and the one who obtains 4 understanding.
3:15 She is more precious than rubies,
in her left hand are riches and honor.
and all her paths are peaceful.
and everyone who grasps hold of her will be blessed. 20
he established the heavens by understanding. 22
and the clouds drip down dew. 25
safeguard sound wisdom and discretion. 27
1 tn Although the word אַשְׁרֵי (’ashre, “blessed”) is frequently translated “happy” here (so KJV, ASV, NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, NLT), such a translation can be somewhat misleading because the word means more than that – “happiness” depends on one’s circumstances. This word reflects that inner joy and heavenly bliss which comes to the person who is pleasing to God, whose way is right before God.
2 tn Heb “the man” (also again in the following line).
4 tn The imperfect tense verb may be classified as a progressive or habitual imperfect.
5 tn Heb “her profit.” The 3rd person feminine singular suffix on the noun is probably a genitive of source: “from her.”
6 tn Heb “profit.” The noun סַחַר (sakhar, “trading profit”) often refers to the financial profit of traveling merchants (Isa 23:3, 18; 45:14; HALOT 750 s.v.). The related participle describes a traveling “trader, dealer, wholesaler, merchant” (e.g., Gen 37:28; Prov 31:14; Isa 23:2; Ezek 27:36; HALOT 750 s.v. סחר qal.2). Here the noun is used figuratively to describe the moral benefit of wisdom.
7 tn The noun סַחַר (“profit”) is repeated in this line for emphasis. The two usages draw upon slightly different nuances, creating a polysemantic wordplay. The moral “benefit” of wisdom is more “profitable” than silver.
8 tn Heb “her yield.” The 3rd person feminine singular suffix on the noun is probably a genitive of source: “from her.”
10 tn The phrase “is better” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is implied by the parallelism; it is supplied in the translation for the sake of smoothness.
11 tn Heb “all of your desires cannot compare with her.”
12 tn Heb “your desires.” The 2nd person masculine singular suffix on the noun probably functions as subjective genitive.
13 tn The imperfect tense verb יָסַד (yasad, “to establish be like; to resemble”) has a potential nuance here: “can be compared with.”
14 tn Heb “All of your desires do not compare with her.”
15 tn Heb “length of days” (so KJV, ASV).
16 tn Heb “her ways are ways of pleasantness” (so KJV, NRSV). The present translation contracts this expression for the sake of smoothness. The plural of דֶרֶךְ (derekh, “way”) is repeated for emphasis. The noun נֹעַם (no’am, “pleasantness”) functions as an attributive genitive: “pleasant ways.”
17 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.
18 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 : 117-20).
19 tn Heb “lay hold of her.”
20 tn The singular participle מְאֻשָּׁר (mÿ’ushar, 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.
21 tn Heb “founded the earth.” The verb יָסַד (yasad, “to establish; to found”) describes laying the foundation of a building (1 Kgs 5:31 [HT]; 7:10; 2 Chr 3:3; Ezra 3:10-12; Zech 4:9) and God laying the foundation of the earth (Job 38:4; Pss 24:2; 89:12; 102:26; 104:5; Isa 48:13; 51:13, 16; Zech 12:1).
22 sn The theme of God’s use of wisdom in creation is developed in Prov 8:22-31. Because God established the world to operate according to the principle of wisdom it is impossible for anyone to live successfully in his world apart from the wisdom that only God can give.
23 sn The word תְּהוֹמוֹת (tÿhomot, “primordial sea”) alludes to the chaotic “deep” in Gen 1:2 (BDB 1063 s.v. תְּהוֹם 3). This was viewed in the ancient world as a force to be reckoned with. However, God not only formed it but controls it (see J. Emerton, “Spring and Torrent in Ps 74:15,” VT 15 : 125).
24 sn This might refer to God’s action of dividing the waters to form the dry ground on the third day (Gen 1:9-10) or, less likely, to the breaking up of the fountains of the deep at the flood (Gen 7:11).
