To deliver thee from the way of the evil man,.... Who is so by nature and practice, who is hardened in sin and abandoned to it, whose course of life is evil, and who endeavours to draw others into the same evil practices; now the Gospel, and a spiritual knowledge of it, are a means of preserving men from following the examples of such persons, and from walking with them in the ways of sin: or from "the evil way" (t), from every evil way, from a vicious course of life; not from idolatry only, as some interpret it, though this may be included, and chiefly designed; but from all manner of sin, from everything that is contrary to the law of God and sound doctrine;
from the man that speaketh froward things; perverse things, things contrary to the light of nature, to divine revelation, to the word of God, both law and Gospel; if a single man is meant, he might be thought to be the man of sin, antichrist, who has a mouth speaking blasphemies against God, his name, his tabernacle, and them that dwell therein, Revelation 13:5; and the Gospel delivers men from following him, and falling in with his perverse doctrines and practices; but the word seems to be a collective one, and to be understood of all wicked men, to whom the description agrees, as it is explained in the following verses in the plural number; who out of their evil hearts, and the abundance of wickedness there, speak evil things, tending to debauch the minds and manners of others; to be delivered from whom is a singular mercy. Jarchi restrains this to heretics, and such as caused Israel to apostatize to idolatry, and turned the law into evil. The Gospel is undoubtedly a means of preserving from error and heresy.
(t) "a via mala", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis. To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;
Instead of כּי אם there is an old אל תקרי
(Note: Regarding this formula, see Strack's Prolegomena, pp. 66-70.)
(read not so, but thus), כי אם (if thou callest understanding mother), which supposes the phrase כי אם (lxx) as traditional. If אם were intended (according to which the Targ. in the Bibl. rabbinica, but not in Norzi's text, translates), then 3b would correspond; vid., Proverbs 7:4, cf. Job 17:14. Thus: Yea, if thou callest for understanding, i.e., callest her to thee (Proverbs 18:6), invitest her to thee (Proverbs 9:15). The ק of בּקּשׁ is, with the exception of the imper. (e.g., בּקּשׁוּ), always without the Dagesh. Proverbs 2:4 belongs to the ideas in the Book of Job found in these introductory discourses, cf. Job 3:21, as at Proverbs 2:14, Job 3:22 (Ewald, Sprche, p. 49). חפשׂ (חפּשׂ), scrutari, proceeds, as חפס shows, from the primary meaning of a ditch, and is thus in its root-idea related to חפר (to dig, search out). In the principal clause of Proverbs 2:5 the 'יראת ה, as Psalm 19:10, is the fear of Jahve as it ought to be, thus the reverence which is due to Him, the worshipping of Him as revealed. 'ה and אלהים are interchanged as קדשׁים and 'ה at Proverbs 9:10. דּעת is knowledge proceeding from practice and experience, and thus not merely cognition (Kenntnis), but knowledge (Erkenntnis). The thoughts revolve in a circle only apparently. He who strives after wisdom earnestly and really, reaches in this way fellowship with God; for just as He gives wisdom, it is nowhere else than with Him, and it never comes from any other source than from Him. It comes (Proverbs 2:6) מפּיו (lxx erroneously מפּניו ylsuoe), i.e., it is communicated through the medium of His word, Job 22:22, or also (for λὀγος and πνεῦμα lie here undistinguished from one another) it is His breath (Book of Wisdom 7:25: ἀτμὶς τῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ δυνάμεως καὶ ἀπόῤῥοια τῆς τοῦ παντοκράτορος δόξης εἰλικρινής); the inspiration (נשׁמת) of the Almighty (according to Job 32:8) gives men understanding. In Proverbs 2:7, whether וצפן (Chethı̂b) or יצפּן (Kerı̂) is read, the meaning is the same. The former is the expression of the completed fact, as ἡτοίμασεν, 1 Corinthians 2:9, and is rightly preferred by lxx and Syr., for one reluctantly misses the copula (since the thought is new in comparison with Proverbs 2:6). לישׁרם should be written with the accent Dech. The Chokma-word (besides in Proverbs and Job, found only in Micah 6:9 and Isaiah 28:29) תּוּשׁיּה is a Hiphil formation (with the passing over of into , as in תּוּגה) from הושׁה (whence the pr. names יושׁה and יושׁויה) equals (Arab.) wasy and âsy, to re-establish, to advance, Hiph. of ישׁה equals ושׁה, to stand, and thus means furtherance, i.e., the power or the gift to further, and concretely that which furthers and profits, particularly true wisdom and true fortune.
(Note: I was formerly in error in regarding the word as a Hophal formation, and in assigning to it the primary signification of being in a state of realized existence, of reality, in contradistinction to appearance only. The objection of J. D. Michaelis, Supplem. p. 1167, Non placent in linguis ejusmodi etyma metaphysica, etc., does not apply here, since the word is a new one coined by the Chokma, but all the shades of meaning are naturally derived from the fundamental signification "furtherance" (cf. Seneca, Deus stator stabilitorque est). "תושׁיה, from Arab. âsy and wasy, to further by word and deed, to assist by counsel and act, to render help, whence the meanings auxilium, salus, and prudens consilium, sapientia, easily follow; cf. Ali's Arab. proverb, "He furthers thee, who does not trouble himself about thee.")
The derivation from ישׁ (Proverbs 8:21) is to be rejected, because "the formation would be wholly without analogy, so much the more because the י of this word does not represent the place of the ו, as is seen from the Arab. l-ys and the Syr. lyt" (Fl.);
(Note: The Arab. ‛aysa (almost only in the negative la-ysa equals לא ישׁ), of the same signification as ישׁ, with which the Aram. אית (איתי) is associated, presupposes an ‛âsa ( equals ‛âssa), to be founded, to found, and is rightly regarded by the Arabs as an old segolate noun in which the verbal force was comprehended.)
and the derivation of ושׁה equals שׁוה, to be smooth (Hitzig), passes over without any difficulty into another system of roots.
(Note: The Arab. wsy and swy are confounded in common usage (Wetstein, Deutsch. Morgenl. Zeitschr. xxii. 19), but the roots וש and שו are different; וש and אש, on the contrary, are modifications of one root.)
In the passage under consideration (Proverbs 2:7), תּוּשׁיּה signifies advancement in the sense of true prosperity. The parallel passage 7a clothes itself in the form of an apposition: (He) a shield (מגן, n. instr. of גּנן, to cover) for הלכי תּם, pilgrims of innocence (Fl.), i.e., such as walk in the way (the object-accus., as Proverbs 6:12, for which in Proverbs 10:9 בּ) of innocence. תּם is whole, full submission, moral faultlessness, which chooses God with the whole heart, seeks good without exception: a similar thought is found in Psalm 84:12. לנצר, 8a, is such an inf. of consequence as להקשׁיב (Proverbs 2:2), and here, as there, is continued in the finite. The "paths of justice" are understood with reference to those who enter them and keep in them; parallel, "the way of His saints" (חסיד, he who cherishes חסד, earnest inward love to God), for that is just ארח־צדקה (Proverbs 12:28): they are הלכי צדקות (Isaiah 33:15). Instead of the Mugrash, the conjunctive Tarcha is to be given to ודרך.