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Proverbs 18:6-7

Context

18:6 The lips of a fool 1  enter into strife, 2 

and his mouth invites 3  a flogging. 4 

18:7 The mouth of a fool is his ruin,

and his lips are a snare for his life. 5 

1 sn The “lips” is a metonymy of cause, meaning what the fool says. The “mouth” in the second colon is likewise a metonymy for speech, what comes out of the mouth.

2 sn “Strife” is a metonymy of cause, it is the cause of the beating or flogging that follows; “flogging” in the second colon is a metonymy of effect, the flogging is the effect of the strife. The two together give the whole picture.

3 tn Heb “calls for.” This is personification: What the fool says “calls for” a beating or flogging. The fool deserves punishment, but does not actually request it.

4 tn Heb “blows.” This would probably be physical beatings, either administered by the father or by society (e.g., also 19:25; Ps 141:5; cf. NAB, NIV, TEV, NLT). Today, however, “a beating” could be associated with violent criminal assault, whereas the context suggests punishment. Therefore “a flogging” is used in the translation, since that term is normally associated with disciplinary action.

5 tn Heb “his soul” (so KJV, NASB, NIV).

sn What a fool says can ruin him. Calamity and misfortune can come to a person who makes known his lack of wisdom by what he says. It may be that his words incite anger, or merely reveal stupidity; in either case, he is in trouble.



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