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Benefits of Following Wisdom Daily
Proverbs 8:32-34 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
32 “And now, O sons, listen to me:
happy are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it.
34 Happy is the man who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
And now, O sons, listen to me: Wisdom, using a term of endearment, O sons, before giving his final commands, pleading for the sons to listen, that is pay attention and obey, never departing from his words. The Hebrew term (שָׁמַע shama) means to listen, to hear, to pay close attention, and respond, heed, or obey based on having heard. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the idea of obedience is communicated by shama, which means, essentially, “hear” or “listen.” Hence, in many cases, shama simply refers to hearing, becoming aware through the sense of hearing. (Ge 3:10; 21:26; 34:5) It is used three times in the poetic language of 1 Samuel 15:20-22. The Hebrew verb (קָשַׁב qashab) in 1 Sam. 15:22b is similar to its nearly exact synonym (שָׁמַע shama) used in the same verse, which means “to hear” or “to listen” or “to pay close attention.” When what is being said communicates will, desire, instruction, or command, then the sense of the Hebrew is that of paying attention to, taking notice of, or obeying the one speaking. Most occurrences of ‘listen to,’ meaning ‘to obey’ are found in Jeremiah 28 times.
Happy are those who keep my ways: Happy, blessed: (אָשֵׁרִי Asheri; μακάριος makarios) Asre occurs 11 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and makarios 50 times in the Greek New Testament. Happiness and being highly favored by God characterize this joy. It is speaking of a person who is content, full of joy. This is not to be confused with the Hebrew word barak which means, “to bless,” as in a divine blessing. The Hebrew barak and the Greek eulogeo is the act of being blessed, while the Hebrew asre and Greek makarios are the state or condition of the person who is being blessed, who is a highly favored one. Keep my ways is the same as “keep my words” as in 7:1. Solomon uses the imperative verb keep (שׁוֹמֵר Shomer or שֹׁמֵר Shomer), which is an exhortation or a command for the son to conform their actions to the wise words of Wisdom. In essence, “do what I say,” “obey my instructions,” or “follow in my ways.” Albert Banes writes, “The old exhortation with a new force. The counsels are no longer those of prudence and human experience but of a Wisdom eternal as Jehovah, ordering all things.”
Hear instruction and be wise: Hear: The Hebrew verb (שָׁמַע shama) hear means more than simply taking in information through our ears. It also involves listening and paying attention, wherein we notice and act on (ready to obey) the teaching and thoughts of proverbs, responding to the advice and guidance that the proverbs contain. The Hebrew noun rendered instruction (מוּסָר musar) means instructions, precepts, directions, procedures, regulations, i.e., a principle or rule concerning the personal conduct that is to be obeyed within a community. The phrase hear instruction basically means to “obey my instructions” or “listen to my instructions.”
And do not neglect it: The Hebrew verb (פָּרַע para) translated neglect means to ignore, disregard Wisdom’s instruction, ways, that is, “pay no attention to” or “give no serious thought to” or “consideration to” the teachings of wisdom. – Prov. 1:25; 8:33; 13:18; 15:32.
Happy is the man who listens to me: For a better understanding of happy and listen, see line 1 and line 2 of 8:32 above. While the Hebrew says happy is the man (אָדָם adam), it is a reference to mankind, which includes both males and females.
Watching daily at my gates: The Hebrew verb rendered watching (שָׁקַד shaqad) means to be very vigilant, be wakeful, be on the lookout for or be careful, keep watching. It also means watch, stand guard, i.e., control access into and out of an area or persons that are valuable or notorious, implying care or duty for the object guarded. Daily in Hebrew (יוֹם יוֹם yom yom) is literally “day day,” meaning day to day, a sense of vigilance as well. Gates could refer to a house, a room in the house, or the gates to a town. However, since the figurative language of 9:1, “Wisdom has built her house,” it is best that we take gates as a reference to the door to her house.
Waiting beside my doors: The Hebrew verb (שׁוֹמֵר Shomer or שֹׁמֵר Shomer) rendered waiting has the same sense as watching in line 1 of this verse. It means to guard, to keep watch over, with an added element of eager expectation. Those watching and waiting are eagerly expecting something from Wisdom. The Hebrew rendered doors is literally “doorposts of my doors” and is simply, again, referring to the door to Wisdom’s house.
Certainly, by now, in our reading of chapter 8, we should know to listen to the voice of wisdom with the eagerness of sons. Let us be wise and pay attention to her teachings. True happiness belongs to the ones who do not neglect wisdom but listen meditative, intently, and prayerfully to her voice.
The children of the world find time for vain amusements without neglecting what they deem to be needful. Does it not show contempt for Wisdom’s instructions when people professing godliness seek excuses for neglecting the means of grace? Christ is Wisdom, and he is Life to all believers; nor can we obtain God’s favor unless we find Christ and are found in him. Those who offend Christ deceive themselves. Sin is anything not in accord with that is contrary to God’s personality, standards, ways, and will; anything damaging one’s relationship with God. It can be in word, deed, or failing to do what one ought to have done.
 Albert Barnes, Notes on the Old Testament: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Jeremiah, Lamentations & Ezekiel, ed. F. C. Cook and J. M. Fuller (London: John Murray, 1879), 32.
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