Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 15:24
"The path of life leads upward for the wise that he may keep away from sheol below."
path of life
The word path is the Hebrew word orah, which means way or path. The word lifeis the Hebrew word haya which means to live, to live prosperously, to have life. The idea here is that Solomon is saying that the wise have a path that they are on which keeps adding to their life. This path that they are following is on an upward angle in that their life keeps getting better and better. Their relationships keep strengthening.
In Psalm 16:11, David declares that God will make known the path of life to those who will follow Him. This is the life of faith – doing what God wants you to do in the midst of the choices of life. There is no “this is the perfect job for everybody; this is the perfect way to be for everyone.” The Scriptures give the general guidelines of the path of life and still God must guide you as you make the choices of your life: wise vs. foolish, good vs. bad, righteous vs. unrighteous.
This is the Hebrew word maaleh, which means ascent, to go up, ascend. The indicators on the path of wisdom are up. It may not be the sharp gain that is achieved in the way of folly, but its path is upward to greater blessing. The important thing to take note of is that being on the path of wisdom means that your life will improve over time. Solomon is trying to combat the martyr complex that some can come to the path of wisdom with: It will all be sacrifice and pain, but it is right. No, Solomon proclaims, it is upward. God has put all kinds of blessings on this path.
The path of folly also is upward in the short term with get-rich-quick schemes and immoral relationships and intimidation, but it is followed by huge losses and sorrow. The path of wisdom has a slower ascent but no sorrow added to it.
Another clear indication that is contained in this proverb is that upward is heavenward. God leads people toward redemption and deliverance. The ultimate upward life of the path of wisdom is heaven. The wise person bows to the sovereignty of God and accepts His plan of forgiveness. The wise person understands the fear of the Lord and the reality of the Supreme Almighty God.
This is a transliteration of the Hebrew word sheol. In other words, the translators did not translate the word; they used the Hebrew word to make an English word. This word sheolmeans the place of the dead; the netherworld between this world and the permanent abode of those who have died.
Some would see, however, a double meaning in the word sheol – sometimes meaning just the grave and other times meaning the place of the dead before the final judgment.