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Proverbs 2:4-6

Context

2:4 if 1  you seek 2  it like silver, 3 

and search for it 4  like hidden treasure,

2:5 then you will understand 5  how to fear the Lord, 6 

and you will discover 7  knowledge 8  about God. 9 

2:6 For 10  the Lord gives 11  wisdom,

and from his mouth 12  comes 13  knowledge and understanding.

1 tn The conditional particle now reiterates the initial conditional clause of this introductory section (1-4); the apodosis will follow in v. 5.

2 tn The verb בָּקַשׁ (baqash) means “to search for; to seek; to investigate” (BDB 134 s.v.). This calls for the same diligence one would have in looking for silver.

3 sn The two similes affirm that the value placed on the object will influence the eagerness and diligence in the pursuit and development of wisdom (e.g., Job 28:9-11). The point is not only that the object sought is valuable, but that the effort will be demanding but rewarding.

4 sn The verb חָפַשׂ (khafas) means “to dig; to search” (BDB 344 s.v.; cf. NCV “hunt for it”). The Arabic cognate means “to dig for water.” It is used literally of Joseph searching his brothers’ sacks (Gen 44:12) and figuratively for searching the soul (Ps 64:7). This is a more emphatic word than the one used in the first colon and again emphasizes that acquiring wisdom will be demanding.

5 tn The verb בִּין (bin, “to perceive; to understand; to discern”) refers to ability to grasp, discern or be sensitive to what it means to fear the Lord.

6 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord.” The noun is an objective genitive; the Lord is to be the object of fear and reverence.

7 tn Heb “find” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).

8 tn The term דַּעַת (daat, “knowledge”) goes beyond cognition; it is often used metonymically (cause) for obedience (effect); see, e.g., Prov 3:6, “in all your ways acknowledge him,” and BDB 395 s.v. This means that the disciple will follow God’s moral code; for to know God is to react ethically and spiritually to his will (e.g., J. H. Greenstone, Proverbs, 18).

9 tn Heb “knowledge of God.” The noun is an objective genitive.

10 tn This is a causal clause. The reason one must fear and know the Lord is that he is the source of true, effectual wisdom.

11 tn The verb is an imperfect tense which probably functions as a habitual imperfect describing a universal truth in the past, present and future.

12 sn This expression is an anthropomorphism; it indicates that the Lord is the immediate source or author of the wisdom. It is worth noting that in the incarnation many of these “anthropomorphisms” become literal in the person of the Logos, the Word, Jesus, who reveals the Father.

13 tn The verb “comes” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.



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