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Proverbs 1:8-9

Context

1:8 Listen, 1  my child, 2  to the instruction 3  from 4  your father,

and do not forsake the teaching 5  from 6  your mother.

1:9 For they will be like 7  an elegant 8  garland 9  on 10  your head,

and like 11  pendants 12  around 13  your neck.

1 tn The imperative שְׁמַע (shÿma’, “Listen!”) forms an urgent exhortation which expects immediate compliance with parental instruction.

2 tn Heb “my son.” It is likely that collections of proverbs grew up in the royal courts and were designed for the training of the youthful prince. But once the collection was included in the canon, the term “son” would be expanded to mean a disciple, for all the people were to learn wisdom when young. It would not be limited to sons alone but would include daughters – as the expression “the children of (בְּנֵי, bÿne) Israel” (including males and females) clearly shows. Several passages in the Mishnah and Talmud record instructions to teach daughters the Mosaic law so that they will be righteous and avoid sin as well. The translation “my child,” although not entirely satisfactory, will be used here.

3 tn Heb “training” or “discipline.” See note on 1:2.

4 tn Heb “of.” The noun אָבִיךָ (’avikha, “of your father”) may be classified as a genitive of source.

5 tn Heb “instruction.” In Proverbs the noun תּוֹרַה (torah) often means “instruction” or “moral direction” rather than “law” (BDB 435 s.v. 1.a). It is related to יָרָה (yarah, “to point [or, show] the way” in the Hiphil (BDB 435). Instruction attempts to point a person in the right direction (e.g., Gen 46:28).

6 tn Heb “of.” The noun אִמֶּךָ (’immekha, “of your mother”) may be classified as a genitive of source.

7 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

8 tn Heb “a garland of grace.” The word חֵן (khen, “grace”) refers to qualities that make a person pleasant and agreeable, e.g., a gracious and charming person (BDB 336 s.v.). The metaphor compares the teachings that produce these qualities to an attractive wreath.

9 tn The noun לִוְיַה (livyah, “wreath; garland”) refers to a headdress and appears only twice in the OT (Prov 1:9; 4:9; BDB 531 s.v.; HALOT 524 s.v.).

10 tn Heb “for.”

11 tn The comparative “like” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the metaphor; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.

12 tn Cf. KJV, ASV “chains”; NIV “a chain”; but this English term could suggest a prisoner’s chain to the modern reader rather than adornment.

13 tn Heb “for.”



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