The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge:
[but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.
New International Version
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
New Living Translation
Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
English Standard Version
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Berean Study Bible
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
New King James Version
The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge, [But] fools despise wisdom and instruction.
New American Standard Bible
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
The [reverent] fear of the LORD [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning [and] the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; [But arrogant] fools despise [skillful and godly] wisdom and instruction [and] self-discipline.
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The fear of the Lord
This is reverence and obedience to God, or His worship and service, as this word is commonly used.
By “the fear of the Lord” is not meant a servile fear, a fear of punishment, of hell, wrath, and damnation, which is the effect of the first work of the law upon the conscience; but a filial fear, and supposes knowledge of God as a father, of his love and grace in Christ, particularly of his forgiving love, from whence it arises (Psalms 130:4); it is a holy, humble, fiducial fear of God; a reverential affection for Him, and devotion to him; it includes the whole of religious worship, both internal and external; all that is contained in the first table of the law, and the manner of performing it, and principle of acting.
1. The fear of God will urge us to a profitable study of the Holy Scriptures.
2. The fear of God will especially influence us in our devotions.
3. The fear of God will bring us to the business of the day in the right frame of mind to carry it on.
4. The fear of God will enable us to bear the trials and disappointments of life.
5. In the last trial of all, in the hour of death, we shall assuredly reap the fruit of having lived in the fear of the Lord, for then we shall have nothing else to fear.
The beginning of knowledge
The beginning, either the foundation, or the top, and perfection, or chief point, without which all other knowledge is vain and useless.
▪︎ This is the first of all sciences to be learned, and it is the principal one;
▪︎ it is the basis and foundation of all the rest, on which they depend;
▪︎ and it is the head, the fountain, the root an source, from whence they spring; and unless a man knows God, knows God in Christ, and worships Him in His fear, in spirit and in truth, according to his revealed will, he knows nothing as he ought to know; and all his knowledge will be of no avail and profit to him;
▪︎ This is the first and chief thing in spiritual and evangelical knowledge, and without which all natural knowledge will signify nothing (see Job 28:28).
But fools despise wisdom and instruction
It is the same with “knowledge” before; they do not desire the knowledge of God, and of his ways and worship, but despise it, make no account of it, but treat it with contempt; especially the knowledge of God in Christ, in which lies the highest wisdom, for this is “life eternal” (John 17:3).
Wicked men are called fools through this whole book;
Fools are such who do not fear God.
Despise wisdom and instruction
These fools are so far from attaining true wisdom, that they despise it, and all the means of getting it; which fully proves what he now said, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
▪︎ They despise the Christ “the Wisdom of God”, and the Gospel, and the truths of it, which are “the hidden wisdom” of God; and all “instruction” into it, and the means of it;
▪︎ They despise the Scriptures, which are able to make a man “wise unto salvation”;
▪︎ They despise the ministry of the word, and the ministers of it.
▪︎ They dislike and abhor discipline (as the word signifies), and especially correction or chastisement, which is also the sense of it.
▪︎ They dislike and abhor suffering reproach and affliction for the sake of wisdom, a profession of the Christ and His Gospel;
They are fools with a witness that despises all this;
Such fools are atheists, deists, and all profane and wicked men.
The Septuagint render it, “the ungodly”; and such sort of men are all along meant by “fools” in this book.
Fear ☆ יִרְאַ֣ת (yir·’aṯ) ☆ Noun – feminine singular construct ☆ 1) fear, terror, fearing 1a) fear, terror 1b) awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear) 1c) fear (of God), respect, reverence, piety 1d) revered
LORD ☆ יְ֭הוָה (Yah·weh) ☆ Noun – proper – masculine singular ☆ Yahweh = ‘the existing One’ 1) the proper name of the one true God 1a) unpronounced.
Beginning ☆ רֵאשִׁ֣ית (rê·šîṯ) ☆ Noun – feminine singular construct ☆ 1) first, beginning, best, chief 1a) beginning 1b) first 1c) chief 1d) choice part
Knowledge ☆ דָּ֑עַת (dā·‘aṯ) ☆ Noun – feminine singular ☆ 1) knowledge 1a) knowledge, perception, skill 1b) discernment, understanding, wisdom
Fools ☆ אֱוִילִ֥ים (’ĕ·wî·lîm) ☆ Noun – masculine plural ☆ 1) be foolish, foolish 1a) (subst) 1a1) of one who despises wisdom 1a2) of one who mocks when guilty 1a3) of one who is quarrelsome 1a4) of one who is licentious
Despise ☆ בָּֽזוּ׃ (bā·zū) ☆ Verb – Qal – Perfect – third person common plural ☆ 1) to despise, hold in contempt, hold as insignificant 1a) (Qal) to despise, show despite toward
Wisdom ☆ חָכְמָ֥ה (ḥāḵ·māh) ☆ Noun – feminine singular ☆ 1) wisdom 1a) skill (in war) 1b) wisdom (in administration) 1c) shrewdness, wisdom 1d) wisdom, prudence (in religious affairs) 1e) wisdom (ethical and religious)
Discipline ☆ וּ֝מוּסָ֗ר (ū·mū·sār) ☆ Conjunctive waw | Noun – masculine singular ☆ 1) discipline, chastening, correction 1a) discipline, correction 1b) chastening
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