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Movement of the Ten Tribes of Israel.

The Book of Proverbs
Brit-Am Commentary (BAC)
Chapter One.

1:1-9 Respect Yourself and Your Parents.
1:10-19 Keep Away from Bad and Crooked Company!
1:2-21 The Daily Buzz.


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[Proverbs 1:1] The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel;

David was the King of Israel and will return to be the King of Israel. He was the once and future king of all Israel. Alternately the future ruler of Israel will be a descendant of David and in some way embody his essence so that it will be as if he was David himself. David had many sons (possibly 30 or more) but only the line of Solomon will bring forth the Messiah.
Nevertheless the future descendants of David will be extremely numerous [Jeremiah 33:22].

The Sages would probably expound on the above verse along the following lines:
If he was only King of Israel it would be worth listening to him.
If only a son of David his word should be considered.
If just Solomon we would do well to hearken.
Even more should we listen to Solomon who was also a son of David and the King of Israel.

[Proverbs 1:2]  To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding,

The Book of Proverbs is a very good book. A lot of the words of advice given here are indispensable for someone who really wants to know how to behave. We tend to forget the advice given in the Book of Proverbs. That is one of the reasons why this commentary is going out. It is as an exercise in revision and learning. We are not trying to preach. We need this instruction as much as anybody. We wish to learn this work for our own sake and know from experience that others on our list would like to share with us.

[Proverbs 1:3] To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity;

EQUITY = In Hebrew misharim i.e. going in the straight paths.

[Proverbs 1:4] To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion.

prudence to the simple.
The word translated as prudence in Hebrew here is "ormur" literally meaning "cunning".
This may be the source of our word "murmur" since something said in a hushed voice may be regarded as devious or secretive.
The word translated as simple is "petayim" implying "simpletons".
Torah Study and Bible Learning can make even otherwise backward gullible types become wise and alert to what is going on. 
We see this often. We may even see it in our own lives.
Everyone suffers from some kind of impairment when compared to others. We live with it or keep it to ourselves and manage to get by despite it.
We should treat others with respect. We should not take advantage of the ignorant. We too in some way will need protection when the time comes.
One can learn a lot from the words of Solomon. If one manages to put the message of Solomon to heart it is worth much more than years of experience.
DISCRETION: Hebrew "Mizimah" connoting initiative and planning, pre-emptive measures.

[Proverbs 1:5] A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel :

It is good to listen to advice and wise sayings and try to relate them to other lessons and experiences one has had in the same field.
Listen to what other people say. Pay attention to the experts.  You may  still decide to act differently or reach conclusions of your own.

[Proverbs 1:6] To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.

A proverb is an allegory representing something else.  When we come across a point of instruction in the secrets of life we should think out what other matters it may also pertain to.
The word translated here as "enigma" in Hebrew is "melitsa" literally meaning "a fluent message".
When we hear a quote that says something to us, whose inner wisdom we instinctively appreciate we should consider its applications. Bible learning accustoms our minds to do this.
It is not all easy but it is worth it and one point of understanding opens up other vistas of knowledge.

[Proverbs 1:7] The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Without the fear of God there is no point in acquiring knowledge. Eli Merzbach, a Bar-Ilan University Professor of Mathematics who lives in Shiloh, once said (basing himself on a passage in Maimonides) that only good God-Fearing or at least morally-upright people make scientific breakthroughs. I objected and brought forward some examples that I thought were to the contrary. Eli then said that the examples that I had adduced were those of technological improvements rather than real advancements in scientific knowledge. I still feel reservations about this claim but it is worth considering. Eli is involved in the world of science and in a position to know these things.
A good person does not delude others and will not deceive himself. This should help him in other spheres as well.

[Proverbs 1:8] My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;

These days most people suffer because of problems they had with their parents and problems they cause for their children. With the fear of God and a little good will most problems can be solved or at least greatly alleviated. The best honor we can show our parents is to live honorably. Even if we have made great mistakes in the past every good deed and good intention we make in the present goes towards a rectification and a better world for ourselves, our parents, and our children. We need to think in terms of past, present, and future.
Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav is famous for saying, If you know you can make it worse then believe also that you can make it better.

