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Proverbs 2:8

Context

2:8 to guard 1  the paths of the righteous 2 

and to protect 3  the way of his pious ones. 4 

Proverbs 3:6

Context

3:6 Acknowledge 5  him in all your ways, 6 

and he will make your paths straight. 7 

Proverbs 3:23

Context

3:23 Then you will walk on your way 8  with security,

and you 9  will not stumble. 10 

Proverbs 11:5

Context

11:5 The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, 11 

but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness. 12 

Proverbs 20:24

Context

20:24 The steps of a person 13  are ordained by 14  the Lord

so how can anyone 15  understand his own 16  way?

Proverbs 29:27

Context

29:27 An unjust person is an abomination to the righteous,

and the one who lives an upright life is an abomination to the wicked. 17 

Proverbs 31:3

Context

31:3 Do not give your strength 18  to women,

nor your ways 19  to that which ruins 20  kings.

1 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.

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

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

4 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.

5 tn Heb “know him.” The verb יָדַע (yadah, “to know”) includes mental awareness of who God is and the consequential submission to his lordship. To know him is to obey him. The sage is calling for a life of trust and obedience in which the disciple sees the Lord in every event and relies on him. To acknowledge the Lord in every event means trusting and obeying him for guidance in right conduct.

6 tn The term דֶרֶךְ (derekh, “way”) is figurative (hypocatastasis: implied comparison) referring to a person’s course of life, actions and undertakings (Prov 2:8; 3:6, 23; 11:5; 20:24; 29:27; 31:3; BDB 203 s.v. 5; cf. TEV “in everything you do”; NCV, NLT “in all you do”). This is a call for total commitment in trust for obedience in all things.

7 tn The verb יָשָׁר (yashar) means “to make smooth; to make straight” (BDB 444 s.v.). This phrase means “to make the way free from obstacles,” that is, to make it successful (e.g., Isa 40:3). The straight, even road is the right road; God will make the way smooth for the believer.

8 tn The noun דַּרְכֶּךָ (darkekha, “your way”) functions as an adverbial accusative of location: “on your way.”

9 tn Heb “your foot.” The term רַגְלְךָ (raglÿkha, “your foot”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= foot) for the whole person (= you).

10 sn The verb נָגַף (ragaf, “to strike; to smite”) sometimes means “to stumble” against a stone (e.g., Ps 91:12). Here the object (“stone”) is implied (BDB 619 s.v.). This is a figure (hypocatastasis) comparing stumbling on a stone in the path to making serious mistakes in life that bring harm.

11 tn Heb “his way.”

12 sn The righteous will enjoy security and serenity throughout life. Righteousness makes the path straight; wickedness destroys the wicked.

13 tn Heb “the steps of a man”; but “man” is the noun גֶּבֶר (gever, in pause), indicating an important, powerful person. BDB 149-50 s.v. suggests it is used of men in their role of defending women and children; if that can be validated, then a translation of “man” would be appropriate here. But the line seems to have a wider, more general application. The “steps” represent (by implied comparison) the course of life (cf. NLT “the road we travel”).

14 tn Heb “from the Lord”; NRSV “ordered by the Lord”; NIV “directed by the Lord.”

sn To say that one’s steps are ordained by the Lord means that one’s course of actions, one’s whole life, is divinely prepared and sovereignly superintended (e.g., Gen 50:26; Prov 3:6). Ironically, man is not actually in control of his own steps.

15 tn The verse uses an independent nominative absolute to point up the contrast between the mortal and the immortal: “and man, how can he understand his way?” The verb in the sentence would then be classified as a potential imperfect; and the whole question rhetorical. It is affirming that humans cannot understand very much at all about their lives.

16 tn Heb “his way.” The referent of the third masculine singular pronoun is unclear, so the word “own” was supplied in the translation to clarify that the referent is the human individual, not the Lord.

17 tn Heb “who is upright in the way” (so NASB; KJV and ASV are similar). Here “in the way” refers to the course of a person’s life, hence “who lives an upright life.” Cf. NAB “he who walks uprightly.”

sn The proverb makes a simple observation on life: The righteous detest the wicked, and the wicked detest the lifestyle of the righteous. Each is troublesome to the beliefs and the activities of the other.

18 sn The word translated “strength” refers to physical powers here, i.e., “vigor” (so NAB) or “stamina.” It is therefore a metonymy of cause; the effect would be what spending this strength meant – sexual involvement with women. It would be easy for a king to spend his energy enjoying women, but that would be unwise.

19 sn The word “ways” may in general refer to the heart’s affection for or attention to, or it may more specifically refer to sexual intercourse. While in the book of Proverbs the term is an idiom for the course of life, in this context it must refer to the energy spent in this activity.

20 tn The construction uses Qal infinitive construct לַמְחוֹת (lamkhot, “to wipe out; to blot out; to destroy”). The construction is somewhat strange, and so some interpreters suggest changing it to מֹחוֹת (mokhot, “destroyers of kings”); cf. BDB 562 s.v. מָחָה Qal.3. Commentators note that the form is close to an Aramaic word that means “concubine,” and an Arabic word that is an indelicate description for women.



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