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Proverbs 2:6-9

Context

2:6 For 1  the Lord gives 2  wisdom,

and from his mouth 3  comes 4  knowledge and understanding.

2:7 He stores up 5  effective counsel 6  for the upright, 7 

and is like 8  a shield 9  for those who live 10  with integrity, 11 

2:8 to guard 12  the paths of the righteous 13 

and to protect 14  the way of his pious ones. 15 

2:9 Then you will understand 16  righteousness and justice

and equity – every 17  good 18  way. 19 

1 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.

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

3 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.

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

5 tc The form is a Kethib/Qere reading. The Kethib וְצָפַן (vÿtsafan; Qal perfect + vav consecutive) is supported by the LXX and Syriac. The Qere יִצְפֹּן (yitspon; Qal imperfect) is supported by the Aramaic Targum of Prov 2:7 (the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew scriptures were called Targums) and Latin Vulgate. Internal evidence favors the imperfect; another imperfect appears in v. 6a with a similar sense. The Qere is normally preferred; the scribes are indicating that the received reading is corrupt. The Kethib reflects orthographic confusion between י (yod) and ו (vav). As in v. 6a, this Qal imperfect functions as a habitual imperfect describing a universal truth in past, present and future.

sn The verbal root צָפַן (tsafan, “to store up; to treasure up”) is repeated in 2:1 and 2:7. In 2:1, it is the responsibility of man to “store up” wisdom; but in 2:7, it is God who “stores up” wisdom for the wise person who seeks him.

6 tn The noun תּוּשִׁיָּה (tushiyyah) has a two-fold range of meanings: (1) “sound wisdom” (so KJV, NRSV); “effective counsel” and (2) result (metonymy of effect): “abiding success” (BDB 444 s.v.; W. L. Holladay, Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon, 388; cf. NIV “victory”). It refers to competent wisdom and its resultant ability to achieve moral success (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 80).

7 sn The Hebrew word translated “upright” (יָשָׁר, yashar) is one of the terms used for the righteous. It points to the right conduct of the believer – that which is right or pleasing in the eyes of God. It stresses that the life of the individual is upright, straightforward, and just. It is paralleled with “those who walk in integrity.”

8 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.

9 tn The word can be taken as in apposition explaining the subject of the first colon – the Lord is a shield, the Lord stores up. The word then is a metaphor for the protection afforded by the Lord.

10 tn Heb “walk.” The verb “to walk” (הָלַךְ, halakh) is an idiom (based upon hypocatastasis: implied comparison) for habitual manner of life (BDB 234 s.v. 3.e).

11 tn Heb “those who walk of integrity.” The noun תֹם (tom, “integrity”) functions as a genitive of manner.

12 tn The infinitive construct לִנְצֹר (lintsor, “to guard”) designates the purpose of the Lord giving “effective counsel” and being a “shield” to the upright. The verb נָצַר (natsar, “to guard”) has a broad range of meanings: (1) to watch over, guard or protect a vineyard from theft (Prov 27:18); (2) to guard one’s lips or heart from evil (Prov 4:23; 13:3); (3) to protect a person from moral or physical danger (Prov 2:8, 11; 4:6; 13:6; 20:28; 22:12; 24:12) and (4) to guard with fidelity = to observe commands, law or covenant (Prov 3:1, 21; 4:13; 5:2; 6:20; 28:7; see BDB 665-66 s.v.). Here God guards the way of the just, that is, the course and conduct of life from the influence of evil.

13 tn Heb “paths of righteousness.” The word “righteousness” is a possessive genitive, signifying the ways that the righteous take.

14 tn The imperfect tense verb יִשְׁמֹר (yishmor, “to protect”) continues the syntactical nuance of the preceding infinitive construct of purpose.

15 tc The Kethib is the singular noun + 3rd person masculine singular suffix חֲסִידוֹ (khasido) “his pious one.” The Qere reads the plural noun + 3rd person masculine singular suffix חֲסִידָיו (khasidav) “his pious ones.” The LXX εὐλαβουμένων αὐτόν (eujlaboumenwn aujton) supports the Qere reading.

tn The noun חֶסֶד (khesed, “the pious”) describes those who show “covenantal faithful love” or “loyal love” to God and his people. The description of the righteous by this term indicates their active participation in the covenant, for which God has promised his protection.

16 tn Heb “discern.” See preceding note on בִּין (bin) in 2:5.

17 tn The phrase “every good way” functions appositionally to the preceding triad of righteous attributes, further explaining and defining them.

18 tn Heb “every way of good.” The term טוֹב (tov, “good”) functions as an attributive genitive: “good way.”

19 tn Heb “track”; KJV, NIV, NRSV “path.” The noun מַעְגַּל (magal) is used (1) literally of “wagon-wheel track; firm path” and (2) figuratively (as a metaphor) to describe the course of life (Pss 17:5; 23:3; 140:6; Prov 2:9, 15, 18; 4:11, 26; 5:6, 21; Isa 26:7; 59:8; see BDB 722-23 s.v. 2; KBL 2:609). It is related to the feminine noun עֲגָלָה (’agalah, “cart”) and the verb עָגַל (’agal) “to be round” (Qal) and “to roll” (Niphal). As a wagon-wheel cuts a deep track in a much traversed dirt road, so a person falls into routines and habits that reveal his moral character. In Proverbs the “paths” of the righteous are characterized by uprightness and integrity.



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