What does Proverbs 2:9 mean?
ESV: Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;
NIV: Then you will understand what is right and just and fair--every good path.
NASB: Then you will discern righteousness, justice, And integrity, and every good path.
CSB: Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity--every good path.
NLT: Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go.
KJV: Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
NKJV: Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.
Verse Commentary:
The context of chapter 2 is virtuous living, meaning an all-encompassing pursuit of certain godly traits. The underlying ideas of this passage include four virtues— wisdom, courage, integrity, and justice—which are not completely individual traits. They are not meant to be built in sequence on top of each other. Instead, they all exist proportionately to one another.

In the first section of chapter 2 we are encouraged to increase in wisdom. The second section discusses our reasons for confidence in pursuing God's truth, resulting in an increase in our courage. This verse represents the second "then" statement of chapter 2, an explanation of how we can increase in justice.

Three words are used here to describe the subject of this section: "righteousness and justice and equity." Righteousness describes a natural or moral rightness. Justice—or judgment—is the legal pronouncement of a judicial verdict. Equity is an attitude of agreement or rectitude. These three terms reinforce one another, giving us a fuller description of what justice truly is. Justice, as a virtue, is all three of these in unity (Deuteronomy 16:20).
Verse Context:
Proverbs 2:9–15 refines our understanding of justice, which is possibly the most difficult of the four virtues to master. We have long misunderstood justice as fairness or equality. Everyone is familiar with the common complaint ''that's not fair.'' This is often expressed when someone perceives that they are not being treated identically to others. However, true justice makes no claim to be equal; instead it is equitable. Justice can be defined as giving each person their due. Justice is absolutely fair, it is not necessarily equal.
Chapter Summary:
In Proverbs chapter 2, Solomon highlights various virtues, as well as provides encouragement to live a virtuous life. As in chapter 1, specific concepts wil reoccur, and are used in certain ways. Here, these are ideas such as courage, integrity, wisdom, and justice. The gist of this passage is the positive effect that virtue—including these various aspects—will have on one's life. In contrast, those who pursue non-virtuous living will suffer dire consequences.
Chapter Context:
The overarching theme of Proverbs chapter 2 is the relationship between virtue and discernment. As described here, virtuous living is moral living. As a person strives to live a moral life, he or she develops a greater ability to discern right from wrong. Further, beyond simple matters of right and wrong, as virtue grows within a person, he or she becomes more proficient at discerning trickier situations. Real life predicaments often present two or more seemingly valid options. Discernment, then, also includes determining which of many different options is actually best. Likewise, many life situations appear to offer only a variety of bad options. There, discernment is once again required, to determine which option presents the correct choice, or to recognize where a ''good'' option has been hidden.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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