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Proverbs 16:6

Context

16:6 Through loyal love and truth 1  iniquity is appeased; 2 

through fearing the Lord 3  one avoids 4  evil. 5 

Proverbs 16:17

Context

16:17 The highway 6  of the upright is to turn 7  away from evil;

the one who guards 8  his way safeguards his life. 9 

1 sn These two words are often found together to form a nominal hendiadys: “faithful loyal love.” The couplet often characterize the Lord, but here in parallel to the fear of the Lord it refers to the faithfulness of the believer. Such faith and faithfulness bring atonement for sin.

2 tn Heb “is atoned”; KJV “is purged”; NAB “is expiated.” The verb is from I כָּפַר (kafar, “to atone; to expiate; to pacify; to appease”; HALOT 493-94 s.v. I כפר). This root should not be confused with the identically spelled Homonym II כָּפַר (kafar, “to cover over”; HALOT 494 s.v. II *כפר). Atonement in the OT expiated sins, it did not merely cover them over (cf. NLT). C. H. Toy explains the meaning by saying it affirms that the divine anger against sin is turned away and man’s relation to God is as though he had not sinned (Proverbs [ICC], 322). Genuine repentance, demonstrated by loyalty and truthfulness, appeases the anger of God against one’s sin.

3 tn Heb “fear of the Lord.” The term יְהוָה (yÿhvah, “the Lord”) functions as an objective genitive: “fearing the Lord.”

4 tn Heb “turns away from”; NASB “keeps away from.”

5 sn The Hebrew word translated “evil” (רַע, ra’) can in some contexts mean “calamity” or “disaster,” but here it seems more likely to mean “evil” in the sense of sin. Faithfulness to the Lord brings freedom from sin. The verse uses synonymous parallelism with a variant: One half speaks of atonement for sin because of the life of faith, and the other of avoidance of sin because of the fear of the Lord.

6 sn The point of righteous living is made with the image of a highway, a raised and well-graded road (a hypocatastasis, implying a comparison between a highway and the right way of living).

7 tn The form סוּר (sur) is a Qal infinitive; it indicates that a purpose of the righteous life is to turn away from evil. “Evil” here has the sense of sinful living. So the first line asserts that the well-cared-for life avoids sin.

8 sn The second half of the verse uses two different words for “guard”; this one is נֹצֵר (notser) “the one who guards his way,” and the first is שֹׁמֵר (shomer) “the one who guards his life” (the order of the words is reversed in the translation). The second colon then explains further the first (synthetic parallelism), because to guard one’s way preserves life.

9 tc The LXX adds three lines after 17a and one after 17b: “The paths of life turn aside from evils, and the ways of righteousness are length of life; he who receives instruction will be prosperous, and he who regards reproofs will be made wise; he who guards his ways preserves his soul, and he who loves his life will spare his mouth.”



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