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Proverbs 12:6

Context

12:6 The words of the wicked lie in wait 1  to shed innocent blood, 2 

but the words 3  of the upright will deliver them.

Proverbs 12:17-19

Context

12:17 The faithful witness 4  tells what is right, 5 

but a false witness 6  speaks 7  deceit.

12:18 Speaking recklessly 8  is like the thrusts of a sword,

but the words 9  of the wise bring 10  healing. 11 

12:19 The one who tells the truth 12  will endure forever,

but the one who lies 13  will last only for a moment. 14 

1 tn The infinitive construct אֱרָב (’erav, “to lie in wait”) expresses the purpose of their conversations. The idea of “lying in wait for blood” is an implied comparison (hypocatastasis): Their words are like an ambush intended to destroy (cf. NAB, NRSV “are a deadly ambush”). The words of the wicked are here personified.

2 tn Heb “for blood.” The term “blood” is a metonymy of effect, the cause being the person that they will attack and whose blood they will shed. After the construct “blood” is also an objective genitive.

3 tn Heb “mouth.” The term פֶּה (peh, “mouth”) is a metonymy of cause, signifying what the righteous say. The righteous can make a skillful defense against false accusations that are intended to destroy. The righteous, who have gained wisdom, can escape the traps set by the words of the wicked.

4 tn The text has “he pours out faithfully”; the word rendered “faithfully” or “reliably” (אֱמוּנָה, ’emunah) is used frequently for giving testimony in court, and so here the subject matter is the reliable witness.

5 tn Heb “righteousness.”

6 tn Heb “witness of falsehoods.” The genitive noun functions attributively, and the plural form depicts habitual action or moral characteristic. This describes a person who habitually lies. A false witness cannot be counted on to help the cause of justice.

7 tn The term “speaks” does not appear in this line but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for clarity and smoothness.

8 tn The term בּוֹטֶה (boteh) means “to speak rashly [or, thoughtlessly]” (e.g., Lev 5:4; Num 30:7).

9 tn Heb “the tongue” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV). The term לָשׁוֹן (lashon, “tongue”) functions as a metonymy of cause for what is said.

10 tn The term “brings” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.

11 sn Healing is a metonymy of effect. Healing words are the opposite of the cutting, irresponsible words. What the wise say is faithful and true, gentle and kind, uplifting and encouraging; so their words bring healing.

12 tn Heb “a lip of truth.” The genitive אֱמֶת (’emet, “truth”) functions as an attributive adjective: “truthful lip.” The term שְׂפַת (sÿfat, “lip”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= lip) for the whole (= person): “truthful person.” The contrast is between “the lip of truth” and the “tongue of lying.”

13 tn Heb “a tongue of deceit.” The genitive שָׁקֶר (shaqer, “deceit”) functions as an attributive genitive. The noun לָשׁוֹן (lashon, “tongue”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= tongue) for the whole (= person): “lying person.”

14 tn Heb “while I would twinkle.” This expression is an idiom meaning “only for a moment.” The twinkling of the eye, the slightest movement, signals the brevity of the life of a lie (hyperbole). But truth will be established (תִּכּוֹן, tikon), that is, be made firm and endure.



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