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Get truth and do not sell it;
get wisdom and teaching and understanding. Bible

“Get truth.” The Hebrew word “get” is qanah (#07069 קָנָה), and it is the basic word for “get,” and means “get, acquire, obtain.” Juxtaposed with the word “sell” in the phrase, it can be seen to mean “buy,” but there are specific words for “buy” that are not used here, so we stayed with “get.” There are ways to “get” truth that do not involve “buying” it.

The Hebrew word we translate as “truth” is emeth (#0571 אֱמֶת), which does mean “truth,” but in many contexts it has the meaning of faithfulness or covenant loyalty. Although that is likely not its primary meaning in this verse, it certainly is an undertone in the verse. Thus, as well as speaking of “truth,” the verse speaks of one’s personal integrity, a person’s faithfulness and loyalty. We “get” integrity and loyalty in part by how we live and in part by association, the family and friends we choose to be with. But we can “sell” it, or in our vernacular, “sell out” our integrity by ungodly and immoral behavior. The Devil knows the value of truth and integrity, and so he is constantly tempting people to sell those things in exchange for worldly power, pleasure, and personal gain (cp. Prov. 1:10-14; 9:13-17). The wise person knows that any worldly power or pleasure will quickly end, whereas godliness, although it requires discipline and self-control, is profitable for eternity, and in the next life there will be abundant and lasting joy.

This verse is a wonderful guide on how to live: get truth and personal integrity and don’t sell those out. And while we are getting, get wisdom, instruction, and understanding.


Commentary for: Proverbs 23:23