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Proverbs 2:9-11

Context

2:9 Then you will understand 1  righteousness and justice

and equity – every 2  good 3  way. 4 

2:10 For wisdom will enter your heart, 5 

and moral knowledge 6  will be attractive 7  to you. 8 

2:11 Discretion 9  will protect you, 10 

understanding will guard you,

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 לֵב (lev, “heart”) functions as a metonymy of association for “mind” and “thoughts” (BDB 524 s.v. 3). It represents the center of the inner life where the volition and emotions join to bring about actions. It is used here in parallelism with נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh, “soul”), for which see note.

6 tn Heb “knowledge.” For the noun דַּעַת (daat), see the note on 1:7.

7 tn Heb “pleasant.” The verb יִנְעָם (yinam, “to be pleasant”) describes what is attractive. It is used of being physically attracted to one’s lover (Song 7:7) or to a close friendship (2 Sam 1:26). Here wisdom becomes attractive to the righteous, that is, the righteous desires to acquire it.

8 tn Heb “your soul.” The term נַפְשְׁךָ (nafshÿkha, “your soul”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= soul) for the whole person (= you); see BDB 660 s.v. 4.a.2. It also might function as a metonymy of association for emotions and passions (BDB 660 s.v. 6) or mental cognition (BDB 660 s.v. 7).

9 tn The word מְזִמָּה (mÿzimmah, “discretion”) is the ability to know the best course of action for achieving one’s goal. It is knowledge and understanding with a purpose. This kind of knowledge enables one to make the right choices that will protect him from blunders and their consequences (cf. NLT “wise planning”; CEV “sound judgment”).

10 tn Heb “will watch over you.”



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