but an accurate weight 3 is his delight.
but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them. 10
but righteousness delivers from mortal danger. 12
but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness. 14
and the wicked turns up in his stead. 22
but by knowledge 26 the righteous will be delivered.
when the wicked perish, there is joy.
but the one who is trustworthy 38 conceals a matter.
but there is success 40 in the abundance of counselors.
but a cruel person brings himself trouble. 51
11:28 The one who trusts in his riches will fall,
1 tn Heb “an abomination of the
2 tn Heb “scales of deception.” The genitive is attributive: “deceptive scales.” This refers to dishonesty in the market where silver was weighed in the scales. God condemns dishonest business practices (Deut 25:13-16; Lev 10:35-36), as did the ancient Near East (ANET 388, 423).
3 tn Heb “a perfect stone.” Stones were used for measuring amounts of silver on the scales; here the stone that pleases the
4 tn Heb “presumptuousness.” This term is from the root זִיד, zid (or זוּד, zud) which means “to boil; to seethe; to act proudly; to act presumptuously.” The idea is that of boiling over the edge of the pot, signifying overstepping the boundaries (e.g., Gen 25:29).
5 tn The verbs show both the sequence and the correlation. The first is the perfect tense of בּוֹא (bo’, “to enter; to come”); it is followed by the preterite with vav consecutive from the same verb, showing that one follows or comes with the other. Because the second verb in the colon is sequential to the first, the first may be subordinated as a temporal clause.
6 sn This proverb does not state how the disgrace will come, but affirms that it will follow pride. The proud will be brought down.
7 tn Heb “modesty”; KJV, ASV “the lowly.” The adjective צְנוּעִים (tsÿnu’im, “modest”) is used as a noun; this is an example of antimeria in which one part of speech is used in the place of another (see E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech, 491-506), e.g., “Let the dry [adjective] appear!” = dry land (Gen 1:9). The root צָנַע (tsana’, “to be modest; to be humble”) describes those who are reserved, retiring, modest. The plural form is used for the abstract idea of humility.
8 tn The term “comes” does not appear in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the translation from parallelism.
9 sn This contrasts two lifestyles, affirming the value of integrity. The upright live with integrity – blamelessness – and that integrity leads them in success and happiness. Those who use treachery will be destroyed by it.
10 tc The form is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Qere יְשָׁדֵּם (yÿshadem) is an imperfect tense with the pronominal suffix. The Kethib וְשַׁדָּם (vÿshadam) is a perfect tense with a vav prefixed and a pronominal suffix. The Qere is supported by the versions.
11 sn The “day of wrath” refers to divine punishment in this life (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 67; e.g., also Job 21:30; Ezek 7:19; Zeph 1:18). Righteousness and not wealth is more valuable in anticipating judgment.
12 tn Heb “from death.”
13 tn Heb “his way.”
14 sn The righteous will enjoy security and serenity throughout life. Righteousness makes the path straight; wickedness destroys the wicked.
15 sn The contrast is between being rescued or delivered (נָצַל, natsal) and being captured (לָכַד, lakhad). Righteousness is freeing; [evil] desires are enslaving.
16 tn Heb “taken captive” (so NRSV); NIV, TEV “are trapped.”
17 tn Heb “but by the desire of the faithless are they taken captive.”
18 tn The first colon features an imperfect tense depicting habitual action, while the second has a perfect tense verb depicting gnomic action.
sn The subject of this proverb is the hope of the wicked, showing its consequences – his expectations die with him (Ps 49). Any hope for long life and success borne of wickedness will be disappointed.
19 tc There are several suggested changes for this word אוֹנִים (’onim, “vigor” or “strength”). Rashi, a Jewish scholar who lived
20 tc The LXX adds an antithesis to this: “When the righteous dies, hope does not perish.” The LXX translators wanted to see the hope of the righteous fulfilled in the world to come.
