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Proverbs 16:1

Context

16:1 The intentions of the heart 1  belong to a man, 2 

but the answer of the tongue 3  comes from 4  the Lord. 5 

Proverbs 16:9

Context

16:9 A person 6  plans his course, 7 

but the Lord directs 8  his steps. 9 

1 tn Heb “plans of the heart” (so ASV, NASB, NIV). The phrase מַעַרְכֵי־לֵב (maarkhe-lev) means “the arrangements of the mind.”

sn Humans may set things in order, plan out what they are going to say, but God sovereignly enables them to put their thoughts into words.

2 tn Heb “[are] to a man.”

3 tn Here “the tongue” is a metonymy of cause in which the instrument of speech is put for what is said: the answer expressed.

4 sn The contrasting prepositions enhance the contrasting ideas – the ideas belong to people, but the words come from the Lord.

5 sn There are two ways this statement can be taken: (1) what one intends to say and what one actually says are the same, or (2) what one actually says differs from what the person intended to say. The second view fits the contrast better. The proverb then is giving a glimpse of how God even confounds the wise. When someone is trying to speak [“answer” in the book seems to refer to a verbal answer] before others, the Lord directs the words according to his sovereign will.

6 tn Heb “the heart of a man.” This stresses that it is within the heart that plans are made. Only those plans that are approved by God will succeed.

7 tn Heb “his way” (so KJV, NASB).

8 tn The verb כּוּן (kun, “to establish; to confirm”) with צַעַד (tsaad, “step”) means “to direct” (e.g., Ps 119:133; Jer 10:23). This contrasts what people plan and what actually happens – God determines the latter.

9 sn “Steps” is an implied comparison, along with “way,” to indicate the events of the plan as they work out.



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