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The Law of the Wise One Is a Fountain of Life
Proverbs 13:14 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life: Here we have the teaching (תּוֹרָה torah) of the wise, with the teaching being the torah (law), that is, the instruction that is given by the wise, or what the wise person would teach. The torah here refers to the content of what is taught: direction, instruction. The Hebrew word (maqor) rendered fountain refers to a source of flowing water, water being the foundation or source of life. The fountain of life reminds us of the tree of life back in 3:18. Wisdom is “a fountain of life to one who has it,” in that wisdom will supply us with that which we require, not only to enjoy our present life but also to obtain eternal life (John 3:16; 17:3), that is, accurate knowledge of God and the insight and good sense to be obedient to his commands. – Proverbs 3:18; 16:22.
that one may turn away from the snares of death: Here in line 2, we do not find a parallel or contrast to line 1. That one may turn away (lasur) means to “avoid,” “change direction,” or “turn aside.” The sense is that one is trying to escape from or stay away from the snares of death. Here we have a figurative visual of a snare or trap that can endanger the wellbeing and will only end in death.
In Proverbs 13:1-13, Solomon has shown how the instruction found in God’s Word can help us to improve the quality of our life but also helps us avoid endangering it. The reverential fear of displeasing Jehovah will lengthen one’s life by revealing to us the snares or traps that can lead to death. When we think about the hot, dry, parched, waterless climate of ancient Palestine, we can appreciate a fountain of flowing water, which may very well save our life. It is in the same sense that the (torah, law) teachings, instruction, direction of the wise refreshes our souls and helps us to avoid the traps of life that would ensnare us like an animal, endangering us, resulting in early death, or worse still eternal death upon Christ’s return.