but its end is the way that leads to death. 2
and stings like a viper.
or 5 what will you do afterward
when your neighbor puts you to shame?
1 tn Heb “which is straight before a man.”
sn The proverb recalls the ways of the adulterous woman in chapters 1-9, and so the translation of “man” is retained. The first line does not say that the “way” that seems right is “vice,” but the second line clarifies that. The individual can rationalize all he wants, but the result is still the same. The proverb warns that any evil activity can take any number of ways (plural) to destruction.
2 tn Heb “the ways of death” (so KJV, ASV). This construct phrase features a genitive of destiny: “ways that lead to [or, end in] death.” Here death means ruin (e.g., Prov 7:27; 16:25). The LXX adds “Hades,” but the verse seems to be concerned with events of this life.
3 tn Heb “its end”; NASB “At the last”; TEV (interpretively) “The next morning.”
4 tn Heb “do not go out hastily to strive”; the verb “to strive” means dispute in the legal context. The last clause of v. 7, “what your eyes have seen,” does fit very well with the initial clause of v. 8. It would then say: What you see, do not take hastily to court, but if the case was not valid, he would end up in disgrace.
sn The Hebrew verb רִיב (riv) is often used in legal contexts; here the warning is not to go to court hastily lest it turn out badly.
5 tn The clause begins with פֶּן (pen, “lest”) which seems a bit out of place in this line. C. H. Toy suggests changing it to כִּי (ki, “for”) to make a better connection, instead of supplying an ellipsis: “lest it be said what…” (Proverbs [ICC], 461).