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Proverbs 16:2

Context

16:2 All a person’s ways 1  seem right 2  in his own opinion, 3 

but the Lord evaluates 4  the motives. 5 

Proverbs 16:25

Context

16:25 There is a way that seems right to a person, 6 

but its end is the way that leads to death. 7 

1 tn Heb “ways of a man.”

2 sn The Hebrew term translated “right” (z~E) means “innocent” (NIV) or “pure” (NAB, NRSV, NLT). It is used in the Bible for pure oils or undiluted liquids; here it means unmixed actions. Therefore on the one hand people rather naively conclude that their actions are fine.

3 tn Heb “in his eyes.”

4 tn The figure (a hypocatastasis) of “weighing” signifies “evaluation” (e.g., Exod 5:8; 1 Sam 2:3; 16:7; Prov 21:2; 24:12). There may be an allusion to the Egyptian belief of weighing the heart after death to determine righteousness. But in Hebrew thought it is an ongoing evaluation as well, not merely an evaluation after death.

5 tn Heb “spirits” (so KJV, ASV). This is a metonymy for the motives, the intentions of the heart (e.g., 21:2 and 24:2).

sn Humans deceive themselves rather easily and so appear righteous in their own eyes; but the proverb says that God evaluates motives and so he alone can determine if the person’s ways are innocent.

6 tn Heb “There is a way that is right before a man [to the face of a man].”

7 tn Heb “the ways of death” (so KJV, ASV). This construct phrase features a genitive of destiny: “ways that lead to [or, end in] death.”This proverb is identical to 14:12.



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