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Enjoy a Long Life Now
Proverbs 3:22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
22 and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
The focus of Proverbs 3:21-26 is that wisdom will serve as a protection in this life, like the beauty of an “adornment for your neck.” We need not be afraid, as we can securely walk through this Satanic age and there is generally no stumbling with the difficulties of this life, as is true of those who reject the wisdom of God.
They will be life for your soul: The demonstrative pronoun they is referring to God’s qualities wisdom, and the related attributes such as understanding, knowledge, wisdom, and thinking ability mentioned in 3:19-21. However, once again, it is possible that Solomon is referring to sound wisdom and thinking ability within verse 21. Life for your soul is an expression that means a long life. These qualities of God can serve as a protection while we live in imperfection, surrounded by Satan’s world.
Soul: (Heb. nephesh; Gr. psyche) The Hebrew word nephesh and the Greek word psyche basically refer to (1) people, (2) animals, or (3) the life that a person or animal has. (Gen. 1:20; 2:7; Num. 31:28; 1 Pet. 3:20) The Bible author’s use of both nephesh and psyche, in connection with earthly creatures, humans or animals, refer to that which is material, tangible, visible, and mortal. The Human soul = body [dust of the ground] + active life force (“spirit”) [Hebrew, ruach] within the trillions of human cells which make up the human body + breath of life [Hebrew, neshamah] that sustains the life force from God. In other words, the “soul” is we as a whole, everything that we are, so the soul or the human can die. (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20) The sense of they will be life is that wisdom and the related attributes of God will give us a long life, or that because of them, we can have a long life now.
The appeal to us in 3:21-22 is to have the qualities of God, such as wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and thinking ability mentioned in 3:19-20. Thinking Ability: (מְזִמָּה 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; Pro. 1:4; 2:10-12; 5:1-2) Thinking, understanding: (φρήν phrēn) The sense of phren is thinking, that is, using our mind to think through something carefully, implying that one is wise, a way of thinking, planning ahead. (1 Cor. 14:20) We want it constantly before our eyes and always at heart, Prov. 3:21. Again, “they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.” (3:22) The reason to apply this advice is taken from the indescribable benefit which wisdom if kept, will be to us. Wisdom will give or restore life to us regarding our duties to God when we become lazy, inattentive, or negligent. It will bring us back to life when we are dealing with the day’s troubles that contribute to our being unhappy, hopeless, miserable, and despondent. The wisdom of God will repair and maintain our spirituality. It will bring us honor, dignity, and respect, as we avoid the follies of the foolish, as we maintain our righteous standing before God. It will give us the right words at the right time. We will be taken under God’s special protection through the correct and balanced application of the Word of God.