I loved her, and sought her out from my youth; I desired to make her my spouse, and I was a lover of her beauty.” Waiting at the posts of my doors; keeping close to the entrance, so as to be quite sure of not missing her whom he longs to see.
For whoso findeth me findeth life. Here is the reason why the man is blessed who attends to the instruction of Wisdom. A similar promise is made at Pro_3:16, Pro_3:18, Pro_3:22. The truth here enunciated is also spoken or the Word of God, the everlasting Son of the Father. Joh_1:4, “In him was life; and the life was the light of men;” Joh_3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life;” Joh_17:3, “This is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ” (comp. Joh_8:51; 1Jn_5:12; Ecc_4:12). Shall obtain favour of the Lord; Vulgate, hauriet salutem, which happily renders the Hebrew verb (Pro_12:2). The grace of God bringeth salvation (Tit_2:11). Septuagint, “For my outgoings (ἔξοδοι) are the outgoings of life, and the will is prepared by the Lord (καὶ ἐτοιμάζεται θέλησις παρὰ Κυρίου).” This latter clause was used by the Fathers, especially in the Pelagian controversy, to prove the necessity of prevenient grace.
He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul. So Septuagint and Vulgate. And the truth stated is obvious—he who refuses to obey Wisdom, and transgresses her wholesome rules, will smart for it. Every sin involves punishment, injures the spiritual life, and demands satisfaction. But Delitzsch and others take חֹטְאִי, “my sinning one,” “my sinner,” in the older sense of “missing,” as Job_5:24, the derived meaning of “sinning” springing naturally from the idea of deviating from the right way or failing to hit the mark. So here the translation will be “he who misseth me,” which is a good contrast to “whoso findeth me,” of verse 35. He who takes a path which does not lead to wisdom is guilty of moral suicide. All that hate me love death (Pro_7:27). “He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (Joh_3:36). They who will not hearken to Wisdom, and who scorn her counsels, do virtually love death, because they love the things and the practices which lead to death, temporal and spiritual Job_12:10, “They that sin are enemies to their own life” (comp. Wis. 1:12).
35, 36.That sinneth against me — חשׂאי, misses me, taking the word in its primitive sense, which best suits the context, as it stands opposed to those finding or meeting her in the preceding verse.
Wrongeth his own soul — חמסנפשׁו, does violence to his own life, commits suicide.
All they that hate me love death — That is, their conduct will be their destruction. They love their own evil way which leads to death, and hence, by a bold metaphor, they are represented as loving death itself, as if bent upon their own ruin.
We may appropriately close our notes on this part of the allegory by quoting a writer of the New Testament who, perhaps more than any other writer thereof, wrote in the spirit and style of this book: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men [who ask] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Jas_1:5.
ADDENDA. — The importance attached to some portions of this chapter justifies a few additional remarks. From the time of the great Arian controversies (4th century) the theologians on both sides generally assumed that the Hhokmah, or Wisdom, of the Proverbs was the same as the Logos of John 1. Accordingly, the meaning of the terms in which the Hhokmah was spoken of (Pro_8:22, et seq.) became a matter of great moment, of careful scrutiny, and of excited controversy. The Arians, who held that the Son was not properly God, but only the first of creatures, favoured that translation of kanah (Pro_8:22) which seems to support their theory, while the orthodox, on the other side, contended for the rendering most accordant with their creed. As usual, each had some authorities on their side. The Arians could appeal to the Septuagint, Syriac, Chaldee, and Arabic, all of which translated the word by a term corresponding to our word created, founded, etc., while Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, and the Vulgate, rendered it by possessed. Modern criticism is about as much divided as was the ancient. There is, however, this difference, that modern critics and theologians do not all think the Hhokmah and the Logos identical. And some, who believe in the supreme divinity of our Lord, as Stuart, do not hesitate to translate the word by created. Nor were the ancients entirely unanimous in regarding the Hhokmah and the Logos as the same, for some of them identified the Hhokmah with the Holy