than a fattened ox where there is hatred. 5
1 tn Heb “soft answer.” The adjective רַּךְ (rakh, “soft; tender; gentle”; BDB 940 s.v.) is more than a mild response; it is conciliatory, an answer that restores good temper and reasonableness (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 477). Gideon illustrates this kind of answer (Judg 8:1-3) that brings peace.
2 tn Heb “word of harshness”; KJV “grievous words.” The noun עֶצֶב (’etsev, “pain, hurt”) functions as an attributive genitive. The term עֶצֶב refers to something that causes pain (BDB 780 s.v. I עֶצֶב). For example, Jephthah’s harsh answer led to war (Judg 12:1-6).
3 tn Heb “raises anger.” A common response to painful words is to let one’s temper flare up.
4 tn Heb “and love there.” This clause is a circumstantial clause introduced with vav, that becomes “where there is love.” The same construction is used in the second colon.
5 sn Again the saying concerns troublesome wealth: Loving relationships with simple food are better than a feast where there is hatred. The ideal, of course, would be loving family and friends with a great meal in addition, but this proverb is only comparing two things.
6 tn Heb “a man of wrath”; KJV, ASV “a wrathful man.” The term “wrath” functions as an attributive genitive: “an angry person.” He is contrasted with the “slow of anger,” so he is a “quick-tempered person” (cf. NLT “a hothead”).
7 tn Heb “slow of anger.” The noun “anger” functions as a genitive of specification: slow in reference to anger, that is, slow to get angry, patient.
8 tn The Hiphil verb יַשְׁקִיט (yashqit) means “to cause quietness; to pacify; to allay” the strife or quarrel (cf. NAB “allays discord”). This type of person goes out of his way to keep things calm and minimize contention; his opposite thrives on disagreement and dispute.
9 sn The fact that רִיב (riv) is used for “quarrel; strife” strongly implies that the setting is the courtroom or other legal setting (the gates of the city). The hot-headed person is eager to turn every disagreement into a legal case.