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Proverbs 14:20

Context

14:20 A poor person is disliked 1  even by his neighbors,

but those who love the rich are many.

Proverbs 17:17

Context

17:17 A friend 2  loves at all times,

and a relative 3  is born to help in adversity. 4 

Proverbs 19:6

Context

19:6 Many people entreat the favor 5  of a generous person, 6 

and everyone is the friend 7  of the person who gives gifts. 8 

Proverbs 27:10

Context

27:10 Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend,

and do not enter your brother’s house in the day of your disaster;

a neighbor nearby is better than a brother far away. 9 

1 tn Heb “hated.” The verse is just a statement of fact. The verbs “love” and “hate” must be seen in their connotations: The poor are rejected, avoided, shunned – that is, hated; but the rich are sought after, favored, embraced – that is, loved.

2 sn The verse uses synonymous parallelism, so “friend” and “relative” are equated. Others, however, will take the verse with antithetical parallelism: W. G. Plaut argues that friendship is a spiritual relationship whereas a brother’s ties are based on a blood relationship – often adversity is the only thing that brings brothers together (Proverbs, 189).

3 tn Heb “a brother.”

4 tn Heb “is born for adversity.” This is not referring to sibling rivalry but to the loyalty a brother shows during times of calamity. This is not to say that a brother only shows loyalty when there is trouble, nor that he always does in these times (e.g., 18:19, 24; 19:7; 27:10). The true friend is the same as a brotherly relation – in times of greatest need the loyal love is displayed.

5 tn The verb יְחַלּוּ (yÿkhalu) is a Piel imperfect of חָלָה (khalah) meaning “to seek favor; to entreat favor; to mollify; to appease”; cf. NIV “curry favor.” It literally means “making the face of someone sweet or pleasant,” as in stroking the face. To “entreat the favor” of someone is to induce him to show favor; the action aims at receiving gifts, benefits, or any other kind of success.

sn The Hebrew verb translated “entreat the favor” is often used to express prayer when God is the one whose favor is being sought; here it is the prince who can grant requests.

6 tn Heb “the face of a generous man”; ASV “the liberal man.” The term “face” is a synecdoche of part (= face) for the whole (= person).

7 sn The proverb acknowledges the fact of life; but it also reminds people of the value of gifts in life, especially in business or in politics.

8 tn Heb “a man of gifts.” This could be (1) attributive genitive: a man characterized by giving gifts or (2) objective genitive: a man who gives gifts (IBHS 146 §9.5.2b).

9 sn The meaning of the verse is very difficult, although the translation is rather straightforward. It may simply be saying that people should retain family relationships but will discover that a friend who is available is better than a relative who is not. But C. H. Toy thinks that the verse is made up of three lines that have no connection: 10a instructs people to maintain relationships, 10b says not to go to a brother’s house [only?] when disaster strikes, and 10c observes that a nearby friend is better than a far-away relative. C. H. Toy suggests a connection may have been there, but has been lost (Proverbs [ICC], 485-86). The conflict between 17:17 and 10b may be another example of presenting two sides of the issue, a fairly frequent occurrence in the book of Proverbs.



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