THE BOOK OF PROVERBS: Chapter 2 The Value of Wisdom

Book of Philippians-2 THE BOOK OF JAMES Book of Proverbs 17 Book of Esther

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

We live in a world that is far different from the days of Solomon. We have so many things in life that beg for our attention, education, a career, a spouse’s possible career, child education, family and friends, fitness, doctor’s visits, and the list could go on. All of these seem to be very important to the modern man and woman. The beauty of God’s Word is that what is written therein is timeless counsel, and it does not matter whether you are a farmer in the land of Israel about 1015 B.C.E. or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company 2018. What should be our primary concern these days? “The beginning of wisdom: Get wisdom! With all that is in your possession, gain insight.” Proverbs 4:7

In a number of places in chapters 1–9 (see esp. 1:20–33; 8:1–9:6), Wisdom appears as a female character. Much discussion has taken place concerning her identity and background. Many see her description as connected to an ancient Near Eastern goddess, whether Asherah, Ishtar, Isis, or Maʿat. One can make the strongest case for the latter, since Maʿat, like wisdom, refers to the order of creation, truth, and justice. Often Maʾat appears to be no more than an abstract concept, but occasionally she appears as a goddess, though not one that has been given a developed personality in Egyptian literature.

Most likely Wisdom should be treated as a poetic personification. Obviously, she represents Yahweh’s wisdom. However, the fact that her seven-pillared house is located on the “highest point of the city” (9:3), the place where temples were located in ancient Near Eastern and Israelite cities, points to the fact that Wisdom should be associated with Yahweh himself.[1]

Requirements That Must Exist

Proverbs 2:1-2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to discernment;[2]

After reading verses 1-5 of chapter 2, one can clearly see that it is their responsibility to acquire wisdom. You or your is found eleven times in these first five verses. Each of us is obligated to incline our ear, apply our heart, cry out for, lift our voice, seek, search for wisdom, and then we will understand the fear of Jehovah, the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of God we will find. All of this is found in God’s Word. What exactly is wisdom though? It is the ability to make sensible decisions and judgments based on knowledge and experience, wisdom is sensibly applied knowledge. The genre of wisdom literature is found all throughout the Bible, but especially in the book of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. However, Wisdom is found in all of the genres of Scripture, even the life lessons within the narrative accounts.

In Chapter 1, Solomon gave his listeners a visual word picture of the consequences for those who do not listen to the corrective words of wisdom, warnings. Here in Chapter 2, he praises the incredible blessings and happiness that wisdom brings. In 2:1-4, Solomon lists three conditional clauses (requirements) that must exist or be brought about before it is possible that one can understand the fear of Jehovah and find the knowledge of God, each beginning with the word “if you (singular)” (vss 1, 3, 4). That is a big “if” because most of mankind pays no attention to God’s Word. Clearly, it is up to you to seek wisdom and its handmaidens: discernment and understanding. First, “if you” are going to find joy in studying God’s Word, you must be willing to receive Jehovah’s words (the Bible) and treat it like it is a treasure that you would never wish to lose, valuing it above all else. My words refer to the Law (thoughts and ideas) that Solomon has embraced in an active faith and obedience, which he is teaching as well.

Are you really “attentive” and listening carefully when the Word of God is being explained at your Christian meetings? (Eph. 4:20-21) Do you ‘incline your heart [seat or center of the intellect] to discernment’ (commit yourself to), which is the insight, good sense, or wisdom to apply God’s Word correctly. Of course, in order to incline your heart to discernment, you must be present at Christian meetings. (Proverbs 18:1) Thus, every Christian meeting can be a blessing for you if you are attentive and follow along in your Bibles. (Ac 2:1-4; Heb. 10:24-25. Being attentive means that you are paying attention, taking notice of (maybe taking notes on a tablet), and accepting the information as true, and responding to it.