21 tn The verb is the Niphal perfect from the first root חָלַץ (khalats), meaning “to draw off; to withdraw,” and hence “to be delivered.”
sn The verse is not concerned with the problem of evil and the suffering of the righteous; it is only concerned with the principle of divine justice.
22 tn The verb is masculine singular, so the subject cannot be “trouble.” The trouble from which the righteous escape will come on the wicked – but the Hebrew text literally says that the wicked “comes [= arrives; turns up; shows up] in the place of the righteous.” Cf. NASB “the wicked takes his place”; NRSV “the wicked get into it instead”; NIV “it comes on the wicked instead.”
23 tn Heb “with his mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for speech.
24 sn The Hebrew word originally meant “impious, godless, polluted, profane.” It later developed the idea of a “hypocrite” (Dan 11:32), one who conceals his evil under the appearance of godliness or kindness. This one is a false flatterer.
25 sn The verb שָׁחַת (shakhat) means “to destroy; to ruin” (e.g., the destruction of Sodom in Gen 13:10). The imperfect tense is probably not an habitual imperfect (because the second colon shows exceptions), but probably a progressive imperfect (“this goes on”) or potential imperfect (“they can do this”).
26 sn The antithetical proverb states that a righteous person can escape devastating slander through knowledge. The righteous will have sufficient knowledge and perception to see through the hypocrisy and avoid its effect.
27 tn The text has “in the good [בְּטוֹב, bÿtov] of the righteous,” meaning when they do well, when they prosper. Cf. NCV, NLT “succeed”; TEV “have good fortune.”
28 sn The verb תַּעֲלֹץ (ta’alots, “to rejoice; to exult”) is paralleled with the noun רִנָּה (rinnah, “ringing cry”). The descriptions are hyperbolic, except when the person who dies is one who afflicted society (e.g., 2 Kgs 11:20; Esth 8:15). D. Kidner says, “However drab the world makes out virtue to be, it appreciates the boon of it in public life” (Proverbs [TOTC], 91).
29 tn Heb “the blessing of the upright.” This expression features either an objective or subjective genitive. It may refer to the blessing God gives the upright (which will benefit society) or the blessing that the upright are to the city. The latter fits the parallelism best: The blessings are the beneficent words and deeds that the righteous perform.
30 tn Heb “mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) functions as a metonymy of cause for counsel, as the parallelism suggests.
31 sn What the wicked say has a disastrous effect on society, endangering, weakening, demoralizing, and perverting with malicious and slanderous words. Wicked leaders, in particular, can bring destruction on a city by their evil counsel.
32 tn Heb “despises” (so NASB) or “belittles” (so NRSV). The participle בָּז (baz, from בּוּז, buz) means “to despise; to show contempt for” someone. It reflects an attitude of pride and judgmentalism. In view of the parallel line, in this situation it would reflect perhaps some public denunciation of another person.
sn According to Proverbs (and the Bible as a whole) how one treats a neighbor is an important part of righteousness. One was expected to be a good neighbor, and to protect and safeguard the life and reputation of a neighbor.
34 tn Heb “a man of discernment.”
35 sn The verb translated “keeps silence” (יַחֲרִישׁ, yakharish) means “holds his peace.” Rather than publicly denouncing another person’s mistake or folly, a wise person will keep quiet about it (e.g., 1 Sam 10:27). A discerning person realizes that the neighbor may become an opponent and someday retaliate.
36 tn Heb “going about in slander.” This expression refers to a slanderer. The noun means “slander” and so “tale-bearer” (so KJV, ASV, NASB), “informer.” The related verb (רָכַל, rakhal) means “to go about” from one person to another, either for trade or for gossip.
37 tn The participle מְגַלֶּה (mÿgaleh) means “uncovering” or “revealing” secrets.
sn This is the intent of a person who makes disparaging comments about others – he cannot wait to share secrets that should be kept.
38 tn Heb “faithful of spirit.” This phrase describes the inner nature of the person as faithful and trustworthy. This individual will not rush out to tell whatever information he has heard, but will conceal it.
