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Proverbs 2:9

Context

2:9 Then you will understand 1  righteousness and justice

and equity – every 2  good 3  way. 4 

Proverbs 2:15

Context

2:15 whose paths 5  are morally crooked, 6 

and who are devious 7  in their ways;

Proverbs 2:18

Context

2:18 For her house 8  sinks 9  down to death,

and her paths lead 10  to the place of the departed spirits. 11 

Proverbs 4:11

Context

4:11 I will guide you 12  in the way of wisdom

and I will lead you in upright paths. 13 

Proverbs 4:26

Context

4:26 Make the path for your feet 14  level, 15 

so that 16  all your ways may be established. 17 

Proverbs 5:6

Context

5:6 Lest 18  she should make level the path leading to life, 19 

her paths are unstable 20  but she does not know it. 21 

Proverbs 5:21

Context

5:21 For the ways of a person 22  are in front of the Lord’s eyes,

and the Lord 23  weighs 24  all that person’s 25  paths.

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

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

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

4 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.

5 tn The noun in this relative clause is an accusative of specification: The evil people are twisted with respect to their paths/conduct.

6 tn Heb “crooked.” The adjective עִקֵּשׁ (’iqqesh, “crooked; twisted”) uses the morphological pattern of adjectives that depict permanent bodily defects, e.g., blindness, lameness. Their actions are morally defective and, apart from repentance, are permanently crooked and twisted.

7 tn The Niphal participle of לוּז (luz, “devious; crooked”) describes conduct that is morally deceptive, crafty, and cunning (Isa 30:12).

8 tn Or “she sinks her house down to death.” The syntax of this line is difficult. The verb שָׁחָה is Qal perfect 3rd person feminine singular of שׁוּחַ (“to sink down”) which must take a feminine singular subject – most likely the “loose woman” of 2:16-17. However, most English versions take בֵּיתָהּ (betah) “her house” (ms noun + 3rd person feminine singular suffix) as the subject (e.g., KJV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, CEV): “her house sinks down to death.” But בֵּיתָהּ “her house” (ms noun + 3rd person feminine singular suffix) is masculine rather than feminine so it cannot be the subject. K&D 16:83 suggests that בֵּיתָהּ (“her house”) is a permutative noun that qualifies the subject: “she together with all that belongs to her [her house] sinks down to death” (GKC 425 §131.k). D. Kidner suggests that “her house” is in apposition to “death” (e.g., Job 17:13; 30:23; Prov 9:18; Eccl 12:5), meaning that death is her house: “she sinks down to death, which is her house” (Proverbs [TOTC], 62). The BHS editors attempt to resolve this syntactical problem by suggesting a conjectural emendation of MT בֵּיתָהּ (“her house”) to the feminine singular noun נְתִיבֹתֶהָּ (“her path”) which appears in 7:27, to recover a feminine subject for the verb: “her path sinks down to death.” However, the reading of the MT is supported by all the versions.

9 tc The MT reads שָׁחָה (Qal perfect 3rd person feminine singular of שׁוּחַ “to sink down”): “she sinks her house down to death.” The LXX reflects שָׁתָה (shatah, Qal perfect 3rd person feminine singular of שִׁית (shith) “to place; to put”): “she established her house near death.” This is a matter of simple orthographic confusion between ח (khet) and ת (tav). The MT preserves the more difficult reading (see following note) so it is probably the original.

10 tn The verb “lead” is not in the Hebrew but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.