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Having Insight, Good Sense, or Wisdom to Apply God’s Word Correctly

Proverbs 2:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

For if you cry for discernment[3]
and raise your voice for understanding,

The second requirement or condition that must exist if we are to understand the fear of Jehovah and find the knowledge of God is to “cry for discernment,” which, again is the insight, good sense, or wisdom to apply God’s Word correctly. The Hebrew verb here (qā·rā(ʾ)) has the sense of loud, insistent crying or shouting that one needs help, begging that he be delivered from distress. Wisdom will be ours when our desire gets to the point where we are willing to cry aloud for it. The desperate one ‘cries for discernment’ to the truth of God’s Word and applies it in his life. If we cannot recognize the importance and significance, the fullness of wisdom will elude us. Discernment (bî·nā(h)) is having the good sense or wisdom to respond properly to the Word of God. Understanding (teû·nā(h)) is having the capacity for discerning a right course of action as the Word of God is applied appropriately. Discernment and understanding involve comprehending, perceiving, grasping what the authors meant, identifying individual verses in light of the whole, weighing, or evaluating one verse in the light of the others.

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Seeking and Searching

Proverbs 2:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

if you keep seeking her like silver
and searching for her as for hidden treasures,

The third requirement or condition that must exist if we are to understand the fear of Jehovah and find the knowledge of God is seeking and searching for hidden treasure, i.e., be committed and determined in one’s quest. History has shown the lengths humans will go to in their quest to discover gold or silver. This makes us think of the mining exploits of men, such as those of the gold rushes in the early United States of American history. Men have spent a lifetime trying to discover gold and silver. What actual value, though, does gold really have? Certainly, we can all agree that the knowledge of God demands far greater dedication and the treasure of eternal life is a far greater find. The knowledge of God is certainly a spiritual treasure. Therefore, we should have far more zeal as we seek wisdom, discernment, and understanding of God and his will. Solomon likens this knowledge to “hid treasures.” The knowledge of God (hidden treasure) will not jump out of its place of hiding and deposit itself into the minds of those who are idle in their quest or search, it requires effort and perseverance on the part of those seeking and searching.

The “her” of seeking her and searching for her is a reference back to wisdom from verse 2. The imperfect Hebrew verb behind the English seeking (bā·qǎš) has the sense of diligently acquiring information, trying to get to or reach something that someone greatly desires. This verb is used when one is seeking information from God. (Ex. 33:7) in a similar but figurative sense, one may “seek” the face of God. (2 Sam. 21:1) Here (bā·qǎš) is used in reference to our searching for information, that is, a mental pursuit. The imperfect Hebrew verb behind the English searching (ḥā·p̄ǎś) has the sense of searching for, examining, trying to locate or discover information, in this case about the wisdom of God. The Hebrew noun behind the English treasures (mǎṭ·môn) has the sense of something of value that is hidden.

Searching for treasures requires discipline and determination. It calls for much digging be it actual treasure or seeking and searching for the knowledge of God, for “discernment,” and for “understanding.” This also demands much digging or getting below the surface knowledge. It is not sufficient to skim over the surface of God’s Word. The invaluable treasures of the knowledge of God are for all who, like a determined, tenacious, resolute treasure hunter, are willing to seek them. Are we persistent in finding the knowledge of God? How can we improve our ability in doing so? Certainly, accurate knowledge of God and his Word is like a hidden treasure. What could be more valuable than the knowledge of God and Christ, which leads to eternal life? (John 17:3) Again, this treasure must also be sought for and discovered. Then, it must also be retained. It can also be expanded or grown. All of this means much effort on our part.

Carrying Out the “If You” Conditions

Proverbs 2:5 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

then you will understand the fear of Jehovah
and find the knowledge of God.

If you fulfill these three “if you” requirements or conditions of verses 1, 3, 4 and keep searching for, examining, trying to locate or discover information for wisdom, God says that you will finally understand the fear of Jehovah but will also find the knowledge of God. You are promised that you will gain God (2:5-8), and you will attain the wisdom of God. (2:9-11) The person searching for wisdom will find far more than mere human wisdom, as God is the source of all wisdom. When you enter the path that takes you deeper and deeper into the wisdom of God, you will find the very knowledge of God at the end of the path. When we recognize and accept the sovereignty of God, the fear of Jehovah, you will be ready to truly listen and accept him. Solomon identifies this treasure for you as “the knowledge of God,” specifically, the truth about God and his will and purposes as revealed in the Bible. (2:5) There are numerous aspects to this treasure: true teachings, wise counsel, insight into the nature of God and his personality, as well as what lies ahead, and much more.