25 sn The two colons form a merism: The wisdom of God is behind all forces of nature, whether the violent breaking forth of its watery forces at creation or the provision of the gentle rain and dew throughout history (T. T. Perowne, Proverbs, 55).
26 tn The object of the verb “escape” is either (1) wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in vv. 13-20 or (2) “wisdom and discretion” in the second colon of this verse. Several English versions transpose the terms “wisdom and discretion” from the second colon into the first colon for the sake of clarity and smoothness (e.g., RSV, NRSV, NIV, TEV, CEV).
NIV takes the subject from the second colon and reverses the clauses to clarify that.
27 tn Or: “purpose,” “power of devising.”
28 tn Heb “and.” The vav probably denotes purpose/result.
29 tn Heb “they will be.”
31 tn The phrase “to adorn” does not appear in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for the sake of clarity and smoothness.
33 tn The noun דַּרְכֶּךָ (darkekha, “your way”) functions as an adverbial accusative of location: “on your way.”
34 tn Heb “your foot.” The term רַגְלְךָ (raglÿkha, “your foot”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= foot) for the whole person (= you).
35 sn The verb נָגַף (ragaf, “to strike; to smite”) sometimes means “to stumble” against a stone (e.g., Ps 91:12). Here the object (“stone”) is implied (BDB 619 s.v.). This is a figure (hypocatastasis) comparing stumbling on a stone in the path to making serious mistakes in life that bring harm.
37 tn Heb “terror.” The verb פָּחַד (pakhad, “terror”) describes emotion that is stronger than mere fear – it is dread.
38 tn The construction of vav consecutive + perfect tense followed by vav (ו) consecutive + perfect tense depicts a temporal clause. The temporal nuance is also suggested by the parallelism of the preceding colon.
39 tn The verb עָרְבָה (’orvah) is from III עָרַב (“to be sweet; to be pleasing; to be pleasant”; BDB 787 s.v. III עָרַב). It should not be confused with the other five homonymic roots that are also spelled עָרַב (’arav; see BDB 786-88).
40 tn Heb “do not be afraid.” The negative exhortation אַל־תִּירָא (’al-tira’, “do not be afraid”) is used rhetorically to emphasize that the person who seeks wisdom will have no reason to fear the consequences of wicked actions.
42 tn Heb “terror.” The noun פַּחַד (pakhad, “terror”) is a metonymy of effect for cause (= disaster); see BDB 808 s.v. 2. This is suggested by the parallelism with the noun מִשֹּׁאַת (misho’at, “destruction”) in the following colon. The term פַּחַד (“terror”) often refers to the object (or cause) of terror (e.g., Job 3:25; 15:21; 22:10; 31:23; Pss 31:12; 36:2; Isa 24:18; Jer 48:44).
43 tn Heb “or the destruction of the wicked when it comes.”
44 tn Heb “destruction of the wicked.” The noun רְשָׁעִים (rÿsha’im, “wicked ones”) probably functions as an objective genitive (the destruction that comes on the wicked) or a genitive of source (the destruction that the wicked bring on others).
45 tn Or “the
46 tn Heb “your confidence” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV) or “at your side.” There is debate whether the term כֶּסֶל (kesel) is related to the root I כָסַל “loins; side” (so HALOT 489 s.v. I כֶּסֶל 2) or II כָסַל “confidence” (so BDB 492 s.v. כֶּסֶל 3). The Vulgate relates it to I כָסַל and offers “the
47 sn The term רַגְלְךָ (raglekha, “your foot”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= your foot) for the whole person (= you). This synecdoche develops the extended comparison between the hunter’s snare and calamity that afflicts the wicked.
48 tn Heb “from capture.” The noun לָכֶד (lakhed, “capture; snare”) occurs only here in OT (BDB 540 s.v.; HALOT 530 s.v. לֶכֶד). It is figurative for the calamity of v. 25. God will protect the wise (or, righteous) from the consequences of sin (snares) that afflict the wicked.