Spirit. Many very sound modern divines regard the Hhokmah as simply the personification of wisdom, considered first in its more general sense, and, secondly, as an attribute of Jehovah. Others, without identifying the Hhokmah and the Logos, regard the poetic pictures of Solomon as the shadowing forth of the New Testament doctrine of the divine Word. “The error of our English exegetical and theological literature,” says Aiken, (in notes on Zockler,) “has been the attempt to force upon it more distinctness and precision in the revelation of the mysteries of the divine nature than is disclosed by fair exegesis. Sometimes it is the doctrine of the Logos that is made to stand out with all the clearness of New Testament announcement; sometimes it is the eternal generation of the Son that Solomon is made the Spirit’s mouthpiece to reveal… We can go no farther than our author (Zockler) has done in discovering here the pre-shadowings of the doctrine of the Logos. We are induced to prefer the still more guarded statement of John Pye Smith, that this beautiful picture cannot be satisfactorily proved to be a designed description of our Saviour’s person; or that of Dr. John Harris: “At all events, while, on the one hand, none can demonstrate that Christ is here directly intended, on the other, none can prove that he is not contemplated, and, perhaps, both will admit that, under certain conditions, language such as that in our text may be justifiably applied to him. One of these conditions is, that the language be not employed argumentatively, or in proof of any thing relating to Christ, but only for the purpose of illustration; and another is, that when so employed it be only adduced to illustrate such views of the Son of God as are already established by such other parts of Scripture as are admitted by the parties addressed.”
The difference of gender between the Hhokmah and the Logos, the former being feminine and the latter masculine, is noteworthy, and, theologically, of deep significance.
The deluded youth is supposed to be persuaded by the seductions of Folly and to enter her house. The writer, then, in a few weighty words, shows the terrible result of this evil compliance. But he knoweth not that the dead are there (see on Pro_2:18 and Pro_7:27). There are none “there,” in her house, who can be said to be living, they are rephaim, shadowy ghosts of living men, or else demons of the nether world. The Septuagint and Vulgate, with a reference to Gen_6:4, translate γηγενεῖς and gigantes. Her guests are in the depths of hell (sheol); Septuagint, “He knows not that giants perish at her side, and he meets with a trap of hell.” The terrible warning may profitably be repeated more than once, It is like Christ’s awful saying, three times enunciated, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”. The LXX. has another paragraph at the end of this verse, which has no counterpart in the Hebrew: “But start away, delay not in the place, nor put thy name [‘eye,’ al.] by her; for thus shalt thou pass over (διαβήσῃ) strange water; but abstain thou from strange water, and of a strange spring drink not, that thou mayest live long, and years of life may be added to thee.”
If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself. A transition verse. Wisdom will bring thee good; as thou hast laboured well, so will be thy reward (1Co_3:8). The LXX. (Syriac and Arabic), with the idea of perfecting the antithesis, adds, καὶ τοῖς πλησίον, “My son, if thou art wise for thyself, thou shalt be wise also for thy neighbours”—which contains the great truth that good gifts should not be selfishly enjoyed, but used and dispensed for the advantage of others (Gal_6:6). In support of our text we may quote Job_22:2, “Can a man be profitable unto God? Surely he that is wise is profitable unto himself.” But if thou scornest, thou alone shalt hear it; i.e. atone for it, bear the sin, as it is expressed in Num_9:13, “Forevery man shall bear his own burden” (Gal_6:5). Thus Wisdom ends her exhortation. Septuagint, “If thou turn out evil, thou alone shalt bear (ἀντλήσεις) evils.” And then is added the following paragraph, which may possibly be derived from a Hebrew original, but seems more like a congeries made up from other passages, and foisted by some means into the Greek text: “He that stayeth himself on lies shepherdeth winds, and himself pursueth flying birds; for he hath left the ways of his own vineyard, and hath gone astray with the wheels of his own husbandry; and he goeth through a waterless desert, and over a land set in thirsty places, and with his hands he gathereth unfruitfulness.”