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Proverbs 19:13-14

Context

19:13 A foolish child 1  is the ruin of his father,

and a contentious wife 2  is like 3  a constant dripping. 4 

19:14 A house and wealth are inherited from parents, 5 

but a prudent wife 6  is from the Lord.

1 tn Heb “a foolish son” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, CEV); NRSV “a stupid child.”

2 tn Heb “the contentions of a wife” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “the nagging of a wife.” The genitive could be interpreted (1) as genitive of source or subjective genitive – she is quarreling; or (2) it could be a genitive of specification, making the word “contentions” a modifier, as in the present translation.

3 tn Heb “is a constant dripping.” The term “like” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity. The metaphor pictures water dropping (perhaps rain through the roof, cf. NRSV, CEV) in a continuous flow: It is annoying and irritating (e.g., Prov 27:15-16).

4 tc The LXX makes this moralistic statement for 13b: “vows paid out of hire of a harlot are not pure.” It is not based on the MT and attempts to reconstruct a text using this have been unsuccessful.

5 tn Heb “inheritance of fathers” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).

6 sn This statement describes a wife who has a skillful use of knowledge and discretion that proves to be successful. This contrasts with the preceding verse. The proverb is not concerned about unhappy marriages or bad wives (both of which exist); it simply affirms that when a marriage works out well one should credit it as a gift from God.



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