Proverbs 18:1

Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.

Through desire a man having separated himself, seeketh,.... Or, "a separated man seeketh desire" {g}; his own desire, will, and pleasure. This is either to be understood in a good sense, of one that has a real and hearty desire after sound wisdom and knowledge, and seeks in the use of all proper means to attain it; and in order to which he separates himself from the world and the business of it, and retires to his study, and gives up himself to reading, meditation, and prayer; or goes abroad in search of it, as Aben Ezra: or of a vain man that affects singularity; and who, through a desire of gratifying that lust, separates himself, not only from God, as Jarchi interprets it, pursuing his evil imagination and the lust of his heart; and from his friends, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions; but from all men, like the Jews, who "please not God, and are contrary to all men"; so such a man sets himself to despise and contradict the sentiments and opinions of others, and to set up his own in opposition to them. This is true of the Pharisees among the Jews, who had their name from separating themselves from all others, having an high opinion of their own Wisdom and sanctify; and also of the Gnostics among the Christians, who boasted of their knowledge, and separated themselves from the Christian assemblies; and were sensual, not having the Spirit, being vainly puffed up with their fleshly mind;

and intermeddleth with all wisdom; the man who is desirous of being truly wise and knowing grasps at all wisdom, every branch of useful knowledge; would gladly learn something of every art and science worthy of regard; and he makes use of all means of improving himself therein; and covets the company and conversation of men of wisdom and knowledge, that he may attain to more; he intermingles himself with men of wisdom, as Aben Ezra interprets it, and walks and converses with them. Or if this is to be understood of a vain glorious person, the sense is, "he intermeddles" or "mingles himself with all business" {h}, as it may be rendered; he thrusts himself into affairs that do not concern him, and will pass his judgment on things he has nothing to do with; or he monopolizes all knowledge to himself, and will not allow any other to have any share with him. Jarchi interprets this clause thus,

"among wise men his reproach shall be made manifest;''

and observes, that their Rabbins explain it of Lot separating from Abraham, following the desires of his heart: but R. Saadiah Gaon better interprets it of an apostate from religion; that objects to everything solid and substantial, in a wrangling and contentious manner; and "shows his teeth" {i} at it, as Schultens, from the use of the Arabic word, renders it.

{g} So the Targum.
{h} elgty hyvwt lkb "immiscet se omni negotio", Munster; "omnibus quae sunt immiscet se", Junius & Tremellius.
{i} "Et in omne solidum dentes destringei", Schultens.