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Proverbs 3:21-24

Context

3:21 My child, do not let them 1  escape from your sight;

safeguard sound wisdom and discretion. 2 

3:22 So 3  they will give 4  life to you, 5 

and grace to adorn 6  your neck. 7 

3:23 Then you will walk on your way 8  with security,

and you 9  will not stumble. 10 

3:24 When 11  you lie down you will not be filled with fear; 12 

when 13  you lie down your sleep will be pleasant. 14 

1 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.

2 tn Or: “purpose,” “power of devising.”

3 tn Heb “and.” The vav probably denotes purpose/result.

4 tn Heb “they will be.”

5 tn Heb “your soul.” The noun נַפְשֶׁךָ (nafshekha, “your soul”) is a synecdoche of part (= inner soul) for the whole person (= you); see BDB 600 s.v. 4.a.2.

6 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.

7 tn Heb “grace for your neck.” See note on 1:9.

8 tn The noun דַּרְכֶּךָ (darkekha, “your way”) functions as an adverbial accusative of location: “on your way.”

9 tn Heb “your foot.” The term רַגְלְךָ (raglÿkha, “your foot”) functions as a synecdoche of part (= foot) for the whole person (= you).

10 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.

11 tn The particle אִם (’im, “if”) here functions in its rare temporal sense (“when”) followed by an imperfect tense (e.g., Num 36:4; BDB 50 s.v. 1.b.4.b).

12 tn Heb “terror.” The verb פָּחַד (pakhad, “terror”) describes emotion that is stronger than mere fear – it is dread.

13 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.

14 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).



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