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Proverbs 18:1-2

Context

18:1 One who has isolated himself 1  seeks his own desires; 2 

he rejects 3  all sound judgment.

18:2 A fool takes no pleasure 4  in understanding

but only in disclosing 5  what is on his mind. 6 

Proverbs 18:15

Context

18:15 The discerning person 7  acquires knowledge,

and the wise person 8  seeks 9  knowledge.

1 tn The Niphal participle functions substantively and has a reflexive nuance: “one who has separated himself” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB). He is not merely anti-social; he is a problem for society since he will defy sound judgment. The Mishnah uses the verse to teach the necessity of being part of a community because people have social responsibilities and need each other (m. Avot 2:4).

2 tc The MT has “seeks [his own] desire[s].” The translation in the LXX represents a Hebrew Vorlage of לְתֹאֲנָה (lÿtoanah) instead of לְתַאֲוָה (lÿtaavah); this could be translated “seeks his own occasion,” that is, “his own pretext” (C. H. Toy, Proverbs [ICC], 354; cf. NAB). The MT makes sense as it stands and the emendation is not really necessary.

3 tn Heb “breaks out”; NRSV “showing contempt for”; NLT “snarling at.” This individual breaks out in contention against sound judgment. He is in opposition to society (e.g., Prov 17:14; 20:3).

4 sn This expression forms an understatement (tapeinosis); the opposite is the point – he detests understanding or discernment.

5 tn The Hitpael infinitive construct בְּהִתְגַּלּוֹת (bÿhitgalot) functions nominally as the object of the preposition. The term means “reveal, uncover, betray.” So the fool takes pleasure “in uncovering” his heart.

6 tn Heb “his heart.” This is a metonymy meaning “what is on his mind” (cf. NAB “displaying what he thinks”; NRSV “expressing personal opinion”). This kind of person is in love with his own ideas and enjoys spewing them out (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 515). It is the kind of person who would ask a question, not to learn, but to show everyone how clever he is (cf. TEV).

7 tn Heb “discerning heart.” The term “heart” is a synecdoche of part (= heart) for the whole (= person); cf. TEV, NLT “intelligent people.” By paralleling “heart” and “ear” the proverb stresses the full acquisition of knowledge. The “ear” listens to instruction, and the heart considers what is heard to acquire knowledge.

8 tn Heb “the ear of the wise.” The term “ear” is a synecdoche of part (= ear) for the whole (= person): “wise person.”

sn The wise continually seek more knowledge. D. Kidner says, “Those who know most know best how little they know” (Proverbs [TOTC], 129).

9 sn This line features a mixed metaphor: The “ear” is pictured “seeking.” The “ear of the wise” actually means the wise person’s capacity to hear, and so the wise are seeking as they hear.



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