1:22 “How long will you simpletons 1 love naiveté? 2
How long 3 will mockers 4 delight 5 in mockery 6
and fools 7 hate knowledge?
9:7 Whoever corrects 8 a mocker is asking for 9 insult; 10
whoever reproves a wicked person receives 11 abuse.
9:8 Do not reprove 12 a mocker or 13 he will hate you;
reprove a wise person and he will love you.
13:1 A wise son accepts 14 his father’s discipline, 15
but a scoffer 16 does not listen to rebuke.
15:12 The scorner does not love 17 one who corrects him; 18
he will not go to 19 the wise.
1 tn Wisdom addresses three types of people: simpletons (פְּתָיִם, pÿtayim), scoffers (לֵצִים, letsim) and fools (כְּסִילִים, kÿsilim). For the term “simpleton” see note on 1:4. Each of these three types of people is satisfied with the life being led and will not listen to reason. See J. A. Emerton, “A Note on the Hebrew Text of Proverbs 1:22-23,” JTS 19 (1968): 609-14.
2 tn Heb “simplicity” (so KJV, NASB); NAB “inanity.” The noun פֶּתִי (peti) means “simplicity; lack of wisdom” (BDB 834 s.v.; HALOT 989 s.v. II פֶּתִי). It is related to the term פְּתָיִם (pÿtayim) “simpletons” and so forms a striking wordplay. This lack of wisdom and moral simplicity is inherent in the character of the naive person.
3 tn The second instance of “How long?” does not appear in the Hebrew text; it is supplied in the translation for smoothness and style.
4 sn The term לֵצִים (leysim, “scoffers; mockers”) comes from the root לִיץ (lits, “to scorn; to mock; to speak indirectly” (BDB 539 s.v. לִיץ). They are cynical and defiant freethinkers who ridicule the righteous and all for which they stand (e.g., Ps 1:1).
5 tn Heb “delight.” The verb (חָמַד, khamad) is often translated “to take pleasure; to delight” but frequently has the meaning of a selfish desire, a coveting of something. It is the term, for example, used for coveting in the Decalogue (Exod 20:17; Deut 5:21) and for the covetous desire of Eve (Gen 3:6) and Achan (Josh 7:21). It is tempting to nuance it here as “illicit desire” for mockery.
6 tn Heb “for themselves.” The ethical dative לָהֶם (lahem, “for themselves”) is normally untranslated. It is a rhetorical device emphasizing that they take delight in mockery for their own self-interests.
7 sn The term “fool” (כְּסִיל, kÿsil) refers to the morally insensitive dullard (BDB 493 s.v.).
8 tn The active participle יֹסֵר (yoser) describes one who tries to correct by means of instruction and discipline; it is paralleled by the Hiphil participle which refers to someone who rebukes or reproves another. Anyone trying this on these types of people would be inviting trouble.
9 tn Heb “receives for himself.”
10 tn The word means “dishonor” or “disgrace.” It is paralleled with מוּמוֹ (mumo), translated “abuse.” The latter term means “blemish,” although some would emend the text to read “reproach.” The MT is figurative but not impossible to interpret: Whoever tries to rebuke a wicked person will receive only insults and perhaps physical attack.
11 tn The verb “receives” is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
12 tn In view of the expected response for reproof, the text now uses a negated jussive to advise against the attempt. This is paralleled antithetically by the imperative in the second colon. This imperative is in an understood conditional clause: “if you reprove a wise person.”
13 tn Heb “lest he hate you.” The particle פֶּן (pen, “lest”) expresses fear or precaution (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 79, §476). The antonyms “love” and “hate” suggest that the latter means “reject” and the former means “choosing and embracing.”
14 tn The term “accepts” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness and clarity.
15 tc G. R. Driver suggested reading this word as מְיֻסַּר (mÿyussar, “allows himself to be disciplined”); see his “Hebrew Notes on Prophets and Proverbs,” JTS 41 (1940): 174. But this is not necessary at all; the MT makes good sense as it stands. Similarly, the LXX has “a wise son listens to his father.”
tn Heb “discipline of a father.”
16 sn The “scoffer” is the worst kind of fool. He has no respect for authority, reviles worship of God, and is unteachable because he thinks he knows it all. The change to a stronger word in the second colon – “rebuke” (גָּעַר, ga’ar) – shows that he does not respond to instruction on any level. Cf. NLT “a young mocker,” taking this to refer to the opposite of the “wise son” in the first colon.
17 sn This is an understatement, the opposite being intended (a figure called tapeinosis). A scorner rejects any efforts to reform him.
18 tn The form הוֹכֵחַ (hokheakh) is a Hiphil infinitive absolute. It could function as the object of the verb (cf. NIV, NRSV) or as a finite verb (cf. KJV, NASB, NLT). The latter has been chosen here because of the prepositional phrase following it, although that is not a conclusive argument.
19 tc The MT has אֶל (’el, “to [the wise]”), suggesting seeking the advice of the wise. The LXX, however, has “with the wise,” suggesting אֶת (’et).