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Proverbs 20:8

Context

20:8 A king sitting on the throne to judge 1 

separates out 2  all evil with his eyes. 3 

Proverbs 20:26

Context

20:26 A wise king separates out 4  the wicked;

he turns the threshing wheel over them. 5 

1 tn The infinitive construct is דִּין; it indicates purpose, “to judge” (so NIV, NCV) even though it does not have the preposition with it.

2 tn The second line uses the image of winnowing (cf. NIV, NRSV) to state that the king’s judgment removes evil from the realm. The verb form is מִזָרֶה (mÿzareh), the Piel participle. It has been translated “to sift; to winnow; to scatter” and “to separate” – i.e., separate out evil from the land. The text is saying that a just government roots out evil (cf. NAB “dispels all evil”), but few governments have been consistently just.

3 sn The phrase with his eyes indicates that the king will closely examine or look into all the cases that come before him.

4 tn Heb “winnows” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV). The sage draws on the process of winnowing to explain how the king uncovers and removes wickedness. The verb from which the participle מְזָרֶה (mÿzareh) is derived means “to separate; to winnow; to scatter”; the implied comparison means that the king will separate good people from bad people like wheat is separated from chaff. The image of winnowing is also used in divine judgment. The second line of the verse uses a detail of the process to make the point. Driving a wheel over the wheat represents the threshing process; the sharp iron wheels of the cart would easily serve the purpose (e.g., Isa 28:27-28).

5 tn The king has the wisdom/ability to destroy evil from his kingdom. See also D. W. Thomas, “Proverbs 20:26,” JTS 15 (1964): 155-56.



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