God Gives Wisdom to His Holy Ones

Proverbs 2:6-8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

For Jehovah gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his holy ones.

Jehovah represents himself symbolically as having a mouth (Heb. pě(h)) to convey to the reader about his communication, speech that gives you information, exhortation, counsel, or commands, which are contained in Scripture, wherein God speaks to you. (cf. Heb. 1:1-2; 2 Pet. 1:20-21) The upright (Heb. yā·šār) are God’s true believers, his holy ones, who are diligently seeking and searching to know, love, and obey God and to live righteously as one can within their human imperfection. (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 5:12) You, the holy one is keeping the new covenant (Jer. 31.31; Heb. 8:8-12); thus, you know wisdom, which has served as a shield (Heb. mā·ḡēn) of defense from the offensive weapons of Satan, the world, and your own human imperfection, as you walk (Heb. hā·lǎḵ) in integrity (Heb. tōm) a state of blamelessness being free of guilt, guarding (Heb. nā·ṣǎr) you, making you safe from danger within your relationship with Jehovah (Ps 40:12) on the paths of justice, watching (Heb. šā·mǎr) over them. Hebrew terms relating to integrity have the root meaning of that which is “whole” or “complete.” They often suggest moral soundness and uprightness. Those walking in integrity are unbending in devotion to Jehovah. For such blameless ones, he is a protective shield because they display true wisdom and conform to his righteous standards. This does not mean, though, that Jehovah will not allow you to be tested. He did so even with Job. “God is faithful,” the apostle Paul noted to the Corinthians. In full he said, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Jehovah God will give wisdom to those, who are seeking and searching as though it were a hidden treasure. Imagine a gold mine on the side of a hill. If someone wanted enough money to have a meal or two, without working too hard, he could just pick up some specs of gold on the hillside. However, if he wanted a lifetime of meals, a life of financial security, he would be working in the mine daylight to dark. Sadly, when those searching for treasure crossed America to California in 1849, in search of gold, they soon discovered that the odds of striking it rich were ten thousand to one. It is quite different from Jehovah God, as he gives wisdom to all, “from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Yes, God gives out wisdom free; he is the mine, for those that want to be wise.

We need to make this a part of our prayer life. The psalmist prayed, “Teach me your way, O Jehovah, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11) This is one prayer that we know will be answered. However, the answer will be based on the level that we act in harmony with our prayers. Are we willing to buy out the time to acquire wisdom, understanding, and discernment? A mere 30-60 minutes a day of Bible study will bring results that one might not have ever imagined. Are we willing to work 30 years to pay off a house, 40-45 years to receive a social security check (USA), but not 30-60 minutes a day, to acquire the wisdom of God that leads to eternal life?

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Understanding What is Ethically and Morally Right and What is Wrong

Proverbs 2:9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good course;

This is true. After you have been studying the Bible for a while you begin to connect new information to things you already know. The truth of the Bible is so rational, reasonable, sensible, so interrelated, that the parts begin to fit together very quickly, and the entire purpose of God begins to become clear. As you maintain your studies, it becomes easier for you to make the right decisions that bring more happiness now. Also, your newfound wisdom will direct you away from useless, wrong life choices.

The first result from your search for wisdom is that of your finding the knowledge of God and the wisdom that he gives. (2:5-8) The second result in your quest for wisdom is that the very knowledge of God will enable you to discern, understand what is ethically (rules and principles in God’s Word) and morally (moral compass that God gave you that you still possess a measure of in human imperfection) right and what is wrong. Your ability to judge what is right and wrong and act accordingly. This strong personal ethics of right and wrong in your dealings with others is described by righteousness and justice and equity. Righteousness (Heb. ṣě·ḏěq) is when you adhere to the moral standard set out in God’s Word. Justice (Heb. miš·pāṭ) is when you are free from partiality, selfishness, bias, as well as deception, where you make decisions that reflect God’s sense of what is just. It is a case of fairness in your dealings with others. Equity (Heb. mê·šā·rîm) is a sense of fairness, being straight and upright, wherein you can make decisions that are not governed by discrimination or dishonesty. You do nothing that is sneaky, devious, deceitful, dishonest, morally uncertain.