39 tn The word תַּחְבֻּלוֹת (takhvulot, “guidance; direction”) is derived from the root I חָבַל (khaval, “rope-pulling” and “steering” or “directing” a ship; BDB 286 s.v.). Thus spiritual guidance is like steering a ship, here the ship of state (R. N. Whybray, Proverbs [CBC], 68; Prov 1:5). Advice is necessary for the success of a nation.
40 tn Heb “victory.” This term תְּשׁוּעָה (teshu’ah) means “salvation” or “victory” (BDB 448 s.v.); cf. NAB, TEV “security”; NRSV, NLT “safety.” Here, it connotes “success” as the antithesis of the nation falling. The setting could be one of battle or economics. Victory or success will be more likely with good advice. This assumes that the counselors are wise.
41 sn The “stranger” could refer to a person from another country or culture, as it often does; but it could also refer to an unknown Israelite, with the idea that the individual stands outside the known and respectable community.
42 tn The sentence begins with the Niphal imperfect and the cognate (רַע־יֵרוֹעַ, ra’-yeroa’), stressing that whoever does this “will certainly suffer hurt.” The hurt in this case will be financial responsibility for a bad risk.
43 tn Heb “hates.” The term שֹׂנֵא (shoneh) means “to reject,” and here “to avoid.” The participle is substantival, functioning as the subject of the clause. The next participle, תֹקְעִים (toq’im, “striking hands”), is its object, telling what is hated. The third participle בּוֹטֵחַ (boteakh, “is secure”) functions verbally.
44 tn Heb “striking.” The imagery here is shaking hands to seal a contract. The term “hands” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied.
45 tn Heb “a woman of grace.” The genitive חֵן (khen, “grace”) functions as an attributive adjective. The contrast is between “a gracious woman” (אֵשֶׁת־חֵן, ’eshet-khen), a woman who is not only graceful but generous, and “powerful men,” a term usually having a bad sense, such as tyrants or ruthless men.
46 tn Heb “those who are terrifying.” The term עָרִיץ (’arits) refers to a person who strikes terror into the hearts of his victims. The term refers to a ruthless person who uses violence to overcome his victims (BDB 792 s.v.). Cf. ASV, NASB, NLT “violent men”; NRSV “the aggressive.”
47 tc The LXX adds: “She who hates virtue makes a throne for dishonor; the idle will be destitute of means.” This reading is followed by several English versions (e.g., NAB, NEB, NRSV, TEV). C. H. Toy concludes that MT provides remnants of the original, but that the LXX does not provide the full meaning (Proverbs [ICC], 229).
sn The implication is that the ruthless men will obtain wealth without honor, and therefore this is not viewed as success by the writer.
48 tn Heb “man of kindness.”
sn This contrasts the “kind person” and the “cruel person” (one who is fierce, cruel), showing the consequences of their dispositions.
49 tn The term גֹּמֶל (gomel) means “to deal fully [or “adequately”] with” someone or something. The kind person will benefit himself.
51 tn Heb “brings trouble to his flesh.”
sn There may be a conscious effort by the sage to contrast “soul” and “body”: He contrasts the benefits of kindness for the “soul” (translated “himself”) with the trouble that comes to the “flesh/body” (translated “himself”) of the cruel.
52 tn The form is the masculine singular adjective used as a substantive.
53 tn Heb “makes” (so NAB).
54 tn Heb “wages of deception.”
sn Whatever recompense or reward the wicked receive will not last, hence, it is deceptive (R. B. Y. Scott, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes [AB], 88).
55 sn The participle “sowing” provides an implied comparison (the figure is known as hypocatastasis) with the point of practicing righteousness and inspiring others to do the same. What is sown will yield fruit (1 Cor 9:11; 2 Cor 9:6; Jas 3:18).
56 tn The term “reaps” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context for the sake of smoothness.
