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Proverbs 15:16-17

Context

15:16 Better 1  is little with the fear of the Lord

than great wealth and turmoil 2  with it. 3 

15:17 Better a meal of vegetables where there is love 4 

than a fattened ox where there is hatred. 5 

1 sn One of the frequent characteristics of wisdom literature is the “better” saying; it is a comparison of different but similar things to determine which is to be preferred. These two verses focus on spiritual things being better than troubled material things.

2 sn Turmoil refers to anxiety; the fear of the Lord alleviates anxiety, for it brings with it contentment and confidence.

3 sn Not all wealth has turmoil with it. But the proverb is focusing on the comparison of two things – fear of the Lord with little and wealth with turmoil. Between these two, the former is definitely better.

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.



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