on Psalms 111 :10
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom - The original stands thus: ראשית חכמה יראת יהוה reshith chokmah, yirath Yehovah, The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Jehovah. Wisdom itself begins with this fear; true wisdom has this for its commencement. It is the first ingredient in it, and is an essential part of it. In vain does any man pretend to be wise who does not fear the Lord; and he who fears the Lord departs from evil: he who lives in sin neither fears God, nor is wise.
A good understanding have all they that do his commandments - These last words we add as necessary to make up the sense; but there is no need of this expedient, as the words of the original literally read thus: "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of Jehovah; good discernment to the doers." That is, They who act according to the dictates of wisdom, the commencement of which is the fear of Jehovah, have a sound understanding, discern their duty and their interest, and live to secure their own peace, their neighbour's good, and God's glory.
on Psalms 111 :10
The fear of the Lord - Reverence for God; respect for his law, his will, his government, himself; the fear of offending him, which will lead us to do right. This fear is not that of a slave; it is not mere dread; it is not terror. It is consistent with love, and springs from it. It is consistent with calmness of mind, and promotes it. It does not produce terror, but rather delivers from it, and preserves the mind from alarms. The word here rendered "fear" is a noun of the same origin as the word rendered "reverend" in the previous verse. The suggestion to the mind of the psalmist that the "name of the Lord" was "reverend," or was to be venerated, introduced this thought that such reverence is the very foundation of wisdom.
Is the beginning of wisdom - The foundation, the origin, the commencement of being truly wise. It is so. There is no true wisdom which does not recognize the being, the perfections, and the claims of God. The highest wisdom - the most lofty endowment of man - is that he "may" know and honor God. This, in capability, makes him wise above the brute creation; this, in exercise, makes one man more wise than another; this, when it springs up in the soul, makes a man more wise than he was before - or, is the "beginning" of true wisdom in the soul. Compare Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10; Deuteronomy 4:6; Job 28:28; Ecclesiastes 12:13.
A good understanding ... - Margin, "good success." The original word - שׂכל śêkel - is rendered "understanding" (as here) in 1 Samuel 25:3; Ezra 8:18; Job 17:4; Proverbs 3:4; Proverbs 13:15; Proverbs 16:22; "wisdom" in 1 Chronicles 22:12; Proverbs 12:8; Proverbs 23:9; "prudence," 2 Chronicles 2:12; Proverbs 19:11 (margin); "sense," in Nehemiah 8:8; "knowledge," 2 Chronicles 30:22; and "policy" in Daniel 8:25. It "may" denote, therefore, understanding, wisdom, knowledge, success, prudence; and it is true in regard to "all" of these - for the fear of the Lord, or true religion, produces them "all." It is not necessary, therefore, to endeavor to ascertain precisely which of these is the meaning here.
That do his commandments - Margin, as in the Hebrew, "do them." That do the things connected with the fear of the Lord; that is, who obey God.
His praise endureth for ever - That is, the foundation for his praise endures to all eternity; or, is unchangeable. As God is always the same, so there is, as derived from his being and perfections, always the same foundation for praise. As there will always be created beings who can and will appreciate this, so it will be literally true, as it should be, that his praise "will" be celebrated forever.
on Psalms 111 :10
111:10 The fear - True religion. Beginning - Is the only foundation of, and introduction to, true wisdom.