but a fool displays 10 his folly.
but the folly of fools is deception. 13
but the shrewd person discerns his steps. 15
27:12 A shrewd person sees danger and hides himself,
but the naive keep right on going 23 and suffer for it.
1 tn Heb “The fool, at once his vexation is known.” This rhetorically emphatic construction uses an independent nominative absolute, which is then followed by the formal subject with a suffix. The construction focuses attention on “the fool,” then states what is to be said about him.
2 tn Heb “on the day” or “the same day.”
sn The fool is impatient and unwise, and so flares up immediately when anything bothers him. W. McKane says that the fool’s reaction is “like an injured animal and so his opponent knows that he has been wounded” (Proverbs [OTL], 442).
3 tn Heb “shrewd.”
4 tn Heb “covers.” The verb כָּסָה (casah) means “covers” in the sense of ignores or bides his time. The point is not that he does not respond at all, but that he is shrewd enough to handle the criticism or insult in the best way – not instinctively and irrationally.
5 tn Heb “a shrewd man” (so NAB); KJV, NIV “a prudent man”; NRSV “One who is clever.”
sn A shrewd person knows how to use knowledge wisely, and restrains himself from revealing all he knows.
6 sn The term כֹּסֶה (koseh, “covers; hides”) does not mean that he never shares his knowledge, but discerns when it is and is not appropriate to speak.
7 tn Heb “the heart of fools.” The term לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= heart) for the whole (= person): “foolish people.” This type of fool despises correction and instruction. His intent is to proclaim all that he does – which is folly. W. McKane says that the more one speaks, the less likely he is able to speak effectively (Proverbs [OTL], 422). Cf. TEV “stupid people advertise their ignorance”; NLT “fools broadcast their folly.”
8 sn The noun אִוֶּלֶת (’ivvelet, “foolishness; folly”) is the antithesis of perception and understanding. It is related to the noun אֱוִּיל (’evvil, “fool”), one who is morally bad because he despises wisdom and discipline, mocks at guilt, is licentious and quarrelsome, and is almost impossible to rebuke.
9 sn The shrewd person knows the circumstances, dangers and pitfalls that lie ahead. So he deals with them wisely. This makes him cautious.
10 tn Heb “spreads open” [his folly]. W. McKane suggests that this is a figure of a peddler displaying his wares (Proverbs [OTL], 456; cf. NAB “the fool peddles folly”). If given a chance, a fool will reveal his foolishness in public. But the wise study the facts and make decisions accordingly.
11 tn Or “the prudent [person]” (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV).
12 tn The Hiphil infinitive construct denotes purpose. Those who are shrewd will use it to give careful consideration to all their ways.
13 tn The word means “deception,” but some suggest “self-deception” here (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 466; and D. W. Thomas, “Textual and Philological Notes on Some Passages in the Book of Proverbs,” VTSup 3 : 286); cf. NLT “fools deceive themselves.” The parallelism would favor this, but there is little support for it. The word usually means “craft practiced on others.” If the line is saying the fool is deceitful, there is only a loose antithesis between the cola.
14 sn The contrast is with the simpleton and the shrewd. The simpleton is the young person who is untrained morally or intellectually, and therefore gullible. The shrewd one is the prudent person, the one who has the ability to make critical discriminations.
15 tn Heb “his step”; cf. TEV “sensible people watch their step.”
16 tc G. R. Driver, however, proposed reading the verb as “are adorned” from הלה (“Problems in the Hebrew Text of Proverbs,” Bib 32 : 181). A similar reading is followed by a number of English versions (e.g., NAB, NRSV, NLT).
sn The proverb anticipates what the simple will receive, assuming they remain simpletons.
17 tn Or “prudent” (KJV, NASB, NIV); NRSV, TEV “clever.”
18 tn The meaning of יַכְתִּרוּ (yakhtiru, Hiphil imperfect of כָּתַר, katar) is elusive. It may not mean “to be crowned” or “to crown themselves,” but “to encircle” or “to embrace.” BDB 509 s.v. כָּתַר Hiph suggests “to throw out crowns” (throw out knowledge as a crown) or “to encompass knowledge,” i.e., possess it (parallel to inherit).
19 sn The contrast is between the “shrewd” (prudent) person and the “simpleton.” The shrewd person knows where the dangers and pitfalls are in life and so can avoid them; the naive person is unwary, untrained, and gullible, unable to survive the dangers of the world and blundering into them.
20 tn Heb “evil,” a term that is broad enough to include (1) “sin” as well as (2) any form of “danger” (NIV, NCV, NRSV, NLT) or “trouble” (TEV, CEV). The second option is more likely what is meant here: The naive simpleton does not see the danger to be avoided and so suffers for it.
21 tn Heb “go on”; the word “right” is supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning: The naive person, oblivious to impending danger, meets it head on (cf. TEV “will walk right into it”).
22 tn The verb עָנַשׁ (’anash) means “to fine” specifically. In the Niphal stem it means “to be fined,” or more generally, “to be punished.” In this line the punishment is the consequence of blundering into trouble – they will pay for it.
23 tn Heb “go on”; the word “right” is supplied in the translation to clarify the meaning: The naive person, oblivious to impending danger, meets it head on.