Wisdom Gives Pleasure, Strengthen, and Appreciation

Proverbs 2:10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

10 for wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;

The words of 2:10 imply that you must develop an eager, intense, passionate, and enthusiastic desire for accurate knowledge, which can affect your heart and your very soul. Because Seeking and searching for wisdom requires consistent effort, it will not be desirable at first but will, in time, be an enjoyable experience, it is an acquired taste. It will enter your heart, your innermost person. The undesirable effort spent discovering the truths initially will become delightful in time. Wisdom gives pleasure, strength, and appreciation in life. Once you get a taste for wisdom, the more you learn, the more you will desire and enjoy it. Wisdom will not only show how to behave responsibly, it will be a delight in doing so.

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Your Guardian

Proverbs 2:11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

11 Discretion* will keep watch over you,
understanding will watch over you,

* Or thinking ability; the ability to give wise and careful attention (study) of a matter, based on accurate or full knowledge

Wisdom is a foundation for good discretion (thinking ability). Discretion (thinking ability): (Heb. mezimmah) In the evil sense, this can mean wicked plans, evil ideas, schemes, and devices. In the favorable sense, it can mean shrewdness, perceptiveness, discretion, and prudence. In the favorable sense, it is the ability to judge wisely and objectively. Mezimmah, therefore, the human mind and thoughts can be used for an admirable and upright end, or for evil purposes. (Ps 10:2; Prov. 1:4; 2:10-12; 5:1-2.) The truth is a result of our knowledge, wisdom, discernment, and discretion (thinking ability), which serves as the protector of all evil, watching over you like a guardian. (Cf. Ps. 119:11, 97–104).

Understanding is when one has the capability to see how the elements or aspects of something are comparable to one another, to see the whole matter and not just detached facts. The Hebrew root verb (bin) has the fundamental meaning “separate” or “distinguish,” and it is frequently rendered “understand” or “discern.” It is similar to the Greek (sy·ni′e·mi). Hence, at Acts 28:26, which quotes Isaiah 6:9-10, it could be said that the Jews, “You will keep on hearing and will never understand, and you will keep on seeing and will never perceive,” i.e., they were unable to put it together. They were unable to grasp how the points that were being made or the thoughts were related, namely, how they fit together, so as to mean something to them. Proverbs 9:10, in saying that “knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” shows that true understanding of anything requires an appreciation of its relation to God and his will and purposes.

Using Godly Wisdom to Protect You from Wrongdoers

Proverbs 2:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from the man who speaks perverse things,

A young man needs to be delivered (rescued, rescued, set free) by wisdom (2:10), thinking ability, and understanding (2:11), as he is confronted by two different dangers: the perverted or wicked man (2:12-15) and the immoral sensual woman that is estranged from God (2:16-19). The wise one possesses sound judgment, based on knowledge and understanding, which enables him to determine what is right and what is wrong. The young man needs the ability to use knowledge and understanding successfully (be wise) to solve these problems and avoid or avert these two dangers of the wrongdoers. Thinking ability will enable this man to think wisely and objectively, enabling him to see wicked ones for who they really are, seeing beneath the surface, pretense, façade. Like Proverbs 1:10-19, this section gives a clear and sometimes graphic description of these immoral ones who are estranged from God, using the image of a path to illustrate their evil way of life that leads to death. The perverted man and the immoral woman have rejected what is right in life, their ability to distinguish between right and wrong has become distorted so that they now twist the truth by their smooth and flattering words; persuading others to join them on their course of life. Twisted words are characteristic of those who reject wisdom (cf. Prov. 8:13; 10:31, 32).

