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Proverbs 3:1-3

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.

3:3 Do not let truth and mercy 7  leave you;

bind them around your neck,

write them on the tablet of your heart. 8 

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 two words חֶסֶד וֶאֶמֶת (khesed veemet, “mercy and truth”) form a nominal hendiadys, the second word becoming an adjective: “faithful covenant love” or “loyal [covenant] love and faithfulness.”

8 sn This involves two implied comparisons (hypocatastasis). One is a comparison of living out the duties and responsibilities taught with binding a chain around the neck, and the other is a comparison of the inward appropriation of the teachings with writing them on a tablet. So the teachings are not only to become the lifestyle of the disciple but his very nature.



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