57 tn Heb “true” (so NASB, NRSV); KJV, NAB, NIV “sure.”
58 sn A wordplay (paronomasia) occurs between “deceptive” (שָׁקֶר, shaqer) and “reward” (שֶׂכֶר, sekher), underscoring the contrast by the repetition of sounds. The wages of the wicked are deceptive; the reward of the righteous is sure.
59 tn Heb “the veritable of righteousness.” The adjective כֵּן (ken, “right; honest; veritable”) functions substantivally as an attributive genitive, meaning “veritable righteousness” = true righteousness (BDB 467 s.v. 2; HALOT 482 s.v. I כֵּן 2.b). One medieval Hebrew
60 tn Heb “is to life.” The expression “leads to” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but the idiom implies it; it is supplied in the translation for smoothness.
61 tn The phrase “pursues it” does not appear in the Hebrew but has been supplied in the translation from context.
62 sn “Life” and “death” describe the vicissitudes of this life but can also refer to the situation beyond the grave. The two paths head in opposite directions.
63 tn Heb “an abomination of the
64 sn The word עִקְּשֵׁי (“crooked; twisted; perverted”) describes the wicked as having “twisted minds.” Their mentality is turned toward evil things.
65 tn Heb “those who are blameless of way.” The noun דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, “way”) is a genitive of specification: “blameless in their way.”
66 sn The noun means “goodwill, favor, acceptance, will”; it is related to the verb רָצַה (ratsah) which means “to be pleased with; to accept favorably.” These words are used frequently in scripture to describe what pleases the
67 tn The expression “hand to hand” refers the custom of striking hands to confirm an agreement (M. Anbar, “Proverbes 11:21; 16:15; יד ליד, «sur le champ»,” Bib 53 : 537-38). Tg. Prov 11:21 interprets it differently: “he who lifts up his hand against his neighbor will not go unpunished.”
68 tn Heb “will not be free.” The verb נָקָה (naqah) means “to be clean; to be empty.” In the Niphal it means “to be free of guilt; to be clean; to be innocent,” and therefore “to be exempt from punishment” (BDB 667 s.v. Niph). The phrase “will not go unpunished” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV) is an example of tapeinosis (a negative statement that emphasizes the positive opposite statement): “will certainly be punished” (cf. TEV, CEV, NLT).
69 tn Heb “the seed of the righteous.” This is an idiom that describes a class of people who share the nature of righteousness (e.g., Isa 1:4; 65:23). The word “seed” (hypocatastasis) means “offspring.” Some take it literally, as if it meant that the children of the righteous will escape judgment (Saadia, a Jewish scholar who lived
70 tn Heb “will be delivered” (so NASB). The phrase “from unjust judgment” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the idiom.
71 tn Heb “a ring of gold.” The noun זָהָב (zahav, “gold”) is a genitive of material; the ring is made out of gold.
72 tn Heb “in a snout of a swine.” A beautiful ornament and a pig are as incongruous as a beautiful woman who has no taste or ethical judgment.
73 tn The verb “is” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
74 tn Heb “turns away [from].”
75 tn Heb “taste.” The term can refer to physical taste (Exod 16:31), intellectual discretion (1 Sam 25:33), or ethical judgment (Ps 119:66). Here it probably means that she has no moral sensibility, no propriety, no good taste – she is unchaste. Her beauty will be put to wrong uses.
76 tn Heb “the desire of the righteous.” The noun תַּאֲוַת (ta’avat) functions as an objective genitive: “what the righteous desire.”
77 tn The phrase “leads to” does not appear in the Hebrew text but has been supplied in the translation. The desire of the righteous (in itself good) ends in good things, whereas the hope of the wicked ends in wrath, i.e., divine judgment on them. Another interpretation is that the righteous desire is to do good things, but the wicked hope to produce wrath (cf. CEV “troublemakers hope to stir up trouble”).
78 tn Heb “the hope of the wicked.” The noun תִּקְוַת (tiqvat) “expectation” functions as an objective genitive: “what the wicked hope for.”