Seek the Paths of Uprightness

Proverbs 2:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 from those who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,

Remember 2:7-8, which reads, “He [God] stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his holy ones.” Here we are told that some stupid ones will foolishly “forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness.” Some stupid ones have chosen to live a life of darkness, covering or concealing their sin by being obscure (cf. John 3:19). Yes, the way of wisdom is to avoid the wrong paths that lead to destruction and to seek the paths of uprightness. The thinking of this world means death. The thoughts of God mean life. “The world is passing away, and its lusts; but the one who does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17) Seek the wrong paths and such will last only a short time. The paths of uprightness will continue forever. Seek the paths of uprightness and enjoy life forever.

The Wicked Rejoice In Wrongdoing

Proverbs 2:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,

The wicked ones love most what is damaging to them and that will eventually result in their greatest pain. Nevertheless, they delight in their wrongdoing, especially enjoying the twisted lifestyle they have chosen. Paul describes similar ones, saying, “God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness. (Rom. 1:28-32) The thoughts of God that you have within his Word are the best counsel that you could ever desire in this fallen condition, which will help you to keep your joy under various difficult circumstances. For example, if you use godly wisdom, you can find protection from the wicked wrongdoers.

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Avoid Those Who Are Devious In Their Ways

Proverbs 2:15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.

Wisdom, knowledge, thinking ability, and discernment will prove to be your safeguard, protecting you from men whose paths are crooked and devious in their ways, says Solomon. If you ignore wisdom and choose to follow these devious ones down the crooked paths that lead to eventual destruction, you may very well lose your sense of direction and not be able to find your way back to the path of life before it is too late. The paths are crooked (Heb.ʿiq·qēš), which means their ways are morally crooked, perverse, distorted, dishonest, and evasive when it is compared alongside the just, right, and correct ways of the wise ones. (Deut. 32:5; Ps 101:4; Prov. 2:15; 8:8; 11:20; 17:20; 19:1; 28:6) Yes, if you cherish true wisdom, you will not be led off the path of life because you will avoid the cooked, perverse paths, of those who are devious in their ways.

Do Not Be Inexperienced and Unwise lacking a Good and Moral Heart

Proverbs 2:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

16 It will save you from the strange[4] woman,
from the foreign[5] woman with her smooth[6] words,

The word “stranger” was applied to those who forsook what was in harmony with the Mosaic Law and so were estranged from God. Thus, the one morally estranged harlot or prostitute is referred to as a “strange (Heb. zār) woman.” (Prov. 2:16; 5:17; 7:5) This immoral woman is the harlot repeatedly condemned in the book of Proverbs (cf. 5:1-23; 6:20–29; 7:1-27; 22:14; 23:27), as well as the rest of the Scriptures (Ex. 20:14; Lev. 20:10). She is referred to as the “foreign (Heb. nāḵ·rî) woman” because initially in the Israelite history such immoral women, who were morally alienated from God came from outside of Israel but in time the term foreign woman came to include any prostitute or adulteress. Her smooth words were flattering and seductive.

In this specific case, she is an adulteress, literally “a strange or foreign woman,” which can be rendered wayward wife or woman, in which we have either a foreigner or a Jew carrying on like a wild shameless, untamed foreigner, who is not domestic and cultivated. It is not her shameless physical appearance alone that seduces, it is also her smooth, seductive words. She deceives the unsuspecting young man by appealing to his ego with flattering words. Guard against entertaining and cultivating immoral desires. You do not want to be like the inexperienced young man, who lacked a good and moral heart, who therefore put himself in the way of easy approach by a woman who enslaved herself in a life of immorality and; therefore, sought in the inexperienced and unwise to join her on this treacherous path that could only end badly.