[Proverbs 1:9]  For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.

This is talking about respect. Someone who respects his parents will receive respect from others and will know how NOT to take negative aspects overduly to heart. Respect your father and mother means if necessary not receiving negative influences but only good positive ones. Respect entails NOT seeing everything. you are what your parents gave you the possibility of being. You can always be better than what you are. This is what the better side of your parents would want for you. Go for it.

And chains about your neck. The literal Hebrew implies "hanging jewels for your throat".

Proverbs 1:10-19  Keep Away from Bad and Crooked Company!

This is talking about respect. Someone who respects his parents will receive respect from others and will know how NOT to take negative aspects overduly to heart. Respect your father and mother means if necessary not receiving negative influences but only good positive ones. Respect entails NOT seeing everything. you are what your parents gave you the possibility of being. You can always be better than what you are. This is what the better side of your parents would want for you. Go for it.

[Proverbs 1:10] My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.

Bad company is probably the worst corrupter. We should not give in to the enticements or bad example of others.

[Proverbs 1:11] If they say, 'Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;'

This includes cheating people, or selling harmful substances, or inducing others to do things they would not normally really want to do.

[Proverbs 1:12]  Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;

Sheol is the Underworld or the Place of the Dead.
A person should be responsible and not cause others to harm or demean or cheapen themselves.

[Proverbs 1:13] We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil;

Young people are sometimes enticed by the idea of a quick kill, of doing something illegal or unethical in order to make a lot of money fast.

[Proverbs 1:14]  Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse??

In some cases you should not be overduly generous nor allow others control of your livelihood or means of subsistence. If you do not have to rely on others why put yourself in a position where you have to do so? You could even stretch the above verse and say that Solomon was preaching against the ideas of socialism, not because they are necessarily bad in themselves but rather they are against human nature and result in gangster type control by those in charge.

[Proverbs 1:15]  My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;

Do not be taken in. Do not be an easy victim. Do not encourage and reward evil by acquiescence.

[Proverbs 1:16] For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood.

Most important: do not lose control of your own actions and find yourself doing things against your better knowledge.
When a person begins to act against the dictates of conscience matter are liable to get out of hand.

[Proverbs 1:17] Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird;

This verse should probably be translated as saying,
# In the eyes of  the winged creatures the net is spread for no reason. #
The bird-hunters spread the net and put bait on it. The birds see the bait and also the net. They are however so eager to take the bait that they imagine the net is there for no reason.
Do not be taken in by bad people. When they befriend you the results may well be to your detriment. You are not like them. Do not partake of their schemes and contrivances.

When you try to cheat or deceive others they are often aware of it to some degree. Even when the victim goes along with the trickery and appears to be taken in somewhere in his subconscious he knows something is wrong. He feels it instinctively and eventually this instinct will be realized consciously. A person is often more exposed than he realizes. The message of Solomon is that God sees everything and if we are aware of this we shall keep clean before Him and thus automatically also stay clean in the view of others. This can be easier said than done but honesty really is the best policy. A broken vessel can frequently be repaired but it is much better not to break it in the first place.

[Proverbs 1:18] But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives.

This is a well known principle. Those who harm others without reason are harming themselves. What you do you do to yourself. If you destroy evil you destroy it in yourself. If you harm those who deserve no harm you harm yourself.

[Proverbs 1:19] So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.

If you cheat others it will come back to you some time or other.
Sometimes however it happens that a person is in a situation where things are not entirely in his control. This too is hinted at in verse 1:17 above. You are like a bird, open your eyes and you will see if others are deceiving you. It may be that you wish to be deceived but God does not want you to be a victim. The decision is yours at some level. The Bible helps us learn how to be masters of our own fate. The Book of Proverbs gives us advice and the Book of Psalms strength.
Your soul is likened to a bird: Your soul sees what is good and that which is not. Be in touch with it.

