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Proverbs 14:4

Context

14:4 Where there are no oxen, the feeding trough is clean,

but an abundant harvest is produced by strong oxen. 1 

Proverbs 14:23

Context

14:23 In all hard work 2  there is profit,

but merely talking about it 3  only brings 4  poverty. 5 

1 tn Heb “the strength of oxen.” The genitive שׁוֹר (shor, “oxen”) functions as an attributed genitive: “strong oxen.” Strong oxen are indispensable for a good harvest, and for oxen to be strong they must be well-fed. The farmer has to balance grain consumption with the work oxen do.

2 sn The Hebrew term עֶצֶב (’etsev, “painful toil; labor”) is first used in scripture in Gen 3:19 to describe the effects of the Fall. The point here is that people should be more afraid of idle talk than of hard labor.

3 tn Heb “word of lips.” This construct phrase features a genitive of source (“a word from the lips”) or a subjective genitive (“speaking a word”). Talk without work (which produces nothing) is contrasted with labor that produces something.

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

5 sn The noun מַחְסוֹר (makhsor, “need; thing needed; poverty”) comes from the verb “to lack; to be lacking; to decrease; to need.” A person given to idle talk rather than industrious work will have needs that go unmet.



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