Immorality Leads to Momentary Joy Not a Life of Happiness

Proverbs 2:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;

This morally estranged sensual woman who is alienated from God forsakes the companion, whom she was committed to, taking a similar course to that of the wicked man who left the path of uprightness. (2:13) In other words, she abandons the guidance and intimate friendship of the husband of her youth (cf. 16:28; 17:9). The phrase forgets the covenant is said to refer to the marriage vows in Malachi 2:14 (Max Anders), where it is said that God “has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.” While it certainly fits, it is unlikely because the book of Proverbs was written about 715 B.C.E., while Malachi was penned about 440 B.C.E., some 275 years later. Rather, specifically, this refers to the marriage covenant of Genesis 2:24, with its commitment to faithfulness. However, it may also in a wider sense allude to the fact that God’s covenant of Sinai (Ex 20:14), with the nation of Israel, outlawed adultery.

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Immorality Leads to Death

Proverbs 2:18-19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her tracks lead to the dead;[7]
19 none who go to[8] her, none shall return,
nor do they reach paths of life.

The young man is delivered from the sensual woman by the protection of wisdom. This adulteress woman has set aside the Word of God, following a path that leads to death, taking the young man with her. Her words to him are so smooth and flattering that he is unable to see the trail leading to her house of death. Thus, any who involves themselves with the immoral, sensual woman will very discover either very quickly in some cases and over time in others that they have made a profoundly serious horrifying mistake.

The immoral woman’s house sinks down to death. Of course, every man who has sexual relations with an immoral sensual woman does not end up dying from the experience itself; although, in rare cases, this has been the result. Here we are talking about her lifestyle being a lifestyle of death in the sense of spiritual, emotional, and financial death in the short-term, as well as a permanent physical death if one does not turn back from their evil ways.

Yes, this sensual woman’s tracks lead down to death, as the blinding sin of fornication and adultery are extremely destructive, for they lead to death. (Cf. 8-9, 12, 15) In the book of Proverbs, death is shown to be of a slow, gradual descent as one is led astray (5:23) and suddenly as he is broken beyond healing. (29:1) The strange woman (2:16) is referring to those who set aside what was in harmony with the Mosaic Law and thus distanced and estrange themselves from God. Therefore, the immoral sensual woman (prostitute) was not necessarily a foreigner.

“The strange woman,” the prostitute, is described as one “who forsakes the companion of her youth,” which is referring to the husband of her young womanhood. She has ignored and disregarded the prohibition on adultery that was a part of the covenant of her God, the Mosaic Law covenant. (Ex. 20:14) Her tracks lead to the dead. Those having sexual relations with her might never return or find their way back to the paths of life, as there is a point of no return, namely death, eternal destruction from which they cannot come back. A wise man of discernment and thinking ability is aware of the tricks and lures of immorality and he wisely avoids getting trapped in them. All should guard against entertaining and developing immoral desires.

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Choose Life and Keep Living

Proverbs 2:20-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

20 So you will walk in the way of the good men
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,[9]
and the blameless will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

The young man has only one hope of surviving this seductive moment, and it lies within the wisdom of Jehovah God, if he applies what he knows in a wise way, he will choose the right path, “the road of those who are good and the path of those who are righteous.” Those who choose to walk on the wrong path; it will end with their being cut off from life, that is eternal destruction. (2 Thess. 1:9; 1 John 2:15-17) On the other hand, those who walk with God in their course of life, they will receive eternal life! “The upright will inhabit the land and the blameless will remain in it,” while the wicked [sexual sin in this case] will be cut off [in eternal death] from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it” If you pursue wisdom like this young man is being encouraged to do, you can avoid eternal destruction and stay on the path that leads to eternal life. This final teaching here at Proverbs 2:20-22 is like the final words of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 7:13-27. Like the crowds, who “were astounded at Jesus teaching” (Matt. 7:28), we should be astounded at both teachings. (Astounded: (Gr. ekplēssō) This is one who is extremely astounded or amazed, so much so that they lose their mental self-control, as they are overwhelmed emotionally. (Matt. 7:28; Mark 1:22; 7:37; Lu 2:48; 4:32; 9:43; Ac 13:12.) In Deuteronomy 28 God warned the Israelites that they would be cut off from the Promised Land if they were unfaithful was fulfilled, so too, if you are unfaithful you will be cut off from the land (˒erets), which can also be rendered earth. (Cf. Gen. 1:1) Jesus warns similarly that “‘these [wicked ones] will go away into eternal punishment (Gr. kolasis; that is eternal cutting off, from life. Lit., “lopping off; pruning”), but the righteous into eternal life.’” (Matt. 25:46) Wisdom, knowledge, discernment, understand, and thinking ability will get one through Satan’s world (2 Cor. 4:3-4), so, how advisable it is now to get wisdom! “Happy is the person who listens to” “the knowledge of God.” – Proverbs 2:5; 8:34-35.