Proverbs 1:20-21 The Daily Buzz

[Proverbs 1:20]  Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares:

Common sense, words to the wise, good and useful advice is plentiful It is so common that we tend to take if for granted and to our sorrow sometimes ignore it.

[Proverbs 1:21]  She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city.

concourses. Hebrew "Homiot" from the root "HUM" implying nose and movement. This is the root of the English word "hum". Places where people gather together buzz with talk and movement.
In Newspapers and news programs and in the daily talk of your surroundings there is much wisdom and sound advice. Learn to discern and hearken to it.


[Proverbs 1:22] How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge.

The word for "simplicity" in Hebrew is "peti". It connotes ignorance. A person  should learn. These days learning is probably much easier than it  was in the past.
Do not be pleased with not knowing things.

Scorners in Hebrew are Laytsim. Mockers of the Bible actually ridicule themselves. They are not interested in the truth.
"Knowledge" in Hebrew is "Daat". It connotes involvement with the object that is known, e.g.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife (Genesis 4:1).
Fools dislike knowing things and being expected to act on them.

[Proverbs 1:23] Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

When a person internalizes their learning and acts on it they may feel it become part of them. They begin to understand things intuitively. They will come across other sources and similar incidents and understand that the same principles are involved. Their understanding will increase. They will be enabled to comprehend matters that previously may have been beyond them.

[Proverbs 1:24] Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,

It happens that we may be told, or otherwise let known, the same thing over and over again but we ignore it.

[Proverbs 1:25]  Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke,

We should try to be awake to what is going on.
Bible learning helps. We need to open our eyes and see how Biblical learning does help. We need to recognize Divine Providence in our lives and be grateful for it.
It is calling out to us and we need to tune into it.

[Proverbs 1:26]  I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,

When and if bad things befall us we should think back as to whether or not there were warning signs. If there were, why did we ignore them?

[Proverbs 1:27]  When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.

If, God forbid, some unnecessary tragedy befalls us we should think about it. Perhaps we may learn something that will enable us to prevent an even greater misfortune in the future?
We should face reality and live with it as well as possible.

[Proverbs 1:28] Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.

[Proverbs 1:29] Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD,

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. We may sometimes find ourselves inclined to be foolish. Or we do not think things through. Nevertheless, by fearing not to transgress the will of God we may yet deliver ourselves.
The Fear of God can be utilized for utilitarian purposes.  God wants us to succeed. HE wants our marriages to work; our children to grow up well; our bodies to be healthy; our business projects and jobs to go well; etc.
Someone who fears God will seek to do the will of the Almighty by taking heed to messages that can help us.
Often other people want to help you. Listen to them.
Sometimes others may seek your harm. Keep your eyes open.
Try and act as to how you understand the Almighty would wish you to act.

[Proverbs 1:30] They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke.

Adverse happenings may be understood as rebukes from on High. We need to learn from what happens.

[Proverbs 1:31] Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.

[Proverbs 1:32] For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them;

People who depart from the true path often fall down in other ways. Ill-gotten gains are usually misspent. Foolish people who become well off often "live it up" without necessarily enjoying themselves. -On the contrary. An obvious example is the use of drugs. Drugs can cost enormous amounts of money and end up killing the user while causing misery and suffering to those around them. Incidentally marijuana and its offshoots may be relatively speaking much less destructive than other drugs but it is still a drug and causes harm.
Do not be complacent. Seek to better yourselves and to positively influence the span of your posssibility.

[Proverbs 1:33] But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.?

The word translated as "Secure" here in Hebrew in Shenanan. It connotes an internal psychological reality as much as an external one.
I would suggest that the English word "sane" derives from this word.
Even if it does not, the meaning as well as the sound is similar.
God will look after you if you listen to HIM.

             Proverbs Contents
Proverbs ch.2 

All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860).

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