79 tn The term “leads” does not appear in the Hebrew text in this line but is implied by the parallelism. It is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.
80 tn Heb “There is one who scatters.” The participle מְפַזֵּר (mÿfazzer, “one who scatters”) refers to charity rather than farming or investments (and is thus a hypocatastasis). Cf. CEV “become rich by being generous”).
81 tn Heb “increases.” The verb means that he grows even more wealthy. This is a paradox: Generosity determines prosperity in God’s economy.
82 tn Heb “more than what is right.” This one is not giving enough, but saving for himself.
83 tn Heb “comes to lack.” The person who withholds will come to the diminishing of his wealth. The verse uses hyperbole to teach that giving to charity does not make anyone poor, and neither does refusal to give ensure prosperity.
84 tn Heb “the soul of blessing.” The genitive functions attributively. “Blessing” refers to a gift (Gen 33:11) or a special favor (Josh 15:19). The term נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole (= person); see BDB 660 s.v. 4.
86 tn The verb מַרְוֶה (marveh, “to be saturated; to drink one’s fill”) draws a comparison between providing water for others with providing for those in need (e.g., Jer 31:25; Lam 3:15). The kind act will be reciprocated.
87 tn The phrase “for others” does not appear in the Hebrew but is implied by the causative Hiphil verb which normally takes a direct object; it is elided in the Hebrew for the sake of emphasis. It is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
88 tn This verb also means “to pour water,” and so continues the theme of the preceding participle: The one who gives refreshment to others will be refreshed. BDB 924 s.v. רָוָה lists the form יוֹרֶא (yore’) as a Hophal imperfect of רָוָה (ravah, the only occurrence) and translates it “will himself also be watered” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). But the verb looks very much like a Hiphil of the root יָרָא (yara’, “to shoot; to pour”). So the editors of BHS suggest יוּאָר (yu’ar).
89 tn The direct object suffix on the verb picks up on the emphatic absolute phrase: “they will curse him – the one who withholds grain.”
90 sn The proverb refers to a merchant who holds back his grain from the free market to raise prices when there is a great need for the produce. It is assumed that merchants are supposed to have a social conscience.
91 tn Heb “but a blessing is for the head of the one who sells.” The parallelism with “curse” suggests that בְּרָכָה (berakhah) “blessing” means “praise.”
92 tn Heb “for the head of the one who sells.” The term “head” functions as a synecdoche of part (= head) for the whole (= person). The head is here emphasized because it is the “crowning” point of praise. The direct object (“it”) is not in the Hebrew text but is implied.
93 tn Two separate words are used here for “seek.” The first is שָׁחַר (shakhar, “to seek diligently”) and the second is בָּקַשׁ (baqash, “to seek after; to look for”). Whoever is seeking good is in effect seeking favor – from either God or man (e.g., Ps 5:12; Isa 49:8).
94 tn The participle דֹּרֵשׁ (doresh) means “to seek; to inquire; to investigate.” A person generally receives the consequences of the kind of life he seeks.
95 tn The verb is the imperfect tense, third feminine singular, referring to “evil,” the object of the participle.
96 sn The implication from the parallelism is that the righteous do not trust in their own riches, but in the
97 tn Heb “leafage” or “leaf” (cf. KJV “as a branch”); TEV “leaves of summer”; NLT “leaves in spring.” The simile of a leaf is a figure of prosperity and fertility throughout the ancient Near East.
98 tn The verb עָכַר (’akhar, “to trouble”) refers to actions which make life difficult for one’s family (BDB 747 s.v.). He will be cut out of the family inheritance.
99 tn Heb “his house.” The term בֵּית (bet, “house”) is a synecdoche of container (= house) for its contents (= family, household).