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BIBLE DIFFICULTIES Proverbs Chapters 2

PROVERBS 2:5 What is the fear of Jehovah?

If there is no fear of Jehovah, there cannot be any knowledge, for the Father is the Creator of all things and the Author of the inspired, fully inerrant Scriptures. (Rom. 1:20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17) He is the actual Source of all true knowledge. Therefore, knowledge begins with the reverential (respectful) fear of the Father. Fear or rather reverential fear of God is also the beginning of wisdom because you cannot have wisdom without knowledge. Furthermore, a person who does not possess the appropriate fear of Jehovah, he will not use whatever knowledge he has come by, so as to honor the Creator.

“The fear of Jehovah” is the repeated theme of wisdom found in the book of Proverbs.[10] One who fears Jehovah, he has the qualities of humility (15:33; 22:4), wisdom (1:7), possessing faithfulness and Godly love (16:6), and a concern for his relationship with God (2:5; 9:10). In the book of Proverbs, fear of Jehovah is related to faith in God that is constantly seeking understanding.[11]  In what way is “the fear of Jehovah” “the beginning of knowledge” and ‘the beginning of wisdom’? (9:10) If we did not have a fear of Jehovah (i.e., not a morbid dread of him but rather a profound reverence and awe in the presence of such an all-powerful person), we would have no knowledge, for the Father is the Creator of all things and the Author of the Spirit-inspired Scriptures. Therefore, we need to give Jehovah the proper place in our life. Life is from the Father, and life is, of course, indispensable for our having any knowledge.

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Review Questions/Assignments:

  • (2:1-2) To what source must men go for true knowledge?
  • (2:3) What is needed in order to get on the pathway to life?
  • (2:4) What must we do to find wisdom, discernment, and understanding? In what ways is this knowledge like a treasure?
  • (2:5) What are the “if you” conditions? What is the “knowledge” of God?
  • (2:6-8) How does God speak to us today, and why should we listen to him? What is integrity? Why can we be confident in the face of Satan’s attacks?
  • (2:9) Why is it not difficult to get a knowledge of the Bible? What are righteousness and justice?
  • (2:10) How does wisdom give pleasure, strength, and appreciation?
  • (2:11) What serves as your guardian?
  • (2:12) How is the young man delivered from the way of evil and the man who speaks perverse things?
  • (2:13) Why should we seek the paths of uprightness?
  • (2:14) How can using godly wisdom protect us from wrongdoers?
  • (2:15) Why should we avoid those who are devious??
  • (2:16) Explain the strange woman and the foreign woman.
  • (2:17) Why does the phrase “forgets the covenant” not refer to the marriage vows in Malachi 2:14?
  • (2:18-19) How can immorality lead to physical death and spiritual, emotional, and financial death?
  • (2:20-22) How do the paths of the righteous ones and the wicked on differ?

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[1] John H Walton, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament) Volume 5: The Minor Prophets, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 473.

[2] The Hebrew word rendered here as “discernment” (tevunah) is related to the word binah, translated “understanding.” Both appear in Proverbs 2:3.

[3] See 2.2 ftn.

[4] I.e. one morally estranged from God

[5] Or immoral; one morally alienated from God

[6] Or seductive

[7] (Heb. Rephaim; the spirits of the departed) People who are no longer living

[8] I.e. having relations with

[9] Or earth

[10] (cf. 1:29; 2:5; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26, 27; 15:16, 33; 16:6; 19:23; 22:4; 23:17)

[11] Leo G. Perdue, Wisdom & Creation: The Theology of Wisdom Literature(Nashville: Abingdon, 1994), p. 79.

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