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Proverbs 30:21

Context

30:21 Under three things the earth trembles, 1 

and under four things it cannot bear up:

Proverbs 30:24

Context

30:24 There are four things on earth that are small, 2 

but they are exceedingly wise: 3 

Proverbs 30:29

Context

30:29 There are three things that are magnificent 4  in their step,

four things that move about magnificently: 5 

1 sn The Hebrew verb means “to rage; to quake; to be in tumult.” The sage is using humorous and satirical hyperbole to say that the changes described in the following verses shake up the whole order of life. The sayings assume that the new, elevated status of the individuals was not accompanied by a change in nature. For example, it was not completely unknown in the ancient world for a servant to become king, and in the process begin to behave like a king.

2 tn Heb “Four are the small things of the earth.” TEV has “four animals,” though in the list of four that follows, two are insects and one is a reptile.

3 tn The construction uses the Pual participle with the plural adjective as an intensive; these four creatures are the very embodiment of wisdom (BDB 314 s.v. חָכַם Pu).

4 tn The form מֵיטִיבֵי (metibe) is the Hiphil participle, plural construct. It has the idea of “doing good [in] their step.” They move about well, i.e., magnificently. The genitive would be a genitive of specification.

5 tn The construction uses the Hiphil participle again (as in the previous line) followed by the infinitive construct of הָלַךְ (halakh). This forms a verbal hendiadys, the infinitive becoming the main verb and the participle before it the adverb.



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