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Proverbs 24:23-24

Context
Further Sayings of the Wise

24:23 These sayings also are from the wise:

To show partiality 1  in judgment is terrible: 2 

24:24 The one who says to the guilty, 3  “You are innocent,” 4 

peoples will curse him, and nations will denounce 5  him.

1 tn Heb “to recognize faces”; KJV, ASV “to have respect of persons”; NLT “to show favoritism.”

2 tn Heb “not good.” This is a figure known as tapeinosis – a deliberate understatement to emphasize a worst-case scenario: “it is terrible!”

3 tn The word means “wicked; guilty” or “criminal”; the contrast could be “wicked – righteous” (cf. KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB) or “innocent – guilty” (cf. NIV, TEV, CEV). Since this line follows the statement about showing partiality in judgment, it involves a forensic setting. Thus the statement describes one who calls a guilty person innocent or acquitted.

4 tn Or “righteous”; the same Hebrew word may be translated either “innocent” or “righteous” depending on the context.

5 tn The verb means “to be indignant.” It can be used within the range of “have indignation,” meaning “loathe” or “abhor,” or express indignation, meaning “denounce” or “curse.” In this passage, in collocation with the previous term “curse,” the latter is intended (cf. NAB, NIV, NLT).



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