100 tn Heb “the wind” (so KJV, NCV, NLT); NAB “empty air.” The word “wind” (רוּחַ, ruakh) refers to what cannot be grasped (Prov 27:16; Eccl 1:14, 17). The figure is a hypocatastasis, comparing wind to what he inherits – nothing he can put his hands on. Cf. CEV “won’t inherit a thing.”
101 sn The “fool” here is the “troubler” of the first half. One who mismanages his affairs so badly so that there is nothing for the family may have to sell himself into slavery to the wise. The ideas of the two halves of the verse are complementary.
102 tn Heb “to the wise of heart.” The noun לֵב (lev, “heart”) is an attributed genitive: “wise heart.” The term לֵב (“heart”) also functions as a synecdoche of part (= heart) for the whole (= person); see BDB 525 s.v. 7.
103 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied for the sake of clarity.
104 tn Heb “tree of life” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV). The noun חַיִּים (khayyim, “life”) is genitive of product. What the righteous produce (“fruit”) is like a tree of life – a long and healthy life as well as a life-giving influence and provision for others.
105 tc The Leningrad Codex mistakenly vocalized ש (sin or shin) as שׂ (sin) instead of שׁ (shin) in the term נְפָשׂוֹת (nefashot) which is vocalized as נְפָשׁוֹת (nefasot, “souls”) in the other medieval Hebrew
106 tc The MT reads חָכָם (khakham, “wise”) and seems to refer to capturing (לָקַח, laqakh; “to lay hold of; to seize; to capture”) people with influential ideas (e.g., 2 Sam 15:6). An alternate textual tradition reads חָמָס (khamas) “violent” (reflected in the LXX and Syriac) and refers to taking away lives: “but the one who takes away lives (= kills people) is violent” (cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV). The textual variant was caused by orthographic confusion of ס (samek) and כ (kaf), and metathesis of מ (mem) between the 2nd and 3rd consonants. If the parallelism is synonymous, the MT reading fits; if the parallelism is antithetical, the alternate tradition fits. See D. C. Snell, “‘Taking Souls’ in Proverbs 11:30,” VT 33 (1083): 362-65.
107 tc The LXX introduces a new idea: “If the righteous be scarcely saved” (reflected in 1 Pet 4:18). The Greek translation “scarcely” could have come from a Vorlage of בַּצָּרָה (batsarah, “deficiency” or “want”) or בָּצַּר (batsar, “to cut off; to shorten”) perhaps arising from confusion over the letters. The verb “receive due” could only be translated “saved” by an indirect interpretation. See J. Barr, “בארץ ~ ΜΟΛΙΣ: Prov. XI.31, I Pet. IV.18,” JSS 20 (1975): 149-64.
108 tn This construction is one of the “how much more” arguments – if this be true, how much more this (arguing from the lesser to the greater). The point is that if the righteous suffer for their sins, certainly the wicked will as well.
109 tn Heb “the wicked and the sinner.” The two terms may form a hendiadys with the first functioning adjectivally: “the wicked sinner.”
110 tn Heb “a man, a stupid fellow.”
111 tn Heb “and.” The vav (ו) that introduces this clause may be understood as meaning “or….”
112 tc The MT reads וּבַל־יָדַעְתָּ (uval-yada’ta, “you did not know [the lips of knowledge]).” It must mean that one should leave the fool because he did not receive knowledge from what fools said. Tg. Prov 14:7 freely interprets the verse: “for there is no knowledge on his lips.” The LXX reflects a Hebrew Vorlage of וּכְלֵי־דַעַת (ukhÿle-da’at, “[wise lips] are weapons of discretion”). The textual variant involves wrong word division and orthographic confusion between ב (bet) and כ (kaf). C. H. Toy emends the text: “for his lips do not utter knowledge” as in 15:7 (Proverbs [ICC], 285). The MT is workable and more difficult.
113 tn Heb “lips of knowledge” (so KJV, ASV). “Lips” is the metonymy of cause, and “knowledge” is an objective genitive (speaking knowledge) or attributive genitive (knowledgeable speech): “wise counsel.”