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Proverbs 3:1-2

Context
Exhortations to Seek Wisdom and Walk with the Lord 1 

3:1 My child, 2  do not forget my teaching,

but let your heart keep 3  my commandments,

3:2 for they will provide 4  a long and full life, 5 

and they will add well-being 6  to you.

Proverbs 3:18

Context

3:18 She is like 7  a tree of life 8  to those who obtain her, 9 

and everyone who grasps hold of her will be blessed. 10 

1 sn The chapter begins with an introductory exhortation (1-4), followed by an admonition to be faithful to the Lord (5-12). Wisdom is commended as the most valuable possession (13-18), essential to creation (19-20), and the way to a long and safe life (21-26). There then follows a warning to avoid unneighborliness (27-30) and emulating the wicked (31-35).

2 tn Heb “my son” (likewise in vv. 11, 21).

3 tn The verb יִצֹּר (yitsor) is a Qal jussive and the noun לִבֶּךָ (libbekha, “your heart”) functions as the subject: “let your heart keep my commandments.”

4 tn The phrase “they will provide” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.

5 tn Heb “length of days and years of life” (so NASB, NRSV). The idiom “length of days” refers to a prolonged life and “years of life” signifies a long time full of life, a life worth living (T. T. Perowne, Proverbs, 51). The term “life” refers to earthly felicity combined with spiritual blessedness (BDB 313 s.v. חַיִּים).

6 tn The noun שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) here means “welfare, health, prosperity” (BDB 1022 s.v. 3). It can be used of physical health and personal well-being. It is the experience of positive blessing and freedom from negative harm and catastrophe.

7 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.

8 sn The metaphor compares wisdom to the symbol of vitality and fullness of life. This might be an allusion to Gen 3:22, suggesting that what was lost as a result of the Fall may be recovered through wisdom: long and beneficial life (R. Marcus, “The Tree of Life in Proverbs,” JBL 62 [1943]: 117-20).

9 tn Heb “lay hold of her.”

10 tn The singular participle מְאֻשָּׁר (mÿushar, literally, “he will be blessed”) functions as a distributive singular for a plural subject (GKC 464 §145.l): “each and everyone will be blessed.” Not recognizing this point of syntax, the BHS editors unnecessarily suggest emending this singular form to the plural.



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