and apply your heart to my instruction. 3
I am making them known to you today 9 – even you.
sayings 11 of counsel and knowledge,
so that you may give accurate answers 13 to those who sent you?
1 sn A new collection of sayings begins here, forming the fourth section of the book of Proverbs. This collection is not like that of 1:1–9:18; here the introductory material is more personal than 1:1-7, and the style differs, showing great similarity to the Instruction of Amenemope in Egypt (especially the thirty precepts of the sages in 22:17–24:22). Verses 17-21 form the introduction, and then the sayings begin in v. 22. After the thirty sayings are given, there are further sayings in 24:23-34. There is much literature on this material: see W. K. Simpson, ed., Literature of Ancient Egypt; ANET 412-425; and A. Cody, “Notes on Proverbs 22:21 and 22:23b,” Bib 61 (1980): 418-26.
2 sn To “incline the ear” means to “listen carefully” (cf. NCV); the expression is metonymical in that the ear is the instrument for hearing. It is like telling someone to lean over to hear better.
3 tn Heb “knowledge” (so KJV, NASB); in this context it refers to the knowledge that is spoken by the wise, hence “instruction.”
4 tn Or “when” (so NIV).
5 tn Heb “keep them,” referring to the words of the wise expressed in these sayings. The referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.
6 tn The term “and” does not appear in the Hebrew but is supplied in the translation.
7 sn If the teachings are preserved in the heart/mind of the disciple, then that individual will always be ready to speak what was retained.
8 tn The form לִהְיוֹת (lihyot, “to be”) is the infinitive construct indicating the purpose (or result) of the teaching (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV).
9 tn Heb “I cause you to know.” The term “today” indicates that the verb should have the instantaneous nuance, and so an English present tense is used in the translation (“am making…known”).
10 tn Older English versions and a few more recent ones render this phrase as either “excellent things” following the Qere (so KJV, ASV, NASB, NKJV), “officers,” or “heretofore” [day before yesterday], following the Kethib. However (as in most recent English versions) the Qere should be rendered “thirty,” referring to the number in the collection (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).
11 tn The term “sayings” does not appear in the Hebrew text but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity.
12 tn Heb “to cause you to know the truth of words of truth” (NASB similar).
13 tn Heb “to return true words”; NAB “a dependable report”; NIV “sound answers.”