11 tn Heb “to the departed spirits” or “to the Rephaim.” The term רְפָאִים (rÿfaim, “Rephaim”) refers to spirits of the dead who are inhabitants of Sheol (BDB 952 s.v.; HALOT 1274-75 s.v. I רְפָאִים). It is used in parallelism with מֵתִים (metim, “the dead”) to refer to the departed spirits of the dead in Sheol (Ps 88:11; Isa 26:14). The Rephaim inhabit מָוֶת (mavet, “[place of] death”; Prov 2: 18), שְׁאוֹל (shÿol, “Sheol”; Job 26:5; Prov 9:18; Isa 14:9), “darkness and the land of forgetfulness” (Ps 88:14), and “the land of the Rephaim” (Isa 26:19). Scholars debate whether רְפָאִים is derived from the root (1) רָפָא (rafa’, “to heal”), meaning “the healers” or (2) רָפָה (rafah, “to be weak; to sink down”), meaning “the powerless ones” or “those who sink down (to Sheol)” (BDB 952 s.v.; HALOT 1274-75 s.v.). The related term occurs in Phoenician and Neo-Punic meaning “spirits of the dead” (DISO 282) and in Ugaritic referring to “spirits of the dead” who inhabited the underworld and were viewed as healers (UT 2346; WUS 2527). The Hebrew term is often translated “the shades” as a description of the shadowy existence of those who dwelling in Sheol who have lost their vitality (R. F. Schnell, IDB 4:35). Used here in parallelism with מָוֶת (“[place of] death”), רְפָאִים (“the Rephaim”) probably functions as a synecdoche of inhabitants (= the departed spirits of the dead) for the place inhabited (= Sheol). The point of this line is that those who fall prey to an adulteress will end up among the departed spirits in the realm of the dead. This might mean (1) physical death: he will get himself killed by her zealous husband (e.g., Prov 5:23; 6:32-35; 7:23-27) or (2) spiritual death: he will find himself estranged from the community, isolated from the blessings of God, a moral leper, living a shadowy existence of “death” in the land of no return (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 288).

12 tn The form הֹרֵתִיךָ (horetikha) is the Hiphil perfect with a suffix from the root יָרָה (yarah, “to guide”). This and the parallel verb should be taken as instantaneous perfects, translated as an English present tense: The sage is now instructing or pointing the way.

sn The verb יָרָה (yarah) means “to teach; to instruct; to guide.” This is from the same root as the Hebrew word for “law” (torah). See G. R. Driver, “Hebrew Notes,” VT 1 (1951): 241-50; and J. L. Crenshaw, “The Acquisition of Knowledge in Israelite Wisdom Literature,” WW 7 (1986): 9.

13 tn Heb “in the tracks of uprightness”; cf. NAB “on straightforward paths.” Both the verb and the object of the preposition make use of the idiom – the verb is the Hiphil perfect from דֶּרֶךְ (derekh, related to “road; way”) and the object is “wagon tracks, paths.”

14 tn Heb “path of your foot.”

15 sn The verb is a denominative Piel from the word פֶּלֶס (peles), “balance; scale.” In addition to telling the disciple to keep focused on a righteous life, the sage tells him to keep his path level, which is figurative for living the righteous life.

16 tn The vav prefixed to the beginning of this dependent clause denotes purpose/result following the preceding imperative.

17 tn The Niphal jussive from כּוּן (cun, “to be fixed; to be established; to be steadfast”) continues the idiom of walking and ways for the moral sense in life.

18 tn The particle פֶּן (pen) means “lest” (probably from “for the aversion of”). It occurs this once, unusually, preceding the principal clause (BDB 814 s.v.). It means that some action has been taken to avert or avoid what follows. She avoids the path of life, albeit ignorantly.

19 tn Heb “the path of life.” The noun חַיִּים (khayyim, “of life”) functions as a genitive of direction (“leading to”).

20 sn The verb נוּעַ (nua’) means “to quiver; to wave; to waver; to tremble”; cf. KJV “her ways are moveable”; NAB “her paths will ramble”; NLT “She staggers down a crooked trail.” The ways of the adulterous woman are unstable (BDB 631 s.v.).

21 sn The sadder part of the description is that this woman does not know how unstable her life is, or how uneven. However, Thomas suggests that it means, “she is not tranquil.” See D. W. Thomas, “A Note on לא תדע in Proverbs v 6,” JTS 37 (1936): 59.

22 tn Heb “man.”

23 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

24 tn BDB 814 s.v. פָּלַס 2 suggests that the participle מְפַּלֵּס (mÿpalles) means “to make level [or, straight].” As one’s ways are in front of the eyes of the Lord, they become straight or right. It could be translated “weighs” since it is a denominative from the noun for “balance, scale”; the Lord weighs or examines the actions.

25 tn Heb “all his”; the referent (the person mentioned in the first half of the verse) has been specified in the translation for clarity.



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