Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
In this verse, there are three reasons why we should read Proverbs:
- so that those who are “wise” may “hear”
- and “increase in learning”;
- and so that “the one who understands [may] obtain guidance”
The nouns here are:
- the wise
The verbs are:
- to hear
- to increase
- [the one who] (to) understand
- to obtain
the wise – ḥāḵām
The Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures defines this word as one who is “intelligent” and “endowed with reason and using it”(1). This implies those who are “endowed with reason” and not using it are not wise. Throughout Proverbs the wise are contrasted to the foolish. It sounds harsh: “foolish”. Biblically, though, you are either wise or foolish.
learning – leqaḥ
The Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains defines this word as “teaching” (the content that is taught by a teacher), “belief; [and] persuasive words”(2). It can also be mean “instruction” or that which is received or “taken in”(3).
guidance – taḥbulāh
This is an interesting word that literally means the direction and guidance given to something that is being pulled by a rope. It is “used figuratively of wise counsel”(4). It can also mean “good advice” or “good counsel”(5).
to hear – šāmaʿ
The Bible Sense Lexicon defines this as “to listen and pay attention”(6). Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures goes a step further: “to understand things heard”(7). This implies not just hearing something, but taking what is heard and then understanding what you have heard. This requires intentionality on our parts and focus. May we all hear well!
to increase – yāsap̱
This is a verb that means “to continue, to do over again, to increase”(8). It is translated in various ways including: “adding”, “further”, and “yet more and more”(9).
[the one who] (to) understand – biyn
Though this appears, in English, to be a noun, the original Hebrew has this word in verb form meaning “to be discreet; understanding; and discerning”(10). The Bible Sense Lexicon defines it this way: “to be knowing and able to comprehend meaning”(11).
to obtain – qānāh
Literally, this verb means “to create” or “to give birth”; it is used figuratively in Proverbs to denote the “[obtaining] of wisdom [or] good counsel”(12).
My Expository Paraphrase
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, the king of Israel, so of David
2 I am writing these proverbs so that the one who reads them may know what to do with prudence and skill informed by experience and to have knowledge for living. The one who reads these proverbs will be able to use this knowledge to make right decisions and to distinguish between God’s wisdom and mere “advice”.
3 The one who reads these words of mine will take hold of the knowledge for living he needs so that he might exercise insight and prudence in all his life. This should be evident by seeing obedience in his life – that is, his words and actions should be right. He should also apply this knowledge for living in all his judgments and decisions so that he is upright and so that all his decisions are level and even and measured.
4 I am also writing these words to cause those who are young, naive, and even foolish to have a craftiness – or shrewdness – in practical affairs that pleases the Lord, to give to those who are young, the youth, not yet married: knowledge and discernment so that they are equipped with discretion for proper decision-making.
5 Not just to these have I written but also so that, on the other hand, those who are endowed with reason and using it – may understand the things they hear and pay attention to them; so that the intelligent who use the reason given to them may add to the teaching and instruction they have already received. I also wrote these words so that those who already know and are able to discern meaning may acquire good counsel and wise advice.
[8,12]Baker, Warren, and Eugene E. Carpenter. The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament 2003 : n. pag. Print. Vine, W. E., Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words 1996 : n. pag. Print. Harris, R. Laird, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 1999 : n. pag. Print. [6,11]Logos Bible Software. Bible Sense Lexicon. [____]Holladay, William Lee, and Ludwig Köhler. A concise Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the Old Testament 2000 : n. pag. Print. Brown, Francis, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs. Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon 2000 : n. pag. Print. Swanson, James. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) 1997 : n. pag. Print. [1,7]Gesenius, Wilhelm, and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles. Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures 2003 : n. pag. Print. Strong, James. Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon 2001 : n. pag. Print. Thomas, Robert L. New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition 1998 : n. pag. Print.